Results tagged “Classic”

Battleground (1949) Blu-ray Review: War is Hell, But This is Far From That

The Warner Archive Collection unveils a marvelous, meticulously restored look this WWII classic.
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Initially advertised to the public as "The First Great Picture of the Second World War!", William A. Wellman's 1949 epic Battleground certainly lives up to its own hype ‒ something very few films can truly lay claim to. Sporting an all-star cast that was trained by twenty veterans from the actual events the film's story is based on ‒ a heroic assembly the history books dubbed "The Battered Bastards of Bastogne" ‒ the two-time Oscar winner from writer Robert Pirosh (who won a total of three awards for this work) lives to fight another day thanks to another spectacular catalogue

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Blu-ray Review: A Great Day for Movie Lovers

The Warner Archive Collection brings us the groundbreaking precursor to the revenge film genre in what is easily one of the most beautiful transfers of the year.
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A stranger arrives in a small town, only to discover he isn't wanted. While such a premise may have been quintessential in the storyline of every other classic oater western made in the '30s and '40s ‒ to say nothing of many a hicksploitation thriller that graced grimy screen throughout the '60s and '70s ‒ said diegesis has never been more at home than in John Sturges' 1955 Bad Day at Black Rock. Here, in a performance that would earn him a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival that same year, the one and only Spencer Tracy portrays

The Vampire Bat (1933) Blu-ray Review: Restored and Ready to Leave Its Mark

The best B horror movie Universal Studios never made receives a beautiful makeover from the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Detective.
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Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time is all it takes. And when it comes to fairly forgotten B horror pictures from Poverty Row during the 1930s, Frank R. Strayer's underrated gem The Vampire Bat essentially flew down from the skies and into motion picture history just for its impeccable timing alone. Filmed at night on leftover sets from earlier big studio productions and rounding up a fine cast from various other recent horror hits ‒ independent or otherwise ‒ this 1933 chiller from mystery/thriller writer Edward T. Lowe Jr. has all of the heart, humor, and

Dark Passage / On Dangerous Ground Blu-ray Reviews: Bogie. Bacall. Lupino. Ryan. Sold.

The Warner Archive Collection shows us its dark side with two more gems from the fabulous world of film noir.
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While history's greatest philosophers wise men may have brought forth many a pertinent question as to the purpose and situation of the human race, it was a total wise-ass the history books have unapologetically miscredited as a guy named Murphy who really seemed to hit the nail on the head with the phrase "Anything that can go wrong, will." In fact, Murphy's Law is one of the few philosophies which can be applied into storytelling without fear of alienating an audience, because if there's one thing any adult who has ever had to work for a living can tell you,

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Blu-ray Review: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

The motion picture that single-handedly brought about the fall of the Hays Code receives a fearless restoration from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Sixteen years after Elizabeth Taylor transcended from child actress into a full-fledged "adult" in Father of the Bride ‒ wherein, it should be noted, she entered her first of eight failed marriages ‒ the still-famous actress showed us just how big of a girl she could be. In every respect. For here, in 1966's motion picture landmark, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, we see a 32-year-old Liz donning more than a little stage padding as she stars alongside her most "popular" husband, Richard Burton, as Martha: an obnoxious, alcoholic, middle-aged shrew whose outward vulgarity is only complimented by the infinite

Father of the Bride (1950) Blu-ray Review: RSVP to the WAC BD ASAP

The original classic receives a makeover to die for thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.
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Let's take a brief gander at marriage, folks. While many of us are keen to issue a timeless, fool proof slice of advice when it comes to matrimony ‒ that of "Don't do it, it's not worth it" ‒ the fact is those darn kids never listen to us. Just ask Spencer Tracy's Stanley T. Banks in the three-time Oscar-nominated, AFI-approved 1950 classic, Father of the Bride. Though the trendsetting favorite is one of the few instances where a Steve Martin remake garnered critical praise (yes, we're still upset over that Pink Panther reboot), the original film possesses its own

Alfred the Great (1969) DVD Review: Greater Things Have Happened

The Warner Archive Collection presents the home video debut of this legendary box office failure featuring a young Ian McKellen.
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Sprawling epics were all the rage in the 1950s, with fantastical biblical yarns and timeless tales of undefeatable conquerors popping up in theaters near and far, usually presented to eager audiences via the modern miracle of of CinemaScope and stereo sound. And yet, long after American filmgoers had had their fill of wildly inaccurate and often preposterous cinematic blockbusters which damn near bankrupted Hollywood's biggest studios, the Brits decided it was their turn to rewrite history and produce a large-scale saga which people would avoid in droves. Thus, Alfred the Great ‒ the UK's 1969 throwback to the great epics

When a Feller Needs a Friend (1932) DVD Review: How About a Break Instead?

The Warner Archive Collection dusts off one of the sappiest, nerve-wracking, Depression-era family melodramas ever made. Enjoy.
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While I am always eager to point out how wretched contemporary filmmaking seems to have become, I can never dismiss the notion that bad movies have been getting cranked out by Hollywood since the beginning. In fact, as the type of feller who appreciates that certain kind of maligned movie manufacturing (see: just about any of my articles), I don't mind discovering a previously unseen Tinseltown atrocity from yesteryear in the least bit. That is, until I stumble across something as wretched as When a Feller Needs a Friend, of course. That's when I feel like gnawing my own arm

Binge-Worthy Collections from the Warner Archive

From forgotten comedy duos to early travelogues to matinee cowboy pictures, the WAC has just a bit of everything for classic film collectors.
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In this time where people will often sit and binge-watch an entire television series, half of the population gleefully engages in such sittings regularly, while the other half will sit and wonder why the term "binge-watch" was added to the dictionary, especially since there was already a perfectly good word selected for marathon viewings in the first place: "marathon." But no matter what side of the vernacular you're on, there truly is nothing quite like being able to sit down and get a good proper feel for a particular performer or series. Thankfully, even film history's lesser-remembered talents continue to

Moby Dick (1930) DVD Review: The Version You Never Thought Possible

For those of you who think they know Dick, the WAC salutes you.
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Anyone who has seen a single Hollywood adaptation of a classic (or even contemporary) work of literature knows full well how much Tinseltown can change even the most simple of premises. Sometimes, liberties are taken in the scriptwriting and/or filmmaking processes because of budgetary restraints or per the request of certain thespians who probably never had a very good grip on the subject matter to begin with. In other instances, time-honored tales are completely rewritten in the bold attempt at making them seem "fresh" ‒ a move which usually culminates in widely distributed box office debuts that would fare far

Strange and Unusual Christmas Films DVD Review: I Am in Hell, Help Me

Alpha Video compiles a selection of creepy shorts guaranteed to leave your mattress well soiled.
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A longstanding idiom states "'Tis better to give than to receive" ‒ and that theory definitely holds true with Alpha Video's nightmarish gathering of vintage Christmas shorts, newly compiled and released to DVD-R. From live-action horror to unsettling animation and even bed-wetting puppet play, Strange and Unusual Christmas Films is quite possibly the greatest gift you could give to someone this season, whether they're into the whole holiday thing or not. The assortment of oddities begins with a condensed Castle Films version of the 1945 Czech treat, A Christmas Dream, which actually won an award once upon a time. The

Michael Collins / Man in the Wilderness Blu-ray Reviews: Super Heroes

The Warner Archive Collection brings us both a legendary man and a man of legend in these two High-Def offerings.
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Some things simply go well together, hands down. Things like chocolate and peanut butter, Burt and Loni, and ‒ of course ‒ the fine art of combining totally true stories with complete and utter bullshit. And apart from politics and people on social media who should not be permitted to access the Internet, there is no great force behind blending fact with fiction than Hollywood. And for those of you who can't handle a little truth without a bit of falsehoods being thrown into the fray, these two "true stories" ‒ recently released to Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze Blu-ray Review: A Hero? Yes. Super? Hell, No.

One of the pulp world's first heroes makes for one of film world's worst zeroes.
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Lately, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been threatening all of mankind by announcing he is slated to star in one remake after another, including a short-lived, fleeting fantasy of a new version of Big Trouble in Little China and ‒ more recently ‒ the reboot of a footnote in the revised American Superhero book, the Doc Savage franchise. And though no such crimes have been perpetrated as of this writing, I almost think a re-envisioning of Doc Savage is in order. Not necessarily because I would support it (I wouldn't), but because it couldn't possibly be any worse than the

Crime or Climb: Tails of Scaling and Failing from the Warner Archive

Sean Connery ascends, George Hamilton pretends, and Don Siegel defends in this trio from the WAC.
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It is oft said one must reach the top in order to succeed, and this trio of minor motion pictures from Hollywood's past can serve as a painful reminder of how much of a fall you're in for should you slip up somewhere along the line. And both of those terrible analogies certainly come into play in the 1982 Warner Bros. drama, Five Days, One Summer, for it quite literally has to do with mountain climbing. But before you get your hopes up, this is not the sort of exciting cinematic fare like you might find in The Eiger Sanction.

Edward G. Robinson Breaks Out of the Warner Archive Collection!

Yeah, a quartet of individual titles starring classic Hollywood's perennial tough guy make their DVD debuts, see?
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Compared to the infinite number of indistinguishable pretty boys popping up in one forgettable flick after another today, there could only have been one Edward G. Robinson. Hailing from a time in Tinseltown when tough guys could be larger-than-life no matter how short and squatty they may have been, Robinson's noticeable lack of height (or a handsome mug) may have prevented him from landing more romantic, nice guy roles, but his natural grumpy-looking demeanor soon found him shooting up the ladder of success in 1931 when he landed the lead in the crime drama classic Little Caesar. This pivotal role

Stablemates / Lord Jeff DVD Reviews: A Double Dose of Rooney

The Warner Archive Collection slips us a couple of Mickeys (with plenty of Wood) in these two rarely-seen gems.
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The late Mickey Rooney made a sizeable impact on classic cinema, leaving behind a list of motion picture and television appearances tallying well over 300. With a résumé like that, it may be quite some time before all titles are present and accounted for on home video (and even then, it's unlikely we'll see everything). Nevertheless, the Warner Archive Collection and it's many Mickey Rooney fans working there have been doing their best to fill in the gaps to their abilities. Two recent releases from the WAC marked the home video debuts of MGM's Stablemates and Lord Jeff, both released

The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959) Blu-ray Review: Beheading Your Way

The outright evil, bloodthirsty cousin of 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon' makes its long-awaited splash to home video courtesy a beautiful HD release by Olive Films.
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Generally, motion pictures which owe their entire existence to the success of an entirely different (and more popular) feature have very little to offer the overall history of cinema itself other than its ‒ sometimes blatant ‒ connection to its source of inspiration. It's even harder to have an affect on the world of film when your movie happens to be an obvious "rip-off" of a horror film, especially if it was made during a time when horror movies provided audiences little more than an excuse for teenagers to make out at the drive-in. Or terrorize the really small, impressionable

Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 10 DVD Review: The End of an Era? Not Quite!

The Warner Archive Collection unveils its final 'Forbidden Hollywood' set with a fine gathering of controversial and naughty gems from the pre-Code days.
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It has been a full ten years since the first Forbidden Hollywood collection wandered into our lives courtesy the Turner Classic Movie Archives. Since then, the multiple film/disc series has moved over to the Warner Archive Collection for distribution, and has given viewers around the world a chance to see a few forgotten ditties that wound up becoming buried by the sands of time. And while it is with a heavy heart that I report this latest installment in the franchise ‒ Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 10 ‒ is to be the final chapter in this series, I am pleased to

The Angry Hills (1959) DVD Review: The Precursor to the 007 Franchise?

Ever wonder what might have happened had James Bond been born an American and started out in World War II? The Warner Archive Collection may have the answer.
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The late great production designer Ken Adam left behind a legacy which no mere mortal could ever live up to. The immaculate lairs he designed and constructed for Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb as well as several monumentally iconic James Bond movies ‒ whether they were in outer space, underwater, or inside of a dormant volcano ‒ have since gone on to astonish and inspire, with plenty of room left over for parody to boot. But shortly before the German-born award winner started designing his first 007 set on Dr.

The Whip Hand (1951) DVD Review: RKO Sets its Sights to Start Seeing Red

The Warner Archive Collection uncovers a fun little flick about reeling in one big Commie plot.
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There are many ways a film can become outdated. Our increasingly advancing world of technological wonders has made countless science fiction films archaic. Obsessions with keeping fit have resulted in reanimated individuals with rigor mortis able to run in zombie movies. Shifting political and economic winds have turned allies into enemies in stories of war. But of all the things which date a motion picture, none has the ability to alienate quite as much as employing a current trend or popular saying in a feature. Mullets may have been "in" at one fashionably challenged point in time (see: hipsters) ‒
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