Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire (Alan Clarke, 1985)


AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddSet within a twilight labyrinth of concrete corridors and bunker-like rooms, director Alan Clarke plays out a musical grudge match between conflicting generations of master snooker players. On one side is Billy the Kid (Phil Daniels), a cocky young cockney decked out as an Old West outlaw. On the other is seven-time world champion Maxwell Randall (Alun Armstrong as the Green Baize Vampire), a bloodsucking traditionalist resentful of his young challenger. Manipulated by his manager T.O. (Bruce Payne as “The One”) and a scheming loan shark called the Wednesday Man (Don Henderson), Billy agrees to a seventeen-frame snooker match against Randall where the loser will put down his cue forever. Can Billy vanquish his foe or does the Wednesday Man have some more tricks up his sleeve?

Featuring music by celebrated composer George Fenton and inspired by the rivalry between true-life snooker players Ray Reardon and Jimmy White, Alan Clarke’s Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire is an uncharacteristic foray into fantasy by a British master of gritty realism. The result is an astonishingly strange and captivating work that resembles a musical adaptation of The Hustler if remade by Ken Russell.

Special Features:

  • New high definition transfers of the film in its 93-minute and 121-minute versions
  • High-Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD Presentation
  • Original 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Surround Options
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Making BTK – Extensive interviews on the film’s making with cinematographer Clive Tickner, composer George Fenton, production designer Jamie Leonard, costume designer Tudor George, and editor Steve Singleton
  • Shooting from the Hip, a brand new interview with Phil Daniels made especially for this release
  • Biting Back, a new interview with Alun Armstrong made especially for this release
  • Being #1, a brand new interview with Bruce Payne
  • Sullivan Reporting, a new interview with Louise Gold
  • Bride of the Green Baize Vampire, a brand new interview with Eve Ferret
  • Sports Life Stories: Jimmy White, an ITV documentary on Jimmy White, the inspiration for Billy the Kid
  • Archival interview with Ray “Dracula” Reardon, the inspiration for Maxwell Randall, on the eve of the 1981 World Snooker Championship
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Michael Brooke

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Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

sunshine-bloggerBig thanks to the lovely Summer at Serendipitous Anachronisms for nominating MMC! for a Sunshine Blogger Award! Serendipitous Anachronisms not only boasts a truly wonderful title and a great banner image, but provides a consistently engaging one-two punch of philosophical deconstruction and pop culture enthusiasm. Needless to say, MMC! is proud to receive this nomination from the blogathon powerhouses that are Summer Reeves and Serendipitous Anachronisms!  Thanks!

Now, lets answer Summer’s questions!

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Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, 1980)

Designed with the film lover in mind, SHOUT SELECT shines a light on films that deserve a spot on your shelf. From acknowledged classics to cult favourites to unheralded gems, SHOUT SELECT celebrates the best in filmmaking, giving these movies the love and attention they deserve.

Shout SelectA TRUE STORY?

Jonathan Demme adapts the stranger-than-fiction life of Melvin Dummar to the big screen, celebrating the fair-weather fortunes of an affable everyman who offers a late-night ride to the world’s richest man, Howard Hughes. Dummar returns to his workaday life, struggling to get ahead with dead-end jobs and game show fantasies until a letter arrives out of the blue naming him as a possible heir to Hughes’ fortune. Being poor was hard, but Dummar discovers in this slice-of-life satire that the prospect of being rich is even harder.

Melvin and Howard is a feel-good story about tough luck starring Paul Le Mat and Jason Robards as Melvin Dummar and Howard Hughes, a pair of scruffy outcasts at opposite ends of the economy. Featuring an Academy Award-winning screenplay by Bo Goldman and supporting performances by Pamela Reed, Michael J. Pollard, Gloria Grahame, Charles Napier, Dabney Coleman, and Mary Steenburgen in an Oscar-winning role as Melvin’s first and second wife, Jonathan Demme’s tale of hard work and easy money is an under-appreciated American classic.

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary With Director Jonathan Demme And Cinematographer Tak Fujimoto
  • Being Melvin – An Interview With Actor Paul Le Mat
  • Living Lynda – An Interview With Actress Mary Steenburgen
  • A Bonnie Situation – An Interview With Actress Pamela Reed
  • I Am Melvin – Interview Excerpts With Writer Bo Goldman
  • Melvin And The Master – Director Paul Thomas Anderson On Melvin And Howard
  • “Melvin And Howards” – An SCTV Parody Sketch
  • Theatrical Trailer

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10 on the 10th – September 2016

Reflecting on the last 10 films I’ve watched, recommendations are given for The French Lieutenant’s WomanHell or High WaterSutureKubo and the Two Strings, and Melvin and Howard. The most welcome surprise was Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo, which threatened to be entirely insufferable by its tooth-aching tweeness. Thankfully, Gondry’s film eventually sinks into a darkness reminiscent of Premonitions Following an Evil Deed (David Lynch, 1995), casting a welcome pall over the cutesy content that precedes it and giving the movie a much-needed edge. Certainly not for everyone, but likely rewarding to a few.

  1. mood-indigoThey Look Like People (Perry Blackshear, 2015)
  2. Marc Maron: Thinky Pain (Lance Bangs, 2013)
  3. Mood Indigo (Michel Gondry, 2013)
  4. The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Karel Reisz, 1981)
  5. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016)
  6. Suture (Scott McGehee and David Siegal, 1993)
  7. Steel and Lace (Ernest D. Farino, 1991)
  8. Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight, 2016)
  9. Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, 1980)
  10. Zeder (Pupi Avati, 1983)

You can find my ongoing film diary at Letterboxd under my profile, “rjtougas.” Rejoice in my errant impressions!

Introducing Plain Cast!

PrintBoutique label fans should make note that the great Doug McCambridge (of Good Times, Great Movies!) recently launched his newest podcast, Plain Cast. Each month, Doug and a special guest discuss a film from the Plain Archive label, a South Korean imprint notable for its small print runs and amazing packaging art. Plain Cast is proceeding through the Plain Archive collection in order, meaning that Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011), Plain Archive‘s first spine number, is the subject of the podcast’s first episode. So head over, subscribe, and have a listen!

The Betrayal (Tokuzo Tanaka, 1966)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Betrayal.

criterion logoRaizô Ichikawa stars as a naïvely honorable samurai who protects his clan by taking the blame for a murder he did not commit and living as a fugitive for a year. Upon his return, he discovers that the promises to restore him to his former position will not be kept and that he remains falsely accused. Betrayed, hunted, and with nothing else to lose, the samurai must defend his life with deadly force, culminating in one of Japanese cinema’s most daring and brutal sword-fights! Tokuzô Tanaka’s The Betrayal stands among the director’s best works and is a classic example of the cruel jidai-geki film.

Disc Features:

  • New, high definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Japanese cinema scholar Isolde Standish
  • Orochi, Buntarô Futagara’s 1925 film starring Tsumasaburô Bandô that inspired The Betrayal
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Plus: A new essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

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