This film has a pretty fascinating history – directed by Lewis Milestone (All Quiet in the Western Front), it was originally released in 1943 as The North Star. In 1957, it was edited and a voiceover added to make it explicitly anti-Communist and re-released as Armored Attack!. I haven’t seen either version, but Olive Film has included both on this disk. I’m not sure I’ve heard of many other cases like this, where a film was overhauled and rereleased with a new title. I’m pretty fascinated to see it. Plus that cover is gorgeous!
See more new old releases after the jump.
Olive is also releasing another late Milestone film, 1948’s Arch of Triumph, featuring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer in a pre-War noirish-looking film.
Criterion’s two releases this week could hardly be more different – a Blu-ray upgrade of Robert Bresson’s finest films, 1959’s Pickpocket, a riff on Crime and Punishment and isolation; and David Cronenberg’s horror film Scanners, which I know a lot of people have been anticipating. Personally, I’d pick up Pickpocket, but it is also available on Criterion’s HuluPlus channel.
Alan Ladd week at Warner Archive, with four films I’ve never heard of – three westerns (the descriptions for all of them mention Shane, I think) and a WWII drama. It’s tough to pick a front-runner of these; they all look enjoyable, but none of the descriptions jumped out at me. We’ll give the nod to Drum Beat for an early Charles Bronson role.
Warner Brothers is also releasing three films this week under their Samuel Goldwyn imprint, all of them worthwhile. The cream of the crop is the Howard Hawks screwball comedy Ball of Fire, featuring Barbara Stanwyck as a showgirl named, I kid you not, Sugarpuss O’Shea. She’s enlisted to help a bunch of stodgy professors (including Gary Cooper) define “slang” for the encyclopedia they’re writing, and well, you can imagine how it goes. The Little Foxes is a primo Bette Davis film, with her in one of her evilest roles as a horrible matriarch. I actually haven’t seen Dead End, but I’d really like to – an early role for Humphrey Bogart.
The only two major new releases are Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, which has been getting accolades all year for Scarlett Johansson’s powerhouse performance, and the animated sequel Rio 2. You probably don’t even need to guess which one I’m more interested in. :) I’m just hoping Under the Skin hits the streaming services sooner rather than later. I usually don’t include TV releases here, because that would just get too unwieldy, but I’ll throw in a mention for Orphan Black, one of the most surprisingly good shows I tried out on a whim last year – Tatiana Maslany is simply a revelation as the lead(s).