Indicator’s third box set of Hammer movies highlights some interesting issues about the treatment of race in popular culture.
Some more brief comments on recent viewing: classic horror, Italian crime action from Umberto Lenzi, gender-bending art from France and exploitation from Australia, the U.S. and the Philippines.
Recent viewing includes an obscure arty film by the producer of Blow-Up and a pair of lesser known horrors from the heyday of British Gothic.
Recent disks from Indicator present a wide variety of styles and genres from bleak ’60s espionage to slick 1970s big studio exploitation, charming period comedy to enjoyable if less-than-scary horror.
Indicator’s first box set of Hammer films on Blu-ray is an uneven selection of the studio’s mid-’60s output, including two of their best along with two of their weakest releases. Alongside Michael Carreras’ mediocre Maniac (1963) and The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), we get The Gorgon (1964), on of Terence Fisher’s finest Gothic horrors along with Silvio Narizzano’s debut feature, Fanatic (1965, aka Die! Die! My Darling!), the best of Hammer’s psychological horrors, all sporting excellent transfers and informative special features.
Indicator lavish attention on four less well-known, non-Gothic Hammer Films productions in their second box set devoted to the company: Criminal Intent focuses on a range of bad behaviour from murder to bank robbery and child molestation in four films which, while not all entirely successful, illuminate the studio’s versatility.
Three very different features – Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946), John Guillermin’s Town on Trial (1957) and Wolf Rilla’s Village of the Damned (1960) – illuminate the varied pleasures offered by genre in the hands of seriously committed filmmakers.
Two movies from the early 1970s illuminate class and race divides in New York City – Sidney Lumet’s Sean Connery starring caper film The Anderson Tapes (1971) and Gordon Parks Jr’s hugely influential Super Fly (1972), starring Ron O’Neal with a landmark score by Curtis Mayfield.
Despite continuing rumblings about the demise of movies-on-disk, numerous companies continue to produce excellent editions on disk of a vast range of movies covering the entire history of cinema. Once again in 2018 there were far more releases than even an obsessive viewer could keep up with.
Two recent Blu-ray releases from Indicator showcase the idiosyncratic intensity of Terence Stamp’s acting. William Wyler’s The Collector (1965) is a prestigious Hollywood production, while Alan Cooke’s The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970) is a little-known low-budget Amicus feature.