On several of the last couple of Wednesdays we’ve been spotlighting the latest vintage films coming out as part of the Universal Vault series. Well, we here at MovieFanFare aren’t ones to play favorites when it comes to classic cinema on home video, and this week offers an interesting slate of Warner Archive new releases. From Fritz Lang’s drama Clash by Night, with Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Ryan, to Dick Powell as gumshoe Philip Marlowe in the noir gem Farewell, My Lovely, to Ronald Reagan in King Row’s, one his finest pictures (and one that gave him the title of his autobiography Where’s the Rest of Me?), movie buffs have a lot to choose from. There’s also a two-fisted prison drama, an early “talkie” comedy with silent flapper Colleen Moore, a unique “split-screen” psycho thriller, the cartoon adventures of the Harlem Globetrotters…as superheroes, and more! Check out these new Warner Archive titles:
Clash by Night (1952) -Fine melodrama from director Fritz Lang stars Barbara Stanwyck as an unhappy woman who ends an affair with a married politician and returns to live with her brother in their coastal California hometown. After agreeing to weds local fisherman Paul Douglas, Stanwyck finds herself attracted to his best friend, sullen Robert Ryan. Their affair leads to trouble in this adaptation of a Clifford Odets play; with Marilyn Monroe and Keith Andes.
Corky (1972) – Scuffling Texas greasemonkey Corky Curtiss (Robert Blake) knew he could be a sensation on the stock-car circuit if given half a chance. Abandoning his loyal wife (Charlotte Rampling) to drive toward Atlanta in pursuit of the dream, the selfish motorhead soon finds his existence racing into nightmare. High-torque drama co-stars Patrick O’Neal, Ben Johnson, Christopher Connelly; appearances by Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and other racetrack legends.
The Cossacks (1928 ) – Though a gifted rider, young Cossack Lukashka (John Gilbert) would sooner idle away his time than engage a Turk in combat–much to the disgust of his chieftain father (Ernest Torrence) and childhood sweetheart (Renee Adoree). After the whole community turns its back, the humiliated horseman proves himself on the field of battle. Thrilling take on the Tolstoy tale co-stars Nils Asther, Paul Hurst
King’s Row (1942) – Based on the novel by Henry Bellamann, this drama concerns five residents in the small town of Kings Row as they try to make their way through life at the turn of the 20th century. Dealing with problems caused by locals–including a sadistic doctor with a penchant for performing surgery without anesthesia–the characters find their lives and desires overlapping. Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan, Charles Coburn, Claude Rains star.
Mokey (1942) – Struggling to deal with the loss of his mother, eight-year-old Daniel “Mokey” Delano (Robert Blake) resents the solution presented by his seldom-home dad (Dan Dailey)…A kindly but ill-prepared new stepmom (Donna Reed). As his anger keeps manifesting in misbehavior and pranks, will the juvenile system be his frustrated family’s only resort? Memorable MGM “B” co-stars Etta McDaniel and Blake’s Our Gang pal Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas.
Murder, My Sweet (1944) – Considered by many to be the definitive private eye “film noir,” this adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s “Farewell, My Lovely” stars Dick Powell as gumshoe Philip Marlowe, who is hired by a brutish ex-con (Mike Mazurki) to track down a former girlfriend. The seemingly simple case leads Marlowe him into a convoluted plot of blackmail and murder. With Claire Trevor, Otto Kruger and Anne Shirley.
Revolt in the Big House (1958) – While the authorities might have finally locked away dangerous racketeer Lou Gannon (Gene Evans), he wastes no time in establishing himself as the prison’s alpha dog…or in recruiting cons to join in a breakout. His impressionable young cellmate (Robert Blake) is all in…at least until he discovers that Gannon’s escape plan only allows for one survivor. Folsom-shot pulse-pounder co-stars Timothy Carey, John Qualen and Sam Edwards.
The Super Globetrotters (1979) – Everybody knew that the Harlem Globetrotters had amazing powers of ball-handling, but when their orbiting Crime Globe (“Oogah!”) warned of danger, Nate Branch (Liquid Man), Curly Neal (Super Sphere), Twiggy Sanders (Spaghetti Man), Sweet Lou Dunbar (Gizmo), and Geese Ausbie (Multi Man) huddled up to deliver a slam dunk to supervillains in this Hanna-Barbera series that aired Saturday mornings on NBC. All 13 episodes are included in a two-disc set.
Why Be Good? (1929) – Pert department store clerk Pert Kelly (Colleen Moore) has fallen hard for the boss’s son (Neil Hamilton), and he for her…but the old man (Edward Martindel) believes his boy could do better. Can she prove she’s really a good girl, in the face of an invite to a notorious speakeasy given just to trip her up? Long-thought-lost Moore vehicle co-stars Bodil Rosing, John St. Polis.
Wicked, Wicked (1973) – Filmed in the split-screen wonder of “Duo-Vision”–showing different stories (or the same one, from different angles) simultaneously, this campy, creepy thriller follows a psycho killer preying on beautiful blondes staying at a California beach resort. Will her donning of a blonde wig make the singer ex-wife of the hotel detective the madman’s next victim? David Bailey, Tiffany Bolling, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, Diane McBain, and Randolph Roberts star.