Mike’s Picks: ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘The L-Shaped Room’

Night of the Living Dead: Criterion Collection

Criterion, Horror, $39.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman.
1968. In any form, the opening shot seems exactly right: a moving car finessing all the twists and turns of a pastoral setting that turns out to be a graveyard entrance that its sibling passengers would have been better off zooming by — 100 MPH and going backwards. But it’s the heavy contrast and overall crispness of the image that grabs me immediately about Criterion’s 4K, stops-pulled, whoop-de-doo, shirt-sleeves-rolled-up crack at George A. Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead.
Extras: There isn’t a whole lot you can imagine being left out of this Criterion package — some holdover commentaries from earlier releases; a shorter work-print edit; a new featurette/appreciation whose homage-paying filmmaker appearances include one by super-trendy Guillermo Del Toro; a new appreciation of the music; a germane Tom Snyder “Tomorrow” episode; a look-back at filming on a dime; a Stuart Klawans essay; and even a primer about directing ghouls.
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The L-Shaped Room

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Leslie Caron, Tom Bell, Brock Peters.
1962. Buoyed by surprise lead casting that worked at the time and still does,The L-Shaped Roomfairly seamlessly smooshes one of those British kitchen-sink dramas that a lot of critics diss (but I rather like) with an unwed mother saga.
Extras: The commentary track features the likes of Nick Redman, Lem Dobbs and Julie Kirgo.
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