Here’s a nice set of Arrow/Arrow Academy releases coming your way this month. Get ready to catch them all:
Oops. With too much going on here and more on the way on a few fronts, I missed a few too many emails and have been getting to them when I can. Anyway, this month’s Arrow Video and Arrow Academy releases are below, all of them dropped today and I barely ducked out of the way as they landed all around me:
BLOOD TIDE [Blu-ray] (5/26)
WHITE FIRE [Blu-ray] (5/26)
THE WOMAN [Blu-ray] (5/26)
SOLID METAL NIGHTMARES: THE FILMS OF SHINYA TSUKAMOTO
[Blu-ray Box Set] (5/26)
These should do the job in keeping some folks inside for a spell, I think. Back in a bit – it’s been a very long day here.
Five new titles from Arrow Video and Arrow Academy arrive this month for US viewers and yes indeed, the UK arm of the company is also running a fine sales on some older releases. Read on:
If you have a multi-region Blu-ray player, Arrow UK has some 531 items on sale through April 22, but that total also includes film soundtracks, books and other goodies. Hey, you’re going to be stuck indoors for a bit, right? You can’t just read packages of toilet paper and cans of beans and watch the news all day, so… go get some of this while you can.
Quick post: This big ol’ End of Winter Sale 2020 (thru March 11) made my own wallet vanish before I even bought a thing. I need to get the dogs out and search for it before the sale’s over, but I think it’s in witness protection or something after all the disappearing it’s done over time.
Anyway, click here (or above, if you like) and go buy many things because you were likely going to do that anyway, right?
The comedy films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have been beloved around the world since they were first released between 1927 and 1940. So beloved that many of the available copies are blurred dupes printed from worn-out negatives. Now, the best of their short comedies and two of their finest features have been fully restored. They look and sound as spectacular as when they were first released… Here are a few videos that prove it:FEATURES* NEW! 2K and 4K transfers from the finest original 35mm materials in the world.* WORLD PREMIERES! Laurel and Hardy’s legendary 1927 silent “pie fight” film THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY makes its video debut after being “lost” for 90 years! The only reel of L&H bloopers and out-takes, THAT’S THAT!* Classic short comedies BERTH MARKS, BRATS, HOG WILD, COME CLEAN, ONE GOOD TURN, HELPMATES, THE MUSIC BOX (the legendary Academy Award winning “piano moving” short), THE CHIMP, COUNTY HOSPITAL, SCRAM!, THEIR FIRST MISTAKE, TOWED IN A HOLE, TWICE TWO, ME AND MY PAL, THE MIDNIGHT PATROL, and BUSY BODIES in addition to the feature films SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST (which includes the team’s famous soft shoe dance routine).* EIGHT HOURS of EXCLUSIVE extras – 2,500 rare photos and studio documents, audio and film interviews with L&H co-workers, original music tracks and trailers plus a full restoration of their one surviving color film, THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE.* Commentaries by L&H historians Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann*Restorations provided by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat in conjunction with UCLA Film & Television Archive and Library of Congress.
Eight hours of special features? That’ll get me to watch those first, then. I grew up with these gentlemen on the TV screen quite frequently, so I know I’m going to be laughing too hard at the main events. Those features will be the educational part of the day’s programming.
I remember both of this month’s new Arrow Video/Arrow Academy releases because I didn’t see either when they were first released (oops). Well, now’s my chance to finally see both, but I’ll be nice and fill you in on what you too, may have missed out on:
Apple TV owners, Arrow also has you covered with some nifty digital rental and must-buy treats, so check it out if you’re a user:
That Apple TV sale lasts from 3/2 to 3/17/2020. so act fast!
Arrow Video and Arrow Academy have got your back this month, but you may want to check it for a few sharp objects (ow!) as all three releases in February might be somewhat hostile to your health. Let’s take a look:
So sinister, so good this month, but I hear from a friend that Manon is a really nice and bleak dramatic flick from a master of suspense, and I like Clouzot’s work quite a lot. The other two are new to me, but I do want to take a look at these at some point.
While there are only two releases from Arrow Video this month, both are films I’ve not seen, so this is a good thing. Actually, every month is a good thing for film releases from Arrow, as their restorations are pretty stellar and in most cases, you get a wealth of special features that give some films a bit of commentary and perspective.
First up is 1988’s Edge of the Axe ($39.95, 1/28/2020), a film that I didn’t see back then, but it’s popped up in a few recommendations over the decades, so it’s now on the list of stuff to see. I’ll no doubt be diving under a blanket, if that cover art is any indication.
From cult Spanish filmmaker José Ramón Larraz (Vampyres, Symptoms) comes this long-neglected late 80s slasher classic, finally unleashed on Blu-ray for the first time ever!
The rural community of Paddock County is being rocked by the crazed exploits of an axe-wielding psychopath, who stalks the night in a black trenchcoat and mask. As the victims pile up, the authorities attempt to keep a lid on the situation, whilst computer whizz-kid Gerald and girlfriend Lillian seek to unmask the killer before the town population reaches zero. Nominally set in Northern California but shot primarily in Madrid, giving the film an off-kilter, American/European atmosphere akin to the likes of Pieces, Edge of the Axe is a late entry hack-and-slash masterpiece from one of the titans of Spanish terror.
- Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
- English and Spanish language versions of the feature
- Original uncompressed mono audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
- Newly translated English subtitles for the Spanish soundtrack
- Brand new audio commentary with actor Barton Faulks
- Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
- Newly-filmed interview with actor Barton Faulks
- The Pain in Spain – a newly-filmed interview with special effects and make-up artist Colin Arthur
- Image Gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes
Next up is Black Angel ($39.95, 1/28/2020) from 1946. This film noir is one I’ve wanted to see for a while, but haven’t gotten around to yet (what else is new, right?). I read a while back the person who wrote the book hated the film version, so that alone had me curious, as the cast made up of a few really solid actors and the director was pretty ace as well.
Elegantly directed by Hollywood veteran Roy William Neill (best known for his 11 Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone), Black Angel is an underappreciated film noir treasure, adapted from a novel by the acclaimed crime writer Cornell Woolrich (Phantom Lady).
When the beautiful singer Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling) is slain in her chic apartment, the men in her life become suspects. There is Martin Blair (Dan Duryea, Scarlet Street), her alcoholic musician ex-husband, nursing a broken heart; there is the shady nightclub owner Marko (Peter Lorre, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon) who has been sneaking around her place, and there is Kirk Bennett (John Phillips), the adulterer who found his mistress’s dead body and fled the scene. When Bennett is convicted and sentenced to death, his long-suffering wife Catherine (June Vincent) joins forces with the heartbroken pianist Martin Blair to uncover the truth… Black Angel is a consummate 1940s crime thriller which boats a suspenseful narrative, strong performances and atmospheric, meticulously lit cinematography.
Roy William Neill’s film is presented here in a sumptuous restoration, with several illuminating new extras.
- Brand new restoration from original film elements by Arrow Films
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- New audio commentary by the writer and film scholar Alan K. Rode
- A Fitting End, a new video appreciation by the film historian Neil Sinyard
- Original trailer
- Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
- Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Philip Kemp
With both set for release on the same day, I smell a double feature here. At least that’s my plan for these two.
Let’s just say that as a kid of, oh, seven or eight years old back in the 70’s, I had no idea (not a clue!) what I was watching when the local public TV station ran Doctor X so very many years ago. I do recall not knowing what was going on for a bit and some parts were wacky, but yes indeed, I did perk up when the “Synthetic Flesh” scene kicked in. Hell, I was a Frankenstein fan by then, even if my exposure was courtesy Universal Pictures and James Whale and not Mary Shelley until I read the book years later.
When I revisited the good Dr. Jerry Xavier (Lionel Atwill), and the film as I got older into my teens, elements started to click and it was all “Oh, that’s what that means!” on more elements I didn’t understand previously. Which of course means that as a grumpier and older old man these days, I’m all over this freak-fest like I’ve run into an old friend I haven’t seen in a while. This one’s pretty funny, pretty grim and completely bonkers. Oh, by the way, Doctor X sounds better and scarier than Doctor Jerry. That and if it were called Dr. J, there’s that slim chance a slimmer handful of folks might get fooled into thinking it’s a sports biopic (heh).
It’s also a great pre-code film, what with its discussion of a few hot topics those who think “well, those old movies were DULL!” might find they’re a bit incorrect about if they ever get off that dead horse they always jump on and see a few of these films. Now a little murder? Hey, that’s fine and dandy in a film about a mysterious killer. Toss in elements like that mysterious killer who happens to cannibalize corpses, a bit of prostitution and rape as story elements, plus a few old guys sitting around talking about their fetishes (hey, that may be the most creepy thing about this to some!), and more atmosphere that you can shake a few sticks at, and you get a true classic.