Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site


A selection of new releases for sale or rental DOCTOR X (1932. Directed by Michel Curtiz. MGM/UA Home Video) - This vintage melodrama was filmed in an early Technicolor process but shown mostly in black-and-white versions when it played theaters in the '30s. UCLA's film archive dug up a rare color print, and MGM/UA used it for this cassette. The story is less remarkable than the muted hues of the cinematography. It's about the hunt for a cannibalistic killer on the loose in a big city; most of the action focuses on mysterious Dr. Xavier and his medical academy, where just about every faculty member has an all-too-suspicious link with cannibalism in his past. It sounds grisly, but the plot is so hokey it doesn't generate many chills. Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray head the cast. Curtiz's directing is snappy, as usual. MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935. Directed by Tod Browning. MGM/UA Home Video) - Browning specialized in horror yarns, but this is really an old-fashioned whodunit in disguise. Bela Lugosi drifts around the fringes of the story in his Dracula get-up, and Lionel Barrymore spouts the usual lines about supernatural creatures and how to outwit them. Although the surprise ending isn't very convincing, it's a twist on the usual vampire-movie conventions. And most of the cast appears to be having a good time, including Lionel Atwill, who never fails to pop up in spookfests like this. James Wong Howe did the cinematography. THE PLAINSMAN (1937. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille. MCA Home Video) - Leave it to DeMille to cram Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody into the same story, and throw in Calamity Jane as a bonus. Not to mention Gen. George Armstrong Custer and even Abraham Lincoln, who opens the movie by decreeing that the West must be pacified. This job falls to Gary Cooper, who outwits Indians and chases a white gun-runner for a couple of hours, then meets an untimely end at the hands of a notoriety-seeking murderer. He also finds time to evade, get lassoed by, and eventually succumb to the charms of Jean Arthur as Calamity, the token female star of this typically sexist and racist Hollywood western. The scenes of action and spectacle are grand, as usual in a DeMille epic, but the story builds to a surprisingly somber and low-key conclusion. Look for trusty George (Gabby) Hayes among the colorful supporting players. TOKYO-GA (1987. Directed by Wim Wenders. Pacific Arts Video) - Wenders got interested in Tokyo through his love affair with the brilliant films of Yasujiro Ozu, long known as the most profoundly Japanese of all Japanese directors. In this deeply personal documentary, Wenders pays tribute to the city, to Ozu himself, and to key Ozu collaborators, including the actor Chishu Ryu, who's interviewed at length. Wenders is a key member of the now-scattered ``Neue Kino'' group of young West German directors. In this film his sensibility, essentially German but also Americanized to a degree, responds to a heartily Asian cinema tradition. The interaction is touching and revealing to behold. Recent films now on video PLATOON (1987. Oliver Stone's saga of the Vietnam war, starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and Willem Dafoe. HBO Video.) NO WAY OUT (1987. Political-intrigue thriller, starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, and Sean Young. Directed by Roger Donaldson.)

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.