Classics on Disc: August 5


The restored version of William Friedkin’s Sorcerer was one of the screenings at this year’s TCM Film Festival that I wish I’d been able to get to. The film has been kind of a holy grail for a while, difficult to find and never in Friedkin’s intended version – this following box office failure and renewed interest only after release. This Blu-ray sets all that to rights, with a restoration guided by Friedkin himself. The film is a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s acclaimed The Wages of Fear, a film I admit I didn’t care for very much when I saw it. I’m curious to both rewatch the original, and then watch Friedkin’s take on the story. Buy at Amazon

Universal Vault Collection

I haven’t been paying attention to the Universal Vault Collection up until now, so I was glad I dug deep enough into Amazon’s release list to see these, because these look kind of awesome! A pair of Boris Karloff films (look at that poster for The Black Castle, how is that not going to be good?), and a pair of 1930s Claudette Colbert films. I’m intrigued by every one of these.

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Warner Archive

This week Warner Archive shines the spotlight on comic actor Joe E. Brown, perhaps best known for his role as Jack Lemmon’s suitor in Some Like It Hot. Brown was apparently the lead in a slew of Pre-Code films, though, none of which I’ve seen. His sense of humor isn’t always my favorite (though like I said, I’ve mostly seen him in 1950s supporting roles), so the one that immediately drew my attention is You Said a Mouthful, which also stars a young Ginger Rogers, who is decidedly one of my favorites.

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TCM Greatest Classics Collections

Another round of collections from TCM, featuring Esther Williams, great moms on film, and Tennessee Williams adaptations (though, predictably, not the most well-known couple of them). These sets always look great and are very cheap considering you get four films, so they’re great to pick up if you like the films.

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Columbia Choice Classics

Sony/Columbia has a bunch of releases this week, none of which I’ve heard of. I’m most interested in East of Fifth Avenue, because it’s a slice of life boarding house story, following a bunch of people in New York whose stories intersect at the boarding house, and I have a soft spot for that kind of story. I also like the cast in Cafe Hostess – Ann Dvorak is a solid lesser-known actress that I’d like to see more of. Also on the list are two films starring Cantinflas, a Mexican comedian who was hugely popular in the ’40s and ’50s. I’ve never seen any of his films, but I’d like to, if just for curiosity’s sake.

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Fox Cinema Archives

Just a couple from Fox this week, and I’m not familiar with either of them, but the description of Champagne Charlie mentioned it’s a murder mystery told in reverse order (the murder happens at the beginning of the movie, but the end of the actual timeline), and I love stuff like that.

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I don’t know anything about this company FilmRise, so I’m not sure how much credence to place in their touted “digitally remastered” releases – these are both films that are in the public domain, and typically releases of those can be pretty dismal unless they’re official releases or a Criterion release or something. That said, both these films are solid; I have a particular love for The Kennel Murder Case, which has a pre-Thin Man William Powell as detective Philo Vance. But I’m not going to bat for the audiovisual quality of these releases.

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New Releases

On the new release front, I’m most interested in catching up with Oculus, even though I’m not that big a horror fan. It got great buzz out of TIFF last year, and it sounds like the kind of horror film I actually do like – creepy mirrors and hauntings and such like. I’d also watch Divergent, as I enjoyed the book probably more than I should’ve, but I doubt the movie will add anything to it. I’ve heard TERRIBLE things about God’s Not Dead from non-Christians and Christians alike, so I’d watch it only out of the most morbid curiosity, if at all.

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