Movie of the Day : THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955) -The Last Mann and Stewart Film

“Hate’s unbecoming in a man like you… in some men it shows.” Charlie to Lockhart

THE MAN FROM LARAMIE- Marks the end of a five year partnership between Anthony Mann and star Jimmy Stewart, and it ends like it began, with a near biblical tale of frontier vengeance, only this time in rich technicolor as opposed to striking noirish black and white.

Stewart giving  a deeply felt performance, more nuanced and conflicted than the vengeance of the younger Stewart of their first collaboration, WINCHESTER 73.

In this film Stewart’s performance of vengeance is that of an older man, not the hot certain vengeance of youth,  but touched with fear and doubt, and makes it a different, and evocative and attractive performance. The film only slightly marred by a cartoony performance, by an actor seemingly miscast as the hothead son.

But that aside a fitting ending to their collaboration, and by any measure an essential western.

You can view it for free on streaming. And when suitably availed of its greatness, you can click the images to purchase your copy today. Masters of Cinema in 2016 released a Blu-ray 60 years in the making (almost sold out), improving on the 2014 Twilight Time release (which showed the film finally in its full widescreen glory) by adding a bevy of special features including an insightful audio commentary. I despair of a world where people are silly enough not to own these films in physical media 🙂 . If you are not one of these silly people, get yours by clicking the image below.

 

 

 

The Last Hurrah: Seminal Physical Media Box Sets – Indicator’s MARLENE DIETRICH 6 film Boxset!

Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount, 1930-1935 (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray] [2019]

 

 

I’ve had this boxset for a year or so, but am just now finishing all the films and all the special features. I really had no interest in Marlene Dietrich or Joseph Von Sternberg, or this boxset.

Just as an art object, I thought it was one of the most beautiful looking boxsets I had seen, but I had a hard time spending money on 6 romance films, that I likely wasn’t going to like, based just on the boxart.

So I did not buy it when it first came out, or for the first few sales over the following year. What got me to finally decide to purchase was I picked up a movie from Joseph Von Sternberg, not starring Dietrich, called THE LAST COMMAND.

And I was BLOWN AWAY.
This was from frame one, a master Director, his composition of shots, use of camera movements, beauty of the frame. I felt watching that film, the way I felt discovering Welles’ CITIZEN KANE or David Lean’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS or The Hugh’s Brothers MENACE 2 SOCIETY, it made me LOVE cinema.
Each time. Each film.
They made me a lover of cinema, and a devotee of that director.
So following up on THE LAST COMMAND, Indicator’s MARLENE DIETRICH & JOSEPH VON STERNBERG Boxset became a must buy.
Now having lived with this Boxset for over a year, seen the films and the special features, and I can confidently say it is one of my favorite purchases of the last couple of years. And the films, are not what I thought. They are about romance yes, but they are about more… they are about drama, and war and intrigue and loss and hope and sacrifice.
Small Melodramas, of the pangs of love, told against the backdrop of events great and small. But more the film is a showcase of a passionate union between a star a director and a costume designer, and together they created glamour, in the original definition of the word, a sorcery– a construct of beauty, for an age that needed it.
Together they moved the needle, they defined iconic.
This Boxset from Indicator, likewise moves the needle now, and is iconic and a must own.
Click the images for more info, or to pick up a boxset of your own. Criterion has a region A boxset of its own, the content with the exception of some of the special features is largely the same. The difference is the quality of the box part of the boxset.

 

The Criterion release sports boring, uninspired stock photo with not especially interesting typography for the box art, and a really cheap, thin cardboard box, Whereas Indicator commissions lavish, stunning painted artwork for their boxset, and the quality of the box is a durable, thick solid, not easily dented or warped box.
One is a work of art made to endure and be worthy container for the films within, one is not.
But if you just want to watch the films, and are not concerned with quality of the box part or the boxet, or want the features that are not on the Indicator set, than by all means pick up the Criterion set as well.
However if you can only get one, Indicator is the one to get.

For another, and more comprehensive view on the boxset check out SOLITARY RONIN”S simply essential coverage at the link below. If you are not subscribed to SOLITARY RONIN you are missing out on what I genuinely consider, one of the most informed and most informing channels on film you can find not just on Youtube, but anywhere. He and a handful of other channels are a film-school in a box. So definitely do yourselves a favor, subscribe to him and check him out. 

Hope you found this post of interest, and if you did please like, subscribe and email/comment.
Till next time… be well.

 

“But I think it’s safe to say the six films they (Director Joseph Von Sternberg, Star Malene Dietrich and Paramount’s Lead Costume Designer Travis Banton) made together during this five year period produced some of the most remarkable images, most stunning costumes and iconic moments of cinema history.”–Nathalie Morris in the Sarah Appleton helmed and Samm Dunn and John Morrissey produced 2019 Indicator Special Feature, STYLING THE STARS (can be found on the Indicator DEVIL IS A WOMAN Blu-ray, part of the Marlene Boxset)

Currently Watching : Eureka MASTERS OF CINEMA Blu-Ray OLD DARK HOUSE (1932) by James Whale

Guys if you buy only a few Blu-rays in 2020, Eureka’s slip-covered release of OLD DARK HOUSE should be one of them. The new art that adorns the slip cover is frame worthy, and the release itself is well mastered and over flowing with features. Sporting three interesting featurettes  as well as three film commentaries, and a booklet; the release is a worthy addition to any film fan’s collection.

Now it’s not all laudable, as I find the earliest commentary, between Kim Newman and Stephen Jones, for an earlier DVD release, to be while informative, oddly dismissive of certain things. Most notable Karloff’s performance, which I, and obviously by his billing, the studio recognized was the crux of the film. It is the menace of Karloff’s character of Morgan, that drives much of the film. Karloff is either wordlessly commanding the camera, or if off screen — is the concern the other characters are discussing.

So for the Newman and Jones commentary to dismiss Karloff’s performance, just strikes me as they have missed some crucial points regarding the film.

The second commentary is a welcome one by star Gloria Stewart (most famous these days by being in James Cameron’s TITANIC). She offers welcome insights, but just be aware that this is less an overview on the film, and much more just Gloria Stewart discussing her life as an actress, particularly as the film goes on. So if looking for a commentary that is discussing the film, this is not that. But it is great to hear her recount her insights and anecdotes. So not a great commentary per se, but it is a great and welcome interview, talk, from one of the few remaining people who was there, and knew these people. In that way it is an invaluable recording.

I have not yet listened to the third commentary, but plan to do so soon. So for all the reasons above, for the wealth of content included, I count it as a must own for any fan of classic cinema.

Get your copy here!

Most Intriguing DVD Releases [Reissues, Foreign, Obscure, etc] First Quarter of 2012!

Just finished a post on the most intriguing DVD/Bluray releases for the First Quarter of 2012 for Mainstream US releases. Now here is the more exciting list, including DVD/Bluray reissues, foreign, and Obscure!

Lot’s of really intriguing entries to hunt down. Among them several Jean Rollin films released on Bluray, several never previously released Jim Brown Films are available on DVD, Alfred Hitchcock films on Blu-ray and much more.

Take a look!

Notorious [Blu-ray]
Rebecca [Blu-ray]
Spellbound [Blu-ray]
North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition in Blu-ray Book Packaging)
The Iron Rose [Blu-ray]
The Nude Vampire [Blu-ray]
Fascination [Blu-ray]
Lips of Blood [Blu-ray]
Tick…Tick…Tick…
The Split
100 Rifles
El Condor
Dark Of The Sun (Remastered)
Take a Hard Ride
Slaughter/Slaughter’s Big Ripoff
The Slams
Kenner
Aurora
Swastika
The Man From London
Sinners And Saints
Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection (Caliber 9 / The Italian Connection / The Boss / Rulers of the City) [Blu-ray]
My Joy

More specifics on certain titles later.