Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three film articles

For the last blog post of the year I wanted to highlight three web posts that I have read recently on the history and current state of two distinct branches of home video releases: Hammer Horror films and Shaw Brothers kung-fu films.

DVD Savant’s Guide to the New Wave of Classic Hammer Blu-rays -- Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant, hosted an guest article in October by an anonymous film industry transfer expert and Hammer fan about Region B (UK,  Europe, Australia) Blu-ray releases and how they compare to each other and US discs. Many of these titles are not yet available on Blu-ray in the US.

How The North American Release of the Shaw Brothers Movies Was Botched -- An in-depth article from January 2015 detailing the history of how the Shaw Brothers kung-fu films were released in the US, from the first theatrical release in 1973, the bootleg VHS copies in the 80s, the Celestial Pictures DVDs of recent years, to the current TV broadcasts on the El Rey Network.

I'm not sure of the identity of this anonymous author. While this person does seem to know insider information about the home video industry and appears to match what I have read elsewhere, sources are not cited, and Celestial Pictures has said the article contains "a ton of inaccuracies." I might also quibble with the author's opinion of certain films and their importance to collectors, but that could be a matter of my own incomplete knowledge.

Diggin' Kung Fu with Johnnyray Gasca -- This interview from 2013 details the other side of the previous article and as a counterpoint, being a first-person account of 42nd Street grindhouse movie theaters and the origin of SB Video, which supplied the VHS boots found in stores all over New York City and elsewhere in the 1980s, contributing to the legendary status of Shaw Brothers films in the US. A fascinating look at an otherwise hidden world.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Happy 100th Birthday, Leigh Brackett

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leigh Brackett, one of the great authors of fantasy and sci-fi's Golden Age. I haven't read as much of Brackett's work as I should, but I'm working to correct that. And maybe later this week I'll watch Rio Bravo as a tribute.