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.

Exploitation Classic ‘Girl on a Chain Gang’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD April 19 From Film Detective and MVD

The exploitation classic Girl on a Chain Gang (1966) will be released on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD April 19 from Cinedigm’s The Film Detective, Something Weird Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

From famed shlock distributor-producer-director Jerry Gross, who made his directorial debut with Girl on a Chain Gang, the stirring feature about small-town hate stars William Watson, Julie Ange and Ron Charles. It follows three young people who are framed, arrested and tossed into jail by corrupt Southern police.

Gross — who produced everything from Blaxploitation films to features about teen pregnancy — exercised his social conscience in this drama about racist Southern cops. Made the year after three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi, Girl on a Chain Gang addresses a subject Gross must have believed worth exploiting into drive-in theater fare. True to his low-budget roots, the movie was filmed nowhere near the South, but in Long Island, N.Y.​

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Special features include full-length audio commentary with Movies are Magic author and “Classic Films for Kids” host Jennifer Churchill; a new, original essay from Something Weird Video’s Lisa Petrucci, in a full-color booklet insert; and “It’s All in the Title: Exploiting Jerry Gross,” a short history of the semi-legendary producer with author/film historian Chris Poggiali, from Daniel Griffith at Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.

Classic Creature Feature ‘Monster From Green Hell’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray March 8

Cinedigm’s The Film Detective (TFD), the classic film restoration and streaming company, will release Kenneth G. Crane’s classic ‘B’-movie Monster From Green Hell (1957) on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD March 8.

From the era of giant bugs and atomic testing comes this low-budget creature feature about mutant wasps. When scientists try to understand the effects of radiation on earth creatures, the result brings them to an area of Africa known as “Green Hell,” where wasps have mutated into monsters.

Jim Davis, who later starred in the TV series “Dallas,” plays Dr. Quent Brady, the scientist who starts the whole mess. The film also stars Vladimir Sokoloff (The Life of Emile Zola, Mission to Moscow) as the skeptical Dr. Lorentz and Joel Fluellen (Raisin in the Sun) as Arobi, who warns Brady to beware of the African location. Monster From Green Hell was co-written by Louis Vittes, writer of the classic I Married a Monster From Outer Space.

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The special-edition release features a 4K transfer, including both widescreen and full frame versions of the film.

Monster From Green Hell is the latest in a series of collaborations between The Film Detective and The Wade Williams Collection.

Special features include “Missouri Born: The Films of Jim Davis,” an all-new career retrospective with author/film historian C. Courtney Joyner; “The Men Behind the Monsters,” an essay by author Don Stradley featured in a full-color booklet; and commentary with artist/author Stephen R. Bissette.

1936 Musical ‘Dancing Pirate’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 22 From Film Detective

The 1936 musical Dancing Pirate will be released on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 22 from Cinedigm and The Film Detective.

Billed as the first ever 100% Technicolor dancing musical, Dancing Pirate stars Charles Collins as a dance teacher from Boston who is tricked into joining a band of pirates, leading him to be fitted for a noose in California. He catches a break when the mayor’s daughter demands the hanging be postponed until he teaches her to waltz.

Dancing Pirate earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Dance Direction. The film features many familiar faces from Hollywood’s Golden Age, including Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz) as the mayor, Steffi Duna (Waterloo Bridge) as his dancing daughter and Rita Hayworth (Gilda) in an early performance as a specialty dancer.

The special-edition release features a new restoration from original 35mm archival material with a new 4K scan.

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“We are delighted to release our first Blu-ray from the recent acquisition of the late Alexander Kogan’s Film’s Around the World Library,” Phil Hopkins, president of The Film Detective, said in a statement. “This particular title was his prized possession, obtained from the famous film collector Wade Williams more than a decade ago. This important piece of film history is finally getting the proper attention it deserves.”

Bonus features include audio commentary and an original insert essay from author Jennifer Churchill; “Glorious Pioneers: The Birth of Technicolor,” an interview with author/historian David Pierce; and “Ambushed by Mediocrity: Remembering the Dancing Pirate,” an interview with film producer/historian Michael Schlesinger.

Classic Jazz Biopic ‘The Fabulous Dorseys’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 14

The Fabulous Dorseys (1947), starring  jazz giants Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, will be released on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 14 from Cinedigm and The Film Detective (TFD), the classic film restoration and streaming company.

The Dorsey Brothers portray themselves in the musical biography, following Tommy and Jimmy from their upbringing in Pennsylvania to their great successes in the music business. Director Alfred E. Green (The Jolson Story) uses the film as a showcase for the tunes that charmed a generation, including “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” and “Tangerine.”

Janet Blair (My Sister Eileen) appears with the Dorseys, while jazz buffs will enjoy cameos by Paul Whiteman, Helen O’Connell and other stars of the day. The film’s highlight is a jam session featuring the Dorseys and piano legend Art Tatum.

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The Fabulous Dorseys special-edition release comes with a new restoration of the film, featuring a 4K transfer from archival film elements.

Special features include a full commentary track by author Jennifer Churchill; The Fabulous Forties: Big Bands on Screen, a new documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; and “The Dorseys in Film,” an original insert essay by author Don Stradley. 

Film Detective Releasing Four Restored ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Films on Blu-ray

The Film Detective, a division of indie distributor Cinedigm, Dec. 21 will release Blu-ray Disc and DVD sets of The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection, featuring four newly restored films about the legendary detective and a slew of bonus materials.

Films in the Vault include The Fatal Hour (1931); The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935); Silver Blaze (1937), starring Arthur Wontner; and A Study in Scarlet (1933), starring Reginald Owen.

Special features a host of newly restored Sherlockian shorts, including Slick Sleuths (1926), Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900), A Black Sherlock Holmes (1918), Sure Luck Holmes (1928), Cousins of Sherlocko (1913), The Copper Beeches (1912) and “The Case of the Blind Man’s Bluff (1954), a Sherlock Holmes bonus TV-episode starring Ronald Howard.

Other extras include Elementary Cinema: The First Cinematic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, an original documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; Sherlock Holmes and the Blue Carbuncle, a radio broadcast re-creation from Redfield Arts Audio; and exclusive introductions with filmmaker and film history icon Samuel M. Sherman. Each of the four discs includes its own audio commentary from esteemed film experts and enthusiasts, including author Jennifer Churchill; author and film historian Jason A. Ney; writers/producers Phoef Sutton and Mark Jordan Legan; and authors/screenwriters, Peter Atkins and David Breckman. Also included are original film posters replicated as postcards, and booklet inserts with original essays from author Don Stradley and author/screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner.

The list price is $59.95 for the Blu-ray and $49.95 for the DVD. In addition to Amazon, the Blu-ray and DVD can also be ordered through MVD’s online store at a reduced price.

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A limited-edition Blu-ray ($69.99) and DVD ($59.99) bundle of The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection is available to order through Nov. 26 for fans in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom only at https://sherlockbox.imagenorders.com. The deluxe set includes a 13-month Sherlockian calendar, featuring special anniversary dates and fun facts about the history of Sherlock Holmes; a collector’s edition Sherlock Holmes magnet; a Sherlock Holmes notebook for jotting down clues; a one-year subscription to The Film Detective app; and a Sherlock Holmes tote bag.

Three randomly chosen fans who order the deluxe edition will also receive an additional prize — an exclusive Sherlock Holmes custom pipe courtesy of Peterson of Dublin.

‘The Amazing Mr. X’ and ‘Frankenstein’s Daughter’ Coming on Disc in October From Film Detective

Special editions of the film noir classic The Amazing Mr. X (1948) and the 1950s cult classic Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958) will come out on Blu-ray and DVD in October from Cinedigm’s classic streaming network and film archive, The Film Detective.

Due Oct. 5 is The Amazing Mr. X, which stars Turhan Bey as Alexis, a mystery man who claims to communicate with spirits. Appearing on the beach one night, Alexis easily charms a depressed widow (Lynn Bari) and her sister (Cathy O’Donnell). The sly Alexis makes a living by separating gullible people from their money, but before this tale is over, he will learn that the living are far more dangerous than the dead.

The film has undergone a 4K restoration from original 35mm film elements.

Special features include audio commentary from professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney; a full-color booklet with the essay “The Amazing Mr. Bey” by Don Stradley; and “Mysteries Exposed: Inside the Cinematic World of Spiritualism,” an original documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.

The Film Detective is also offering an exclusive opportunity to own the film with The Amazing Mr. X NFT (non-fungible token) auction, live on Rad. The winner of the auction will receive an exclusive physical framed lithograph of the movie poster, two Blu-ray copies of The Amazing Mr. X and NFT tokenized access to view the movie on Rad. The auction is currently available and will close on Oct. 4.

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Due Oct. 19 is Frankenstein’s Daughter, which finds Dr. Oliver Frank (Donald Murphy) carrying on the legacy of his late grandfather, the notorious Dr. Frankenstein, by building his own hulking beast with the transplanted brain of a beautiful, young woman. Bringing a fresh twist to Frankenstein films, Frankenstein’s Daughter takes place in ”modern” Los Angeles, where — despite news reports of a female monster menacing the neighborhood — nothing stops the local sun-soaked teenagers from partying poolside.

Directed by Richard E. Cunha, the film also stars John Ashley, Harold Lloyd Jr. and former Playboy Playmate of the Month Sally Todd.

This special-edition release marks the latest in a series of collaborations between The Film Detective and The Wade Williams Collection. Restorations of Flight to Mars (1951), Giant From the Unknown (1958) and The Other Side of Madness (1971) have also been released recently on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD.

Special features include an audio commentary track with author and historian Tom Weaver; a full color booklet with an original essay by Weaver; “Richard E. Cunha: Filmmaker of the Unknown,: a new retrospective from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, featuring an archival interview with the famed director; and “John Ashley: Man from the B’s,” a new career retrospective featuring film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

1950s Sci-Fi Classic ‘Flight to Mars’ Available on Blu-ray From MVD and Film Detective

Flight to Mars (1951), an adventure from the dawn of the 1950s science fiction boom, is now available on Blu-ray Disc from MVD Entertainment Group and Film Detective.

The release features a new 4K restoration sourced from the original Cinecolor separation negatives.

From legendary producer Walter Mirisch and starring Marguerite Chapman and Cameron Mitchell, Flight to Mars emerged from tiny Monogram Pictures, one of Hollywood’s smallest Poverty Row studios.

In the film, five Earthlings land on Mars and are greeted by a team of friendly inhabitants. In time, the Earthlings learn that the genial welcoming party secretly covets their ship. Fearing they have depleted the key mineral used to power their life-support systems, the Martians are determined to get off their dying planet by any means necessary. Not only do the Martians intend to leave the stranded crew behind to die, but they also plan to invade and conquer Earth. The discovery of this sinister alien agenda kicks off a long round of deception and suspense.

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Special features include audio commentary by author/film historian Justin Humphreys; “Walter Mirisch: From Bomba to Body Snatchers,” a new documentary short from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; “Interstellar Travelogues: Cinema’s First Space Race,” a new documentary short with celebrated science fiction artist/historian Vincent Di Fate from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; and a full color insert booklet with an essay by Don Stradley.

The Film Detective Streaming Oscar Classics in April

Cinedigm March 30 announced that the distributor is celebrating the history of the Academy Awards in April with a month-long celebration on The Film Detective, a classic media streaming network. Cinedigm recently acquired the network’s extensive library of 3,000 content titles, an estimated 10,000 individual film and TV episodes and two Free-Ad-Supported-Television (FAST) linear networks.

The Film Detective will feature a different Oscar nominated or winning film from Hollywood’s Golden Age, every night at 8 p.m. ET leading up to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony on April 25. Among the films featured will be four-time nominees like William Powell and Irene Dunne’s Life with Father (1947) and Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield’s Sounder (1972).

Academy Award winners will receive the spotlight on April 25 with a 24-hour marathon from dramas like The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) and A Star Is Born (1937) to Best Documentary winners including Prelude to War (1942) and The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975).

Oscar Night will be one of many movie marathons on The Film Detective in April. Comedy fans will enjoy celebrations in honor of April Fools’ Day on April 1, featuring films from comedian Jerry Lewis and episodes from new arrival — The Jerry Lewis Show: 1957-62 TV Specials. Comedy’s favorite Carol Burnett will also be celebrated on her 88th birthday with episodes from “Stanley” (1956-57) and “The Carol Burnett Show” (1967-78) on April 26.

April celebrations on The Film Detective will also include an Easter marathon on April 4. A morning of religious films including three-time Oscar nominee The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) and gospel music from “Queen of Gospel Song” Mahalia Jackson will start the day, followed by classic musicals in the evening like Something to Sing About (1937) and Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), featuring an all-star cast that includes Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra.

Cinedigm Acquires Fandor Streaming Service

Cinedigm has acquired Fandor, a subscription streaming service for independent films, documentaries and international features.

Fandor has a catalog of more than 4,600 film titles from more than 400 film companies.

Cinedigm plans to leverage its content library, technology, engineering and distribution capabilities to rapidly expand Fandor’s content offering, relaunch the service’s apps and dramatically expand distribution to Cinedigm’s global footprint of more than 900 million connected devices, according to a press release.

Cinedigm will continue to offer the service (currently at $5.99 per month) ad-free, but also plans to offer a free, ad-supported on-demand tier as well as a linear streaming channel.

Cinedigm plans to draw from a pool of more than 7,000 relevant film titles in its library, including thousands of classic, cult and foreign titles from streaming service The Film Detective, which it acquired in December 2020, according to the release.

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Cinedigm also plans to relaunch Keyframe, Fandor’s web and video-based publication dedicated to covering the art of cinema.

Phil Hopkins, president of Cinedigm’s Film Detective division, will oversee Fandor and Keyframe, with the goal of relaunching the service in the coming quarter.

“This acquisition of Fandor, coming on the heels of our Film Detective acquisition, solidifies Cinedigm’s position as the leading global streaming company for independent films,” Chris McGurk, Cinedigm chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “As a key element of our recently announced streaming rollup strategy, Fandor will immediately benefit from our streaming distribution muscle, huge library of independent films, Matchpoint technology, cost savings and infrastructure and synergies with our wide portfolio of enthusiast streaming channels. We fully expect an immediate EBITDA uplift from Fandor and strong revenue and profit growth going forward.”

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“The paradox of the streaming revolution is that it has never been harder to discover classic, essential and new independent and foreign films,” Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer and president of Cinedigm Networks, said in a statement. “The founders of Fandor had the right idea, launching very early in the streaming growth cycle while still establishing a strong and resilient brand and viewer base. Our mission at Cinedigm is to enable viewers, including independent film enthusiasts, to stream their passions, and I can’t think of a streaming service that is truer to our mission than Fandor.”

“The opportunity to leverage Fandor’s passionate community of independent film enthusiasts will be integral in the service’s growth,” Phil Hopkins, president of the Film Detective, said in a statement. “Being able to communicate and collaborate with this community of content creators, bloggers, and editorial writers will allow us to significantly expand Fandor into the global focal point for streaming independent films, documentaries, classics and foreign films.”