From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets
“A Face in the Crowd” (1957) chronicles the rise and fall of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith), a boisterous entertainer discovered in an Arkansas drunk tank by Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal), a local radio producer with ambitions of her own. His charisma and cunning soon shoot him to the heights of television stardom and political demagoguery, forcing Marcia to grapple with the manipulative, reactionary monster she has created. Directed by Elia Kazan from a screenplay by Budd Schulberg, this incisive satire features an extraordinary debut screen performance by Griffith, who brandishes his charm in an uncharacteristically sinister role. Though the film was a flop on its initial release, subsequent generations have marveled at its eerily prescient diagnosis of the toxic intimacy between media and politics in American life. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “Noir Archive Volume 1: 1944-1954″ Stalwart “noir” directors and casts highlight these nine hard to find features. “Address Unknown” (1944) director William Cameron Menzies, stars Paul Lukas, Carl Esmond, Peter Van Eyck; “Escape in the Fog” (1945) director Oscar (Budd) Boetticher, stars Otto Kruger, Nina Foch, William Wright; “The Guilt of Janet James” (1947) director Henry Levin, stars Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas, Sid Caesar; “The Black Book” (aka “The Reign of Terror”) (1949) director Anthony Mann, stars Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Arlene Dahl; “Johnny Allegro” (1949) director Ted Tetzlaff, stars George Raft, Nina Foch, George Macready; “711 Ocean Drive” (1950) director Joseph M. Newman cast Edmond O’Brien, Joanne Dru, Otto Kruger; “The Killer That Stalked New York” (1950) director Earl McEvoy stars Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin, William Bishop; “Assignment Paris” (1952) director Earl McEvoy, stars Dana Andrews, Marta Toren, George Sanders; “The Miami Story” (1954) director Fred F. Sears, cast Barry Sullivan, Luther Adler, John Baer. Presented in high definition in their original aspect ratios. Curated from the Columbia Pictures Library. On Blu-ray from Kit Parker Films/MVD Entertainment … “Alien 40th Anniversary Edition”: “In space no one can hear you scream.” The terrifying sci-fi adventure, “Alien”, celebrates 40 years with an all-new 4K Ultra HD master, available April 23. A limited edition 4K UHD steelbook of “Alien 40th Anniversary Edition” will also be available exclusively at Best Buy. In the film that birthed the wildly successful “Alien” franchise, the crew of the deep space tug Nostromo awaken from stasis during a voyage home to Earth when their ship’s computer detects what is believed to be an alien distress signal coming from the desolate nearby moon, LV-426. While investigating, one of the crew, Kane (John Hurt), is attacked by an alien creature that latches to his face and he is rushed back to the Nostromo to receive medical treatment. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the ship’s warrant officer, advises against Kane’s return due to quarantine regulations — but her orders are ignored by Ash (Ian Holm), bringing the Nostromo under threat from a mysterious, extraterrestrial apex predator with violent and lethal survival instincts. The film was restored in 4K in 2018 by 20th Century Fox at Company 3/Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, supervised by Ridley Scott and Pam Dery, with the 4K scans done at EFilm.
On 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Comb from Fox.
From TV to Disc:
“A Place to Call Home, Season 6 – The Final Chapter” (2018) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. A sweeping romantic drama set in 1950s rural Australia and dealing with important social issues of the time: homosexuality, single motherhood, racism and the lingering effects of war. The final chapter of the Bligh saga brings love and healing to Australia’s first family as each member finds their true meaning in life and a place to call home. Also available: “A Place To Call Home: The Complete Collection (Limited Edition)” in a 20-disc set with all 67 episodes in special collectible packaging with two hours of bonus features. Also includes a set of six drink coasters and stirrers, six note cards and envelopes, and an eight-page booklet featuring an interview with series creator and writer Bevan Lee. From Acorn Media … “Shameless: The Complete Ninth Season” (2018) is a four-disc set with 14 episodes. In the ninth season, political fervor hits the South Side of Chicago as the Gallaghers take justice into their own hands. While Frank (William H. Macy), sees financial opportunity in giving voice to the underrepresented working man, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) tries to build on her real estate success and takes an expensive gamble. Debbie (Emma Kenney) fights for equal pay, and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) considers attending West Point. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) faces the consequences of his crimes and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) becomes a sober coach for a famous actress. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Warner.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
“Hagazussa” (2017 — Germany)is a haunting pagan death trip — a startling vision of psychedelic horror set in a dark past when Europe suffered from the paranoia and superstition that swept the land. In the 15th Century in the remote Austrian Alps, the orphan Albrun grows up to be a simple goatherd living in solitude … and a marked woman. As a scapegoat of ancient myths and monstrous misogyny, Albrun finds herself tormented by the local townsfolk, driving her to unleash the inner darkness that swells within her. A self-styled witch, Albrun soon exercises her other-worldly birthright and conjures a plague that makes the surrounding human cruelty look pathetic and small by comparison. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Doppelgänger Releasing … In “Death Is a Number” (1951), starring Terrence Alexander, Denis Webb and Lesley Osmond, a numerologist relates the family history of a friend, racing driver John Bridgeman (Denis Webb), whose mysterious death may have been the final act of an ancient family curse related to the number nine. This classic British makes its HD North American debut. From Juno Films Selects/MVD Entertainment … In “Naples in Veils” (2017 — Italy), a young woman crosses paths with a mysterious gentleman, only to find herself in the center of a murder investigation where nothing is as it seems. One night during a party, Adriana crosses the seductive and powerful gaze of Andrea, a charming and self-confident young man. They are immediately attracted to each other and spend a passionate night together. Adriana begins to think this could be the beginning of a great love that could change her life and they agree to meet the next day, but Andrea doesn’t show up. Disappointed, Adriana goes back to her normal life, but an unexpected breakthrough comes: Andrea is suddenly found dead. From Breaking Glass Pictures … In “Scared Stiff” (1987), TV star Mary Page Keller (“Pretty Little Liars”) appears alongside Andrew Stevens (“10 to Midnight,” “The Fury”) as a couple terrorized by an age-old curse in this much-underrated late-80s offering from director Richard Friedman. Keller plays Kate Christopher, a singer who moves into an old colonial mansion with her son and psychologist boyfriend David (Stevens). But when they make a strange and gruesome discovery in the boarded-up attic, it soon becomes clear that the mansion carries with it a dark and blood-stained past — and one that is about to terrorize them in the present. The second feature helmed by Richard Friedman, who went on to direct such genre favorites as Doom Asylum and “Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge,” “Scared Stiff (AKA The Masterson Curse)” builds to an astonishing practical FX-laden climax sure to please fans of 80s horror. Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Tito and the Birds” (2018 — Brazil) is an nimated film about a little boy and his journey to save the world. Tito, a shy 10-year-old boy, lives in a world on the brink of pandemic. Fear is crippling people, making them sick and transforming them. Tito realizes, based on his father’s past research, that there may be a way to utilize the local pigeon population and their songs to create a cure for the disease. His father was forced to leave when Tito was only six and the struggle to find a cure becomes linked with the search to find his father again, along with his own identity. On Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Studios … In “Torment (Paper Gallows)” (1950), starring Dermot Walsh, Rona Anderson, John Bentley snf Dilys Laye, brothers Cliff and Jim Brandon are a successful writing team specializing in murder mysteries, but Cliff and Jim are almost as disturbed as some of the characters they’ve created. While researching their latest novel, one of the brothers commits murder, simply to experience the thrill. He then attempts to frame his secretary Joan for the crime, since she’s in love with the other brother. The saner of the two races against time to save Joan from the gallows and to bring his sibling to justice. First time ever on disc in North America. From Juno Films Selects/MVD Entertainment … “Dick Dickster” (2018), starring Bob Shafer, Andy Dick and Richard Grieco, is the saga of Dick Dickster, a washed-up director who has a big ego and a bad attitude. His manager wants to ditch him, his wife can’t wait to divorce him and he owes the mob $50,000. And District Attorney Ed Lawler is re investigating statutory rape charges against Dick from his cult movie “Cult of Doom.” But things change when a film school student begins filming a documentary about him and hen a mysterious XXX producer offers Dick 100-K to turn “Cult of Doom” into:” Cult of Poon.” Dick can’t say no. From Indican Pictures … “The Green Inferno” (2013) is a two-disc Collector’s Edition set, with the film on Blu-ray and the original motion picture soundtrack by Manuel Riveiro on CD. From Eli Roth, the mastermind behind the “Hostel” franchise and “Cabin Fever.” A group of student activists fly to Peru determined to protect the Amazon rainforest, only to crash-land deep in the jungle. Captured by a pack of bloodthirsty cannibals, the survivors suffer unspeakable acts of butchery at the hands of the very tribe they were trying to save. A non-stop barrage of carnage and chills, the film is an unhinged blast. On Blu-ray from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory.