Monday, August 21, 2017

The Film Detective Sets Five New Film Restorations For The DVD Marketplace On Aug. 29


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced this past week that five new film restorations will be ready for the collectible DVD arena on Aug. 29.   That’s right, five new priced-to-collect classic film releases on DVD.

Leading the charge is director Fritz Lang’s early post-war film noir entry, the Christmas of 1945 film release of Scarlet Street.

We are introduced to milquetoast diner cashier Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson), who lives with a shrew-like wife named Adele (Rosalind Ivan).   He is an amateur artist, the only thing in his life that gives him escape from her petty torments.

All of this would remain as is.  Chris Cross working at the diner and Adele harping at him endlessly, except on his way home, after a party celebrating his 25th anniversary in the same position at the diner, he comes across a woman named Kitty (Joan Bennett) fighting with an unseen man (later to be identified as her lover, Johnny — played by Dan Duryea) and he comes to her rescue.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAs things often work out in film noir tales, Kitty makes the assumption that Cross is of means — after all, he is a “painter” — and she sizes him up as an easy mark.   Johnny agrees and they figure that they can “milk” him for a sizeable chunk of change.

Meanwhile, Adele’s “dead husband” resurfaces (played by Charles Kemper), who faked his own death to be rid of the shrew (a pretty smart move).   Between some money from the “dead” guy’s insurance settlement and some additional money pilfered from his work, Cross is able to finance an “artist’s studio” and paint pictures of the manipulative Kitty. 

Of course this is a fuse that will eventually see Cross murder Kitty, Johnny hang for the crime and a tormented Cross guilt-ridden over the outcome.   Oh, and as fate would have it, he has some commercial talent as an artist after all!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Also on the film restoration list for Aug. 29 is the Warner Bros. 1940 production of director Michael Curtiz’s Santa Fe Trail, which is often mislabeled as a Western.   It is actually one of the seven major film collaborations between film stars Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn, with the latter portraying Jeb Stuart, a recent graduate of West Point, and de Havilland the daughter of a railroad builder.   Ronald Reagan portrays George Armstrong Custer and he too is a recent graduate of West Point (this is pure fiction as he actually didn’t graduate from West Point until 1861).

The first half of the film deals with Stuart and Custer being assigned duty at Fort Leavenworth and their run-ins with John Brown (played by Raymond Massey). While the Fort Leavenworth assignment is true for Stuart, much of the action that takes place is a complete flight of fancy on the part of Hollywood script writers.   

The second half of the film focuses on the battle at Harper’s Ferry, which pitted forces led by Robert E. Lee (Moroni Olsen), a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army at the time, with Stuart as part of his command staff, against the raiding party of John Brown. 
 
Santa Fe Trail is a major studio production complete with A-list stars and with a script (very loosely drawn from actual history) by Robert Buckner (nominated for an Oscar for script for Yankee Doodle Dandy), who also wrote such screen plays as Dodge City (Flynn and de Havilland), Virginia City (also starring Flynn) and Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley’s screen debut).
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey


Rounding out the Aug. 29 schedule is Santa and the Three Bears (1970 animated film), Second Chorus (1940, teaming Fred Astaire with Paulette Goddard) and director Sam Newfield’s 1949 drugs are bad tale, She Shoulda Said No (aka: Wild Weed), starring Lila Leeds, who was the starlet arrested with Robert Mitchum in 1948 in the “great pot bust” and did a two-month stint in jail for her “crime.”


Vinegar Syndrome Announces Five New DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Releases For Delivery To Retailers On Sept. 26


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Vinegar Syndrome announced this past week that Sept. 26 will be the street date for its next array of restored Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD product offerings.   Five in all … a trio of Combo Packs and two DVD pleasures, including the latest installment in the company’s popular “Peekarama” adult-themed series.

So let’s get to it and what better place to start than a new 2K restoration of director Gorman Bechard’s 1986 direct-to-video serial killers in love classic, Psychos in Love.

This over-the-top bloodfest teams a strip club operator named Joe (Carmine Capobianco — Cemetery High, Bikini Bloodbath, Model Hunger, etc.) with an adorable manicurist by the name of Kate (Debi Thibeault), who indulge in a common passion … they are serial killers.   They don’t like grapes either.  They fall in love.

After piling up bodies left and right the two find happiness in married life and trade in their need to kill, kill, kill for a steady dose of horror flicks … until a certain plumber named Herman (Frank Stewart — Death Collector) comes knock, knock, knocking and tries to lure them back into the life to satisfy his cannibalistic desires!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Bonus features include two separate commentary options, one with filmmaker Gorman Bechard and the second featuring Bechard and actor Carmine Capobianco, a making-of featurette titled “Making Psychos” and three video sessions variously titled “Directing the Psychos,” “Playing a Psycho” and “Discussing Psychos.”

There are more goodies … an alternative opening sequence, highlights from the stage play adapted from the film, a 2016 Q&A sessions featuring Carmine Capobianco and a “Director’s Introduction.”

It was a dark and stormy night.   No, seriously, it was a dark and stormy night when a young couple — and we are not talking about Brad and Janet here — named Bob (William Bates) and Shirley (Pat Barrington) get in a wreck and soon find themselves bound to stakes in the spooky woods.   They are to be witnesses to the judgments of “The Emperor,” played by Criswell, who also delivers the introduction at the film’s beginning, which is almost word for word from Ed Wood’s 1959 horror opus, Night of the Ghouls.   

Did we just say the magic words, “Ed Wood?”   Why yes we did, this new 2K transfer from the film’s original 35mm camera is Vinegar Syndrome’s Sept. 26 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release of none other than director A.C. Stephen’s 1965 film treasure, Orgy of the Dead, which is derived from a script by none other than Ed Wood.

What a night as “The Emperor” and his mistress, The Princess of Darkness (Fawn Silver) — sort of a forerunner to Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — judge various nubile young women with a history of doing very bad things!   Horror and scantily clad women … Ed Wood sure knew his stuff!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyBonus goodies here include commentary from Ed Wood biographer, Rudolph Grey (“Ed Wood: Nightmare of Ecstasy”), who is joined by filmmaker Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker, etc.), there’s a video session with actress Nadejda Dobrev (the “Slave Dancer”) titled “Impressions of Nadejda,” and a second video session with AD Ted V. Mikels titled “Orgy of the Ted.”

Rounding out the selections of Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs from Vinegar Syndrome on Sept. 26 is director Earl Barton’s 1975 sexploitation/horror tale, Trip With the Teacher, which followed in the wake of Wes Craven’s summer of 1972 breakout film, The Last House on the Left.

A new 2K restoration from the original camera negative is planned.

Miss Tenny (Brenda Fogarty — The Beach Bunnies, Chesty Anderson U.S. Navy, etc.) is on a field trip with four of her students to investigate Indian ruins in the desert on their way to the Grand Canyon.   The four students just happen to be young women named Julie (Cathy Worthington), Pam (Susan Russell), Tina (Jill Voight) and Barbara/Bobbie (Dina Ousley)  — aka: the victim pool — with Marvin (Jack Driscoll), the only male member of the entourage, serving as the bus driver.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
After some flirting with a trio of bikers — brothers Al (Zalman King) and Jay (Robert Gribbin), plus a guy named Pete (Robert Porter) —at a remote gas station (where the attendant is murdered by Al), the bus breaks down and the three bikers soon arrive to offer help.   Help?   Help in the form of murder, torture and rape … when the final credits roll we have several brutal rapes, one dead student, one dead bus driver and two dead bikers.

This Crown International theatrical release is often dismissed as a simply a drive-in sexploitation flick, but in light of it following The Last House on the Left, and both the construct of the film and the violence that it contains, Trip With the Teacher has to be viewed as more of a combination of sexploitation and terror.

Bonus nuggets include commentary with director Earl Barton and “students” Cathy Worthington and Dina Ousley and a video session with Miss Tenny (actress Brenda Fogarty) titled “Taking the Trip.”

On the DVD front is an adult film before its time.   This would be director Roger Guermantes’ 1971 film release of Dark Dreams, which is on the Sept. 26 release schedule from Vinegar Syndrome as a 2K film restoration from the original 35mm film negative.

Adult filmmakers in the late 1960s and early 1970s had to more and more be conscious of having a plot — a coherent storyline — to go with the hardcore adult action.   A legitimate story gave these filmmakers legal cover, but in the summer of 1972 adult filmmaker Gerard Damiano changed all of that with the crossover release of Deep Throat.   Hardcore was now mainstream — the bigger battle within the adult industry would come with controversy over shooting on film or video (see: director Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 film release of Boogie Nights for that story).
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey


Dark Dreams — making its DVD debut here — was released the previous year and even though it had a coherent horror plot, with good production values, it has been relegated to being simply an interesting adult film with a cast that included Tina Russell and Harry Reems.   Perhaps this release will change thinking on the matter.

It is interesting to note that Herschell Gordon Lewis’ The Gore Gore Girls came out in December of 1972 (after Dark Dreams) and it was rated X.   And certainly the two Paul Morrissey/ Joe Dallesandro/Udo Kier horror films of the period — Flesh for Frankenstein (1974) and Blood for Dracula (1974) — pushed the limits, but they too came after Dark Dreams.

Lastly, Vinegar Syndrome’s popular adult showcase series on DVD, “Peekarama,” gets a new entry with the triple feature release of adult filmmaker Charles DeSantos’ The Sinful Pleasures of Reverend Star (1977 with Herbert Wong as Reverend Star), Kinky Tricks (1977 with Candida Royalle) and China Lust (1977, aka: China de Sade … with Linda Wong).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey



Icarus Films Sets The DVD Releases Of Tokyo Idols And Mr. Gaga For Oct. 3


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
There are certain elements of Japanese culture that simply do not translate to the West.   The obsession with turning a baseball game into a five or six hour evening event, the world of anime (and Cosplay … although popular enough here is nothing like it is in Japan) and the sexually-charged interest in girl bands and solo female artists (J-Pop).   

This latter obsession (aka: “popular phenomenon”) is the subject of Japanese documentary filmmaker Kyoko Miyake’s Tokyo Idols.   A fascinating film that The KimStim Collection will be bringing to the domestic DVD marketplace — with Icarus Films handling the sales and distribution efforts — on Oct. 3. 

The film made its debut at Sundance earlier this year, worked the international film circuit — where only the few who attend such events got to see it — and now with the DVD release, Tokyo Idols will now reach a far wider audience.  It is certainly worth a look, especially for the strangeness of it all … some things in the Japanese culture have a life all of their own.

There might be as many as 10,000 young women who are active in either bands or as solo artists in just the Tokyo area, so Miyake narrows it down to just one, Rio, a popular artist with legions of fans — she even has her own YouTube channel. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyWe see her perform, workout, travel the street of Tokyo and we meet some of her devoted fans (some, perhaps a little too devoted).   It is an interesting cultural phenomenon that Miyake captures to a “J.”

Tokyo Idols is presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Also getting an Oct. 3 DVD release date is Israeli documentary filmmaker Tomer Heymann’s award-winning Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance, a look at the life and times of Batsheva Dance Company choreographer, Ohad Naharin.

Ohad Naharin, for those not familiar with the world of dance, is an internationally acclaimed choreographer (and musician), whose unique dance-company style is referred to as Gaga (hence the titled).  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The film had an arthouse run earlier this year, which generated domestic ticket sales of $173,994 … the ARR is 242 days.

The film follows Naharin on his world travels — with stops in such far-flung places as Israel, Japand and Sweden — and intersperses tidbits about his career and personal life, including dance sequences that date back to the mid-1970s.

Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance is presented in Hebrew and English (with English subtitles) and includes as bonus goodies behind the scenes rehearsal footage, additional archival performance footage and interview sessions.




DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey



Oscilloscope Laboratories Tabs Nov. 14 For The DVD And Blu-ray Debut Of Director Ceyda Torun’s Kedi


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The highest grossing film in the history of Oscilloscope Laboratories and the third highest grossing foreign language documentary in the history of domestic theatrical exhibition will be purring its way to the home entertainment marketplace on Nov. 14 as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings.

What could this cat’s meow of a film be?   Why it is Turkish filmmaker Ceyda Torun’s Kedi, which raked in over $2.8 million in its theatrical run earlier this year.   For the record, the ARR comes in at 277 days.

Kedi is Turkish for cat; feline, and Torun's Kedi both weaves a narrative of an Istanbul custom that dates back to antiquity (cats control vermin, hence a practical reason) and, by way of a clever filmmaking technique, takes the viewer into the world of these Istanbul street cats. 

Don’t think that these cats are “feral,” they are not wild and mangy, but friendly members of the community — we get an up-close and personal look at the social interaction between the human world and that of the cats.  They share the streets and back alleys of Istanbul.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Istanbul might be a half a world away, but even closer to home, you can find the same human-cat relationship.   Visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, the old part of the city, with the lavender cobblestone streets and the legendary forts of El Morro and San Cristóbal and there you will find hundreds of street cats, friendly and adoring, just like the seven cats that documentary filmmaker Ceyda Torun introduces us to in Istanbul.

These cats have names (think: the musical Cats and the tune “The Naming of Cats”).  The names are: Duman (Smoke … a “gentleman”), Psikopat (“Psychopath” … a white cat, with a black face and tail), Sari (Yellow … a “hustler”), Bengü (Eternal … a “lover”), Deniz (Sea … a “social butterfly”), Aslan Parçasi (Part Lion … a “hunter”) and Gamsiz (Blithely … “The Player”).  They have their territories and their human families, where visits are paid and the social interaction pleases everyone.

We learn that many of the humans in this tale have vet bills … no cat in Istanbul that is injured suffers, they are whisked up and even given cab rides to the nearby veterinarian to be cared for.   It is just a way of life; an understanding.   It is as if “you give me great pleasure and I take care of you,” with that sentiment going both ways.

Cat lover (or not), mark (or claw) Nov. 14 on your home entertainment-viewing calendar for Kedi … it’s all paws up!!!

Kedi is presented in Turkish with English subtitles and features commentary from filmmaker Ceyda Torun, cinematographer/producer Charlie Wuppermann and editor Mo Stoebe, plus the featurette titled “The Making of Kedi,” deleted and extended scenes, plus outtakes. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey


Arrow Video Readies George Romero Between Night And Dawn Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Collection For Release On Oct. 24


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be celebrating the early career of the late iconic filmmaker George A. Romero with new 4K restorations of three of his early films on Oct. 24 with the 3 Blu-ray/3 DVD Combo Pack collection titled George Romero Between Night and Dawn.

Kicking off the proceeding is his first film after Night of the Living Dead, which was the 1971 romantic comedy, There’s Always Vanilla, starring Raymond Laine (Season of the Witch, Sudden Death, etc.) as a studio musician who leaves New York to return home to Pittsburgh (naturally), where he rejects working for his father’s company in favor of hanging out with a woman named Lynn (Judith Ridley), who is married … and pregnant.   Much Bold Gold beer is consumed and little else happens … Romero was not pleased with the film, but here it is. 

Bonus features include commentary from writer Travis Crawford (MovieMaker Magazine, etc.), newly prepared video sessions with actors Judith Ridley and Richard Ricci, producer Russ Streiner and crew member Gary Streiner, plus a vintage interview with Romero titled “Digging Up the Dead: The Lost Films of George A. Romero.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyNext up is the 4K restoration — from the original 35mm film elements — of his 1973 film release of Season of the Witch (aka: Hungry Wives).   Joan (Jan White) is pushing 40 and has been having some tormenting nightmares, which her therapist dismisses.   

Her marriage with her husband is rocky, so too is her relationship with her 19-year-old daughter and as the dreams intensify she finds herself having an affair with a younger man (with Raymond Laine from There’s Always Vanilla) and hanging out with a coven of would-be witches.   By film’s end her husband is dead and she’s a witch!

Bonus features include commentary from Travis Crawford, an extended cut of the film, an archive video session with Jan White title “The Secret Life of Jack’s Wife” and a vintage video session with filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro and Romero that is titled “When Romero met Del Toro.”

Rounding out the trio of new 4K restorations is Romero’s full-fledged return to the horror genre with the 1973 release of The Crazies.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
A bio-weapon gone awry wipes out the town of Evans City and the desperate attempts by David (Will MacMillan) and his pregnant wife, Judy (Lane Carroll), to escape the plague ultimately prove fruitless.    And just when you think that 1,500 dead people is the end of it … Romero throws a twist at you!

Bonus goodies include commentary from Travis Crawford, the featurette titled “Romero was Here,” a 2016 Q&A session with actress Lynn Lowry and never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey



Director Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight Heads Home On Sept. 26 From Paramount Home Media


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media has tabbed Sept. 26 as the street date for a four-SKU helping of director Michael Bay’s summer blockbuster, Transformers: The Last Knight.

The ARR for this fifth installment in the Transformers film franchise series is 95 days and domestic ticket sales currently stand at $129.8 million (with roughly $600 million worldwide).

Planned for release are a stand-alone DVD edition, two Blu-ray selections — one configured as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and the second as a double-disc Blu-ray SKU featuring a 3D viewing option — and a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack.

The bonus features are limited to the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD editions and include a half-dozen featurettes (running about 80 minutes) — “Merging Mythologies,” “Climbing the Ranks,” “The Royal Treatment,” “Motors and Magic,” “Alien Landscape: Cybertron” and “One More Giant Effin’ Movie.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Also on the way to the home entertainment marketplace on Oct. 24 from Paramount Home Media is the latest DVD adventures featuring Nickelodeon’s popular PAW Patrol, starring Ryder and his canine pals … PAW Patrol: The Great Snow Rescue.

Eight thrill-packed adventures are included in this collection, which are themed around the upcoming winter months.  It’s Tracker to the rescue when the penguins of the Adventure Bay Snow Show go missing and the PAW Patrol pups are surprised when what they thought was a snow sculpture turns out to be a sleepwalking hibernating bear!

Other adventures include a massive cake for Jake’s birthday, Everest gets stranded while trying to save a baby penguin and both Jake and Everest team to help a baby whale trapped under the ice!   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey



MVD Entertainment Group Targets Oct. 13 For The Release Of A Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Presentation Of Director Sarah Price's L7: Pretend We're Dead


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
MVD Entertainment Group will be guiding the Blue Hats Creative production of documentary filmmaker Sarah Price’s tell-all about L7 grunge rockers, L7: Pretend We're Dead, to market on Friday, Oct. 13, as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Award-winning producer/director Sarah Price took up the challenge of L7’s fans and a self-funded Kickstarter campaign to cull through something like 100 hours worth of vintage “home movies” (meaning: fan videos and material shot by the various members of the band) to compile the backbone of the documentary L7: Pretend We're Dead.   

It would be just that, a collection of this and that from 1985 to 2001 (when the band imploded), but a funny thing happened on the way to assembling the final product, Price got Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner — the band’s founders — back together again after a 14-year breakup.   

Next came bassist Jennifer Finch and drummer Dee Plaka and voilà L7 is holding reunion concerts and L7: Pretend We're Dead, with the four talking openly about the past, was now a complete story that was ready to be told … the finished product even surprised the band members and it will certainly please the fans.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
A limited theatrical break is planned over the Labor Day weekend.

As to bonus goodies, MVD Entertainment Group will be including Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic’s 1998 “quasi-documentary,” L7: The Beauty Process, bonus footage with Faith No More, Fugazi, Helmet and Nirvana and two vintage live performances — “Pretend We’re Dead” and “Shove” — both performed at Live the Word in Holland in 1992.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey