Category Archives: DVDs
This newly remastered release of Battle Circus, an early film from director Richard Brooks, is a must for fans of Bogart and as well as those who love Robert Altman’s 1970 Best Picture nominee M*A*S*H. The Korean War still had another few months before it was officially over when this film was first released and actual footage from the war is featured in it. The title comes from a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit’s ability to pick up and move itself and its surgical tents as swiftly as a traditional circus. Much like Altman’s later film, it also features the interconnectivity of the personal lives of the nurses, doctors and soldiers alike.
Recently remastered and released by the Warner Archive, Born to Be Bad is an early, but important effort from landmark director Nicholas Ray. The film was released three months after Ray’s breakthrough masterpiece In A Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. While this film seems a lesser effort in comparison, I think much of the fault lies with the studio; Born To Be Bad had five writers and it feels like it. That said, this remaster is beautifully done and the disc comes with the original theatrical trailer, as well as a newly found and restored alternate ending. More on that after the cut.
I love both of these films. They are some of Wilder’s lesser-known efforts, but they are definitely worth your time. Five Graves To Cairo in particular is an interesting watch, as it is one of those war films made during the war. You can read the whole press release after the cut.
The Warner Archive has just released both Damon and Pythias and Hercules, Samson and Ulysses in newly remastered DVD form. Both films are prime examples of the Italian Sword-and-Sandal genre that was prominent in that country’s film industry in the late-1950s, early-1960s (just before the Spaghetti Western took over). Basically, take all of your favorite characters from ancient Biblical and Greek/Roman times, put them in a blender together and what you get is these ridiculous(ly great) films that do not care if these people could ever really have shared the same space. That is not the point. Just go with it and you will enjoy it, I swear.
Earlier this morning I participated in a virtual roundtable/Q&A about film restoration and conversion between Jeff Baker who is the Executive Vice President and General Manager Warner Bros. theatrical catalog, Ned Price who is the Vice President of Mastering at Warner Bros. and Andy Parsons who is the chair of the Blu-ray Association of America. By participated, I mean I watched the livestream of their conversation and asked a question via text after it was finished. Presented after the cut are what I think are the most interesting parts of the conversation, as well as the question I asked. While I am still one of those people who buys most of my films on DVD over Blu-ray (tell me how you screencap Blu-rays you bastards and I’ll switch!) the process behind how films get chosen, etc. is pretty fascinating.
Prior to the Warner Archive’s releases of this collection earlier this month, I had actually never heard of these MGM-produced shorts. I have now watched all fifty of the Crime Does Not Pay shorts, and I must say I kind of really loved them. You could argue that something like these shorts is what led to the original crime procedurals like Dragnet, but also, since they are told mostly from the point of view of the criminals, something like Law and Order: Criminal Intent. If you love those shows, you will love these shorts.
Columbia is releasing five of its Pre-Code films through the TCM Vault Collection on July 2nd. The collection will have five films on it: Arizona (1931), Ten Cents a Dance (1931),Virtue (1932), Three Wise Girls (1932) and Shopworn (1932).