A: We’ve been an advocate of the film noir penned by David Goodis for a long time, especially since it was shot in the Philadelphia area. Good news! The film will finally be issued as part of Columbia Pictures Film Noir Collection III. For the uninitiated, the film deals with double crosses, femmes fatale, a group of crooks and a jewelry heist from a phony psychic’s mansion. It would have been Mansfield’s first featured role, but its release was held up for a few years. Also part of the set are My Name is Julia Ross (1945), a tale of shifting identities and murder with Nina Foch, Dame May Whitty and George Macready; Drive a Crooked Road (1955), with Mickey Rooney as a lonesome car mechanic sucked into a robbery scheme by duplicitous hottie Diane Foster; The Mob (1951), with Broderick Crawford going undercover as a longshoreman to expose mob corruption; and Tight Spot (1955), starring Ginger Rogers as an ex-con enlisted by D.A. Edward G. Robinson to give testimony against crime boss Lorne Greene. The set will be issued in early 2012.
Q: What about the TV series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd and the movie Knock on Any Door?
A: The Blair Brown-starring Molly Dodd is not scheduled for DVD release in the near future. In the series that ran from 1987 to 1991 on both NBC and Showtime, the red-headed Ms. Blair a divorced New York woman who drifted from job to job and man to man. However, Knock on Any Door is coming to DVD—as part of the Humphrey Bogart: The Columbia Pictures collection. The 1949 film from director Nicholas Ray features Humphrey Bogart as an attorney from a tough New York neighborhood who defends a young hood (John Derek) during a murder trial. It will only be available as part of a set that also includes Love Affair (1932), Tokyo Joe (1949), Sirocco (1951) and The Harder They Fall (1956).
Q: The one picture I have always wanted to see is Tumbleweed, but I wonder if it even exists still.
A: You’re right. The 1953 film is not on DVD and gets rare showings on cable. Universal owns it, so a future release is possible. In the film, Audie Murphy plays a guard for a stagecoach that is attacked by Indians, but Murphy’s life is spared due to his past efforts to help the tribal chief. Murphy is subsequently branded as a turncoat by the white townsfolk and pursued by a posse. The crack supporting cast here includes Lori Nelson, Chill Wills, Russell Johnson and Lee Van Cleef.
A: We agree with you. We would welcome any and all of these much admired films to DVD. Hopefully, your outcry will be heard by the studios that own the titles—Warner, Fox, Warner and Warner, respectively.
Q: Any chance Rogues’ Regiment (1947) will be issued on DVD? It’s an underappreciated masterpiece with Vincent Price as an ex-Nazi turned Communist.
A: This unusual film is owned by Universal as well, so we hope a release is possible. It is set in the early days of France’s involvement in Vietnam (then French Indo-China) and features Dick Powell as a French Foreign Legion soldier and Price as an art dealer with a murky past aiding the Legion’s cause.
Q: I would love to see the TV western show Lancer become available.
A: This sagebrush saga, focusing on a rugged rancher family a la Bonanza, ran on CBS from 1968 to 1970. It starred James Stacy, Wayne Maunder and Andrew Duggan as members of the Lancer clan. It was produced by Fox, so a DVD appearance in the near future is unlikely.
Q: Why can’t we get The Crimson Pirate and The Spanish Main on DVD? Come on, powers that be, we need you to get on the bandwagon and get the good ole clean movies reissued for family viewing.
A: Both Burt Lancaster in the classic The Crimson Pirate and Paul Henreid and Maureen O’Hara The Spanish Main are owned by Warner, so we would assume a future release in their archives series. En garde!
Q: I remember seeing a movie when I was a kid about a sea monster who terrorized the people who lived near a lighthouse. The movie reminded me of Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I can remember it being much more grisly in nature. Do you know the film and is it available?
A: Our guess is that the film is 1959’s The Monster of Piedras Blancas, in which the Gillman-like monster terrorizes a lighthouse keeper and other residents of a small town. And you’re right—it was more gruesome, with scenes of the monster holding a human head. The film was actually the craftwork of people who worked for Universal Studios and on the Creature films. Unfortunately, it is not out on DVD currently. For what it’s worth, the monster resurfaced in an episode of Flipper.
A: Twins of Evil, the third entry in the Count Karnstein trilogy following The Vampire Lovers and Lust for a Vampire, has been long in the works and will arrive early next year in DVD and Blu-ray. What is taking so long, according to sources, is that the releasing company wants to stack it with extras. We expect something really special for the digital presentation of the 1971 shocker about the twin nieces (played by Playboy Playmates Mary and Madeleine Collinson) of witch hunter Peter Cushing, who encounter the evil Count Karnstein and a reincarnated female vampire.
Q: I just saw the film Hall Pass and was mesmerized at the beauty of the actress who played the babysitter in the film. What was her name and what else has she been?
A: You are talking about the lovely and talented brunette thespian Alexandra Daddario. Her highest profile role was as heroine Annabeth Chase in the family fantasy Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. In addition to regular stints in the TV series White Collar and the soap opera All My Children and guest shots on The Sopranos, Law & Order and Nurse Jackie, she can be seen in the films The Hottest State and Bereavement. Her upcoming projects include Leatherface 3-D and the Percy Jackson sequel. The future seems bright for this 25-year old New Yorker.
Q: When is I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster being released?
A: The ’62-’63 sitcom didn’t last long—32 episodes—but it did have a following, as we get regular questions about its availability. Married John Astin and single Marty Ingels were the carpenter pals who compared lifestyles and got into zany situations while irritating their boss (played by music composer Frank De Vol). It ran on ABC, and was produced by Heyday Productions, the folks behind Holmes and Yo-Yo, Rosetti and Ryan and Operation Petticoat, also with Astin. We would imagine the rights belong to the estate of the recently deceased Leonard Stern, one of the executive producers of Get Smart, who created I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster.
Q: Any chance the Frank Sinatra film Assault on a Queen will be put on Blu-ray?
A: Good news. We understand the 1966 Paramount film has been licensed to another company and will likely be released in 2012. The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling penned the screenplay based on a book by Jack Finney (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), which details a group of cons who use an old German submarine to help pull a jewel heist on the Queen Mary. Virna Lisi, Anthony Franciosa and Sinatra crony Richard Conte also star in this enjoyable caper.
Q: Elizabeth Taylor—When is one of her best, Raintree County, going to be on DVD? Also, what about Nijinsky with Alan Bates, and The Trials of Oscar Wilde with James Mason and Peter Finch? All fine movies, not on DVD, while we have oceans of rubbish available!
A: Raintree County is supposedly going through a much-needed restoration. The 1957 epic Civil War romance was originally released at 188 minutes, then had 20 minutes shorn. Word is that Warner, the studio that controls the MGM property, is trying to put the Taylor-Montgomery Clift starrer back together again. Liz fans will be happy to know that other requested titles from her portfolio–The Big Hangover, Julia Misbehaves and Night Watch–will be on their way presently. We actually do offer The Trials of Oscar Wilde in which Finch plays the playwright accused of sodomy. Nijinsky, centering on the noted choreographer, is slated for a 2012 DVD release.