It’s a pretty DVD/Blu-ray heavy week this week; isn’t everyday? In this update we’ll look at some TCM developments and then run-down some recently announced movies that will be coming to store shelves soon.
A month or so back I discussed who was joining TCM on the TCM Classic Cruise in December. At that time only Jane Powell and Robert Wagner had jumped in alongside TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewciz. Well, the gang at TCM continue to surprise me, and if you haven’t booked your tickets you need to do so now! It’s just been announced that TCM guest host Illeana Douglas, veteran actress (and my personal favorite) Margaret O’Brien, and Jeopardy host Alex Trebek will also be accompanying the cruise. The cruise runs December 8th-13th aboard the majestic Disney Magic cruise ship (have I mentioned my love for Disney and TCM joining forces?). You can find answers to your question and book passage on the ship via the TCM Cruise website.
I also mentioned TCM’s acquisition of the 15-part documentary series The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Week one starts this Monday and you may want to set your DVRs. The doc will introduce the beginnings of motion pictures and silent film alongside TCM’s premieres of various silent films of the era including shorts from the first female director Alice Guy-Blache, Birth of a Nation, and Haxan. I can’t wait to go through this filmic journey – like going to film school without the student loans! The episode premieres September 2nd at 10pm Eastern with an encore September 3rd.
Coming Soon on Blu-ray and DVD
Columbia Classics: A brief start with Sony’s latest offering to the Columbia Classics collection. On September 24th you can own The Family Secret (1951) starring Lee J. Cob and John Derek. The plot follows a law student who kills his best friend and seeks solace with his father who is an attorney. There’s no word on bonus features.
Kino Classics: Kino continues to produce quality Blu-ray copies of Mario Bava’s filmography for their Mario Bava Collection (I’ve reviewed their discs for Black Sabbath and Kidnapped already). The next two in the series are 1971’s A Bay of Blood (a.k.a Twitch of Death) and 1970’s Five Dolls for an August Moon. The former is considered a prototype for the slasher films of the 1970s-1980s involving a murdered countess and her estate; the latter never received an US theatrical and has Bava going outside the box – as he did with Kidnapped – in exploring the lives of a group of friends picked off one by one on a space-age retreat. Both will be remastered in 35mm with audio commentary by Bava historian Tim Lucas and trailers for other Bava films. Extras exclusive to certain discs: Bay of Blood will also have an alternate European version (which I thank them for considering that was my issue with the other releases), and the film’s theatrical trailer. Both will be released September 3rd and I will be providing full reviews of both releases soon.
Also, Kino has given an October 15th release date to three films in their Library of Congress collection: Ida Lupino’s film noir The Hitch-Hiker, Orson Welles’ The Stranger, and Dennis Hopper in Night Tide. All three will have 35mm restoration and will have DVD and Blu-ray discs produced. Night Tide’s bonus content includes director and actor commentary, an extended interview with the director, and the theatrical trailer; The Stranger disc will have audio commentary from historian Bret Wood, original Nazi concentration camp footage from George Stevens, and the theatrical trailer; The Hitch-Hiker doesn’t appear to have any bonus content. All three films have been in the public domain for ages, so it’s great that Kino has given them a proper restoration.
20th Century Fox: Fox has revealed an October 8th release date for Danny Kaye and Gene Tierney’s film, On the Riviera. The movie follows Kaye’s Jack Martin who’s an American entertainer masquerading as a wealthy industrialist. Three featurettes, a restoration comparison, the original theatrical trailer, and various stills will be included as bonus features.
Warner Archive: Are you loving the mix of Warner Archives releases, or what? This week they’re mixing the macabre with the sophisticated; releasing both a spate of horror classics and classic masterpieces. In the former category you can purchase Peter Bogdanovich’s Targets (1968), Peter Cushing in Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1971), Olivia De Havilland in Lady in a Cage (1964), and the 1971 cult classic Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. The masterpieces collection holds King Vidor’s 1929 musical Hallelujah, Freddy Bartholomew’s David Copperfield (1935), Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette (1938), and Burt Lancaster in His Majesty, O’Keefe (1954). Remember, these are all manufactured on-demand and can be purchased via the Warner Archive website.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.