New & Upcoming Releases

June 18

The Bat Whispers (VCI BD $29.95) Roland West’s early talkie (1930) and very early widescreen horror suspense classic, based on the hit Broadway show and the 1926 original version of The Bat. We’re betting that VCI postpones it until later in the year, but just in case they don’t, it’s our Official ITB Best Release of the Month! It’s also the best release of the week, being in as this was the only “classic” film release we could find for this week.

June 11
June 25
June 4

The Chase (Kino BD $24.95) Classic 1946 film noir with Robert Cummings as a returning veteran who gets himself mixed up with a gangster and the gangster’s wife. Based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich and directed by Arthur Ripley. Kino has released this on Blu-ray before, but this one’s labeled a “Special Edition” so there you are.

The Hour Before the Dawn (Kino BD $24.95) Franchot Tone is conscientious objector schoolteacher and Veronica Lake is a Nazi spy(!) in this 1944 drama from a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. We’ve never heard anything good about this film.

The Magnificent Seven (Shout! Factory 4K UHD $39.98) The 1960 western classic appears to get re-released in a new format every year, don’t it?

Man of Violence / The Big Switch (RB UK 88 Films BD £24.99) Loan shark Michael Latimer is drawn into industrial espionage in the first film, from 1971; the other film is about the murder of a dancer, 1968. Both films were directed by Pete Walker, whose films include Schizo, Die Screaming Marianne, and House of Whipcord, so don’t say you weren’t warned.

Pursued (Kino BD $24.95) Robert Mitchum and Teresa Wright star in Raoul Walsh’s 1947 western noir: melodrama and murder on the prairie.

Saigon (Kino BD $24.95) And here’s melodrama and murder in French Indochina, with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in their fourth and final pairing. WWII vets run a smuggling racket, and it doesn’t turn out well. Directed by Leslie Fenton, 1947.

Anna Boleyn (a/k/a Deception) (Kino BD $29.95) 1920 German historical film directed by Ernst Lubitsch when he was still working in Germany; Henny Porten is the ill-fated Anne and Emil Jannings is Henry VIII, he is, Henry VIII he is, he is.

Chinatown / The Two Jakes (Paramount 4K UHD $39.98) Well, nobody ever went broke re-releasing Chinatown and its sequel, now, did they?

Macbeth (Kino BD $29.95) A low-budget version of the Shakespeare classic, directed by and starring Orson Welles in 1948, and released by – get this – Republic Pictures. Is this a hoax? A dream? An imaginary story? No, it’s Hollywood, my friends. Not bad at all (although one shouldn’t compare it with Olivier’s Hamlet, also released that year and a Best Picture winner) with Jeanette Nolan as Lady Macbeth and a fine array of supporting talent, including Edgar Barrier, Alan Napier, Roddy McDowall, Dan O’Herlihy, Lurene Tuttle, and Gus Schilling(!). Interestingly, while the previous Olive Signature edition included both the 1948 (with Scottish dialect) and 1950 (cut down by 20 min. and with dubbed all-English dialog), this edition seems to only include the 1948 version.

The Music Lovers (RB UK BFI £16.99) Ken Russell’s 1971 biography of Tchaikovsky. We’ve never been drawn to Mr. Russell’s eccentric cinematic style. Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson star.

The North Star / Armored Attack! (Kino BD $29.95) Kino continues to re-release previous Olive Films presentations. The North Star is a 1943 Lewis Milestone film in which the Nazis are the bad guys and the Russians are the good guys; Armored Attack! Is a 1957 re-edited version in which the Russians are the villains.

Obsession (a/k/a The Hidden Room) (Indicator US BD $19.99) When a psychiatrist discovers his wife is unfaithful, he plans the perfect murders in this 1949 British noir directed by Edward Dmytryk starring Robert Newton, Phil Brown, and Sally Gray.

Prison Walls - Abashiri Prison I-III (1965-1972) (Masters of Cinema US BD $59.95) From the Eureka! website: "Constructed in the late nineteenth century to house political prisoners, Japan’s infamous Abashiri Prison served as the inspiration for a popular and prolific run of yakuza movies released between 1965 and 1972. The Masters of Cinema series is proud to present the first three entries in this landmark series, directed by the “King of Cult” Teruo Ishii and starring a titan of Japanese genre cinema, Ken Takakura." Titles are Abashiri Prison, Another Abashiri Prison Story, and Abashiri Prison: Saga of Homesickness.

The Shop at Sly Corner (a/k/a Code of Scotland Yard) (Indicator US BD $19.99) Ever notice how British films were routinely re-titled for American release, and sometimes vice-versa? This is a 1947 George King film with Oskar Homolka as an antique dealer whose life falls apart due to a blackmailer.

Tomorrow We Live (a/k/a At Dawn we Die; see, we told you!) (Indicator US BD $19.99) 1942 film about the French Resistance, directed by George King and starring Greta Gynt and Hugh Sinclair.

Victims of Sin (a/k/a Víctimas del Pecado; see, sometimes they just translate the title. It’s complicated) (Criterion BD $39.95, DVD $29.95) Wildly popular Mexican musical drama from 1951, directed by Emilio Fernández.

The Whole Truth (a/k/a Where Can You Find a Reasonably-Priced Cucumber in this Town?, and you’re right, we just made that one up, good catch)(Indicator US BD $19.99) Boy, after all that, we forgot what the movie is about. It was made in 1958, and it’s something about murder and betrayal in France, although the cast includes the definitely-not-French Stewart Granger, George Sanders, and Donna Reed.

Act of Violence (Warner Archive BD $21.99) Ex-POWs from a German camp have bones to pick with each other in this 1948 drama with Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, and Janet Leigh, directed by Fred Zinnemann.

Bandits of Orgosolo (Radiance US BD $39.95) Falsely accused of stealing sheep, a shepherd is forced to steal sheep and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this plot myself. Vittorio de Seta directed, 1961.

Common Law Wife and Jennie: Wife/Child - Backwoods Double Feature (Film Masters BD $29.95) Hillbillysploitation at its finest, if that’s not an oxymoron. The former is an uncompleted 1960 film that was finished and turned into a sleazy melodrama three years later; the latter is from 1968 and we were afraid to even look up the plot of the film. We can guess.

The Flash – Complete Series (Warner Archive BD $55.99) Police forensic scientist Barry Allen is struck by lightning and becomes the Fastest Man Alive, a/k/a the Scarlet Speedster, in this 1990 TV series starring John Wesley Shipp, who later played the Flash’s dad in a future TV series but that may have been an alternate earth under crisis. We generally liked the show, which only ran one season, but felt it didn’t go “full on” comic book with the villains, although Mark Hamill memorably played the Trickster.

The Man I Love (Warner Archive BD $21.99) Dames, gangsters, merchant seamen, torch songs – it’s still the same old story. Ida Lupino, Robert Alda, and Bruce Bennett (a/k/a Herman Brix) star; directed by Raoul Walsh, 1947.

Matinee (Shout! Factory 4K UHD $39.98) John Goodman is a thinly-disguised William Castle, Schlockmeister Supreme, in Joe Dante’s affectionate 1993 tribute to 1950s monster movies.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Warner Archive BD $21.99) In 1941, could Alfred Hitchcock direct a screwball comedy with Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard? Well, he could, but he shouldn’t have.

Never Open That Door (Flicker Alley BD $39.98) Well, THIS is different: an Argentinian film noir from 1952 based on a pair of short stories by Cornell Woolrich.

The Shining Hour (Warner Archive BD $21.99) Joan Crawford is a New York dancer who wants to find a husband and settle down in this romantic drama directed by Frank Borzage, 1938. Margaret Sullavan, Robert Young, Melvyn Douglas, and Hattie McDaniel co-star.

Sympathy for the Underdog (Radiance US BD $39.95) An ex-con seeks to regain control of his gang in this 1971 Japanese film directed by Kinji Fukasaku.

Taxi Driver (Sony 4K UHD $45.99) Directed by Martin Scorsese, 1976, and I can’t tell you anything about this film without talkin’ to you, yeah, talkin’ to you.