Sunday, 28 December 2014

Film Highlights of 2014

Film Highlights of 2014

Best filmgoing experience: A screening in February of Fritz Lang's Destiny at Hyde Park Picturehouse with a live musical accompaniment by HarmonieBand.

- A very good year for fans of Westerns. In the USA Criterion released John Ford's 1946 masterpiece My Darling Clementine as well as two mid-1960s efforts from Monte Hellman and Jack Nicholson - Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting. Hopefully Criterion have plans to do a DVD of Marlon Brando's sole directorial outing, One-Eyed Jacks. Meanwhile in the UK we were treated to 'The Great Westerns Collection' by the 101 Films DVD label. Titles included Horizons West, Border River, Ride Clear of Diablo, Whispering Smith, Hell Bent for Leather, Law and Order, Man in the Shadows, Ride a Crooked Trail, Gun for a Coward, The Cimarron Kid & The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. They were all barebones releases but it was nice to see the original artwork on the covers.

- Three classic Mitchell Leisen comedies - Easy Living, Midnight and Remember the Night got long overdue region 2 releases thanks to the Odeon label.
- Favourite Region 2 DVD releases (in addition to the titles mentioned above):
Hombre (Fox), Rabid Dogs (Arrow), The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Arrow), White Dog (Eureka), The Killers (Arrow), Wake in Fright (Eureka), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Odeon), 55 Days at Peking (Anchor Bay), Ace in the Hole (Eureka), Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (Icon Home Entertainment/Hammer), Sisters (Arrow Video), That Sinking Feeling (BFI Flipside), Boomerang! (Eureka/Masters of Cinema), The Werner Herzog Collection (BFI), The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Masters of Cinema), Salvatore Giuliani (Masters of Cinema), The Gang’s All Here (Masters of Cinema), Spione (Eureka) & The Sorcerers (Odeon Entertainment), The Long Goodbye (Arrow), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (BFI), If... (Eureka/Masters of Cinema), Alain Robbe-Grillet: Six Films 1963-1974 (BFI), Violent Saturday (Eureka), Man of Marble (Second Run), Branded to Kill (Arrow), The Whip and the Body (Odeon Entertainment), Dead of Night (Studio Canal) 

Film scores
- La-La Land Records did an expanded and remastered release of Shirley Walker and John Carpenter's score to Escape from L.A. Meanwhile Intrada Records released Jerry Goldsmith's score to Psycho II and a 2 disc set of Harry Sukman's score to Tobe Hooper's Salem's Lot.

- Two very worthwhile books examining classic Horror films were released this year: 'Tod Browning's Dracula' by Gary D. Rhodes, a thorough study of the production, reception, legacy and myths surrounding the 1931 film, and 'The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead' by Lee Karr.

Other film related highlights
- The Chris Marker exhibition at Whitechapel gallery was a surprise given the scant exposure that Marker's work has received in the UK in the past. Soda Pictures put out a 2 disc set of lesser known Marker works while BFI released Le Joli Mai.

- 90 minutes of deleted or extended scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me were included on 'Twin Peaks - The Entire Mystery' Blu-Ray box-set. I would have preferred a standalone special edition DVD release of Fire Walk with Me but the fact that this footage has finally seen the light of day is definitely a cause for celebration. As for the show itself it seems there is still more to come in 2016. 

- On a film/TV related note, Don Hertzfeldt's couch gag for The Simpsons was one of the most wondrous things I saw all year. 

- YouHateEverything podcast

- Some decent film posters:

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