Mike’s Picks: ‘Panique’ and ‘The Last Command’

Panique

Criterion, Drama, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Viviane Romance, Michel Simon, Paul Bernard, Max Dalban.
1946. Director Julien Duvivier’s Panique, a French-language adaptation of a Georges Simenon novel just after the end of World War II, features Michel Simon playing an anti-social man of mystery residing in a Paris suburb and rendered a target of mob-rule suspicions after a woman’s body is discovered following her outdoor murder. Dialogue and performances are top-rung, but this is one exciting movie to watch as well.
Extras: Bruce Goldstein of Rialto and New York’s rep-house cathedral The Film Forum appears in a wonderful primer he personally put together on the do’s and don’ts of subtitling. Lenny Borger did the new translation here, and we can see how superior it is to pitiful attempts that shortchanged audiences at the time). Son Pierre Simenon, also an author, is personable with blood-engendered insights both personal and professional, and there are separate print essays by Borger and James Quandt, each well versed in French cinema and in Duvivier explicitly.
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The Last Command

Kino Lorber, Western, $19.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Sterling Hayden, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Richard Carlson, Ernest Borgnine, Arthur Hunnicutt.
1955.
The Last Command, filmed and distributed by Republic in close to its final high-profile shot at industry survival, is a low-key affair by Alamo-movie standards that sets its table by delving more into the preliminary relationship between the Texans and Mexicans than most in its specific genre do, while J. Carrol Naish as Santa Ana delivers the film’s most colorful performance. This was the final film from veteran director Frank Lloyd, though the well-staged final battle here was actually directed by William Witney.
Extras: Includes a commentary by Alamo historian Frank Thompson.
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