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    February Preorders / Predators and Prey

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    There’s quite a lot of double-dealing going on this month at Twilight Time. To start with, fans of Emmy® winner Jack Gilford and Academy Award® winner Diane Keaton will get a double helping of their big-screen appearances. Additionally, you’ll find memorable teamings of actress Joanne Woodward and director Paul Newman at the peak of their powers; James Caan and Elliott Gould klutzily capering from small-time show biz to big-time bank robbery; Martin Sheen and Tony Musante freaking out on terrorized subway travelers; and Keaton and Woody Allen in love and in deep when their neighborly curiosity uncovers dark deeds. It’s a lineup of laughter, heartbreak and dread to die for, as Preorders open today at 4 PM EST/1 PM PST for the February 20 TT hi-def Blu-ray premieres of The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976), The Incident (1967) and Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) at www.screenarchives.com and www.twilighttimemovies.com.

    Potent pairings are key components of two tantalizing thrillers that unsettled moviegoers when they crept into theaters during the first week of February. The intriguing novelty of Black Widow (1987), from The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) remake and Blood and Wine (1997) director Bob Rafelson and Rain Man’s (1988) Academy Award®-winning co-screenwriter Ronald Bass, is that, according to Film Noir: The Encyclopedia contributor William Covey, it’s “perhaps best-remembered as the first woman-centered neo-noir film where the detective [FBI investigator Alex, played by Debra Winger] and the criminal [serial marrier and murderer Catherine, portrayed by Theresa Russell] are both female. Black Widow is also unusual in that its setting is chiefly outdoors in sunlight, rather than in the customary noir spaces of bars, nightclubs and warehouses. Still, there are noir moments as when, after the wedding ceremony, Alex gifts Catherine with a black widow pin. Catherine responds to the cat-and-mouse challenge with ‘She mates and she kills. Your question is does she love? It’s impossible to answer that unless you live in her world.’ After both women make it clear that the pursuit is not over, Catherine grabs Alex by the back of the neck, jerks her forward and kisses her in challenge.” The Vanishing (1993) sets up another deadly duet of the predator/prey variety, and this suspenseful study of a kidnap/murderer (a chemistry professor whose nerdish demeanor covers dark, calculating mental disturbance), stalking the haunted, spiritually broken boyfriend of the woman he abducted from a highway rest stop and later killed, is also marked by novelty. It’s got a performance by Jeff Bridges as the psychopath that’s a rare and deliciously dark detour from the usual attributes of charm and authority which mark his romantic, comedic, and even his dramatic turns as rogues or reprobates. He’s well partnered with Kiefer Sutherland as his obsessed antagonist, willing to lose his life and soul to learn how and why his lover (a pre-stardom Sandra Bullock) disappeared. Also uniquely, the movie marks the rare occasion on which the original filmmaker, Paris-born Dutchman George Sluizer, would also helm the Americanized remake of his prior work, 1988’s Spoorloos/The Vanishing. Abetted by scores from masters of musical menace, Michael Small and Jerry Goldsmith, both will set the nerve ends tingling to scare off winter chills when willing victims are enmeshed in the diabolical doings of Black Widow and The Vanishing (the latter exclusively here: http://screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/28101/THE-VANISHING-1993/) on Twilight Time hi-def Blu-rays.