Blue Underground’s Re-Issue Of ‘The Final Countdown’ Proves This Movie Deserves A Second Chance From Audiences, Critics

Courtesy: Blue Underground/United Artists

The 1980s is one of the most unique eras in the modern era of movies.  It was this era that turned out so many timeless movies helmed by the late, great John Hughes.  It was also the era that turned out great movies, such as Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Shining among so many others.  For all of the great movies released throughout the 1980s, that era also turned out its own share of movies that while enjoyable, did not get the recognition that maybe they deserved.  One such movie was United Artists’ 1980 action/drama The Final Countdown.  This star-studded movie was largely panned by critics and audiences alike.  The movie, has also mostly been compared to 1984’s The Philadelphia Experiment, which itself received far more acclaim and better response.  That aside, the movie really is an underappreciated presentation, and thanks to independent movie studio Blue Underground, it received new life last month in a new Blu-ray/4KUHD presentation.  The new re-issue is well-deserved and will hopefully earn the movie a new appreciation among science-fiction fans in its new release.  The story featured in the movie serves as the most important of its elements.  It will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie’s new re-issue is certain to help establish that new appreciation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The set’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this presentation such that every science fiction should watch at least once.

Blue Underground’s recently released re-issue of The Final Countdown is a presentation that most science fiction fans will find surprisingly entertaining and engaging.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story in question is simple.  A United States Navy aircraft carrier goes back in time when a bizarre storm comes upon the ship.  It sends the aircraft carrier and its crew back to December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese navy.  At first the carrier’s heads do not believe they could possibly have traveled back in time, but when they come to terms with the reality, the discussion comes up as to whether the lone naval vessel and its crew should take on the Japanese navy by itself and prevent the attack from ever happening.  It is a timeless (no pun intended) plot element used in science fiction.  That aside, it still works here.  The whole thing runs just short of the two hour mark (one hour, 42 minutes to be exact).  It was also presented on a limited budget and limited scheduling (this will be discussed in the examination of the re-issue’s bonus content), but even with those constraints, everything actually turned out well.  Given, there are not a lot of explosions.  There is thankfully not any sexual content, either.  Maybe that lack of such common content is what made people dislike the movie considering there is more talking than action.  In reality though, that required the cast, led by famed actors Kirk Douglas (Spartacus, Lust for Life, Ace in the Hole), Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now, Spawn), and Charles Durning (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Dog Day Afternoon, The Muppet Movie) to really put forth their best job acting.  Their interactions really serve to keep the story engaging and entertaining.  The trio’s work echoes their personalities behind the scenes, which will also be addressed in the examination of the movie’s bonus content.  All things considered, the story is simple, but that simplicity, together with the acting (and cinematography) works to make the movie deserving of more credit than it has received.

The story featured at the heart of The Final Countdown is an underrated presentation in its own right.  Sure, it isn’t the action-packed blockbuster that maybe audiences had hoped for from a summer blockbuster (the movie debuted Aug. 1, 1980 as part of that year’s summer blockbuster crop), but is still engaging and entertaining in its own right.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new re-issue shows even more why the movie deserves its own share of respect.  One of the most notable of the bonus features is the movie’s feature-length audio commentary with the movie’s Director of Photography, Victor J. Kemper.  Kemper shares a variety of interesting items in his discussions, one of which being the noted limitations under which the movie’s cast and crew had to work.  He points out that during the scenes in which the Nimitz was at sea, the carrier’s skipper severely limited the cast and crew’s movement throughout the ship and that the movie was shot under a tight budget.  He stressed that the budget was so tight, that by the end of shooting, the organization was out of money.  Audiences must take these statements into account before just criticizing the movie.  Considering how little the organization had to work with, they made the best of a bad situation.

Additionally, Kemper points out that the at sea shooting schedule was limited.  He notes in his commentary that the company spent only eight days shooting at sea while it spent approximately a week-and-a-half shooting in port in Norfolk, VA.  That has to be taken into account, too.  It shows again, what those involved had to work with in order to make the movie happen.  Considering this, all involved are to be commended for what they produced.  That is the case even considering how things were behind the scenes.  Associate Producer Lloyd Kaufman talks about what went on behind the scenes in his own bonus interview.

Kaufman alleges in his 14-minute interview that few people involved in the movie (including cast and crew) really took the whole production serious.  He alleges that much of the crew was more concerned with the catering than actually focusing on proper shooting, etc.  Additionally, he alleges that star James Farentino was more concerned with his bedding on board the ship than his acting at another point, adding that if not for Douglas and his son Peter, who served as the movie’s main Producer, the movie likely would not have even been completed.  Kaufman even lodges some rather harsh comments against the movie’s director, Don Taylor.  Audiences will be left to take in those comments for themselves.  Sheen and Durning meanwhile were among the only cast members with whom Kaufman claimed to have enjoyed working.  Considering all of Kaufman’s allegations and the limitations faced in terms of just recording the movie, all involved faced a perfect storm (pardon that pun) in getting this underappreciated movie done.  To that end, it proves again that this movie is deserving of the second chance that it has received from Blue Underground.  It is just as deserving of a second chance from audiences and critics alike.  That is even clearer when audiences read through the “Pilot’s Journal” that is included with the movie’s re-issue.  It points out some conflicts that happened behind the scenes, too, between the people who flew the Zeros and military officials.  It is yet another example of all the problems that this movie apparently faced during production.  In turn, it makes for even more appreciation for what was produced.

Taking into account all that this movie’s story and bonus content offers audiences, there is still one more item to examine in regards to its recent re-issue.  That item is its packaging.  The packaging houses three discs – the movie’s soundtrack (its own bonus for the most devoted audiences), the movie’s Blu-ray presentation, and in its 4K UHD presentation.  The soundtrack sits on its own spindle inside the front of the movie’s case.  The BD and 4K UHD discs sit uniquely in the other side, one under the other.  Now that sounds like the “old” way of packaging multi-disc sets, and to a point it is.  What Blue Underground has done in the case of the BD and 4K UHD presentation however is what makes it unique.  Rather than just overlaying the discs, a plastic cover of sorts separates the discs in the overlay.  This essentially prevents the discs from marring one another when one or the other is removed and replaced.  That unique approach is to be applauded.  Given, it would have made more sense to just use an insert with one spindle on either side for the BD and 4K UHD discs.  That is the more common and equally safe packaging format, but that one minor aspect here does its own share to protect the discs.  What’s more, not every viewer has both a Blu-ray player and 4K UHD player and/or monitor.  To that end, whichever viewers have, they can simply place that disc on top and ignore the other.  That means even more so that the discs will receive less damage.  So once more, audiences see why the packaging is just as much a positive to this presentation as the presentation’s story and its companion bonus content.  When the positive of the packaging is considered along with the story and the movie’s bonus content, the whole of these items makes this re-issue a presentation that science fiction fans will agree is surprisingly engaging and entertaining.  It combines to prove, again, this movie is deserving of its second life and a second chance.

Blue Underground’s recently released re-issue of The Final Countdown is a presentation that every science fiction fan should see or see again.  That is due in part to its story.  Sure, there’s not lots of explosions and sexual content, even with it being a summer blockbuster in its initial release.  Regardless, it is a story that offers an interesting, thoughtful take on a familiar science fiction topic.  The extensive bonus content that accompanies the movie in its re-issue adds its own interest to the whole.  That is because it shows how many obstacles the movie faced in even being recorded.  It makes for even more appreciation considering how much worse it could have turned out, considering all of those obstacles.  The re-issue’s packaging rounds out its most important elements.  It shows just as much thought was put into this aspect as the bonus content and general presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation that proves this movie is deserving of its second life and of a second chance from audiences and critics alike.

More information on this and other titles from Blue Underground is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:




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The Venomous Pinks Debuts ‘I Really Don’t Care’ Video

Courtesy: Die Laughing Records

Punk band The Venomous Pinks debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single “I Really Don’t Care‘ Friday.  The video features the band as the performing act in the infamous prom scene from United Artists/Red Bank Films’ classic 1977 movie Carrie.

The infamous scene is re-enacted in the video for the nearly three-minute song, complete with its star starting a fire in the high school gym through her telekinetic powers.  In between, the band performs its new song, highlighting what the young woman must have felt.

The song’s musical arrangement is a full-on punk composition that the genre’s purist audiences will appreciate.  Its lyrical theme is taken from a real-life incident involving bassist Gaby Kaos.

Kaos discussed the inspiration behind the song’s lyrical theme in a recent interview, noting it came from her being in a mentally abusive relationship.

“My boyfriend at the time was really controlling and did not believe in my dreams of becoming a musician because he let his aspirations fall by the wayside,” she said.  “I found myself at a crossroads, and decided to leave him to stay true to my music.”

“Like other bands, we’ve been dealt with negative backlash over the years, and this track really drives home that we ultimately ‘really don’t care’ about the negativity,” she added. Nothing will stop us from accomplishing our goals.”

‘I Really Don’t Care’ is featured in The Venomous Pinks’ EP I Want You.  The EP is available to stream and download here.

More information on The venomous Pink’s new single is available online at:





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‘The Man From Planet X’ BD Re-Issue Shows There Is Still A Clear Place And Need For The Classics Today

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory/MGM/United Artists

Science fiction and horror are not what they once were. They are focused so much on quantity than quality. The amount of special effects and over the top violence to be exact. That is something about which audiences did not have to be concerned during Hollywood’s golden era. Classic science fiction and horror — including even the cheesiest flicks such as It Came From Outer Space, The Invisible Boy, and The Man From Planet X among so many others — stand head and shoulders above today’s largely forgettable flicks because they focused more on quality than quantity. Thanks to the work of the people at Shout! Factory, the latter of that trio recently received new life through a new Blu-ray re-issue this past July. That re-issue gave the movie its own new life while also helping to show why classic sci-fi and horror is just as good as its modern counterparts, if not better. That is due in part to the movie’s familiar yet still entertaining story, which will be discussed shortly. The movie’s production values (I.E. sets, special effects, etc.) also play into its enjoyment and will be discussed later. The bonus audio commentary tracks included in the movie’s re-issue round out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own way in showing why this movie is so enjoyable. All things considered, they prove clearly that this movie is in fact one more example of why classic sci-fi and horror is just as good as its modern counterparts if not better than them.

Scream! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of MGM and United Artists’ 1951 sci-fi/horror flick The Man From Planet X is a fun watch for any classic sci-fi and horror fan that proves clearly why movies of its ilk and era are just as good as their descendants if not better. That is proven in part through the movie’s simple story. The story centers on an alien from another planet that lands on a small fog-filled Scottish island in order to start an invasion of Earth. In order to start paving the way for that invasion, the unnamed alien puts the tiny village’s residents under its control by taking over their minds. It’s not the only time that Hollywood presented a story involving a villain using mind control for a nefarious purpose, but it is one of the earlier films to take this route. Interestingly enough, even when under the alien’s mind control, the villagers are still cognizant of their surroundings — enough so that they can give the movie’s protagonist, John Lawrence, the information he needs to stop the alien. Obviously in the end, Lawrence is able to stop the alien. How he does that won’t be given away here. The truly surprising aspect of the whole story is that the alien is not the only villain. Dr. Mears is also a villain, yet manages through his own greed, is the one who unwittingly uncovers the alien’s plot. It is definitely an interesting twist, and one that makes the movie that much more entertaining. Keeping all of this in mind, the movie’s story does plenty to make the movie entertaining, and is not the movie’s only key element. Its production values play into its entertainment value, too.

The production values at the center of The Man From Planet X are collectively speaking just as important to the movie’s presentation as its story. Those values include the movie’s sets, special effects and even collective editing and cinematography. There are those out there who have lamented the movie’s production values, but the simplicity of the movie’s production values are a big part of its interest, but those behind the lens used the resources that they had at the time. They are even discussed in the movie’s bonus audio commentaries. Those commentaries will be discussed shortly. The simplicity in the sets is in fact part of what makes the movie’s look so endearing. They show that a movie (whether sci-fi, horror or both) doesn’t always need over the top effects, etc. in order to have a great look. In fact they show that sometimes, a minimalist can have more impact than the overblown approach taken by so many of today’s sci/fi and horror blockbusters. The same applies to the movie’s cinematography and editing. The angles and cuts are simple in their own right, using the simple sets to their fullest for just as much impact. The combination of that expert editing, cinematography and set design makes suspension of disbelief even easier for audiences, and in turn, insures even more audiences’ maintained entertainment and engagement. When this is considered along with the impact of the movie’s story, the whole of those elements strengthens the movie’s presentation even more. They are not the movie’s only key elements. The movie’s bonus audio commentaries round out its most important elements.

As was noted previously, one of the items noted in the bonus commentaries included in The Man From Planet X‘s home release is that of its budget. Author Tom Weaver, who provides one of the two full-length audio commentaries, notes that the movie’s budget was low. He does so in a respectful manner, though. He explains that the movie did not have a major budget, yet still managed to make the most of the budget. His discussion on this topic is just one of the items that makes the bonus commentaries so engaging. Weaver also notes early on in his commentary that this movie is both sci-fi and horror because of elements such as the “mad scientist” (Professor Elliot) in his castle and of course the evil, mind-controlling alien. Another interesting item that he notes is that of when he first saw the movie in the 1980s and became a fan of the movie from then on. That he openly admitted not having seen it until almost 40 years after its debut, but still became a fan, shows its impact, despite being a b-flick.

Weaver’s is not the only commentary included as a bonus for the movie. Glenn Erikson, who sometimes writes for Turner Classic Movies, sits down for an interview with Arianne Ulmer, daughter of the movie’s famed director Edgar Ulmer as an additional commentary. Audiences learn through the younger Ulmer’s interview that he was concerned about his legacy being forgotten and about her father’s favorite films. The Man From Planet X apparently was one that her dad liked, but apparently was not one of his “favorites.” Early on, there is also discussion on her own efforts to preserve her father’s works. That dedication to keeping her father’s legacy and memory alive is a touching sentiment. If not for her efforts, audiences in fact might not have this re-issue today. Keeping that (and all of the other discussions) in mind, such commentary proves fully important to this presentation. the same can be said of the movie’s other bonus commentary. When this is considered along with the importance of the movie’s simple yet engaging and entertaining story and its equally laudable production values, the whole of those elements makes this presentation in whole full proof of why there is still a place and need for classic sci-fi and horror in today’s market.

Scream! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of MGM and United Artists’ classic sci-fi horror flick The Man From Planet X is a work that shows clearly and fully that there is both a place and need for classic science fiction in today’s movie industry. It shows that the classics are just as good as their counterparts, if not better, in many cases. In the matter of this rarity, that is shown through the movie’s story, which insures entertainment and engagement through its simplicity. Its production values, which are simple in their own right, join with that simple story to strengthen the movie’s presentation even more. Both of the in-depth feature-length audio commentaries included as bonus material to the movie, adds even more to its presentation. When all of these noted elements are joined together, they make the whole of The Man From Planet X a movie that easily rivals its modern counterparts and will entertain sci-fi and horror fans of all ages. It is available now in stores and online to prove that argument to everyone. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




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Arrow Academy’s ‘Terror In A Texas Town’ Re-Issue Is Anything But A Terror

Courtesy: Arrow Academy/United Artists

Late this past July, independent movie company Arrow Academy re-issued the little-known classic Western flick Terror in a Texas Town on Blu-ray.  While perhaps not the most well-known offering from the “Western World,” it is in fact a movie that Western fans and cinephiles alike will appreciate.  That statement applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the movie.  This is due in part to the movie’s central story, which will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast plays its own part in the movie’s enjoyability and will be discussed later.  The bonus material included in the movie’s recent re-issue rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the re-issue’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make Arrow Academy’s re-issue of Terror in a Texas Town anything but a terror.

Arrow Academy’s recent re-issue of United Artists’ 1958 Western Terror in a Texas Town is a work that is anything but a terror.  Yes, that awful pun was fully intended.  That statement is supported in part through the movie’s story.  Written by Dalton Trumbo, the movie’s story follows a relatively familiar plot yet does so with a few alterations to that all too familiar plot.  Trumbo’s story follows protagonist George Hansen (Sterling Hayden—The Godfather, Dr. Strangelove, The Asphalt Jungle) as he sets out to avenge his father’s death.  In the way of that vengeance is the standard evil businessman/landowner McNeill (Sebastian Cabot—The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone) and his henchman, Johnny Crale (Nedrick Young—Inherit The Wind, The Defiant Ones, Jailhouse Rock).  One of the most notable variations incorporated into this story is that Hansen comes in not as the incoming Sheriff who typically fights the bad guys, but a man from another land.  This element is discussed more in-depth in the bonus material and will be touched on later.  In other words, this story isn’t the standard man in white versus the man in black story.  It is just a man who wants justice and (not to give away too much here) gets it without going around the town shooting all the bad guys.  That in itself is another variant that can’t be ignored here.  Along with those variants, audiences will also notice that the underlying romance subplot that is all too common in so many other is absent from this story, too.  Its absence here makes the story all the more engaging for audiences, proving even more that a good story doesn’t necessarily need all of the clichés of a genre to be enjoyable.  The fact that Trumbo left so many Western clichés out of this story, opting instead for something more directed and focused also played positively into the movie’s roughly 80-minute run time, ensuring even more audiences’ maintained engagement.  What’s more, the lack of those clichés also is obviously what led to the movie’s 80-minute run time.  If all those unnecessary items had been added to the story, it likely would have been far longer in terms of its run time and even less well-known.  Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why the story at the center of Terror in a Texas Town is such an important part of the movie’s whole.  It also becomes clear why the story is so entertaining and engaging from start to finish.  With this in mind, the movie’s story is only one of its most important elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to discuss as its story.

The work of the cast in Terror in a Texas Town is so critical to the movie’s overall presentation because the cast’s work is just as simple as the story.  This is not a bad thing, either.  From Hayden’s confidence as George Hansen to Cabot’s diabolical McNeill and even to Young’s work as Johnny Crale, and beyond, every cast member here does just enough to make their characters believable.  Audiences will be especially moved by the subtlety in Young’s portrayal of Crale as Crale clearly is struggling internally with who he is and was.  The way that Young handle’s Crale, there almost seems to be a hint that Crale doesn’t like being a hired gun anymore and has second thoughts about what he is doing despite convincing himself in the end of his place.  Even in the case of Cabot and Hayden, their performances are spot on.  Cabot, even in his few on-screen appearances still manages to make audiences know McNeill is the evil businessman without going over the top in doing so.  Hayden echoes hints of Gary Cooper (which is also discussed in the re-issue’s bonus material) in his simplistic approach.  Between all of this and the work of the rest of the movie’s cast, so much can be such of the cast’s work, all of it positive.  Audiences will see that for themselves when they check out this movie for themselves.  Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear why the work of this movie’s cast is just as important to its presentation as the movie’s story.  It still is not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  The bonus material included in its recent re-issue rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material featured in Arrow Academy’s recent re-issue of Terror in a Texas Town includes an in-depth introduction to the movie and an analysis of its cinematography from author Peter Stanfield.  Stanfield, known best for his book Hollywood, Westerns and the 1930s—The Lost Trail and Horse Opera: The Strange History of the Singing Cowboy, explains what makes Terror in a Texas Town so many other Westerns and what also sets it apart from those flicks.  Audiences learn through Stanfield’s discussions that while Trumbo’s story was, on its outermost level a Western, it was on a deeper level, an allegory about personal freedoms.  This is key as he connects it to the impact of Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt on Trumbo, Hayden and even Young.  This discussion alone adds so much more depth to the movie’s overall presentation.  Stanfield’s discussion on Trumbo’s balance of classic Western elements with his own writing style here adds yet more depth to the movie’s presentation as does his discussion on director Joseph H. Lewis’ stylistic approach to the movie behind the lens.  This is a discussion that any film production student and lover will appreciate.  When these and other discussions included in the re-issue’s bonus material is considered in whole, they prove collectively to be just as critical to the movie’s presentation as the movie’s story and the work of its actors.  Collectively, those bonus discussions, the movie’s story and the cast’s work show Terror in a Texas Town to be a work that Western fans and movie history buffs alike will appreciate.  That is even despite the movie being one of the lesser-known entries in the “Western world.”  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Academy is available online now at:









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Scream Factory Resurrecting Carrie Next Month

Courtesy:  Scream Factory

Courtesy: Scream Factory

Author Stephen King has spent the better part of his life creating some of the darkest stories and most frightful characters ever developed in literary history. Some of his scariest stories include the likes of The Stand, The shining, and Misery. Misery also featured what is to this day one of King’s most frightful characters in the form of Annie Wilkes. His novel Needful Things featured an equally scary villain in the form of Leland Gaunt. Gaunt is of course the devil in one of his infinite human guises in this story. Pennywise from King’s novel It and the evil, killer dog Cujo whose name is also the title of another of King’s scariest stories should both be added to that list. For all of the scares that each of these stories and characters have created among audiences over the years, perhaps none of King’s characters have generated as much fear as Carrie. In 1974, King’s teenage character made her literary debut. Two years later, she would be brought to the silver screen courtesy of United Artists. Roughly twenty-three years after that movie made its debut, United Artists would revisit Carrie when it debuted The Rage: Carrie 2. Only three years would pass between the release of that movie and MGM TV’s small screen reboot of the original 1976 movie. Now thanks to Shout! Factory’s horror division Scream Factory, audiences will get to own both The Rage: Carrie 2 and MGM TV’s small screen reboot of Carrie next month in one package.

Scream Factory, Shout! Factory’s horror division, will re-issue United Artists’ The Rage: Carrie 2 and MGM TV’s 2002 small screen reboot of the 1976 original on Tuesday, April 14th. The movies will be released together in a single Blu-ray package. Audiences will note in MGM TV’s small screen reboot that said movie follows Stephen King’s original literary work more so than the 1976 movie that was inspired by that book. It was written by Bryan Fuller (TV’s Hannibal, Pushing Daisies). It stars Emilie de Ravin (Lost, Once Upon A Time, Roswell), Katharine Isabelle (Being Human, Hannibal, Insomnia), Chelan Simmons (Kyle XY, Good Luck Chuck, Final Destination 3), and Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island, The Green Mile, Easy A).

The Rage: Carrie 2 follows much the same story as that presented in its predecessor with a few minir changes to the story for this outing. It stars Emily Bergl (Blue Jasmine, Desperate Housewives, Men in Trees) in the lead role. She is joined by cast mates Jason London (Dazed and Confused, Jason and the Argonauts, The Man in the Moon), Rachel Blanchard (Snakes on a Plane, 7th Heaven, Are You Afraid of the Dark?), Mena Suvari (Six Feet Under, American Beauty, Chicago Fire), and Amy Irving (Carrie, Alias, Yentl). Irving returns in The Rage: Carrie 2 to once again take on the role of Sue Snell from director Drian DePalma’s 1976 original take on Carrie.

Scream Factory’s upcoming Carrie double feature will be released on Blu-ray on Tuesday, April 14th. It will retail for MSRP of $24.97 but can be pre-ordered online at a reduced price of $19.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at More information on this and other releases from Scream Factory is available online at:



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Suddenly Re-Issue Another Welcome Remnant Of Hollywood’s Golden Age

Courtesy:  Image Entertainment

Courtesy: Image Entertainment/United Artists

Almost half a century ago, the United States suffered one of the worst tragedies of the twentieth century.  That tragedy was the assassination of then President John F. Kennedy.  Conspiracy theories aside, what many people might not know is that according to author Kitty Kelley, it was Sinatra’s 1954 movie, Suddenly that was the alleged influence behind Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of then President John F. Kennedy.  According to her bio on the singer, His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra, Oswald allegedly watched the movie the day before he changed history.  As a result of this accusation, the movie was pulled for years before it was finally allowed back into the public realm.  And now audiences can see how Suddenly may have played a role in that dark day for themselves as it has been re-issued on Blu-ray by Image Entertainment.

Suddenly is hardly the longest movie ever made.  But that’s not a bad thing, either.  In a time when it seems like so many movie studios seem to be competing with one another to see who can make the longest possible story, this movie comes in at a little less than ninety minutes.  Throughout the course of its hour and fifteen minute run time, audiences are kept engaged thanks to the growing tension between Sinatra’s psychopathic ex-military officer John Baron and Sterling Hayden’s clean cut fellow ex-military officer Sheriff Tod Shaw.  Much like 12 Angry Men which wouldn’t see the light of day for another three years, what really heightens the story’s tension is that the majority of the story takes place in a limited set.  This is a minor factor to some audiences.  But in viewing the movie from a more analytical vantage point, it’s a factor that plays a much larger factor.  Understanding this makes the movie that much more interesting and worth the watch.  Add in the understanding of the controversy surrounding the movie, and audiences get a movie that is that much more intriguing, underappreciated, and worth the watch.

A single viewing of Suddenly shows how Lee Harvey Oswald could easily have been influenced to commit a copy-cat act.  But it’s not necessarily the attempted act in question that will have audiences talking after watching.  If anything it’s Baron’s (Sinatra) comment late in the movie that he wasn’t the one committing the act.  Rather he was doing it for someone else, purely for the money.  Baron told Sheriff Shaw that he didn’t know for whom he was working and didn’t care to know, either.  If anything this brief moment will surely re-ignite the discussions between conspiracy theorists about whether or not Oswald worked alone.  On another level, it serves as one more example of the possible power of media to influence real life.  Should there be any credence to the influence of Suddenly on Oswald’s actions, it can be just as strongly used as another warning to the media in regards to taking responsibility for the potential impact of what is written for TV shows and movies.

Getting back to the story behind Suddenly as art.  Writer Richard Sale accomplished quite the feat with this movie.  It wastes no time establishing the story’s plot and its cast.  As a result of this quickness, the rest of the story is spent in just a few rooms of a house.  For most film makers and script writers today, limiting a story to so few sets would prove a mind twist, so to speak.  That’s because so many of today’s movies rely more on flash-boom-bang special effects and overt sexuality to drive their stories.  But for Sale, his writing was solely story based.  It allowed for more tension between Sinatra and Hayden.  And that tension is what keeps audiences so engaged.  There was obviously some chemistry between the two as they expertly played off of one another throughout the story making it increasingly emotional.  The chemistry between the two men made for a movie that was entirely enthralling; so much so that it’s ironic that it wasn’t Hayden whose character was ultimately responsible for the movie’s final outcome.  That outcome won’t be ruined for those who haven’t yet seen it.  But it is an ending that has quite the twist in and of itself.  It’s a twist that will leave audiences completely breathless after everything that had happened through the course of this underrated thriller.  That twist ending is the icing on the cake for Sale’s writing here.  And combined with the equally expert acting of both Hayden and Sinatra (and their supporting cast), it all comes together for a movie that is at the same time underrated and underappreciated.  And now that it’s available once more on Blu-ray, it’s a movie that every movie lover should see at least once.

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Shout! Factory Gives Film Buffs Even More Laughs In New MST3K Set


Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Thank goodness for Mystery Science Theater 3000 and thank goodness for Shout! Factory keeping this classic comic science fiction show alive on DVD.  This modern classic is one of the single greatest shows ever created for film lovers.  There was no other show like it during its time.  And there has been no show like it since.  On the surface, the very concept of a man and his robot friends watching a bunch of really bad B-movies sounds like something wouldn’t work.  But it did.  And it still does today.  Now, fans of MST3K have been rewarded once again for their loyalty with another new collection of so bad they’re good movies and great skits from an equally great modern classic TV show.   

Shout! Factory released the latest volume of this modern classic earlier this week.  Included in this brand new set are four more movies that are so god awful that they’re great.  Contradictory, no?  This four disc set is anchored by the absolutely campy sequel to Universal’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon in Revenge of the Creature and the equally campy Operation Double 007.  1955’s Revenge of the Creature sees the return of the famed creature.  This time out, the creature actually becomes a bit of a sympathetic character as it’s captured by scientists and taken to an aquarium in Florida to be studied.  Awakening in the aquarium and gawked at by hundreds of people, the creature (played here by Ricou Browning) becomes angered and tries to escape his tank.  This leads to more strict means to hold the creature, which only makes it angrier when it finally escapes.  And as was the case with classic monster flicks of that era, it went after the first young, attractive woman it saw as it wanted her for a mate.  The creature is of course stopped in the end and the damsel in distress saved.  While the film is absolutely campy, the very fact that it’s part of a franchise featuring one of Hollywood’s great movie monsters, having the opportunity to take in this flick will be appreciated by any true classic movie buff.  As an added bit of trivia, a young Clint Eastwood plays an uncredited role in this campy sci-fi classic.

Revenge of the Creature is a great addition to the new MST3K set from Shout! Factory.  It’s just one of the movies included that make the set great for anyone that wants to go back in time to just one era of Hollywood’s “Golden Age.”  Along with that flick, classic film buffs will also appreciate the even campier, Operation Double 007.  This largely forgotten flick from 1967 starred the younger brother of now retired actor Sean Connery, Neil.  Neil plays a plastic surgeon that is brought on board by the British government when his older brother (who just happens to be a secret agent) turns out to not be available to help them for a special mission.  Here’s where things get completely ridiculous.  The mission in question involves Neil stopping the evil crime syndicate Thanatos from using a giant magnetic wave device that will stop all metal machinery in the world.  Yes, it’s laughable.  But that’s what makes it so fun.  Of course, the action is just as campy, making it that much more fun and funny.  Think it can’t get any worse?  It can.  Not only is the plot and the action hilarious, but the scriptwriters didn’t even try to give Connery’s character a name.  He is actually called by his real name throughout the story.  There is even more that classic film buffs will love and laugh at throughout this movie proving why it’s one more that’s so bad that it’s great.  Thanks to being part of this new set, it’s one more movie that would be great for a classic camp movie marathon.  Of course, it’s just one more in this set.  Audiences will also love Robot Holocaust and Kitten with a Whip.  They finish out the four disc set that’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct at Shout! Factory’s online store,

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