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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jim and Sam Fill Oversea Carts Again


Unearthly Stranger (1964) Gets Welcome Return On Blu-Ray

Saturation Booking In/Around Pittsburgh
American-International was on a non-stop shopper trip through Europe for all of the 60's. They'd handle more foreign stuff in the US than art pic purveyors. Since most of theirs were genre-based, no one gave Jim/Sam credit for quality they'd import, most titles needing years to gain cult, let alone, critical, foothold here. But look what we'd have missed but for AIP: the best of Mario Bava, a final costume spectacular from Fritz Lang, many peplums, some of better Tohos w/ Godzilla and co., and backwash from Hammer that major distribs didn't want. Arkoff/Nicholson were champions of imagi-films (was that how FJA put it?), even if only for bucks. Unearthly Stranger was bought for presumed change in late-'63 as B/W support to features with more promise. There were dates through 1964 with The Last Man On Earth, then as backup for Masque Of The Red Death. Unearthly Stranger was in stateside circulation for a year and a half before Variety reviewed it, the "well-written" and ably-acted Brit film by then (September 1965) serving as second-feature to Godzilla vs. The Thing. This would also be the month that Unearthly Stranger came available to syndication, in AIP's "Amazing '66" package of sci-fi titles. By time of final accounting, it had realized  $72K in domestic rentals from 2,341 theatre/drive-in bookings, but compensation would be had from the TV sale, which more and more represented the real dollar value of genre features. Unearthly Stranger is newly available on Region Two Blu-Ray in an excellent 1.85 transfer. Fans who've waited a past fifty years to see, or revisit, this low-key and effective thriller will be well pleased with quality offered here.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

Wow! UNEARTHLY STRANGER finally available? This one has been my number one wanna-revisit for decades! Saw it exactly once... bottom half of a double feature (no, the top half was none of the films you mention... don't remember exactly what) a half century ago and it creeped me out big time! Woo hoo!!!

6:21 PM  

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