From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
The long-awaited “A Matter of Life and Death” (1946) comes to home video shelves this week in a scrumptious Criterion Collection edition. After miraculously surviving a jump from his burning plane, RAF pilot Peter Carter (David Niven) encounters the American radio operator (Kim Hunter) to whom he’s just delivered his dying wishes and, face-to-face on a tranquil English beach, the pair fall in love. When a messenger from the afterlife arrives to correct the clerical error that spared his life, Peter must mount a fierce defense for his right to stay on earth — painted by production designer Alfred Junge and cinematographer Jack Cardiff as a rich Technicolor Eden — climbing a wide staircase to stand trial in a starkly beautiful, black-and-white modernist heaven. Peppered by humorous jabs intended to smooth tensions between the wartime allies Britain and America, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s richly humanistic “A Matter of Life and Death” traverses time and space to make a case for the transcendent value of love. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray … In the noirish classic “I Walk Alone” (1947), starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Lizabeth Scott, partners-in-crime Frankie (Lancaster) and Noll (Douglas) split up to evade capture by the police. Frankie is caught and jailed, but Noll manages to escape and open a posh New York City nightclub. Years later Frankie is released from the clink and visits Noll with the intention of collecting his half of the nightclub’s profits. But Noll, who has no intention of being so equitable, uses his ex-girlfriend Kay (Scott) to divert Frankie from his intended goal. Co-starring Wendell Corey and legendary noir baddies Marc Lawrence and Mike Mazurki. Brand new HD master from a 4K scan of the 35mm safety dupe negative by Paramount Pictures Archive. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … Legendary serial and western director William Witney directed the film noir “A Strange Adventure” (1956), starribng Ben Cooper, Joan Evans, Marla English, Nick Adams and Jan Merlin, about a trio of armored-car robbers who make their getaway by forcing a young hot-rodder (Cooper) to be their driver. The vicious criminals take over a mountain cabin for a hideout after overpowering its occupants. Beautifully shot in black-and-white by Bud Thackery. Brand new HD master from a 4K scan of the 35mm original negative by Paramount Pictures Archive. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
Also due this week: “The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey” (1988): Following the release of his 1984 debut feature “Vigil,” Vincent Ward returned four years later with “The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey,” a film that would cement his position as one of the most exciting filmmaking talents to emerge during the eighties. Cumbria, 1348 — the year of the Black Death. Griffin, a young boy, is plagued by apocalyptic visions that he believes could save his village. Encouraging a small band of men to tunnel into the earth, they surface in 1980s New Zealand and a future beyond their comprehension — but they must complete their quest. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, “The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey” is a bold and often startling fusion of medieval fantasy and time travel science fiction, quite unlike anything you’ve seen. Formats: Blu-ray. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … “Dagon” (2001): H.P. Lovecraft’s iconic tale comes to life when the Vestron Video Collector’s Series releases the modern retelling of the horror classic “Dagon” on limited edition Blu-ray. Directed by horror mastermind Stuart Gordon and starring Ezra Godden, evil rises and a legend unleashes the rage of Hell after a yacht crashes on the Spanish coast and the survivors are forced to face their nightmares. Restored and remastered.In a Blu-ray debut from Lionsgate.
From TV to Disc:
“Keeping Faith” (2017 — UK) is a three-disc set with all eight episodes about Faith Howells, a fun-loving lawyer with a happy marriage and three children, enjoying an extended maternity leave from the law firm she founded with her husband, Evan. One day, however, Evan leaves for work but never arrives. Faith scrambles to handle the clients Evan left behind, all while trying to find out what happened to her husband. As the days go by with no sign of him, Faith becomes the police’s prime suspect, and her search for the truth leads her to the criminal underbelly of her quiet Welsh town. When long-buried family secrets come to light, Faith wonders if she ever really knew her husband at all. On DVD, Blu-ray from Acorn Media … The long-awaited new season of the hard-hitting Parisian cop thriller “Spiral” makes its way to DVD this week. “Spiral Season Six” (2017) is a three-disc set with all 12 episodes of one of my favorite TV series. Originally released in France as “Engrenages” in 2005, the series became a critically acclaimed blockbuster success across Europe and Australia and won the International Emmy Award for Best Drama. It’s been a well-kept secret here in the US but more and more people are finding out about this gritty, down-to-earth Parisian crime drama that goes “Law & Order” one better by focusing on criminals, police, prosecutors and defense attorneys — with all their successes and failures. Many of the flawed characters are not very likeable but their humanity sucks you into their stories from episode to episode. The main emphasis is, of course, on the working class cops — fighting working class crime in working class neighborhoods in working class clothes — and fighting the self-serving higher-ups only concerned with promotions and monetary compensation. BAFTA nominee Caroline Proust returns as Captain Laure Berthaud, as she and her team begin a complex new investigation after a human torso is discovered in the 20th arrondissement in Paris. Backed up by her team of detectives including Thierry Godard as Lt. Gilou and Fred Bianconi as Tintin, the investigation is overseen by Judge Roban, played by veteran French actor Philippe Duclos. Audrey Fleurot also returns as lawyer Joséphine Karlsson, who continues to juggle her professional ambitions with her personal demons. From MHz Network. “Engrenages,” by the way, translates as “the act of putting into gear” or just “gears.” From MHz Network. (You can stream previous seasons via MHz Network or Hulu).