New & Upcoming Releases

The Statler Bros. Show: Best of Season 1 (Gaither Music Group DVD, $79.95) 7 discs’ worth of country music TV shows with the popular vocal group and let me just say, if you like the Statler Bros., well, you’ll find this set quite worth it.

African Queen (Paramount BD, $16.99) Paramount reissues one of its premier titles.

Anatahan (Kino BD $34.95, DVD $29.95) Josef von Sternberg’s final film (1953), about Japanese naval men on a small island after WWII, who refuse to believe the war has ended.

Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (Arrow BD+DVD Combo $39.95) Fan-favorite 1959 cult horror (partially directed by Mario Bava), a joint Italian-American production

Daredevils of the Red Circle (Kino BD $29.95, DVD $19.95) Several Republic cliffhanger serials have made it to Blu-ray over the past couple of years, but this is the first excellent one: three circus acrobats tackle a mysterious criminal whom they don’t suspect is in their own midst. Charles Quigley, Herman Brix, David Sharpe, Carole Landis, and Charles Middleton star in this 12-episode chapterplay from 1939, directed by William Witney and John English.

Django, Prepare a Coffin (Arrow BD+DVD Combo $29.95) I dunno, this title’s a little bossy, isn’t it? Terence Hill stars in this 1968 Italian sequel to Django, in case you were wondering.

From Hell It Came (Warner Archive BD $21.99) NOW you’re talkin’. Quintessential 1957 horror classic widely regarded as the best “tree uproots itself and waddles around killing South Sea islanders” movie ever made. An In The Balcony favorite for over 50 years.

Goto, Isle of Love (Olive Films BD $29.95, DVD $24.95) Well, it’s Walerian Borowczyk Month at Olive Films. This is the Polish director’s 1969 film about a thief making his way up in an island community.

I Bury the Living (Shout! Factory BD $27.99) Another public domain horror rescued by Shout!; gravedigger Richard Boone can cause deaths by rearranging pins on his cemetery map(!) in this 1958 thriller that’s actually pretty good.

Man of La Mancha (Shout! Factory BD $29.99) 1972 film version of the massive hit Broadway show, renowned for its crazy production: the decision was made to jettison the show’s songs, which caused the original (musical) cast to quit, and they were replaced by, amongst others, Peter O’Toole and James Coco. The decision was then made to go ahead and include the songs after all, and so most of the cast had to be dubbed.

Ophelia (Olive Films BD $29.95, DVD $24.95) 1962 French version of Hamlet, directed by Claude Chabrol.

The Optimists (Kino BD $29.95, DVD $19.95) Peter Sellers stars in a change-of-pace performance as a street performer who befriends a group of children in this 1973 film.

The Pied Piper (Kino BD $29.95, DVD $14.95) Jacques Demy directs folksinger Donovan in this 1972 adaptation based on the classic (and oft-filmed) story.

The Screaming Skull (Shout! Factory BD $27.99) Well, yes, another public domain horror gets the deluxe treatment, this one from 1958. Audiences were insured for the cost of their funeral if they died of fright while watching film. Yes, really.

Theatre of Mr. and Mrs. Kabal (Olive Films BD $29.95, DVD $24.95) Walerian Borowczyk again; this is a 1967 film about a man and his shrewish mechanical wife(!).

The Vampire Bat: Special Edition (Film Detective BD $19.99) Yet another public domain horror, this a 1933 independent production that used Universal Studio sets and Warner Bros.’ Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill to give itself some class.

The Wheeler Dealers (Warner Archive BD $21.99) Texas millionaire Jim Garner woos stockbroker Lee Remick in this 1963 romantic comedy that we haven’t seen but with a supporting cast that includes Phil Harris, Chill Wills, Jim Backus, Louis Nye, and John Astin, it certainly SOUNDS good.

The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers (Olive Films BD $29.95, DVD $24.95) This 1964 anthology film includes five stories by five directors, including Chabrol, Godard, and Polanski.

Walerian Borowczyk: Short Films Collection (Olive Films BD $29.95, DVD $24.95) 15 short films, 1959-1984.

APRIL 4

Invasion of the Bee Girls (Shout! Factory, $27.99) 1973 sci-fier about women who can, um, “love a man to death”; Nicholas Meyer wrote it and then tried to have his name taken off the credits, which should tell you somethin’.

The Wasp Woman / Beast from the Haunted Cave (Retromedia BD $16.99) Fred Olen Ray’s company is releasing a couple of vintage double feature fan favorites; these are two low-budget efforts from Roger Corman’s Filmgroup company (Corman directed Wasp Woman), and the disc DOES include a wealth of bonus material and promises to be in widescreen. Also available today, same price and company, Bela Lugosi in The Corpse Vanishes / Bowery at Midnight.

Miss Annie Rooney (Classicflix BD $29.98, DVD $24.98) 1942 comeback attempt for Shirley Temple, who was washed up at 14 but gets her first screen kiss (from former Our Gang kid Dickie Moore). A flop.

Psycho Circus – Three Rings of Terror Triple Feature (Mill Creek BD $14.98) We love Mill Creek, which releases a wealth of interesting genre titles in highly affordable packages. This set includes Torture Garden (1967) with Jack Palance and Peter Cushing, Brotherhood of Satan (1971) with Strother Martin, and The Creeping Flesh (1973) with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, all Amicus productions, as we recall.

Ride the High Country (Warner Archive $21.99) Classic 1962 Western from director Sam Peckinpah; Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, and Mariette Hartley star in this story of an aging sheriff hired for a suicide mission to protect a shipment of gold from outlaws.

APRIL 11

The Vampire (Shout! Factory BD, $27.99) Not sure why, but there sure are a lot of low-budget vintage horror titles being released on Blu-ray this month. This rather generically-titled 1957 film is actually more of a Jekyll/Hyde film: a misguided scientist invents a serum that turns him into a monster. S’okay, we like it anyway.

36 Hours (Warner Archive BD, $21.99) Unusual suspense film from 1965; James Garner is an Intelligence officer captured by the Nazis, who try to convince him that the war is over in order to trick him into giving them information about the D-Day planning. Eva Marie Saint and Rod Taylor co-star.

Cathy’s Curse (Severin BD $24.98) A young girl is inhabited by the malevolent spirit of her dead aunt in this 1977 shocker that nobody seems to have liked.

Demented (Shout! Factory BD, $27.99) 1980 horror/suspense film and beyond that, just don’t ask, okay?

Father Knows Best: Season 5 (Shout! Factory, $34.99) For some reason, this penultimate season of the popular Robert Young – Jane Wyatt series had gone out of print. It’s back now, Kitten.       

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Criterion BD $39.95, DVD $29.95) Previously available only in a big boxed set, this film and The Young Girls of Roquefort (same price and format) from the canon of director Jacques Demy are being released as stand-alones by Criterion, and Kino’s getting in the Demy act later this month (see below).

This month’s web-only slate of Blu-rays from Twilight Time ($29.95 each) includes You’ll Never Get Rich (1941), The Fortune Cookie (1966), and How to Steal a Million (1966).

APRIL 18

Woman of the Year (Criterion BD $39.95, DVD $29.95) George Stevens directed this 1942 romance, the first of nine films to co-star Kathrine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. He’s an earthy sportswriter, she’s an haughty international correspondent and, well, you know how romances go.

L’Assassino (Arrow Academy BD $39.95) Elio Petri directs this acclaimed 1961 drama about a man (Marcello Mastroianni) accused of the brutal murder of his lover.

Broken Arrow (Kino Lorber BD $29.95) Jimmy Stewart tries to broker piece between the settlers (including Will Geer) and the Apaches, led by Jeff Chandler as Cochise, in this 1950 Western classic.

A Farewell to Arms (Kino Lorber BD $29.95) Legendary big-budget 1957 misfire that ended the production career of David O. Selznick; Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones, and Vittorio de Sica star and Charles Vidor directed after John Huston quit.

The Mephisto Waltz (Kino Lorber BD $29.95) Answer to the trivia question, “What’s the only theatrical film produced by TV producer Quinn Martin (The Fugitive, The F.B.I., Streets of San Francisco)?” Alan Alda and Jacqueline Bisset star in this 1971 horror film about a pianist.

The Rounders (Warner Archive BD $21.99) A cast of favorites (including Glenn Ford, Henry Fonda, Sue Ane Langdon, Chill Wills, Denver Pyle, and Edgar Buchanan) star in this amiable 1965 from director Burt Kennedy.

The Scar (Kino Lorber BD $29.95) Paul Henreid and Joan Bennett star in this 1948 film noir that’s also known as Hollow Triumph, and it also seems to be a thing lately for companies to dig up better source material for films in the public domain which have tended to look tattered and ratty for years.

Spencer’s Mountain (Warner Archive BD $21.99) Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara star as a couple raising their children in the wilds of Wyoming in this 1963 drama that I remember liking a lot as a kid (but haven’t seen since).

Sunset in the West (Kino Lorber BD $29.95, DVD $19.95) For whatever reason, Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, has been scarcely represented during the home video revolution, with generally only cut-down TV prints of his many films being available on VHS or DVD. For that reason, this 1950 Trucolor Western – restored to full 67 min. glory – directed by William Witney gets our Official ITB BEST Disc of the Month award for April. Hopefully, many more Rogers films will follow.

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APRIL 25