Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Kino Lorber Studio Classics - DEADLINE U.S.A and INVISIBLE INVADERS on Blu-ray ""

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kino Lorber Studio Classics - DEADLINE U.S.A and INVISIBLE INVADERS on Blu-ray

DEADLINE U.S.A. (1952; Richard Brooks)
One of the things I love about cinephilia is that with it there is always room for discoveries. I used to get slightly annoyed with people at the video store who would come in professing that they'd "seen everything". It took a little effort for me not to get uppity at a statement like that. The great thing about movies is that you will never see all of them. You might see MOST of the good ones if you try, but there will always be good stuff (old and new) that will slip under your radar. That's all good though. It makes for sublime moments like when you come across one more great Bogart movie that totally comes out of nowhere. In DEADLINE U.S.A., Bogart's character seems to lie somewhere in between Rick Blane and Dixon Steele. Part of that must come from Bogart himself, but another part certainly comes from writer/director Richard Brooks (IN COLD BLOOD). As much as I often mean to, I've not gone down the filmographies of many of the remarkable auteuristic voices of the 1940s and 50s and I think it's so that I can continue to stumble on their gems. Brooks is a guy that I'm still impressed by and need to see more of his stuff.
 Within the first minutes of DEADLINE U.S.A., we see that the film is all about the inner workings of a metropolitan newspaper and that said newspaper is being sold off. Bogart runs the paper and  after an initial round of calling it quits, he becomes reinvigorated and takes on a "we've got nothing to lose" attitude and things get more dynamic. All the while, Brooks has peppered the picture with some wonderful speeches and back and forth clever bits of dialogue. Bogart fans will want to seek this one out.

Special Features:
This disc includes an audio commentary from the venerable film noir guru Eddie Muller. I've mentioned Muller here before and on OFF THE SHELF, but let me take a moment to re-iterate that he always gives good commentary. He is a delight to listen to and I always look forward hearing his affection for older genre cinema come through in audio form. 

You can purchase DEADLINE U.S.A. on Blu-ray here:

INVISIBLE INVADERS (1959; Edward L. Cahn)
"The dead will kill the living! And the people of earth will cease to exist."
Of all the atomic age fear motivated science-fiction and horror movies of the 1950s that I've seen, few of them combine the same elements as INVISIBLE INVADERS. This movie has your standard atom bomb technology paranoia (in this case, John Carradine is a scientist who blows himself up in the first two minutes of the film), but it brings in not only zombies, but also invisible zombies on top of that. I'm sure there are probably other movies from this period that deal with corpses which have been re-animated by atomic energy, but none are springing immediately to mind at the moment. Plus it has the aforementioned Carradine and genre stalwart John Agar as well as the mom from THE PATTY DUKE SHOW (actress Jean Byron). Agar is one of this actors that I've slowly come to appreciate over the past ten years or so as I've caught up on more sci-fi films of this period. It's amazing just how many of them he actually appeared in. Carradine too made so many films that it kind of blows my mind. In INVISIBLE INVADERS, Carradine's re-animated corpse is taken over by aliens from the moon who are planning an all-out assault on the planet earth. Sound silly? It is a little, but it's still fun. I've been a fan of "invisible" films from this time and earlier - it's always a kick to watch how invisibility is simulated in that old school special effects kinda way. So this movie is parts NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE INVISIBLE MAN and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, but all rolled into an cheapie b-movie package. It's kind of amazing how much mileage they get out of same shots of bushes being parted by transparent zombies as well as their feet apparently dragging though the dirt and they slowly roll up on our heroes. The movie also has a rather quaint narrator who pops up from time to time to explain things we might not have been able to figure out on our own.
My favorite shot in the movie is of a truck crashing ridiculously into a damn in a totally unnatural looking way during this destruction montage about half way through. The movie is a little goofy, but it's an oddly calming Sunday Morning type movie that felt like something I would have liked seeing randomly on the late show back in the day.

Special Features:
This disc comes with an Audio Commentary by Film Historians Tom Weaver and Dr. Robert J. Kiss. Weaver should be a familiar voice to old horror and sci-fi movie fans as he has done a lot of solid commentaries including some great ones for movies like THE WOLFMAN and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Weaver's tracks are always well-researched and packed with information.

INVISIBLE INVADERS can be purchased on Blu-ray here:


Eddie said...

Thanks for the nice boost. Much appreciated.

Rupert Pupkin said...

My pleasure, love the commentaries!