Noir Archive - Volume 1: 1944-1954 is the Pick of the Week

A full week of classic releases and a few new ones.
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Last November (or Noirvember, as I like to call it), I set out to watch as many film noirs as I could.  I watched a pretty broad selection of classics, not-so classics, and neo-noirs.  I’ve always liked the genre, but watching so many in such a short period of time really made me a fan.  Since then, I’ve continued to watch the genre as often as I can (Amazon Prime has a surprisingly good selection of them).  

Throughout the 1940s, Columbia Studios made a whole bunch of them.  Most of them don’t fall into the category of classic.  In fact, most of them are b-pictures, but some of them a really pretty good.  The Criterion Channel has been featuring them all month and I’ve caught a few.  And now Kit Parkers Films in conjunction with Mill Creek Entertainment is putting out a three-disk, nine-film collection of them. It includes Address Unknown, Escape in the Fog, The Guilt of Janet Ames (with Rosalind Russell and Sid Caesar), The Black Book, Johnny Allegro (with George Raft), The Killer That Stalked New York, 711 Ocean Drive, Assignment Paris (with George Sanders), and The Miami Story.

I’ve not seen any of those, and have only heard of 711 Ocean Drive. Most of them are full of actors I’ve never heard of, but I’m still pretty excited to give them a watch.  That’s the thing with noir; they don’t have to be bonafide classics or star great actors to be good.   This package is bare bones, and with multiple films being put on one disk, it's not likely to be show-off material, yet the price is cheap and I’m all on board getting a bunch of interesting films for a good price.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Scared Stiff: Arrow Video presents this horror flick where strange visions come to haunt a singer when she and her boyfriend-psychiatrist move into the old house that is haunted by the ghost of a slave owner. I'll have a review up soon.

Alien (40th Anniversary): Ridley Scott’s classic gets a new 4K release.  Reviews note it is an excellent transfer, but all of the extras have been ported over from previous releases and the regular Blu-ray contains an old transfer as well.  So unless you just need the 4K then there is no other reason to lay down your money.

The Land Unknown:  A surprisingly good lost-world film about a group of explorers who discover a jungle full of dinosaur in Antarctica.  You can read my review here.

Tito and the Birds: A beautifully animated Portuguese film about a young boy trying to discover a cure for a deadly epidemic.  I’ll have a full review soon.

A Face in the Crowd (Criterion Collection): Andy Griffith stars in the Elia Kazan classic about a boisterous rogue who is pulled out of the drunk tank by an ambitious producer and put on the radio.  Soon, he is a national phenomenon hobnobbing with presidential hopefuls, but his ego, womanizing, and arrogance may bring him down.

Scream and Scream Again: A strange little 1960s horror film starring Vincent Price and Christopher Lee (barely) and (blink and you’ll miss him) Peter Cushing.  You can read my review here.

The Strange Door:  Loosely based on a Robert Louis Stevenson story, this horror flick stars Charles Laughton as a rich aristocrat who plots against his brother by kidnapping a drunken rogue and forcing him to marry his niece.  The plot is pretty ridiculous but the acting is mostly good and the sets are terrific.  You can read my full review here.

House of the Seven Gables:  Drama based on the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel about two brothers feuding over the titular house - one thinks it is cursed, the other that it has gold hiding inside its walls.  They are played by Vincent Price and George Sanders. You can read my full review here.

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