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The Abominable Dr. Phibes

The pomp and circumstance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “War March of the Priests,” as played on a grand pipe organ by a hooded figure seated in an opulent ballroom during the opening credits of The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), perfectly sets the tone and timbre of director Robert Fuest’s film, both with playful irreverence and an eloquently ominous aural shroud of dread. The events we’re about to see play out in the film will hardly be a righteous procession of missionary or military zeal, as Mendelssohn’s music was originally intended to evoke. Instead, as it rings and bellows forth from the ornate instrument in this eerie chamber, one which feels at once haunted and strangely festive, Mendelssohn’s fervor is immediately cast with the unmistakable sense of having been drawn forth from someplace much darker than one of heavenly inspiration.

The organ itself rises from the bowels of
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Review: "Little Shoppe Of Horrors" Magazine Issue #29

  • CinemaRetro
By Todd Garbarini

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Richard Klemensen’s Little Shoppe of Horrors is a stellar magazine. If you like Gary Svehla’s Midnight Marquee and similar publications that are well-written and polished, you’ll love the beautiful Little Shoppe of Horrors. In 2012 it entered its 40th anniversary with the most current issue, number 29. Cinema Retro is a mere youngster by comparison! Subtitled “The Journal of Classic British Horror Films,” Little Shoppe of Horrors is chock full of exclusive images of the glory days of the Hammer horror films. It is obvious that Mr. Klemensen has a true love for these films. In this issue you’ll find a wonderful look back at the life and work of Vincent Price. The front and rear covers of the latest issue feature beautiful images by Jeff Preston and Mark Maddox, respectively, of Vincent Price, and the inside covers
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The Forgotten: Love is Not Pop

  • MUBI
My DVD of Just Like a Woman (1967), pre-ordered months earlier and delayed because it was in the same order as The Devils (1971), arrived two days after its director, Robert Fuest, died. Come to think of it, I think Ken Russell was still alive when I ordered The Devils. An obituary double feature.

Above: Career best performance. Career worst hair.

I was very keen to see Just Like a Woman, Fuest’s first feature, even though I wasn’t expecting it to be particularly good. I had an idea it was a swinging London sex comedy, not the kind of material he was associated with. For that, you’d have to look at his art-deco grand guignol comedies The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and its sequel from the following year, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, and also at his pop-art masterpiece, The Final Programme (1973). Michael Moorcock, original author of the novel that one derived from,
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Adam Rifkin on "The Abominable Dr. Phibes"

Designer/director Robert Fuest and art director Brian Eatwell created a unique and popular art deco period horror film for Price which gave his career a boost with it's Love Story parody ad campaign. Wronged by doctors, Phibes murders them in the manner of biblical plagues. Followed by a sequel, it sets the stage for one of Price's triumphs, Theater of Blood.
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Blu-ray Review: The Man Who Fell to Earth (Criterion Collection)

I never would have watched The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) had I not been sent the Blu-ray for review. Of the first four Blu-rays released by Criterion it is the one title I wouldn't have actually shelled out money for even though I was intrigued after watching the trailer. However, first impressions aren't always everything but after watching the film itself, listening to the accompanying audio commentary and watching the group of supplements included with this release I can still say it is a film I would never buy, but not necessarily because it is a bad film as much as it just isn't my kind of film. Reading the accompanying essay written by critic Graham Fuller the recognition of director Nicolas Roeg as an experimentalist pretty much says it all. In my experience experimental films are going to be a hit or miss with audiences (most often miss
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Criterion Collection's First Blu-ray Release Dates Announced

Late last week Criterion announced the first five titles they will release on Blu-ray high-definition discs and they will come loaded with bonus features and are already available for pre-order on Criterion's site. The first five titles include The Third Man and The Man Who Fell to Earth on November 18 and The Last Emperor, Bottle Rocket and Chungking Express the following week on November 25. I have included the specs and special features below as well as the cover art for three of the titles. The Third Man (1949) Will feature a restored high definition transfer in 1.37:1, and an uncompressed mono soundtrack. Video introduction by writer-director Peter Bogdanovich Two audio commentaries: one by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Tony Gilroy, and one by by film scholar Dana Polan Shadowing "The Third Man" (2005), a ninety-minute feature documentary on the making of the film Abridged recording of Graham Greene's treatment, read by
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