Warner Archive New Releases: Night School on Frisco Bay

HELL ON FRISCO BAY (1955) New to Blu-ray & DVD with a 4K Scan from the Original Camera Negative
First time on DVD and Blu-ray! Screen icon Alan Ladd produces and stars in this crime spectacle, shot on location in noir central – San Francisco. Steve Rollins (Ladd) is both ex-cop and ex-con, recently sprung from the stir. Spurning both love (Joanne Dru, as a songstress spouse who strayed) and friendship (William Demarest as his ex-police partner), Steve has one singular quest: Kill whoever set him up for murder, or die trying. Blending adult drama, detective story and noir, Hell on Frisco Bay is a cinema stew that’s heavy on the savor and the flavor, thanks to its colorful CinemaScope presentation and a top-notch supporting ensemble. Edward G. Robinson delivers one of his most unforgettable mobsters, the utterly repulsive and remorseless Vic Amato. Fay Wray nearly steals the show as a faded screen queen, while Paul Stewart serves up one of his finest performances as Joe Lye, Amato’s hired killer with a conscience. 16×9 Letterbox
SCARECROW (1973) New to Blu-ray with a 2017 1080p HD Remaster
Gene Hackman and Al Pacino, both in the middle of an astonishing run of performances (Hackman between The French Connection and The Conversation, Pacino Between The Godfather and Serpico ), paired up for this unusual studio production that is as indie as they come. Heavy on character, light on plot, and overwhelming in its basic humanity, director Jerry Schatzberg’s film is a masterclass in empathetic acting from two very different, but equally dynamic, acting titans. Hyper aggressive ex-con Max Millan (Hackman) meets back-from-sea sailor Lion Delbuchi (Pacino) while hoboing it from West Coast to East. Taken with Lion’s more laid back philosophy, Max proposes the pair team-up and partner in a car wash in Pittsburgh – but a prison farm stay along the radically changes both men and their responsibilities to one another. A startling photographer, Schatzberg’s careful approach to the look of the film, crafted with famed cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, enchants and captivates on this elegiac 1080p presentation. Special Features: Vintage Featurette On the Road with Scarecrow; Theatrical Trailer (HD). 16×9 Letterbox
NIGHT SCHOOL (1981) New to Blu-ray with a 2017 1080p HD Remaster
Rachel Ward makes her “scream” debut in this early eighties slasher set at a college where the co-eds take a crash course in how to get ahead – without a head. Leonard Mann plays the Boston police detective given the anti-slasher assignment, but all he seems to uncover are a bevy of co-eds who like to get between the sheets with an amorous anthropology professor (Drew Snyder). Ward plays the prof’s able bodied assistant, who fully supports his purely scientific researches into heightened states of awareness. Directed by Ken Hughes, (Casino Royale, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) Night School presages the coming slasher boom while retaining much of the post-Hitchcock vibe of gritty 70s suspense while serving up stylish giallo-like flourishes. And the grain and grit of early eighties Beantown is presented with all its head-popping power on this 1080p HD presentation. 16×9 Widescreen
Season four sees the young staff of The King’s Towers enter into a new maturity while its proprietors begin to make plans to step aside. Fancy (Garcelle Beauvais) and Braxton (Christopher B. Duncan) get promotions to Director of Sales and General Manager, respectively, while Jamie King (Jamie Foxx) lands a new gig altogether! Remaining close to his Aunt and Uncle (Ellia English and Garrett Morris) and continuing to call the hotel home, Jamie realizes that working there has been holding him back from his dreams and gets a job writing commercial jingles – it may not be his dream job, but it’s a foot in the door. The future looks even brighter when Fancy admits to Jamie that she loves him. Jamie always knew that Fancy would come around – and he was right. But trouble brews as they move from being co-workers and friends into having a relationship in this 3-Disc, 24-Episode Collection.
Goofball. Dear Old Pa. Sugar Daddy with a Heart of Gold. These were the stock-in-trade characters of beloved Warner Bros.’ stock company member, Guy Kibbee. Beginning his career entertaining on a Mississippi riverboat, Guy Kibbee brought a larger than life energy to his characters, even when they were firmly on the sunset side of life. Mary Janes’ Pa (1935) sees Kibbee playing a returning runaway dad opposite the formidable Aline MacMahon (and introduced the “Guy Kibbee Egg” to the world). He is then paired with his match in zany, Zasu Pitts as a couple of recently enriched yokels reaching above their class in Going Highbrow (1935). Rounding things out, The Big Noise (1936) has Guy kicking up a racket as a canny retired business man taking on the mob.
Perhaps best known for her portrayal of intrepid girl reporter Torchy Blane in a series of films, the great Glenda Farrell was an indispensable member of the Warner Bros. stock company of players. More the “girl from down the block” than the “girl next door,” Glenda invested her characters with grit and vinegar, wise to the wise guys but still a sweet and solid citizen, and graced any scene she was in with extra zest. In The Law In Her Hands (1936) Glenda plays second chair to Margaret Lindsay, as the two play a pair of recent law grads that end up as mouthpieces for a mobster (Lyle Talbot). Here Comes Carter (1936) finds Glenda playing secretary to Ross Alexander’s on the air Hollywood whistleblower targeted by the mob. Finally, Glenda plays a key member of an ensemble that includes Allen Jenkins, Jean Muir and Stuart Erwin in the back-stage satire, Dance Charlie Dance (1937).

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

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