BayView’s ‘Robot Monster’ 70th Anniversary Release Wins Prizes at Rondo Awards

BayView Entertainment’s 70th anniversary release of Robot Monster, restored by the 3-D Film Archive, has won the Best Blu-ray and Best Restoration prizes at the 22nd Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.

In addition, Robot Monster (1953) was a runner-up in the Best Event category for its New York City theatrical premiere and also earned “honorable mention” in the Best Commentator category for its commentary track featuring the film’s last surviving cast member, Gregory Moffett.

The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards were created by David Colton and Kerry Gammill in 2002. The fan-based awards have no connection to any commercial sponsor. Anyone in fandom can vote or propose nominees.

In the film, the monstrous Ro-Man attempts to annihilate the last family alive on Earth, but finds himself falling for their beautiful daughter.

Robot Monster

Film historian Jerry Beck stated of the previously critically challenged film, “Is this the first ‘Best’ prize Robot Monster has ever won?”

“The fans have spoken, bringing this project full circle,” Bob Furmanek, film historian, preservationist, and president of the 3-D Film Archive, said in a statement. “Derided for years, my main goal with this restoration was to show viewers the film does have merit, not just of the earnest, low-budget variety, but also in its ingenuity and creativity. What I hear from fans over and over is that seeing the film restored is like seeing it for the very first time.”

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“We are beyond thrilled to have the restoration of Robot Monster in our content library,” Peter Castro, VP of acquisitions at BayView, said in a statement. “The ecstatic response both theatrically and on physical media has been tremendous, which is astounding for a 70-year-old film. We are looking forward to our next two collaborations with the 3-D Film Archive: Domo Arigato and Dragonfly Squadron.”

“The 70th Anniversary 3-D restoration of Robot Monster was truly a labor of love for everyone involved,” Furmanek said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire 3-D Film Archive team, we thank you very much for your interest and support.”

Robot Monster: The 70th Anniversary Restoration in 3-D is available from Amazon, Walmart, and other distributors of Blu-rays and DVDs.

Orson Welles Classic ‘The Lady From Shanghai’ Headed to 4K July 23

The Lady From Shanghai, the classic film noir written by, directed by, and starring Orson Welles, will be released on 4K Ultra HD July 23 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, hired to work on a yacht belonging to the disabled husband of femme fatale Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth), Michael O’Hara (Welles) is an innocent man drawn into a dangerous web of intrigue and murder.

The subject of great controversy and scandal upon its initial release, the film shocked 1948 audiences by presenting Hayworth with her flaming red hair cut short and dyed champagne blonde. The classic features the famous hall-of-mirrors climax hailed as one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history.

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The release, with the feature restored from the original camera negative and presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, includes commentary with Peter Bogdanovich; “A Conversation With Peter Bogdanovich”; and the theatrical trailer.

‘Chinatown’ Due on Limited-Edition 4K Ultra HD June 18 for 50th Anniversary

Paramount Home Entertainment will release the 1974 noir classic Chinatown on limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc on June 18 for its 50th anniversary.

In the film, Jack Nicholson is private eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-war Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite (Faye Dunaway) to investigate her husband’s extra-marital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web of personal and political scandals that come crashing together for one, unforgettable night. The film inspired by real events also stars John Huston.

Robert Towne’s Academy Award-winning screenplay weaves a tragic and shocking tale of corruption, greed, and the human propensity for evil.  

Produced by the legendary Robert Evans, Chinatown was originally released on June 26, 1974, and received 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. In 1991, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

The limited-edition “Paramount Presents” release includes the restored film on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc for the first time ever. The restoration was completed using the original camera negative, which was repaired using the latest technology in areas that had been previously damaged, according to Paramount. 

“The result is a sparkling 4K Ultra HD presentation that uses more of the best possible source than previous masters and faithfully captures the film’s distinctively dreamy and simultaneously realistic look,” according to the Paramount press release.

The release includes new and legacy bonus content, access to a digital copy of the film, and a bonus Blu-ray with the 1990 sequel The Two Jakes, directed by and starring Jack Nicholson and written by Robert Towne.

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New bonus content includes:

  • “A State of Mind: Author Sam Wasson on Chinatown,” in which Sam Wasson, film historian and bestselling author of The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, discusses the importance of the film and its legacy;
  • “Chinatown Memories,” in which producer Hawk Koch shares stories from his time as assistant director on the film; and
  • “The Trilogy That Never Was,” in which Sam Wasson discusses the planned third installment of what would have been a trio of movies featuring the character Jake Gittes. 
     

Additional legacy bonus content includes:

  • commentary by screenwriter Robert Towne with David Fincher;
    “Water and Power”;
  • “Chinatown: An Appreciation”;
  • “Chinatown: The Beginning and the End”;
  • “Chinatown: Filming”;
  • “Chinatown: Legacy”; and
  • the theatrical trailer.

 

Film Masters to Bow 1961 Drive-in Classic ‘The Devil’s Partner’ on DVD and Blu-ray Jan. 16

Vintage film restoration and distribution company Film Masters continues its tribute to the pope of pop cinema Roger Corman with the third installment of The Filmgroup series, The Devil’s Partner (1961), due on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 16. The release includes a bonus film, Creature From the Haunted Sea.

Corman and his brother Gene founded The Filmgroup to distribute their own films. While the company did produce the majority of its films, including the cult classic Creature From the Haunted Sea, it also occasionally acquired projects by other filmmakers, as is the case with The Devil’s Partner. During the summer and fall of 1961, the two films were often paired as a double feature.

Director/actor Edgar Buchanan (best known as Uncle Joe on “Petticoat Junction”) appears in the supernatural thriller The Devil’s Partner, about an old codger trying to reclaim his youth, employing black magic to lure a woman away from his rival. The film also stars Jean Allison, Richard Crane and Ed Nelson. The independent feature has been hailed as a pioneering film in the devil worshiping subgenre made popular in the ’70s. Made in 1958, it languished with no release date until it was picked up and distributed by The Filmgroup, becoming a steady presence on the drive-in circuit, often appearing in tandem with Creature From Haunted Sea, another Corman classic from the golden age of drive-in schlock.

Creature From Haunted Sea is a spoof of spy/gangsters/monster movies starring Anthony Carbone as a gangster and smuggler who decides to kill members of the ship’s bungling crew and blame their deaths on a legendary sea creature. What he doesn’t know is that the creature is actually out there. It also stars Betsy Jones-Moreland and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) under the pseudonym Edward Wain. The film was conceived when Corman finished shooting The Last Woman on Earth in Puerto Rico and discovered he had enough film left over to make another film. He enlisted long-time associate Charles B. Griffith, who — legend goes — had six days to write the script. Ever the pragmatist when it came to budget, Corman recruited locals to appear in this film as extras.

Special features include commentary for The Devil’s Partner by Larry Strothe, James Gonis, Shawn Sheridan and Matt Weinhold of the “Monster Party” podcast and commentary for Creature From the Haunted Sea by Tom Weaver, with contributions from Roger Corman, Kinta Zertuche and Larry Blamire. Weaver also provides the liner notes for Creature From the Haunted Sea. Ballyhoo Motion Pictures contributes Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story with Part III of the story, as well as a new interview with Roger Corman on the formation of The Filmgroup; recut trailers, based on the original theatrical trailers; the original Creature From the Haunted Sea theatrical trailer (from 16mm archival elements scanned in 4K); and a full essay for The Devil’s Partner by author Mark McGee.

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Both films are presented with a theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, as well as in a 1.37:1 television format. The televised version of Creature From the Haunted Sea includes an additional 15 minutes of footage shot years later to extend the film for a sale to Allied Artists. Discs are region free and include English SDH.  Audio is DTS-HD/Dolby AC3s. 

Western ‘A Bullet for Sandoval,’ ‘The Gamblers’ Headed to DVD and Blu-ray Nov. 7 From MVD and VCI

The 1970 Western A Bullet for Sandoval and the 1970 card shark film The Gamblers will be released on DVD and for the first time on Blu-ray Disc Nov. 7 from MVD Entertainment Group and VCI Entertainment.

In A Bullet for Sandoval (DVD, Blu-ray Disc), John Warner (George Hilton) is a rebel soldier who deserts his outfit on the eve of battle and goes over the border into Mexico to be with his girlfriend when she gives birth to their child. When he arrives, Warner finds that his fiancée has died in childbirth and her father (Ernest Borgnine) wants to kill him in this savage Western fare in the tradition of A Fistful of Dollars. Bonus features include the original U.S. theatrical trailer and commentary by Alex Cox, actor, director, writer, expert on Spaghetti Westerns and director of Repo Man (1984) and Sid and Nancy (1986).

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In The Gamblers (DVD, Blu-ray), a team of professional card sharks sets out to fleece a wealthy aristocrat of his savings and receives an I.O.U. in payment, which turns out to be worthless. The film stars Suzy Kendal (To Sir With Love, Bird With the Crystal Plumage) and Don Gordon (Bullitt, Papillon). Special features include commentary by Robert Kelly, noted film historian.

4K Restored Classic ‘Snow White’ Headed to Disney+ Oct. 16

The animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs comes to Disney+ in a 4K restoration Oct. 16, in celebration of The Walt Disney Co.’s 100th anniversary.

The restored version of the 1937 classic is the result of the combined efforts of the Walt Disney Studios Restoration and Preservation team, working closely with key artists from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the same team who recently worked together on the restoration of Walt Disney’s 1950 animated classic Cinderella, according to Disney.

Disney Animation artists Michael Giaimo (production designer for the upcoming animated musical adventure Wish, as well as Frozen and Frozen 2) and animator/director Eric Goldberg (head of hand-drawn animation for Disney Animation’s newest short,“Once Upon A Studio,” and director of Pocahontas and Fantasia/2000) re-teamed with their colleagues at Walt Disney Studios on the project. 

“The opportunity to help restore Snow White was both an honor and a challenge,” Goldberg said in a statement. “As the very first Walt Disney feature, Mike Giaimo and I felt we owed a debt to history to get it looking as beautiful, and as accurate to the original colors, as we could. The muted palette and the delicate watercolor backgrounds evoke the illustrated fairy tales that Walt so loved, and the story and characters continue to resonate to this day. I hope our work inspires future generations of animation artists to fully appreciate the masterful talent and care that has gone into this landmark film.”

“We are incredibly excited to go back to Walt’s original negative and use current state of the art technology to restore this stunning classic to its original beauty,” Kevin Schaeffer, director of restoration for Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement.

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first full-length cel animated feature in the history of motion pictures. The film was recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences with a special honorary Oscar — one large Oscar accompanied by seven smaller ones — which was presented to Walt Disney by Shirley Temple. The film is the highest-ranked animated feature on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years…100 Movies” list, and was inducted into the National Film Registry in the registry’s inaugural year, 1989.

‘My Father’s Glory’/’My Mother’s Castle’ Due on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital From Film Movement

Film Movement Classics will release a pair of Yves Robert films, My Father’s Glory and its sequel My Mother’s Castle, as a double feature on Blu-ray (plus DVD) combo pack and individually on digital Oct. 25.

Based on the bestselling memoirs of French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol (the acclaimed author of Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring), the pair of films recount the nostalgic memories of Pagnol’s youth growing up in Provence at the turn of the 20th century.

During one idyllic summer, 11-year-old Marcel (Julien Ciamaca) discovers friendship and wonder amid the rocky peaks surrounding his family’s countryside home while learning new respect for his gentle and caring schoolmaster father Joseph (Philippe Caubère). Upon his return to Marseilles, Marcel longs to escape back to his beloved hills and is granted his wish when his adoring mother Augustine (Nathalie Roussel) devises a plan that allows them to visit the cottage more frequently. 

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My Mother’s Castle

Special features include:

  • a Heritage and Nostalgia video essay by Ludovic Cortade, associate professor in French literature, thought and culture at New York University;
  • the A Question of Tribe featurette with director Yves Robert’s son Jean-Denis Robert, grandson Martin Drescher, and cinematographer Robert Alazraki; and
  • a 16-page booklet with a new essay by filmmaker, producer and writer Kat Ellinger.

‘Universal Classic Monsters’ Limited Edition 4K Collection Due Feb. 13, 2024, Exclusively on Amazon

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the Universal Classic Monsters Limited Edition Collection on 4K and digital Feb. 13, 2024, exclusively on Amazon.

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters and this collection showcases eight of the most iconic monsters in motion picture history. The films included in the collection are:

  • Dracula
  • Frankenstein
  • The Mummy
  • The Invisible Man
  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • The Wolf Man
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Creature From the Black Lagoon

 

Each of the eight classic films exploring the origins of the Universal monsters has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements. Starring Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, the films set the standard for a new horror genre with revolutionary makeup, moody cinematography, and groundbreaking special effects. The collection features more than 12 hours of bonus features including behind-the-scenes featurettes, production photographs, and feature commentaries. Bonus features include:

  • The Road to Dracula
  • Dracula: The Restoration
  • Watch Dracula with Alternate Score by Philip Glass
  • Boo!: A Short Film
  • Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed
  • He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce
  • Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed!
  • She’s Alive! Creating The Bride of Frankenstein
  • The Bride of Frankenstein Archive
  • The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth
  • The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked
  • Back to the Black Lagoon
  • Production Photographs from The Invisible Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Feature commentary from Scott MacQueen; film historians Rudy Behlmer, Tom Weaver and Paul M. Jensen; and historian Sir Christopher Frayling.

 

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The collection features book-style packaging with rare photos, bios, trivia, and original cover art by artist Tristan Eaton. Eaton has a long history creating art inspired by the Universal Classic Monsters. His murals for Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon are on display on the Universal Studios back lot. He is perhaps best known for his large-scale public murals, found throughout the world from New York to Paris to Shanghai, which he executes in freehand spray paint. His work can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) permanent collection as well as the Cooper Hewitt Museum and Long Beach Museum of Art. In 2023, Eaton was commissioned to create new art depicting all eight classic monster characters from Universal Pictures exclusively for this collection.

Update (10/3/23): Street date changed from Oct. 3, 2023, to Feb. 13, 2024.

‘The Exorcist’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD Disc and Digital Sept. 19

As part of the year-long centennial celebration for the 100th anniversary of the Warner Bros. Studio, the 1973 horror film The Exorcist will be available for purchase on 4K disc and digital for the first time Sept. 19.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Exorcist will be available on a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc that includes both the 1973 theatrical version of the film and the 2000 extended director’s cut of the film, which features 11 additional minutes of footage not seen in theaters.

Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker William Friedkin (The French Connection) from a screenplay by Academy Award winner William Peter Blatty, the film is based on Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name. The Exorcist stars Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Academy Award nominee Max von Sydow (Pelle the ConquerorExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close), Academy Award nominee Lee J. Cobb (On the WaterfrontThe Brothers Karamazov), Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowan, Academy Award nominee Jason Miller and Academy Award nominee Linda Blair. 

The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and earned acting nominations for Burstyn, Miller and Blair. It won two Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay for Blatty.

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The Exorcist tells the story of a girl’s demonic possession, and a gripping fight between good and evil. Blair, in a breakout role, plays Regan, a young girl who starts to exhibit strange behavior. Her mother (Burstyn) calls upon a priest, Father Karras (Miller), to investigate. But Karras, who has a spiritual crisis of his own, is suddenly confronted with the unimaginable evil of Regan’s possession. Father Lankester Merrin (Von Sydow), an archeologist-priest, is called to help, and a horrific battle for her soul begins. 

In 2010, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Extras include commentary by Friedkin and Batty, TV spots, making-of featurettes and trailers.

Classic Romance ‘Roman Holiday’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 15

Paramount Home Entertainment will release the classic 1953 romance Roman Holiday for the first time on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Aug. 15 for its 70th anniversary.

In the film, Audrey Hepburn stars as a European princess who escapes her secluded lifestyle and embarks on an adventure in Rome with an American journalist played by Gregory Peck.

Roman Holiday originally premiered in the United States on Aug. 27, 1953. Director William Wyler’s fairy tale was one of Hollywood’s first on-location motion pictures and memorably captures the bustling streets and iconic sites of Rome.

Ranked as the No. 4 greatest love story of all time by the American Film Institute, Roman Holiday earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won Best Actress for Hepburn, Best Costume Design for legendary designer Edith Head, and Best Writing (Motion Picture Story) for Dalton Trumbo.

Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee and his name was not included in the film’s original credits. In 1992 the Board of Governors of the Academy voted to finally credit Trumbo for the “Story Writing” Oscar and his widow received a statuette in 1993. In 2011, the WGA restored Trumbo’s name to the screenwriting credits. This release correctly credits Dalton Trumbo with both the screenplay and story by credits.

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Fully restored and remastered, Roman Holiday is presented in 4K Ultra HD in a two-disc set that includes access to a digital copy of the film and a Blu-ray Disc with more than an hour of previously released special features. They include:

  • “Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday ”             
  • “Behind the Gates: Costumes”
  • “Rome with a Princess”
  • “Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years” 
  • “Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist”
  • “Paramount in the ’50s: Remembering Audrey”
  • theatrical trailers
  • four photo galleries: production, the movie, publicity, the premiere