Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Twilight Time - What's Coming in 2019! ""

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Twilight Time - What's Coming in 2019!

I am a huge fan of the Twilight Time label and I have been for years. All that time, they have continued to bring out tons and tons of interesting and memorable titles in a very wonderfully curated line that has joined the ranks of my favorite physical media releases ever made available to collectors. They have done Blu-rays for some of my all-time favorite films like THE TRAIN, PRETTY POISON, CUTTER'S WAY, EMPEROR OF THE NORTH and dozens of others. They have also maintained a focus on classic films that I admire so much. Film noir, melodrama and other staples are totally in their wheelhouse and have always been home run genres for me. In my opinion, they still don't get the attention they deserve and I just wanted take a moment to talk about some things I'm looking forward to that are coming from them in 2019.

Let's start with January. Coming as part of their slate is the classic gem BEAT THE DEVIL from 1953. Directed by John Huston, this cult item also sports a screenplay by Truman Capote and a dynamite cast including the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Jennifer Jones, Robert Morley and Gina Lollobrigida. I am a big fan of this one ad first discovered it via one of Danny Peary's Cult Movies books. It's underseen and underappreciated and the transfer is the alternate extended verison from a 2016 restoration of the film. This is excellent because it has been plagued with tons of terrible quality, near public domain transfers over the years which has done nothing to help the film's reputation. Also coming in January (on the 22nd) is THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES - a 1940 western directed by the great Fritz Lang (a sequel to Henry King's 1939 movie JESSE JAMES). Did I mention that Twilight Time also has an affection for releasing westerns? Well they do and I love that about them. I've not seen THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES, but the cast (Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney and John Carradine) and subject matter have me intrigued.

Looking forward to February, there's lots to be excited about. First off, another cult favorite in Stanley Donen's 1967 tale of "Be careful what you wish for" BEDAZZLED starring Dudley Moore, Peter Cook and a stunning Raquel Welch. Moore plays a fry cook schlub who trades his soul to the devil (Cook) for seven wishes, but in trying to cash them in - he always finds he comes up a little short. This one has been a long time coming and I cannot wait to see it on this edition.  
Also in February (the 19th) is Frank Tashlin's WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER from 1957. Tashlin has a truly unique brand of lunacy that is much inspired by cartoons as anything else and I've always been mesmerized by that. Tony Randall plays the titular Hunter in this one and his character is a TV advertising writer with his career skidding to a halt until he finds a starlet to potentially sell lipstick for him. Speaking of pin-ups along the lines of Raquel, this one features Jayne Mansfield as said star and she is a perfect fit for the Tashlin universe (they also did THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT together and I hope that gets a nice Blu-ray as well). The script is by George Axelrod who also penned a few more you might have heard of like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S as well as many other gems like LORD LOVE A DUCK (which also is in dire need of an HD upgrade). One more from this month that I am about due to rewatch, but which knocked me out when I first saw it back on VHS is Oliver Stone's TALK RADIO (1988). 
This one has Eric Bogosian in the lead and he wrote a play based on the death of a real radio host (Alan Berg) and the subsequent book about him (by Stephen Singular). He plays an acerbic radio talk show host in Dallas who prides himself on his dark sense of humor and contemptuous approach to his listeners/callers and his outspoken nature in terms of controversial political views. The role Bogosian seems to have been born to play and since he was able work out the character on stage (and was nominated for a Pulitzer for writing it), it allows the material and the film to be that much more honed and that much better. It's an incredibly powerful performance and, in my mind, ends up being one of Oliver Stone's standout movies - even amidst a career of things cinephiles are fond of.

Finally, Twilight Time has just recently announced their titles for March and that group happens to include a couple big time favorites for me as well. First, there's THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING (1935) - which is a rare comedy from the legendary John Ford that stars the also legendary Edward G. Robinson. And in this one has double the Robinson in that he plays a dual role! On one side he is a meek and lowly clerk and the other a notorious criminal. When the criminal finds out about the clerk he decides to make the best of that situation and comedy ensues. Writing credits go to the fantastic Robert Riskin who is responsible for the Capra classics IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, LOST HORIZON and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU.  It's a wonderful film and one that I feel like not many people have heard of. Next up is a preferred private detective movie for me in THE BIG FIX (1978)
This movie is actually playing this month at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, so it would seem to have Quentin Tarantino's seal of approval. It is a very neat little post modern noir - dabbed with comedy and family drama as a divorced P.I. named Moses Wine (Richard Dreyfuss - fresh off of his Oscar win for THE GOODBYE GIRL) splits time with his kids as he attempts to reconnect with an old flame and solve a mystery surrounding some politcal radicals and corruption in the city of Angels. I adore this one and it's only ever had a VHS and a somewhat recent (and troubled) made-on-demand DVD release so this Blu-ray is long overdue. And lastly, there is a little spy movie called THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM (1966). This one I've yet to see but meant to for some time and it sports and adapted script by Harold Pinter and a glorious lineup off acting talent from George Segal and George Sanders to Alec Guiness and Max Von Sydow. This one has a brand new 4k transfer to brag about and I am very much looking forward to viewing it.

If you're not keeping tabs on the Twilight Time Release Schedule, you really should, via this ongoing facebook post:

Like them on FB here:

and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram as well:

You can purchase their titles through Screen Archives:
Or the Twilight Time Website:

BEAT THE DEVIL and THE RETURN OF FRANK JAMES are already available for pre-order here:
and Here:

as well as the other two January titles UNTAMED (1955):

and YANKS (1979):

Definitely watch for future announcements from them and check out their outstanding back catalog!

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