NEW FROM THE WARNER ARCHIVE COLLECTION
The Lusty Men (1952) – This week’s most exciting release casts Robert Mitchum as a rodeo star sidelined by injury who becomes a mentor to young Arthur Kennedy and falls for Kennedy’s wife, Susan Hayward. Directed by Nicholas Ray and featured prominently in Wim Wenders’ documentary about/homage to Ray, Lightning Over Water, The Lusty Men finally makes its DVD debut. It will initially be available exclusively through Warner Archive’s online store, so get clickin’ and head over.
Raton Pass (1951) – Two families vie for control of a cattle ranch and Patricia Neal is the seductive femme fatale who wants it all for herself.
Shoot-Out At Medicine Bend (1957) – Randolph Scott heads west to avenge his brother’s death, caused by army swindlers who supplied him with faulty ammo. Angie Dickinson and James Garner co-star and that should at least be enough to pique your curiosity.
The Young Guns (1956) – Kiefer and Los Bros Estevez aren’t in this one but if they’d been around in ’56, they probably would have. Russ Tamblyn stars as the newest member of a gang of teenagers trying to escape the shadow of their outlaw parents. Directed by Albert Band.
Oregon Passage (1957) – John Ericson and Lola Albright star in this action-packed B-movie about a Cavalry officer contending with renegade Indians.
Gunsmoke In Tucson (1958) – These days, this would be the title of a CSI-style spinoff of the TV series Gunsmoke. In 1958, it was the title of a relatively typical Good Brother Vs. Bad Brother showdown between Mark Stevens and Forrest Tucker.
Gunfighters Of Casa Grande (1964) – Alex Nicol stars as Joe Daylight, leader of a gang of outlaws who are forced to play hero in an effort to get rid of an even bigger bad, the sinister bandit chief Rojo (Aldo Sambrell).
Son Of A Gunfighter (1965) – Russ Tamblyn saddles up again as Johnny Ketchum, seeking revenge against his own father, Ace Ketchum (James Philbrook), and the sinister bandit chief Rojo…I mean, Morales (Aldo Sambrell).
Ringo And His Golden Pistol (a.k.a. Johnny Oro, 1966) – Mark Damon is the man with the golden gun in this Spaghetti Western from the great Sergio Corbucci, arguably second only to Leone in his mastery of the genre.
Shirt Tales: The Complete Series (1982-84) – Tyg Tiger, Pammy Panda and the rest of the Hallmark Cards mascots in the neon tees came to Saturday mornings as a mystery-solving, globetrotting team of adventurers. I have almost no memory of this cartoon and I should probably be grateful for that.
Hostages: The Complete Series (2013-14) – Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette star in this one-season wonder about a Washington, D.C., surgeon (Collette) tasked with operating on the President whose family is kidnapped by terrorists. Sounds incredibly convoluted to me but what do I know.
WIDE AWAKE IN STREAMLAND
So, here’s what you need to know up front about this new section. Needless to say, we here at The Bits are not proponents of streaming or digital downloads over physical media. No sir, your best, safest entertainment value continues to be that shiny little disc with the hole in the middle. It’s yours forever, the picture and sound should be top-notch and hopefully it’s got some meat on its bones in the bonus feature department. Buy ‘em, collect ‘em, trade ‘em, horde ‘em, build forts out of ‘em, fun for hours.
However, I (and I stress that I’ve switched to first person here…not speaking on behalf of the entire team) am a big supporter of streaming and digital over cable TV. To quote Bart Simpson, “TV sucks.” Streaming, on the other hand, provides access to a remarkable variety of content, some of which is hard to find on disc. Contrary to what you might hope, it doesn’t give you access to everything forever. Never has and never will. If you had cable back in the 80s, you probably thought that you could turn it on any time and have a pretty good chance of seeing Midnight Madness. Good luck finding it today. Streaming’s kind of like that, only you get to set the schedule.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really a good TV Guide for streaming channels yet. And since there is quite a lot of good stuff floating around the digital airwaves, I wanted to mention some of the best of it on a regular basis. I’ll be spotlighting a few choice movies and TV shows here from the various streamers on a weekly basis, so warm up your Roku, Apple TV, laptop, goofy-looking Dick Tracy watch or whatever the hell you use and check ‘em out.
Sincerely Yours (Warner Archive Instant) – I reviewed this camp classic Liberace vehicle back when WAC released it on DVD. For those of you who, for some odd reason, weren’t convinced that two hours of Liberace struggling with hysterical deafness was worth your 20 bucks, now you can check it out…and in HD, too!
Aquaman (Warner Archive Instant) – The King of the Seven Seas made his animated debut (alongside Mera and Aqualad, natch) in this 1967 Filmation series that also featured appearances from the rest of the Justice League of America. Ridiculous? Yes. Fun? Tons.
The Elephant Man (Netflix) – I would love, love, love it if Criterion released David Lynch’s 1980 masterpiece on Blu-ray. If you’ve never seen it or haven’t seen it in a long time, you absolutely must add it to your Netflix watchlist.
A Simple Plan (Netflix) – Sam Raimi’s most underrated movie is this marvelous Hitchcockian thriller with Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda and Billy Bob Thornton. I’ll never understand why this didn’t get more love. Catch up with it now.
The Brood (Hulu Plus) – Criterion hasn’t announced a disc release for this yet but David Cronenberg’s chilly horror classic is streaming on their Hulu Plus channel. It’s the perfect choice to get you in the mood for Oktoberfest.
- Adam Jahnke