‘Inner Sanctum Mysteries’ Starring Lon Chaney Jr. Coming on Blu-ray Sept. 22 From Mill Creek

Inner Sanctum Mysteries, a six-film collection starring Lon Chaney Jr., is due on Blu-ray Sept. 22 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

The collection ($69.98), presenting the films on Blu-ray for the first time, will include more than 80 minutes of new special features.

Based on the radio shows of the 1940s, the six features on the set of Universal’s classic “Inner Sanctum Mysteries” are Calling Doctor Death, Weird Woman, Dead Man’s Eyes, The Frozen Ghost, Strange Confession and Pillow of Death.

Daniel Griffith of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures serves as producer of the new Blu-ray bonus features.

“I am thrilled to be working with Mill Creek Entertainment and developing new featurettes for the ‘Inner Sanctum’ film series,” Griffith said in a statement. “The behind-the-scenes story of the book series turned radio show turned movie franchise is a subject that has never been documented with as much detail and care as we are on this exciting release.”

“Daniel’s incredible knowledge and expertise of film history makes him the ideal partner,” said J.W. Starrett, director of product development for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement.

Extras include “This is the Inner Sanctum: Making a Universal Mystery Series”; “The Creaking Door: Entering the Inner Sanctum,” a history of the radio series with author/radio historian Martin Grams Jr.; “Mind Over Matter: An Archival Interview With Actor Martin Kosleck (The Frozen Ghost)”; a 28-page color booklet with a detailed franchise history, Lon Chaney Jr. biography, detailed film guide, trivia and more; and three feature-length commentaries.

Calling Dr. Death (1943) features commentary from screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner and Regina LeBorg (daughter of director Reginald LeBorg). Weird Woman (1944) features commentary from author Justin Humphreys (The Dr. Phibes Companion) and Del Howison (Dark Delicacies Horror). Strange Confession (1945) features commentary from screenwriter Peter Atkins (Hellraiser II, III and IV) and screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

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“More than half-a-century after their release, the ‘Inner Sanctum’ films endure as part of Universal’s history of classic horror and mysteries of the ‘30s and ‘40s,” stated Joyner, author/contributor to the bonus features, in a statement.  “Built as showcases for Lon Chaney, the six films are prime examples of old-school studio product, made by skilled craftsmen for audiences eager for an hour of chills with one of horror’s most enduring figures.”

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Mill Creek’s transactional VOD service movieSpree will feature a digital bonus in standard-def of Lady of Burlesque (1943) and Inner Sanctum (1948), and three “Inner Sanctum Mysteries” radio episodes, “The Tell-Tale Heart” featuring Boris Karloff, “The Black Sea Gull” featuring Peter Lorre, and “Melody of Death” featuring Mary Astor.

‘Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations’ Coming on Disc June 16 From MVD

Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations will come out on Blu-ray and DVD June 16 from MVD Entertainment Group.

The comedy films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have been beloved around the world since they were first released between 1927 and 1940. Unfortunately, many of the available copies are blurred dupes printed from worn-out negatives. The best of their short comedies and two of their features have been fully restored for the MVD release.

The release includes new 2K and 4K transfers from the best original 35mm materials. The release also includes the 1927 silent “pie fight” film The Battle of the Century, making its video debut after being “lost” for 90 years; the only reel of the duo’s bloopers and outtakes, “That’s That!”; shorts “Berth Marks,” “Brats,” “Hog Wild,” “Come Clean,” “One Good Turn,” “Helpmates,” “The Music Box” (the legendary Academy Award winning “piano moving” short), “The Chimp,” “County Hospital,” “Scram!,” “Their First Mistake,” “Towed in a Hole,” “Twice Two,” “Me and My Pal,” “The Midnight Patrol” and “Busy Bodies”; and the feature films Sons of the Desert and Way Out West (which includes the team’s famous soft shoe dance routine).

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Extras include 2,500 rare photos and studio documents, audio and film interviews with the duo’s co-workers, original music tracks and trailers, and a full restoration of their one surviving color film The Tree in a Test Tube. Also included are commentaries by Laurel & Hardy historians Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann.

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The restorations are provided by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat in conjunction with the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Library of Congress.

 

80-Year-Old ‘Wizard of Oz’ Gets Makeover for 4K

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment hosted a presentation on the studio lot Oct. 28 to talk about the restoration of The Wizard of Oz for the 4K UHD release. The studio went back to the three-strip Technicolor negative to restore the film in 8K, 16 bit resolution for the film’s 80th anniversary release.  The classic debuts Oct. 29 on 4K UHD with HDR, including Dolby Vision, on Blu-ray Disc and digital.

Classic Serial ‘Lost City of the Jungle’ Travels to Blu-ray Oct. 1 From MVD

The 1946 Universal serial Lost City of the Jungle is coming to Blu-ray Disc Oct. 1 from MVD Entertainment Group.

The story follows a warmonger, Sir Eric Hazarias (Lionel Atwill), who is searching for an element that is the only known antidote to the atomic bomb in order to sell it to the highest bidder. A group of peace activists are on his trail. They include Rod Stanton (Russell Hayden), United Peace Foundation investigator; Tal Shan (Keye Luke), Pendrang native; and Marjorie Elmore (Jane Adams), daughter of scientist Dr. Elmore (John Eldredge), unwilling assistant to Sir Eric.

The title is available now on DVD.

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Paramount to Bow 24 Republic Classics Curated by Martin Scorsese on Apple TV App

Paramount will release 24 rarely seen films from the Republic library, personally curated by Martin Scorsese and restored and remastered by the studio, on the Apple TV app for rent or purchase.

The titles are $4.99 EST/$3.99 VOD through Sept. 16.  After that, they are $12.99 EST/$3.99 VOD.

The films, part of the series “Martin Scorsese Presents: Republic Rediscovered,” were recently presented as part of a special screening series at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

“From the ’30s through the ’50s, the different studio logos at the head of every picture carried their own associations and expectations, and for me, the name Republic over the eagle on the mountain peak meant something special,” said Scorsese in a statement. “There are so many titles that have been overlooked or forgotten; waiting for decades to be seen again. I can promise you that you have some discoveries in store.”

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While Republic Pictures was considered a ‘B’ movie studio, it gave great directors, actors and other talent the freedom to make movies they wanted to make, as long as they came in on budget.

“Thanks to the efforts of Martin Scorsese and The Film Foundation, audiences will see that Paramount’s work to restore these films has been done with careful attention to every detail,” said Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos. “We are thrilled that these movies can be experienced once again in the way their filmmakers intended.”

The 24 films now available on the Apple TV app are:

  • Accused of Murder (1956)

David Brian, Vera Ralston, Sidney Blackmer, Virginia Grey

Director: Joseph Kane

When a gangland lawyer is murdered, there are two suspects: a beautiful nightclub singer and a hood named Stan, who has been hired by an underworld boss to assassinate him. House director Joseph Kane adapts the Republic crime film formula to the era of color and widescreen, employing Republic’s anamorphic “Naturama” process to intensify this thriller.

 

  • Angel on the Amazon (1948)

George Brent, Vera Ralston, Brian Aherne, Constance Bennett

Director: John H. Auer

A mysterious woman (Vera Ralston) leads an explorer (George Brent) and his party to safety after a crash-landing in the Amazon rainforest, in an extravagant John H. Auer drama with unexpected fantasy elements.

 

  • City that Never Sleeps (1953)

Gig Young, Mala Powers, William Talman, Edward Arnold, Marie Windsor, Paula Raymond, Chill Wills

Director: John H. Auer

In one night, a decorated Chicago police officer is gripped by an ethical crisis when he considers leaving his wife and job, and accepting a bribe from a corrupt attorney.  Documentary-like naturalism quickly gives way to nightmarish stylization under the direction of John H. Auer.

 

  • Come Next Spring (1956)

Ann Sheridan, Steve Cochran, Walter Brennan

Director: R.G. Springsteen

After a 12-year absence, a recovering alcoholic returns to the family he left behind and vows to win their hearts again. Tired of playing psychotic gangsters for Warner Bros., actor Steve Cochran started his own independent production company with the hope of tackling ambitious fare like this rural drama of redemption.  The film eventually landed at Republic, masterfully directed by R.G. Springsteen.

 

  • Driftwood (1947)

Ruth Warrick, Dean Jagger, Natalie Wood, Margaret Hamilton

Director: Allan Dwan

A young Natalie Wood stars as an orphan who helps a doctor (Dean Jagger) fight an epidemic in a small western town, in one of Allan Dwan’s closely observed studies in Americana.

 

  • The Flame (1947)

John Carroll, Vera Ralston, Robert Paige, Henry Travers

Director: John H. Auer

A man who is constantly jealous of his half-brother tries to con him by concocting a gold digging scheme with his girlfriend, only to have her actually fall in love with their mark.

 

  • Flame of the Islands (1956)

Yvonne De Carlo, Howard Duff, Zachary Scott, Kurt Kasznar

Director: Edward Ludwig

New York working girl Yvonne De Carlo uses money from an unexpected bequest to purchase an interest in a Nassau nightclub, where she installs herself as the host. Her vigorous interpretation of “Bahama Mama” and other Nelson Riddle-arranged hits earns her a wide-ranging collection of admirers, including a publicist, a gambler, and a philosophical angler.

 

  • Hellfire (1949)

Bill Elliott, Marie Windsor, Forrest Tucker, Jim Davis

Director: R.G. Springsteen

A reformed gambler turned preacher, partners with a pretty female fugitive outlaw, runs into an old pal who is also a marshal and they both fall for the same bad gal. Republic staff cinematographer Jack A. Marta uses the studio’s unique two-color Trucolor process to create a stylized world of shifting orange and blue.

 

  • Hell’s Half Acre (1954)

Wendell Corey, Evelyn Keyes, Marie Windsor, Elsa Lanchester

Director: John H. Auer

The notorious Hell’s Half-Acre quarter of Honolulu, Hawaii serves as a background to a complex tale of transgression and redemption. Wendell Corey is a reformed racketeer whose past catches up with him when his lover shoots and kills one of his former partners in crime.

 

  • I, Jane Doe (1948)

Ruth Hussey, John Carroll, Vera Ralston

Director: John H. Auer

During World War II, an American pilot marries his French girlfriend but then leaves without her. What she does not know is that he is already married in the United States, so she sets out on a mission to find him with disastrous results.

 

  • The Inside Story (1948)

Marsha Hunt, William Lundigan, Charles Winninger

Director: Allan Dwan

A heartwarming lesson in economics from director Allan Dwan in which a stack of cash miraculously finds its way to a small town struggling during the Depression.  The incident affects the lives of everyone who finds it, with various results.

 

  • I’ve Always Loved You (1946)

Philip Dorn, Catherine McLeod, William Carter

Director: Frank Borzage

An orchestral conductor engages in a merciless professional rivalry with a piano student who adores him. Republic made a rare foray into high-budget filmmaking with this 1946 prestige production containing color by Technicolor, piano solos by Arthur Rubinstein, and direction by A-lister Frank Borzage.

 

  • Johnny Guitar (1954)

Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge

Director: Nicholas Ray

From acclaimed director Nicholas Ray, a gambling house operator seeks control of a town as an archrival sets out to force her out of town. The timely arrival of Johnny Guitar thwarts the dark plans, but does not prevent a showdown between the women. The Library of Congress selected this cult classic for preservation in the National Film Registry.

 

  • Laughing Anne (1953)

Wendell Corey, Margaret Lockwood, Forrest Tucker

Director: Herbert Wilcox

Laughing Anne is a Parisian club singer torn between two sailors on the tumultuous South Seas. Based on Joseph Conrad’s novel “Between the Tides” and produced and directed by Herbert Wilcox.

 

  • Moonrise (1948)

Dane Clark, Gail Russell, Ethel Barrymore

Director: Frank Borzage

The locals shun the son of a murderer; only one person defends him, but she happens to be the girlfriend of his chief tormentor. After a confrontation, he kills his bully in self-defense but then becomes tormented by the fact that he may be following in his father’s footsteps.

 

  • The Outcast (1954)

John Derek, Joan Evans, Jim Davis, Catherine McLeod

Director: William Witney

Cheated out of his inheritance by his uncle, a man is outcast from his community and vows to take revenge, in this 1880’s actioner directed by William Witney.

 

  • The Quiet Man (1952)

John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald

Director: John Ford

The Oscar®-winning John Ford classic features John Wayne as a retired boxer who makes a pilgrimage to his home village in Ireland. He meets his match in a spirited young woman, only to find himself confronted by her belligerent brother and the town’s strict customs.  In 2002, the film made AFI’s list of one hundred greatest love stories.

 

  • The Red Pony (1949)

Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, Margaret Hamilton, Beau Bridges

Director: Lewis Milestone

John Steinbeck adapted his own novella for this 1949 feature, Republic’s most expensive film up to that time. Robert Mitchum is the ranch hand who helps his employer’s son cope with the death of the pony he raised.  The original score is by Aaron Copland, which he also arranged and published as an orchestral suite.

 

  • Storm Over Lisbon (1944)

Vera Ralston, Richard Arlen, Erich von Stroheim

Director: George Sherman

Director of photography: John Alton

The owner of a Portugal nightclub works as a freelance spy. He tries to seduce information out of a US agent with the help of his nightclub dancer, but when she falls for the agent, both of their lives are endangered.

 

  • Stranger at My Door (1956)

Macdonald Carey, Patricia Medina, Skip Homeier

Director: William Witney

An escaping bank robber finds refuge with a preacher and his wife. The preacher believes he can be reformed but soon finds the robber more trouble than he’s worth.

 

  • That Brennan Girl (1946)

James Dunn, Mona Freeman, William Marshall

Director: Alfred Santell

A selfish San Franciscan with a rough childhood loses a husband in the war and becomes a single mother, forcing her to grow up fast. Unaccountably overlooked, this resonant, formally inventive film was the final work of director Alfred Santell as well as the last leading role of Oscar-winner James Dunn.

 

  • Three Faces West (1940)

John Wayne, Sigrid Gurie, Charles Coburn

Director: Bernard Vorhaus

A Viennese physician and his daughter, refugees from Hitler, become part of a group of North Dakota townspeople planning to relocate from the dust bowl to greener Oregon.

 

  • Trigger, Jr. (1950)

Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Peter Miles

Director: William Witney

A prime example of Republic’s Saturday-matinee musical Westerns, Roy Rogers and Trigger are joined by Trigger’s dashing offspring as they try to save a traveling circus from bankruptcy.

 

  • Wake of the Red Witch (1948)

John Wayne, Gail Russell, Gig Young

Director: Edward Ludwig

A ship captain experiences rough weather, sunken treasure, and a giant octopus on the South Pacific seas. This film was one of Republic’s most expensive productions—and, in the end, one of its most successful.

Classics ‘Conflict of Wings,’ ‘Child’s Play’ and ‘Doublecross’ Available on DVD From MVD and Juno Films

Three classic titles, Conflict of Wings, Child’s Play and Doublecross, are available now on DVD from MVD Entertainment Group and Juno Films.

Conflict of Wings (1954) follows a group of villagers who fight back when the British Air Force threatens to use their bird sanctuary for target practice. Based on the first novel by Don Sharp (The Inbetween Age), the film stars John Gregson (The Longest Day), Kieron Moore (Invasion of the Triffids), Harry Fowler (The Pickwick Papers), Muriel Pavlow (Murder She Said) and Niall MacGinnis (Curse of the Demon).

Child’s Play (1954) explores what happens when a bunch of precocious kids get their hands on an atomic chemistry set. The film stars Mona Washbourne (My Fair Lady), Ballard Berkeley (“Faulty Towers”) and Peter Sallis, who would go on to be the voice of Wallace in the “Wallace and Gromit” shorts and feature films.

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Doublecross (1956) follows a fisherman who ferries two fugitives and a beautiful woman across the English Channel only to suspect them of murder and spying. The classic noir thriller features a cast that includes Fay Compton (The Haunting), Anton Diffring (Where Eagles Dare), Allan Cuthbertson (The Guns of Navarone) and Frank Lawton (A Night to Remember).

Paramount Has Western, War, Classic and Action Titles for Father’s Day

Paramount Home Entertainment has announced gift ideas for Father’s Day, June 16.

For the Western fan, the studio has True Grit, starring John Wayne in his only Oscar-winning performance. The film, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is available on digital. Also for the Western fan is the Ultimate Classic Western Collection, with nine classics, True Grit (1969), The Shootist, Shane, Hud, Chuka, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Will Penny, Johnny Reno and Posse, available on DVD.

For war buffs is Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, available on 4K Ultra HD, as well as 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, available on 4K Ultra HD June 11.

For the classic film lover is Best Picture Academy Award winner Forrest Gump, celebrating its 25 anniversary this year, available in a newly remastered two-disc Blu-ray and on 4K Ultra HD. Also, due on Blu-ray June 11 is The Godfather Trilogy: Corleone Legacy, a collection of director Francis Ford Coppola’s epic masterpieces packaged with new collectibles, including a Corleone family tree. Another classic collection available now on DVD is the Paul Newman 6-Movie Collection, with Road to Perdition, Fat Man and Little Boy, Nobody’s Fool, A New Kind of Love and Twilight.

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Available now on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray for action fans is the Mission: Impossible 6-Movie Collection. Also available now on Blu-ray in the action genre is the Bumblebee & Transformers Collection, a six-movie collection that includes all five “Transformers” films plus the latest entry in the franchise, Bumblebee. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season One, the first season in the new series that is a contemporary take on Clancy’s character, will be available on Blu-ray and DVD June 4.

Classic Laurel and Hardy Collection Coming April 1 From Film Detective and Allied Vaughn

Laurel & Hardy: One Fine Collection — a DVD collector’s set featuring more than 10 hours on two discs from the iconic comedy duo — will be available April 1 from The Film Detective via manufacture-on-demand service Allied Vaughn.

The release comes on the heels of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s March 26 digital, Blu-ray and DVD bow of the feature biopic on the duo, Stan & Ollie, starring John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan.

The classic set includes 27 short films from the duo’s formative years (1921-1936) — including some silent films newly restored from the original elements — that capture the performances in which they honed the sight gags and slapstick that propelled them to worldwide fame. The set also includes three bonus shorts, two featuring Laurel & Hardy cameos and one from producer Hal Roach.

On disc one are The Lucky Dog (1921), 45 Minutes From Hollywood (1926), Duck Soup (1927), Duck Soup (1927/French-Dutch title cards), Battle of the Century (1927), Call of the Cuckoo (1927), Slipping Wives (1927), Do Detectives Think (1927), Their Purple Moment (1928), We Faw Down (1928), Habeas Corpus (1928), Flying Elephants (1928), You’re Darn Tootin’ (1928/Long), Stolen Jools (1931/Bonus) and Mixed Nuts (1934/Bonus).

On disc two are You’re Darn Tootin’ (1928/Short), The Finishing Touch (1928), Leave ’em Laughing (1928), That’s My Wife (1929), Liberty (1929), Double Whoopee (1929), Double Whoopee (1929/Talking Version), Angora Love (1929), Big Business (1929), Blotto (1930), Be Big! (1931), Twice Two (1933), The Live Ghost (1934), Tit for Tat (1935) and On the Wrong Trek (1936/Bonus).

The set comes from the archives of Scott Entertainment in conjunction with The Film Detective, from the original film elements courtesy of Richard Feiner & Associates.

Director Flies Classic ‘The Seagull’ With Star Power

Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss and Brian Dennehy are a just a few of the top actors that Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer was able to assemble for the latest film adaptation of the Anton Chekhov Russian classic The Seagull.

The film is available on DVD and digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“Annette literally made the film happen because it was her signing on that made the project attractive to the other actors,” Mayer said. “Also, I asked Annette to do it, and then Stephen Karam could write with her voice in his head.”

Tony-winning playwright Karam adapted the film from Chekhov’s play about the obsessive nature of love, the tangled relationships between parents and children, and the toll of making art.

“We had an idea to do a contemporary feeling film,” Mayer said.

It was a hectic shooting schedule of just 21 days, so “it was helpful to have so many theater actors in these roles,” he said.

Ronan, recently nominated for an Oscar for her lead performance in Lady Bird, also signed on.

“Saoirse did an early reading of the screenplay, and she was incredible,” Mayer said. “I loved working with her. She brings great truth and bravery to her work.”

Moss, currently starring in the award-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “was fantastic to watch and direct,” he said, while Dennehy “is a living legend and gave so much of himself.”

“The whole company was a joy to work with,” he said. “It was fast and furious and great fun.”

Corey Stoll, Mare Winningham, Jon Tenney, Glenn Fleshler, Michael Zegen and Billy Howle also star.

Another character in the film was the setting, a house on a lake that reflected the play’s Russian roots.

“It’s a house on a lake in upstate New York that is owned and operated by Russian Americans,” Mayer noted. “Our production designer, Jane Musky, who is of Russian descent, spent summers at the house when she was a young girl and remembered it when we went scouting.”

Bonus features include the Tribeca Film Festival cast and crew red carpet and a Q&A with Mayer and Bening.