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Scott Reviews Josef von Sternberg’s The Saga of Anatahan [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Review]

Film culture moves awfully fast sometimes. I had never even heard of The Saga of Anatahan when the New Beverly here in Los Angeles showed it (under the title Ana-ta-han) about a year and a half ago on 16mm. It being Josef von Sternberg’s final feature, it was paired with another not-on-dvd title of his, The King Steps Out (1936). Now here we are, Anatahan has toured in a full restoration and is now available on Blu-ray for all to see. The somewhat-superior The King Steps Out has not yet had its day, sadly, but I’m glad for any von Sternberg on Blu in general, and for the chance to revisit and further consider this sincerely odd film.

Von Sternberg was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, emigrated to the United States when he was seven, then back to Vienna three years later, and back to the United States three years after that.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Invisible Ghost

Bela Lugosi fan alert! This Monogram horror opus is yet another narrative-challenged fumble of unmotivated, incomprehensible characters… but Bela’s great in it, in a central role. He’s a sympathetic, non- maniac this time, if you don’t count his tendency to go into trances and smother random houseguests. Savant’s review has the lowdown on the interesting cast; Tom Weaver’s commentary has the authoritative lowdown on whole show.

Invisible Ghost

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1941 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 64 min. / Street Date March 21, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 24.95

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Polly Ann Young, Clarence Muse, John McGuire, Betty Compson, Ernie Adams, Terry Walker, George Pembroke .

Cinematography: Harvey Gould, Marcel Le Picard

Film Editor: Robert Golden

Original Music: hahahahah, good one.

Written by Helen Martin & Al Martin

Produced by Sam Katzman

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis

Horror movie fans come in two varieties, obsessive and dangerously obsessive. Back
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

March 21st Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include Robocop Sequels, Teen Witch, Wolf Creek Season 1

March 21st is a big day for cult film fans, not to mention all you RoboCop enthusiasts out there, as Tuesday has a variety of horror and sci-fi offerings that you’ll undoubtedly want to add to your home entertainment collections. Scream Factory is releasing a pair of amazing Collector's Edition Blu-rays for RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3, and Kino Lorber is keeping busy with a trio of HD releases, too: Chamber of Horrors, Invisible Ghost, and A Game of Death.

Other notable titles making their way home on March 21st include Wolf Creek: Season One, Eloise, John WatersMultiple Maniacs, and Frankenstein Created Bikers.

Chamber of Horrors (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray & DVD)

Newly Mastered in HD! Chamber of Horrors was based on the classic novel, The Door with Seven Locks by Edgar Wallace (King Kong, The Terror) - it was the second Wallace adaptation brought to the States by Monogram Pictures.
See full article at DailyDead »

Horror Highlights: Funko’s Ellen Ripley Rock Candy Collectible, Hobgoblins on Splathouse Podcast, Reel Film Day, Bigfoot The Movie

Ellen Ripley in all her butt-kicking glory is kicking off today's Horror Highlights. Funko's Ellen Ripley Rock Candy collectible will hit stores soon! Also: details on Splathouse podcast's Hobgoblins (1988) discussion, Alamo Drafthouse and Kodak's first-ever Reel Film Day, and release details for Bigfoot the Movie.

Funko's Ellen Ripley Rock Candy Collectible: From Funko: "A Pop! and ReAction just aren't enough - Ellen Ripley will be joining the Rock Candy line soon!

Coming soon!"

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Splathouse Podcast Presents a Hobgoblins Discussion: From Splathouse: "For your consideration: Our four panelists (Sarah, Mike, John, and Jim) are joined by a Twitter friend (@parkerandcooley), an Academy Award nominee (Christopher Walken), a quiet coyote, and Rick Sloane (writer/director of The Visitants and Vice Academy). Can the gang survive the chaos or will they be seduced by the evil, mind-altering Hobgoblins? Find out this week!

Plus! All the regular bullshit you love: What Do Ya Know?
See full article at DailyDead »

Scott Reviews Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray]

Utilizing a tremendous premise in the most laborious way possible, Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command has to rank among his least dynamic and interesting films. Taking inspiration from an actual Russian general who fled the motherland and was forced to work as a day-player extra in early Hollywood, the 1928 film only treats its present-day setting as a framing device to house a too-familiar tale. Sergius Alexander (Emil Jannings), grand duke and army commander, had a special fervor for quashing revolutionary movements, but, as he’s living on the brink of the Russian Revolution, this task is sure to overwhelm him. Stretching this exposition across an hour of screentime, even someone of Sternberg’s genius cannot find purchase in anything of interest. There’s nothing distinctive about Sergius’s fall from glory, nor the manner in which he wields his power. Nothing in this section is a fraction as
See full article at CriterionCast »

Weekly Rushes. 17 June 2015

  • MUBI
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.Above: Bound to get taken offline by the time you read this, hurry up and watch Star War Wars: All 6 Films At Once (Full Length)Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory visit the famed closet of the Criterion Collection and recount their experiences encountering Godard's Weekend and films by Antonioni.At the invaluable chrismarker.org, Chris Marker's short film 2084 (1984) has been remixed.At its premiere at the Berlinale, Queen of the Desert, Werner Herzog's long-awaited return to epic filmmaking, garnered an unfortunate, uneven response. Now the full trailer for the film is out, and we hope it grows in our estimation upon re-viewing. As a recap, read impressions from Daniel Kasman and Adam Cook, as well as our interview with long-time Herzog cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger about working on the film.
See full article at MUBI »

Our Daily Bread #5

  • MUBI
The Moon, the opposite of the sun, hovers over us by night, the opposite of day. 

In F.W. Murnau’s Tabu (1931), Reri, the sacred maiden of the small island of Bora Bora, writes this to her lover Matahi: 

And indeed, when Matahi chases after her, the moon spreads its path on the sea.

He runs and swims after her, moving faster than a normal human being, defying the laws of gravity. 

Miraculously, he catches up to the boat. 

Thus, he must die, sinking back into a void…

…while ghost ships linger on in the distance…

…carrying another hopeless romantic, and a moving corpse—A second Nosferatu.

The moon is absent in Murnau’s earlier film, made nearly ten years before Tabu, but it is in the one he made nearly five years after Nosferatu, when George O’Brien leaves his wife for a midnight rendezvous with another woman. 

And indeed,
See full article at MUBI »

They Shot Pictures Episode #03: Josef von Sternberg

In this episode of They Shot Pictures, I am joined by Sean Gilman and Marc Lawless to discuss the films of Josef von Sternberg. In particular, we discuss The Docks of New York, Morocco and The Saga of Anatahan.

Be warned, there’s a lot of gushing, not only over Sternberg’s gorgeous filmmaking but also Dietrich, Cooper and Cary Grant (can you blame us?). Sean and Marc also bring up some really fun anecdotes surrounding these films.

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See full article at SoundOnSight »

Michel Hazanavicius: Favorite Silent Movies

Bérénice Bejo, Michel Hazanavicius Michel Hazanavicius, Bérénice Bejo Photo; Hazanavicius' Oscar 2012 Q&A Pt.1 Q. [Speaks in French ] Hollywood, next step Hollywood. A. It's not next step. I mean, this movie brings me some opportunities to meet people and some of them propose me send scripts, or told me that they wanted to work with me. And if there's a chance to make a good movie I will do it … with honor and great pleasure because people know how to make movies here. So, there's some beautiful actors, beautiful scriptwriters and, yes, I hope I will make a movie here once. It won't be the next one. And also, I have a wonderful producer who is French and I want to work with him again. And when you have that kind of producer you don't drop him off. You stay — you stuck to him. You stick to him. That's better I think. Q.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Josef von Sternberg’s pre-code gangster picture ‘Underworld’

Underworld

Directed by Josef von Sternberg

United States, 1927

Josef von Sternberg’s pre-code gangster picture – the one that started it all – plays akin to the director’s vision throughout his career: hazy deep focus shots, sensuality that anticipates his collaborations with Marlene Dietrich, tough guy theatrics, and an eye for poetic framing. Though its more name-famous companion piece, Howard HawksScarface, was produced five years later and during the Production Code, von Sternberg’s film is surprisingly less violent than Hawks’.

Underworld finds von Sternberg staple George Bancroft in the role of “Bull” Weed – gangster extraordinaire. When Bull happens upon a learned alcoholic itinerant after one of his infamous heists he takes the man under his wing, cleans him up, and nicknames him Rolls Royce (Clive Brook). Rolls Royce’s suave, quiet manner immediately endears him to “Feathers” McCoy (Evelyn Brent), Bull’s girlfriend. While a precarious love triangle develops,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The Criterion Column: Celebrate the Holidays with Videodrome and Cronos

Criterion's December release announcement is brief, but sweet. David Cronenberg's Videodrome is coming to Blu-Ray while Guillermo Del Toro's Cronos will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray. 

 

The Videodrome Blu-Ray seems to be sourced from same master as the 2004 Criterion DVD.  Extras are largely same. Cronos is newly restored and packed with extras, including a previously unreleased short film called Geometria. Check the links in the calendar for full specifications.

Finally, as mentioned in the last Criterion Column, the DVD release of the America Lost and Found: The Bbs Story comes out on December 14th. The Blu-Ray will be released on November 23rd.

 

The Criterion Collection 2010 Release Calendar (January through December 2010, up-to-date as of September 16, 2010)

 

December 2010

 

David CronenbergVideodrome, Bd, 12/7/2010, Us & Canada

Guillermo del ToroCronos, 2-disc DVD & Bd, 12/7/2010, Us & Canada

 

November 2010

 

Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times, 2-dsc DVD & Bd, 11/16/10, Us & Canada

Charles Laughton, Night Of The Hunter, 2-disc DVD & 2-disc Bd,
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

3 Silent Classics By Joseph Von Sternberg Criterion DVD Review

The transition from silent films to the “talkies” was difficult for many in the motion picture industry. For many (particularly those in front of the camera), it would result in the death of their careers. Others (particularly directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford and Cecil B. DeMille) would go on to bigger and better things in the sound era (Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford, among them). Another such director was Josef von Sternberg, whose career began at the very end of the silent era, but whose brilliance was already apparent in the years leading up to the release of The Blue Angel. Now, thanks to The Criterion Collection’s 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg box set, some of his early silent films are available in restored glory. My review after the jump:

Although produced over the course of only two years, the three movies in the set—Underworld
See full article at Collider.com »

DVD Of The Week: Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

by Brian Darr

The Criterion Collection lives up to its name, having in the past twelve years released over five hundred DVDs and box sets, generally with the best available image and sound quality, lovingly lavish packaging and supplemental features, a body of product containing a large proportion of the most noteworthy films in world cinema history. However, for every Jean-Luc Godard or Akira Kurosawa whose filmography has been well-served by Criterion's curatorial mission, there's a whole cinematic realm in which the company falls short. Films directed by women are few and far between, as are films from Asian nations other than Japan. Nothing at all has been released from South America or Africa, unless one counts Europeans' excursions there, such as Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus and Gillo Pontocorvo's The Battle of Algiers.

Surprisingly, the entire silent era, representing over three decades of moviemaking history, has yielded only a
See full article at GreenCine Daily »

DVD: Review: 3 Silent Classics By Josef Von Sternberg

Grades: Underworld: B+; The Last Command: A; The Docks Of New York: A Inevitably, any mention of Vienna-born, New York-raised director Josef von Sternberg is tied to his iconic star and muse Marlene Dietrich, and not without cause: Their seven films together, including The Blue Angel, Blonde Venus, Morocco, and The Scarlet Empress, gave her an exotic aura that other actresses and performers have tried to imitate since, with limited success. To take nothing away from Dietrich, a great deal of that aura had to do with von Sternberg’s meticulous craft, characterized by a subtle, caressing lighting scheme that ...
See full article at The AV Club »

DVDs. Josef von Sternberg and the Rest

  • MUBI
"Criterion's new box set of three silent films by Josef von SternbergUnderworld (1927), The Last Command (1928) and The Docks of New York (1928) — is self-evidently one of the most important releases of the year," blogs Dave Kehr at his site (setting off, as always, a smart discussion), and hopefully you'll have already taken in Daniel Kasman's essay in text and images on "this most perverse and beautiful of Hollywood directors."
See full article at MUBI »

For The Icon, The Shadow, and The Glimmer Between: 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

  • MUBI
Above: Betty Compson and George Bancroft in Josef von Sternberg's The Docks of New York (1928). Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

George Bancroft, that clay lump of an actor, is not Marlene Dietrich; it seems obvious but it's true. Neither is Emil Jannings, another majestically bulky silent star. Yet after the new set of silent films directed by Josef von Sternberg are released by The Criterion Collection, the fickle tides of film history and cinephilia may shift again, away from Sternberg's famed evocations of female glamour and towards heavyset giants lit like Caravaggios under Klieg lights.

No other auteur is so associated in his auteurship with an actor than Sternberg with Dietrich (I often seem to refer to them as Dietrich-Sternberg, like Straub-Huillet); yet these three films—Underworld (1927), The Last Command (1928), and The Docks of New York (1928), with the immovable Bancroft leading the first and the last, sandwiching an Academy
See full article at MUBI »

The Criterion Column: Chaplin, Laughton, Von Trier, and Some Radical 60s and 70s Cinema

In November, The Criterion Collection is set to release an eclectic mix of American classics with a bit of European transgression thrown in. A newly restored version of Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times is planned for DVD and Blu-Ray. Charles Laughton's stunning black-and-white noir/horror tale Night of the Hunter (1955) is also on the schedule for DVD and Blu-Ray. Lars Von Trier's Antichrist will invade home video players everywhere.

Those are great releases, but highlight of the November list is the America Lost and Found: The Bbs Story box set, which features 6 films from Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider's production company Bbs during the 60s-70s.  Titles include: Head, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Drive He Said, The Last Picture Show, and The King Of Marvin Gardens. Think about the scope of this release for a second. This is six films by Dennis Hopper, Henry Jaglom, Jack Nicholson Bob Rafelson,
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

The Criterion Column: October Brings Kubrick's Paths Of Glory, The Seven Samurai on Blu-Ray, Ingmar Bergman, House, and More

The October 2010 batch of Criterion titles brings a few surprises. Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory is hitting DVD and Blu-Ray as is Ingmar Bergman's film The Magician. Criterion continues its relationship with Wes Anderson by releasing The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-Ray and DVD. Ok.

Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai is headed for Blu-Ray with a new restored high-def transfer. If the quality of Criterion's other Kurosawa Blu-Ray discs (e.g. Kagemusha, Sanjuro and Yojimbo) are any indication, it is time to ditch the DVDs. This one should look spectacular.

Finally, Nobuhiko Obayashi's House is making its way to Blu-Ray and DVD just in time for Halloween. There are a few things to note here. First, the fact that Criterion is releasing this on Blu-Ray with a restored transfer and uncompressed mono sound is kind of a surprise. This is a very good thing. The other curious thing is the extras.
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

The Criterion Column: September Brings Malick, Oshima, Godard, Donen and King

The September releases of Breathless on Blu-Ray and The Thin Red Line on Blu-Ray and DVD aren't so much of a surprise. A high-def Breathless release was inevitable and the Malick title leaked out a while ago. Also, Charade is the sort of classic Hollywood auterist fare that Criterion often deals in. No, the big surprise here is Oshima's Happy Birthday Mr. Lawrence. Both this release and the recent Oshima DVD box indicate that Criterion is seriously intent to digging deeper into the director's filmography. Finally, it would be a mistake not to mention the Eclipse box set of Allan King films. The Canadian director's documentaries have never been readily available in the U.S. so this box should expose his work to an entirely new audience (including this writer). 

The Criterion Collection 2010 Release Calendar (Covers January through September 2010, up-to-date as of July 7, 2010)

September 2010

Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless, DVD & Bd, 9/14/10, Us
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

The Criterion Column: August 2010 Releases, Rumors of Hausu, Videodrome and More

Fall 2010 brings very interesting news and rumors about releases from The Criterion Collection. First, the label has issued the official list of films for August release. These include two essential documentaries by Terry Zwigoff, Black Orpheus, a box of Josef von Sternberg silent films, and 4 early Akira Kurosawa films that originally appeared in the Ak 100 25 disc box set.

Lots of unofficial information has also begun to surface about future releases. In late April, The New York Times confirmed rumors that Criterion will release Nobuhiko Obayashi's Hausu will in September. Additionally, pre-order pages for Criterion Blu-Rays of Antichrist, The Darjeeling Limited, The Seven Samurai, The Thin Red Line, and Videodrome have popped up on Amazon. Look for official updates in the next Criterion Column. 

The Criterion Collection 2010 Release Calendar (Covers January through August 2010, up-to-date as of May 23, 2010)

August 2010

Akira KurosawaEclipse Series 23: The First Films Of Akira Kurosawa 

(Sanshiro Sugata
See full article at Screen Anarchy »
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