CASH ON DEMAND Blu-Ray Movie of the Day! US vs UK version!

CASH ON DEMANDPeter Cushing never gave a bad performance in his beloved career, and this is another standout great performance, by Hammer’s most bankable star. This Indicator Bluray boxset (click on the image) is the way to get this film (as well as three other great films). As the name implies it is about a bank robbery, more than that I will leave you to discover, except to say Andre Morell is brilliant, and there are two versions of this film. The shorter 68 minute UK theatrical cut, and the 12 minute longer 80 minute US Extended cut.

Typically, rightly or wrongly, the US cut is assumed to be the ‘censored’ or ‘edited down’ cut. In this case that thinking is 100% incorrect as the US version is VASTLY superior to the UK theatrical cut. When given the choice between the two, always go for the US Extended cut, it is just a stellar example of great writing, great direction, and great performances. Click on the image above to purchase.

Grade: One of the best and essential HAMMER crime films. I adore this film. B+/A-.

Spoilers: Read the following after viewing the film-US Extended Version

Comparison of the Two Versions

CASH ON DEMAND- UK 68 minutes, A tight, nail-biting, brilliant 68 minutes. Leading to a stitched up ending, that because of how well the protagonist is stitched up, seems a bit truncated unrealistic, even rushed ending.

The US cut adds 12 minutes, that now empowers that final scene in a way that was missing in the UK version. It adds three notable scenes. One, a scene prior to Cushing’s arrival, which I think is helpful for fleshing out the Bank workers, and this mentioned holiday party.

Two, some initial business about Peter Cushings character being tyrannical and dressing down his subordinates. Just heightens the irony, and the rough justice in Cushing’s character suffering what he does.

Third, a nice addition with a firetruck siren, and the fantastic Andre Mrrell discussing Cushing’s character over a drink, and his… absence of mercy.

All of these additions gives more weight and nuance to the movie as a whole, in that you are not firmly in Cushing’s corner the way you were in the UK version, which downplayed his abuse of his subordinates. The US version, there is more grey, and the viewer to an extent enjoy Cushing’s character getting back some of his own, and the teaching of a man without mercy,.. watching him learn the value… of mercy.

The US version makes the ending resonate more, because all of them, even the criminal(s), ultimately show more mercy than Cushing’s character does. The suave bank robber, knows and cares more about the people Cushing’s character works with than he does.The US version is the superior version. It is in certain ways the story of Scrooge, but told without ghosts and the clanking of chains, and tells us ultimately something canonical… about treating our fellow man, and the measure of mercy. The UK version is a good film, the US version is a great film.

Streaming VOD TV Guide for Today 1 April 2020 : Youtube DVD/Blu-ray Edition

 

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All these videos are great. Quick word on this last one. CRITERION, I guess bouyed by the competition from other labels such as ARROW and INDICATOR is really starting to step their game up. I think they are aware that while Criterion has made its name by providing quality curated, feature packed releases of significant titles; today some of these newer labels are really, not just on Criterion’s heels, but have surpassed Criterion in some areas. ARROW has better regular releases, with tons of features, and great books (as opposed to Criterion’s booklets in some cases), INDICATOR has absolutely jaw dropping boxsets. And then you have Shoutfactory and MillCreek and Universal killing it with their line of Steelbooks. There is just a lot of great competition out there in 2020, which is surprising considering how everyone keeps shouting the sky is falling for physical media. I have to tell you, I’ve been in this game quite a while, the physical releases we are getting today, are absolute works of art. Here in 2020 this is the golden age of Blurays/Physical media.

And CRITERION is appropriately stepping up their game. Because this RED RIVER 2018 Blu-ray reissue, of a 2014 release, that Cinema Dave introduces us to… is a must own. Though even here, you can argue that, they shortcut in that none of the special feature are new or original to this release. They use several year old interviews and commentaries, as opposed to ‘new for this release’ features that you do get with companies like ARROW and INDICATOR. Still I do see CRITERION putting out ever more impressive releases to maintain their position, as the most august name in Physical media.

 

 

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5 Films that need a Blu-Ray Release : Films at Home Cereal at Midnight Youtube Lists!

UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

 

 

I stumbled across this interesting Youtube Blu-Ray/DVD discussion collaboration between Youtube channels FILMS AT HOME and CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT.

 

The topic was simple enough, basically… ‘what 5 films need a Blu-Ray Release?’.

They had interesting choices. You can see links to their videos below, but it made me consider what films would I like to see get a quality Criterion or Arrow or Shout factory or indicator level Blu-Ray release.

 

Without further ado here they are:

  1. MISTER FROST

Everyone knows Jeff Goldblum is a great actor, and most would point to his work in David Cronenberg’s justly acclaimed THE FLY remake as one of his stellar films, as well as one of the better Blu-ray releases of last year. However one of Goldblum’s best films has never had a Blu-ray release, the absolutely ahead of its time, done back in the 80s, and wholly unsettling and effective… MR. FROST. Go in blind, knowing nothing, and the film will reward you. Would love a commentary and special features rich release for this film.

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2.Sembene Ousmane Colonial Quadrology Boxset

I have quite a few boxsets. Have recently picked up the Powerhouse Indicator HAMMER Boxsets. Definite gems. Managed to just snag the BFI’s PIONEERS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CINEMA boxset before that went out of print.

Okay, so with that lead in, I am going to cheat with this second one and make it a boxset. One boxset I would love to see on Blu-ray (heck I would love to even see it on DVD) is the Sembene Ousmane Colonial Quadrology Boxset, consisting of a loose 4 part filmic parables on Colonialism and resistance. The first feature EMITAI, is 1 hour 43 minutes and was released in 1971, and takes place during World War II.

Emitaï (1971)

The 2nd feature film in this quadrology is 1977’s CEDDO (120mins) and takes place around the late 15th, early 16th century.

Ceddo (1977)

The 3rd film, the only one to receive a DVD release (now LONG out of print) is the longest of the four, at 2 hours and 37 minutes, and comes a whole ten years later in 1988’s CAMP DE THIAROYE, and this film returns to the theater of World War II to tell its tale. This film is absolutely riveting, with a haunting wailing score to accompany this tale of calamitous decisions and barriers of language, of nationality, of prejudice, of mores, and wars fought on too many fronts.

You just feel the tension ratcheting up from scene to scene, never knowing where it is going, and whether it is prelude to calm or chaos. But there are also moments of lightness here, and easy languid touch to the film-making. It is a long film, around the 80 minute mark, it is like the whole film takes a downtime with the soldiers, a languid time of reflection, but it works, and is needed that intermission of sorts, and 10 minutes later you begin to know why. Calm, before a storm.

A masterpiece by a filmmaker who pulled these films together in a time when every foot of film, cost a fortune. It’s not like today when every ‘want to be’ filmmaker can grab a digital camera and put something up on youtube. In the age of film, particularly in a continent beset by the still caustic and crippling effects of colonialism, apartheid, civil war and corporate and international malfeasance… CAMP DE THIAROYE is a film made in blood and sacrifice.

It is a compelling film about injustice and tragedy, and the search for identity, separate from the imposed identity of the colonizing forces. And it is a film about the thanks of an ungrateful nation. And staggering corrupt decsions on one side, breeding horrendous bad decisions on the other, snaking its way to an ending that seems both inevitable, and totally avoidable. This should be talked about in the same breath as the best and most incisive of world cinema, up there with films such as ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS and RASHOMON and THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. The fact that this great film, 32 years later still has not received a wonderful feature packed CRITERION or ARROW release, is a small injustice and tragedy of its own.

p.s. If you do get the sold out DVD, the Danny Glover interview on it is simply essential viewing.

 

Camp de Thiaroye (1988)

And finally in 1992, a present day commentary on the long shadow of colonialism and religious factionism, GUELWAAR (1 hour 55 minutes) is Sembene Ousmane’s last film in this loose daring quadrology and comment on colonialism. Whereas his more innocuous films, that could not be perceived as overtly anti-colonial, are available, arguably his most provocative and compelling works have remained, throughout his life, and now even after his death, steadfastly and ‘un-officially’ banned.

Guelwaar (1992)

 

-UNDER CONSTRUCTION-

The Best of Boutique Blu-ray Labels in the age of Streaming! Oct 2019 to February 2020 ARROW Collection Update! Part 2 of 2!

Despite claims of the death of physical media, Blu-ray Boutique labels, HERE IN 2020, are putting out some of the best physical content… EVER!

Here then are MUST OWN Blu-rays in the age of streaming and digital, acquired between October 2019 and February 2020!

 

PT 2 of 2 of my Arrow Video Pickups for that period:

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THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN – Just in terms of art, this is not one of the better Arrow releases. The art, both versions of the reversible cover, are pretty awful.  Unworthy of such a great film. However because it is a great film, and the Arrow release is the only legitimate Bluray option out there, I can definitely overlook the art, in order to own this essential sci-fi tinged horror film. But I do hope we in the futuure get a superior version.

J.D’S REVENGE – I saw this film recently courtesy of Amazon Prime, my first time seeing this 40+ year old film… and I loved it. What a gem! Surprisingly gripping and exciting and Volatile. And this is one that ARROW VIDEO does a Fantastic job with the art, And i look forward to checking out the special features.

 

Get your copies at the following links:

INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

JD’S REVENGE

 

ONE FINAL WORD, AS i wrap up this quick update on arrow video titles acquired recently.

One OF THE STANDOUT FEATURES OF ARROW IN ADDITION TO THE SPECIAL FEATURES THEY INCLUDE ON THEIR RELEASES AND THE METICULOUS WORK THEY TYPICALLY DO COMMISSIONING NEW ARTWORK, is their booklets that come with their releases. however, that is also one of the main frustrations of collecting arrow releases.

arrow does this policy, where they only release the book or booklet with the ‘first pressing’ of their movies. basically when their initial batch of blu-rays of a title sell out, when they release subsequent pressings, those subsequent batches will not come with the book or booklet.

NOW I DO UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS OF DOING THIS FROM ARROW’S PERSPECTIVE, COST BEING A VERY MINOR ONE. BUT I THINK THE REAL REASON THEY DO IT, IS IT CREATES THIS AURA OF collectibility AND DEMAND AND URGENCY. it feeds into the ‘limited edition’ collectibles market, which is a valid part of their customer base.

here is the issue with that, that is only part of your customer base.

as a buyer and fan of arrow video releases, you do not know when you place your order, via a retailer, whether the new product you are getting will come with or without the booklet. and for most fans of arrow (or any boutique label, such as criterion), the booklet is part of why you collect physical media, as opposed to just streaming the movie, or getting the film from a different label. even today, four years after its initial release, i can order black narcissus (one of the most stunning films ever made) from criterion, and be assured of getting the beautiful booklet with it. that assurance of quality whenever you pick up a criterion product, well that says everything about why they remain synonymous with quality and confidence.

so while the limited nature of arrow’s books and booklet, ensures you create a quick sell out of your initial run, it hampers sales of subsequent runs. And gives the buyer pause before buying that release, and has them turn from you and your retailers to the secondary market for a used item, but one that guarantees they get the book or booklet.

this policy is actually training potential customers to be wary of getting the item new from arrow or its retailers, and to rather patronize the secondary market.

now i am a supporter of the secondary market typically, but in this case i think arrow may actually be losing sales on older titles this way. training your customer base to seek out used product as opposed to your in-stock product, courting the exclusivity fervor, is a tricky tight rope to walk, especially when it may be actually sacrificing some sales from a potentially larger customer base, to support this model.

at the very least if arrow, wants to not provide the book/booklet in all releases, and continue to court to some extent the limited edition part of their customer base, what they can still do is offer the books and booklets as an add on to customers. give customers the option to buy the book or booklet at a nominal fee, to include s&h. worldwide shipping of a booklet, even today is only few pounds. And to differentiate it from the first pressing, just simply mark it aS ‘2nd printing’.

this way your limited edition audience, still keep their ‘limited edition status- they have first prints’. and at the same time you generate revenue from people who missed out on the books or booklets. it strengthens peoples trust in arrow, since what you get is not totally left up to chance or the secondary market.

anyhow that is my two cents on the one issue, as someone only several months into arrow video patronage, that i see as room for improvement, with the otherwise excellent arrow label.

 

Must Watch Videos of the Day : 9 Jan 2020

The PORFLE POPNECKER Youtube channel always has great and oft obscure tidbits from the heyday of old Hollywood. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on classic cinema, however… even I… typicaly am always introduced to something new when watching his channels. I am a huge stop-motion fan, but had never heard of the 1957 movie, BLACK SCORPION. Thanks to the above clip I now know about it, and will definitely keep an eye out for it, to view it when possible.

 

Roland Romero shows off his recent Blu-ray purchases, to include a sought after Indicator Hammer Boxset. Love this channel. As those of you reading this know, while I have fallen off of most Blurays, I am a huge fan of Steel-books and Boxsets. I think while major American companies have under-served the physical media market, boutique specialty companies and foreign companies are filling the void by producing, some of the finest physical media releases ever. Quality mastering, with quality special features, with quality presentation and packing. These releases are works of art, as much as the actual film itself. The ‘dead’ physical media format, has never looked more alive, and more attractive. :). I bought more Blurays in 2019 than just about any year… ever (part of that has to do with the rise of Steelbooks) , and 2020 is already gearing up to surpass that.

 

 

 

Earl Grey released his BEST TRADES OF 2019, and like any of his best of videos, it is a must watch to my fellow bibliophile’s out there. Just a consistently great channel.

 

 

 

TOP 5 scariest Horror Manga You Need to Read! What else is there to say, love this channel.

 

 

Movie Poster of the Day! FURIOUS7

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This is a great image, and makes for a striking, if minimalist, poster. 

And while I’m no particular fan of the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise, I thought the 6th one by director justin lin was a lot of fun, and with James Wan (of INSIDIOUS, THE CONJURING, DEAD SILENCE, SAW fame) in the director’s chair for this latest film, I’m intrigued and enthused to see what he can bring to the table.

It’s been a busy 2015, and I haven’t been excited or interested enough to see much in the theaters.

FURIOUS7 I will see in the theaters. And if you intend to as well, shoot me a line with your thoughts on the film, and I’ll likewise post after seeing it.

AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE FANS OF THE SERIES, THERE IS A GREAT BLURAY DEAL ON ALL SIX MOVIES. STREAMING IS OKAY FOR SAMPLING THINGS, BUT FOR REWATCHING AND HAVING AND SEEING BELOVED FILMS IN THE BEST QUALITY, THERE’S NO REPLACEMENT FOR A GREAT BLURAY BOXSET. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS PRICED RIGHT.

CHECK OUT OUR AMAZON DEAL OF THE DAY HERE:Fast & Furious 6-Movie Collection (Blu-ray + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)

 

“Not many people realize this, but I’m a really squeamish guy. When I watch other horror films that are really over-the-top with their blood and guts, I cannot watch it. So if my threshold to something on-screen is at that level, you can imagine how my threshold is to all the pain and suffering that is happening in the real world.” – James Wan

FLASH GORGON Trilogy Update

Quick update on the FLASH GORDON Trilogy:

Just finished all three of the Flash Gordon serials. While I praised the first one FLASH GORDON (from 1936, renamed FLASH GORDON SPACE SOLDIERS), and was kind of luke-warm on the sequels (1938, 1940), I have to say re-watching the last two, they are rocky (dressed as Robin Hood’s Merry men in a Space Opera?? Really?), but you get past the shaky openings and they really get pretty darn good. Well the third one gets pretty darn good, the comedy bits of the 2nd one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS MARS still do not work for me, and it is the weakest of the trilogy, lacking the sexiness or action/intensity of either the first one or the third one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE.

But that last one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE, really builds to a kick-ass finale, every bit as good as the first film and a fitting end to the trilogy. A highly recommended box-set!

Flash Gordon: Box Set (Space Soldiers/Flash Gordon’s Trip To Mars/Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe) (3DVD)