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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Nov 132018
 

TARZAN’S GREATEST ADVENTURE (1959) New 2018 1080p HD Master  
After Lex Barker carried the mantle clear of Weissmuller’s long shadow, Gordon Scott was free to claim the crown of King of the Jungle. His Tarzan was keen, intelligent, and literate – much as Tarzan’s creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs, had envisioned – and in the aptly named Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, Scott’s run as the jungle lord reached a peak in what is widely regarded as one of the best entries in the prodigious series of action adventure classics. Tarzan is on a deadly trail, determined to find the diamond hunters (including Anthony Quayle and Sean Connery) who brought terror and death to a peaceful village. But as much as Tarzan is a tracker and avenger, he’s also a protector. An irresponsible gadfly from the so-called civilized world intrudes on his quest and Tarzan knows he cannot leave her to fend for herself. In this crackling 1080p HD transfer, director John Guillermin’s top notch sinewy cinema spectacle is served up as if brand new! 16×9 Widescreen

THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA (1973) New 2018 1080p HD Master
Christopher Lee’s final Dracula performance wings its way on lush leathery batwings thanks to this new high definition transfer that serves up these satanic rites as  never been seen. A dying man’s report of a ritual black mass stirs Britain’s security chief into action and a mansion filled with young vampire girls is soon discovered. This is only the first layer of a labyrinth of horror. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee pair up for the final Hammer Dracula in this follow-up to Dracula AD 1972. In this go-round, the Count (Christopher Lee, naturally) pursues a more pulpish super-villainous playbook, posing as a millionaire industrialist, alive and well and living in London while secretly brewing up a batch of super-plague in a quest to destroy the world. Mixing Satanists, spies, and Sci-Fi the viewer is glad that Peter Cushing is on hand to solidly anchor the more outré elements as the effortlessly expositioning Dr. Van Helsing. Lee, in turn, is given more dialogue as Dracula than is the norm, and ratchets up the evil to the nth degree. Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) co-stars. Also known as Dracula and his Vampire Bride. 16×9 Widescreen

CLASSIC MOVIES NEW TO DVD

THE THIRTEENTH CHAIR DOUBLE FEATURE (1929, 1937) New to DVD
Two very different directors, Tod Browning (Freaks) and George B. Seitz (the Andy Hardy series), tackle the same sensational stage mystery nearly a decade apart with these two films from the Tiffany of movies studios. After an Englishman and all-around cad is murdered in Calcutta, an inspector is dispatched from Scotland Yard (Bela Lugosi in 1929, Lewis Stone in 1937) to find the killer. Aiding the inspector is the murdered man’s friend (John Davidson, Henry Daniell) who hatches a scheme to use a phony medium (Margaret Wycherly, Dame May Witty) in a seance to draw out the killer from a group of suspects. When the murderer uses the cover of darkness during the ritual to strike again, the medium must solve the mystery when the circumstances point to a suspect of particular interest to her. Tod Browning’s take is decidedly pre-Code, and heavy on the atmosphere, while George B. Seitz serves up a lean and sly suspense thriller.

PASSION FLOWER (1930) New to DVD
Dulce (Kay Francis) and Cassy (Kay Johnson) have always been closer than cousins, so it’s only natural that Cassy should come to Dulce with the news that she’s in love, but even Dulce’s insouciant cynicism turns to shock when she learns that the man in question is Dan Wallace (Charles Bickford), the family chauffeur. Banished by her father, Cassy accepts the hospitality and help offered by Dulce and her older, rich husband Tony Morado (Lewis Stone). Wallace and Cassy are soon married, and the prideful Dan is determined to make a go of it without Dulce and Tony’s help. Five years and the arrival of children force Dan to swallow his pride and return to the Morados’, but Dulce now has plans of her own for Dan. This pre-Code drama from celebrated silent film director William De Mille (older brother of Cecil) showcases the rising star talent of Kay Francis, and helped cement her sophisticated seductress persona.

DIVORCE IN THE FAMILY (1932) New to DVD
Child star Jackie Cooper was riding the crest of his fame thanks to The Champ when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer tapped him for this unique drama tackling divorce from the child’s point of view. After spending an idyllic summer at a dig with his divorced Ethnologist father, John Parker (Lewis Stone) and military-school-attending elder sibling Al (Maurice Murphy), young Terry Parker (Cooper) finds out that his mother Grace (Lois Wilson) has married the town doctor Phil Shumaker (Conrad Nagel) in their absence! Finding his life with his strict stepfather a misery, Terry sends a missive to his pop that escalates events to a nearly tragic finish.

HIDE-OUT (1934) New to DVD
City slicker Lucky Wilson (Robert Montgomery) likes to play fast and loose with the ladies and the law, but when the cops crack down on his part in a protection racket, his luck runs out. Wounded and on the lam, Lucky retreats to the wilds of rural Connecticut where he is taken in by the Millers, a kindly family of farmers. Initially anxious to recover and return to the rackets and the Big Apple, Lucky extends his rehabilitation due to the charms of the Miller’s daughter, Pauline (Maureen O’Sullivan). With the Millers unaware of his criminal ways, Lucky plays the rube while romancing Pauline as his rehabilitation shifts from the physical to the spiritual. W.S. Van Dyke ably directs the proceedings that amiably navigate between the confines of crime picture and romantic melodrama thanks to crack comic dialogue and terrific supporting ensemble that includes Edward Arnold, Edward Brophy, Herman Bing and a young Mickey Rooney.

MAN OF THE PEOPLE (1937) New to DVD
Heavyweight Hollywood heavy Joseph Calleia pulls a reverse heel and headlines as a good guy up against the mob in this crackling crime drama. Borrowing a bit of Warner Bros. ‘ripped from the headlines’ sensibility, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer deploys their deep bench of great contract players to great effect in this tale of corruption and crusading in New York’s Little Italy. Italian-born lawyer Jack Mareno (Calleia) attempts to set up an honest practice in his childhood neighborhood only to find his way stymied by the local machine. Unable to beat them, Jack joins up and rises to Assistant District Attorney thanks to their string pulling. But when he balks at reducing a murder charge for one of the mob’s men, he‘s sabotaged by the racketeers. But in the ashes of Jack’s defeat may be the gold he needs to bring down the mob.

NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection, WB Shop.com, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 Posted by on November 13, 2018  Add comments

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