Pre-orders open today (at 4 PM EST/1PM PST) for six new Twilight Time Blu-ray releases arriving December 8: Born Free, the 2-disc animated spectacular Harlock Space Pirate (3D/2D), the reissue with new Bonus Content of Mysterious Island, the 1984 version of Nineteen Eighty-Four and two movies saluting the Frank Sinatra Centenary: The Detective and Kings Go Forth. A Holiday Season Bounty of family-friendly and grown-up entertainments awaits movie lovers.
These aren’t the only journeys that TT Blu-rays can expedite. Two films which first opened in the U.S. on this date, one 51 years ago, the other four years later, appeal to the kid in you as well as the nostalgic adult, create imaginative fantasy worlds and represent some of the most memorable work of their respective visionary masterminds, namely Ray Harryhausen and Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Turning from Jules Verne’s creature-laden atoll, Harryhausen skimmed further down the sci-fi classics bookshelf to H.G. Wells for an alternately charming and thrilling adaptation of First Men in the Moon (1964), the tale of how the eccentric Victorian Era inventor Cavor (Lionel Jeffries) develops an anti-gravity substance to fuel a lunar flight that, though highly improbable, is outlandish fun. Edward Judd, Martha Hyer and the audience get front-row seats (or rope hammocks) for a Space Sphere Excursion that includes encounters with Moon Cows (giant lunar centipedes) and insect-like Selenites, masterfully realized by Harryhausen using both his stop-motion wizardry and costumed actors, and briskly directed by Byron Haskin (The War of the Worlds, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad).
First Men in the Moon is in widescreen Panavision and Dynamation. Thunderbird 6 (1968) is in widescreen Techniscope and Supermarionation. We wouldn’t have it any other way for the sky- and space-roaming puppet protagonists of this second theatrical feature (directed by David Lane) based on the Andersons’ popular TV series about the Tracy family, operators of International Rescue and a fantastic arsenal of vehicles that help them protect humankind. In this Bondian caper, the round-the-world maiden flight of a luxury airship is hijacked by a criminal mastermind scheming to lure the Tracys into a trap – and acquire the secrets of the Thunderbird machines – but a retro, low-tech but still high-flying solution comes to the rescue. First Men in the Moon and the Thunderbirds Are Go/Thunderbird 6 Double Feature are available for booking by Blu-ray travellers who can’t experience enough 1080p thrill rides.