Thirteen Women on DVD

Attention Myrna Loy fans, the classic horror/thriller Thirteen Women is finally available on DVD! I had never seen this 1932 RKO classic, but had heard about it on blogs and in books, so I decided to pick it up. I am glad I did, it is a bizarre horror film that while it might not play well to some of today’s PC obsessed audiences, is well paced and well acted. So much so that I think with a little bit of rewriting, it would make for a fine modern horror film and with its broad female ensemble cast, it could make for an interesting project.

The film should also be noted because it had Peg Entwistle in it who is legendary, not for acting, but instead for her tragic suicide. Here is a scene with Entwistle that hints at her talent.

A shame that her life was cut short, who knows where she might have gone.

A little about the film itself:

Shortly before shedding her snakeskin vamp persona for good by wrapping herself in the ermine confines of Nora Charles, Myrna Loy terrified and terrorized as the murderous mesmerist Ursula Georgi in the pre-Code horror show Thirteen Women. Following a racist sorority’s cruel rebuff, half-caste Ursula embarks on a blood-thirsty trail of deceit and murder until only one woman (Irene Dunne) is left to face her. Aside from the allure and interest of its two leading ladies – each on the cusp of their ascension into cinema legend – Thirteen Women’s delights are rather more diabolical and devastating than the more domestic concerns of a traditional “Women’s Picture.” From its breathless and terrifying (and arrestingly staged) opening aerial atrocity through its stabbings, suicides and hidden bombs, Thirteen Women’s relentless pace startles and astonishes, ever driven by Loy’s portrayal of Ursula’s unalloyed and unapologetic evil.

Interested? Why not pick up a copy of this classic and enjoy some tension and “horror” from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Thirteen Women on DVD [@] Warner Archive

Win a Copy of Season 2 of The FBI on DVD

I love watching detective shows of the past. I am not sure what draws me to them, the acting, the music, the formula? I just cannot put my finger on it. All I can tell you is that when I see one on TV, I freeze, that is what I will be watching. Many shows have had a decent second and third life in re-runs, but a show that I remember watching in reruns in the early 1980s, that I have not seen since, is the classic crime show, The FBI. If you are a fan I have good news AND GREAT NEWS first the good news, the Warner Archive released season 1 of the series a few months ago and they just now released season 2. Now the great news. The Retroist is going to give away a copy of Season 2 to a lucky follower of the site.

Before I get to the how to win, here is a little background on the show:

The Sixties were kicking into full swing as The FBI moved into its sophomore season. Agents Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., more taciturn than ever) and Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) are dispatched to the far-flung corners of the USA by Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) to tackle the big ones – kidnapping, extortion, murder, espionage and terror. Produced with full government cooperation with stories drawn from the real files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The FBI set a new high mark in the depiction of law enforcement on television, giving viewers TV that was equally thrilling as it was realistic. Guest stars to be found in this 4-disc, 16-episode collection include Ralph Meeker, Robert Blake, Jack Lord, Richard Anderson, Fritz Weaver, Suzanne Pleshette and Ralph Bellamy.

Now how to win a copy of Season 2. It is easy. You just need to contact me with the following information.

NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS

Now the how to contact part
You can email me at retroist@retroist.com, you can comment below, you can DM me on Twitter, send me a message on Facebook or you can do all 4. The good news, especially for you eager gamer types, is that each way of contacting me will count as an entry, so you can have 4 entries in total (you can only win one copy though). So get clicking folks and I cannot wait to get The FBI out the door to our lucky winner.

You Can’t Get Away With Murder

Humphrey Bogart plays mobster Frank Wilson, the heavy headlining this crime thriller that sprung from the pen of Sing-Sing’s warden himself! Based on the play “Chalked Out” by Warden Lewis E. Lawes and Jonathan Finn, You Can’t Get Away With Murder tells the grim tale of a young punk taken in by the glamorous gangster life, only to find himself sent away to the federal pen with a man’s fate resting in his hands and a murderer dogging his every step. Young Johnnie Stone (original “Dead End Kid” Billy Halop) hooks up with hoodlum Wilson only to help Wilson frame his sister’s (Gale Page) straight and narrow fiancé Fred (Harvey Stephens) for Murder One. All three men soon find themselves sent to the “Big House” – two serving a stretch for robbery, the third for Death Row. Can Johnnie come clean in time to save Fred, with Frank watching his every move?

Who does not love Bogart? I cannot get enough of the guy, so when I see the opportunity to pick up one his films that I have never seen, I jump at it. This week I got to watch the 1939 crime drama, You Can’t Get Away with Murder with Bogart and Gale Page. The film was directed by Lewis Seiler and features “Dead End Kid” leader Billy Halop. The film was one of Bogart’s studio B pictures and was filmed before his famous breakthrough in High Sierra two years later.

While the movie is very formulaic and you can see the plot coming from a mile away it is still a good film. You also get a healthy dose of Halop, whose career I really need to explore more, and of course you get Bogie, who as always, chews up the screen. You can almost feel the potential that would make him a star a short time later. If you want to see the development of a star, you will want to pick up You Can’t Get Away With Murder.

You Can’t Get Away With Murder on DVD [via] Warner Archive

Pac-Man the Animated Series – Season 1 gets a DVD Release!

Pac-Man! The game that gobbled up a nation’s quarters while its hero gobbled up those annoying Ghost Monsters spawned sequels, spin-offs, toys, games and more. Taking note of Pac-Man’s avid fan base, famed carton studio Hanna-Barbera hit upon the idea of adapting the game for Saturday morning animation – becoming the first video game to make the jump to TV. Kids were immediately enraptured and a score of other arcade favorites soon followed Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man from the gaming console to the cathode ray tube.

Some of my happiest childhood memories revolved around the burgeoning video game culture. It was often unsophisticated and random, which for me in retrospect, made it more of a special time. Pac-Man the animated series was high on my cartoon must-watch list for two series it ran and I have cherished my VHS copies of the show that I picked up at a flea market. Those tapes are wearing pretty thin, so I was very happy to pick up the Complete First Season of Pac-Man on DVD from the Warner Archive last week.

In this 2-Disc, 13-Episode collection, Pac-Man does battle with Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde and Sue, the Ghost Monster minions of the dreaded Mezmaron, who lusts after Pac-land’s precious power spheres. Aided by his plucky and charming wife and son, Pac-Man saves the Pac-President, confronts the vampiric Pacula, discovers the Abominable Pac-Man and more. Pac-Venture awaits – no quarters required for all 16 quality cartoons including:

  1. Presidential Pac-Nappers (1982·Sep·25) – Mezmaron orders the Ghost Monsters to kidnap the Pac-President in order to get Pac-Man to lead them to the Power Pellet Forest.
  2. Picnic in Pacland (1982·Sep·25) – Pac-Man and his family go for a picnic. The Ghosts are also on a picnic and plot to chomp Pac-Man with each plan going horribly awry.
  3. The Great Pac-Quake (1982·Oct·02) – The ghost monsters get a Earthquake-making machine by Mezmaron.
  4. Hocus-Pocus Pac-Man (1982·Oct·02) – Pac-Man put Pac-Baby in a magic hat and made him disappear!
  5. Southpaw Packy (1982·Oct·09) – When the ghost monsters ruin the Pacland world series, Pac-Man challenges them to a baseball game to decide who leaves town.
  6. Pac-Baby Panic (1982·Oct·09) – The ghost monsters steal a sack of Power Pellets, and Pac-Man and Pepper go searching for Pac-Baby, not realizing he’s in the sack of Power Pellets.
  7. Pacula (1982·Oct·16) – Mezmaron transforms a bat into the vampiric Count Pacula in a plot to get the citizens of Pac-Land to hand over the map to the Power Pellet Forest.
  8. Trick or Chomp (1982·Oct·16) – The Pac family goes trick or treating on Halloween night until the ghosts comes along and spice things up.
  9. Super Ghosts (1982·Oct·23) – The ghost monsters try to take over the world when they are given super powers.
  10. The Pac-Man in the Moon (1982·Oct·23) – After the ghost monsters steal the space shuttle, Pac-Man and Pepper must retrieve it.
  11. Journey to the Center of Pacland (1982·Oct·30) – Mezmaron decides to dig underground to get the Power Pellet Forest.
  12. Invasion of the Pac-Pups (1982·Oct·30) – A litter of Pac-Pups come to the Pac-Family’s house, and Pac-Man is trying to get rid of them.
  13. Sir Chomp-A-Lot (1982·Nov·06) – Mezmaron sends the ghost monsters 50 years back into the past but Inky’s goofiness causes them to meet Pac-Man’s ancestor, Sir Chomp-A-Lot.
  14. The Day the Forest Disappeared (1982·Nov·06) – When Mezmaron successfly gets the Power Pellet Forest, it’s up to Pac-Man to get it back.
  15. Neander-Pac-Man (1982·Nov·13) – Pac-Man reads Pac-Baby a story about their prehistoric ancestor and his discovery of power pellets.
  16. Backpackin’ Packy (1982·Nov·13) – Pac-Man is premited to lead the Pac-Baby scouts after their original leader stubs his toe.
  17. The Abominable Pac-Man (1982·Nov·20) – A legendary creature is lurking the snowy hills.
  18. The Bionic Pac-Woman (1982·Nov·20) – Mezmaron makes a robotic clone of Pepper to fool Pac-Man.
  19. Chomp-Out at the O.K. Corral (1982·Nov·27) – While taking a vacation out west, the ghost monsters along with their bratty cousin, Dinky, try to ruin the Pac-family vacation.
  20. Once Upon a Chomp (1982·Nov·27) – The ghost monsters fairy ghost monster comes and gives them a magic fairytale book to trap Pac-Man and Pepper.
  21. The Pac-Love-Boat (1982·Dec·04) – The ghost monsters try to ruin Pac-Man and Pepper’s anniversary while on the Love Boat.
  22. The Great Power Pellet Robbery (1982·Dec·04) – Mezmaron gives the ghost monsters a truck in order to retrieve the Power Pellet Forest.
  23. A Bad Case of the Chomps (1982·Dec·11) – Pac-Man is rushed to the hospital after believing he has chompitis, after chomping the ghost monsters.
  24. Goo-Goo at the Zoo (1982·Dec·11) – The Pac-Family goes to the zoo but Pac-Baby frees all the animals.
  25. Nighty Nightmares (1982·Dec·18) – The Ghosts are having nightmares about Pac-Man.
  26. The Pac-Mummy (1982·Dec·18) – Mezmaron discovers a mummy, so he uses it to kidnap Pepper and Pac-Baby.

The DVD set is currently being offered exclusively at the Warner Bros store, so head on over and gobble up a copy today.

Centurions – the Original Miniseries on DVD

Centurions was a syndicated 30 minute Jack Kirby and Gil Kane influenced science fiction animated television series produced by Ruby-Spears. The show would go on for 60 episode regular series run. But it all started in 1985 as part of a five-part miniseries. That up until recently has been buried in our memories and in the Warner Archive vault.

I watched the show religiously in 1985 and was an avid collector of Centurion toys at the time. I found their exploration of the relationship between humans and technology to be fascinating at the time (and rather sophisticated) and have always been sad that the show in its entirety has never been released on DVD. Well it looks like the flame of hope on a full release has been kindled, because the Warner Archive has released the original Miniseries on DVD exclusively through their website.

I have a few VHS copies of the show and have watched a few clips online over the years and the quality for this release compared to what I have had is like night and day. They must have gone back to the original work, because the show has never looked and certainly never sounded this good. Certainly not when I first watched the show on my family’s nearly burned out color TV. While, this is not an HD release, the lines and color are much crisper than I remember, which has made rediscovering the show a total joy.

Centurions are some of the pieces of the 1980s nostalgia puzzle that is a big part of my life. I am very happy that Warner Archive sees the value in releasing titles like this and I hope that you will check out Centurions if you have not (although I am sure you already clicked to order if you are a fan) and that this will lead to a release of the full series. Careful though, this show is addicting, those toys are getting pricey and their is a very good chance you will be inspired to pick up a few and play again. I already dug mine out. So let’s Play like it’s 1985!