Lambert & Stamp (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD) are Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. There’s no reason you’d know their names unless you are steeped in the minutia of the sixties British rock scene. No, they’re not some forgotten rock duo, at least not as performers. While they didn’t create The Who, it would be fair to say they played a major role in transforming the Mod-favorite club band originally called The High Numbers into a musical phenomenon.
Whether or not documentarian James D. Cooper gives too much credit to this duo for the band’s success, he’s right about one thing: they are an interesting pair. Lambert, the posh, Oxford-educated son of a classical music conductor, and Stamp, a working class bloke and younger brother of future screen star Terence Stamp, were aspiring filmmakers when they met while working as assistants at Shepperton Studios. They bonded over a shared passion for filmmaking in the age of the French nouvelle vague and hatched a plan to break into the movie business by molding a raw, promising young rock and roll act into a success and chronicling their odyssey on film.
Yes, becoming rock and roll producers and artistic mentors was the first act of a grand plan that ended up becoming the whole show, and as the witness statements build, it becomes clear that they were making it up as they went along. They never got their film made, though they filmed a lot of footage along the way which becomes an essential part of this documentary. The club footage and jump-cut editing captures both the period and the passion of this odd couple bluffing their way through the music industry on instinct and impulse.
Ultimately, Lambert & Stamp falls into the familiar show biz arc, complete with the falling out as money rolled in and success came their way. Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey offer their remembrances and appreciations of Lambert, who died in 1981 (like Keith Moon, a casualty of excess), and Stamp, who is extensively interviewed and reconciled with the two surviving member of The Who before he died in 2012. Ultimately Lambert & Stamp becomes more of a side project for fans of The Who and the British pop scene of the 1960s and 1970s, great for fans but perhaps a little too much “Inside the Music” for the casual viewers.
Blu-ray and DVD with director commentary and a Q&A with Henry Rollins and director James D. Cooper. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is bonus archival footage and clips: the short film “The Who in Finland,” a promotional band short from 1967, and performance clips for the TV shows Where the Action Is and call Me Lighting, plus an Ultraviolet Digital HD copy of the film.
Also available on Digital HD and on Cable and digital VOD.
Day For Night (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD), François Truffaut’s 1973 Oscar winning love letter to the cinema, celebrates the glorious chaos and creative heartache of making movies. Truffaut himself reigns over the on-screen cinema circus as director Ferrand, an aloof figure juggling productions delays, budget cuts, and the personal crises of his cast and crew as he tries to get his film “Meet Pamela” made, but he’s more ringmaster than featured player.
In the center ring is the impulsive young actor Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Leaud, evoking a decade of roles in the films of the French New Wave), who stars alongside famous French lover and former matinee idol Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Aumont), his former co-star Seyrine (Valentina Cortese), an Italian diva who can hardly remember her lines, and American actress Julie (Jacqueline Bisset), returning to the screen for the first time since her highly publicized nervous breakdown. Holding it all together is production assistant Joelle (Nathalie Baye in her screen debut), playing everything from cast nursemaid to crew foreman to Ferrand’s girl Friday.
Truffaut revels in the parade of minor disasters that as often as not provide a spark that will later enrich the film: a line, a script change, a different way of attacking a scene. Ultimately this loose, lightweight story becomes the framework for an affectionate portrait of the artists and craftsmen that come together on a shoot through friendships, brief affairs, and camaraderie to become, for a brief moment, a festive filmmaking family.
Criterion presents the Blu-ray debut and a new DVD from a restored 2K digital master from a 35mm interpositive supervised by director of photography Pierre-William Glenn.
Face to Face (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD) is one of the great spaghetti Westerns that never received its due in the U.S., ostensibly, one assumes, because it’s never had a legitimate home video release. Kino Lorber has finally corrected that issue with a very nice Blu-ray and DVD debut release. I’ll deliver a full review of the film, which stars Gian Maria Volonte as a history professor from the East who becomes an unexpectedly effective advisor and partner to Mexican bandit Tomas Milian, later in the week. The disc features a gorgeous version of the American release plus an unrestored presentation of the uncut Italian version (which is 20 minutes longer).
I’ll also review A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD), a Dirty Dozen knock-off from Tonino Valerii, relocated to the Civil War and starring James Coburn, Bud Spencer, and Telly Savalas.
The Rebel: The Complete Series (Timeless, DVD) – Nick Adams stars as Johnny Yuma, a former Confederate soldier who, a year after the Civil War, returns home haunted by his experience and chooses to travel through the west and keep a diary of his travels.
The pilot episode establishes his backstory: he fought out of idealism and returns disillusioned to his hometown to find his family dead and a gang running the town. John Carradine and Strother Martin co-star in the pilot and Carradine (who plays a sympathetic newspaperman in Johnny’s hometown) makes a return appearance in the second season. Otherwise Johnny is the only recurring character in the half-hour western drama, which plays out in the popular format of the wandering hero who gets involved with the lives of the people he meets in his travels—the same premise as such shows as Wanted: Dead or Alive, Route 66, The Fugitive. Adams developed the show for himself (he has co-creator credit) and the title suggests a western take on Rebel Without a Cause (in which Adams co-starred), which is fair enough for a show about a young man searching for meaning and his place in the world. A young Johnny Cash sings the theme song, which became a hit for the singer.
The series lasted two seasons and 76 episodes between 1959 and 1961 and this 11-disc set features the complete run. The episodes are unrestored and appear to be mastered from 16mm TV circulation prints. The image is soft and there is damage in some sequences (mostly credits). A bonus disc includes interviews, a pilot for a companion series that never sold, and TV commercials featuring Adams.
The Royals: The Complete First Season (Lionsgate, DVD), the E! Channel’s spoof of high society soap operas and aristocratic bad behavior, stars Elizabeth Hurley as the scheming Queen of England in a fictional, scandal-ridden royal family and Vincent Regan as the king who plans to abolish the monarchy.
10 episodes on DVD, with three featurettes and a bonus Ultraviolet Digital SD copy of the entire season.
Also new and notable:
La Grande Bouffe (Arrow, Blu-ray, DVD), Marco Ferreri’s most infamous film, revels in the indulgence and decadence of four affluent friends (Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccolo, Ugo Tognazzi, and Philippe Noiret) who decide to eat themselves to death in an orgy of food and sex with a buffet of prostitutes. Arrow’s new, restored edition features new and archival featurettes and interviews and a booklet with a new essay and excerpts from archival reviews.
Psycho Beach Party (Strand, Blu-ray), based on the stage farce by Charles Busch (who also co-stars in drag), spoofs beach movies, slasher movies, and psycho-thrillers. The 2000 film stars Lauren Ambrose, Nicholas Brendan, and Thomas Gibson, and the disc includes filmmaker commentary.
Hackers: 20th Anniversary Edition (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray) offers the Blu-ray debut of the 1995 cyber-thriller that launched the careers of Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller. Includes a new featurette with interviews with the cast (though not Jolie or Miller), crew, and the film’s “hacking consultants.”
Nomads (Scream Factory, Blu-ray), a 1986 supernatural thriller directed by John McTiernan, stars Lesley-Anne Down and Piece Brosnan. The Blu-ray debut include new interviews with Down and composer Bill Conti.
Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD) is a direct-to-disc feature spin-off from the animated TV series.
Digital / VOD / Streaming exclusives:
Available on Cable and digital VOD on Friday, August 21, same day as select theaters nationwide is She’s Funny That Way, a modern screwball comedy with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston and Peter Bogdanovich’s first theatrical feature in over a decade, and the documentary Being Evel on the legendary motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel.
The documentary Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World is available on digital VOD two weeks before is comes out on disc. Also available on digital VOD are the Some Kind of Beautiful with Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek and Sun Belt Express and the thriller Runoff.
Available for digital purchase in advance of disc:
The D Train (Paramount, Digital HD)
Love & Mercy (Lionsgate, Digital HD)
Runoff (Monterey Media, Digital, VOD)
Sun Belt Express (MarVista, Digital HD, VOD)
Classics and Cult:
Walt Disney Animation Short Films Collection (Disney, Blu-ray+DVD)
Burn Witch Burn (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray)
Navajo Joe (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD)
A Town Called Hell (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD)
Diggstown (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Couch Trip (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD)
Seventeen (Icarus, DVD)
Nightmare Castle: Special Edition (Severin, Blu-ray)
Cannibal Terror / Devil Hunter (Severin, Blu-ray)
The Wife Killer (Mondo Macabro, DVD)
Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (Vinegar Syndrome, DVD)
Flesh and Bullets (Vinegar Syndrome, DVD)
TV on disc:
The Blacklist: The Complete Second Season (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD)
Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season (Disney, Blu-ray, DVD)
Mike & Molly: The Complete Fifth Season (Warner, DVD)
Welcome Back, Kotter: The Final Season (Shout! Factory, DVD)
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (Lionsgate, DVD)
Vendetta (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD)
Little Boy (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD)
Strangerland (Alchemy, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Riot Club (IFC, DVD, Digital)
Z Storm (Well Go, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD)
Elena (Zeitgeist / Syncopy, Blu-ray)
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Music Box, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD)
La Sapienza (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD)
Interface (Facets, DVD)
The Seventh Dwarf (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray+Blu-ray 3D, DVD)
Ejecta (Scream Factory / IFC, Blu-ray+DVD)
The Love Letter (Alchemy, DVD)
Blood Cells (Garden Thieves, DVD, VOD)
Skin Trade (Magnolia, Blu-ray, DVD)
No Ordinary Hero: The Superdeafy Movie (Icarus, DVD)
Catching Faith (Image, DVD)