Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD

Burnt Offerings For June 11: Garbo, Hackman And A Guy Named Joe

June 11, 2013 - 12:01 am   |   By 

Time for this week’s round-up of what’s new in MOD from the Warner Archive Collection. In addition, Sony last week quietly added some new titles to their own MOD program, the Sony Pictures Choice Collection. Don’t forget that the Warner Archive website offers one-stop shopping for Warner, Sony and MGM releases.

WARNER ARCHIVE – NEW THIS WEEK

Black Market Babies (1945) – Another ripped-from-today’s-headlines exploitation expose from Poverty Row studio Monogram Pictures. Ralph Morgan stars as a disgraced, alcoholic doctor who teams up with lowlife Kane Richmond to create a “private maternity ward” for new mothers to dump off their unwanted brats.

Don’t Gamble With Strangers (1946) – More Poverty Row madness with Kane Richmond as a cardsharp who teams up with Bernadene Hayes. They pose as siblings and take over a gambling club. Both of these films were directed by William “One-Shot” Beaudine, possibly over the course of a long weekend.

The Human Factor (1979) – The final film from legendary director Otto Preminger has an impressive pedigree. Tom Stoppard wrote the script, based on the novel by Graham Greene, and the cast includes such distinguished names as Richard Attenborough, John Gielgud and Derek Jacobi. Unfortunately, the results are reportedly less than exciting. I’ll be taking a closer look in the weeks ahead.

Night Court: The Complete Ninth Season (1991-1992) – The ninth and final season of the long-running Harry Anderson sitcom.

The Painted Veil (1934) – Greta Garbo stars as a neglected wife married to a doctor in China who embarks on an affair with diplomat George Brent. If this sounds somewhat familiar, W. Somerset Maugham’s novel was remade in 2006 with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.

Women In Bondage (1943) – Maybe the most lurid of this week’s Monogram Pictures titles, this finds Gail Patrick returning home to Germany, where she is shocked and appalled by the treatment of women by the Nazis. This also goes by the title Hitler’s Women, in case Women In Bondage is too subtle for you.

Zandy’s Bride (1974) – Swedish filmmaker Jan Troell has been critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated but today, he’s fairly unknown to most American moviegoers. Part of the blame is due to the fact that his most famous films, The Emigrants and The New Land, aren’t available on DVD in the States. He made his English-language debut with this western starring Gene Hackman as a rancher who sends away for a Swedish mail-order bride (Liv Ullmann).

SONY PICTURES CHOICE COLLECTION

The Big C: The Complete Third Season (2012) – The final full season of Showtime’s dramedy that attempts to put a brave, smiling face on Laura Linney’s cancer.

Drive, He Said (1971) – Jack Nicholson’s directorial debut is primarily interesting as a curio today but it’s certainly worth checking out. It’s also already available on DVD and Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection in their essential America Lost And Found: The BBS Story box set, so I’m not sure what the point of this release is.

Knock On Any Door (1949) – Nicholas Ray directs Humphrey Bogart in this social-message film noir with Bogie as a crusading attorney defending impoverished young John Derek. Previously released in the TCM Vault Collection box set Humphrey Bogart: The Columbia Pictures Collection.

Love Affair (1932) – A very early Bogart vehicle, also previously released in the TCM set, with the star as an aeronautical engineer romancing heiress Dorothy Mackaill.

Scream Of Fear (1961) – An atmospheric, underrated Hammer horror movie with Susan Strasberg as a wheelchair-bound young woman who returns to her father’s home on the French Riviera, only to be tormented by recurring visions of his corpse. Released in the UK as Taste Of Fear, this was previously included in Sony’s Hammer Films: Icons Of Horror collection.

Sole Survivor (2000) – A made-for-TV adaptation of Dean Koontz’s best-selling novel with Billy Zane as a reporter who discovers that the plane crash that killed his wife and daughter leads to a bizarre cabal conducting experiments on kids.

The Stranglers Of Bombay (1960) – British merchant officers take on the Thugee Cult of Kali in this violent adventure from Hammer Films. Previously released in the Icons Of Adventure collection.

The Tijuana Story (1957) – A south-of-the-border potboiler starring Rodolfo Acosta as a crusading newspaperman who takes on the mob in an effort to clean up TJ. Robert Blake turns up in a small role.

The Traveling Saleswoman (1950) – Joan Davis produced and starred in this comedy-western as a soap saleswoman who gets mixed up with some cattle rustlers.

COMING SOON

Two Bette Davis classics are available for pre-order on the Warner Archive site: the 1935 romantic comedy Front Page Woman and the 1948 drama Winter Meeting. Both are scheduled to ship June 18.

Also now available for pre-order: two made-for-TV biopics from the 1990s. Diane Keaton stars in Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight, while Johnathon Schaech takes the title role in Houdini. Once again, the titles are scheduled to begin shipping June 18.

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW

Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne star in the World War II romantic fantasy A Guy Named Joe, directed by Victor Fleming.

Come back again next Tuesday for more MOD adventures!

- Dr. Adam Jahnke

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