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Almost Feminist

by Shawn Stone September 24, 2015


  There’s hardly a greater contrast in one Hollywood studio’s house style than Warner Bros. before and after 1935. In the first part of the decade, the films are largely sharp and fast, rarely clocking in ...


Glitter and Grit

by Shawn Stone May 14, 2015


  “Jones and Barry are doing a show!” 42nd Street begins with a montage of show-biz folks excited that a couple of Broadway producers are back in business. No one in 1933 would be surprised at the ...

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by Shawn Stone May 9, 2015


  Roger Corman’s 1967 gangster drama The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre remains as bluntly effective as a punch in the face. Newly released on a fine-looking Blu-ray, the film combines a faux documentary approach (complete with ...

Best of Video 2014

by Shawn Stone December 31, 2014


  1. Out of the Past Damn, this Blu-ray of Jacques Tourneur’s noir classic looks perfect. It has Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas and enough deceit for three dramas. 2. Why Be Good? This 1929 silent Colleen Moore ...

Holiday Inn

by Shawn Stone December 4, 2014


  Michael Curtiz’ color and widescreen White Christmas may get more attention these days, but Mark Sandrich’s Holiday Inn, released a dozen years earlier in 1942, is the film in which Bing Crosby introduced Irving Berlin’s ...

Why Be Good?

by Shawn Stone November 13, 2014


  As the last few years have reminded us, media revolutions are not pretty. When the comedy Why Be Good? was released into the marketplace of May 1929, the film biz was in the thick of ...


by David King November 13, 2014


  Even if you haven’t seen David Cronenberg’s 1981 sci-fi horror masterpiece Scanners, you have still probably seen Scanners. While Hollywood vultures picked over the stillborn corpse of Alejandro Jodowrosky’s Dune, they also borrowed liberally from ...

The Killer Elite

by Shawn Stone October 23, 2014


  Sam Peckinpah’s 1974 spy thriller The Killer Elite, new on Blu-ray from the boutique, Internet-only specialty label Twilight Time, is a movie that’s gloriously of its time. Practically every scene is infused with post-Watergate, post-Vietnam ...

A Really Big Show

by Shawn Stone September 25, 2014


  After Stanley Kramer’s 1963 smash It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, “big” comedies became the fashion. Traditionally, comedies were usually 90 minutes or less; after Mad squared, Hollywood considered comedy a genre worthy of ...

Our Nixon

by Shawn Stone April 3, 2014


  Penny Lane’s archival-footage documentary about Richard Nixon, Our Nixon, is a delightful addition to the canon of films, novels, histories and operas about the 37th President of the United States—the only one of that illustrious ...

Show Boat

by Shawn Stone March 12, 2014


  Warner Home Video has been planning to do a Show Boat box set for years. They own all three movie versions of Edna Ferber’s tale of turn-of-the-century riverboat entertainers: an oddball 1929 part-talkie that isn’t ...

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

by B.A. Nilsson February 20, 2014


  Fifty years later, the sought-after amount ($300,000) seems even more pitifully tiny, but the pursuit of that stash of cash has lost none of its plausibility. These people want that money and are prepared to ...

Royal Flash

by Shawn Stone February 20, 2014


  In 1975, Richard Lester followed up his smashing Three Musketeers films with Royal Flash, casting the ever-insolent Malcolm McDowell as a globetrotting rake of an English officer named Harry Flashman. Flashman, the Victorian antihero of ...

Becoming Hitch

by Shawn Stone March 20, 2013


  Even more than Olive Films’ extraordinary edition of John Ford’s The Quiet Man, this Criterion Collection restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s original version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is my favorite Blu-ray so far ...

Classic Hollywood

by Shawn Stone March 20, 2013


  “Grand Hotel . . . always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.” This is the stock observation of one Dr. Otternschlag (Lewis Stone), the war-maimed physician-in-residence at Berlin’s opulent Grand Hotel—or, to be ...

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The Year in Video

by Shawn Stone January 3, 2013


  Best of 2012   1. Lonesome Paul Fejos’ moving drama is about a couple of New York City nobodies finding each other, falling in love, and losing each other on a Coney Island afternoon. A rediscovered treasure. (Criterion) 2. ...

Man Out of Time

by B.A. Nilsson November 20, 2012


  The six-DVD set that Shout! Factory released last year was as wonderful a bounty of Ernie Kovacs material as you could desire, righting the wrong inflicted by an earlier collection that chopped his shows to ...

Bargain Bin

by Shawn Stone October 25, 2012

  There’s only one DVD in this edition, but it’s a terrific find: Walt Disney’s 1944 love letter to South America, The Three Caballeros. As the fun begins, it’s Donald Duck’s birthday. The irascible quacker receives a ...

The Other Gamine

by Shawn Stone October 25, 2012


  Audrey Hepburn personified the zeitgeist as the 1950s equivalent of today’s “pixie girl,” and generation after generation has continued to identify with her image. Yet the Dutch-born gamine did have rivals, and the best of ...

Steve Martin: The Television Stuff

by Shawn Stone September 26, 2012


  In the 1970s, Steve Martin was one of those guys who remade stand-up comedy. While Richard Pryor and George Carlin were changing comedy from the outside, tackling topics and using language previously reserved for comics ...


by Shawn Stone September 7, 2012


This is the most unexpected and delightful video release of the year. The Criterion Collection has rescued a lovely, generally unknown gem from the oblivion of archival and festival showings. Lonesome, which was made on ...

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by Shawn Stone September 7, 2012


In 1969, Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider lured the hippies and fellow travelers into America’s increasingly empty movie theaters with its rangy story of drugs, sex and the search for freedom on the road. It grossed ...

Centennial Summer

by Shawn Stone May 30, 2012


  Hollywood is old. Two of the earliest surviving studios, Paramount and Universal, turn 100 this year. Universal Home Video is promoting its parent’s centennial with film restorations and ballyhoo. The ballyhoo takes the form of wrapping ...


by Shawn Stone May 30, 2012


Back in the VHS era, Paramount’s editions of Wings and other silent films were very nice, but ultimately less impressive than MGM/UA’s editions of silent classics. Titles like King Vidor’s comic homage to Hollywood, Show ...

Wizards 35th Anniversary Edition

by Shawn Stone April 4, 2012


When Wizards was released in 1977, it turned Hollywood’s view of feature animation on its head. The film’s success proved that there was a market for more than children’s fairy tales (though Wizards was consciously ...