Mary Pickford Classic ‘Stella Maris’ Among VCI Titles Due on Disc Dec. 12 From MVD

Three classic films — the 1918 Mary Pickford drama Stella Maris, the 1941 Ernst Lubitsch comedy That Uncertain Feeling and the 1959 horror flick Horrors of the Black Museum — are due on disc Dec. 12 from VCI Entertainment and MVD Entertainment Group.

Stella Maris, newly mastered in HD for the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release with an original score by the Graves Brothers, was a major advancement in filmmaking. Mary Pickford plays dual roles in a film that was very different from anything she had ever done before. It tells the story of two, very different young women; a beautiful, rich, but crippled Stella Maris and Unity Blake, a deformed and abused orphan. Director Marshall Neilan and cinematographer Walter Stradling created some trick photography for Mary to play both roles, using double exposure photography and complex editing which made it possible to present both characters on screen simultaneously. The Mary Pickford Foundation and the Paramount Film Archive partnered to access all elements available in the Pickford collections both at the UCLA Film & Television Archive and at the Library of Congress. Even though the archives were shut down during the pandemic, all parties cooperated to send the film elements to Paramount so they could be scanned in 4K resolution and commence work on the restoration. The two primary elements used in this restoration were a 1967 35mm black and white dupe negative and an incomplete 1925 35mm tinted print. Scans from the dupe negative were used for the majority of the feature, and all surviving material from the print was inserted where possible. New inter-titles were digitally recreated for the dupe negative to match the feel and length of the print, as the cards in the negative were static and much longer than originally intended. The tinting scheme of the print was used for all evening sequences: amber for night interiors and blue for night exteriors, with the rest of the feature black and white for all daytime sequences. Lastly, all the most egregious damage was digitally repaired, the film’s printed-in jitter was stabilized, and the film’s frame-rate was digitally varisped to 19fps, mirroring a more natural, hand-cranked projection speed suitable for 1918, the year of the film’s release. Bonus features on Stella Maris include a commentary track by author and film historian Marc Wanamaker; a liner notes pictorial booklet by the Mary Pickford Foundation; a photo gallery; and “The Mountaineer’s Honor,” an American Biograph short film released on Nov. 25, 1909. 

The light comedy That Uncertain Feeling, due on Blu-ray, stars Merle Oberon, Melvyn Douglas and Burgess Meredith. Director Ernst Lubitsch capitalizes on the husband-versus-wife theme. The film follows Jill and Larry Baker, who have been living in marital bliss for six years — until Jill develops a nasty bout with the hiccups. Exhausting all remedies to no avail and believing her problem to be psychosomatic, Jill takes the advice of friends and seeks the help of a psychiatrist. This leads to disenchantment with her husband Larry, causing marital mayhem when she becomes romantically involved with an eccentric pianist named Alexander Sebastian. Sebastian fancies himself “the greatest pianist in the world,” but he is terrified of performing in front of large audiences. Hilarity abounds as Larry strives to win back his estranged wife and Jill comes to the realization she still loves Larry. Bonus features include a commentary track by film historian Mick LaSalle.

Horrors of the Black Museum is available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. In the film, London is fear-struck and Scotland Yard is baffled by a series of strange murders that have plagued the city. Stories of the atrocities by crime journalist Edmond Bancroft (Michael Gough, the same loveable Alfred Pennyworth from the new “Batman” movies) come to their own conclusions missed by the Yard. This is because of the fact that Edmond is committing these horrible crimes himself in order to create material for his writing. He does so with the help of his assistant Rick (Graham Curnow), who assists him in running a private “Black Museum” filled with murder and torture devices. The release also includes the original American International introduction called Hypno-Vista, featuring Emile Franchel, “Registered Psychologist,” that greeted all American theatergoers on its initial release. The film features the classic eyeball-gouging binoculars scene. Bonus features include the original U.S. theatrical trailer; the original European theatrical trailer; a photo gallery; archival commentary by writer/producer Herman Cohen; a 2023 commentary by film historian and artist Robert Kelly; a two-sided cover wrap that features original theatrical art and a flip side with a new graphic design by Robert Kelly; a video tribute to producer Herman Cohen; and an archival phone interview/video featurette with Herman Cohen.

Latest Kino Lorber Film Noir Collection Includes ‘Street of Chance,’ ‘Enter Arsene Lupin’ and ‘Temptation’

Kino Lorber on July 19 will release its eighth and latest collection of vintage black-and-white film noir movies as Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema VIII.

The Blu-ray Disc set includes three 1940s classics: Street of ChanceEnter Arsene Lupin and Temptation, and carries a suggested retail price of $49.95.

Street of Change (1942) is based on the novel The Black Curtain by Cornell Woolrich (Rear Window). Burgess Meredith portrays amnesiac Frank Thompson, who awakens in the middle of the street with no clue of where he is, how he got there, or why his cigarette case and hat both have the letters “D.N.” on them. He tries to piece together his old life while a mysterious stranger (Claire Trevor) seems more interested in probing his past than his wife Virginia (Louise Platt). Then there’s the matter of the murder that Frank cannot remember committing.

In Enter Arsene Lupin (1944), charming French thief Arsène Lupin (Charles Korvin) steals a priceless emerald from the beautiful English heiress Stacie Kanares (Ella Raines) while en route to Paris on the Orient Express. He becomes so infatuated with Stacie that he reroutes himself to Great Britain in order to return the jewel. Meanwhile, her cousin Bessie (Gale Sondergaard) schemes to murder Stacie in order to claim her inheritance. Lupin is determined to intervene to save Stacie’s life, but doing so puts him at risk of being captured by the dogged cop Ganimard (J. Carrol Naish).

The third film, 1946’s Temptation, is a Victorian-era film noir in which Merle Oberon is cast as Ruby, the new wife of wealthy archaeologist Nigel (George Brent, The Spiral Staircase). Unbeknownst to her husband, Ruby has had quite a checkered past, involving several divorces and extramarital affairs. While Nigel is out digging up an ancient mummy, Ruby takes up with Baroudi (Charles Korvin), a slick but impoverished Egyptian opportunist. When Baroudi threatens to leave Ruby unless she puts her husband out of the way, she plots to poison the unwitting Nigel, setting the stage for a spectacular revenge-and-retribution finale.

All three films are from brand-new 2K masters. The Blu-ray Disc boxed set from Kino Lorber includes new audio commentaries for Street of Chance (from professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney), Enter Arsene Lupin (from film historian Anthony Slide), and Temptation (from film historian Kelly Robinson).