film from a queer perspective
KATM media outlets
KATM featured weekly
Join Us!
Vidcast Starring KATM
Buy the KATM Book
Classics Round-up

As spring 2010 winds up here are some welcome editions to the classics category - many available on
DVD for the first time - all on tap for this edition of DVD Recommendations.
The African Queen (Paramount)  At last, at last, we classics fans can finally check this 1951
masterpiece off our "DVD MUST LIST."  The timeless appeal of this beautifully made film in which
Humphrey Bogart as a cranky, gin soaked small boat captain and Katharine Hepburn as the spinster
with a spine who together navigate a dangerous river in Africa at the outset of WWI with plans to sink
a German freighter is no less a marvel on its 20th viewing than the first. The new to DVD, feature
length making of documentary is also a pleasure. The film, directed by John Huston, has never
looked better (thanks to a new transfer) and is available in multiple editions, each more lavish than
the previous. But even the bare bones version has the movie and the making of doc.  An absolute
essential for the collection.

The Barbara Stanwyck Collection  (Universal/TCM)  Barbara Stanwyck was the movie’s most
versatile actress (a title she retains to this day) and this is a very welcome set with six new to DVD
films from the 30s, 40s and 1950s.  Stanwyck could play anything from the tawdriest tramp to the
airiest airhead and she shines in these lesser known vehicles which include the rarely seen Douglas
Sirk directed melodramas 1953’s
All I Desire and 1956’s There’s Always Tomorrow (her fourth teaming
with Fred MacMurray).  William Wellman’s overlooked western classic 1942’s
The Great Man’s Lady,
Internes Can’t Take Money (the first Dr. Kildare picture), the fluffy comedy The Bride Wore Boots, and the
terse character drama
The Lady Gambles round out the set.  Taken together, Stanwyck's versatility is
breathtaking. A tremendous set that will hopefully lead to more Stanwyck DVD releases.

The Landlord  (MGM)  MGM has begun to emulate the successful Warner Archive Program with one
of their own DVD on Demand services. The titles in the MGM library offer also offer a wide assortment
of titles available exclusively from with this 1970 often overlooked Hal Ashby black
comedy classic a stand out.  Beau Bridges stars as a WASP prince who buys a tenement in Harlem
with the idea of renovating it into a swingin' bachelor pad (to the horror of mother Lee Grant and the
rest of his family). Instead, Bridges has his conscience awakened by a first hand look at the reality of
life for inner city blacks thanks to lessons in African American pride courtesy of Pearl Bailey, Louis
Gossett, Jr., the marvelous Diana Sands, and others. The MGM series offers many other titles - with
new ones being added monthly. Preview copies weren't available so I cannot attest to the quality of
the discs but many of the film titles make the risk - along with Amazon's money back guarantee - a
worthwhile one.

The Icons of Suspense Collection: Hammer Films  (Sony)  Hammer Films, the British
equivalent of Universal, most renowned for their 1960s remakes of the horror classics - Dracula,
Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and the like (for good reason) didn't, apparently, just make creepy
movies that provided plenty of fare for drive-ins and TV horror hosts.  As this six picture, three disc
set proves, they also produced a series of modern day chillers in which a step father kills his wife
though no one believes his step daughter, a pedophile goes unpunished (
Never Take Candy from a  
), a man turns into a wife killing maniac, a bank robber holds up a bank in broad daylight
with an ingenious scheme (
Cash on Demand - a nice variation on A Christmas Carol with Peter Cushing
as the repentant Scrooge figure), and other "modern day horrors." The real find of the lot - an
agreeable, enjoyable grouping of nice B films - is
These Are the Damned, an odd mixture of sci-fi and
60s Swingin' London in which a group of Children of the Damned type kiddies are subjected to
Government experiments which a group of thuggish Mods eventually stumble upon. All in all, an
enjoyable little set each featuring gorgeous black and white cinematography.
More Reviews,
Interviews, and
in the Archives