Comedy ‘Zombie for Sale,’ Thriller ‘Black Rainbow’ and Atomic Bomb Drama ‘Hiroshima’ Among Titles Due on Blu-ray in July from Arrow and MVD

The Korean comedy Zombie for Sale, the British thriller Black Rainbow and the Japanese atomic bomb drama Hiroshima are among the titles coming to Blu-ray Disc in July from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

In 2019’s Zombie for Sale, due July 7, the illegal human experiments of Korea’s biggest pharmaceutical company go wrong, and one of their “undead” test subjects escapes and ends up in a shabby gas station owned by the Park family — a band of misfits spanning three generations who hustle passers-by to make ends meet. When the family uncovers their undead visitor, he bites the head of their household, who instead of transforming into an undead ghoul becomes revitalised and full of life. The family then hatches a plan to exploit this unexpected fountain of youth, allowing locals to pay to be bitten, too, until things go wrong. Extras include an audio commentary with filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin; a Q&A with director Lee Min-jae from a 2019 screening at Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago, moderated by film critic and author Darcy Paquet; “Eat Together, Kill Together: The Family-in-Peril Comedy,” a video essay by critic and producer Pierce Conran exploring Korea’s unique social satires; a making-of featurette; behind-the-scenes footage; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Mike Lee-Graham; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Josh Hurtado.

Also coming July 7 is the British thriller Black Rainbow (1989). Mike Hodges (Flash Gordon, Get Carter) wrote and directed this supernatural chiller as a meditation on the human race’s ability to destroy the world, a gothic tale of suspense and the occult. Martha Travis (Rosanna Arquette, Pulp Fiction, Crash) is a travelling clairvoyant on the road with her sceptic father (Jason Robards, Once Upon a Time in the West, Magnolia). During a séance, Martha communicates a message from a dead man to his wife in the audience. Shocked the wife insists her husband is still alive. Later that evening the husband is killed by a ruthless assassin. As Martha foresees more and more tragic events journalist Gary Wallace (Tom Hulce, Amadeus, Animal House) follows the pair in pursuit of a hot story with catastrophically eerie results. Sent direct to cable by its struggling distributor on initial release, Black Rainbow never got wide exposure. It is newly restored from the original negative. Extras include new audio commentary by film historians Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan; archival audio commentary by Hodges; an archival making-of documentary; several archival featurettes; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh; and for the first pressing only, a booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Hodges and more, illustrated with stills.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also on tap July 7 is 1969’s Inferno of Torture. Japanese exploitation legend Teruo Ishii (Horrors of Malformed Men, Orgies of Edo) delivers one of his most extreme visions of violent eroticism in the sixth in his abnormal love series, in which tattoos and torture await women forced into servitude. Unable to repay a local lender, Yumi (Yumika Katayama) takes up an offer to serve as a geisha for two years with a promise of freedom once her debt is repaid. She quickly realizes that this is less a house of geishas than an extremely cruel brothel specializing in supplying Western visitors with tattooed playthings. Extras include audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes; “Erotic Grotesque Nonsense & the Foundations of Japan’s Cult Counterculture,” a condensed version of Jasper Sharp’s Miskatonic Institute lecture; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris D.

Follow us on Instagram

Due July 14 is Hiroshima (1953), about the devastation wrought by the world’s first deployment of the atomic bomb and its aftermath, based on the written eye-witness accounts of its child survivors compiled by Dr. Arata Osada for the 1951 book Children of the A Bomb: Testament of the Boys and Girls of Hiroshima. Adapted for the screen by independent director Hideo Sekigawa (Listen to the Voices of the Sea, Tokyo Untouchable) and screenwriter Yasutaro Yagi (Theatre of Life, Rice), Hiroshima combines a harrowing documentary realism with human drama in a tale of the suffering, endurance and survival of a group of teachers, their students and their families. It boasts a score composed by Akira Ifukube (Godzilla) and stars Yumeji Tsukioka (Late Spring, The Eternal Breasts), Isuzu Yamada (Throne of Blood, Yojimbo) and Eiji Okada (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Woman in the Dunes), appearing alongside an estimated 90,000 residents from the city as extras, including many survivors from that fateful day on Aug. 6, 1945. Hiroshima was produced and distributed outside of the studio system by the Japan Teachers’ Union following the mixed critical reception to Children of Hiroshima (1952), directed by Kaneto Shindo the previous year, the first dramatic feature to deal directly with the atomic bombing. Although sequences from the film were used in Alain Resnais’ classic of French New Wave cinema, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), it has been effectively out of circulation in Japan and the rest of the world since its original release due to the force and political sensitivity of its message. This new HD presentation is the complete version, restoring the footage from the international edit that was released in the United States in 1955. Extras include an archive interview with actress Yumeji Tsukioka; Hiroshima Nagasaki Download (2011), a 73-minute documentary featuring interviews with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings now residing in the United States, with an introduction by the director Shinpei Takeda; a new video essay by Jasper Sharp; newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mick Broderick.

Coming July 21 are two films from 1988, Bloodstone and Life Is a Long Quiet River.

In Bloodstone, a man of action and a cab driver pair up to save a young girl from the clutches of an evil criminal magnate. The Bloodstone, a priceless stolen ruby, accidentally ends up in the possession of American newlyweds Sandy (Brett Stimely, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death) and Stephanie (Anna Nicholas, “Remington Steele”). Now, their honeymoon in India is interrupted as they become the target of international fence Van Hoeven (Christopher Neame, The Prestige) and his evil henchmen. When Van Hoeven kidnaps Stephanie and ransoms her for the jewel, Sandy joins forces with the cabby and dormant stunt-driver Shyam Sabu (Rajinikanth, 2.0) to rescue his young bride. Co-written and produced by Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death, The Wind), the film features a performance by legendary Tamil megastar Rajinikanth in his first English-language role. Extras include new audio commentary by Bryan Reesman; “Keeping it to Myself,” a new interview with producer and co-writer Nico Mastorakis; a new video essay on Rajinikanth by Indian cinema expert Josh Hurtado; trailers; an image gallery; the original screenplay; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mark Cunliffe.

Life Is a Long Quiet River is a fast-paced French satire. The radiantly bourgeois Le Quesnoys, with their immaculate children and perfect manners, and the grubby, disreputable Groseilles are thrown together in absurd chaos by an act of revenge as they discover that 12 years prior their babies were switched at birth. A witty send up of class relations and family ties, Life Is a Long Quiet River was celebrated with a host of trophies at France’s César Awards ceremony, winning best screenplay, best debut work and acting prizes for Héléne Vincent and Catherine Jacob. Extras include archival interviews with director Étienne Chatiliez, actor André Wilms, co-writer/co-producer Florence Quentin and producer Charles Gassot; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jonathan Romney.

MVD and Arrow Video June Slate Includes 1960s Western ‘Django’

MVD Entertainment Group has announced the Arrow Video Blu-ray lineup for June 2020.

Arrow Academy’s Blu-ray of 1960’s America as Seen by a Frenchman was released June 2. French documentarian François Reichenbach spent a year and a half traveling the United States capturing some of the most famous sites and sounds. The result was a look at America with a French sensibility.

Arrow Academy will have a second release for the month June 23 with director Tomu Uchida’s 1962 film The Max Fox. The film was highlighted in the August 2007 issue of Sight & Sound as one of their “75 Hidden Gems — The Great Films Time Forgot.” This release, featuring a brand new restoration courtesy of Toei, will mark the film’s worldwide Blu-ray debut.

Follow us on Instagram!

Also June 23 comes the Blu-ray release of 1988’s Dream Demon via Arrow Video. A soon-to-be-wed woman starts having terrible dreams that start to blend into a frightening reality. Harley Cokeliss’ gory 1980s psychological nightmare has languished in obscurity for the past three decades, but that will soon change with this new 2K restoration approved by Cokeliss. In addition to the theatrical release, Arrow’s edition also includes the director’s cut.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The 1966 Spaghetti Western Django arrives June 30 as a limited edition Blu-ray set that includes a fold-out poster and photo cards of images from the film. A collectible Steelbook edition also will be available.

‘Django’ Steelbook cover

Franco Nero stars as Django, a mysterious loner who arrives at a mud-drenched ghost town on the Mexico-U.S. border, ominously dragging a coffin behind him. With Django, director Sergio Corbucci upped the ante for sadism and sensationalism in Westerns, depicting machine gun massacres, mud-fighting prostitutes and savage mutilations.

A huge hit with international audiences, Django’s brand of bleak nihilism would be repeatedly emulated in a raft of unofficial sequels. The film is presented here in an exclusive new restoration with a wealth of extras including the newly restored bonus feature Texas Adios, which also stars Franco Nero, and was released as Django 2 in several territories.

‘Blood Tide,’ ‘White Fire,’ ‘The Woman’ and Tsukamoto Boxed Set Coming to Blu-ray May 26 From MVD

Blood Tide, White Fire, The Woman and a Tsukamoto boxed set are coming to Blu-ray May 26 from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Blood Tide (1982), a horror title from director/co-writer Richard Jefferies and producer/co-writer Nico Mastorakis, stars James Earl Jones as a treasure hunter that mistakenly awakens an ancient underwater beast on a small Greek island. The film is restored in 4K and features a new commentary with Jefferies and a new interview with Mastorakis; a reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by Mike Gingold.

Musician turned actor Robert Ginty stars in White Fire (1985), an action thriller from director Jean-Marie Pallardy. The film follows a pair of brother-and-sister jewel thieves that encounter tragedy while on the hunt for the elusive “White Fire” diamond. The plan hits an unexpected snag with the arrival of smooth-talking badass Noah Barclay, played by Fred Williamson (From Dusk ‘Til Dawn). The film features a theme song from ’80s British rockers Limelight. Special features include a feature-length audio commentary by critic Kat Ellinger; “Surviving the Fire,” a new interview with writer-director Pallardy; “Enter the Hammer,” a new interview with Williamson; and “Diamond Cutter,” a new interview with editor Bruno Zincone.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Woman, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, stars Pollyanna McIntosh as the last surviving member of a deadly clan of feral cannibals. While out hunting, all-American dad Sean Bridgers discovers the woman and decides to capture her with plans to make her more “civilized.” What ensues is a brutal, bloody nightmare. The new 4K restoration, supervised by directory Lucky McKee, includes such special features as new commentary with director McKee, editor Zach Passero, sound designer Andrew Smetek and composer Sean Spillane; new commentary by McIntosh; commentary by critic Scott Weinberg; a Frightfest panel discussion; and making-of featurettes.

Follow us on Instagram

Finally comes the box set Solid Metal Nightmares: The Films of Shinya Tsukamoto, featuring shorts and eight feature-length films, including Tetsuo: The Iron ManTetsuo II: Body HammerTokyo FistBullet Ballet, and the home video debut of Tsukamoto’s latest effort Killing. Among the numerous special features are “An Assault on the Senses,” a new visual essay on the films and style of Tsukamoto by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp and multiple archival interviews with Tsukamoto, covering every film in the collection.

‘Elvira: Mistress of the Dark,’ ‘Sixteen Candles’ Among Titles Coming to Blu-ray From Arrow and MVD in April

Beyond the Door, Sixteen Candles, Why Don’t You Just Die!, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and The Wind are coming to Blu-ray from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group in April.

Due on April 7 is Beyond the Door (1974), Ovidio G. Assonitis’ play on The Exorcist. Juliet Mills stars as a young pregnant housewife from San Francisco that becomes possessed by a demonic being. Limited to just 3,000 copies, this release includes the uncut English export version, Devil Within Her, as well as Italy Possessed, a brand-new documentary on Italian exorcism films.

April 14 comes the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles (1984), starring Molly Ringwald. Arrow presents the film with a brand-new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative. The release will also include both the theatrical and extended versions of the film and a collection of new and archived bonus features.

On April 21, Arrow will bow Why Don’t You Just Die!  (2018). The horror-comedy hybrid and feature debut from writer/director Kirill Sokolov is a tale of bloody mayhem that puts a group of terrible people in one room together and unleashes them.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Coming April 28 is Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988). The queen of horror makes her feature film debut as she travels to Massachusetts to claim an inheritance after quitting her job. The release features a brand-new 4K restoration scanned from the original film elements.

Follow us on Instagram

Also due April 28 is The Wind (1986), making its worldwide Blu-ray debut. Written and directed by cult icon Nico Mastorakis (Island of DeathThe Zero Boys), this slasher is the story of a Los Angeles novelist that travels to remote Greek island in search of isolation to write her newest book. There she witnesses a murder and becomes the killer’s next target during a windy night. The film’s score was composed by Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers.

Dramas ‘Passion of Darkly Noon’ and Altman’s ‘Kansas City’ Due on Blu-ray From MVD and Arrow in March

Two dramas, The Passion of Darkly Noon and Kansas City, are arriving on Blu-ray in March from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Kansas City (1996), directed by Robert Altman and streeting March 3 from Arrow Academy, is a star-studded gangster flick set in 1930s Kansas City. Blondie O’Hara (Jennifer Jason Leigh) resorts to desperate measures when her low-level hood husband Johnny (Dermot Mulroney) gets caught trying to steal from Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte), a local crime boss operating out of jazz haunt The Hey-Hey Club. Out on a limb, Blondie kidnaps laudanum-addled socialite Carolyn (Miranda Richardson), hoping her influential politician husband can pull the right strings and get Johnny out of Seldom Seen’s clutches. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and featuring a soundtrack performed live by some of the best players in contemporary jazz, this Altman classic is making its Blu-ray debut. Special features include audio commentary by Altman; a newly filmed appreciation by critic Geoff Andrew; a 2007 visual essay by French critic Luc Lagier, plus a short introduction to the film narrated by Lagier; two 1996 promotional featurettes including interviews with cast and crew; electronic press kit interviews with Altman, Leigh, Richardson, Belafonte and musician Joshua Redman, plus behind-the-scenes footage; four theatrical trailers; TV spots; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Dr Nicolas Pillai, original press kit notes and an excerpt from Altman on Altman.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995), due March 24, is a drama set in America from British director Philip Ridley. Darkly Noon (Brendan Fraser) is the sole survivor of a military-style attack on an isolated religious community. Stumbling through a forest, he is rescued by Callie (Ashley Judd). Darkly finds himself feeling strange new desires for Callie as she nurses him back to health only to watch her jump into the arms of her returning mute lover Clay (Viggo Mortensen). Lost in the woods with only his fundamentalist upbringing to make sense of his unrequited passions, Darkly soon descends into an explosive and lethal rage. Special features include new audio commentary by writer/director Ridley; an isolated score track in lossless stereo, including never-before-heard extended and unused cues, and the two songs from the film; “Sharp Cuts,” a newly filmed interview with editor Leslie Healey; “Forest Songs,” a newly filmed interview with composer Nick Bicat; “Dreaming Darkly,” an archive featurette from 2015 featuring interviews with Ridley, Bicat and Mortensen; previously unreleased demos of the music score, written and performed by Bicat before filming started; the theatrical trailer; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring new and original artwork; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring a new Ridley career retrospective written by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas.

Follow us on Instagram

Mike’s Picks: ‘Black Angel’ and ‘Kitten With a Whip’

Black Angel

MVD/Arrow, Mystery, $39.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford.
1946.
The big takeaway from Angel, at least speaking personally, is just how much of a visual stylist director Roy William Neill apparently was.
Extras: Alan Rode provides a voiceover commentary, and there’s also an on-camera interview with British film historian Neil Sinyard.
Read the Full Review

Kitten With a Whip

Universal, Drama, $21.98 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Ann-Margret, John Forsythe, Richard Anderson, Peter Brown, James Ward.
1964
Kitten With a Whip was kind of an unexpected and even strange choice for Ann-Margret to take on in the immediate aftermath of Bye Bye Birdie and Viva Las Vegas. As with its title, Kitten’s ad art was provocative, too — eschewing a literal whip but still suggesting that this might be the kind of girl you could take home to dad if dad were the Marquis de Sade.
Read the Full Review

 

Black Angel

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

MVD/Arrow;
Mystery;
$39.99 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford.

Was there something in the cinematic vapors during the late and immediately post-World War II years when it came to big-screen chippies getting murdered in their apartments, leaving their innocent husbands or lovers to be pursued by the cops? Universal’s Black Angel, adapted from a Cornell Woolrich story, has its own way with this premise, though in certain particulars it recalls Alan Ladd’s plight in the Raymond Chandler-scripted The Blue Dahlia, which Paramount had released just four months earlier. Not only is there an obvious kinship between their respective titles, but the murder victim in Dahlia is played by Doris Dowling — real-life sister of actress Constance, who has the counterpart role in Angel.

Beyond this, there had been Phantom Lady from a couple years earlier, in which Alan Curtis’s lesser half gets strangled with one of his own ties, and the parties who can supply a legitimate alibi aren’t cooperating. In this case, there’s more of a creative direct line with Angel because Lady, too, was taken from a Woolrich work and released by the same studio. If you’re still following this, you’re a) a better than man than I am, Gunga Din; and b) maybe getting a sense that Hollywood was going to this narrative trough to arguable excess around this time.

Follow us on Instagram

The big takeaway from Angel, at least speaking personally, is just how much of a visual stylist director Roy William Neill apparently was (this was his final film before passing away later in 1946 under circumstances somewhat murky, albeit with no foul play involved or alleged). I haven’t seen much Neill beyond his Sherlock Holmes pictures — and those, with one exception, not lately — so it is was a revelation to let the often elaborate nature of Angel’s camera set-ups sink in during the movie’s many nightclub scenes (Paul Ivano was the cinematographer). I had seen the picture a couple times before but never looking as great as it does on this new Arrow Blu-ray — nor with A-Team bonus commentator Alan Rode on the voiceover, basically applying a prod that kept saying, “Mike, just look at that.”

Still. This is one of those pictures easy to admire for its sometimes surprising craftsmanship, and I’m impressed by how many admirers it has, even if Woolrich wasn’t among them. But just to keep our feet on the ground here, the film isn’t all that much on emotional resonance when you stop to think that 1946 (one of those movie years that cleans the plow of 1939, imo) was also the year of The Best Years of Our Lives, It’s a Wonderful Life, Notorious, My Darling Clementine, Beauty and the Beast, The Big Sleep, Great Expectations, Panique and, for that matter, Road to Utopia. Still, it keeps you going like bowls of salsa and chips, while offering the almost novel experience (at least for the 1940s) of seeing Dan Duryea in a sympathetic role, albeit as one seriously messed-up dude here. Musician Duryea’s not the one who stands accused of bumping off Dowling (Constance, that is, who was the knockout of the two real-life sisters), but he was once married to her, and her rejection has driven him to such drink that he has to have someone keep an eye on him in the more or less flophouse apartment where he lives.

The guy the cops are after is Dowling’s lover, who is married, trapped in someone’s blackmail scheme, and (oh, yeah, right) soon to be executed after a trial that’s gotten out of the way mighty quickly in screen terms (I think this happens as well in Phantom Lady, if I recall right). The role here goes to John Phillips, who, like Alan Curtis in Lady, is so nondescript that the film takes something of a hit. This is more debatable, but I’m also not too crazy about June Vincent, cast as Phillips’ rather remarkably devoted wife who teams up with Duryea to clear her husband (let it not be said that the unhealthy subtext here fails to provide a viewing alternative to the same movie year’s Courage of Lassie). Though adequate — original plans were to have a young Ava Gardner in the role as an MGM loan-out — Vincent reinforces the perception that Universal had a real problem cultivating conventional female leads with the charisma to catch on. Which is to say that, Deanna Durbin and Maria Montez were specialized personalities, to be sure; Marlene Dietrich was only there for about a five-year run that, yes, did include Destry Rides Again and The Spoilers, but she both made and strengthened her legacy elsewhere; and Ella Raines (a personal favorite), while amassing several credits there, found two of her career roles (in Hail the Conquering Hero and Tall in the Saddle) at other studios.

Fortunately, Duryea still doesn’t have to carry the charisma load all by himself. Peter Lorre has a key role as a shifty nightclub owner with surface charm, and watching him is like watching a friendly baseball batter get tossed a lollipop by a pitcher who wants to date the batter’s sister, so directly is the part even as written (by Roy Chanslor) in Lorre’s wheelhouse. Broderick Crawford plays the cop who seems to show up like the Cavalry at every perilous moment, and he, too, fits right in — though as Rode notes, this was before the actor commenced his gruff period when his All the Kings Men Oscar was followed quickly by Born Yesterday. This means he’s a more subdued Brod than he came to be — and certainly more so than on TV’s “Highway Patrol” (also referenced here on Rode’s voiceover) in which Crawford’s Dan Mathews character was likely the kind of guy who likely wouldn’t even have been able to order a BLT without bellowing for extra mayo. The great Wallace Ford, too, is a welcome presence — or as welcome as one can be when you’re part of the seedy male hit parade that resides in Duryea’s dump of an apartment.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Angel floats somewhere in that amorphous region where it can be categorized of both an ‘A’ or ‘B’-movie, depending upon who’s talking. Universal didn’t ever have big bucks to spend, but it sprung for $600,000, which would have been a lot of haircuts for the Wolf Man, to keep in the studio vernacular. As suggested earlier, the atmosphere goodies of the nightclub sequences can hold their own with any screen rival’s of the period, and this was a rich period for nightclub sequences (Raoul Walsh’s wonderful The Man I Love, starring a woman I loved, Ida Lupino, came out the same year). Rode all but says as much on his commentary, though the movie still bothers me by the way the trial is glossed over and how one has to believe that eventual plot revelations as things progress would almost certainly have come out earlier via any halfway competent lawyer. On the other hand, this is how you keep a movie running a taut 80 minutes until a finale that’s not your everyday tidy-up.

As always, Rode comes heavily prepped from having studied studio production files, and he was also great friends with Duryea’s late son Richard. The latter point contributes to tidbits, which, among many others, inform us that the actor taught himself to play five numbers to make more convincing his performance as a piano player (the two key women here are vocalists) — and that in real life, the actor was a real homebody who enjoyed getting out of his Fritz Lang lapels and gardening in dumpy duds. (I’ve heard that one before, but it’s a tough image to avoid sharing.) There’s also an on-camera interview with British film historian Neil Sinyard, another favorite of mine and one who’s something that film folk almost never are: jovial. He and Rode both relate a great aside I’d never heard previously, which is that Crawford was such a practical joker (he also loved the sauce, but we won’t go there) that he ate Frank Sinatra’s toupee on the set of Not As a Stranger. Dooby Dooby puke, which is apparently close to what happened, for a Frank fate arguably more humiliating than even the then imminent Johnny Concho.

Mike’s Picks: ‘Black Angel’ and ‘Kitten With a Whip’

‘Manon,’ ‘One Missed Call Trilogy’ and Slasher ‘Deadly Manor’ Due on Blu-ray Feb. 25 From MVD and Arrow

Three titles are coming on Blu-ray Feb. 25 from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Manon, the Japanese “One Missed Call Trilogy” and the slasher Deadly Manor.

Manon comes via Arrow Academy. Loosely adapted from Antoine François Prévost’s 1731 novel, this French drama is the story of a French Resistance fighter that rescues and falls in love with a woman accused of working with the Nazi’s. The couple moves to Paris where their life begins to spiral out of control as they get caught up in prostitution and murder. The film took home the Golden Lion award at the 1949 Venice Film Festival. The new high definition release includes a new video appreciation by critic Geoff Andrew and an archival documentary that features Clouzot discussing his love for literature.

The multi-disc “One Missed Call Trilogy” features a legendary trio of J-horror films launched with Takashi Miike’s 2003 film about people who receive strange voicemails from their future selves predicting their deaths. Yumi Nakamura, a young psychology student, begins to investigate the calls and discovers this terrifying circumstance has been plaguing Japan for centuries. The original was followed by two more films, One Missed Called 2 and One Missed Call: The Final Call. Special features include interviews, documentaries, a TV special and a short film.

Also on tap is José Ramón Larraz’s slasher Deadly Manor (1990), also known as Savage Lust. This final genre effort from Larraz follows teens who stay the night in an abandoned mansion that happens to be home to a lunatic killer. Restored in 2K using the original elements, Deadly Manor is making its Blu-ray debut. Special features include a new interview with actress Jennifer Delora and the original VHS trailer.

Slasher Film ‘Edge of the Axe,’ 1940s Noir ‘Black Angel’ Due on Blu-ray From Arrow and MVD Jan. 28

The Spanish-American slasher film Edge of the Axe and the 1940s film noir Black Angel are being released on Blu-ray from Arrow and MVD Entertainment Group Jan. 28.

From Arrow Video comes Edge of the Axe, which follows a masked killer picking off people in a small California village with — that’s right — an axe. The new 2K restoration of the cult classic (from the original camera negative) includes English and Spanish versions of the film; two new audio commentaries; a newly-filmed interview with actor Barton Faulks; “The Pain in Spain,” a newly-filmed interview with special effects and make-up artist Colin Arthur; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Due from Arrow Academy is the 1946 film noir Black Angel, which marked the final time behind the camera for prolific director Roy William Neill. In the film, after a man is convicted of murder, his wife and the victim’s ex-husband fight to prove his innocence. Hated by author Cornell Woolrich whose novel served as the source material, Black Angel nevertheless is a sleek and stylish film for genre fans. It stars Dan Duryea, June Vincent and Peter Lorre. Special features on the new restoration of the film include a video appreciation by film historian Neil Sinyard; new audio commentary by the writer and film scholar Alan K. Rode; the original trailer; a photo gallery of original stills and promotional materials; a reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Philip Kemp.

Mike’s Picks: ‘The Far Country’ and ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s’

The Far Country

MVD/Arrow, Western, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet, Walter Brennan.
1954.
Though his infectious smile directed mostly at Walter Brennan goes a long way to defuse this perception, The Far Country surprises a little by casting James Stewart as a real hard-ass with some unattractive traits, given that his character hasn’t been personally wronged the way he is in some of the other Stewart-Anthony Mann Westerns.
Extras: Includes a substantive Philip Kemp essay (nice still photos, too); a commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin; the always amusing Kim Newman on both the film and other Mann Westerns; and another documentary on Mann and Universal.
Read the Full Review

The Bells of St. Mary’s

Olive, Drama, $27.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers.
1945.
Olive Films’ much appreciated “Signature” upgrade of director Leo McCarey’s The Bells of St. Mary’s offers a lovely visual rendering.
Extras: Features a voiceover commentary by Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins, a featurette about the film at hand in relation to McCarey; an on-screen essay by Abbey Bender, and a discussion of Bells’ prequel/sequel status from effervescent Prof. Emily Carman.
Read the Full Review