Menschen am sonntag, Samurai in Space

Things start to get random in home video land as the weather heats up, and this week in the New York Times I’ve got a completely arbitrary assortment of reviews: Criterion’s gorgeous new Blu-ray of “People on Sunday”; Roger Corman’s outer-space remake of “The Seven Samurai,” with direction by James Murakami and carpentry by James Cameron; and Warner Archive’s remastered version of Jack Cardiff’s post-colonial action film, “Dark of the Sun.”

A Warners spokesperson assures me that, despite some blog reports to the contrary, this is the full, 100-minute version of “Dark of the Sun” as originally exhibited in 1968. There was no cutting done when the film was reissued in 1973 and given a PG rating, as incredible as that may seem for this remarkably violent movie. Further details can be found here, on the Warner Archive Collection’s Facebook page.

153 comments to Menschen am sonntag, Samurai in Space

  • Shawn Stone

    Howard Bretherton’s surviving Rin-Tin-Tin picture, HILLS OF KENTUCKY, is pretty good. It follows the White Fang, wild-dog-domesticated template, a frequent Rinty plot, but cuts out the comic relief and is all the better for it. (See Noel Smith’s CLASH OF THE WOLVES for comic relief run amok.) His lost Rinty feature, WHILE LONDON SLEEPS, had Rinty matching wits with a killer played by Otto Matieson (who was a fine Joel Cairo in the Roy Del Ruth version of Maltese Falcon).

    Bretherton also directed one of the great Warren William precodes, THE MATCH KING, which is being screened at NYC’s Film Forum as part of their current precode festival.

  • Alex

    WellI for one — though I like Twyler’s THE INTERNATIONAL, the original MATRIX, and BABEL– see only enough hope for some retention of the overall structure (and story-by story substance) of Mitchell’s CLOUD ATLAS to foresee myself as fool enough to go see the film when I’d do better at home rewatching some old W.R Brunett adaptation.

  • Jaime, Jerry — Bretherton made five Frankie Darro/Mantan Moreland films at Monogram — “Irish Luck,” “You’re Out of Luck,” “Laughing at Danger,” “On the Spot,” and “Up in the Air” — and Jean Yarbrough made two more (“The Gang’s All Here” and “Let’s Go Collegiate”) They’re all quite entertaining mystery-comedies, and anticipate in interesting ways the black-white buddy movies of the 70s and 80s. While not completely free of stereotyping (it’s just assumed that the Moreland character, who seems to be in his 30s, has found his intellectual equal in a teenage white boy), they do go beyond 30s norms in suggesting that a genuine friendship can exist across racial lines (a bond reinforced by the fact that both characters are insistently working class (delivery men, truck drivers, hotel workers), something that would definitely disappear from the 80s films). Moreland was probably Mongram’s greatest asset at the time, and this may have been the studio’s attempt to give him the star status he richly deserved: he gets 100 percent billing with Darro on the later films in the series, and pretty much the same screen time.

    There’s a lot of Bretherton to see: after an up and down career at Warner Bros.alternating between directing and editing, he went to Paramount where he launched the “Hopalong Cassidy” series, and then spent the balance of his career on Poverty Row. Several of his Monograms can be had through Alpha, and they suggest a solid craftsman with a genuine commitment to his work, far more engaged that William Beaudine though never as inspired as Joe Kane. After trying his hand at television in the early 50s, he made one final, surprising return to features — as the editor of Raoul Walsh’s 1956 “King and Four Queens.”