Criterion Blu-ray Review: Ousmane Sembene’s ‘Black Girl’

Length is overrated. Ousmane Sembene’s 1966 debut feature film Black Girl says so much in just 59 minutes, it can be dizzying to parse. Sembene took his simple story foundation and used it to build a dark indictment on racism. It is unarguably one of the most important films recently released on Blu-ray in the… Read More Criterion Blu-ray Review: Ousmane Sembene’s ‘Black Girl’

William A. Wellman’s ‘Thunder Birds,’ or ‘Wings’ Light

In 1942, World War II was just getting started for the United States, although many other parts of the world had already been at war since 1939 (and the conflict between China and Japan began even earlier, in 1937). The U.S. Army needed pilots fast, and many were trained at Thunderbird Field in Glandale, Arizona.… Read More William A. Wellman’s ‘Thunder Birds,’ or ‘Wings’ Light

John Frankenheimer’s ‘The Young Savages’ Starring Burt Lancaster

John Frankenheimer‘s The Young Savages, his first collaboration with Burt Lancaster, acts as a prologue to the filmmaker’s incredible string of films from 1962 to 1966. It mixes Stanley Kramer’s worst message movie tendencies with the kinetic action and direction that would become Frankenheimer’s trademarks. While the execution of the 1961 adaptation of Evan Hunter’s… Read More John Frankenheimer’s ‘The Young Savages’ Starring Burt Lancaster

Cohen Film Collection: Albert Lewin’s ‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’

Director Albert Lewin’s claim to fame is writing and directing the beloved 1945 film adaptation of The Portrait of Dorian Gray, one of only six films he helmed. Lewin, who died in 1968 at age 72, had a surprisingly long career for someone with so few credits to his name. He began at MGM as… Read More Cohen Film Collection: Albert Lewin’s ‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’

Warner Archive Blu-Ray Review: Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1

The most anticipated Blu-ray release of 2020 lives up to the hype. In February, Warner Archive Collection released Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1, finally bringing the animation master’s work to Blu-ray. While some of his Looney Tunes works are available in the Looney Tunes collections, this is (hopefully) the first of a comprehensive collection… Read More Warner Archive Blu-Ray Review: Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1

Warner Archive Review: George Cukor’s ‘Our Betters’

The funniest aspect of Our Betters is its title. Released in February 1933, the RKO Pre-Code film is a straightforward adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s play of the same name. It centers on a group of British aristocrats and the American heiress who takes advantage of their surprisingly loose morals. These people are all supposed… Read More Warner Archive Review: George Cukor’s ‘Our Betters’

Warner Archive Blu-Ray Review: Vincente Minnelli’s ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’

Vincente Minnelli’s best film isn’t a musical. It’s The Bad and the Beautiful, the greatest Hollywood satire not named Sunset Boulevard. Released the year after An American In Paris, the film lives up to its sleazy title as the portrait of a terrible human and his interactions with beautiful, innocent people. Power corrupts, as The… Read More Warner Archive Blu-Ray Review: Vincente Minnelli’s ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’