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Category:    Home > Essays > Thriller > Science Fiction > Comedy > Horror > Drama > Musical > Counterculture > Teens > Ten Great Films Paramount, Rhino & Universal Should Release In Blu-Ray Now!

Ten Great Films Paramount, Rhino & Universal Should Release In Blu-ray Now!



It has a while now since Paramount, Rhino/Warner Music and Universal have been all Blu-ray disc when it comes to the best High Definition playback on the market.  A year since we debuted this list when they were supporting only the now defunct HD-DVD format, very little movement has happened on these gems, but that needs to change.


Once again, these films are picked because they are exceptional, have exceptional cinematography, have stood the test of time and would show that Hollywood in general is very serious about high definition.  We are sticking with widescreen films as we did with similar lists of suggested releases and believe these are winners that the format could count on.




Arabesque (1966) – Though tons of bad copies of Stanley Donen’s great thriller Charade (1963) have been issued (including two questionable editions from Criterion, of a film that should also be issued on Blu-ray,) Donen’s follow-up thriller with Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren that influenced James Cameron’s True Lies and starts with one of the most memorable optometrist visits in cinema history before the spy thriller kicks in.  Unhappy with Hitchcock comparisons to Charade, Donen and Director of Photography Christopher Callis filled the wide Panavision scope frame (made in beautiful three-strip Technicolor prints at the time) with every angle, distortion and trick shot they could squeeze in, which made the thriller aspect all the more suspenseful.  In Blu-ray, this would be jaw dropping if transferred faithfully.  The film was finally issued on DVD in a Gregory Peck Film Collection:




Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) – Of the many tech thrillers made at the time including The Andromeda Strain, a brilliant programmer scientist (Eric Braeden of Escape From The Planet Of The Apes and endless TV soap opera The Young & The Restless) has created a supercomputer to eliminate human error when it comes to nuclear armaments, only for it to become self-aware and try to take over the world.  Outstanding suspense thriller that has aged very well, thanks in part to solid directing by excellent journeyman filmmaker Joseph Sargent and James Bridges’ rich adaptation of D.F. Jones’ book.  Add an innovative score by Gene Polito (Westworld, Futureworld) and Director of Photography Michel Colombier’s powerful use of Panavision scope composition (made in rich three-strip Technicolor prints at the time) in all this and you have a classic thriller that should be out on Blu-ray already.  Note that the DVD is not widescreen!


Fahrenheit 451 (1966) – Francois Truffaut’s only English language film is an outstanding, underrated, brilliant adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece about a futuristic police state that burns books and undermines individual expression by mauling language.  With beautiful cinematography (made, once again, in beautiful three-strip Technicolor prints at the time) by Nicolas Roeg, an unforgettable score by Bernard Herrmann and sporting classic costumes & production design that remain highly influential, Julie Christie plays dual roles effectively and the result is a jaw-dropping tour-de-force that would be stunning on Blu-ray.


Head (1968) – Originally made by Columbia Pictures, the film’s ownership reverted to Rhino Records when the bought out Sony’s holding in Colgems and The Monkees, who star in this underrated Bob Rafelson anti-establishment, anti-Vietnam conflict feature that pokes fun at The Beatles films, The Monkees’ own TV show, is the most violent G-rated film ever made and has a music score worthy of any soundtrack-driven comedy around.  Toni Basil (the 1982 hit record Mickey) did the choreography and Jack Nicholson was a co-writer of the screenplay.  This film has never been released widescreen, though the camerawork by Director of Photograph Michel Hugo (The Night Stalker) is among the best of the 1960s (yet again, made in beautiful three-strip Technicolor prints at the time) and would be as big hit for Rhino in Blu-ray when critics see how good this looks and its unlikely co-stars including Victor Mature, Frank Zappa, Teri Garr, Annette Funicello, Logan Ramsey, Abraham Sofaer, Vito Scotti, Sonny Liston and Rona Barrett!  You have to see it to believe it!


Hud (1963) – With all the improvements in Video Black and Gray Scale, the sad thing in Blu-ray so far are still the lack of real black and white films shot in silver-rich monochrome stocks.  Martin Ritt’s masterful adaptation of the Larry McMurtry (Last Picture Show, Brokeback Mountain) novel offers one of Paul Newman’s greatest performances as the existential loner drifter whose life can only ruin all those around him.  The genius Director of Photography James Wong Howe shot this in real anamorphic Panavision and even the current DVD does not do justice to the compositions or film textures and would be a Blu-ray stunner.  We would also suggest Paramount issue widescreen black & white marvels Seconds (also lensed by Howe) and the original 1955 VistaVision The Desperate Hours.   Read more about this film at:



Little Darlings (1980) – If you want to imagine what Superbad might be like with teen gals, less music and a more challenging screenplay, Gettysburg director Ronald F. Maxwell’s best film stars Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol as two guests at a summer camp from different backgrounds who bet each other on who can have sex first.  The Kimi Peck/Dalene Young screenplay is way ahead of its time as they both have misgivings no matter how they act in front of each other.  Serious moments outdone by some howlers in a film that co-stars Matt Dillon (Wild Things,) Armand Assante, Margaret Blye and Cynthia Nixon; could be finally recognized as a classic.


One-Eyed Jacks (1961) – Originally intended as a Western to be directed by Stanley Kubrick, his clash with star Marlon Brando was bad enough that Kubrick left to do Lolita and Brando decided to direct the big screen VistaVision epic.  Outside of the obvious VistaVision productions (Ten Commandments, To Catch A Thief, Funny Face) Paramount will be issuing in the format, this color epic has slipped into public domain somewhat despite the studio issuing a widescreen 12” LaserDisc at one point.  Beautifully shot by Charles Lang, Jr. (Charade, The Magnificent Seven,) this bold & clever twist on the Revenge Western also stars Karl Malden, Katy Jurado, Ben Johnson (Last Picture Show,) Slim Pickens (Dr. Strangelove) and Elisha Cook Jr. deserves to be back in its glory.


The Shadow (1994) – An earlier Superhero film intended to cash in on the success of Tim Burton’s Batman revival, Russell Mulcahy (Highlander) had Alec Baldwin at his peak playing millionaire Lamont Cranston, who turns out to have a dark secret and a dark past that allows him to become the title hero (a forerunner of Batman) just in time to stop a descendant of Genghis Khan (John Lone, from The Last Emperor and Year Of The Dragon) from getting his hands on an atom bomb precursor.  A good film (including its supporting cast with Peter Boyle, Ian McKellen, Tim Curry, Johnathan Winters & Penelope Ann Miller) until it tries to be Raiders Of The Lost Ark, it may have some old, early digital visual effects, but the production design and cinematography by Stephen H. Burum (The Untouchables,) along with the moments that work make it a prime Blu-ray candidate complete with its then-impressive sound design intended to show off the DTS format and Jerry Goldsmith’s score.  With Sam Raimi’s remake on the horizon, this would be a great time to reissue it.


Silent Running (1972) – Douglas Trumbull did visual effects on 2001, then made this outer space thriller seven years before Alien as a crew is ordered to destroy the remainder of earth’s plant life until the ship’s main naturalist (Bruce Dern) decides to stop them.  Innovative visual effects, model work and robot designs still influence filmmaking today, it deserves a great Blu-ray.  Read more about it at: http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/45/Silent+Running


They Live (1988) – John Carpenter’s most underrated film is still his last major work to date, as aliens have invaded the world of Consumer America and will do anything to stay here.  Unfortunately, the situation is even worse than Nada (Roddy Piper) expects and all hell is about to break loose.  Another one of Carpenter’s great uses of widescreen Panavision (lensed by Director of Photography Gary B. Kibbe in his best work to date,) Universal should issue this as a Blu-ray follow-up to their successful Blu-ray of The Thing.  Sadly, both are being planned as remakes.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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