ST VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE, Roger Corman, director/Powerhouse/Indicator Blu-ray A declaration of interest: I supplied one of the Blu-ray extras for this definitive gangster movie from Roger: Corman. But even if I hadn’t, I’d be extolling the virtues of this violent and kinetic piece as one of the director’s best and most ambitious movies. The film — as well as being one of the liveliest crime movies you are likely to see — carries out its various levels of ambition with great panache. While the story of Al Capone’s most famous crime (the wiping out of his rival’s gang) is dispassionately told in documentary fashion, the visceral impact of the film (not least the copious bloodshed — something Roger Corman was never one to shy away from), it has the impact and intelligence of a far less sophisticated piece of work. The slim Jason Robards Jr may not resemble the portly Al Capone, but he provides a persuasively operatic turn as the most famous of Mafiosi, and it’s fascinating to spot such actors as George Segal, Bruce Dern and Jack Nicholson in small roles before they achieved stardom.T
CURE, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, director/Eureka Blu-ray Enjoying considerable acclaim from its first appearance onwards, this was the breakthrough film for director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a psychological thriller that exerts a considerable grip. After a series of killings are committed by ordinary people with no apparent control over their actions, detective Koji Yakusho begins to track down a sinister stranger who had contact with each killer. While the film’s reputation grew, it has had zero availability – a situation thankfully remedied by Eureka.
NIGHT WALKER, William Castle director/Media Sales Powerhouse Indicator is readying an impressive roster of the films of the much-loved 1950s/1960s huckster William Castle, but in the meantime, here’s a highly diverting example of the director’s approach to the horror genre, one little seen compared to such films as House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler, with the advantage here of two heavyweight (if fading) stars in Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor. It’s essential viewing for fans of William Castle.