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.

‘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.

1934’s ‘The Scarlet Letter’ Headed to Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 21

Film Masters will release the first sound version of The Scarlet Letter (1934) on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 21.

Colleen Moore (Social RegisterWhy Be GoodLilac TimeTwinkletoes) stars as Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic tale of sin and redemption. In 17th century Massachusetts, Hester, a widowed mother with an illegitimate child Pearl, is forced to wear the scarlet letter A. Protecting Pearl from close-minded townsfolk, Hester is determined to rise above her situation.

Cora Sue Collins, now 96, who plays young Pearl in the film, recently shared her recollections of being on set during a Q&A that followed the film’s 4K world premiere at CineCon 2023 in Los Angeles. Collins (Blood and Sand, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Black Moon) was a child actress in great demand during the ‘30s, appearing in 47 films before retiring from the industry at age 18.

“As a young girl, I was studying classics and had just finished reading The Scarlet Letter when I heard I was going to play the role of Pearl. I was upset because I knew what ‘illegitimate’ meant … but I got over it,” Collins said. “But it was a wonderful experience and I’m so pleased to have been part of what I consider to be one of the most important movies in film history. It was such a joy to be able to see it following the restoration, because the sound quality was so poor in the original. I said the lines and could barely understand them. An amazing preservation of an influential film.”

Directed by Robert G. Vignola (Broken DreamsMore Deadly Than the MaleThe Knife), the film also stars Hardie Albright (The Mad Doctor of Market Street, Ladies Love DangerThe Song of SongsSo Big!), Alan Hale (Adventures of Don JuanThe Sea HawkThe Adventures of Robin Hood, It Happened One Night) and William Farnum (The Count of Monte CristoA Connecticut YankeeThe Man HunterSamson). The recreation of old Puritan Salem was by art director Frank Dexter (Baby Face Morgan, Northwest Trail).

The film was recently scanned in 4k from the 35mm preservation print made from the original camera negative, restored by Janice Allen at Cinema Arts in conjunction with the UCLA Library Film & Television Archives.

Producer Sam Sherman acquired the rights to the film 60 years ago and collaborated with Film Masters on the restoration and special features.

“When I was in college, we were assigned to read The Scarlet Letter for an American literature course,” Sherman said in a statement. “I decided to watch an old, 16mm film print instead that a friend had, but was so impressed that I rushed to read the novel and appreciated how closely the movie followed the book. Five years later I met Irwin Pizor, whose uncle, Herman Gluckman, had produced the film and purchased the rights and original 35mm negative. I re-released it in theaters, which changed my life as I became a professional film distributor. I’m very impressed by Film Masters’ restoration and am thrilled to make this incredible film available to the public.”

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The Scarlet Letter is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1:33:1 on region-free disks and includes English SDH with ​DTS-HD and Dolby AC3s audio options.

Among the special features are an in-depth look at the historic film with professor and author Jason A. Ney takes, joined by Collins; a written essay by Ney; Ballyhoo Motion Pictures presents “A Sin of Passion: Hawthorne in Film,” featuring a new interview with author Justin Humphreys; the original production, “Salem and the Scarlet Letter,” with archival footage provided by producer Sam Sherman of Salem, Mass., narrated by John Carradine; and a new interview with Sherman, “Revealing the Scarlet Letter.”

The film can be preordered here.

‘Indiana Jones’ Films Available on 4K UHD Individually With Dolby Vision June 6

Raiders of the Lost ArkIndiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be available for the first time on 4K Ultra HD individually and nationwide with Dolby Vision and HDR-10 on June 6 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Entertainment. 

Each film has been remastered from 4K scans of the original negatives. All picture work was approved by director Steven Spielberg. In addition, all four films were remixed at Skywalker Sound to create Dolby Atmos soundtracks. 

Each disc will be packaged with artwork inspired by the original theatrical posters and will include access to a digital copy of each respective film.

In addition, Raiders of the Lost Ark returns to select theaters on June 4 and 7. Tickets for this special engagement presented by Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures can be purchased at www.fathomevents.com or at participating theater box offices.

The fifth film in the series, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, debuts in theaters June 30.

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Warner Classics ‘The Maltese Falcon,’ ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ Due on 4K Ultra HD in April

As part of the year-long centennial celebration for the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. Studio, three classics from the Warner Bros. library — The Maltese Falcon, Cool Hand Luke and Rebel Without a Cause — will be available for purchase on 4K Ultra HD disc and digital in April.

On April 4, The Maltese Falcon and Cool Hand Luke will be available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digitally. Rebel Without a Cause will be available to purchase digitally April 4 and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc April 18.
 
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc will include each feature film in 4K with HDR and a digital version of the feature film.

Academy Award winner Humphrey Bogart stars in the classic film noir The Maltese Falcon (1941) as tough San Francisco private detective Sam Spade. The famously convoluted story follows Spade’s involvement with a deadly band of international thieves who will lie, double cross and murder to obtain a small, jewel-encrusted statue known as The Maltese Falcon. Spade’s partner, Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan), accepts a job protecting a young woman (Mary Astor). Neither Spade nor Archer believe the woman or the story she tells them, but they do believe her money. Then, when Archer is murdered, Spade’s search for the killer drags him into the web of lies and death spun by the desperate people seeking The Maltese Falcon. The film is directed by John Huston in his directorial debut. The screenplay is by Huston and is based on the 1930 novel by Dashiell Hammett. In addition to Bogart, Cowan and Astor, the film stars Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane, Lee Patrick and Sydney Greenstreet. The Maltese Falcon was nominated for three Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Greenstreet) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Huston). Previously released special features include commentary by Eric Lax; “Warner Night at the Movies,” featuring the Sergeant York trailer, the newsreel “New Highlights of the Roosevelt Churchill Parley,” the 1941 Warner short “The Gay Parisian” and the 1941 Warner cartoon “Meet John Doughboy”; “The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Brid”; “Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart”; the Warner short “Breakdowns of 1941”; makeup tests; a Feb. 8, 1943, Lux Radio Theater broadcast; a Sept. 20, 1943, Screen Guild Theater broadcast; a July 3, 1946, Academy Award Theater broadcast; and the trailers “Satan Met a Lady” (1936) and “The Maltese Falcon” (1941).

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Academy Award winner Paul Newman stars with George Kennedy in Cool Hand Luke (1967), the story of a man who will not surrender to authority — even at the cost of his life. In the film, when Luke Jackson (Newman) is sentenced to a Southern prison for a minor infraction, his intelligence, calm under pressure and inability to accept defeat soon gain him the respect of his fellow inmates on the chain gang — and the nickname Cool Hand Luke. But they also earn Luke the enmity of the warden, who cannot allow any inmate to challenge his authority. When Luke’s mother dies, he decides to escape, and he will not allow anyone to stop him. The film is directed by Stuart Rosenberg.  The screenplay is by Donn Pearse and Frank R. Pierson and is based on the Pearce’s 1965 novel of the same name. In addition to Newman, Cool Hand Luke stars George Kennedy, J.D. Canon, Robert Drivas, Lou Antonio, Strother Martin and Jo Van Fleet. Cool Hand Luke was nominated for four Academy Awards, Best Actor (Newman), Best Supporting Actor (Kennedy), Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Pearce and Pierson) and Best Original Music Score (Lalo Schifrin), and won for Best Support Supporting Actor. Previously released special features include commentary by Eric Lax; the featurette “A Natural-Born World-Shaker: Making Cool Hand Luke”; and the trailer.

James Dean stars in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), a movie that shocked the United States with a performance that still electrifies the screen 25 years after his untimely death prior to the film’s release. In this archetypal drama of teenage angst and rebellion, three high school students who should lead idyllic lives in their stable, comfortable suburban families explode with a violence and sexuality that their parents cannot understand. This coming-of-age sfilm ripped the façade from the post-war American dream to expose the rage of the country’s youth. The film is directed by Nicholas Ray from a story by Ray, a screenplay by Stewart Stern and an adaptation by Irving Shulman. In addition to Dean, the film stars Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, Corey Allen and William Hopper. In 1990, Rebel Without a Cause was added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.” Previously released special features include commentary by Douglas L. Rathgeb; the 1974 TV special “James Dean Remembered”; the featurette “Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents”; the featurette “Dennis Hopper: Memories from the Warner Lot”; screen tests; wardrobe tests; and deleted scenes.

William Castle, Samuel Fuller and Hammer Collections Headed to DVD Sept. 27 From Mill Creek

Three collections of classic films — the William Castle Adventures Collection, the Samuel Fuller Collection and the Hammer Films 12-Movie Collection — are being released on DVD Sept. 27 from Mill Creek Entertainment and Distribution Solutions.

The William Castle Adventures Collection includes four 1950s titles from director William Castle: Serpent of the Nile (1953), about the romance of Antony and Cleopatra; Charge of the Lancers (1954), set during the Crimean war and starring Paulette Goddard; The Iron Glove (1954), a story about the English throne starring Robert Stack; and The Saracen Blade (1954), set in 15th century Italy and starring Ricardo Montalban.

The Samuel Fuller Collection includes Power of the Press (1943), about the murder of a newspaper publisher during World War II (written by Fuller); Scandal Sheet (1952), about a murderous newspaper editor (based on a novel by Fuller); The Crimson Kimono (1959), about two detectives seeking a stripper’s killer in the Japanese quarter of Los Angeles (written and directed by Fuller); and Underworld U.S.A. (1961), about a teenager who vows revenge against the mobsters that murdered his father (written and directed by Fuller).

The Hammer Films 12-Movie Collection includes a dozen classic horror films: The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Gorgon (1964), The Snorkel (1958), Never Take Candy From a Stranger (1960), The Old Dark House (1963), Scream of Fear (1961), Stop Me Before I Kill! (1961), Die! Die! My Darling (1965), The Stranglers of Bombay (1960), The Terror of the Tongs (1961) and The Pirates of Blood River (1962).

Disney+ Adding Sing-Alongs of Seven Musical Classics

Disney+ will release new sing-along versions of seven Disney musicals, including Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana and The Little Mermaid on July 22.

Five additional Disney+ sing-alongs will launch in August. 

As subscribers watch the sing-along version of the films, they will be able to see on-screen lyrics.

The rest of the schedule includes The Lion King (2019) and The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride sing-alongs debuting on Aug. 5 and the Beauty and the Beast (1991), Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Tangled sing-alongs available on Aug. 19.

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The sing-along version of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning film Encanto is now streaming.

1960s Sci-Fi Classic ‘Battle of the Worlds’ Headed to Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 9

Cinedigm’s The Film Detective, the classic film restoration and streaming company, will release the 1960s sci-fi classic Battle of the Worlds on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 9.

In the 1961 film, a runaway asteroid dubbed “The Outsider” mysteriously begins orbiting the Earth and threatens it with lethal flying saucers. Filmed in Italy at the height of the country’s sci-fi craze, this independent classic stars Claude Rains (Casablanca, The Invisible Man, Notorious), Bill Carter, Umberto Orsini, Maya Brent, Jaqueline Derval and Renzo Palmer with cinematography by Marcello Masciocchi.

Director Antonio Margheriti’s thriller comes ripe from the period of such Italian filmmakers as Sergio Leone, Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

The release is presented from a 4K scan of an original 35mm archival print.

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Bonus features include an original essay by author Don Stradley, “Margheriti’s World”; a full-length commentary track by film historian Justin Humphreys; a new original production, A Cinematic Outsider: The Fantastical Worlds of Antonio Margheriti, by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; and an insert with a special surprise for TFD fans.

1950s Classic ‘The Brain From Planet Arous’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD June 21

Cinedigm’s The Film Detective, the classic film restoration and streaming company, will release the 1950s sci-fi classic The Brain From Planet Arous (1957) on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD June 21. 

A great example of cut-rate sci-fi from the 1950s, this independently produced feature stars ‘B’-movie favorite John Agar (The Mole People, Revenge of the Creature) and Joyce Meadows (The Christine Jorgensen Story, The Girl in Lovers Lane) and was directed by Nathan Juran, a master of the genre who helmed such classics as The Deadly Mantis (1957), Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958) and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958).

In the film, when Gor, an evil brain from planet Arous, inhabits the body of scientist Steve March (Agar), his intention is nothing less than world domination. Lucky for Earth, another intergalactic brain, Val, offers to assist March’s wife Sally (Meadows) in stopping the madness.

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The special-edition Blu-ray and DVD release features a 4K transfer, including two versions of the film, presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrically released ratio and in 1.33:1 full-frame format. Included in the bonus features is exclusive commentary with The Brain From Planet Arous star Meadows.

“The Film Detective’s magnificent restoration of The Brain From Planet Arous reminds me of when I saw the movie on the big screen back in 1957,” Meadows said in a statement. “An amazing achievement, and I’m so pleased this picture is getting the respect it deserves.”

Other bonus features include a full-color booklet with an original essay by author/historian Tom Weaver; a full commentary track by historians Tom Weaver, David Schecter, Larry Blamire and Meadows; “The Man Before the Brain: Director Nathan Juran” and “The Man Behind the Brain: The World of Nathan Juran,” both original Ballyhoo Motion Pictures productions; and a new introduction by Meadows.

Western ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD May 17

The Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance will arrive May 17 for the first time ever on 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR) as part of the Paramount Presents line from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Four-time Academy Award-winning director John Ford brought together an all-star cast for what is considered by many critics to be a quintessential — and yet pioneering — Western late in his storied career. Starring James Stewart and John Wayne (together for the first time), alongside Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, John Carradine and Lee Van Cleef, the film tells the story of a senator (Stewart), his old friend (Wayne), and a despicable outlaw called Liberty Valance (Marvin). 

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was selected in 2007 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Adapted from a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, the screenplay by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck gave us the often-quoted line “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

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Remastered in 4K Ultra HD for its 60th anniversary this year, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is presented in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s original theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments. The release also includes access to a digital copy of the film and a Blu-ray Disc with a new Filmmaker Focus featuring film historian Leonard Maltin discussing John Ford, the film and its legacy.  The Blu-ray also includes legacy bonus content including feature commentary by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, along with his archival recordings with John Ford and James Stewart; selected scene commentary with introduction by Dan Ford, along with his archival recordings with John Ford, James Stewart and Lee Marvin; “The Size Of Legends, The Soul Of Myth”; and the original theatrical trailer.