Via Vision Entertainment is a home video label out of Australia, and last year they launched a premium Blu-ray line under the name Imprint. The releases come slipcased with numbered spines, and the films include new supplements, and while the chosen titles range across all genres and release years some have never before been released to Blu-ray. Let’s dig into their December 2020 releases!
A doctor (Glenn Ford) planning to drink himself to death over time has set himself up in a small Mexican town as it’s as good a place as any to die. He finds a briefly renewed interest in life after meeting a prostitute (Stella Stevens) passing through town, but things are interrupted when a rabid dog bites him. As the illness courses through his body he discovers he’s not quite ready to die after all — but his only chance at survival rests in medicine many miles away.
Gilberto Gazcon’s feature was never released on home video in the US, and it’s unclear why as the film is actually quite good. The first act plays like a straight drama with Ford’s alcoholic doctor delivering a look at a sad man unable to see a future, and it’s a compelling intro. Credit the filmmaker, but Ford’s performance is affecting and Stevens’ arrival adds a new layer, but once the rabies hits the film becomes a tale of suspense and adventure as the couple, along with a pregnant woman, attempt to navigate their way along a dangerous journey.
The film is making its global Blu-ray debut from Imprint and is region free. In addition to a trailer it also features the following extras:
- *NEW* Commentary with film historian Toby Roan
- *NEW* Stella [23:59] – Kat Ellinger offers a visual essay on the career of Stella Stevens, and it’s an engaging and detailed watch.
The Deep (1977)
A young couple in love spend their nights canoodling and their days searching for treasure beneath the ocean’s surface, but both are interrupted by greed, crooks, and other dangers. The pair make an alliance with an older, more experienced diver when they come upon something big beneath the waves, but other forces come into play both manmade and more natural.
The success of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws sent Hollywood looking out to sea, and they hoped to strike more gold with this adaptation of another Peter Benchley novel. They succeeded, albeit on a smaller scale, through a combination of a strong cast, underwater thrills, and Jacqueline Bisset’s wet tee shirt. To be clear, that’s not me being rude — the look was literally credited at the time with being the film’s appeal. Nick Nolte and Robert Shaw are along for the ride, and director Peter Yates captures some thrilling beats. Double feature it with 2005’s Into the Blue for a good, wet time at the movies.
The film comes to Blu-ray looking good and featuring the following extras:
- *NEW* Commentary with Illeana Douglas – I have no idea why she’s doing this commentary, but it is gold and absolutely worth a listen.
- The Making of The Deep [48:40] – This vintage making-of special was made for CBS and hosted by Robert Shaw
- Selected scenes from the 3-hour special edition [20:48] – Over twenty minutes, spread across six scenes, that were trimmed for the film’s theatrical release. They’re mostly character beats aside from the restored prologue showing the sinking of The Goliath.
Dead Again (1991)
A woman awakes without her memory, and as she struggles to recover a whole slew of interested parties come calling. A private eye takes the case as a favor, but while he hopes for a quick resolution (and maybe a few bucks) he discovers something bigger the deeper he digs. Murder, reincarnation, and twists galore!
I’ve been an unabashed fan of Kenneth Branagh’s Hollywood debut as director since its early 90s release in part because it just goes for it all. The film and its style are so over the top at times, but it’s glorious and absolutely works to tell the tale in memorable fashion. he stars alongside Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia, Robin Williams, Derek Jacobi, and others, and the entire movie is just a ridiculous blast of a mystery. The film’s look and score add to the effect blending new Los Angeles with old Hollywood as flashback sequences bring a building threat to life.
Imprint brings the film to Blu-ray for the first time — it’s never been released in the US on Blu, inexplicably — and it includes the following extras:
- Commentary with producer Lindsay Doran and screenwriter Scott Frank
- Commentary with director and star Kenneth Branagh – This is a great listen as evidenced by my Commentary Commentary write-up.
- A Cut Above: Dead Again and the Lost Art of the Hollywood Thriller [16:49] – Ian Mantgani presents a visual essay
Fire in the Sky (1993)
Six men go into the forest for a day of logging and sawdust, but their day takes a turn when all six catch extended sight of an unidentified flying object. It’s not in the distance, either — it’s right before their eyes. One of the men is abducted too, and as hours and days pass their story remains the same. No one quite believes them, though, and the theories only grow once the missing man returns.
This sci-fi chiller is based on a true story, well, true in that these men made these claims, and it’s an effective descent into a shared nightmare. Director Robert Lieberman captures the drama, paranoia, and friendships, but he also delivers a frightening glimpse into the horror of abduction. It’s an unsettling look at what may or may not have happened to the man, and the cast helps deliver the weight of it all with strong performances by DB Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg, Henry Thomas, and others. Whether or not you believe in alien visitations is irrelevant as the film delivers an effective slice of sci-fi/horror as it focuses in on a microcosm of humanity.
The disc’s extras include a photo gallery, a trailer, and the following:
- *NEW* Commentary with director Robert Lieberman
- *NEW* Fear from Above: The Practical Effects of Fire in the Sky [20:16] – Multiple effects artists discuss the production of everything from the alien creatures to the spacecraft sets.
- *NEW* Borrowed Time: Scoring in the Dark [11:43] – An audio interview with Mark Isham as he recalls what he brought to his score for the film.
- *NEW* We Gotta Go Back: Robert Patrick on Fire in the Sky [7:14] – “I was getting offered robots and other weird shit,” says the actor who had been having trouble finding roles after Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
- *NEW* Touched By Light: D.B. Sweeney on Fire in the Sky [15:21] – He admits to accepting the role strictly because he wanted to impress James Cameron with his wire-work, and he wanted to land the title role in Cameron’s upcoming (at the time) Spider-Man movie.