Category Archives: DVDs
At this point y’all should be pretty well-versed in Pre-Code Hollywood and all its glory. The Warner Archive is at it again, releasing Vol. 7 of the ever-popular Forbidden Hollywood series. This set features film that, while not the “best” films of the era, feature some of the most salacious scenarios that Hollywood had to offer at the time. These are the kind of morally “loose” films that caused the Catholic church to call the industry indecent. They’re also more sexually charged than most current Hollywood films. The films included in this set are: William A. Wellman’s The Hatchet Man, Edgar Selwyn’s Skyscraper Souls, Roy Del Ruth’s Employees’ Entrance and Robert Florey’s Ex-Lady.
I love the British New Wave. I really, really do. One of the first films from the era/style that I saw was Tony Richardson’s film The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner from 1962. I saw it on TCM as part of group of films hand-picked by guest programmer Benjamin McKenzie (some day, I’m gonna track him down and talk kitchen sink dramas with him!) and I was blown away by how great it was. Like many of the films in the wave, it’s based on a short story by Alan Sillitoe. Clearly, I need to get to reading his stuff.
Mel Brooks is having quite a year. Last month his film The Twelve Chairs screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival, it was announced last week that Martin Scorsese will present him with the American Film Institute’s 41st Life Achievement Award in Hollywood on June 6 (the ceremony will air on TNT Saturday, June 15, at 9 p.m. and as part of an all-night tribute to Brooks on TCM Sunday, July 24, at 8 p.m) and last night a new documentary on the filmmaker entitled Mel Brooks: Make a Noise premiered on PBS as part of their American Masters series. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at the DVD release of the documentary, which is available today form Shout! Factory.
As many of you know, I really love Glenn Ford. Like, really love. I am so excited about all the Glenn Ford media hitting the home video market in the last few months. Enter The Courtship of Eddie’s Father from the Warner Archive Collection. This was such a great film; I can’t believe I had never seen it before.
The Forbidden Hollywood collections have been bringing us some of the greatest pre-code films to DVD for the first time for almost a decade. Originally released through the TCM Vault Collection, the last few editions have come from the Warner Archive Collection. Vol. 6 has been out for a few weeks now, but I was finally able to sit down and watch the four films included: The Wet Parade, Downstairs, Mandalay and Massacre. It’s a pretty great collection – all of films I hadn’t heard of before. Vol. 7 will be coming out shortly (and I will hopefully report on that collection as well). After the cut, I’ll briefly discuss the four films that are included in this excellent manufactured on demand set.
If you follow me on Tumblr, then you know that I really love Glenn Ford (man’s man). It seems like the gods of DVD and Blu-ray also love Glenn Ford. TCM just announced a new set of Glenn Ford crime films to be released in March.
I have actually only seen one of these films, so I am SO EXCITED for this set.
When I first saw this film, I was in the middle of a marathon of all three versions, William A. Wellman’s 1937 version, George Cukor’s 1954 version and then finally this 1976 version. In comparison, this is probably the least impressive version. Something about it just doesn’t work. But, it is an interesting look at rock music and the machine and like the other two versions, is an interesting time capsule. The performances from both Streisand and Kristofferson are top notch and this new Blu-ray book is a must for fans of Babs.
As part of their year-long 90th anniversary celebration, Warner Bros. has been releasing some really great boxed sets. From their 100 Film Collection and their 50 Film Collection, to several 20 Film Collection sets. Last month they released a boxed set of 20 Best Picture winners and coming soon they are giving the same treatment to comedies, thrillers and romance. Last week they released a boxed set of 20 classical musicals (some of the musicals are from MGM, whose back catalogue WB owns), that is simply to die for. Really, my only complaint about the set is that the discs are clearly culled from older releases (The Wizard of Oz is disc one of the special 70th edition from a few years back and Viva Las Vegas is definitely from a previous Elvis collection). Despite that, each film comes with special features and at this price point ($90 retail, $60-70 at most online shops), this collection is a real bargain. It’s also a fun way to get a great overview of how the musical has changed over the years. After the cut, I’ll go through each disc with a little review of the transfer quality, special features, etc.
The Warner Archive recently released a triple feature – all on one disc – of some rare Boris Karloff films from the 1930s. While these may not be the greatest films, they are definitely must-haves for Karloff enthusiasts and are interesting in that they feature Karloff in non-horror films. The set includes two films directed by John Farrow: West of Shanghai (1937) and The Invisible Menace (1938), as well as William Clemens’s Devil’s Island (1939).