Tag Archives: Classic Films on DVD

DVD of the Week – Island of Lost Souls (1932)

by HELEN GEIB

Charles Laughton stars as one of the maddest of mad doctors in this adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, with Richard Arlen as the castaway hero and Bela Lugosi as the man-beasts’ leader. The new Criterion Collection DVD/Blu-ray of Island of Lost Souls (1932) is the first time the film has been available on DVD. Surprising for one of the famous pre-Code horror films… until you learn the negative is lost, and this release is a restoration pieced together from several print sources and digitally cleaned up to remove dust and scratches. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Spotlight On… Kino International

by HELEN GEIB

An occasional series profiling companies putting out high-quality DVD/Blu-ray releases of classic, independent, and foreign films.

Kino International’s tagline is “The Best in World Cinema.” The company’s more than 500 title strong catalog redeems that pledge with an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary films. Kino.com’s “About” page proudly lists “films and filmmakers…introduced to North American film audiences since 1980” that includes many important directors such as Shoehei Imamura (Japan), Aki Kaurismaki (Finland), Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong), Amos Gitai (Israel), Bertrand Tavernier (France), and Im Kwon-taek (Korea). Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Review of The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

by NIR SHALEV

The Magnificent Ambersons is Orson Welles’ second masterpiece, following his surprising commercial flop Citizen Kane (1941). This film is far less flamboyant, contains a more stark visual style, and borrows strongly from Eisensteinian dramatic compositions and editing techniques, which is a very good thing. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – The Complete “Metropolis” (2010)

by NIR SHALEV

Throughout the last 83 years, Metropolis was cut, recut, edited, and reedited so many times that until the 2003 release from Kino International audiences were unable to watch the film properly, or even coherently. When originally released in theaters, any version outside of Germany was cut severely and had more than an hour removed. The original German runtime was 153 minutes and when VHS kicked in around the 1970s and 1980s the runtimes had differed constantly. The 2003 Kino DVD release was 124 minutes in length and had finally introduced the character of The Thin Man to most audiences. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – A Miner’s Life in Film

by HELEN GEIB

Come and listen you fellows, so young and so fine,
And seek not your fortune in the dark, dreary mines.
It will form as a habit and seep in your soul,
‘Til the stream of your blood is as black as the coal.

CHORUS:
It’s dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where danger is double and pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It’s dark as a dungeon way down in the mine. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – The Leopard (1963)

by HELEN GEIB

Luschino Visconti’s The Leopard is now available on DVD and Blu-ray in a handsomely packaged edition from Criterion. The masterful adaptation of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s great novel stars Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, and Claudia Cardinale. Criterion has given the film a high-definition digital transfer with restored image and sound, and preserved the original “Super Technirama” widescreen aspect ratio. Instilling confidence in the proceedings, the transfer was supervised by the film’s cinematographer, Giuseppe Rotunno. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Stagecoach (1939)

by HELEN GEIB

The most exciting DVD news of recent weeks is Criterion’s release of John Ford’s masterwork Stagecoach, also available on Blu-ray. The best part is the new, restored high-definition transfer. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Spotlight on… Flicker Alley

by HELEN GEIB

This week’s DVD of the Week post inaugurates “Spotlight on…,” a new occasional feature that will profile independent companies producing high quality DVDs/Blu-ray discs of classics, foreign films, and other specialty releases. This new feature was suggested by a regular commenter on Commentary Track, and readers’ suggestions for future “Spotlight on…” columns are most welcome. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa

by HELEN GEIB

“AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa” is a new box set from Criterion timed to coincide with the centenary of Kurosawa’s birth. The box set includes all but five* of Kurosawa’s films. Four of the films in the set- Kurosawa’s first four films as director- are being released on DVD for the first time. Continue reading

DVD of the Week – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

by HELEN GEIB

Disney has never been reluctant to re-release its animated classics and the two-disc DVD edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that came out today is not the first good quality DVD release of the film. While it has some new features and a spiffed up print, it seems to be mostly a follow-on to last month’s Blu-ray release, a three-disc edition packed with extras and that includes a DVD copy of the film. I’m not sure exactly why someone who buys a Blu-ray copy of a movie would want a DVD copy too; perhaps to give away as a gift to technologically backward friends or keep in the family car to play on road trips. The release of the new DVD edition is at any rate perfectly timed for holiday gift giving. Continue reading