Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 14:47

Burnt Offerings For August 27: The Return Of Orlock

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Some long out of print titles from both Warner Bros. and Paramount are the focus of this week’s new releases from Warner Archive.  There are some first-rate choices this week, so let’s take a look at ‘em.

Targets (1968) – Boris Karloff gave his last great performance as Byron Orlock, a fading horror star who feels irrelevant in the modern world.  He comes face to face with real terror in the form of a psychotic sniper, picking off victims at random.  A remarkable early film from Peter Bogdanovich.

Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974) – Hammer Films’ final Frankenstein entry finds Peter Cushing continuing his experiments in an insane asylum.  David Prowse, still a few years away from becoming Darth Vader, plays the Creature.  [...]

Lady In A Cage (1964) – Olivia de Havilland stars in this tense thriller as a rich widow trapped in her home elevator.  Her pleas for help are answered by a group of thugs led by James Caan, who only make her ordeal even worse.  This is a surprisingly good, underrated movie worth checking out.

Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971) – Another underrated horror gem, this one’s about a young woman recently released from a mental hospital, hoping to start a new life at a quiet, secluded country home.  Rest and relaxation aren’t in the cards, however, when she starts having disturbing visions that may, or may not, all be in her mind.

David Copperfield (1935) – Charles Dickens’ classic gets the lavish David O. Selznick treatment with an all-star cast including W.C. Fields, Basil Rathbone, Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan and more.

Hallelujah (1929) – The first film from a major studio (MGM) to feature an all-black cast, this is undeniably a significant milestone in movie history.  It hasn’t aged all that well, which I’m sure comes as no surprise, but it’s certainly interesting and has its moments.  Highly recommended for classic Hollywood aficionados.

His Majesty O’Keefe (1954) – Burt Lancaster is back on the high seas, left stranded by a mutinous crew and washed ashore in the Fiji Islands, where he schemes to make his fortune.

Marie Antoinette (1938) – Norma Shearer has the title role and gives one of her finest performances in this costume drama, alongside Tyrone Power, John Barrymore and Robert Morley.

Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport (2000) – A devastating, Oscar-winning documentary about the thousands of Jewish children sent away from their families in Berlin to save them from the Nazis.  This is a truly remarkable film.

1 Mile Above (2011) – In an attempt to fulfill the final wishes of his late brother, a young, inexperienced bicyclist treks up to the highest point in Tibet.  I’d never heard of this one before but it sounds intriguing.


A number of choice titles are now up for pre-order in the Warner Archive store.  Perhaps the most surprising is Phil Spector, the recent HBO docudrama by David Mamet, starring Al Pacino and Helen Mirren.  I’d assumed this would warrant a traditional DVD/Blu-ray release but apparently I was wrong.  Also from HBO, Mary And Martha with Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn.

On the TV front, look for Nichols: The Complete Series, a short-lived western drama starring James Garner.  Also coming soon: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in Parachute Jumper, George Arliss in The Working Man and Most Wanted pick Sex Kittens Go To College, starring Mamie Van Doren, Tuesday Weld, Vampira and Thinko the Robot!  Yeah, you know full well I’ll be reviewing that one.


Our coverage of Warner Archive’s Blu-ray program continues with Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Hudsucker Proxy.  You know… for kids!

- Dr. Adam Jahnke


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