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Alice in Wonderland (1933)

William Cameron Menzies is only credited as a co-writer (with a certain Joseph L. Mankiewicz) on Paramount’s unforgettably odd 1933 adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland,” but as contemporary press accounts confirm, his contributions to the film, directed by Norman McLoed, went far beyond the script: the expressionistic production design, ingenious in-camera special effects and […]

Make Way for Tomorrow

It’s taken long enough, but one of the great American movies — hell, one of the great films from anywhere, anytime — has finally made it to home video in the US. Leo McCarey’s sublime “Make Way for Tomorrow” has been issued by Criterion in a transfer that strikes me as much superior to […]

Alexander Mackendrick, William Friedkin

More strange bedfellows this week, as the gods of Blu-ray decree upgrades to Alexander Mackendrick’s black comedy of 1955, “The Ladykillers,” and William Friedkin’s hyper-stylized crime thriller of 1985, “To Live and Die in LA.” My New York Times review is here.

Studio Canal has done a major rehabilitation job on “The Ladykillers,” […]

Bad Girls of Film Noir

Both “bad girl” and “film noir” are terms to be understood loosely in this two-volume, eight-film collection from Sony, but I’m more than willing to put up with a little hype if it means bringing some fresh material to market. To say the least, this isn’t a director-oriented collection; the strongest personality here is the […]