Okay, all of you tightwads who haven't purchased Fox's amazing 2009 Blu-ray set containing all of the Planet of the Apes films, here's a reason to part with those Confederate dollars you're still toting around in your wallet. Amazon is running a sale on the set, which contains many hours of rare extras, not to mention Cinema Retro's hardback commemorative book that details the history of the series. You can purchase the set for only $52- savings of $77! If that doesn't make you go bananas for the Apes, nothing will. Click here to order
The Great Escape: prime title for a Criterion special edition.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Our friend Nick Sheffo at the terrific Fulvue Drive-In web site has an interesting suggestion for MGM, now that they are providing titles for Criterion's line of special edition Blu-ray titles. As most DVD fans know, Criterion is the gold standard of special editions. Nick suggests ten specific titles that would make excellent collaborative projects between MGM and Criterion. Among them: Midnight Cowboy and The Great Escape. Speaking of the latter, one of Cinema Retro's contributors, Steve Rubin, produced a Criterion special edition laser disc on this title, complete with commentary track by director John Sturges. Sadly, when Criterion lost the rights to The Great Escape, this edition remained largely buried. It would be an excellent idea to use those materials on a new Blu-ray release of the film. For more click here
Although sales of traditional DVDs have been dropping steadily, the U.S. mail-order rental giant Netflix is increasing its subscriber base. Netflix has now launched a major new drive to add two million new subscribers while simultaneously cutting postage costs by tempting customers to view films on their computers via streaming. If successful, the company could greatly influence how the public views home entertainment. For more click here
Sony has released an exciting new collection of Film Noir gems in association with Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation. Here is the official press release for the set, which will be released in July.
Pictures Entertainment (SPHE) and Martin Scorsese’s non-profit film
preservation organization, The Film Foundation, partner once again to bring
five films to DVD for the first time, fully-restored and re-mastered, in Columbia
Pictures Film Noir Classics II, debuting on DVD July 6. This must-have
collection includes Pushover (1954), Human Desire
(1954), The Brothers Rico (1957), Nightfall (1957)
and City of Fear (1959). In this second volume, renowned directors
Fritz Lang, Phil Karlson and Irving Lerner are joined by Jacques Tourneur and
Richard Quine in proving that lust, adultery, greed and revenge all add up to
cold, calculated murder. Film Noir Classics II takes viewers on a dark journey
among low-lifes and mobsters, cops and gun molls, and the dim-witted, hapless
pawns who forever changed the landscape of cinema, and whose doomed paths are
as disturbing today as when they were first committed to film.
Based on Richard Matheson's classic sci-fi novel I Am Legend, the 1971 film The Omega Man was actually the second big screen adaptation of the story. In 1964, Vincent Price starred in a low-budget Italian version titled The Last Man on Earth. In 2007, Will Smith had a blockbuster hit with I Am Legend, though that film, like the ones that preceded it, was only loosely based on the novel. Each is effective in its own way, but for pure sentiment I prefer The Omega Man, which I saw during its initial run during my high school years. The film made a major impression on me and although time has undoubtedly diminished its impact, the movie still makes some poignant observations about human nature, as well as providing Charlton Heston with one of his most memorable roles. Heston is Robert Neville, a scientist who finds himself the only person immune from the biological agents that have seemingly wiped out the rest of the human race. The best parts of this film are the early scenes in which Neville is seen trying to keep his sanity amidst the crumbling infrastructure of Los Angeles (the film is set in the "future" year of 1975).