by Bryan Theiss
Even without any major studio releases this week, we have an incredibly eclectic lineup of new arrivals, including classic horror, cable show finales, rediscovered oddities and fascinating documentaries. Here are the new titles we just put out for rental-by-mail or pre-paid window pickup:
A young woman (Nicole Brydon Bloom) moves to L.A. with dreams of becoming a costume designer. She deals with normal troubles of apartment living (trying to hide her cat against building policy) and strange ones (hearing loud banging sounds all night) before making a “grisly discovery in the kitchen” the nature of which is apparently a spoiler. Bloody Disgusting calls it “a smart, satisfying thriller” that “boasts a great lead performance, a lot of surprising twists and great use of sound.”
3-D RARITIES II
The 3-D Film Archive and Flicker Alley present this collection of “ultra-rare and stunningly restored 3-D films” including El Corazon y la Espada (the first 3-D movie produced in Mexico, starring Cesar Romero), a program of short subjects, and a selection of home-made stereoscopic photographs by silent film legend Harold Lloyd, presented by his granddaughter. (This set can also be viewed in 2D on a standard blu-ray player, if needed.)
THE BAKERY GIRL OF MONCEAU (1963) / SUZANNE’S CAREER (1963) (Criterion Edition)
The first two shorts from writer/director Éric Rohmer. One stars future Barfly director Barbet Schroeder (with voiceover narration by future Round Midnight director Bertrand Tavernier) as a student trying to get the attention of a woman who works at a bakery; the other captures the turmoil of 1960s Paris in a story about two male students’ complicated relationships with an independent woman they meet at a cafe.
(From the Éric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales box set)
This haunting historical drama about two women in Leningrad readjusting to life after fighting as anti-aircraft gunners in WWII won Un Certain Regard’s Best Director prize at Cannes. Includes interview with director Kantemir Balgov.
CLAIRE’S KNEE (1970) / LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (1972) (Criterion Edition)
The final two films of Éric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales series. In Claire’s Knee, Jérôme plans to get married at the end of the summer, but crushes on two young sisters he meets during a stay at a lakeside boardinghouse. In Love in the Afternoon, Frédéric is married but fantasizes about and flirts with various women. When an old friend’s ex-girlfriend shows up at his office needing help he starts spending afternoons talking to her without telling his wife.
(From the Éric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales box set)
THE COMPETITION (2016)
Documentary about the daily life of la Fémis, a prestigious Parisian film school known for its high standards of excellence.
CONNECTING ROOMS (1970)
Bette Davis plays a busker courted by a songwriter (Mickey Hollister) and disgraced-schoolmaster-turned-janitor (Michael Redgrave) in this melodrama about the tenants of a seedy boarding house. Phil Hall of Film Threat praised its performances and asked, “Why has this one been overlooked for so long?”
DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (Criterion Edition)
Dorothy Arzner (The Bride Wore Red) directed this show-biz story about rival dancers played by Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball. According to the Toronto International Film Festival, “Dance, Girl, Dance is Arzner’s most overt critique of female subjugation (and as such, it was reviled by male film critics); O’Hara’s famous speech to a leering male crowd is the most stunning and powerful indictment of patriarchal privilege in any classic Hollywood film.” New 4K restoration with introduction by critic B. Ruby Rich and an interview with Francis Ford Coppola.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
THE DEUCE: SEASON 3
In its final season, David Simon and George Pelecanos’ HBO series about the New York City porn industry reaches 1985, the AIDS epidemic and the shift from film to VHS.
EQUATION TO AN UNKNOWN (1980)(XXX)
The new 2K restoration of this “long-lost masterpiece of gay erotic cinema” includes a video essay about the film and a short film about the creation of a painting by its director Francis Savel.
THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964)(COLLECTOR’S EDITION)
Peter Cushing returns as Baron von Frankenstein, who discovers his monster frozen and tries to revive and hypnotize him. Scream Factory’s new collector’s edition of the Freddie Francis-directed favorite boasts a new 4K scan, commentary with filmmaker/historian Constantine Nasr, a featurette about Francis, interviews with assistant director William P. Cartlidge and actress Katy Wild, a TV version of the film, a making-of, and the Tales of Frankenstein TV pilot.
THE GREAT ESCAPE (Criterion Edition)
An incredible ensemble including Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, Donald Pleasence, Richard Attenborough and Steve McQueen’s motorcycle plan and execute their escape from a WWII P.O.W. camp in John Sturges’ classic. New 4K restoration comes with two commentaries (one from 1991 with Sturges and composer Elmer Berrnstein, one from 2003 with Coburn, Garner and Pleasence), a new interview with critic Michael Sragow, two different 2001 documentaries about the true story and a 1993 one about the movie.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
HUSBANDS (Criterion Edition)
Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk and John Cassavetes improvised together before Cassavetes built their characters and wrote the dialogue for this story of three life long friends going on an international bender together after the death of their buddy. Though it divided critics at the time, Jay Cocks of Time wrote that “Husbands may be one of the best movies anyone will ever see. It is certainly the best movie anyone will ever live through.” 4K restoration with 2009 commentary by critic Marshall Fine, new interview with producer Al Ruban and actor Jenny Runacre, new video essay by Daniel Raif using audio of Cassavetes discussing his work, 2009 program The Story of ‘Husbands’ — A Tribute to John Cassavetes, and an infamous 1970 episode of The Dick Cavett Show with a tipsy Cassavetes, Gazzara and Falk avoiding questions about the movie.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
Senegalese film about a woman who returns to her village of Colobane after becoming “as rich as the world bank” and offers luxury and wealth in exchange for the murder of a popular shopkeeper who abandoned her when she was pregnant at sixteen. Based on the Swiss-German satirical play The Visit and directed by Djibril Diop Mambety (Touki Bouki). New 2K restoration with audio commentary by film scholar Boukary Sawadogo, Ph.D.
IN SEARCH OF KUNDUN WITH MARTIN SCORSESE
Chronicles the making of Scorsese’s film about the life of the 14th Dalai Lama, working with a Tibetan cast in Morocco and India. Scorsese, the Dalai Lama, screenwriter Melissa Mathison and production designer Dante Ferretti are interviewed.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS (1954)
Alastair Sim is the titular investigator in this classic murder mystery directed by Guy Hamilton (Funeral in Berlin, Goldfinger) from a play by J.B. Priestley (The Old Dark House). Includes a new commentary from film historian David Del Valle and an interview with actress Jane Wenham.
LET’S KILL UNCLE (1966)
William Castle (The Tingler)’s horror comedy about a 12-year-old orphan who inherits a fortune, so his crazy uncle traps him on an island and tries to kill him with sharks, hypnotism and poison mushrooms. New 2K master, interview with star Pat Cardi and commentary with film historians Kat Ellinger and Mike McPadden.
THE LIVING IDOL (1957)
Director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray)’s rarely seen adventure about deaths attributed to an ancient stone idol.
LOVE AMONG THE RUINS (1975)
George Cukor’s Emmy and Peabody winning made-for-TV romantic comedy stars Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier as a former London theatre actor and her lawyer who has been in love with her since she seduced and abandoned him 40 years ago. New 2K master and audio commentary by film historian Stephen Vagg.
(We got a Blu-Ray of this last month, and have now added a DVD)
MAN STANDING NEXT (2020)
Lee Byung-hun (The Good, the Bad and the Weird, I Saw the Devil) stars in a ‘70s-set political drama about high ranking officials of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency jockeying for power in the days before the assassination of the president.
A MAN, A WOMAN AND A BANK (1979)
Best friends Reese and Norman (Donald Sutherland and Paul Mazursky) attempt a heist by reprogramming an electronic vault while it’s still under construction. But Reese falls for a woman (Brooke Adams) whose photos threaten their plans. Includes a new commentary by film historians Dean Brandum and Andrew Nette, plus another one by director Noel Black (Pretty Poison) and producer Pete Samuelson.
MOTHER (1926) / THE END OF ST. PETERSBURG
After returning from WWI, Vsevolod Pudovkin saw D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance and decided to become a filmmaker, starting with these two masterpieces of the Russian silent era. In Mother, a woman joins the revolution after her husband is killed and her son is imprisoned in a labor camp. The End of St. Petersburg tells the story of a peasant’s rise from slave to revolutionary. (Taken from Flicker Alley’s Bolshevik Trilogy box set.)
MY NIGHT AT MAUD’S (1969) / LA COLLECTIONNEUSE (1967) (Criterion Edition)
Two more features from Éric Rohmer: the first about chance meetings between four single people over Christmas break, the other about men vacationing at a villa on the Riviera where they meet a woman they accuse of being a “collector” of men (Rohmer’s first color film). (From the Éric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales box set)
PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
New 4K restoration of the stylish 1951 romance starring Ava Gardner as a singer and James Mason as the doomed ship captain who falls for her. Includes alternate opening, restoration comparison and featurette.
A young Harlem poet (Zora Howard) falls in love with a music producer (Josh Boone) in her last summer before college, and is forced to confront the complexities of adulthood.
PRETTY SMART (1987)
Comedy about young women (including Tricia Leigh Fisher, Patricia Arquette and Joely Fisher) rebelling against a pervy headmaster at a Mediterranean finishing school. Directorial debut of Dimitri Logothetis (Slaughterhouse Rock, Kickboxer: Retaliation).
THE QUEEN (1968)
Groundbreaking documentary about the world of competitive drag via the 1967 Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant, which had Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers and Terry Southern as judges. This edition includes a new restoration, audio commentary by artist Zackary Drucker and author Diana Tourjee, outtakes, related short films and a post-screening Q&A with organizer Flawless Sabrina.
THE RAFT (2018)
In 1973, Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genoves recruited six women and five men to travel across the Atlantic on a free-floating raft as an experiment about conflict and sexual attraction. More than forty years after their 101 day journey the surviving crew members reunite to discuss and re-enact their experience, supplemented by 16mm footage of their voyage.
THE RUNNER STUMBLES (1979)
The final film of director Stanley Kramer (Inherit the Wind) stars Dick Van Dyke in the true story of a priest banished to a small coal-mining town for his radical views and accused of murdering a nun. Co-starring Kathleen Quinlan, Beau Bridges, Maureen Stapleton and Ray Bolger. With a new commentary by film historian Peter Tonguette.
SCORSESE SHORTS (Criterion Edition)
New 4K restorations of five early Martin Scorsese shorts spanning from1963 (when he was at NYU) to 1978 (when he had already done Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, among others): What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963), It’s Not Just You, Murray! (1964), The Big Shave (1967), Italianamerican (1974) and American Boy (1978). Also includes a new conversation between Scorsese and film critic Farran Smith Nehme, a new discussion between directors Ari Aster (Hereditary) and Josh and Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems), and a 1970 radio interview with Scorsese.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
SILICON VALLEY: SEASON 6
In the final season of Mike Judge and Alex Berg’s HBO series, the now-successful Pied Piper company discover the difficulty of staying true to one’s values in the cutthroat world of big tech. Starring Thomas Middleditch, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani and Amanda Crew.
SONG OF NORWAY (1970)
Romantic musical based on the life of composer Edvard Grieg (played by Toralv Maurstad). Co-starring Florence Henderson and Edward G. Robinson. Includes new commentary by film historians Lee Gambin and John Harrison.
SPRING NIGHT, SUMMER NIGHT (1967)
This forgotten chronicle of love and despair in the mining town of Canaan, Ohio was shot on location by a University of Ohio film professor armed with a non-professional cast and a passion for Italian Neorealism. At the time it was recut and packaged as an exploitation film under the title Miss Jessica is Pregnant, but Drive director Nicolas Winding-Refn and friends have carefully restored and reconstructed director J.L. Anderson’s original version.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
STORM OVER ASIA
Russian director Vsevolod Pudovkin’s silent film about a Mongolian fur-trapper falsely claiming to be a descendent of Genghis Khan. Filmed mostly on location in Mongolia. 2k remaster with a score by Timothy Brock and the Olympia Chamber Orchestra. Also includes the 28-minute short Chess Fever. (From Flicker Alley’s Bolshevik Trilogy box set.)
THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE
Director Freddie Francis’ sci-fi thriller about extra-terrestrial body snatchers that arrive on meteorites and a professor who happens to have a metal plate in his head that prevents them from turning him into a moon-slave. New 4K master with commentary by film historian David Del Valle and filmmaker David DeCoateau.
TOKYO GODFATHERS (2003)
New 4K scan of director Satoshi Kon (Millennium Actress, Paprika)’s 2003 anime take on the Three Godfathers story. Jonathan Edwards of Starburst wrote, “A film which shows the limitless potential of animation, Tokyo Godfathers is an alternative Christmas classic that’s full of unexpected twists, turns and miracles. A festive bonanza which will put plenty of smiles on many faces.” Includes a making-of documentary, a short film by Kon, an art gallery, a new English dub and more.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
UPHILL ALL THE WAY (1986)
Comedy western starring Roy Clark and Mel Tillis as bumbling pals Ben and Booger, who get kicked off of a train and become wanted men after their attempt to trade a shotgun for a loan gives the people at the bank the wrong idea. Also starring Frank Gorshin, Burl Ives, Glen Campbell and Sheb Wooley, plus an uncredited appearance by Burt Reynolds.
URBAN COWBOY (1980)(40TH ANNIVERSARY)
The John Travolta mechanical bull-riding drama makes its Blu-Ray debut with a new retrospective documentary, deleted scenes, outtakes and rehearsal footage.
WILDLIFE (Criterion Edition)
Paul Dano, the actor known for There Will Be Blood, made his directorial debut adapting this Richard Ford novel about a woman (Carey Mulligan) and her teenage son (Ed Oxenbould) getting by in 1960s Montana after her husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) suddenly leaves to fight forest fires. Includes new interviews with Dano, screenwriter Zoe Kazan, Mulligan, Gyllenhaal, cinematographer Diego Garcia, production designer Akin McKenzie and costume designer Amanda Ford; new conversation with Dano, editor Matthew Hannam and composer David Lang; and a 2018 conversation between Dano and novelist Richard Ford about the source material.
(DVD and Blu-Ray)
ZOMBI CHILD (2019)
Director Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent, Nocturama)’s acclaimed genre-busting drama about a teenage Haitian girl who moves to France after the 2010 earthquake. Indiewire says it “peels back centuries of racist stereotypes to rescue Voodoo from the stuff of black magic and portray it instead as a kind of communion – a communion between spirits, a communion between generations, and a communion between the dislocated joints of an empire.”