In the second interview, author James Sanders analyzes the use of New York in The Naked City, which includes over 100 locations, most audaciously a morgue and the Williamsburg bridge. Yet, The Naked City’s glorious compositions tell their own truth, offering a portrait of a city that’s teeming with honor and evil and decay and beauty, as well as irreconcilable mixtures of all of the above. The crown jewel of this collection, Humberto Solas’s 1968 epic Lucía follows three different women named Lucía at transitional moments in Cuban history: 1895, 1932, and an unidentified year in the 1960s. Its only egregious flaw was the occasionally soft edge, which isn’t evident on either the Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD disc included with this new release. But then, occasionally, something pops out loudly. The film’s freak show ringleader, Mr. Bytes (Freddie Jones), is a drunken tyrant out of a fairy tale, while Merrick (John Hurt) is a holy innocent who coaxes the best out of mostly the upper class. Artistic antennae of a certain sensitivity must have been picking up some peculiar vibrations in 1975, when, within months of sci-fi impresario J.G. Townshend in particular loves the film’s sensuality and authenticity, contrasting it with the many blaxploitation films released at the time, in which black male sexuality is much more heightened and sensitivity hidden beneath a veneer of virility. But there’s method in Jodorowsky’s psychotronic madness, and anyone with half an interest in these matters doubtless will have their mind blown by the bold colors, striking set design, and surreal imagery alone. Details of the film’s production are affirmed once again on this disc’s most recent feature, in which Lynch and Kristine McKenna read passages from their 2018 book, Room to Dream. Ryûhei Kitamura’s ‘Versus’ Slices Its Way Onto Arrow Video Blu-ray. Outside of that, the story is different. Singlehandedly inaugurating the midnight-movie craze upon its release in 1970, El Topo combines the arid landscapes and ultraviolent showdowns of the Italian western with the dogged quest for spiritual illumination that’s at the heart of King Hu’s Touch of Zen. In the disc’s liner notes are a terrific article by Luc Sante, discussing the differing voices of Hellinger and Dassin, as well as correspondence by Hellinger himself on The Naked City’s climactic chase sequence. The yellows, browns, and reds that dominate the film’s color palette also really pop off the screen. Described as “disgusting,” “scary trash” and “maddeningly inappropriate” by film critic Roger Ebert and subject to a lawsuit by Warner Bros. (who claimed copyright infringement against a certain William Friedkin film), the devilish denizens at Arrow Video have summoned up this wickedly entertaining popcorn spiller fit for Satan himself! It’s also available in the more familiar 1.37:1 full frame format, and (presented as an extra) in a separate English dub that’s also full frame. The Gabriele Lavia interview is brief, but offers additional information about the actor’s work on the film. One of the few great filmmakers not affiliated with the Nazi Party to remain in Germany was Helmut Käutner, whose melodramas shot during WWI, such as Romance in a Minor Key and Under the Bridges, have an emotional sensitivity and fluid camerawork that recalls his compatriot Max Ophüls’s work. Given the importance of these restorations, it’s difficult not to be at least a little disappointed with the slim supplements. Trailer for Lang s 1943 noir, Hangmen Also Die! The dubbed dialogue is clean and discernable throughout, while sound effects range from effective to minor in nature. ...with this Arrow Blu ray release?? The 5.1 surround mix nicely opens up the already solid mono track, lending some depth to Jodorowsky’s hallucinatory score. It’s a critique that’s later deployed in a more succinctly surreal fashion with the image of woman in formal attire playing a piano that’s on fire. Described as disgusting , scary trash and maddeningly inappropriate by film critic Robert Ebert and subject to a lawsuit by Warner Bros. (who claimed copyright infringement against a certain William Friedkin film), the devilish denizens at Arrow Video have summoned up this wickedly entertaining popcorn spiller in a brand new, extras-packed edition fit for Satan himself! Elsewhere, Dr. Bruce Isaacs, author of The Art of Pure Cinema and Toward a New Film Aesthetic, lavishes coolly hyperbolic praise on the film’s style. Could it be that she’s carrying the child of the Antichrist himself? Not as good a bete noir as I have seen compared to Scarlet Street or Woman in the Window. We often hear little about the German films made between Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda films for the Nazi Party and the works of the New German Cinema of the late ‘60s, almost as if the German film industry were at a standstill during that time. The music is given the largest boost in clarity, coming through with extra muscle, but never overpowering the other elements. The plot follows a San Francisco housewife who becomes demonically possessed in the midst of a pregnancy. Appropriately, Pierrot le Fou was supposed to be the tale of a May-December affair, but by the time 32-year-old Jean-Paul Belmondo had been cast in the lead role opposite 25-year-old Anna Karina, the film took on a slightly different aura. Typical of the film’s high-wire act, the comment is clearly said in mockery of both consumerism and feminine concerns, but the image—that of a perfectly aligned Madison Avenue-engineered derrière—is just as clearly appreciative of what youth, fashion, and mass media can accomplish: great ass. (And a modern transfer does nothing to dispel the power of the film’s make-up effects.) Clumsy melodrama would condescend to Merrick, paying him the insult of pity while compromising the profound lightness of being, and an awareness of seemingly unimaginable pain, that Hurt brings to the role. Please try again. The other scene sees the children threatened by glowing-eyed dolls (presaging Poltergeist) until their entire bedroom starts tilting and shaking, an impressive bit of special effects work from Wally Gentleman, who had previously worked on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR Blu-ray February 14/13 Alexander S Carter, Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2013. The end result is less an aching cry for humanity than a torture contraption for willing, masochistic audiences. Narratively, as Requiem for a Dream spirals toward its nightmarish finale, things start to get so melodramatically awful for the characters that the film starts to seem like a modern-day equivalent to Reefer Madness, never so much as in the ugly way it introduces the character of a black drug dealer, Big Tim (Keith David), solely to exploit audience disgust at seeing a white woman taken advantage of by a black man. The 2.0 English LPCM track, which was redone for this edition to recapture lost nuances, is flawless to these ears, especially tending to Lynch’s longtime obsession with the heavy, enslaving, weirdly reassuring sounds of industrial machines chugging away. Could it be that she’s carrying the child of the Antichrist himself? The uncompressed monaural soundtrack is crisp, with clean audio even in the more cacophonous scenes full of overlapping dialogue, and the Gladys Knight & the Pips score is captured in all its warmth and sonic depth. With one brief exception, Dexter’s absence doesn’t haunt The Naked City as, say, the eponymous victim haunted Otto Preminger’s Laura. As with the Brute Force disc, The Naked City’s image has been rendered with revelatory attention to detail. The film’s relentless sound editing and Clint Mansell’s remarkable score is perfectly presented, never sacrificing the clarity of the dialogue. Although it was eventually sued by Warner Bros for its similarities to The Exorcist, Beyond the Door was a big hit during its original theatrical run. But because of Käutner’s suspect decision to continue working in his homeland throughout the ‘40s—or, perhaps, his inability to leave—his films received little fanfare outside of Germany, aside from European film festivals.
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