Monday, December 13, 2010

VW's Favorite DVDs of 2010: Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell is generally acknowledged to be one of the finest practitioners of the Weird Tale, but he also has a keen insight into the way films work, as evidenced by his ongoing VIDEO WATCHDOG column, "Ramsey's Rambles." He is also the acclaimed author of such novels as THE FACE THAT MUST DIE, THE COUNT OF ELEVEN, ANCIENT IMAGES and THE OVERNIGHT, as well as the story collections DEMONS BY DAYLIGHT, DARK FEASTS and JUST BEHIND YOU, just to name a few of his many publications. In the 1970s, he wrote highly collectable paperback novelizations of the classic horror films THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA'S DAUGHTER under the pen name Carl Dreadstone. Here is his year's end list of favorite things that went bump in his DVD player... which, incidentally, is not limited to works of horror and fantasy. - TL

By Ramsey Campbell

THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (Criterion)
A masterpiece finally gets the treatment it deserves, not just with a splendid transfer but several documentaries, the longest of which reveals much about the making of the film.

THE DAMNED (aka THESE ARE THE DAMNED, included in THE ICONS OF SUSPENSE COLLECTION: HAMMER FILMS, Sony)
One of Joseph Losey’s lost films, in the correct ratio at last and the most complete version. His BLIND DATE also saw a British DVD release. Now where’s his M?

THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS (Kino US, Eureka UK)
The version we thought was lost forever, almost completely restored, demonstrates that the film is a genuine melodrama, conceived partly in musical terms.

THRILLER - THE COMPLETE SERIES (Image)
A feast, and it’s fascinating to watch the series develop, just as it is to trace (say) how the EC comics became what they’re remembered for.

3 SILENT CLASSICS BY JOSEF VON STERNBERG (Criterion)
This box set rescues three important films. Many Sternberg qualities are already much in evidence, and does any silent film have an ending more understated than THE DOCKS OF NEW YORK?

THE ITALIAN STRAW HAT (Flicker Alley)
An exemplary transfer that allows us to relish all Rene Clair’s wit, which is as fresh as ever.

LUBITSCH IN BERLIN (Eureka UK)
Six of his silent films, and many revelations, not least the wonderful Ossi Oswalda, a great comedienne at last salvaged from oblivion.

STAGECOACH (Criterion)
Chosen not just for improving on previous transfers but for the extras, which include one of Ford’s silent Westerns, BUCKING BROADWAY, and the complete unedited footage of Ford’s famously irascible confrontation with Philip Jenkinson. The booklet reprints the tale on which STAGECOACH was based.

MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (Criterion US, Eureka UK)
Leo McCarey’s devastating comedy of embarrassment that shades inexorably into tragedy. Arguably his greatest film. I listed the French release back in 2008, but this version doesn’t have irremovable French subtitles and is a sharper transfer. Eureka have it on Blu-Ray.

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