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May 25, 2013


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The greatest, most eclectic guide available! Terrific reading. I'm going to have to buy Knightriders now.


"this really is the sort of film that represents to perpetually disillusioned one-time Godard fans of a certain age what “earlier, funnier films” meant to the aliens chastising Sandy Bates in Stardust Memories"

Plus one for Glenn.

And I can now imagine remembering that exact scene in Soigne ta droite...


"the Coen Brothers got a big budget and no studio interference on their own arguably final Full Cartoon movie"

Joel Silver buying a papal indulgence to get into heaven.

I love the color scheme in that movie. All the colors are desaturated until the hula hoops run off the line.


CLOAK AND DAGGER doesn't seem to get brought up a lot when it comes to discussing Lang's American films (or maybe I just travel in the wrong circles), but I think it's a damn good film. Like you, I had no trouble accepting Cooper as a scientist, and the film effortlessly flows from spy drama to romance and back again. I've read Lang had a different ending in mind that was cut out of the film (or not filmed; I forget which), and it does admittedly end a little abruptly, but I like it quite a bit.

As it happens, I recently watched THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES for the first time (along with two other releases from Olive Films; CHAMPION, for the first time, and THE DARK MIRROR, for the second time). I'm a huge fan of Coburn and Arthur (one of the few actors who could say "Golly" on screen and make it seem genuine, rather than an affectation. And oh, that voice!), but except for the films he did for Hitchcock, where he was adequate for the occasion, I've never much liked Robert Cummings, and I find him bland as usual here. And while Coburn took to the role and makes the transition smoothly from Scrooge-like boss to being more generous and open-hearted, Arthur doesn't have as much to do (though she is wonderful in the scene when she realizes she does love Cummings).

I don't love THE VERDICT like other Lumet and Paul Newman fans do (I still think the actual verdict is more believable in the novel because there, the testimony of Lindsay Crouse's nurse character isn't suppressed), but it's way more subtle than critics of Lumet give him credit for, as well as, as you point out, more cinematic as well.


Cloak And Dagger isn't exactly crap, but it's definitely near the bottom of Lang's sound filmography, and I've seen almost all of them. Coming right between Scarlet Street and Secret Beyond The Door doesn't help, either. Cooper is still a stiff, and to suggest that he's believable as a nuclear physicist, any more than he was as a professor in Ball Of Fire, is a joke. The guy only works when he's used as a symbol of raw masculinity, and i don't care for him in those instances, either. It's a shame Lang, von Sternberg, Hawks, etc. couldn't find a better actor for their respective works. Also, I'd rather have a Blu-ray of the underrated Hangmen Also Die.

Nice to see the love for The Hudsucker Proxy, though. Personally I prefer it to Raising Arizona and Fargo, though I'm obviously in the minority on that one.

Ed Hulse

Who knew, when we worked together lo those many years ago, that you would ever so warmly embrace (as in, come around to my way of thinking with regard to) Republic's Three Mesquiteers Westerns? I mean, when we were periodically screening rare 16mm prints from my collection it didn't really surprise me that you took so readily to the then-seldom-seen CHANDU THE MAGICIAN or Bob Hope's CAT AND THE CANARY; those were, after all, major-studio offerings with considerable cachet in film-buff circles. Had I any inkling that you could have been persuaded to sit through Wayne Mesquiteers oaters....

Thirty years ago SADDLE's director, George Sherman, was in NYC on business. One of our mutual friends, indie producer Sam Sherman (no relation), invited George to a proposed get-together of fans of Republic's B-Westerns. Stunned but flattered that baby-boomer buffs were familiar with his oeuvre, the director agreed to attend. But when told that we planned to screen PALS OF THE SADDLE in his honor, George asked with no little trepidation, "For God's sake, why?" Nonetheless, he enjoyed seeing the movie again and afterward regaled us with behind-the-scenes anecdotes -- like, for example, that Wayne took more interest in scripts than other Republic stars, and that Ray Corrigan habitually kept his head down during filming of "running inserts" lest his ill-fitting hat blow off and therefore necessitate a retake the SADDLE unit could ill afford on its ten-day shooting schedule.


Nice, true words about 3:10 TO YUMA. Whenever anyone ignorantly dismisses this major work as a "B Western," I groan.

The Olive encoding of THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK remarkably evokes the look of the 1969 Commonwealth United theatrical release prints.


Gosh, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Knight Riders and From Beyond! It's like my teenage years just got blurayed.


"The picture quality of my favored version, from red telephone to sickly green vampire family to grimacing jewelry-wearing corpse, is so staggeringly great it brought tears to my eyes, almost."

I know what you mean. I can't think of anyone who used color better than Bava. Just watched "Planet of the Vampires" and was dazzled by the colors.


"Like all Coen pictures, it’s since acquired a cult, but not nearly the one that The Big Lebowski entertains."

Lebowski seems to be the favorite movie of males in their late 20s and early 30s -- it's up there with "The Hangover" as a movie they can quote verbatim every line -- but it's not one of my favorite Coen Bros. movies. I much prefer "Hudsucker Proxy."


I'm 42 and I like 'Hudsucker', just not as much as 'Lebowski' or 'Miller's Crossing'.


Thanks for this consumer guide. My local library has a DVD of ON APPROVAL. It's a terrific comedy that almost no one has heard of. Glad it's on Blu- ray now.


I caught Bakumatsu Taiyo Den a year or two ago and was at first a bit disappointed--it is clear that a Western viewer is not getting the whole of the intent--but it ended up soaking in, with the amiably shrugging tone and free-wheeling scope of the characters reminding me rather of Altman. And it makes sense that Imamura had a hand in it, for sure (and not that I'm urging a viewing, but what better recommendation is there than that?).


Disappointed to hear about _The Fury_ Blu. I thought I remembered you mentioning something positive about it before. Is it actually worse than the DVD?

Glenn Kenny

@ DUH: No, it's not worse than the DVD. About 65 or 70 percent of it looks great. The night scenes are disappointing and display artifacts that are kind of distracting. What should be a home run is something less than.

@ Ed Hulse: Yes, I did have a bit of a snobbery issue with B Westerns back in the days of screenings at the Gramercy outpost of The Ranch, which I miss greatly. I was also more immediately interested in the obvious Psychotronic stuff than real Americana. Happily my horizons have broadened and I have to credit you and Sam S. for having put the bug in my ear, so to speak, to begin with.

Jason LaRiviere

Glenn, what's your beef against Joshua Clover?


I'm 42 and I like 'Hudsucker', just not as much as 'Lebowski' or 'Miller's Crossing'.

Posted by: Oliver_C | May 26, 2013 at 04:33 PM

I'm just a bit older, and I love the latter two. "Hudsucker" never did it for me mostly because I found JJL's performance distracting (not sure it's smart to disagree with Glenn on this point, but...). Haven't seen it in quite some time, though, and with Durning and Newman in the cast it's worth another look.

James Keepnews

Rather surprised you've only just gotten 'round to it but, now, maybe GAR's DAWN follow-up is a _little_ sentimental -- Donald Rubenstein's "finished" song, e.g.? The (dear G-d) "Pippin" character? I also want those 60 seconds of my life back from the good Friar's, um, pizza scene, sentiment notwithstanding. Beyond that, it is quite the heartfelt anomaly in Jorge's oeuvre, even allowing for your outliers like THERE'S ALWAYS VANILLA and JACK'S WIFE (the latter absolutely one of my all-time favorite Romeros). Easily one of his best ensembles -- sure, Ed, but also Mr. Savini, Ms. Tallman, the INCREDIBLE Brother Blue, &c., &c. (though too bad John Amplas was a block of wood in everything except MARTIN) -- and you get the sense he would've made many more such films had he Cassavettes' money-backers and/or wasn't so good at scaring the crap outta ya. Cold comfort indeed that he got pretty bad at the latter in ensuing decades.


I haven't seen Lebowski since it came out in '98, but I plan to revisit it soon. I've heard it gets better with repeat viewings.


"Yes, I did have a bit of a snobbery issue with B Westerns back in the days ..."

YouTube is a great source for B movies, westerns and other genres. I've been watching the B's produced by Pine-Thomas for Paramount in the early '40s, usually starring Richard Arlen and/or Chester Morris. Nothing great here, just snappy, fast-paced entertainment. Always good to see people like William Demerest, Elisha Cook Jr. and Dwight Frye in supporting roles.

And I wonder why Jean Parker, the frequent leading lady in these films, never became a major star. She seemed to have everything going for her. Maybe she needed a better agent!

rob humanick

And here I might be the only one who loves Universal Soldier 4 and loathes The Raid. That thing was just inert, and yeah, shitty-looking.


"How did this forty-disc monster CG happen, you may wonder?"

Like the legend of the phoenix
Our ends were beginning
What keeps the planet spinning
The force from the beginning

"I had been hoping to get a few weeks work on another actually remunerative project, but that DIDN’T HAPPEN."

Y'know, you COULD, theoretically, put up Amazon affiliate links to the blu's you review like a normal blog would, and thus probably earn enough for a nice dinner out via your much appreciated Memorial Day Gift...


Glenn, you probably won't read this b/c it's an older post, but:

You mention "one insert shot in the opening train robbery sequence kind of stands out like a sore thumb." This is evident in all editions of the film I've seen (35mm, 16mm, DVD). What it is, is a shot that was zoomed into using an optical printer, to get a closer view than Walsh and his cameraman had obtained on location. The graininess comes from the enlarged image, and of course from the added print generation (for those few frames). Warner Bros was doing a lot with zooms in the late 1940s, albeit largely in the controlled environment of the optical printer. No restoration effort could (or should) scrub off this record of a particular craft practice.

Nowadays, directors like Fincher shoot at a deliberately larger-than-needed resolution so that they can "choose the shot" in post by similarly enlarging a portion of the frame, with no notable loss of image quality. In the analog era, one could only do this sparingly, and only when necessary.

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