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BEDAZZLED (Twilight Time Blu Ray) Fox 1967

BEDAZZLED (Twilight Time Blu Ray) 20th Century Fox,1967 Color. 104 mins. Region Free (A/B/C) $29.95

https://www.twilighttimemovies.com/bedazzled-blu-ray/

“You fill me with inertia !”

 

 

1967 was a year for wonderfully twisted comedies. THE PRODUCERS (Embassy)THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS(MGM), THE GRADUATE (Embassy,1967), and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER(Columbia) were among the gems released that year.

 

Perhaps the most twisted and yet still funny as all get out film of the bunch was BEDAZZLED. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were two giants of the boom in British comedy and satire in the 1960s, with anti-establishment humor endearing them to the young of the time

The pair of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore first shot to international fame with their performances in both the U.K. and ten a successful two-year run in NYC in a satirical review called BEYOND THE FRINGE. Also, n the cast was playwright Alan Bennett (the play THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE) and Jonathan Miller (later to run the Old Vic Theatre).

The four intelligent young men were the heirs of absurdist humor previously popular in England due to programs like THE GOON SHOW (Spike Milligan, a very young Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and Michael Bentine) and their creative intelligent wit mixed with surreal silliness made them the forerunners of MONTY PYTHON’s FLYING CIRCUS.

 

Several popular appearances on the BBC, with shows like NOT ONLY…BUT ALSO (1964,1966,1970) helped increase their popularity. The pair also successfully appeared major supporting roles in the big budget comedy THE WRONG BOX (Columbia ,1966), and so studios were open to the idea of pairing them in a starring project.

 

Meanwhile, American director Stanley Donen (who passed away two days after this Blu Ray release) had been MGM ‘s top director of musicals in the 1950s (SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.1952 and SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS ,1954). After leaving MGM to free-lance at other studios, Donen spent the 1960s living in England, directing and producing several films there.

 

 

After a few box office disappointments, Donen was back on track with CHARADE (Universal,1963), a fun thriller often referred to as “the Best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made”, starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. He followed this with the similar ARABESQUE (Universal,1966) starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, which was nearly as successful as the previous film.

These two hits allowed him to experiment a bit, and so he did TWO FOR THE ROAD (Fox, 1967) and the film under review here, BEDAZZLED (Fox,1967).

 

With a screenplay by Peter Cook (based upon a story by Cook and Moore), director Donen (no stranger to devils, having directed DAMN YANKEES in 1958 for Warner Brothers) gets into the style and mood of the swinging sixties to tell this modern reworking of the Faust legend. Moore and Cook build upon their established persona from previous routines, with Moore being the slower witted, usually taken advantage of by the fast talking, gleam in his eye Cook.

 

Stanley Moon (Moore), a short order cook, moons over Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron, most famous for appearing in the Richard Lester Beatles vehicle HELP, U.A. 1965, as well as appearing in Donen’s ONE FOR THE ROAD that same year), a waitress who barely acknowledges his existence at the Wimpy’s Burgers Restaurant at which they both works. Indeed, one of her gentlemen pick her up from work just as Stanley gets the courage to ask her out, driving the Stanley to abject despair.

 

Poor Moon  doesn’t notice the customer with the small sunglasses and wearing an opera cape sitting at one of the tables, watching all this with great intensity.

Returning home, Moon wants to hang himself from a pipe in his ceiling, and only succeeds in breaking the pipe, causing water to fall into his tiny flat. Stepping into the apartment comes the stranger from the restaurant, who identifies himself as George Spiggott (Cook).

 

Spiggott then admits that is but one of the many names he has, for he is the Devil himself. To prove it, he will grant Moon one wish, save for Margaret Spencer. Thinking Stanley asks for an ice lolly. Sure enough, they go board a bus, and, using Stanley’s money, purchases an ice lolly. Not believing that Spiggott is anything more than a looney, Spiggott sighs and with the magic phrase “Julie Andrews”, they are whisked across London to a less reputable part of town, melting the ice lolly in transit. It is here that Spiggott has his seedy club that he works out of.

The bouncer, Anger (Robert Russell, superlative a year later as Vincent Price’s evil sidekick in WITCHFINDER GENERAL; Tigon/AIP,1968), tosses Stanley out, but Spiggott escorts him back in. Within the club, Stanley will also meet among others Envy (Barry Humphries, before he donned drag to gain international fame as Dame Edna. Cook had befriended and even helped support Humphries early in his career), Vanity (Alba), who walks around with a mirror in front of him, and of course, Lust (personified with a Southern Belle accent by Raquel Welch, the actress being featured upon almost all the advertising and posters).

 

Japanese film poster

Basically, Spiggott offers Moon the standard contact of seven wishes upon which to win his true love. Sadly, for Stanley, the Devil is truly in the details, as each attempt at a new life to win Margaret Spencer ends in disaster for the love besotted chef.

 

 

Along the way, it seems that the police believe that Moon has succeeded in his suicide attempt, with Inspector Clarke (Michael Bates, later the sadistic Chief Guard Barnes in the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, WB,1971) starting to woo the young Miss while they try and find Moon’s corpse!

 

The wonderfully whacky film also explores with fittingly fiendish delight the modus operandi of the Devil, whether it be scratching records before they are sent off to sale, or exploring good and evil .Along the way, a strange friendship develops between Moon and Spiggott ,though in the end they both know after the seven wishes granted to Stanley his soul will belong to Spiggott. Spiggott must gain 100 Billion souls to regain his entryway into Heaven and sit again as God’s favorite. The friendship works in a mysterious twist at the end, costing Spiggot to lose is bet with the Almighty. The film ends with an unseen God laughing in a deep voice, almost insanely as the end credits roll. Maybe the Devil indeed has a right to be angry.

 

A few bits from earlier sketches by the pair are woven into the episodic storyline , the most famous and obvious being from NOT ONLY…BUT ALSO , “The Leaping Nuns of the Order of St Berylhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiO_9UIUx7M .

 

 

 

The film sparkles with wit as well as silliness (to get out of a failed wish, Stanley needs to make a “raspberry “sound) that keeps it moving swiftly over the course of 103 minutes.

 

 

Austin Dempster had been camera operator on ARABESQUE and TWO FOR THE ROAD for director Donen, but BEDAZZLED was his first credit as cinematographer. At one point, the film switches to black and white to recreate an early television studio broadcast (as well as perhaps reference films like A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (UA,1964)). This leads into one of the most fun sequences, where fans including an awe-struck Margaret Spencer go nuts for rock star Stanley (who basically screams “Love MEEEE”), until Drimble Wedge and the Vegetation sing an emotionless version of “Bedazzled “. The fickle fans run to the latest flavor of the moment and abandon poor Stanley ,trying to blow a razzberry as fans nearly trample him to reach their new idol. The music, by the way, for the film was composed by Dudley Moore. Several artists have done covers of the “Bedazzled” song, most notably Nick Cave and Anita Lane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPJWkQudhPo .

 

The film when released received mixed reviews but made a profit in the United States.

Since its release, BEDAZZLED has continued to increase its cult following due to late night tv showings as well as various releases on Beta, VHS and in 2007 on DVD by Fox Entertainment.

Now TWILIGHT TIME has released the best-looking release of this film on home media, perhaps even since its original release. Another marvelous 1080p HD transfer, some of the colors are more vibrant than I’ve ever seen in this film, particularly the red of Spiggott’s inner cape lining or Raquel Welch’s tiny bra and panties she wears while hopping into bed with Stanley. Some reviewers have mentioned a slight elongation of the figures, but I didn’t notice any of this when I viewed the film.

 

The disc has two English only audio selections: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, the sound is clear and clean, with no noticeable sound pops, and does justice to the quippy fast delivered dialogue as well as Moore’s music.

For the hearing impaired, there are clean easy to read optional subtitles.

As an extra, you can listen to the isolated music and sound effects track, so you can enjoy the clever jazzy score and songs.

 

The Blu Ray cover sleeve shows us a photo of Cook as Spiggott (which for some reason reminded me of Peter Cushing in DR TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS (Paramount, Amicus,1965).

 

Twilight Time also commissioned a very fun illustration for a cover as well.

Julie Kirgo provides her always welcome liner notes in a separate booklet included with the disc, concentrating a great deal on director Donen.

Extras carried over from the 2007 FOX DVD are

Two trailers for the film,

A 2007 interview with director /comedian Harold Ramis, who directed the unnecessary 2000 remake of BEDAZZLED. Ramis waxes poetic about how wonderful the film and indeed the comic pair of Moore and Cook were.

An excerpt from THE PAUL RYAN SHOW , a 1977 British talk program ,where the pair of Moore and Cook reveal that there were tensions  between them  ,due to their different attitudes on dealing with things (oddly, IMDB.com only lists Moore and not Cook, but since Moore only appeared on the show once, we must assume episode 109 was the one featured here). One wishes there was the whole broadcast of this here, but we are grateful indeed to get a glimpse of this black & white rarity.

 

I cannot recommend this wonderful original comedy enough.

The press run is limited to only 3,000 copies, so get yours now- before George Spiggott makes all of them vanish on you.

Get BEDAZZLED 

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION .

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

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BLUE MOVIE(1971) Cult Epics Blu Ray/DVD combo release

BLUE MOVIE (CULT EPICS Blu Ray DVD Combo, Feb 2019) Dutch,1971 89 mins. Color. Dutch, with optional English subtitles.
https://www.paypal.com/webapps/hermes?token=1E9409251B771762H&useraction=commit&mfid=1552229982906_40b8158c54ef8

 

                          “This is Holland Today.” -Michael (Hugo Metsers, BLUE MOVIE)

BLUE MOVIE is an interesting motion picture that became one of the most successful Dutch films ever made (it is still listed as number 5). Its importance cannot be overlooked, as it was a film that showed that an intelligent thoughtful film could be made that contained actual (as well as simulated) sex within it.

Indeed, were it not for films like BLUE MOVIE helping break down and through the censorship that films endured both in Europe and the U.S., it is doubtful that Catherine Breillat, Gaspar Noe, and Lars Von Trier would probably not being creating their works today.

A “blue movie” was one that was considered racier than the standard film of the time. Andy Warhol had done a film also called BLUE MOVIE (1969), which became the first film with explicit sex that received a wide theatrical release in the U.S. and began what became in the 1970s as “porn chic”.

 

 

The 1971 film being reviewed here could have played like a comic sex romp similar to the popular Robin Askwith films from England that followed in the decade, such as CONFESSIONS OF A WINDOW CLEANER (Columbia, 1974), were it not for the thoughtful direction, script and performances. That said, the filmmakers do sometimes see the humor in the various couplings, with one sequence within an elevator showing the couple going at it within the box, while frustrated people gather below wondering what is holding up the lift.

 


Michael (Hugo Metsers*, at age 28 ,starring in his first feature after just two t.v. appearances) has been released from prison after five years ,due to having sex with an under-aged girl .His parole officer Eddie (Helmert Woudenberg )escorts Michael (oddly none of the characters seem to  have a last name, not even those who are married seem to have a surname) to a sterile modern apartment block. Michael’s small apartment seems almost as small as a prison cell, barely furnished. Eddie tells Michael that he will be keeping an eye upon him.

 

 

Still, Michael has urges, and, one night, peers around his balcony and watches his neighbors have sex. Later, he meets with the neighbors, and becomes sexually involved with the wife Elly (Carry Tefsen). He soon finds others within the building are open to sexual exploration, and he is soon having flings with several within the complex, including one amusing bit wherein a husband walks in on his wife and Michael, only to jump in and join them!

 

Michael, however, starts developing actual feelings for Julia (Ine Veen) ,an unmarried mother within the complex. He cares for her but skips a date with her rather than possibly hurting her.

 

He continues exploring the sexual mores of the time, and soon comes upon the idea of making money off the obvious fixations within the complex. He starts a private sex club and his neighbors stand about staring at black & white porn films (which have the most graphic sex of a few seconds that are depicted within Blue Movie), and later nude models walk about and finally a doctor is invited who examines the guests who wish to take part in an orgy .

One of the guests, Newman (Bill van Dijk, later to star on Broadway in the title role of CYRANO THE MUSICAL ,1994 as well as international pop star) commits suicide by leaping from the balcony of the apartment . Things start to fall apart, but Michael realizes that he truly has feelings for Julia. Can sex be truly satisfying without an emotional connection?

 

One of the Dutch Sex Wave, these films helped change how films were reviewed and censored. The producers released several other films that continued and expanded the trail blazed by BLUE MOVIE, and CULT EPICS has several of them available (see trailers mentioned below).

Though low budget, the film shows true talent both in front of and behind the camera.

The most notable is the director of photography is Jan de Bont .Mr. de Bont, after hopping back and forth from other European productions (most notably THE 4TH MAN ,Rob Houwer Productions,1983)and low to mid budget U.S. films ( CUJO, 1983;Sunn Classics/Taft) , he got major notice for his works on such blockbusters as DIE HARD (Fox,1988) before becoming a director himself on the megahit SPEED (Fox 1994),

 

The soundtrack by Juergen Drews (he played a street singer in the giallo SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS (Deter Geissler Filmproduktion ,1971) is a simple effective score, which at times reminds me of the music used in MIDNIGHT COWBOY (U.A.,1969) .

 

CULT EPICS has done a phenomenal job with their restoration.

A 1080p HD transfer (thanks to the Eye Institute in Amsterdam, using original 16mm and 35mm negative elements), the picture is clean ,with outdoor scenes having a strong blue tinge . This seems to be more due to the color stock used than any intentional referencing to the title. The film is as sharp as it has probably ever looked.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track on the blu ray Dolby Digital dual Mono sound is crisp and clear, with no noticeable pops in the Dutch language only soundtrack. Optional English subtitles are easy to read.
Extras on the discs include

-A 1971 Interview from the director Wim Verstappen (who passed way in 2004) who discusses (in Dutch, with burnt in English subtitles) about making the film, dealing with censors, raising funds outside of the country, and plans for a thriller.

-A 2018 interview with producer Pim de la Parra while he was attending a retrospective of the “Dutch Sex Wave “. We learn that the director based his film upon sexploitation films that he had seen when he had visited New York.

 

-Another 2018 interview (in English) with Hugo Metsers Jr, son of the lead actor. He talks about seeing this film when he was quite young, and how seeing his father was the star destroyed any eroticism the film might have had upon him. He also recalls his father is happier with stage work over film.

 

– A short piece on, the Eye Film Institute. The organization is dedicated to the preservation of film, particularly Dutch works. Also, in their collections are rare film books, posters, and publicity material, as well as screening rooms. By the way, should you wish to check out their website in English, https://www.eyefilm.nl/en . The structure, built near the river in Amsterdam, looks like the Sydney Opera House mated with the MOMA in New York!

– A poster and photo gallery for BLUE MOVIE.

-Four trailers for films by the same production team (Pim & Wim’s Scorpio Films), including

BLUE MOVIE (which gives you an idea of how the film may have looked before the restoration),

OBSESSIONS (1969 ,which shows a strong Hitchcock influence as well as a Bernard Herrmann score that he used from pieces he created back in 1957 for the CBS Music Library!) available from Cult Epics http://www.cultepics.com/product-detail/obsessions/

 

FRANK & EVA (1973, also starring Metsers) http://www.cultepics.com/product-detail/frank-eva/ ,

and MY NIGHTS WITH SUSAN, SANDRA, OLGA and JULIE (1975 ,that appears to be a more erotic variant of THE BEGUILED ,Universal, 1971) ,currently not listed as available from Cult Epics.

Recommended, especially for fans of foreign films, art house, and erotica.

Kudos to Cult Epics for the care that they give to these films.

Kevin G Shinnick

*- there is another Dutch actor, also named Hugo Metsers, who was only about 3 when BLUE MOVIE was made.

 

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MANIAC -Blue Underground 3 disc Ltd Edition Blu ray

                                                

 

                                                                MANIAC     

                                                     3 Disc Ltd Edition BLU RAY
-Blue Underground December 11,2018.

1980, originally released by Analysis Film Releasing Corp.87 min. Color .

Available as a 3-disc Limited Edition /4 K remaster (2BD plus 1 CD) $39.95 REGION FREE.

http://www.blue-underground.com/product.php?product=291

Back in the early 1980s, horror films were massive money makers. For relatively low costs, filmmakers of various skills could get a camera, an effects person, and maybe some women willing to shed their clothes, and even the feeblest efforts could get a theatrical release.

Then there were films that were done with the same miniscule budgets but with a bit more skill, darker tone perhaps, better actors, direction, and technical skills

MANIAC falls into that latter category. The film was inspired by the infamous Son of Sam. David Berkowitz began his wave of terror that terrorized the city of New York on Christmas Eve ,1975 with what was at first were considered random stabbings.

His first murder (and first use of his weapon of choice, a .44 calibre, thus his being dubbed at first the .44 Calibre Killer) was on July 29,1976. He finally was arrested on August 7,1977 after avoiding the biggest manhunt in NYC history, sending taunting letters to both the police and the press, having killed six people and wounded seven others by July 1977. When apprehended, he confessed but adding he was being ordered to telepathically by his neighbor Sam’s dog Harvey (thus, the ”son” of Sam.). Later ,he admitted he made up the dog story, but the legend continues.

When people found out that publishers were offering huge sums of money for his story, the Son of Sam Law, which was designed to keep criminals from further profiting from their crimes.

This did not stop newspapers, book publishers, television shows ,and even movies from cranking out their own money making attempts to exploit the story , one of the earliest is the nearly unwatchable ANOTHER SON OF SAM (1977, which began in 1975 as a cheapie called HOSTAGES ).

 

Filmmaker William Lustig had grown up enjoying the exploitation smorgasbord offered up in the 1950s,60s and 70s that played in the grindhouses of 42nd Street. After taking some film classes, he found work on both mainstream film (as a P.A. on DEATH WISH,Paramount,1974) before moving into the profitable adult film market, where he worked as editor, producer, and director (and probably a lot of other jobs too) .

 

He saw the money that films like FRIDAY THE 13th (Paramount ,1980) were making ,and thus, taking his share of his latest adult title , he decided to make his own horror movie.

 

He was wise enough to get the wizard who created the effects that had made FRIDAY THE 13TH so memorable, namely Tom Savini . Lustig also cast actor Joe Spinell, who also co-produced ad co wrote the script. Spinell was a hard- working character actor who had worked in supporting roles in major films but this would be his first starring role. Finally, they hired actress Caroline Munro (after their first choice had dropped out), who had starred in several horror and fantasy films throughout the 1970s, as well as being featured in major films like THE SPY WHO LOVED ME ,U.A.,1977).

 

The film is a gritty time capsule of New York City. Tourists were afraid to come to the city, never mind walk the streets at night. Hookers, pimps and drug dealers stood aside sleazy motels and grind house movie theatres, trying to lure in the unwary to sample their wares – or simply rob them.

 

Cinematographer Robert Lindsay, who had worked with Lustig on his previous adult movies, perfectly captures that sense of dread and moral decay.

     (Warning – plot spoilers)

Frank Zito (a completely believable full on psycho performance by Joe Spinell) wanders the city and kills young women who he is aroused by, then scalping them and then taking his bloody souvenir home and attaching it to one of the many mannikins he has littering his apartment. It seems that he was abused as a child by his hooker mom and so he finds that beauty is punishable by death.

One couple is killed in their car when Frank jumps upon the hood of the vehicle and point- blank fires a double- barreled shotgun blast into the passenger (Tom Savini, who not only played the victim, but used his own sculpted head to blow apart. Savini also doubled for Frank and used an actual shotgun to blow up the sculpture, having the odd honor of shooting himself on camera! Since they did not have permits, Savini then tossed the gun into a waiting truck and was driven away in case of police investigating the reports of gunfire) before killing the young woman also in the vehicle.

Frank talks to his mannequins and sobs and wails when he sees the coverage of his latest murders upon his television. He is truly Norman Bates on speed in this film. Still, Spinell, while creepy and often veering dangerously close to overacting, never loses a sense of reality in his portrayal.)

Somehow, he meets a beautiful photographer, Anna (Caroline Munro), after she takes his photo. They oddly become friendly while Frank continues his killing spree, killing a nurse as well as one of Anna’s models, adding their scalps to his growing collection. Frank is starting to lose the small grip that he has on reality, for when he kills the mode, he first begins talking to her as his deceased mother.

 

Still, Anna goes out with Frank, stopping off at the graveyard where his mother was buried. Frank finally attacks Anna, but she bashes him with a shovel and escape. He tries to pursue her but suddenly imagines that his mother is rising from her grave. Terrified, he flees home. His apartment proves no safe sanctuary , however , as the mannequins come alive and throw him onto his bed, where they tear his head from his body!

The film has been a constant for collectors ever since VHS was the market staple.

This new BLU RAY is the must have version for collectors.

MEDIA VHS release

 

The movie is in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a magnificent 4k 1080p transfer. For a low budget film, the film has some superb cinematography, and this release does justice to its color photography. What is more amazing is when you realize the film was shot in 16mm and then blown up to 35mm. For decades, the original 16mm negatives were missing but now, they have been found. Prior prints were from a 35mm dupe, with all the inherit flaws that involves. The original camera negative used here seems less grainy (save for the usual grain of the format) and increases the sharpness of the images.

 

Comparing it to an old DVD release, the sharper clarity is so easy to see.

The original film was one of the first indies to use Dolby Stereo, but this release makes full use of the process. I heard no pops or hiss on the soundtrack, and the music, dialogue and sound effects are clear and make good use of the separate speakers on my system. I only listened to the 2.0 DTS-HD track, but you are offered the choice also of Dolby Digital 2.0 (which perhaps would reflect the original release sound) as well as 7.1 DTS-HD.

 

You can also experience the film in Dolby Digital 2.0 French, Italian, German, and Spanish audio, as well as Optional subtitles in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese,
Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Korean, Swedish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Thai (phew!).

There are six standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French: Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0, German: Dolby Digital 2.0, and Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0. Optional English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Russian, Swedish, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Cantonese, and Thai yellow subtitles are provided for the main feature.

That would be more than enough for most major studio releases, but BLUE UNDERGROUND has piled on the extras to truly make this a special collectible 3- Disc Edition.

 

On the first disc, along with the film, we get a running audio commentary with Lustig and Producer Andrew W. Garroni. This is a newly recorded commentary full of little insights as well as the how well the film holds up 38 years (!) later.

 

Also on the first disc is a second commentary track lifted from the previous 2007 DVD release from Blue Underground. On this track are Lustig, Tom Savini , film editor Lorenzo Marinelli and Joe Spinell’s assistant Luke Walter (Spinell sadly dying way too early in 1989 ,at age 52). There are a lot of fond memories and humor as well as technical details on the making of the film.

 

This first disc also has the original Theatrical trailer, as well as tv and radio spots. One wonders if trailers such as this which show such graphic violence could be shown nowadays https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya7lVHk-qD8 .

Where else would you hear CALIGULA (Penthouse /1979) and MANIAC in the same sentence? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCCsMzpBQqA

 

Disc Two
There are several more extras that fill this second disc. The first two are newly made especially for this release. The others are ported over from the MANIAC 30th Anniversary of 2010 or previous DVD releases.

OUTTAKES- rough footage and alternate takes give a glimpse of the behind the scenes making of MANIAC. The outtakes are not restored nor cleaned up and thus seem a bit more grainy but are a treat nonetheless.

 

RETURNING TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME- on camera interview with William Lustig.
He talks about the making of the film with an obvious pride and enthusiasm.

ANNA & THE KILLER- Caroline Munro talks about her career and working on this flick as well as other films with Spinell .

THE DEATH DEALER- Tom Savini (who else?) Always fun to see and hear Tom talk about his magic.

 

DARK NOTES- Composer Jay Chattaway talks about this Jazz Musician came about getting his first film score and how he tried to get into the head of a psychopath to create his score.

MANIAC MEN -Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky discuss the song that the film inspired and later popularized in the Paramount film FLASHDANCE (1983).

THE JOE SPINNELL STORY- this is ,for me ,the highlight of the extras as this nearly an hour long documentary covers the actor’s life with personal memories , home movies and appearances on ‘The Joe Franklin Show”. Success seemed to have hurt Spinnell and been somewhat responsible for his early demise. (Copyright-2001).

 

 

MR ROBBIE: MANIAC 2 PROMO REEL– Buddy (COMBAT SHOCK, Troma ,1986) Giovinazzo had planned a warped sequel of sorts, with Spinell as a children’s show host with a disturbing secret. Imagine Spinell as Krusty The Clown and you can imagine how warped that it is. They never were able to raise the funds.

PUBLICITY – featurette. Interviews with the cast and crew.

MANIAC CONTROVERSY – Like SNUFF (Monarch,1975) before it, the filmmakers used the complaints and horrific reactions to the film to get the curious into the cinemas and see what all the fuss was about. Unlike SNUFF, they got a powerful that wasn’t just hype.

Third Disc- MANIAC original Motion Picture Soundtrack cd. This is a big bonus, as the soundtrack by itself sells for about $20 at least at horror conventions.

Bonus Booklet by Michael Gingold (Fangoria, Rue Morgue)- a short essay about the production .

The film is to this day very hard to watch for many, due to its gritty atmosphere which captures the sense of NYC at the time , as well as it’s still powerful effects .It also does have a strong sense of misogyny that is hard to ignore but it does also capture the mind set of the character. Joe Spinell’s daring performance both repels us while he fascinates us, lifting the feature above the other stalk and slash films of the era.

 

JUMP TO 2018 –

Before Alek Minassian killed 10 people, the majority of them women, by driving his van into pedestrians on a Toronto street Monday, he posted on Facebook praising mass murderer Elliot Rodger and called for an “Incel Rebellion,” an uprising of men who are angry women won’t have sex with them.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/04/26/incel-rebellion-alek-minassian-sexual-entitlement-mens-rights-elliot-rodger/550635002/

Perhaps MANIAC was predicting a movement, a hidden dark secret, that we back then could not even imagine??

RECOMMENDED for fans of 80’s horror, JOE SPINELL, CAROLINE MUNRO, TOM SAVINI, WILLIAM LUSTIG, stunning effects.

Kudos to BLUE UNDERGROUND for this super -deluxe must have 3-disc collector’s edition.

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

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1960s, Academy Award Winner, Blu Ray, british, Drama, film, FILM HISTORY, Genevieve Bujold, Historical Drama, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, Julie Kirgo, Nick Redman, review, Richard Burton, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Twilight Time, Twilight Time Blu Ray, Uncategorized, Universal

ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS (Twilight Time Blu ray)

ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS (Twilight Time Blu Ray) Universal 1969 .Color. 145 minutes. English .2.0             DTS-HD MA sound .English Subtitles option . 1080p Hi Definition 2.35:1 REGION FREE(A,B,C). Special Features: isolated music audio track . Original Theatrical Trailer. Booklet.

https://www.twilighttimemovies.com/anne-of-the-thousand-days-blu-ray/

1969 was a year of change and turmoil. Woodstock . Altamont. Man landed upon the moon. The Stonewall riots. The Charles Manson murders. Nixon says that 25,000 troops will be withdrawn from Vietnam . My Lai massacre. Chappaquiddick . Robert R succumbs to a mysterious disease that will later be identified as HIV/AIDS.

 

Movies too were reflective of the changing chaotic times. Big budget Hollywood movies like HELLO DOLLY(Fox), TRUE GRIT (Paramount) and BATTLE OF BRITAIN(UA) were battling for audiences who were flocking to films like EASY RIDER (Columbia) or MIDNIGHT COWBOY (U.A).

 

Fitting into the former category is the epic ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS . Costume spectacles , particularly those dealing with British royalty, seemed to do well both with audiences ,reviewers ,and awards. Films like BECKET (Paramount ,1964) ,MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (Columbia ,1966), and THE LION IN WINTER (Avco Embassy ,1968) , all based upon successful intelligent successful Broadway plays, all found receptive responses.

paperback movie tie -in 

 

Producer Hall Wallis had been Warner Brothers ‘ studio manager back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, overseeing a string of classics like LITTLE CAESAR (1931) to CASABLANCA (1942). He left W.B. to form his own production company ,and continued his movie Midas Touch with films such as SORRY WRONG NUMBER (Paramount ,1948) ,several Elvis Presley and Martin & Lewis films, and screen adaptations of Tennessee Williams’ works.

 

After producing the film adaptation of BECKET , Wallis  and Burton wanted to work together on another historical drama. Burton convinced Wallis to adapt the 1948 Maxwell Anderson blank verse play ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS”.

 

The play ,which opened December 8,1948, was a huge success, running until October 8,1949 at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway. Part of that was due to the dynamic performances between Rex Harrison as Henry VIII and Joyce Redman as Anne Boleyn (I saw Ms. Redman in the superlative 1987 revival of PYGMALION that starred Peter O’Toole and Amanda Plummer, wherein she portrayed O’Toole’s mother). The other was it was considered daring (Anne admitted to having pre-martial sex!) ,a subject that would make the story impossible to get pass the Production Code of the time.

 

 

Polish Movie Poster ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS

 

The late 1960s saw the relaxing of censorship and more daring subjects being brought to the screen ,and so Wallis hired three writers (Richard Sokolove ,adaptation; Bridget Boland and John Hale ,screenplay) to adapt the play for cinematic purposes. Gone was the blank verse, though the dialogue still had a nice dramatic sense of period . One wonders if Burton discussed playing Henry with Rex Harrison when the two filmed STAIRCASE (Fox) that same year ,where the two played not kings but a pair of bickering old “queens”.

 

The production was sumptuous (design by Maurice Carter ,who had also done the same on BECKET; costumes by Margaret Furse who costumed BECKET and THE LION IN WINTER) , with an opulence that truly captured how one felt the court of Henry VIII would feel.

 

Adding to the sweep and majesty was another magnificent score by George Delerue (he had composed the score to A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, and would later write for Truffaut’s classic La Nuit Americaine (DAY FOR NIGHT,WB,1973)and win an Oscar for his work on the lovely A LITTLE ROMANCE (Orion/WB,1979).

The film was shot at such locations as Penshurst Place and Hever Castle (the childhood home of Anne Boleyn ) as well as on magnificent sets built at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios.

 

Lensing all of this was Arthur Ibbetson (director of photography on Chaplin’s last feature, A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG, Universal, 1967) and later the childhood classics THE RAILWAY CHILDREN (Universal,1970) and WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY(Paramount,1971).

Director Charles Jarrott

 

Director Charles Jarrott had directed many intelligent productions for television with this being his first theatrical production. It is directed tastefully and without flash ,allowing the performances and story carry the movement. He was so successful that he was later tapped to direct MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (Universal,1971) with the same finesse.

 

Henry VIII (Richard Burton) is unhappy that his wife ,Queen Catherine of Aragon (Irene Papas,THE GUNS OF NAVARONE,Columbia ,1961) has not born him a son to carry on his lineage. His affair with Mary Boleyn             ( Valerie Gearon, in one of her only four film appearances ) is also losing his interest (even though she is pregnant with his child)when he sees Mary’s 18 year old sister Anne (Genevieve Bujold, so marvelous  in KING OF HEARTS /le roi de Coeur,U.A,1966) at a ball.

 

Mary is engaged but Henry has his “fixer” and Lord Chancellor , scheming Cardinal Woolsey (Anthony Quayle, GUNS OF NAVARONE),break up the engagement. Mary’s father ,Thomas Boleyn (Michael Hordern, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM,U.A.,1966) is a political climber, willing to use his daughters to advance his own political career and agrees to end the engagement.

Anne is not as easily won as her sister ,and dares to insult the King, a dangerous thing to be sure, for it could mean her family losing it’s position and wealth , and even imprisonment and death.

 

Henry, however is smitten with this fiery woman, who unlike so many others, does not bend to his will. Thomas Cromwell (Canadian actor John Galicos, probably best known for playing Kor in the STAR TREK episode, “Errand Of Mercy”, Paramount, 1967 and then later as the evil Count Baltar on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Universal 1978-9) feels the girl can be a problem but Woolsey feels she is but another bauble for Henry to play with use and discard.

 

Anne is slowly seduced , not so much by Henry as by the power he offers. She refuses Henry’s advances, however, as any child that they have would be illegitimate. Henry says he will divorce Catherine so he can marry Anne, and instructs Woolsey to find a way. Woolsey protests , but the King will not be denied. The Pope denies the annulment ,and Woolsey is removed from office, his London palace given instead to Anne and his title given to Cromwell.

Cromwell comes up with the idea that Henry is the embodiment of the Church in England, and that people cannot pledge loyalty to both The Pope & The Church of Rome at the same time it pledges allegiance to a King who is supposed to be God’s appointed. People are asked to choose, loyalty to Henry and the Crown, or dismissal and worse if they do not recognize his new Church.

 

Finally won over, Anne finally makes love to Henry.She tells Henry that she is pregnant and a quick wedding is arranged.

Catherine ,however ,was very popular with the common people (and the Spanish Ambassadors also sew discontent among the masses ) so that Anne finds herself jeered at and called “the King’s Whore” by the masses . Catherine is banished from court ,spending her remaining years(3 years, 1533-36) at Kimbolton Castle, acknowledged as the Dowager Princess.

Henry is disappointed and enraged that once again he is father to another daughter (Princess Elizabeth. His previous wife, Catherine, bore him Princess Mary).

Once again, Henry ,disappointed by the lack of a male heir, starts looking elsewhere. Anne sees him cast his eye upon young Lady Jane Seymour (Lesley Patterson, who seems to have only appeared in one other film ,THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, Fox,1969),Anne arranges to keep the young woman from court.

Meanwhile ,the loyalty oath to the King continues . Sir Thomas More ( William Squire , Hammer’s A CHALLENGE FOR ROBIN HOOD, 1967) is still opposed to Anne’s claim as legitimate Queen (and thus the rights of Elizabeth to be a successor to the crown). In a rage, she lets Henry know she wants More done away with. A pre-determined trial finds the scholar guilty, and, denied the right to speak at his execution, he is beheaded. Shortly thereafter, like Catherine before her, Anne gives birth to a still born son .

Angrily, Henry turns to Cromwell to find a way for him to divorce Anne and leave him free to have a male heir. Cromwell invents a hideous lie, wherein he accuses Anne of sexual relations with several men, including her own brother. Her music teacher ,Mark Smeaton (Gary Bond, ZULU,Paramount,1964) ,being a commoner, is tortured into a confession by having a Garotte put around his head and tightened.

When they come to arrest her, Anne thinks that they are joking , but the charges are indeed ,deadly serious, amounting to High Treason.

Once again ,however , her intelligence and strong will come to the fore. At the trial, as Henry is hidden away listening, she gets the chance to question the poor tortured Smeaton. He repeats what he has been tortured into admitting, but when he looks upon Anne, he says that he has never been with her in any way but in friendship . The court is in disarray, but Henry enters the room, and tells Smeaton that he is condemned to die either way, so he is free to tell the truth. Smeaton asserts again that she is innocent. The court is in disarray,, as Anne smiles at Henry .Still, as Henry leaves, he says it may still be true.

 

Later,Henry goes to the tower to beg Anne to annul the marriage so he can wed Jane Seymour. Anne once again refuses ,as she says Elizabeth will be one of the great leaders of England, and Anne would rather die rather than deny her daughter her rightful place of history.

Anne is indeed found guilty, and in a tragic scene ,she is led to her death by beheading. Henry ,who was not there, but instead ,out hunting with several groomsmen, hears the cannons in the distance announce her execution. Henry urges his entourage to follow him ,and they set off to Jane Seymour’s home, the hunt once again begun for Henry to get a male heir.

The final shot shows young baby Elizabeth (Amanda Jane Smythe), hearing the cannons roar as well, and wanders sadly ,alone in a garden, as her mothers prophecy about her is repeated

 

“Elizabeth shall be a greater queen than any king of yours. She shall rule a greater England than you could ever have built. My Elizabeth shall be queen, and my blood will have been well spent.”

 

The film was given a wide release by Universal to mixed reviews. All reviewers ,however agreed upon one thing, the magnificence of Bujold’s performance.

It received numerous nominations at the 1970 Academy Awards, winning for Best Costume ; winning Golden Globes for Bujold (Best Motion Picture -Actress-Drama) ,Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director-Motion Picture(Jarrot) and Best Screenplay (Boland, Hale,Sokolove)

 

The film did well, though it did not crack the top 20 films for 1970 (it was released in December, 1969, but played throughout the next year ).

Three small  bits of trivia-Burton’s wife at the time, Elizabeth Taylor, made a cameo appearance as a courtesan. However, she is not noticed ,as her character is masked. Miss Taylor, while in costume, wore a gift from Burton, the La Peregrina Pearl ,one of the most valuable pearls in the world.

12 year old Kate Burton also had an uncredited cameo as a serving girl.

The expensive costumes and props were re-used for the 21st(!) CARRY ON film, CARRY ON HENRY (Rank,1971) ,which had an original alternative title of “ANNE OF A THOUSAND LAYS ” ,that sounds more like a porno version than the fun though bawdy film that resulted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On video, the film was released on VHS in a very flat print that muted the colors and lost information on the sides of the picture ,as well as a flat mono sound.

 

Universal released it to DVD as a co-bill with MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (Universal,1971)in a slightly improved version.

 

This TWILIGHT TIME release is the must have print to own. The 1080p Hi Definition 2.35:1 transfer is incredibly rich, with solid reds ,blues ,and skin tones. The film has not looked this good since it was originally unspooled theatrically in 1969.

 

The sound has also been upgraded with a 2.0 DTS-HD Master audio track. The sound is incredibly rich in this dialogue driven film, with the score and sound effects also clean and free of hiss or pops .

Extras are few , though one can enjoy Delerue’s magnificent isolated score on a separate track .

The original Decca Sound Track release

Also included is the original theatrical trailer, narrated by Hal Wallis himself. It has not been cleaned up, so you can get an idea of how rough some of the previous releases have looked.

Finally , an 8-page insert booklet with an essay by Julie Kirgo is included within the case.

Subtitles in English SDH are also available.

One would love to have had an audio commentary, perhaps with Ms. Bujold . That said, the magnificent print that TWILIGHT TIME has released is nothing to dismiss.

The film, like most of TWILIGHT TIME collectible releases , is limited to a press run of 3,000.

The film is a superb example of intelligent film-making ,wherein story and acting ruled over C.G.I. and mind-numbing sameness.

Hopefully, TWILIGHT TIME will release the original 1971 MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (Universal) and perhaps the unjustly overlooked gem LADY JANE (Paramount ,1986) to be proper companion pieces to ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS and  A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (released by Twilight Time in 2015).

 

I highly recommend this film to people who enjoy historical dramas, as well as superlative acting and thoughtful storytelling.

 

I do wonder, however, now, in this time of the Me-Too Movement, how many will look favorably at the cavalier attitude of the men within this story, and their views of women .

Seriously, how many men would create an entire religion, just to have sex ???

 

Thoughts to ponder.

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
-Kevin G Shinnick

 

 

 

I just wanted to make note of  very  sad news .

NICK REDMAN passed away January 17,2019 after a valiant two year battle with cancer. Mr. Redman co -founded Twilight Time in 2011. Mr Redman also was a film historian,documentarian, and sound track producer.

Our deepest condolences go out to his friends  and family , including his wife  Julie Kirgo  ,his brother, and his children .

 

*********************************************************

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SUNSHINE(1973) Blu Ray

Sunshine_BD__21916.1540398344.500.750_750Sunshine(1973) [Signature Release]-Twilight Time  Blu Ray .Color .124 mins. Region Free.

 

https://www.twilighttimemovies.com/sunshine-signature-release-blu-ray/

 

Back in the 1970s, made for T.V. movies were big ratings getters.

 

Thanks to THE HOMECOMING: A CHRISTMAS STORY (WB/CBS ; December 1971)America was introduced to The Waltons , who soon garnered their own tv series. BRIAN’S SONG (ABC,1971)made a star out of James Caan and an earworm of a title theme that you couldn’t escape https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w26pW2Uz2-Y .   DUEL (Universal/ABC,1971). introduced the majority of Americans to a newcomer named STEVEN SPIELBERG.

cliff-deyoung-sunshine-ost-front1

Into this popular creative mix came SUNSHINE (Universal/CBS,1973).  The inspired by a true story tear jerker was directed by Joseph Sargent (many popular episodes of STAR TREK ,Paramount /Desilu/NBC,1966-1969;as well as the theatrical movie COLOSSUS:THE FORBIN PROJECT (Universal,1970)which ironically BEGAN as a T.V. film ) with skill, finesse ,and a light touch which never made the story heavy handed nor pushed the tears as many other post LOVE STORY (Paramount,1970)films did. The emotions were natural and the reactions from the audiences were thus even more powerful(not that it affected me. No I’m not crying . The air in here is just dry.).

 

Airing on CBS, it became at the time the most watched TV film in history.

 

Making it more noteworthy was that the soundtrack was written by balladeer John Denver. “Sunshine on My Shoulders”, from which the film takes its title, was John Denver’s first number one hit (it went unnoticed on the album “Poems Prayers & Promises” in 1971, but became a hit single in 1973).

sunshinw xmasSUNSHINE CHRISTMAS

The film had a sequel in 1977, A SUNSHINE CHRISTMAS (Universal, NBC) that had less of an impact, as well as a short lived tv series in 1975, so it is odd that with all of the films that get pretty consistent exposure on revival television channels that SUNSHINE has not been aired .

 

People have fond memories of the film and bootlegs have been very popular.

254358-sunshine-0-230-0-345-crop

Now, Redwind Productions, who prior to this released the documentary TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: KA SHEN’s JOURNEY (2010,about actress Nancy Kwan) and the Blu Ray release/restoration of HOLIDAY IN SPAIN /SCENT OF MYSTERY, now have gone all out to make this forgotten gem look even better than it did when first broadcast. Twilight Time is handling the Blu Ray release.

heltonJacquelyn M. ‘Lyn” Helton

 

The original film elements were used and given a 4K DPX scan (1080p Hi Definition),and restored the film’s original aspect ratios (1.33.1). The mono sound has also been cleaned up with a 2.0 DTS-HD MA mix.  No multi-channel mixes, but none needed for this human tale, and the sound is hiss free, while the John Denver numbers are quite easy to listen to. To make it easier to find favorite bits of dialogue or music, one of the   features on this Blu Ray is special chapter stops to go right to your favorite bits.

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There are also optional English SDH subtitles, that are quite easy to read and follow the action (that is, if you can read them through teary eyes. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Shut up.).

 

The result is a beautiful looking print that you can watch with your entire family, either to revisit it with those who experienced it, or watch with your younger family members.

 

Did I mention to keep tissues nearby (not for me, for you, I am not crying. It’s my allergies.)?

 

SUNSHINE was based upon the true life story of Jacquelyn M. ‘Lyn” Helton, who, at 18, after giving birth to her daughter Jennifer, was discovered to have bone cancer. She began to leave journals and audio tapes for her baby and her husband, Tom, with the goal of reminding them of how important they were, as well as inspiring people dealing with major illnesses.

 

Someone stole her tape recorder in 1971, which outraged people and after national coverage, she was gifted with a new recording device.

 

lyn-helton-sunshine

She died November 7,1971, with her story carried by national press.

 

Lawrence Schiller acquired the rights to her story, and thus two years and two days later (November 9,1973) her story was aired as SUNSHINE.

 

Names were changed for the tv story (opening credits say that it was “suggested by” Helton’s life) but it seems to follow the sad though inspiring tale (no I’m not crying. I think I have a cold starting. Stop it.).

 

cristina-raines-sunshine-1

Christina Raines , in her film debut, plays Kate Hayden. Kate is a young pregnant divorcee who falls in love with struggling musician Sam (Cliff DeYoung). Sam loves Kate so much that when the baby Jill is born, they both accept it as their own child. Kate finds out she has bone cancer, and the aggressive chemo she gets leaves her basically unable to go about her daily activities.

 

Frustrated, she decides she would rather live a short life as a functioning mother and wife than continue to be what she perceives as a burden. Kate continues to keep in touch with medical researchers as she begins to document her feelings and illnesses as she fights the terrible disease (I’m not crying. I think my eyes are tired. Shut up).

s-l300

 

Someone steals her tape recorder, depressing her about the loss.

 

However, her story gets national attention, and her story inspires many to send gifts, including a new machine so she can continue journaling until…

 

(sniff… what? No! You are .Shut up.)

 

The film, while making the characters likeable, does not make them dull saints, and it deals with the stress of being the patient as well as its effect on those around them.

51IdOoMouxL

 

Ms. Raines has since retired from acting, but she now is a nurse who works with patients undergoing kidney dialysis. One wonders how much her role inspired her decision on this life choice. Before she stopped performing, she had a good career, appearing in films like THE SENTINEL (Universal,1977) and THE DUELLISTS(Paramount,1977).

family

Cliff DeYoung began as a musician who had performed with the likes of The Doors before became an actor, appearing in the original 1969 Broadway production of HAIR.  After four years in NYC, he returned to California , landing his role in SUNSHINE. He continues to be an active actor.

 

Also in the film are Meg Foster, Brenda Vaccaro, and Billy Mumy.

 

The screenplay was by Carol Sobieski, who also wrote the adaptations for ANNIE (Columbia ,1982) and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES(Universal,1991), the latter earning a posthumous Oscar nomination for the writer.

sunshine-movie-poster-1974-1020204949

For the John Denver fans,

songs in the film are

“My Sweet Lady”, “Day Dreams” “Goodbye Again”, “Poems, Prayers & Promises”, all with words and music by Denver alone, and “Sunshine On My Shoulders”, ’Take Me Home, Country Roads, and ‘Winter” which are Denver in collaboration with others. ‘Put Your Hand In The Hand” by Gene MacLellan is also featured.

R-9104936-1499192655-8391.jpeg

The film seems to have gotten some sort of theatrical release, though I could only find a movie poster for this.

 

As an extra on the disc, however, there is also an original theatrical trailer.

Sunshine_BDBookletCover__06507.1540398351_1540398351

Another bonus is a small booklet that really adds nothing though it has some great photos of the film as well as an overseas and American poster.

Recommended for those who enjoy a superior family drama, and don’t mind a few tears (not that I’m crying, mind you. I just need to go wipe my eyes. I’ll be fine).

 

Kudos to Redwind/Twilight Time for their effort to bring this well-loved story back to an appreciative audience who remember it fondly as well as a new group of viewers.

 

Recommended.

(warning tissues NOT included).

Kevin G. Shinnick  

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Blu Ray Contest THE HOUSE THAT NEVER DIES : RE AWAKENING(update12.10.18.contest over.winners contacted)

(update12.10.18.contest over.winners contacted.CONTRST IS NOW CLOSED.Congrats to TOM SHUMAKER  and RON OLIVER.   Oddly ,both picked BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) as their favorite Xmas Horror Film.  Other choices mentioned were GREMLINS, TALES FROM THE CRYPT (Xmas segment), SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT,BETTER WATCH OUT(our contest last year) ,and ELVES,among others. Thanks to WELL GO USA.  Tom & Ron’s Blu Rays will be sent asap.  Thank you all for taking part! -Kevin 

 

 

 

Enter for a chance to win one of two Region 1 Blu Ray copies (courtesy of Well Go USA ; http://www.wellgousa.com ) of THE HOUSE THAT NEVER DIES : RE AWAKENING .

The House That Never Dies: Reawakening

 

The sequel to the 2014 hit filmThe House That Never Diesand based on true events that took place at the spookiest of Beijing’s Four Oriental Haunted Houses, The House That Never Dies: Reawakening debuts on digital and DVD December 4 from Well Go USA Entertainment.Blu Ray is Region One.

   Now here is your chance to win one of two Region 1  blu ray copies .(UPDATE CONTEST NOW OVER & CLOSED. NO MORE ENTRIES-12.10.18)

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THE HOUSE THAT NEVER DIES REAWAKENING Stars Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Judge Dredd), Julian Cheung (The Grandmaster), Mei Ting (Blind Massage) and Gillian Chung (Ip Man: The Final Fight).  98 Min.Color. Original Language Mandarin.Dubbed Language : Cantonese  .  SUBTITLE LANGUAGE : ENGLISH

MV5BMTMxNTA3MTQxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjY2NDk3._V1_UY317_CR16,0,214,317_AL_

(UPDATE CONTEST NOW OVER & CLOSED. NO MORE ENTRIES -12.10.18)

To enter to win:

              Send an email to : SCARLETTHEFILMMAG@yahoo.com   .

In the heading put The House That Never Dies: Reawakening Contest . 

                     Then , in the body of the letter please put

                                    your name and mailing address ,

                                          and answer this question :

 What is your favorite Christmas ghost, horror, or thriller film for the holidays?

                              That’s all . Contest open until  DECEMBER 9,2018  .

 

(UPDATE CONTEST NOW OVER & CLOSED. NO MORE ENTRIES -12.10.18)

TWO WINNERS WILL BE DRAWN AT RANDOM AND NOTIFIED, WITH THEIR PRIZES MAILED OUT SHORTLY THEREAFTER.  

One entry per person please.  Contest open to residents of the continental United States.

MV5BNzdkNDBiZTYtMWM2Ni00NzcwLTk4NDktMzY1OWUzMTczZjMyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzI1NzMxNzM@._V1_

  Ghoul Luck!

             Thanks once again to Well GO USA .

http://www.wellgousa.com Check out their collection of films .

MV5BYmIxMmFhYmYtOTk4MS00NGNjLTk1MGMtNmM1MjZlMTAzNTIxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzI1NzMxNzM@._V1_

(UPDATE CONTEST NOW OVER & CLOSED. NO MORE ENTRIES -12.10.18)

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SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST (blu ray)

SwordOfSherwoodForest_BD_HighRes__57831.1538411974_1538411974

SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST (Twilight Time Blu Ray) Hammer /Columbia 1960 Megascope. Color 80 mins. $29.95 Region Free.    https://www.twilighttimemovies.com/sword-of-sherwood-forest-blu-ray/

 

While Hammer Films was reigning supreme as the creators of high-quality horror cinema, they continued to make movies in other genres as well. In the 1950s, Hammer tried their hand at a story of Robin Hood.

The legendary hero had been the subject of motion pictures since 1908 with the British made ROBIN HOOD & HIS MERRY MEN (Clarendon). Sadly, the cast is not currently known.

ROBIN HOOD & HIS MERRY MEN (1908)robn 1908

 

American Eclair did a version simply called ROBIN HOOD that starred Robert Frazier,later to star in WHITE ZOMBIE (Halperin,1932)

robin hood 19121912 ,Friar Tuck officiates.

In 1913, a kinemacolor silent British film was shot in and around Nottingham called IN THE DAYS OF ROBIN HOOD, starring Harry Agar Lyons. That same year, Thanhouser in the U.S. made their own version, with William Russell in the title role, Maid Marian as portrayed by Gerda Holmes, and a sneering John Dillon as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

in the days of robin hood 1913 In The Days of Robin Hood (1913)

douglas                                                                                                                                                              The most famous of the silent Robin Hood pictures was the exciting ROBIN HOOD (U.A. ,1922), starring Douglas Fairbanks in a role he was born to play.

He was so definitive that no one dared try the part until W.B. in 1938 created their Technicolor masterpiece, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, starring Errol Flynn as Robin, Olivia DeHavilland as Marian, Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy, Claude Rains as Prince John, and a wealth of familiar character actors. The film is how most people see Robin today, a laughing cavalier with a huge caring heart, quick with his sword or arrows to disperse justice and right wrongs.flynnn gif

 

Columbia  waited ten years before attempting two films on the subject: BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST in Technicolor with Cornel Wilde as Robin’s son. Sam Katzman re- used the sets and costumes that same year in the cheaper Cinecolor process to create THE PRINCE OF THIEVES starring Jon Hall, inspired by an Alexandre Dumas novel.

rogues sherwoodROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST

Two years later Columbia went back to Sherwood, or at least the Corriganville Movie Ranch to create ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST.  This tale was about ANOTHER son of Robin Hood (insert Maid Marian jokes here) in the person of John Derek, as well as a return to Technicolor with costumes from the 1938 film as well as actor Alan Hale Senior .Hale had played Little John in 1922, 1938 and here in again in his final screen role.

children-in-battersea-park-watch-patrick-troughton-act-the-part-of-robin-hood1.jpgTelevision discovered the legends and put them to good use in 1953 for the BBC’s ROBIN HOOD, starring future Doctor Who Patrick Troughton. The show was broadcast live from a small television studio .

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Hammer got into the tights and swordplay with THE MEN OF SHERWOOD FOREST (Hammer/Exclusive,1954, released by Astor in the U.S. in 1956) in Eastmancolor, their first color feature. American actor (and future director) Don Taylor worked on his British accent but seemed to have been instructed by director Val Guest that Robin laughs at everything. Seriously Robin, some of the things just weren’t that funny.  Still, the movie is an enjoyable romp and a warm up for what Hammer would soon follow with.

From 1955 to 1959 , ITV created 143 half hour black and white television episodes for THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, with a deal with Officials Films to distribute the film within the United States in syndication  .Richard Greene superbly played the hero of Sherwood , filming at the small Nettlefold Studios as well as locations that had standing medieval buildings ,as well as a great drawbridge  and castle exterior  constructed  and also made use of for THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT(ITV,1956-7).robin hood tvadrh7 1957greene-mcnally

20TH Century Fox gave us the DeLuxe Cinemascope SON OF ROBIN HOOD in 1959, which in fact was about Robin Hood’s DAUGHTER! It starred David Hedison and June Laverick.

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Hammer returned to the shire, with a string of successes behind them since 1957’s CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Hammer/WB) and a guaranteed distribution deal with Columbia Pictures. At this point, Hammer was a smooth running machine able to put out high quality entertainment on a budget with superb production values and top-notch performers. One of their sterling entertainment’s was SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST.

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Hammer went to it’s main go to director Terence Fisher (who had directed several episodes of the Richard Greene series) and its biggest star Peter Cushing to play a villain to let fans know that this was indeed a Hammer Film.  Richard Greene was the only performer from the popular series who was brought over.

 

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 Ardmore Studios 

To show off their wide screen process MegaScope , Hammer went to Ireland and made use of the recently opened (1958) Ardmore Studios , as well as the green countryside surrounding in County Wicklow.   Cinematographer Ken Hodges was no stranger to period dramas, having manned the camera on ITC’s THE BUCCANEER (1956), THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT (1956-7), SWORD OF FREEDOM (1957-9) and of course ,13 episodes of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, all for television. He makes great use of the lush colors that the natural locations provided.

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Music was provided by composer Alun Hoddinott, of which this was his first of only four film scores. His music was marked by a strong Celtic air, and he was later awarded a CBE. Works like this made him a perfect choice for the film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A–QSwlq-94    Composer Stanley Black wrote (uncredited) some of the ballads used within the film  .

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Filming took place between May 23 through July 8,1960. The film was edited scored, given its ‘U’ certificate (suitable for all audiences) uncut and released on Boxing Day, December 26,1960 in the U.K., with an Irish and American release following in January ,1961.

 

After the titles, the film begins with a wounded fugitive (an uncredited Desmond Llewelyn, 3 years before FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE ,U.A. 1963, as Boothroyd, before being properly named ‘Q’ in GOLDFINGER the following year) toppling off his horse, shot in the back by an arrow*.

Two of Robin’s men find the man and start going through his belongings. Robin Hood (Richard Greene) shows up and finds that the pair are in error, and that the man is not dead.  Robin insists they bring him back to their camp where he can get treated.

They hear a sound and Robin draws his bow, telling whomever is hiding to come out. It is a quickly dressing Maid Marian (Sarah Branch who had appeared in Hammer’s 1959 HELL IS A CITY), who had been bathing au naturel but emerges with a very modern hair style, when she happened to catch sight of the man’s fall.  She thinks the trio are the culprits, but Robin shows that the arrow used is not one of theirs, but from a crossbow.

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Marian tries to set up a meeting with the Sheriff (Peter Cushing, looking as always born into whatever period he finds the films set within), but Robin is suspicious of the Sheriff’s motives.  He was wise to be, as the Sheriff is up to his expected tricks, with one of Robin’s men killed in an attack                                    4039-18834

Robin, disguised, enters an archery contest and catches the eye of the Earl of Newark (Richard Pasco, later to appear in Hammer’s THE GORGON, Columbia ,1964).  Robin plays along and discovers a plot to murder Archbishop Hubert Walter (Jack Gwillim, THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB, Hammer/Columbia,1964)                   .Richard Pasco Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)

 

800px-Hubert_Walter_statue,_Canterbury_Cathedral_(cropped)By the way, there really was an Archbishop Hubert Walter, who had accompanied Richard 1st on the Crusades, helped raise the ransom for Richard when he was held captive in Germany, and as a reward was appointed Archbishop in 1193.

Back to the movie : The Earl has also a psychotic assistant in Lord Melton (a rising star, Oliver Reed, soon to top bill in several Hammer films before going on to international fame) who does something quite unexpected ¾ of the way into the film, which gets him chastised by the Earl, rather than the expected praise .                             Oliver Reed Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)

By the movie’s end, Robin, Marian, and the Merry Men emerge victorious, with the baddies all slain.                                                   Sword-of-Sherwood-Forest-Hammer-original-lobby-card

The production is first rate and moves at a rapid pace. Besides the performers already mentioned, there is also able support from Dennis Lotis (singer actor, known for CITY OF THE DEAD/HORROR HOTEL, Vulcan 1960. Lotis, at age 93, is still alive at the time of this writing ,living in Stiffkey in Norfolk England )as Alan A ‘Dale ; 6’ 4” Nigel Green(later to portray Hercules in JASON & THE ARGONAUTS, Columbia,1963)as Little John ,and  Irish born  actor Niall MacGinnis (forever to be remembered as Karswell  from the classic NIGHT(CURSE)OF THE DEMON, Columbia,1957) .

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Hammer returned twice more to Sherwood, with 1967’s A CHALLENGE FOR ROBIN HOOD (7 Arts) as well as Hammer releasing WOLFSHEAD: THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD in 1973. SWORD OF SHERWOOD, however, is perhaps the best of all their tellings of the legend.

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Columbia released their Robin Hood films (Bandit, Sword, Rogues) to DVD in 2010 in no frill versions. Now TWILIGHT TIME has once again licensed one of the Hammer/Columbia releases, and given the film a proper sprucing up for Blu Ray release.

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Limited as always to only 3,000 copies, the film is released in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which was the proper 4 perf 35mm aspect ratio of Megascope (some Hammer films used Hammerscope, which was basically the same process). Some Megascope films were shot in the regular Academy frame and then printed on 4 perf 35mm anamorphic ( -source : http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/glossary.htm ).

Title Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)

The 1080p HD is a beautiful transfer, which superb details and colors. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 also does justice to the original sound mix, with dialogue and effects tracks being noise and pop free.

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Extras include

A separate isolated audio track of both Hoddinott’s score as well as sound effects.

Optional English subtitles which are clear, easy to read and follow the action and dialogue accurately.

The original theatrical trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rJQ5ZTc90M

There is the always welcome Julie Kirgo booklet enclosed as well as a reversible cover for the blu ray. One wishes that they had gone for a more dynamic cover, even if from one of the oversea releases.

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Still the cover is an incredibly minor quibble on what is once again a wonderful release of an entertaining action adventure film.

With the recent release of the $100 million plus dud from LIONSGATE this year, may I suggest that you rush out and buy this Blu Ray to see how to tell the tale properly and on a sensible budget, when filmmakers did not rely on outlandish CGI, but had talented craftsman telling a well written story.

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HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.

 

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

OTHER TWILIGHT TIME /HAMMER RELEASES:

PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/pirates-of-blood-river-twilight-time-blu-ray/

Other TWILIGHT TIME titles : https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/?s=TWILIGHT+TIME

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*-Hammer’s MEN OF SHERWOOD FOREST also began with a rider shot with an arrow to get the story going.

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