EVIL BOY DVD CONTEST
2019, CONTEST, dvd, film, Foreign, genre, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, WELL GO USA

CONTEST CLOSED – EVIL BOY DVD from WELL GO USA-winners to be notified thank you. 9.1.2020 update

EVIL BOY DVD CONTEST

Enter to possibly win a copy of WELL GO USA‘s release of the Russian Horror Film ,EVIL BOY .

 

WELL GO USA has  graciously given SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE  two copies of EVIL BOY for a giveaway contest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKnKjhqEaR4

UPDATE CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED. THANK YOU-9.1.2020 UPDATE

You don’t even have to leave your house.   

 

email : ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com your entry (duplicates will automatically be disqualified) .

In the heading write

“EVIL BOY CONTEST “

and in the body of the email ,
Answer these two questions

1)What is considered the First Russian Horror Film ?

2)Name another Evil Child film

(try not to go for an easy one !)

Include your name ,email , and mailing address so winners can be notified and their prize mailed.

DEADLINE TO ENTER :Monday August 31,2020 . Entries received after that date will not be counted.

UPDATE- SEPTEMBER 1,2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS TO BE NOTIFIED. UPDATE. 9.1.2020.   



Only one entry per person.
No purchase is necessary. Void where prohibited. All federal, state, and local regulations apply.
You must be at least 18 to enter.
You must live in the United States or Canada.
All prizes are awarded “as is.” Prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged. No substitute prize will be awarded to a winner who declines to accept a prize.
Two (2) winners will be selected randomly.

UPDATE 9.1.2020-Contest closed. Winners will be notified. Thank you for your entries. –
Please allow 4-8 weeks to receive the prize.

EVIL BOY

 


Several years after their son’ s disappearance, a grieving couple adopts a feral boy, who begins to eerily resemble their child more with each passing day. While the mother believes they have found their son, her husband is certain he died. As strange accidents begin happening around the boy, the pair soon wonders whether they’ve adopted something not entirely…human.

Language: 1. Russian 2. English (dubbed)
Subtitles: English subtitles

BONUS FEATURES:  Trailers


 Actors: Elena Lyadova ( Leviathan (2014), Elena (2011), The Geographer Drank His Globe Away (2013), and Orlean  (2015) ,                    Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Sevastian Bugaev
Directors: Olga Gorodetskaya (Gone Away (2014) and The Dive (2015).)



Format: NTSC, Subtitled, Dolby, Surround Sound, Widescreen
Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Subtitles: English

Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Not Rated
Well Go Usa
DVD Release Date: September 8, 2020
Run Time: 90 minutes
$24.98 msrp

Our thanks go to https://www.wellgousa.com

Standard
1930S, Blu Ray, Classic Hollywood, crime drama, cult, Drama, dvd, film, Film Detective, FILM HISTORY, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, independent, independent film, obscure, review, reviews, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

THE SIN OF NORA MORAN (Film Detective Blu Ray)

THE SIN OF NORA MORAN (Film Detective Blu Ray and DVD. July 29,2020) Film original release December 13,1933(US). Produced by Majestic Pictures. Crime /Drama. B&W. 65 minutes. With 20 Minutes of Special Features. Blu-Ray $24.99. DVD $19.99. https://www.moviezyng.com/the-sin-of-nora-moran-bluray-dvd-zita-johann/810044715644

THE SIN OF NORA MORAN is a pre-code above average programmer probably mostly known for it’s beautiful poster by Alberto Vargas. The beautiful artwork really has nothing to do with the film, but oh does it draw your interest.

That said, THE SIN OF NORA MORAN is an entertaining drama from the early 1930s. At times, while watching it, I kept thinking of I WANT TO LIVE (U.A.,1958). The film is told in flashback form to tell the tragic story of Nora, played by Broadway actress Zita Johann. This was one of the seven films that she made between 1931-34, the best known being THE MUMMY (Universal,1932).

Nora ‘s early life was filled with tragedy, so when the star struck woman gets the chance to join the circus as part of a lion taming act for Paulino (John Miljan) she accepts. Paulino is a sadistic bastard, whose act it seems to consist of whipping and even punching a lion! It is no surprise then that Paulino is not above raping the poor woman. She survives and goes onto becoming a dancer in a small night club. There, she meets D.A. John Grant (Alan Dinehart). Things look like they are going better for her at last. Alas, it was not to be. It seems that Nora will die because of love.

The film is very daring for the period, with a woman who seems to be suffering from the aftereffects of the sexual attack upon her. Add to that, the unique jumping from present to past and back again in telling her story is quite unique. It had been done before (Griffith’s INTOLERANCE, Triangle, 1916) but very rarely, and I cannot recall any other sound films of that period doing so. The Griffith connection continues with the casting of with Griffith regular Henry B Walthall as Father Ryan, as well as Johann herself who appeared in THE STRUGGLE (U.A. ,1931).

 



Writer Willis Maxwell Goodhue had written several Broadway shows, mostly comedies. The film claims to have been based upon a Broadway play, but I can find no record of it playing upon the Great White Way. I suspect it is based upon an unproduced script of his called “Burnt Offering”. Filmed under the title of THE WOMAN IN THE CHAIR, its publicity claimed that it took five months to make the picture, a claim that I find a bit hard to believe. KING KONG (RKO,1933) took EIGHT MONTHS to make, and that was due to its extensive effects.


Majestic Pictures was a poverty row studio that was active from 1930 until 1935, when it and several other studios were absorbed into Republic Pictures. During their time, they produced THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933), perhaps their best-known picture, as well as THE SCARLET LETTER (1934). Larry Darmour, the founder of Majestic, had begun releasing the Mickey McGuire shorts in 1927, starring an incredibly young Mickey Rooney. After Majestic folded, Darmour went on to take over Columbia Pictures serial unit from 1938 until her passing in 1942.


Producer /Director Phil Goldstone worked in the industry from 1920 until 1942. His best-known contributions were as a producer for both WHITE ZOMBIE (uncredited; Halperin/ UA ,1932) and THE VAMPIRE BAT (Majestic ,1933). His most infamous title as director seems to be DAMAGED GOODS (Grand National,1937), a film about sexually transmitted diseases.

It is therefore quite surprising to witness his adventurous camera set ups and editing tricks of playing around with the timeline as he does. A scene near the end reminds one of Hitchcock whereas we see from a character’s point of view as he commits suicide by pistol (though not as successfully as the Master, it is indeed impressive for a small indie of the period).



The film fell into obscurity for many decades until film historian and filmmaker Sam Sherman (editor of the late lamented SCREEN THRILLS ILLUSTRATED ,and head of Independent International Pictures) was shown a 16mm print of THE SIN OF NORA MORAN and became fascinated with the picture. He even went so far as to get a print for himself and tracked down the lead Zita Johann, who was at that point already retired and living in West Nyack NY. She herself did not care for the film’s playing with time, preferring the original straightforward narrative that had been planned. Over time she began to appreciate the ambition of style that the film possessed. She even briefly came out of retirement to appear in a cameo in one of Sherman’s I.I. titles. Sherman also was able to repackage the film under a new title for tv distribution, VOICE FROM THE GRAVE, making it sound more like a horror film.



Now, thanks to Sam Sherman, film preservationist David Shepard, The Film Detective, and the UCLA FILM & TELEVISION ARCHIVE, an original 35 mm camera element was found, and a new 4K print was struck.



This release from The Film Detective is the definitive version of this film. Unlike other prints found elsewhere, the film is incredibly sharp and clear. The cinematography by Ira H. Morgan (who also filmed THE DEVIL BAT and DAMAGED GOODS, as well as working on Chaplin’s MODERN TIMES(!) (U.A.,1936) is as clear as many a major production of the era, with strong blacks and clear levels of gray shadings. The mono sound has been cleaned up and was as far as I noticed crackle free. Dialogue, sound effects and music did not blur or overpower each other as many indie films of the period do.


There are optional English subtitles for the dialogue.

The music by Heinz Roemheld is uncredited. In fact ,it seems that for most of his career, his music was written for stock music libraries ,being used into films into the 1960s. One of the films he did receive screen credit was for THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (U.A.,1957) . The unusual thing about his score here is that it is used throughout the films entire 65 minutes running time.


Many films of that period were still coping with sound, and many used music sparingly, if at all. KING KONG (RKO,1933) was a major film that same year that showed a running musical score could work with a film’s storytelling.


Roemheld’s score is no where near as memorable as Max Steiner’s classic compositions. Indeed, at times it sounds a bit like music one would hear in an Our Gang short of the period, especially in a sentimental moment. At other times, it is quite sparse and effective.


As a bonus on the disc, Ballyhoo Pictures put together a nice 20 minute documentary, ‘The Mysterious Life of Zita Johann” (“mysterious” being misspelled on the back cover of the case )wherein Samuel M. Sherman talks about Johann and his connection to the film and the actress.

Inside the case there is also a booklet written by Sherman and illustrated with some rare movie clippings, lobby cards and photos.

 

All and all, a nice little collectable of a by gone era of filmmaking.

 

 


If that is not enough, for the limited edition blu ray release (1500 copies) ,within one of the packages will be a special certificate for one lucky purchaser to win a free 27” x 41” hand pulled lithograph of the Vargas poster , printed on Coventry 100% cotton archival paper with a certificate of authenticity .

 

No, it was NOT me.

 

 

 

the original Vargas sketch (here in a Lithograph) was more undraped

 

Kudos for all involved for the extraordinary amount of care given to this picture. Would that every movie be given this kind of treatment.


Check out THE FILM DETECTIVE’s gorgeous print of THE VAMPIRE BAT, which replicates the brief hand colored sequences that were used in certain release prints of the time. https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Bat-Special-Detective-Restored/dp/B01LTIAUJ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490377335&sr=8-1&keywords=vampire+bat+the+film+detective+restored+version

RECOMMENDED.

-Kevin G Shinnick

the end

 

Please feel free to share this review. 

Would you like to contribute to SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE ? If so, contact Kevin at Scarletthefilmmag@yahoo.com 

You can follow and like SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE here as well as on Facebook .

Standard
1930S, 1940s, 1950s, 1980s, Blu Ray, Classic Hollywood, comedy, cult, dvd, film, Hal Roach, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, humor, Kit Parker, Laurel & Hardy, MVD, review, reviews, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, studio history, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

LAUREL AND HARDY: THE DEFINITIVE RESTORATIONS

LAUREL & HARDY: THE DEFINITIVE RESTORATIONS (Blu-Ray) (MVD /Kit Parker Films/Sprocket Films) B&W, Color .4 Discs. 511 Minutes. Not Rated. Release date June 30,2020. $79.95 srp. (also available on DVD). REGION FREE.
https://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Hardy-Definitive-Restorations-Blu-ray/dp/B084P3S7NJ

         BUY IT. A MUST HAVE COMEDY COLLECTION.

       What? Oh, you need more in a review. Oh, very well.

Laurel & Hardy remain iconic touchstones of cinematic comedy. As recently as January 2020, Stan Laurel (and Charlie Chaplin ) were the subjects of a London stage show (https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/the-strange-tale-of-charlie-chaplin-and-stan-laurel-review-at-wiltons-music-hall-london–expressive-physical-comedy ) as well as magnificent tribute film in 2018 (STAN & OLLIE ,BBC FILMS). Their body of work inspires and continues to influence comedians and comediennes.

recent London Mime Show

A comedy duo (officially since DUCK SOUP, Roach,1926, even though they had appeared together in THE LUCKY DOG, 1921,Sun-Lite) who remained friends until Oliver Hardy’s passing in 1957,and who will forever be linked in the minds of film fans as a tandem force.


Their films can be watched and enjoyed by all ages, due to their child like innocence as well as their constant battles with everyday events. 



Now, a collection of their works has been restored and presented to both new and old fans alike in a release that should please all. The shorts are well represented, with some odd omissions. For example, they do a magnificent job on the one silent presented, THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (Roach/MGM,1927),but skip their first talkie (UNACUSTOMED AS WE ARE, Roach/MGM ,1929),as well as many other classics . Were there legal issues or lack of acceptable elements, or just the ones that UCLA has restored so far? Perhaps if this set sells well, we might expect a second edition, or even a third that would include their silent (yes please).



The restorations of these films are nothing short of miraculous. New 2K/4K masters have been made from the best elements available, and while they still have a few specks here and there, plus the sound is variable due to the technology of the time , one is doubtful one will ever see these classics in any better presentation.


THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (Roach /MGM ,1927), on Disc One, to me, made the disc a special delight. Robert Youngson used the remaining footage available in his 1965 compilation LAUREL & HARDY’s LAUGHING 20s (MGM,1965). For years, that tantalizing footage had fans wishing to see the entire short.

 

In the 1980s, most of the first reel was discovered. Missing still is a sequence wherein Eugene Pallette (best known as Friar Tuck in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, WB,1938) is an insurance agent who sells Ollie a policy ,wherein if Stanley sustains injury, there will be a nice payout. This footage is set up nicely with a few remaining stills and a title card explaining the set up. It then jumps to Ollie dropping banana peels to make Stan fall, only to have it backfire and make long suffering foe Charlie Hall as a pie man topple, leading up to the huge street filling pie fight. In the extras, Anita Garvin identifies herself as the woman who falls and sits upon a pie, stands, and tries to regain her dignity. She did this brilliant comic gem of a moment in an unpaid appearance during her lunch break as a favor to Stan!

 


Also, on Disc one, there is BERTH MARKS (Roach/MGM,1929) their SECOND talking picture. Even though sound had just become popular and wider used just two years earlier, the team was already using it and drawing attention to its humorous potential. Notice how they use the stationmaster (Pat Harmon, a familiar face in films ,often in unbilled roles) who yells out the train destinations in an incoherent though loud way, then asked if Pottsville is one of the stops, he yells louder and even less coherently!


BERTH MARKS is available in two versions on this disc ; the 1929 release version with original sound, as well as the 1936 re issue with added music and different sound effects. The 1929 version has not been seen for 84 years so it is a real significant find.


The brilliant fourth L&H feature, SONS OF THE DESERT (Roach,MGM ,1933) was called “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 2012 and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Once you watch this pre-code comedy, you will see why. The print is so much sharper than previous releases, with nice shades of gray and good sound.



There are extras galore on this and the other discs .

There are fact filled running commentaries by either Randy Skretvedt or Richard W. Bann on the various shorts and films. Seriously, you will learn about where certain sequences were shot, actors who appear, often as uncredited extras, just a wealth of information.

Also included are video interview from the 1980s.


Actress Anita Gavin (1906- 1994) gushes with real affection for her time at Roach, and of her working with Stan.


Producer/actor/director Joe Rock (aka Joseph Simberg,1893-1984). Rock basically saved Stan from an unhappy marriage that was ruining his career. Freed of her, Stan starring silent vehicles included the wonderful spoof DR PYCKLE AND MR PRIDE (Selznick,1925). It is too bad that the sound is so terrible in this interview, with a buzz so loud that words are often drowned out.


Roy Seawright (1905-1991) was Hal Roach Studios Head of Animation , the man responsible for all of those animated effects in the films, as well as the stop motion in BABES IN TOYLAND /MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (Roach /MGM ,1934) .

(not from the blu ray, but an interesting bit of film history below )

https://www.pbs.org/video/appraisal-1934-babes-toyland-stop-motion-soldiers-xfnzcd/

A shipboard interview with Oliver Hardy (1950). This was when the boys were going with such high hopes to film ATOLL K/UTOPIA (1951), a disastrous final film for the comedy team.


The only known existing  original trailer from SONS OF THE DESERT (Spanish).


A plug for Skretvedt’s book (which appears on several of the discs.)?

That is just the first disc!


Extras on Disc 2 include audio interviews with many associated with the comedy team, while disc 4 has several of the comic duos’ feature trailers, as well as music tracks from Marvin Hatley (1905-1986), best known for his work for the team.


There are also thousands of rare photos posters, scripts, and production notes from their many shorts and features.

  (TWICE TWO ,1933 )


Disc 2 also has BRATS (1930, available in two versions) ,HOG WILD (1930) ,COME CLEAN (1931), ONE GOOD TURN(1931),and ME & MY PAL (1933)  ,all Roach/MGM releases , all looking vastly sharper than they have in other releases.

 


Disc 3 has 8 shorts, including THE MUSIC BOX (Roach/MGM,1932), winner of the FIRST Academy Award for Best Short Live Action (Comedy) and was preserved in 1997 in National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The other shorts on Disc 3 are HELPMATES(1932) , THE CHIMP (1932) ,COUNTY HOSPITAL (1932) ,SCRAM! (1932), THEIR FIRST MISTAKE(1932) ,THE MIDNIGHT PATROL(1933) ,and BUSY BODIES (1933) (all Roach /MGM ).


Disc 4 has the feature WAY OUT WEST (Roach/MGM,1937). This is the comedy which will have your sides ache in the sequence where they chase each other around the room with a purloined deed. This is the film that is referenced so perfectly in the beginning of STAN & OLLIE, with an exact copy of their dance.

It also has three other Hal Roach produced shorts(TOWED IN A HOLE(Roach/MGM 1932) ,TWICE TWO(Roach /MGM 1933),THAT’S THAT(1937 , a private reel of out-takes compiled for Stan’s birthday and was not publicly distributed), as well as their only existing professionally shot color footage in TREE IN A TEST TUBE, a 1942 short made for the U.S. Dept of Agriculture!


The  packing really beings up my one tiny nitpick – the case has a flip book to hold the various discs, which often shift making the box  hard to close. Be careful so as not to scratch or damage the discs.


This is hours and hours of entertainment and information in a well-made release. Hopefully, it will be a success so that we may see 4 K releases of their other Hal Roach films (including the silent era)  to Blu Ray.


Stan: What do you want?
Policeman: I don’t want you. I want that other monkey.
[Stan whistles to Ollie]
Ollie: What?
Stan: He doesn’t want me! He wants the other monkey!
[Ollie looks around]
Stan: You!
Ollie: Oh.
-from THE MUSIC BOX


You don’t want that other monkey. You want this collection!! Must own.

Kevin G Shinnick

Please ‘Like’ and follow us here https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com
and our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/

Would you like to submit reviews, articles, or artwork? Contact us at scarletthefilmmag@yahoo.com

Standard
1980s, Action Adventure, Arrow Video, Blu Ray, cult, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, independent, review, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, thriller, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

JAKE SPEED (Arrow Blu Ray S.E.)

JAKE SPEED (Arrow Video Blu Ray Special Edition) -original release New World May 30, 1986. Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen .105 minutes. PG $39.95 REGION A/1. Blu Ray released December 2019

https://www.amazon.com/Jake-Speed-Blu-ray-Wayne-Crawford/dp/B07YGZ6D1B/ref=sr_1_1?crid=JMU517NGMEI7&keywords=jake+speed+blu+ray&qid=1574018190&s=movies-tv&sprefix=jake+speed%2Cmovies-tv%2C204&sr=1-1

JAKE SPEED is a super fun action adventure film that never takes itself too seriously and lets you in on the joke. Indeed, the whole film is based upon the idea of “What if the heroes we read about in pulp fiction existed”? This flick  makes the whole premise work.

A young woman, Maureen Winston (Becca C Ashley in her only theatrical role) is abducted while she is in Paris by white slavers (a plot later used in the better known TAKEN, Fox,2008). Her family back in the United States are understandably upset. Maureen’s parents (Monte Markham, PROJECT X, Paramount 1968, and Millie Perkins, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, Fox,1959) blame Maureen’s sister Margaret (Karen Kopins, ONCE BITTEN, Goldwyn,1985) for encouraging her to go out and see the world.

Margaret’s crusty grandfather (Leon Ames, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, MGM,1946) says that there are very few real men anymore, such as Remo Williams, or Jake Speed. He feels Jake Speed would be the best man to handle this.

The thing is Maureen discovers that Jake only exists in a series of pulp novels that her grandfather reads. Or does he?

MV5BYmIxMDYyODMtMDg5OC00M2NhLTgzYzEtNWNlNDY0NzZiMTMwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTE2NzA0Ng@@._V1_

A note is slipped under Margaret’s door that instructs her to go to a bar at the San Pedro Docks at midnight if she wishes to find her sister. Going along is her friend, Wendy (Donna Pescow, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, Paramount, 1977).

The bar is the type of dive that might make pirates feel unsafe. They are soon joined by Desmond Floyd (Dennis Christopher, BREAKING AWAY, Fox,1979) and Jake Speed (writer producer Wayne Crawford, who also co-wrote /co-produced the indie hit VALLEY GIRL, Atlantic, 1983) himself.

It seems that they base their pulp stories upon actual events and that Margaret’s story connects with a case that Desmond and Jake are pursuing , involving white slavers in Africa and Jake’s arch-nemeses, the gleeful Sid (John Hurt, ALIEN,Fox,1979) and his somewhat foppish brother Maurice (Roy London, one of the top acting teachers in Hollywood ,who died in 1993 at only age 50).

London was the subject of a 2005 documentary

What follows are a series of wildly over the top adventures that Margaret becomes part of as a struggling country’s different faction fight a Civil War all around them. John Hurt looks like he is having the time of his life playing the baddie, and he never takes his character too seriously (though when he slits the throat of an innocent civilian near the end, it is a bit of a shock).

Shooting in Africa gave the picture much grander production values than a medium budget picture of the time would have had filming elsewhere. Plus, as we learn from the disc extras (more later in the review), they were given use of actual military vehicles, troops and helicopters, mixed in with some amazing Australian stunt people.

Watch for one little editing boo boo near the end at the airport, where all the background extras behind John Hurt stand perfectly still and then start moving as if they got their cue late .

The film was released by New World Pictures while COBRA (WB) and TOP GUN ( Paramount) were dominating the U.S. box office in May 1986.   JAKE SPEED was not a successful picture, making most of it’s money on it’s release to video and cable. There were plans to make more but the failure to find a wide theatrical acceptance put an end to that idea.

New World did  do a clever bit of promotion for the film, releasing an actual paperback on June 1,1986 by Gold Eagle/Harlequin, under the pseudonym Reno Melon, which is the fake name Jake and Des’ author their pulp novels in the film. The thing is, they should have released the book in advance of the film, not after it had disappeared from theatres.

A vinyl LP was released of Mark Snow’s score by sound track by Varèse Sarabande . The very 80s synth score is very infectious and the flute sound adds a sense of whimsy to the theme.

I have to admit that I have been a fan of this film since it first came to video on the old New World Video. This new Arrow Video Blu Ray is an incredible improvement over any prior release on this film. Arrow Video has gone back to the original 35mm interpositive prints and given it a 2K Hi Def (1080p) clean up that makes this picture look even more impressive. The stunning African vistas and colors show that more care was given to this movie than one would assume from prior prints.

The mono sound from prior releases has been cleaned up and given a lot more audio punch (2.0 stereo), with the crashes, punches, gunfire and music all jumping out at you while still never overpowering the tongue in cheek lines as the film zooms along.

There are optional English subtitles that are easy to read and follow the action and dialogue quite accurately.

Other Extras include –

PAPERBACK WISHES, CINEMATIC DREAMS– a brand new Ballyhoo Motion Pictures interview with director Andrew Lane. Ballyhoo Motion Picture extras on any disc are always top notch and this one keeps the fine record by the company.

Lane and Crawford worked together since 1977 (starting as a writing producing team on the 1977 Dimension PicturesTOMCATS). Their idea was to make each succeeding picture just a little bit better, culminating with JAKE SPEED. They worked upon a few more films after this, but none seemed to be as personal as this picture.

THE HARD WAY READS BETTER-Another made for this release Ballyhoo Motion Pictures extra, this time producer William Fay offers his insights into making JAKE SPEED, including budget restraints, and other problems of having to bring practically all equipment into the country to make the picture.

 

The Blu Ray Sleeve has a reversible cover, with newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys, whose magnificent work has graced several other collectible Arrow Video releases.

This is a fun independent action adventure that merely asks that you relax and have a good time.

Highly recommended.

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

Like and Follow us at https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/

and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/

If you would like to contribute to SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE, contact Kevin at Scarletthefilmmag@yahoo.com

Standard
1940s, Academy Award Winner, Blu Ray, CHRISTMAS, CLASSIC, Classic Hollywood, comedy, Drama, film, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, INGRID BERGMAN, LEO MCCAREY, OLIVE FILMS, RKO, Uncategorized

THE BELLS OF ST MARY’S (Olive Films Blu Ray $29.95 or DVD $19.95)

 

THE BELLS OF ST MARY’S (Olive Films Blu Ray $29.95 or DVD $19.95, December 2019). Original Release: RKO, December 1945. B&W. Not Rated. 126 minutes. Region 1/A. 1.37:1
https://olivefilms.com/product/the-bells-of-st-marys/ (The Blu Ray Release is the version used for this review).

 

The holidays are here, so I won’t make this a very long review, only to make sure that I say
that if you love the Christmas season, you need to add OLIVE FILMS ‘SIGNATURE COLLECTION edition of
THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S.

 

The story to some may now seem a bit cliched, with Bing Crosby’s priest character parodied endlessly in various television shows (including THE SIMPSONS (Fox,1989- forever ). However, when you return to the original classic film, you see how well it stands up, and makes you laugh and cry with ease, ending with an unexpected feeling of joy in humanity.


Released by RKO on December 5,1945 in New York at Radio City Music Hall, the film was an immediate hit both with critics (with a few Scrooges) and audiences alike, becoming the highest grossing 1945 release and RKO’s most profitable film in its erratic history.

 

St. Mary’s Parish is one that caters to the poor. The Church is trying to decide as to whether it is worth keeping open or close it. The school attached is in disrepair as well, with many feeling it too needs to close and the students transferred to a more modern school.

Enter Father “Chuck” O’Malley (Bing Crosby, reprising his Oscar winning role from GOING MY WAY, RKO ,1944). His job is to access the situation. The barrier he faces is Sister Superior Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman, who, the opening titles informs us, appears by arrangement with David O. Selznick). Sister Superior and her fellow Sisters all feel that things will soon turn around and that God Will Provide.

The Father and the Sisters then spend the rest of the film dealing with a local businessman donating to the Parish, troubled students and various incidents both funny or/and touching. Bing even manages to squeeze in six songs (both singularly and with a choir), four of which were later released as popular singles.


The film was nominated in several categories ,including Best Actor (Crosby , the first actor to be nominated a second time for portraying the same role), Best Actress(Bergman),Best Director(Leo McCarey, DUCK SOUP, Paramount ,1933)Best Editing, Best Music, Best Song ,but only winning for Best Sound Recording (Stephen Dunn, two years after he won for THIS LAND IS MINE, RKO,1943).

OLIVE FILMS SIGNATURE FILMS are always the best of the best when it comes to restoration as well as extras, and this package is no exception.

 

The film has been given a brand new 4K restoration. The movie has never been out of public view and the previous releases on tv, video and DVD have all been fine. This new release, however, is so sharp, that it looks like a film shot this year, and not 74 years previously.

 

The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono sonic has been given a marvelous boost as well, showing why it won the Oscar. There is nary a pop or hiss to distract from the sound effects, dialogue, and of course, music in this classic.

As to extras:


Audio Commentary : Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins (A POCKETFUL OF DREAMS Back Bay Books, 2002) has an informative and pleasant running commentary about the production and reactions to the picture. It is astonishing to discover what a Nativity scene with a bunch of children was nearly cut because there was fear that it might offend Catholics!)

FAITH & FILM: Sister Rose Pocotte, film critic and founding Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in L.A., brings a combined critical as well as faith-based point of view to the classic.


HUMAN NATURE: LEO McCAREY & THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S : Film Historian Steve Massa (LAME BRAINS & LUNATICS, Bear Manor 2013) discusses the career of the director, from his works in comedies to more serious themes in his work after a car accident influenced his world view.

 

BEFORE SEQUEL-ITIS: THE ORIGINS OF HOLLYWOOD FRANCHISES : Professor Emily Carman of Chapman University discusses the need to see more of certain popular characters.

VINTAGE RADIO ADAPTATIONS :Radio adaptations of popular movies were quite common from the 1930s up to the early 1950s. Both  recordings heard here were on the popular Screen Guild Theater radio series (August 26, 1946 and October 6,1947). Both Bergman and Crosby repeat their roles in these 30-minute abridgements. I used to own these on a 1981 vinyl LP release from the old-time radio specialty company Sandy Hook Records, so it was nice to hear them again.

Booklet : an 8-page illustrated booklet with an essay by Film Reviewer Abbey Bender gives a nice overview of the picture.

The holidays are now upon us, so if you want a perfect gift for people who love

CLASSIC MOVIES
CHRISTMAS
BING CROSBY
INGRID BERGMAN
LEO MCCAREY
Then this is the perfect stocking stuffer for them—or you (go on -you’ve earned it!).

MERRY CHRISTMAS and thank you to Olive Films Signature Series.

Previous releases include


Orson Welles’ MACBETH https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/orson-welles-macbetholive-films-blu-ray/

HANNIE CAULDER

A BUCKET OF BLOOD https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/a-bucket-of-blood-olive-films-signature-blue-ray/

A NEW LEAF

HIGH NOON https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/high-noon-olive-films-blu-ray-and-dvd-signature-release/

THE QUIET MAN https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/the-quiet-man-olive-films-signature-blu-ray/

Review by Kevin G Shinnick

Please Like and Follow us on https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/.

Our reviews are also shared upon TWITTER, LINKEDIN, LIKER, and other social media.

Contact: Kevin at scarletthefilmmag@yahoo.com

 

Standard
1970s, Action Adventure, Burt Reynolds, Drama, Edward Fox, film, genre, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, jungle, Missing Link, obscure, rare, review, Roger C Carmel, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, Susan Clark, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, Universal, wierd, Wilffed Hyde-White, William Marshall

FORGOTTEN & OVERLOOKED : SKULLDUGGERY (Universal,1970)Burt Reynolds, Susan Clark)

FORGOTTEN & OVERLOOKED will be a series of articles on science fiction ,horror, mystery ,and fantasy films that have somehow either been overlooked and /or not been made easily available for viewing . I am open to other suggestions and indeed other writers/creators who might wish to contribute to this series.

Contact Kevin at ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

Skullduggery – a forgotten Universal science fiction film

SKULLDUGGERY – 1970 Universal – A forgotten science fiction adventure film that has a lot of ideas behind it, even if the execution is a bit muddled.

A scientist ,Dr Sybil Greame ( Susan Clark ,COLOSSUS:THE FORBIN PROJECT, Universal, 1970) ,and a pair of guides, Douglas and Otto (Burt Reynolds, two years before his break-out star making turn in DELIVERANCE ,WB,1972 and Roger C. Carmel ,forever to be known as rascally Harry Mudd from his two appearances in the original STAR TREK television series,Paramount ,1966-69) go into the wilds of the New Guinea jungles (a few stock shots, then the rest mostly filmed on location in Jamaica), where they discover a skull of a half human -half primate throwback ,or the missing link.

 

Going further in the primeval forests, they come across a tribe who guide them to The Tropis. The Tropis are a small humanoid group (mostly played by college students from the University of Djakarta), a friendly primitive tribe of hirsute people. Childlike, the tough Douglas becomes very protective of them. Otto, however, develops a strong attraction to one of the females, Topanzia (Pat Suzuki, who starred in the original Broadway production of FLOWER DRUM SONG).

The rest of the “civilized” people look to exploit the Tropis. Father Dillingham (Chip Rafferty ,MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, MGM,1962) wishes to baptize the Tropis until someone mentions it might be a blasphemy if they are not human, while Dr Greame’s boyfriend and financial backer Vancruysen (Paul Hubschmid ,THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, WB,1953) figures that by he can exploit the creatures into near slavery to work in a mind that he has found .

Things take a dark turn when Topanzia gives birth to a still born child. After Douglas at first confesses to possibly killing the infant, he is put on trial, which brings in the idea of defining what humanity is.

Topanzia is kept in a cage in the courtroom, while a local District Attorney (magnificently played by William Marshall,BLACULA,AIP,1972) tries the case.

The project was based upon the 1952 French novel,” Les Animaux denatures” (First edition publ. Album Michel)) ,written by Jean Bruller under the pseudonym,”Vercors”. Bruller, who had fought in the French resistance, wrote several science fiction themed novels, as well as historical works.

 

The novel was translated into English by Rita Barrisse, and released under the name “YOU SHALL KNOW THEM” (aka “Murder Of The Missing Link” ;1953, Boston: Little , Brown) . The reviews were quite favorable at the time but it has become a rather overlooked work. One of the main differences between book and novel is that the baby is DELIBERATELY killed so that the case will be brought to trial.

 

Bruller adapted his work into a stage play called ZOO that was produced in Paris, and still is performed by many amateur groups(https://vimeo.com/272149857) . Director Otto Preminger (LAURA,Fox,1944) optioned the stage rights ,and hired Nelson Gidding to write a screenplay, that became  known as “The Case Of The Troublesome Topis”,dropping the “r” from the hominids name while making the story sound like a forgotten Perry Mason tale.

Gidding  finished the screenplay, but Preminger got busy in other projects, and so it seemed like it would end up as one of the many unproduced scripts in Hollywood.

 

However, producer Saul David had bought the novel rights, and brought it to Universal, after a misunderstanding with the newly formed ABC Pictures resulted in their dropping the project. Gidding, who adapted the 1969 Robert Crichton novel “The Andromeda Strain “(Knopf) into the classic Robert Wise film of 1971 for the studio, got his screenplay to the producer’s desk.

 

Burt Reynolds took the leading role, which required him to turn down a part in the motion picture M*A*S*H (Fox, 1970).

 

Filming began on January 6, 1969, under the direction of Richard Wilson (INVITATION TO A GUNFIGHTER, U.A.,1964). However, after just one day, producer Saul David (who had produced FANTASTIC VOYAGE, Fox,1966, and later LOGAN’S RUN, MGM,1976) fired the director. This would be the last project Wilson worked on, save for some contributions to the documentary IT’S ALL TRUE (Paramount,1993).

David brought in director Gordon Douglas, with whom he had worked on IN LIKE FLINT (Fox, 1967).

Karl Malden was considered for the role of Otto, but was deemed to thin (in the screenplay, the character was described as a heavy man). Roger C. Carmel was cast, only to have him arrive on set much thinner, having lost weight for the role!

Also in the cast were Edward Fox ( a year before he won a Best Supporting actor BAFTA for THE GO-BETWEEN ,Columbia,1971) , Alexander Knox (the title role in WILSON, Fox,1944) and the ever popular character actor Wilfred Hyde-White(Col. Pickering in the classic W.B. film adaption of the musical MY FAIR LADY, 1964).

 

The Tropis look was created and applied by Jack H Young (who had done make up for Bert I Gordon’s WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, AIP,1958) Marvin G. Westmore (uncredited in this film, who had also worked uncredited on PLANET OF THE APES, Fox,1968 ) and Bud Westmore (DARK INTRUDER, Universal,1964). One suspects that Marvin was brought in due to his work on PLANET OF THE APES.

Indeed, the success of that film may have had some impetus in his being hired, as Fox also created a sequel to that film (BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES) in 1970. Interestingly,  PLANET OF THE APES was also based upon a Fremch novel , Pierre Boulle‘s  1963 “ La Planete des singes “(  First Edition :Editions Julliard).

 

IMDB claims that the estimated budget for SKULLDUGGERY was $4.5 million which seems a bit high (THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN cost  6.5 million, and was a far bigger picture).

 

When the film was released,the reviews were mixed, and the box office was not strong, so the film quickly ended up on some bottom bills at drive ins.

Burt Reynolds never talked badly about the film and indeed blamed the studio for not knowing how to sell the picture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWoxl2KYUcM .

 

Oddly, the film was never released to home video in any format, and while it was shown on television in an edited version (brief nudity in a GP film), it has remained mostly unseen for nearly 50 years.

images (2)

SKULLDUGGERY is by no means a classic, and at times quite dated, but at other times the ideas behind it seem very timely.

Issue 1,Vol 1 of CINEFANTASTIQUE review

 

When films like BILLY THE KID MEETS DRACULA (Embassy ,1966) now getting the Blu Ray Special Edition treatment, perhaps Universal (or SHOUT! Factory, who have been doing a bang-up job on Universal’s genre films) might wish to release the picture to home video finally, so this missing link in Burt Reynold’s career will be missing no longer.

 

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

PLEASE like and Follow us on

https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/ 

and

https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/

 

 

 

MEA CULPA – (correction  11/2/2019) -the original posting of this article listed CANDY Clark in the heading,

even though in the body of the article, SUSAN Clark was properly credited for her role in the film.

My apologies  to these two fine actresses.

 

CANDY CLARK  (AMERICAN GRAFFITI )

 

SUSAN CLARK (COLOSSUS THE FORBIN PROJECT)

 

I have properly chastised myself for this error.

Standard
1990s, BLUE UNDERGROUND, cult, Edgar Allan Poe, film, genre, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, independent film, monsters, review, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

TWO EVIL EYES (Blue Underground Blu Ray 3 Disc Limited Edition)

TWO EVIL EYES (Blue Underground 3-disc Ltd Edition Blu-Ray/4K Restoration) $49.99 Special Edition Release Date October 29,2019 Region A.

Original Theatrical release U.S.A. -Taurus Entertainment ,1990.

Color.  120 mins.
https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Eyes-Blu-ray-Harvey-Keitel/dp/B07VGTYMKB/

 

  • Warning -review illustrated with gruesome effects shots. No animals and we suspect few actors were harmed

 

When TWO EVIL EYES came out, George Romero had just worked with a major studio on MONKEY SHINES (Orion,1988) but had a bad experience wherein his work was edited without his permission. *

Argento ‘s last feature OPERA (aka TERROR AT THE OPERA) was a huge success in his native Italy but was denied a theatrical release in the U.S. by Orion, instead letting the small video company Southgate release the film in an R and Unrated version.

The two filmmakers decided to go independent again to retain control of the final product and picked two different Edgar Allan Poe tales to adapt.

 

 


Romero chose “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (published simultaneously in The American Review and Broadway Journal ,December 1845) . The story had been adapted previously in an Italian short film (Il caso Valdemar,Italy,1936 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3qGwCPKhdI ) as well as segments in the portmanteau films MASTERWORKS OF TERROR (Argentina ,1959, redubbed and released by Jack H Harris as MASTERS OF HORROR ,1965) ,Roger Corman’s TALES OF TERROR (AIP,1962) and on the Spanish horror series Historias para no dormir (Stories to Keep You Awake, Televisión Española 1966). It also is one of the stories in the recent EXTRAORDINARY TALES (Mélusine Productions 2015 ).

a 1969 Japanese Illustration, inspired by TALES OF TERROR

 

The Black Cat by Alphonse Legros 1860

Argento chose “The Black Cat” (first published August 19, 1843 in The Saturday Evening Post). The story has been adapted with varying degrees of faithfulness, starting in 1934 with both Universal’s THE BLACK CAT as well as MANIAC (Roadshow), Universal again in 1941, AIP’s TALES OF TERROR again, the 1966 THE BLACK CAT (Falcon) ,Lucio Fulci’s 1981 version(Italian Int.) and recently a marvelous independent short in 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKN_I6ouswg .

 

The film :

Warning -turn your sound down for the opening credits of Pino Donaggio’s dissonant title theme.


The film opens with a succession of quick shots of Edgar Allan Poe’s statue, one of the great author’s home and burial plot, as a narrator intones: “To Edgar Allan Poe, whose stories have inspired this motion picture.”

 

We then immediately go to

THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR (screenplay by Romero ; Dir of Photography  Peter Reniers, who has worked on such television series as LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, Dick Wolf /Universal ,1999- ).


Jessica Valdemar (Adrienne Barbeau, returning to work with Romero again after CREEPSHOW, Laurel/WB ,1982) is hoping to inherit the money from her mortally ill husband Ernest (the wonderfully named Bingo O’Malley ,who also appeared in CREEPSHOW, and sadly in real life passed away June 2 ,2019).

 

To that extent, she gets Dr Robert Hoffman (Ramy Zada, tv’s DARK JUSTICE, Lorrimar,1991) to hypnotize the sickly Ernest to better control him. Dr Hoffman is most willing to do so, partly from a past relationship with Jessica, and partly from the desire to share in the millions that she will inherit. The problem is that Jessica has been taking money from Ernest’s account, so much so that if anything were to happen to her husband over the next three weeks, the police will surely investigate the wife.

E.G. Marshall as a lawyer warning Barbeau

Of course, Ernest dies, and the pair dump his body into a basement freezer. During the night she hears moaning and discovers that due to the hypnosis, the spirit of her dead husband is trapped between worlds, and that other entities wish to use his corpse to enter our sphere!

 

THE BLACK CAT (Screenplay by Argento & Franco Ferrini, who worked together on OPERA ; director of Photography Beppe Maccari, who was the camera operator on the Visconti classic THE LEOPARD, Titanus 1963)-
Argento’s take on the famous tale is a delirious and trippy over the top gorefest that references several other Poe tales.

Keitel in a Corman-like dream sequence with an Argento touch

 

 

Rod Usher (Harvey Keitel, TAXI DRIVER, Columbia,1976) is a police crime scene photographer who we first meet when he is taking pictures at a murder scene. This killing  was a bit extraordinary, since it is a scene of a nude women bifurcated by a huge pendulum blade. To Usher, it is just work as usual, and he tries to frame the scenes with a sense of aesthetics that belie the horror of the scene.

 

At home, his girlfriend Annabel (Madeline Potter ,THE SUICIDE CLUB, Angelika Films ,1988) has brought in a black cat that Rod takes an instant dislike to. This mutual hatred comes to its zenith when Rod viciously and cruelly strangles the animal during a photo shoot. Rod, however, in a sort of A BUCKET OF BLOOD (AIP,1959) moment, decides that the murder deserves to be the over of his newest photo collection.

Sally Kirkland has a new kitty for Rod .

When Annabel sees the cover some time later in a store window, she realizes what has happened, and rushes home to confront Rod. Rod , in the interim , has been given a cat that is identical to the one he killed ).He takes the animal home to destroy it once and for all, but Annabel comes home ,saves the creature but she herself is killed gruesomely.

Rod conceals the body behind the wall, but suspicion continues to grow against him, resulting in more murders and gore before Rod receives poetic justice.

John Amos as a detective who grows suspicious of Usher

 

A huge title assures us that none of the animals were harmed in the making of the film as the picture’s end credits roll.

The film, which reportedly cost over $ 9 million to make,  opened in only 150 theatres throughout the U.S. for just one week, taking in only $349,000.

 

It was released on VHS through various companies (Anchor Bay, budget label Video Treasures) as well as DVD and Blu Ray previously by Blue Underground.

Now , Blue Underground has gone back to the original camera negatives and given it a 4K 1080p restoration. The colors, especially in the Argento segment, really seem to jump out.

 

Martin Balsam  & Kim Hunter,Spanish Lobby Card

The audio is available in either English: 7.1 DTS-HD, or to duplicate the theatrical release sound, English: 2.0 DTS-HD (or in French: Dolby Digital Mono). Again, watch that opening bit of music in the beginning!
Optional subtitles are English SDH, French or Spanish.

Where this becomes the must have edition of TWO EVIL EYES is the immense number of extras, some ported over from BLUE UNDERGROUND’s previous release of the title, but many brands new and exclusive to this limited edition.

Extras include

Disc One Blu Ray- a brand new audio commentary by Troy Howarth (author of the upcoming book “Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento “). Troy has done audio commentaries on other Blu ray releases, and his love and well researched talks always have the feel of a well-informed fan joyfully sharing his thoughts and insights throughout the running time of a film, and this one is no different.

Theatrical Trailer

Poster & Still Gallery

Disc 2 Blu Ray
Two Masters’ Eyes – Interviews with Directors Dario Argento & George Romero, Special Make-Up Effects Supervisor Tom Savini, Executive Producer Claudio Argento, and Asia Argento. These are ported over from the 2003 Blue Underground 2-disc Blu Ray release.

Savini as a Poe like character who digs up corpses to steal teeth.Or is it just his character from THE RIPPER (United Ent.,1985 ) reprised?

Savini’s EFX – A Behind-the-Scenes look at the film’s Special Make-Up Effects. Also, from the 2003 release, Savini takes us on a behind the scene tour of how some of the effects work was done.

At Home With Tom Savini – A personal tour of Tom Savini’s home. From 2003, this segment is not only a master of his craft but also a fan sharing with fellow fans.

Adrienne Barbeau on George Romero.- From 2003. The still lovely and charming actress shares her thoughts about working with the director.

Tom Atkins makes a horrific discovery

 

NEW! Before I Wake – Interview with Star Ramy Zada. The actor talks about his career and working with Romero.

NEW! Behind The Wall – Interview with Star Madeleine Potter. The very busy actress, who shuttles back and forth from the U.S. and London to perform, talks about Harvey, Dario and cats.

NEW! One Maestro And Two Masters – Interview with Composer Pino Donaggio. Subtitled. The composer talks about his career

NEW! Rewriting Poe – Interview with Co-Writer Franco Ferrini, who has often worked with director Argento, as well as upon the screenplay ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (W.B.,1984) .

NEW! The Cat Who Wouldn’t Die – Interview with Assistant Director Luigi Cozzi (who also directed the cult hit STAR CRASH, New World, 1978).

 

NEW! Two Evil Brothers – Interview with Special Make-Up Assistant Everett Burrell (who has worked with Savini several times, as well as Greg Cannom, and Kevin Yagher.).

NEW! Working With George – Interview with Costume Designer Barbara Anderson who worked with Romero from KNIGHTRIDERS (Laurel/UFD, 1981) up to THE DARK HALF .

Finally,

Disc 3-A CD of Pino Dinaggio’s score. This alone might be enough for some to wish to buy this collection, as this soundtrack it seems has never been issued legitimately before. It is a sharp moody score, which fits the film perfectly, but many pieces can be listened to and enjoyed on their own.

 

Adding to the welcome extras is an informative booklet by Michael Gingold, who was one of the guiding forces of Fangoria magazine from 1990 (when the film came out) until 2015.

Fango #95 ,which covered the film 

 

Once again, BLUE UNDERGROUND has put to shame many major studios Blu Ray releases, due to the care and multiple goodies adding entertainment, value and collectability for horror film lovers.

RECOMMENDED
For fans of
ROMERO
ARGENTO
EDGAR ALLAN POE
BLU RAY EXTRAS!

-Kevin G Shinnick

*-right after filming TWO EVIL EYES, he worked upon THE DARK HALF for Orion, which sat on a shelf for two years.

Like and Follow us on https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com
and on https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/

If you would like to write or create for SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE,

please contact Kevin at
SCARLETTHEFILMMAG@yahoo.com

Standard
1950s, Beverly Garland, Blu Ray, CLASSIC, Classic Hollywood, Columbia, crime drama, cult, Drama, film, FILM NOIR, genre, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, Kit Parker, MILL CREEK, Mystery, reviews, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, thriller, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

NOIR ARCHIVE 9 Film Collection Volume 2 (Mill Creek Blu ray)

NOIR ARCHIVE 9 Film Collection Volume 2 (Mill Creek Blu ray) Region A/1 $35.99 b&w / color 907 minutes

https://www.amazon.com/Noir-Archive-1954-1956-Collection-Blu-ray/dp/B07PNK9W7D/ref=asc_df_B07PNK9W7D/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=366315610017&hvpos=1o4&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2671436127413592497&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9067609&hvtargid=aud-802037562948:pla-783588578090&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=75136391966&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=366315610017&hvpos=1o4&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2671436127413592497&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9067609&hvtargid=aud-802037562948:pla-783588578090

The second collection (out of three, as of this writing) of classic noir style films released through Columbia Pictures between 1954 -1956. Mill Creek and Kit Parker Films have licensed a collection of Columbia titles that are rarely screened, even on classic film channels like TCM. Many are B titles (co-features for bigger budget films) some have a bit more production value, a few are British (with one, FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG,1955, the only color film in the collection) but all are entertaining and well worth your discovery of them.

 

 

BAIT (1954, not to be confused with Ed Wood’s JAILBAIT, Howco, that same year) was co- written, produced, and directed by Hugo Haas (1901-1968). A famous Czech performer, he was forced to flee from his home country when the Nazis invaded. In the U.S., he became a character actor, who, in the 1950s went the independent film route and make his own B pictures, making nearly a dozen films through the decade. He wanted to return home to his home country but was denied this when the Russians invaded. He died in 1968 in Vienna. BAIT has The Devil (Sir Cedric Hardwicke (ROPE, WB,1948) introduce the story of Marko (Haas), who asks Ray (John Agar, THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS, Howco,1957) to help him find a gold mine. Ray accepts with the promise of an equal share.


When Ray does find the mine after several weeks, Marko tries to renege on the deal. Marko trick local waitress Peggy (Cleo Moore, who would star with Agar in HaasHOLD BACK TOMORROW, Universal, the following year), whom Ray is attracted to, into marrying him.

Marko then manipulates the two as all three are isolated in a mountain cabin during the winter. He hopes to catch the two in an intimate encounter so Marko can kill them, claiming a jealous rage. Marko is so low; he even kills Ray’s dog (boo!).

The film gains points for casting Bruno VeSota (himself a triple threat on FEMALE JUNGLE, A.R.C.,1955), a character actor in many early AIP films, as a bartender in an early scene. However, it is odd that John Agar asks if the bartender knows a “heavy fellow with a mustache” when VeSota is …. a heavy fellow with a mustache! An odd little film.

 

THE CROOKED WEB (1955) has Frank (Richard Denning, who had appeared in the 3D feature THE GLASS WEB ,Universal,1953)desperately needs money to take care of some debts, and so tries to get his Stan (Frank Lovejoy,HOUSE OF WAX, W.B.,1953 ) to aid him . Stan gets intrigued, hoping it will help him make enough money that he can marry waitress*Joanie (Mari Blanchard, ABBOTT & COSTELLO GO TO MARS, Universal ,1953), the sister of Frank.

Don’t poke his eye out…

The film has a lot of major surprises that still work today, and so I will refrain from describing more of this wonderful little gem. Suffice it to say, that many of the characters are not what they seem, and just when you think you know, they pull the rug out from under you again. The cast really make the most of these roles in a juicy script by Lou Breslow (CHARLIE CHAN AT THE RACETRACK, Fox, 1936), and the direction is by Nathan Hertz Juran ,a director of some of Ray Harryhausen’s best 1950s films, as well as fun schlock like THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS.

Produced by Sam Katzman, a producer so frugal he would make Roger Corman seem extravagant. Still, he produced a lot of films well-loved today (IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, Columbia ,1955) while major films of the era are forgotten, so maybe Katzman knew best.

CELL 2455 DEATH ROW (1955) has William Campbell (most famous for his wonderful appearance as The Squire Of Gothos on the original STAR TREK series, Paramount, 1966-9) portrays Whit Whittier. Real life criminal Caryl Chessman wrote the book (Prentice Hall,1948) upon which the film is based, Whittier being his middle name. The real-life Chessman was found guilty of robbery, kidnapping and rape. Acting as his own lawyer, he appealed 8 times to delay his execution, finally going to the gas chamber in May 1960. By a horrible comedy of errors, a court secretary misdialed the prison number, and so a stay of execution was delivered too late.

 

In the film, Whittier shows that bad company and bad decisions had him end up on death row. Along the way, there are bad girls who lead him astray (Kathryn Grant, the Princess from THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, Columbia,1957) and bad company that gets him to be a driver. This leads to a spectacular stunt scene, where evading a roadblock, their gas tank explodes into flame as they continue to race away, the police in hot (I couldn’t resist) pursuit. After a stint in prison, he continues his criminal ways until his arrest and trial as “The Red-Light Bandit”. He defends himself but ultimately is found guilty on 17 of the 18 charges against him.

Former actor turned director Fred F Sears keeps the film moving at a fast clip, wasting none of its 72-minute running time. Sears is perhaps best known perhaps for the flying monster turkey THE GIANT CLAW (Columbia 1957) but he also was a director of skill with films such as this and THE WEREWOLF (Columbia,1956). Sadly, he died in 1957 at only age 44, directing 20 various tv shows as well as 34 films and serials in just a ten-year period!

 

5 AGAINST THE HOUSE (1955) is more a caper film, with 4 friends stopping in Reno for some quick gambling. Two of them get caught up by the police when someone tries to rob the casino, but after they clear themselves of the crime, they get an idea to commit a perfect crime. What they plan and what happens of course are two different things.

A good cast that includes Kerwin Matthews (now and forever Sinbad from THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD) in his first starring film role, Kim Novak (VERTIGO, Paramount,1958) in her third featured film, William Conrad (famous as the T.V. detective  CANNON, Quinn Martin, 1971-76), Guy Madison (1954 Golden Globe Award Special Winner-Best Western Star), Alvy Moore (best known as “Hank Kimball “on the television series GREEN ACRES, Filmways,1965-71) and especially Brian Keith. Keith may best be known for his more loveable roles in films like the father in Disney’s THE PARENT TRAP (1961) as well as the family friendly T.V. series FAMILY AFFAIR (Don Fedderson ,1966-71) will be blown away by his tortured character here. The screenplay is by Stirling Silliphant (Oscar winning screenplay adaptation of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, UA,1967) based upon a novel by Jack Finney (most famous for his serialization and then novel THE BODY SNATCHERS, 1955).

THE NIGHT HOLDS TERROR (1955) is based upon a true event from 1953 wherein Edwards Air Force Base worker Gene Courtier picked up a hitchhiker that led to his wife and two children being held captive by James Canigan, Leonard Mahon, and an A.W.O.L. marine named Donald Hall.


The film follows the true events accurately until final third. The movie was shot in 18 days on a $78,000 budget (according to Time Magazine, August ,1955) around where the actual events took place. The flick was produced, written, directed and edited by the husband and wife team Andrew & Virginia Stone (who produced another hostage family film in 1958 called CRY TERROR! For MGM and later Andrew directed the big budget SONG OF NORWAY, ABC Pictures,1970).


In the picture, Gene Courtier (Jack Kelly, Brother Brett in the tv series MAVERICK, WB,1957-72) picks hitchhiker Victor Gosset (Vince Edwards, pre-BEN CASEY(BCP,1961-6) fame. Interesting note, while the family’s real name is used, the rest of the names are changed in the picture)who pulls a gun and has the driver pick up Robert Batsford (John Cassavetes ,later world renowned for his indie films like FACES,Continental,1968 ) and Luther Logan (David Cross, later one of the “clickers” in THE CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS (Emerson,1962).

The trio plan on killing the good Samaritan, but Gene convinces them to go to a town where he will sell his car. The dealership, however, only gives him a few dollars and a check, and so the crazed criminals go to the Courtier home and terrorize the family until the morning.

The dialogue is typical tough guy gangster stuff but the villains, in particular Cassavetes, who seems to be on the edge of gleeful sadism even when standing, make it truly suspenseful.

 


NEW ORLEANS CONFIDENTIAL (1955) is a pre – ballyhoo William Castle (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, AA,1959) drama. Castle had made many serviceable and entertaining films in various genres since he began directing in 1939.
Dan Corbett (Arthur Franz, MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS, Universal, 1958) needs money to buy a boat he plans to live and work upon, and so he begins to work for crooked Zero Saxon (Michael Ansara , HARUM SCARUM ,Paramount 1965) which leads him to get involved in smuggling and even murder. Also, in the cast was Beverly Garland(NOT OF THIS EARTH, AA ,1957) but most of the roles, shot mostly on location, featured real dockworkers and local politicians. Some of the flat line readings from the locals makes you wonder why Castle didn’t just budget for some quick dialogue looping, but that’s part of the tribulations of low budget filmmaking.

 

 

 


FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG (1955) is probably the biggest budgeted and best-known film in the set, as well as the only picture in color. I first became aware of the picture when the late lamented fanzine PHOTON mag used it on the cover of issue 21.

 

FI.T.F. was based upon the short story “THE INTERRUPTION” that was printed in Colliers Magazine (July 4,1925). The rights were bought by director Arthur Lubin, who intended to make the picture in 1949 but instead was hired to direct FRANCIS THE TALKING MULE (Universal,1950)!


After several different cast and title changes were announced but never started, producer Mike Frankovich finally got the production going, with Lubin directing. The director said that leading man Stewart Granger didn’t care for him, but that the final product was a good film. I agree.


Stephen Lowry (Granger,KING SOLOMON’S MINES,MGM,1950) has poisoned his wife for her money and he is blackmailed by his maid Lily (Jean Simmons,Academy Award winner for HAMLET,Rank/Universal,1948). Stephen decides he must do away with this new woman complicating his life, and during a London fog, attempts to do so in a most violent fashion.

To tell more would be to remove the many wonderful twists and turns of this delightful gaslight era little thriller, populated with so many wonderful British character actors, like a pre-Doctor Who William Hartnell and many more. This is probably my favorite film in the collection. Sadly, the film is often ignored, perhaps due to it not being a hit when it was first released.

 


SPIN A DARK WEB (1956 aka SOHO INCIDENT, its original U.K. title) was another British made thriller produced by American born (adopted son of comedian Joe E. Brown) producer Mike Frankovich. Director Vernon Sewell (CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR, AIP/Tigon,1968) shot on location in seedy parts of London to make this noir picture, making the film interesting for those who wish to see how the city has changed over the decades.

 

A down and out boxer (a profession that pops up in many of these films) named Jim gets involved with Rico Francesi’s (Martin Benson, THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X ,Eros, 1958 )gang ,which leads him to become involved with the murder of another fighter as well as the pleasant though dangerous act of becoming the object of amour by Rico’s sister, Bella (Faith Domergue,THIS ISLAND EARTH Universal,1955). Domergue really is the focus of this picture and dominates the production until its rather weak ending.

Fred F Sears and Sam Katzman pop up again with RUMBLE ON THE DOCKS (1955) in a film that seems to want to cash in on the previous year’s ON THE WATERFRONT (Columbia,1954),though on an even lower budget that that picture, using rear projections and stock shots for the New York local ,as well as some San Pedro locations. James Darren (TV’S TIME TUNNEL, Irwin Allen ,1966) makes his film debut as Jimmy, the leader of a local gang. Jimmy’s father Pete (Edgar Barrier,an original member of Orson Welles Mercury Theatre,he was  Banquo in the 1948 Republic MACBETH) a former longshoreman until the mob broke his back now runs s mall shop, one day, he turns down a bribe from Joe Brindo (Michael Granger,CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN ,Columbia 1955), who was responsible for crippling Pete. Jimmy cannot understand why his father doesn’t take the money which angers his father and his mother (Celia Lovsky ,a former wife of Peter Lorre, known as the deaf Mrs. Cheney in MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, Universal,1953).

Brindo tries to use Jimmy to use as leverage against his father. The film thus becomes also an ersatz REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (WB,1955) with a lot less self-indulgence by Darren as he is being “torn apart” by his real father’s morals and the easy money offered by Brindo. With his natural charm and talent.

The Region A three-disc Blu Ray set all look fine, considering their age and rarity. While there is no mention of restoration, the print quality on all is sharp, with DTS-HD Mono Audio, and optional English subtitles. There are no other extras, but the collection and price point for 9 films makes this a minor quibble.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

For Classic Film Lovers

Mysteries
Noir Fans
1950s Movies

-KEVIN G SHINNICK

*The moral of Noir films- AVOID WAITRESSES AND SERVANT GIRLS.

 

Standard
2019, CLASSIC, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Shepherd, Historical Drama, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, LIGEIA, Mystery, Redfield Arts, review, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, Spoken Word, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, Vincent Price

“Ligeia” Elizabeth Shepherd’s CD ,Redfield Arts

“Ligeia” Reborn: A Review of Elizabeth Shepherd’s CD recording of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Ligeia”

by Robert Klimowski

LIGEIA $13.99 . 55 minutes Audible https://www.audible.com/pd/Edgar-Allan-Poes-Ligeia-Audiobook/1645551318?fbclid=IwAR1ZGKAzN85VzgDNrNmIc7yETcLf8WDc2n6BisOaSBUNPFKSQUeowaDNIxY

 

How does one properly evaluate an oral interpretation of a written work? The first qualification, of course, is an intimate knowledge of the work itself, but preferably from an actor’s point of view. A scholarly knowledge of the text alone does not enable one to perceive or appreciate the vocal nuances required “to bring the work to life.” As the actor reads the text, she faces an unrelenting flow of choices that must be made in the service of efficient, but deeper comprehension. The critic or reviewer, few of whom are actors, must also be familiar with such choices when evaluating a performance. Critics and audiences agree that the actor who consistently perceives the most suitable interpretive choice, and then successfully executes their intention, is the actor most worthy of praise.

 

Actor Elizabeth Shepherd has just released a new recording of Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “Ligeia,” through Redfield Arts Audio(RedfieldArtsAudio.com). In 1964, she starred with Vincent Price in the Roger Corman film version of the tale, TOMB OF LIGEIA  (A.I.P.1964), and played a double role as both the deceased Lady Ligeia, and as her pert successor, the Lady Rowena Trevanion, of Tremaine. She has been deservedly remembered and recognized for this superb performance, and so brings a wealth of experience to her reading.

 

But Robert Towne’s screenplay to TOMB OF LIGEIA, faithful as it is to the spirit of Poe, is not, of course, Poe’s original text. In this recording, Ms. Shepherd has had to radically shift gears to inhabit an entirely different character: the nameless male narrator of Poe’s “Ligeia.”

Some may hesitate, at first, to accept the viability of a female actor portraying a male writing his remembrances of his deceased wife. But such apprehension immediately proves itself groundless. We accept the gender switch unconsciously and instantaneously due primarily to Ms. Shepherd’s intense and utter immersion in the obsessed persona of the narrator, aided by her marvelous facility in the lower vocal range.

Before commenting further on Ms. Shepherd’s performance, however, it’s important to first consider the nature of this story that Poe himself considered his “best tale.”

 

Unlike the first-person narrators of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” the narrator of “Ligeia” is explicitly writing, rather than speaking his story (“And now, while I write, a recollection flashes upon me…” [paragraph 1]). By its very nature as a written document, then, Ligeia is inherently more reflective than Poe’s more orally inclined tales. And as such, “Ligeia” requires a different type of delivery – an “internal narration,” if you will, in which the actor speaks the thoughts of the narrator in the process of writing them on paper. In short, it’s the difference between reading a diary aloud and reading dialogue aloud. The first is inward-oriented, while the latter is outward-oriented. And while these distinctions may appear subtle in print, they are much easier to detect in performance. Ms. Shepherd’s performance succeeds, in large part, due of her recognition of the narrator’s literary, rather than conversational, mode of communication, and the resultant intense, yet intimate, “internal narration” she so convincingly delivers.

 

Those who journal regularly well know that the very process of penning one’s thoughts tends to prompt unexpected connections, and in “Ligeia”such unforeseen realizations and speculations by the narrator are frequent. In an oral performance, then, we would expect these moments to seem as surprising and fresh to the actor as they are to the narrator, and Ms. Shepherd does not disappoint on this count. Her delivery is very much “present” and “in the moment” rather than “retrospective” in character. Let’s examine now some of the more specific aspects of Ms. Shepherd’s performance, restricting ourselves to the story’s first paragraph, both for ease of reference and as representative of her artistry throughout the story’s telling.

 

 

From the outset, Ms. Shepherd begins her narration forcefully and abruptly, in a state of exasperation (“I cannot, for my soul, remember…”), as if the lapse of time and “much suffering” have robbed the narrator of memories once so dear. By foregrounding this frustration, Ms. Shepherd immediately suggests that the narrator is mentally impaired. It is, after all, unusual for someone to forget how, when, and where they met the very person they so idolize. So, by initially assuming a forceful vocal attitude of vexation, Ms. Shepherd emphasizes the fact that we are listening to the thoughts of an unreliable narrator and signals the listener not to accept everything that he relates at face value.

As the story progresses, we learn the probable cause of the narrator’s disability: he “had become a bounden slave in the trammels of opium” and “was habitually fettered in the shackles of the drug.” And as he writes this account of poignant mania, Ms. Shepherd’s reading leads us to suspect that he still is.

 

Identified and footnoted below, are six “creative pauses” Ms. Shepherd makes in her narration of the first paragraph. These pauses are motivated purely by character concerns rather than what punctuation or natural phrasing would suggest. And it is just such touches as these (which the actor often unconsciously employs) that lift a performance from the adequate to the engrossing. The footnotes attempt to explain the reasons behind Ms. Shepherd’s creative choices.

 

 

“I cannot, for my soul, remember how, when, or *[1] even precisely where, I first became acquainted with the lady Ligeia. Long years have since elapsed, and my memory is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps, I cannot now bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the character of my beloved, her rare learning, her *[2] singular yet placid cast of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low musical language, made their way into my heart by paces so *[3] steadily and stealthily progressive that they have been unnoticed and unknown. Yet I believe that I met her first and most frequently in some large, old, decaying city near the Rhine. Of her family — I have surely heard her speak. That it is of a remotely ancient date cannot be doubted. Ligeia! Ligeia! Buried in studies of a nature more than all else adapted to deaden impressions of the outward world, it is by that sweet word alone — by *[4] Ligeia —that I bring before mine eyes in fancy the image of her who is no more. And now, while I write, a recollection flashes upon me that I have never known *[5] the paternal name of her who *[6] was my friend and my betrothed, and who became the partner of my studies, and finally the wife of my bosom.”

One could catalog many more instances of Ms. Shepherd’s expressiveness in this recording. Suffice it to say that 55 years after her tour de force performance in TOMB OF LIGEIA, she has significantly widened the scope of her accomplishments in the Poe-interpretation sphere.

Note: The reviewer strongly recommends comparing Ms. Shepherd’s reading with that of Vincent Price’s 1977 recording of “Ligeia” on Caedmon records – a rare and fortunate opportunity to hear the stars of a film adaptation independently interpreting its literary source text.

Robert Klimowski is a retired school teacher from Des Moines, Iowa, currently researching the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe.”

 

This is Robert’s first piece for SCARLET ,but we hope not his last-Kevin

 

 

[1] This pause in a series (“how, when…”) suggests the writer’s own surprise at his failure to remember details which, especially regarding significant relationships, are usually indelibly imprinted on one’s consciousness.

[2] Another pause in a series (this time of descriptive phrases) which may be intended to highlight the narrator’s initial difficulty in describing Ligeia’s “singular yet placid cast of beauty,” or simply to emphasize it.

[3] A pause intended to emphasize the subtle nature of Ligeia’s growing influence.

[4] A pause to emphasize “that sweet word alone.”

[5] This pause signals the narrator’s sudden surprise on realizing that he has “never known“ Ligeia’s last name. This pause, however, comes after the italicized phrase is spoken, not before.

[6] This pause may reflect the narrator’s temporary difficulty in trying to sum up his rich and various relationships with Ligeia.

Like & Follow us on  https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com   and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/

 

Want to write or illustrate for us?? Write to Kevin at Scarletthefilmmag@yahoo.com

 

Standard
1950s, American International Pictures, Blu Ray, CLASSIC, comedy, cult, Dick Miller, film, genre, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, humor, review, Roger Corman, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, weird

A BUCKET OF BLOOD (Olive Films Signature Blue Ray)

A BUCKET OF BLOOD (Olive Films Signature Blue Ray) released 2019. B&W. 66 minutes. 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. Original Theatrical Release. October 21, 1959. AIP. $39.95 limited to only 3500 copies

https://olivefilms.com/product/a-bucket-of-blood-olive-signature-blu-ray/

 

Back in 1959, Roger Corman (THE PIT & THE PENDULUM, AIP,1961) made a five-day quickie for $50 grand, that was different from his previous productions. While it still fell into the horror genre, it was also a dark comedy. The film went on to make back profits of  almost quadruple its production cost, leading Corman to try two more with the same writer, Charles B Griffith (who had written many of Corman’s early films, and later wrote the cult classic DEATH RACE 2000 (New World ,1975);LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Filmgroup, 3 days, plus pick up shots, $34,000, not a success upon its original release) and CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA (Filmgroup, 1959, released in 1961, shot on location in 5 days, a failure upon its original release).

 

Corman thus stayed away from comedies until a segment of his TALES OF TERROR (AIP,1962) and THE RAVEN (AIP ,1963).

A BUCKET OF BLOOD works mostly because of the wonderful work by Dick Miller. When ABOB was released, it was unique, being a time capsule of the beatnik era.

 

“Beat Generation” was a phrase first popularized by author Jack Kerouac to describe the counterculture developing in post war New York, particularly in the bohemian Greenwich Village. The word was basically a way for Kerouac and others of the time to describe the beaten down and off beat. “Beatnik “was first used in 1958 in a news column as a derogatory term. The phrase stuck, however. ‘Beatniks” slowly morphed into what are now better known as “hippies”, or the counterculture movement of the 1960s.

 

Until the beginning of this century, one could still find in the Greenwich Village several coffee shops and bookstores that had been part of the Beat Generation of cool, all slowly removed and replaced by Starbucks and sterile chain stores.This film gives a glimpse of how similar the beat culture was on both coasts.

 

OLIVE FILM’s SIGNATURE series release of A BUCKET OF BLOOD goes all out on this little gem, something we wish that every film would get.

First off, the 4K scan print is amazing, especially considering how many bad to downright unwatchable P.D. prints have been circulating for years. Olive Films had released a bare bones Blu ray version (still available for $14.95 https://olivefilms.com/product/a-bucket-of-blood-dvd/) but I am sure that even that print pales in comparison to this new version.

The mono sound works fine for the film, being almost hiss free, with dialogue, sound effects, and music clear and distinct, even with lines that formerly had sounded a bit mumbled.

 

The extras are the reason that make me prefer Blu Rays over streaming films, and what a nice collection of goodies that Olive Films has added.

CREATION IS, ALL ELSE IS NOT! *- 93-year-old Roger Corman reminisces about the making of ABOB. The man shows that his memory is clear about a film made 60 years ago, and it is remembered with great affection.

CALL ME PAISLEY – a 2018 interview with Dick Miller (who died January 30,2019 at age 90) and his wife Lainie. His voice is hoarse but Dick Miller was still lively, and a wonderful raconteur , prompted by his Lainie. The movie has extra importance to Lainie, as she met Dick when he was beginning production of the film, and they were married by year’s end just as the picture was being released. There are some marvelous home movies of Dick wrestling with tigers and lions. As he states, they are not trained but wild, that have been fed, and have no reason to attack humans unless hungry or aggravated to attack. Miller speaks of how he knew Jonathan Haze and Bruno VeSota prior to working for Corman, and how Corman formed his little stock company of players.

 

The Cabinet Of Professor Bondi ? How does this German retitling of HOUSE OF WAX tie in with ABOB?Read on.

-Audio Commentary by Elijah Drenner, director of the wonderful documentary THAT GUY DICK MILLER (Autumn Rose Productions, End Films,2014). Elijah enthusiastically shares his information about Miller and this film with an infectious enthusiasm for his subject. When not commenting directly on the action of the film ,he pulls out illumination on the film location (the studio were it was filmed was formerly The Chaplin Studios and now is the home of Jim Henson Productions .) and the people involved both in front and off camera. At the end, you almost feel that Drenner wishes the film were longer, as he seems to have so much knowledge on the production to share.

http://blog.thatguydickmiller.com/p/dick-miller-store.html

 

-Archival Audio Interview with screenwriter Charles B Griffith. The screenwriter (who passed away in 2007) speaks clearly and with clarity about how he got involved in the business due to Myrtle Vail, a relative who helped create the radio soap opera in 1932(!)and who played the landlady Mrs. Swickert in ABOB. An amazing recollection from the subject, and a real bonus finds we should be grateful that Olive Films found and added this.

 

 

 

 

Griffith & Vail  Sounds like a Vaudeville Act ?

Well , Vaudeville was in their family blood .

 

 

 

BITS OF BUCKET – a comparison of the shooting script to the final product. Since an average of 1 minute of screen time is one page of script, the 66-minute feature need to trim a lot from the 95-page screenplay. It results in a few lines cut here and there, as well as some character development. It is interesting to see, and kudos for the effort (the original shooting script was titled “THE YELLOW DOOR’, which is the name of the club in the film), but the movie in it’s current state is quick ,and wastes no time. Would adding and shooting these bits have added to the film, or just slowed it down? An interesting alternate shot exists of Paisley’s hanging scene from the end, where his eyes are open, staring right at the camera. Was the other take used as the image was considered too gruesome?

 

Rare Prologue from the German Release . – This alone should make you rush out and buy this disc. In his commentaries, Elijah Drenner mentions the odd way a German distributor tried to tie ABOB to THE HOUSE OF WAX (aka DAS CABINETT DES PROFESSOR BONDI, THE CABINET OF PROFESSOR BONDI ,WB,1953)!!! To do this, a black and white prologue was filmed with an unknown German actor in heavy makeup going into a long speech about his wax experiments (so we are to assume that this is the Vincent Price character ,who somehow survived the finale of HOW)rambling on about his techniques, and only his relation Walter Paisley can carry on! You will probably want to re-watch this immediately after seeing it to make sure that you are not imagining it! Picture and sound quality are quite good, especially when one considers its rarity. AKA – THE LEGACY OF PROFESSOR BONDI (Das Vermächtnis Des Professor Bondi )

 

Not only did they try to tie A BUCKET OF BLOOD with HOUSE OF WAX,they even stuck a vampire on their poster, which seems to be “borrowed “from the French poster of BRIDES OF DRACULA !

 

-Super 8 Silent Version– one of those old silent 8 abridgements of films, with burnt on subtitles. Ken Films (a Fort Lee N J company that ceased production in 1981) released the film for home use. For those only know easy access streaming as the norm, there was a time when it was quite difficult to get your favorite films in any form, so these abridgements were as good as we could get. The Super 8 version begins with the murder of Detective Lou (Bert Convy, later a likeable staple on tv game shows) and goes to the murders following, a highlight reel that makes ABOB look like no more than a mad killer flick.

 

 

Theatrical Trailer US

Theatrical Trailer Germany (see my earlier comments about the prologue)

-A slide show of rare Production Stills.

 

-Inside the  Disc case , you will find an enclosed booklet Essay (“OH GIVE ME THAT BUCKET OF BLOOD “** by Caelum Vatnsdal, author of YOU DON’T KNOW ME, BUT YOU LOVE ME: THE LIVES OF DICK MILLER , Arbeiter Ring Publishing ,2018). Informative and illustrated with some rare on set production shots.

                                             Not with the Disc , but worth seeking out 

 

The plot of the film  has waiter Walter Paisley (Dick Miller, the first of many times his characters during his long career would be referred to as “Walter Paisley” ) working in a beatnik club fall in love with hostess Carla (Barboura Morris, whose whole film career seemed to be for AIP ,save her last role, in the T.V. movie HELEN KELLER & HER TEACHER (1970), with Ms. Morris playing Annie Sullivan. Ms. Morris died tragically young, one day after her 43rd birthday in 1975).

 

When he accidentally kills a cat, he covers in sculpting clay, including the knife still sticking out of the poor beast. He suddenly shows off his “creation” and is hailed as a true genius. However, to keep his masterpieces coming, he needs to keep getting a fresh supply of bodies.

 

The movie was released as a co-bill with ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES (AIP,1959) ,which also featured actor Bruno VeSota. One wonders how audiences reacted at the time or were even aware that it was the same performer in both pictures.

 A BUCKET OF LEECHES with two Brunos for the price of one

 

A BUCKET OF BLOOD was one of Roger Corman’s old scripts that he had reworked for Showtime’s ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS, that ran from 1995 until 1997. The 1995 remake was later released to VHS under the title THE DEATH ARTIST (Concorde,1995). This retelling is 17 minutes longer, in color, starring Anthony Michael Hall and Justine Bateman as Walter and Carla respectively, and is more brutal but a lot less fun. The biggest recommendation for seeking it out is to see a young Will Ferrell in a small role https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mUqaNaaPhY as well as Paul Bartel and Mink Stole as two art lovers.

 

Stick to the original.

Get this OLIVE FILMS Blu Ray release.

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
Recommended for fans of
Classic Horror
Horror Comedies
Dick Miller
AIP
Roger Corman

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

Like and Follow SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE on
https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com

and on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/

Feel free to share our reviews and articles.

 

We are always looking for articles and reviews for SCARLET.
Please contact Kevin at SCARLETTHEFILMMAG@yahoo.com

*-a line said by the pompous poet Maxwell H Brock (Julian Burton)

**-Dick Miller mock singing at the idea of a musical version of ABOB, like THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.

 

Standard