Underdog heroes, criminal suspects galore and shuddering horrors make October’s Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray deliverables an invitation to adventure, mystery and touches of high-style, old-fashioned glamour, all expertly filmed in the scope format. Locales range from the Big Apple and Old World Prague to ancient Persia and the medieval English countryside. The Broadway theater set confronts murder in its midst, a vagabond Arab rogue captures the heart of a feisty and rebellious princess, a dogged foreign journalist pursuing the truth behind some sordid incidents suffers a hallucinatory and agonizing living death, and one of the most enduring rebels in movie lore brings justice to the corrupt aristocrats subjugating his native land. Hold your breath and unleash your inner voyeur as Preorders are now open for the October 18 TT Blu-ray disc releases of The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954), Black Widow (1954), Short Night of Glass Dolls aka La Corte Notte della Bambole di Vetro (1971) and Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) at www.screenarchives.com and www.twilighttimemovies.com.
December is royally rich in religious fervor and marital discord at Twilight Time. And wouldn’t you know, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, both in titanic, tempestuous form, are involved (although in different films). The four new to North American Blu-ray disc arrivals have their share of splendid monarchial and political pageantry and selfless courage, and yet also explore the tortured dynamics of shattered romantic relationships and the damage they do. Where there’s heart, there’s also fire. One, nominated for 10 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, chronicles a world-shattering turning point in the reign of one of history’s most fabled English kings. Another is the reverent biography of a storied Scottish Presbyterian preacher whose exalting, spellbinding oratory lifts the faith of his flock as well as all of America. From a novel by prolific bestselling novelist Pearl S. Buck and from new-to-TT veteran director Leo McCarey comes the moving adventure tale of missionary priests and forbidden love in war-torn early-Communist era China. One of Ireland’s leading novelists, Edna O’Brien, spares no one in the caustic tale of a combative socialite who clings to her shell of her marriage to a philanderer seeking solace with a younger widow with a secret, scandalous past. From A (for Anne Boleyn) to Z (for Zee Blakely), the acting credentials are top-notch, the professionals behind the camera make their dramatic interplay intensely compelling, and the musical maestros (Richard Rodney Bennett, Georges Delerue, Stanley Myers and Alfred Newman) expertly underscore their battles, sorrows and triumphs. All are brought into stark, sharp relief in 1080p high-definition as holiday season diversions for those seeking distinctive directorial alternatives to McCarey’s Going My Way or Henry Koster’s The Bishop’s Wife.
Arriving on hi-def Blu-ray December 18 are: Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), starring Richard Burton, Genevieve Bujold, Irene Papas and Anthony Quayle, directed by Charles Jarrott, score by Georges Delerue; A Man Called Peter (1955), starring Richard Todd, Jean Peters and Marjorie Rambeau, directed by Henry Koster, score by Alfred Newman; Satan Never Sleeps (1962), starring William Holden, Clifton Webb and France Nuyen, directed by Leo McCarey, score by Richard Rodney Bennett; and X, Y and Zee (1972), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Susannah York and Margaret Leighton, directed by Brian G. Hutton, score by Stanley Myers. Details of each disc will follow in November.