Crime, violence, sports, noir, international intrigue and political allegory from Kino Lorber and Arrow Video.
This week marks the thirteenth anniversary of the blog and there’s still no clear pattern to what I watch and write about! The first post went up on October 22, 2010. Hard to believe it’s been going this long, with almost 900 posts and over 3200 reviews so far. I don’t think I’ve ever stuck with anything this faithfully in my entire life! Thanks for reading!
A 3D restoration of Phil Tucker’s ultra-cheap Robot Monster (1953) doesn’t really help this oddly endearing slice of poverty row sci-fi, but Classicflix’s 4K restoration of Harry Essex’s adaptation of Mickey Spillane’s I, the Jury (1953) is a revelation of what a great cinematographer could accomplish with first-wave 3D technology; Spillane’s brutal noir was shot by John Alton, a master of light and shadow, and the sense of space and imagery which plays on multiple planes in almost shot makes this one of the most impressive looking 3D movies of its time.
Flicker Alley and the Film Noir Foundation have released another fascinating Argentine movie from the early 1950s on the heels of two revelatory releases last year. Román Viñoly Barreto’s El vampiro negro (1953) is even more intriguing than Viñoly Barreto’s The Beast Must Die (1952) and Fernando Ayala’s The Bitter Stems (1956), being a reworking of Fritz Lang’s M (1931) from a very different perspective – that of a mother whose daughter is at risk from the serial child murderer.
Network and the BFI deliver a potent mix of wartime propaganda and post-war crime in atmospheric black-and-white with Blu-ray releases of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942) and Lewis Gilbert’s The Good Die Young (1954), and a massive 20-disk DVD set of B-movie thrillers from the early 1960s mostly adapted from the novels of Edgar Wallace.
Criterion start 2023 with an excellent three-disk set of Lars von Trier’s Europe Trilogy, the three aggressively confrontational movies with which he began his career by digging into the lingering traces of Fascism which plagued the continent in the second half of the 20th Century. Impressive new transfers are given context by commentaries and seven hours of documentaries and interviews with and about von Trier, his intentions and creative process.
After five box sets devoted to film noir B-movies from Columbia Studios, Indicator have embarked on a follow-up covering Universal Studios crime films from the same mid-’40s to late-’50s period. The inaugural set of six titles covers a range of styles, from the classic noir of Michael Gordon’s The Web (1947), Norman Foster’s Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948) and Jerry Hopper’s Naked Alibi (1954) to the docu-noir of Joseph M. Newman’s Abandoned (1949) and the shot-in-Italy neorealist melodrama of Robert Siodmak’s Deported (1950). With a host of contextual and critical extras, Universal Noir #1 inaugurates another great series of releases from Indicator.