Thursday, March 07, 2013

New and Coming to DVD: Olive, Fox Cinema Archives, Warner Archive, and More

There have been so many DVD announcements of late it's almost hard to keep up with all the news! Here's an attempt to corral quite a bit of information about brand-new and future releases in one place.

...Olive has been releasing really interesting movies at a fast clip. The prints seem to be good, and there is also often some excellent cover work on the DVD cases as the cherry on top of the ice cream.

Among the titles just out a few days ago: STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT (1944), a really fun film I reviewed at the Noir City Film Festival in 2011; SHE DEVIL (1957) with Jack Kelly and Mari Blanchard; and Paulette Goddard in DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID (1946).

Titles coming from Olive in April include John Wayne and Gail Russell in WAKE OF THE RED WITCH (1948), Myrna Loy and Robert Mitchum in THE RED PONY (1949), James Stewart and Jane Wyman in MAGIC TOWN (1948), Gig Young and Mala Powers in THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS (1953), and Frank Sinatra in THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS (1948). ClassicFlix says all of the films will be released on both standard DVD and Blu-ray.

Incidentally, WAKE OF THE RED WITCH also had a 2007 DVD release by Republic.

...Fox Cinema Archives has just released over 20 new titles; the most significant titles for me were Jeanne Crain in APARTMENT FOR PEGGY (1948) and the Betty Grable films CONEY ISLAND (1943), THE SHOCKING MISS PILGRIM (1947), and WABASH AVENUE (1950). My past reviews of APARTMENT FOR PEGGY and CONEY ISLAND can be found here and here.

Unfortunately the Fox Cinema Archives DVDs continue to be quite a mixed bag in terms of picture quality. For instance, over at Home Theater Forum, archivist Robert Harris indicates THE SHOCKING MISS PILGRIM looks really good, while APARTMENT FOR PEGGY "has huge scanning lines running through the image."

I've been quite happy with the print quality of films such as THE MAN I MARRIED (1940) and DEEP WATERS (1948), but as things currently stand the Cinema Archives releases should be approached with caution, particularly post-1953 widescreen films which are being released in pan and scan prints. For more on this series, including pros, cons, and other recent releases, please see my January update.

...Among recent Warner Archive releases, I particularly recommend CHEYENNE (1947), which has been released in a remastered DVD. This Western, which has no relationship to the Clint Walker TV series, was directed by Raoul Walsh and stars Dennis Morgan, Jane Wyman, and Janis Paige. I really enjoyed it when I saw it a few years ago. I'm looking forward to picking it up!

...It's hard to believe, but the Warner Archive is already celebrating its fourth anniversary. In honor of the occasion, there's a "4 for $44" sale of select titles going on until March 13th. (Additional DVDs put in the cart also ring up for $11.) Here's a look back at the Archive's initial 2009 announcement here, as well as my 2nd anniversary comments on the Archive's continuing improvements.

...TCM's Western Horizons set, which I first wrote about last November, starts shipping in one week, on March 14th. Dave Kehr has reviewed the set in the New York Times, with additional comments and discussion at his blog.

...There's also an amazing 10-film collection of Universal Westerns coming out next week, priced by Amazon at just over a dollar a film. I have several of the movies already, but I've been planning to pick up the Universal Vault Collection DVD of COMANCHE TERRITORY (1950), and it's included in this set. If the print quality is good, it makes sense to get the set, which costs several dollars less than buying COMANCHE TERRITORY as a single title!

...I highly recommend Kristina's regular Shopping List feature at Speakeasy. She notes that BREWSTER'S MILLIONS (1945) was just released on DVD, put out by Henstooth Video. The movie, which also happens to have aired on TCM a few days ago, stars Dennis O'Keefe and Helen Walker.

...As previously discussed at Speakeasy, what was Fox thinking with the cover of its new LAURA Blu-ray? If the actress on the cover looks like anyone at all, it's Linda Darnell, Dana Andrews' costar in FALLEN ANGEL; it's certainly not remotely close to looking like Gene Tierney! Incidentally, most if not all of the Blu-ray extras described in a brief review by Sean Axmaker can be found in the original Fox Film Noir DVD release.

...Don't forget that Fritz Lang's fantastic MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944), starring Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, and Dan Duryea, comes out from the Criterion Collection next week! Glenn Erickson just reviewed it at DVD Savant; while he's not as big a fan of the film as I am, he does indicate that the video and sound quality are excellent. But what's with the lack of extras? They're so minimal this seems closer to one of Criterion's bare-bones Eclipse releases. On the other hand, the box art is terrific!

...More recent DVD News: Coming to DVD: Olive, Twilight Time, Warner Archive, Region 2; New on DVD: The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Vol. 2; Coming to DVD: Glenn Ford - Undercover Crimes; Coming to DVD: Maverick - Season 2.


Blogger silverscreenings said...

Wow - a lot of great releases! Thanks for the heads up... Now, where's my credit card? :)

8:35 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

I just saw that Blu-Ray of Laura at Costco yesterday and was like, oooh, what movie is this? I was thinking I've seen 99% of Dana's movies, but I didn't know this one and who was that woman with him? When I read "Laura" I was like... um... what? But this isn't Gene Tierney!

Great stuff coming out!

10:13 AM  
Blogger James Corry said...

Laura, I received the box-set "Western Horizons" about 2 weeks ago (!!). The "standout" (at least for me) was the relatively unknown "Pillars of The Sky" (I just LOVE that title!)in a gorgeous anamorphic CinemaScope transfer. ANY Western with Jeff Chandler, Dorothy Malone and Lee Marvin (with an Irish accent no less!)has got to be good no matter what! Shot in (I believe) Oregon, "Pillars" is one of those "big sky" Westerns that filled the huge CinemaScope screen back in 1956. the "kind they don't make anymore".....

As far as the Fox Archives, if you've never seen "Mr. 880" add it to your list NOW. It's an absolutely fabulous little move, again "the kind they don't make anymore".....I recorded it MANY years ago off "Cinemax" and the print/source at that time was terrific. I ordered the Fox MOD immediately. Its a wonderful "feel good" movie. With Edmund Gwenn how could it not be?


8:48 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

That sleeve for 'Magic Town' looks great - nice to see that it also includes Wellman's name. He isn't even mentioned on the UK/region 2 DVD release from a few years back, which just has a huge credit for Riskin and makes it look as if he directed as well as writing!

10:33 AM  
Blogger Vienna said...

I agree Mr. 880 is a little gem and gives Edmund Gwenn a much deserved starring role.

8:57 AM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Edmund Gwenn does not have a starring part in Mr. 880. He is in support in a good part of which there were many in his long career.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Kristina D said...

Thanks for the kind plug Laura! It's hardly "work" anymore to put release info together, I have the best time just browsing and looking at (& imagining buying) all the new stuff. I agree about that Laura art, a head scratcher for sure, but also agree about most of the DVD art lately being first rate. Cheers!

2:14 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...


The Joan Blondell- Glenda Farrell films are more properly described as little. Or the Chester Morris or Preston Foster films you like so much. And all of the Lew Landers directorial efforts. Nothing wrong with these things. They are what they are. Mr. 880 is a big picture. First run release, production and cast. hard to describe Burt Lancaster's pictures as anything other than important. On a personal note, the term little rubs me the wrong way. It speaks to condescension with is always unpleasant.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much for the feedback! It's a hectic weekend so I haven't had much time to respond.

I know the feeling, SilverScreenings! There are more movies coming out on DVD this spring than I can choose from! :)

Deb and Kristina, still don't know what the art department was thinking on the LAURA Blu-ray, LOL. It's confounding! Kristina, your Shopping Lists are so interesting and useful, hope I am able to help in making more readers aware of them.

Brad, that's exciting WESTERN HORIZONS already shipped, despite the info on the TCM Shop site! I've never seen PILLARS OF THE SKY, and having become a huge Jeff Chandler fan in the last year or two I'm very excited to see it! This set is a "must" for me...hoping for a TCM Shop sale before too long.

Thanks to you, Brad, and Vienna and Barrylane for the MR. 880 recommendation. I recorded it off Fox Movie Channel a while ago but it's still in my "TBW" (To Be Watched) stack. Glad to know I have another good one to look forward to! It sounds like fun.

Barrylane, I find that "little" may have multiple connotations, not necessarily referring to the picture's production values or status, but also the "feel" of the movie -- for example, perhaps a more intimate story -- or size of the cast. For instance, SUDDENLY has major '50s stars in Frank Sinatra (a recent Oscar winner) and Sterling Hayden, but because it's set in a small town and for much of the film is basically a one-room play, I think of it as an interesting little story. No condescension intended -- I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, coming from me, "little" may well be thought of as a compliment (grin). I suspect perhaps the type of story and charm that I've heard is part of MR. 880 may inspire it to affectionately be termed "little," though I can't speak for others.

Judy, I've never seen MAGIC TOWN and as I've become more and more interested in Wellman's films, I'm intrigued! Interesting comments on the UK release. I agree, the DVD looks terrific!

Best wishes,

3:39 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...


Suddenly is a perfect example. It is little. Made quickly on a low budget to capitalize on Sinatra's renewed success. Sterling Hayden, not a major star. Good actor though and in a lot of things.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Beg to differ,barrylane. Edmund Gwenn has the starring role in Mr.880. 'Starring' as in his character is the centre of the story. Of course Burt Lancaster is the name above the title, but as happens occasionally,the best part went to a supporting actor and Gwenn won a Golden Globe and was Oscar nominated - in the Supporting category of course.
My point is it's great when a supporting actor gets a meaty role and reminds us how talented they are.
Ask anyone who has seen it - Mr.Gwenn is the 'star' of Mr.880.

4:50 AM  
Blogger barrylane said...

That's like saying Hattie McDaniel or Thomas Mitchell are the stars of Gone With The Wind. Or John Williams in Dial M...Preferences are personal but it isn't just a matter of billing. Stardom is about bankability.

8:14 AM  

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