This week in the New York Times, serendipity brings the Blu-ray release of two game-changing films by Robert Aldrich, made back-to-back near the beginning of his career: the proto-Spaghetti western “Vera Cruz” (1954) and the apocalyptic film noir “Kiss Me Deadly” (1955), which among many other distinctions served as an example of feisty independent production for the gathering forces of the Nouvelle Vague. The latter arrives in a magnificent Criterion edition with inky blacks and an almost tactile grain structure, along with an essay by J. Hoberman adapted from his superb, recently published history, An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War.
This seems also a good time to mention Peter Tonguette’s scrupulously researched, elegantly written The Films of James Bridges, which has just been published by McFarland. Here is a close, sensitive (and admirably fact-based) reading of the career of one of the most powerful and personal filmmakers of the 1970s and 80s, whose work merits much wider recognition.
Here are 20 more coming attractions trailers with commentary, including Roger Corman on “The Premature Burial,” Joe Dante on “Donovan’s Brain,” Gullermo de Toro on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Mick Garris on “Fire Maidens from Outer Space” and John Landis on “Gorgo!”. All this, plus the best transfer I’ve ever seen of Corman’s much-abused public domain classic “Little Shop of Horrors,” presented in anamorphic widescreen. Thanks, Joe!