Archive for Arrow Films


Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2021 by dcairns

Our copies of TALES FROM THE URBAN JUNGLE, Arrow new Jules Dassin box set, just arrived.

It contains both BRUTE FORCE and THE NAKED CITY, plus a booklet with

Fiona and I contributed a video essay, edited by the estimable Stephen C. Horne, and I made my first audio commentary, assisted by brilliant actors Steven McNicoll and Francesca Dymond, who enact unused script extracts by Malvin Wald & Albert Maltz — also in the mix are movie trailers, documentary extracts, old-time radio, TV… a melange of audio to create a sense of the media world from which TNC emerged, and to mirror the film’s extraordinary soundtrack of narration and semi-diegetic vox populi… It was kind of a ridiculously complicated way to make a commentary track, and a ton of work, but I hope somebody enjoys it.

The set also includes a booklet with terrific new writing but also Richard Brooks’ simply WONDERFUL elegy for producer Mark Hellinger (this is really a shared Dassin-Hellinger set). Worth the price of admission alone.

Past Post

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on April 17, 2021 by dcairns

I’ve contributed an essay (text — I so rarely get asked to write pure text these days) to this juicy box set. My piece is on THE DARK PAST. Luckily I was already familiar with BLIND ALLEY, which it remakes. An interesting assignment — my first for Indicator.

I just worked out that I have seven finished extras due to come out, not all of them announced yet. And three more lined up, not yet fully written let alone cut.

The ones that you know about are this one, the Bill Rebane feature doc in the WEIRD WISCONSIN box set and the limited edition MAJOR DUNDEE disc for Arrow, and for Masters of Cinema the NAKED CITY commentary, the BRUTE FORCE video essay with Fiona, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, and HANDS OF ORLAC with Fiona again.

Somebody asked me if there was a complete list of my extras somewhere — I did publish one here, but it’s now considerably out of date. I’ll do another, but with all these things in the works, three more I can’t talk about yet, and several others just in the discussion stages, now might not be the time.

Weird Wisconsin

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on March 6, 2021 by dcairns

So, this is what I’ve been busy on since December and up until a few weeks ago: making a feature-length doc about Bill Rebane, the Wisconsin-based cult filmmaker behInd MONSTER A GO-GO, INVASION FROM INNER EARTH and THE ALPHA INCIDENT, for the first ever box set of his films, including the above-named titles and also DEMONS OF LUDLOW, THE GAME and TWISTER’S REVENGE! It was a wild and crazy journey, and I met so many nice people, all without actually leaving the house. Cast, crew, critics, academics, writers and the great Mark Borchardt (COVEN and the forthcoming COVEN II and THE MORE THE SCARIER IV).

Viewers will learn about eight-foot-tall giant Henry Hite’s special car, Tiny Tim’s unusual diet, Rebane’s surprise cameo in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, Ulli Lommel’s bad pig idea and much, much more. I myself went from wondering who’d want to watch this stuff to becoming obsessed and fascinated by it. Do de-programmers exist for cult cinema acolytes?

The doc, which is longer than any of Bill’s films, should serve to at least partially explain the movies, how they came to be, and what made them the way they are. A Rebane Rosetta Stone, as it were.

Too many people to thank all at once — I’ll settle for thanking Fiona for her patient support, and producer Neil Snowdon for saying yes to everything I asked for.