A round-up of recent disk-watching ranges from comedy to horror, mock-umentary to documentary, a poverty row classic and major discovery from the late silent period.
Arrow Video has become my favourite source for high quality releases of both serious films and exploitation titles. Their special editions rank with the best offered by prestige companies like Criterion and Masters of Cinema.
Recent binging on Twilight Time Blu-rays ranges from politics to comedy to science fiction, absurd studio productions and idiosyncratic independents; from the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions to the overthrowing of a future society of privileged immortals to underhanded contemporary business wars, from dinosaurs deep inside the Earth to the destruction of an alien race on the moon.
A decade after the end of World War Two, with Germany now an important ally against the Soviet bloc, popular culture was making an effort to rehabilitate the former enemy by showing “good Germans” in the movies. Twilight Time have recently released a couple of examples on Blu-ray: Edward Dmytryk’s The Young Lions (1958) and Anatole Litvak’s The Night of the Generals (1967).
Criterion offer a real discovery, Swedish director Jan Troell’s debut feature Here Is Your Life (1966), a richly evocative coming-of-age story based on Nobel Prize-winner Eyvind Johnson’s four-part autobiographical novel set in the second decade of the 20th Century.
Fear of piracy increasingly sees entertainment industries viewing their customers as enemies.
Criterion’s Blu-ray of The Killers, with two excellent new hi-def transfers of the 1946 Robert Siodmak and 1964 Don Siegel versions of Ernest Hemingway’s short story, as well as Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1956 student film, is a fascinating study in the process and possibilities of adapting literature to film.
Artsploitation Films is a distributor with a taste for offbeat horror as represented in two recent Blu-ray releases, the German Der Samurai and the French (though shot in English) Horsehead, both visually stylized and more interested in metaphor and atmosphere than crude shocks.
Two distinguished British actors passed away in June after long and varied careers in film and television: the imposing Christopher Lee and the debonair Patrick Macnee, both at age 93.
The first West German film to address the futile waste of young lives in the final days of World War 2, Bernhard Wicki’s The Bridge is given an impressive Blu-ray presentation by the Criterion Collection.