Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cynthia Myers 1950 - 2011

   Playboy playmate and actress Cynthia Myers passed away on Nov. 4.  She appeared in the Dec. 1968 issue of Playboy and her centerfold was featured in the movie Hamburger Hill. Perhaps best known for her role in Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls as Casey Anderson, the bass player of the all girl rock band The Carrie Nations.  She also appeared in Molly and Lawless John (1972),  had an uncredited part in They Shoot Horses, Don't They ? and of course made several appearances on Playboy After Dark.

Criterion does Godzilla


   Although they've been dropping hints about this for awhile it's was still a nice surprise that Criterion has announced a DVD and BD of Godzilla (Gojira 1954) for Jan. 24 2012. Along with the original Japanese version it will also have Terry Morse's 1956 American version Godzilla King Of Monsters with Raymond Burr and a bunch of great extras. A 35mm fine grain of the U.S. version recently turned up , so this will be a nice bonus.
  For anyone who hasn't seen the original Japanese version , it has a totally different feel to it and is long way from what Godzilla would become in later films. Featuring  a monster spawned of atomic radiation and made only nine years after the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan , it is a very dark and poignant film.  Directed by the great Ishiro Honda this is already my favorite release of next year.
  That cover art sure doesn't do much for me. With all the wonderful Godzilla/Gojira promotional art out there, it seems like they could have come up with something pretty cool. Oh well, I guess it what's inside that matters.

More Hammer on Blu-Ray

 Synapse has announced a further three Hammer titles on BD, following up on their excellent Vampire Circus issued earlier this year. Twins of Evil is scheduled for early 2012 and the rest to follow.  All three are great examples of later period Hammer.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Edwige Fenech in High Def

 Just announced from Blue Underground on Blu-ray for March 2012 is Andrea Bianchi's 1975 weird, sexy, sleazy giallo Strip Nude For Your KIller (Nude per l'assassino). Worth it alone to see the always  reliable (and beautiful) Edwige Fenech on Blu-Ray.


   With Shout ! Factory picking up the ball with the color run of Dragnet after Universal quit after the first season (Dragnet 1967), an unexpected bonus turned up in season two set - the 1966 pilot movie. When Webb revived the series in 1966 he hoped to get Ben Alexander back in the role of Frank Smith, but he was busy with a new ABC series Felony Squad. Webb then cast Harry Morgan in the role of Bill Gannon. In the pilot (not aired until 1969), Gannon is on his last day before retirement and Friday's rank is Lt. - not the familiar Sgt.  Perhaps Webb still hoped to get Ben Alexander back and just used Morgan as a fill in for the pilot, once the series was sold hopefully Frank Smith would be back.  The series was picked up and Harry Morgan was cast as Bill Gannon and Friday was back to a Sgt. The movie itself is based upon the real life case of serial killer Harvey Glatman ("The Lonely Hearts Killer") and some of Glatman's own statements to the police were used in script. 
    Although I grew up with the color Dragnet the original B&W series is really where it's at. Warner thru its MOD DVDr program on Amazon has released the original 1954 movie in all it's Warnercolor glory. A fascinating pre- Miranda rights procedural police movie, with Jack Webb's entire "stock company" from the TV series (many of whom would also appear later in the color Dragnet) including Virginia Gregg, Stacy Harris and Vic Perrin.  Also on board are Richard Boone, Ann Robinson and Dub Taylor (who gets blown away with a shotgun in opening scene).  Based upon the actual L.A. Police Intelligence Bureau who during the 1950's were responsible for fighting the war on organized crime in Los Angeles.
   The original B&W TV series still seems to be ignored by Universal - there are bunches of public domain DVD's out there with the same handful of shows.  I've bought a bunch of them and this one seems to be the best, with the most episodes and decent quality.

"Shotgun, extreme close range, double-O. Starkey was hit four times, first two cut him in half. "

"The second two turned him into a crowd."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rosalba Neri News # 2

  Finally got a chance to check out the Shout ! Factory release of Lady Frankenstein on DVD the other night. A nice surprise is that along with the New World cut of 84 min. the uncut version is also represented by "seamless branching". which adds about 12 minutes to the running time. The added footage is from different sources (including the German TV broadcast mentioned in an earlier post), but it's nice to see Shout Factory going the extra mile. The two disc set titled Vampires, Mummies and Monsters Collection also includes The Velvet Vampire (which I always found pretty boring), Grotesque (starring Linda Blair and Tab Hunter !) and Time Walker.
    Also Shout ! Factory just announced the Lethal Ladies  # 2 DVD set for Jan , including The Arena with Rosalba and Pam Grier- and how can you go wrong with that combination.

Happy Birthday Russell Johnson

 Born on this day in 1924. Best known as the Professor on Gilligan's Island he also appeared in the classic sci fi movies This Island Earth and It Came From Outer Space.  Hope he's enjoying a nice coconut cream pie today.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dr. Blood's Coffin

   Recently released on MGM via their MOD program, in a nice looking 16 : 9 transfer, this somewhat talky/slow moving Hammer wanna-be has always been a guilty pleasure of mine.  Some fairly graphic surgery footage , the Cornwall setting of England (also used in Hammer's The Reptile and Plague of the Zombies) and the always reliable Kieron Moore (Crack in the World & Day of the Triffids) help. Plus, no one fills out a nurses uniform quite like Hazel Court. Director Sidney J. Furie had a pretty amazing career directing everything from The Ipcress File to Little Fauss & Big Halsy (We really need a DVD/BD release on this one) and Iron Eagle !