My Two Cents
Monday, 05 April 2021 19:00

The Legend of Drunken Master from Warner Archive, plus Island at the Top of the World on Disney+, a Soviet Lord of the Rings & more!

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We’ve got some interesting news to report here at The Bits today...

First, the Warner Archive Collection has announced a number of new Blu-ray releases that are coming soon from the label, including Drunken Master II (1994 – aka The Legend of Drunken Master) starring Jackie Chan (mastered from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative), The Private Lives of Elizabeth & Essex (1939), They Won’t Believe Me (1947), The Yearling (1946), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), and Athena (1954). Street dates are TBA.

Arrow Video has announced its June release slate, which is set to include Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage in 4K Ultra HD, as well as Sam Peckinpah’s Major Dundee, Masumura Yasuzo’s Irezumi, Jill Gevargizian’s The Stylist, and a 5-film box set of Italian crime films called Years of Lead that includes Like Rabid Dogs, Savage Three, No, The Case is Happily Resolved, and Colt 38: Special Squad. [Read on here...]

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Meanwhile, Screen Media has set Willy’s Wonderland for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/13. The film stars Nicolas Cage.

We’ve learned that Universal intends to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Dracula later this year, so there’s likely to be a new Blu-ray reissue of that film and (dare we hope?) the possibility of a 4K release of the film too. That isn’t confirmed by any means, so don’t expect it, but the title would certainly sell well on 4K UHD if the studio does decide to release it on the format.

In streaming news, one of my favorite childhood movies—Robert Stevenson’s Island at the Top of the World (1974)—has just been added to Disney+ and I’m thrilled it say that it holds up every bit as well today as I remembered it. Zeppelins, Vikings, orcas, volcanoes, David Hartman, and Mako. What’s not to love? The film is worth watching for the Maurice Jarre score and Peter Ellenshaw matte paintings alone. And if I recall correctly, it ran in theaters as a double-feature with the animated Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, which made it just about the perfect Saturday afternoon experience for 7-year-old me. Do give the film a look if you’re interested. And thanks to my friend Robert Meyer Burnett for the heads-up.

Any fans of The Lord of the Rings out there? You may be curious to know that a Soviet made-for-TV adaptation of the story from 1991 has just surfaced on YouTube. You can read about it here at The Guardian and you can actually watch it here (Part 1) and here (Part 2). Looks like a cheesy hoot. (Note that auto-generated English subtitle translation is available.) Thanks to Bits reader Joe G for alerting us to that.

While we’re talking about rare films that you can watch online, Roman Kroitor is a name that every good cinephile should know. This groundbreaking Canadian filmmaker was at the forefront of the cinéma vérité documentary movement. He later co-founded IMAX, and his work inspired no less than Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas. Ars Technica has a great profile of Kroitor up for you to check out, and the National Film Board of Canada now has eight of Kroiter’s films available for free viewing online here. Do check them out.

Also today, our friends at Kaleidescape have just announced a new promotion with Sony Electronics. Anyone who purchases one of four Sony 4K home theater projectors—models VPL-GTZ380, VPL-VW5000ES, VPL-VW995ES, or VPL-VW915ES—can get a $3,000 discount on the price of a Kaleidescape system. You can find more details on this here via PR Newswire.

And finally today, don’t forget that you have until this Friday (April 9) to submit your picks in Media Play News’ annual Home Entertainment Awards. Click this link to find the online ballot and follow the instructions provided to submit your picks in each category.

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)


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