If you live in Europe or have a region-free Blu-ray player, there’s quite a bit to be excited about in March. In the U.S., not so much. Still, I hope everyone will find something to pick up next month. All releases are North American Region A releases unless otherwise noted.
Compulsion (1959) Kino Lorber
This all-but-forgotten (in America, anyway) Richard Fleischer film was released on Blu-ray in the UK last year and I’m very excited to see it get a U.S. release in 2017. Two law students (Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman) stand trial for murder in a story based on the 1924 Leopold-Loeb court case. The film was highly praised in Europe, earning nominations for a Best Film BAFTA and the Palme d’Or at Cannes, yet was virtually ignored in the U.S., probably for its homosexual subtext. The film also stars Orson Welles, E.G. Marshall and Martin Milner. I’m very eager to check this one out.
Property is No Longer a Theft (La proprietà non è più un furto) (1973) Arrow Blu-ray + DVD
I know very little about this Italian comedy other than its plot: a bank cashier longs for a more exciting life and decides to turn to crime. I’m not sure how much noir is involved (perhaps none), but it might be worth a look. Directed by Elio Petri. (also released in the U.K. on March 20)
Electra Glide in Blue (1973) Odyssey Video (Region B, UK)
I would love to revisit this film about former Vietnam veteran now an Arizona motorcycle cop (Robert Blake) trying to solve a murder. The film tanked during its initial release, but it’s been receiving a lot of attention of late. The film was directed by James William Guercio (his only film), whom you may know as the manager of the band Chicago in their heyday. There’s also a 2013 U.S. release of the film from Shout Factory.
Knife in the Water (1962)
Three separate releases from the Screenbound Pictures Roman Polanski set (Region B, UK) release previously discussed in November 2016.
The Big Heat (1950) Indicator Series, Powerhouse Films, Blu-ray + DVD (Region B, UK)
Fat City (1972) Indicator Series, Powerhouse Films, Blu-ray + DVD (Region B, UK)
I’ve discussed The Big Heat before and if you’re a film noir fan, it’s a must-own. If you’re in the U.S., consider the excellent Twilight Time edition. Fat City (also available in the U.S. from Twilight Time) is one of those little films that you watch in utter fascination, little realizing until hours, days, or weeks later that you’re watching what’s quite possibly a work of genius. These characters are so well-drawn and the actors playing them so natural you’d almost think you’re watching a documentary. Stacy Keach plays a 30-year-old boxer trying to make a comeback, Jeff Bridges a young boxer on his way up, and a whole supporting cast of characters only John Huston could come up with. Fat City is, quite honestly, a story of losers, but it may just be the finest film about losers you’ve ever seen.
Both of these new releases from Indicator (a company I’m not familiar with) are Region B UK releases and are a bit pricey at £22.65 (a little over $28). Until I know more about the quality and supplements, I’m sticking with the Twilight Time releases.
Man Hunt (1941) Signal One Entertainment (Region B, UK)
An excellent Fritz Lang not enough people have seen. I previously reviewed the film, so I hope you’ll read more about it and consider picking it up. The film is also available as a U.S. Region A release from Twilight Time.
Another Man’s Poison (1951) Classicflix
This Irving Rapper film stars Bette Davis as Janet Preston, a wealthy mystery writer who unexpectedly finds her bank-robbing husband’s accomplice George Bates (Gary Merrill) at her door looking for the husband. Preston knows Bates won’t find him because she’s done away with her husband. Maybe, Bates suggests, he can help dispose of the body and stay on posing as the husband… Oddly enough, Merrill was Davis’s husband at the time. I don’t know much about this one and even less about the quality of Classicflix’s Blu-ray releases. I’m probably going to pass on this one for now, but if you pick it up, let me know how it is.
Blow-Up (1966) Criterion
Is Blow-Up film noir or something else? Mystery? Art film? All of the above? I’m not sure; it’s been probably 30 years since I’ve seen it, but since it’s streaming on FilmStruck, I’ll revisit it soon to see if I want to pick up the Criterion Blu-ray.
Les portes de la nuit (Gates of the Night) (1946) Pathe Distribution, Blu-ray + DVD (Region B, France)
Sounds like a very interesting, possibly surrealist film noir with Destiny in the guise of a street tramp (Jean Vilar) accosting people and giving them predictions of their futures. This is film noir, so all of these characters are connected in some way. I’m very intrigued. Apparently the film had much to say about post-WWII France, a subject French audiences were perhaps not quite ready to deal with at the time. According to the accounts I’ve read, this is worth a look.
If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments section. Happy viewing!