"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
May 242016


DARK PASSAGE (1947) The third of Bogart and Bacall’s four pairings is a bold and surreal noir fable about a faceless man framed for a crime he didn’t commit and the mysterious dame with a dime to help a fellow on the run. In a bold move for its era, director Delmer Daves keeps escaped con protagonist Vincent Parry’s face unseen for the first half, only allowing Bogart’s iconic visage to be seen following plastic surgery. This technique lends a heady air of surreal nightmare and mystery to as the viewer assumes the place of protagonist. The sparks between Bacall and Bogart are as bright as ever, but Agnes Moorehead nearly steals the show as one flighty femme fatale. The seamless blending of second unit photography lends Dark Passage the ultimate Film Noir PO Box – the streets of San Francisco – and Dark Passage has never looked brighter than on this sparkling new 1080p HD transfer.  Special Features: “Hold Your Breath and Cross Your Fingers: The Story of Dark Passage”  Featurette; “Slick Hare” Theatrical Animated Short (HD); Theatrical Trailer (HD)


FITZPATRICK TRAVEL TALKS VOL. 1 (1934-46) For over 20 years on behalf of MGM, writer/producer/director/narrator James A. FitzPatrick trotted all over the earthly sphere training his Technicolor camera at sights both picturesque and poignant. His simple, straight forward looks at what was best and most interesting in a location allowed a generation of movie-goers to experience the world from their hometown movie house. In this first collection, selected from over a decade of travels, we visit locales like pre-war Tokyo, post-revolution Ireland, street-car connected Los Angeles, pre-occupation Paris and the sleepy lumber city of Seattle – gateway to wild Alaska!

Hollywood Goes to War

SEVEN MILES FROM ALCATRAZ (1942) Two cons (James Craig and Frank Jenks) make a daring escape from the Rock only to end up going toe-to-toe with a nest of nasty Nazi spies. Seeking refuge on a lighthouse, Champ Larkin (Craig) and word-scramble wiz Jimbo (Jenks) take a lighthouse keeper’s daughter (Bonita Granville) hostage in order to compel cooperation from the trio of Coast Guard assigned to the beacon. One of the trio is a Nazi plant however, and he’s already sent a coded radio message out to his spymasters on the mainland and the sub lurking in the bay… Here’s hoping Jimbo gets to unscrambling while Champs tries to light up the lighthouse lady. Edward Dmytryk directs this perfect blend of pulp, patriotism and propaganda.

THE NAVY COMES THROUGH (1942) Naval officer Lt. Tom Sands (George Murphy) loses his commission thanks to an accusation of duty dereliction from his superior, Chief Mike Mallory (Pat O’Brien), who just happens to be the big bro of his intended (Jane Wyatt). Losing both the sister and his service, Tom gets a second chance when the Navy accepts him back as regular recruit after Pearl Harbor. His first assignment? Aboard the same Merchant Marine vessel seconded to service under one Mike Mallory. A crackerjack squad of supporting actors fills out the ensemble – and how! – including Jackie Cooper, Desi Arnaz, Max Baer, Frank Jenks and Ray Collins. Directed by A. Edward Sutherland.

MARINE RAIDERS (1944) Major Steve Lockhart (Pat O’Brien) commands a squad of Marine Raiders skirmishing through the jungle of Guadalcanal at night, aided by the heroics of Para-Marine Captain Dan Craig (Robert Ryan in one of his earliest leading roles). Following a partial breakdown triggered by a Japanese atrocity, Major Steve fears for Captain Dan’s psyche. So when Dan falls instantly in love with Aussie war nurse Ellen Foster (Ruth Hussey), Steve does the sensible thing and shanghais his pal back to service stateside. Dan must bury his rage when the Corps assign him to training the next squad of Marines… side by side with Steve. Directed by Harold Shuster.

CHINA SKY (1945) Pearl Buck pens this tale of double and deadly triangles in Japanese besieged China. Ruth Warrick plays Dr. Sara Durand, selfless tending to the sick and wounded in a provincial China under perpetual blitz from the Japanese air force. When her partner in peril, Dr. Gray Thompson (Randolph Scott) returns from the States with a new society bride (Ellen Drew), Sara’s heart faces a shock to the system. Meanwhile, local warlord Chen-Ta (Anthony Quinn) has fallen for nurse Siu-Mei (Carol Thurston), who’s already been promised to Doctor Kim (Philip Ahn). Under pressure from bombs and betrayals, the two triangles entwine in a duet of tragedy and triumph. Directed by Ray Enright.

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 May 24, 2016  Add comments

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