While Arrow Video is only releasing four Blu-rays for May, the diversity of the titles is a bounty for film lovers. First there’s the Spaghetti Western majesty of The Grand Duel. Lee Van Cleef (For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) keeps up his badass cowboy character. Except instead of a bounty hunter, he’s an ex-lawman looking for a murder suspect that is being tracked by bounty hunters. He wants to bring the suspect back to expose the real killer. But he has to make sure that he isn’t also take dead by the bounty hunters. The fresh transfer brings out the action as Van Cleef fires away.
Yakuza Law follows the development of the Japanese version of the Mafia over the course of three eras. Director Teruo Ishii illustrates how vicious this organization has always been over the centuries. There’s so much torture and pain on the screen that you’ll get a sense that this has never been a nice civic organization. This feels like the kinda Japanese movie that legendary jazz musician John Zorn would have had a bootleg VHS in his collection back in the ’90s. Yakuza Law is the film you should show your pal who keeps going on about his Akira Kurosawa collection.
The Big Clock was one of the films Ray Regis always showed in his Film Noir class. This was a tight thrill ride with Ray Milland (Frogs) being framed for a murder by his boss (Charles Laughton). He has to prove he’s innocent because the cops aren’t wanting to really investigate the powerful guy. There is a big clock in the film. Director John Farrow and star Maureen O’Sullivan were married and eventually became Ronan Farrow’s grandparents. This film was adapted decades later for the movie No Way Out.
She-Devils on Wheels was Herschell Gordon Lewis getting into the outlaw Biker genre in the era when The Hell’s Angels had captured the fascination. Instead of revamping Roger Corman’s Wild Angels, HGL gives us a woman’s touch on top of their bikes. A girl gets a motorcycle to experience the freedom of the road. Very quickly she falls in with an all female biker gang that has their way with male groupies. It’s a rough and tumble affair like any HGL production. There’s a nasty confrontation with a male biker gang that doesn’t like coming in second to a bunch of girls. The bonus film on the Blu-ray is Just for the Hell of It. This is a trouble teens epic with a gang called “Destruction Incorporated.” This is a perfect double feature for your home drive-in.
Here’s the press release from Arrow Video with all the bonus features:
New from Arrow Video US and Arrow Academy US
THE GRAND DUEL (5/7)
YAKUZA LAW (5/14)
THE BIG CLOCK (5/14)
SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS (5/21)
via MVD Entertainment Group
Bikers, gunfights, and murder… Oh my! Arrow’s May releases have a bit of everything.
As the weather begins to warm up outside, stay in and cool off with another fun month of releases from your friends at Arrow. With four new exciting titles hitting shelves in May, there’s no better way to beat the incoming heat.
The first release, coming May 7th, is Giancarlo Santi’s iconic spaghetti western, The Grand Duel. Starring Lee Van Cleef as a sheriff seeking justice for a man accused of murder, The Grand Duel has everything a good western should – gunfights, over-the-top stunts, a tense showdown, and a score you won’t soon forget. Arrow is proud to present this film with a stagecoach worth of special features that include brand new interviews with cast and crew, including director Santi, a brand new commentary with film historian Stephen Prince, and a whole lot more.
On May 14th, Arrow brings two new releases starting with Yakuza Law. From director Teruo Ishii, comes a tale of a yakuza lynching during the Edo, Taisho, and Showa periods. In other words, this is an anthology of yakuza torture from the Godfather of J-sploitation, and you better believe it’s brutal. This release includes a brand new commentary with film critic Jasper Sharp and a rare, archival interview with Ishii.
The second May 14th release is the 1948 film noir, The Big Clock. A magazine tycoon commits a murder and then attempts to frame an innocent man, while at the same time the innocent man attempts to solve the case. This “dandy clue-chaser,” as described by The New York Times upon its initial release, was directed by Oscar-winner John Farrow, and features an all-star cast headlined by Ray Milland, Maureen O’Sullivan and Charles Laughton.
Arrow wraps up their May schedule on May 21st with the release of She-Devils on Wheels. The Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis, takes his talents to a small Florida town where an all-girl motorcycle gang known as The Man-Eaters squares off with an all-male rival gang. Included in the special features is another feature-length film from Lewis, 1968’s Just for the Hell of It, also a Florida-set film about a gang of punks leading a small town’s youth down a path of destruction and mayhem.
The Grand Duel
The Grand Duel is archetypal spaghetti western which boasts many of the genre’s classic hallmarks including action-packed gunfights, wild stunts and an impressive climactic showdown… Genre stalwart Lee Van Cleef (The Big Combo, Day of Anger) stars as a gnarled ex-sheriff called Clayton who comes to the aid of a young Philipp Wermeer (Alberto Dentice), a fugitive framed for the murder of a powerful figure called The Patriarch. Clayton helps Philipp fend off attacks from bounty hunters in a series of thrilling gunfights before the two make their way to Jefferson to confront three villains known as the Saxon brothers, and reveal who really killed The Patriarch. A complex tale of revenge penned by prolific giallo writer Ernesto Gastaldi (Torso, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail), The Grand Duel benefits from a beguiling central performance from Lee Van Cleef and assured helmsmanship from Giancarlo Santi (assistant director to Sergio Leone on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West). Add to this brew a memorable and tuneful score by composer Luis Bacalov (Django, Milano Calibro 9) and the stage is set for one of the grandest of all the Italian westerns.
High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince
An Unconventional Western, a newly filmed interview with director Giancarlo Santi
The Last of the Great Westerns, a newly filmed interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
Cowboy by Chance, an interview with the actor Alberto Dentice AKA Peter O’Brien
Out of the Box, a newly filmed interview with producer Ettore Rosboch
The Day of the Big Showdown, a newly filmed interview with assistant director Harald Buggenig
Saxon City Showdown, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher
Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
Extensive image gallery featuring stills, posters, lobby cards and home video sleeves, drawn from the Mike Siegel Archive and other collections
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
Two Different Duels, a comparison between the original cut and the longer German cut of The Grand Duel
Game Over, an obscure sci-fi short film from 1984 directed by Bernard Villiot and starring The Grand Duel’s Marc Mazza
Marc Mazza: Who was the Rider on the Rain?, a video essay about the elusive actor Marc Mazza by tough-guy film expert Mike Malloy
Street Date: 05/07/19
Run Time: 94 mins
Director Teruo Ishii (Blind Woman’s Curse, Horrors of Malformed Men), the Godfather of J-sploitation, presents Yakuza Law (AKA Yakuza’s Law: Lynching) – a gruelling anthology of torture, spawning three district periods of Japanese history and bringing to the screen some of the most brutal methods of torment ever devised. In this deep dive into the world of the Yakuza, meet the violent men who rule the Japanese underworld and the cruel punishments inflicted on those who transgress them. The carnage begins in the Edo Period with a violent tale of samurai vengeance starring Bunta Sugawara (Battles Without Honor and Humanity), before shifting to the Meiji Period as the exiled Ogata (Minoru Oki, Shogun Assassin) returns to face punishment for his past transgressions… and, ultimately, to take his revenge. Finally, the action is brought right up to date with a tale of gang warfare set in then-present-day 60s Japan and headlined by Teruo Yoshida (Ishii’s Orgies of Edo), as a powerful crime syndicate seeks bloody vengeance for the theft of one hundred thousand yen. Brutal, bewildering and definitely not for the faint-hearted, Yakuza Law represents Japanese popular cinema at its most extreme… and most thrilling.
High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono Japanese soundtrack
Optional English subtitles
New audio commentary by author and critic Jasper Sharp
Erotic-Grotesque and Genre Hopping: Teruo Ishii Speaks, a rare vintage interview with the elusive director on his varied career, newly edited for this release
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tom Mes
Street Date: 05/14/19
Run Time: 96 mins
The Big Clock
Adapted by acclaimed screenwriter Jonathan Latimer from a novel by the equally renowned crime author Kenneth Fearing, The Big Clock is a superior suspense film which classily combines screwball comedy with heady thrills. Overworked true crime magazine editor George Stroud (Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend, The Pyjama Girl Case) has been planning a vacation for months. However, when his boss, the tyrannical media tycoon Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton, Witness for the Prosecution), insists he skips his hols, Stroud resigns in disgust before embarking on an impromptu drunken night out with his boss’s mistress, Pauline York (Rita Johnson, The Major and the Minor). When Janoth kills Pauline in a fit of rage, Stroud finds himself to have been the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time: his staff have been tasked with finding a suspect with an all too familiar description… Stroud’s very own! Directed with panache by John Farrow (Around the World in 80 Days), who stylishly renders the film’s towering central set, the Janoth Building, The Big Clock benefits from exuberant performances by Ray Milland and Charles Laughton, who make hay with the script’s snappy dialogue. A huge success on its release, it is no wonder this fast-moving noir was remade years later as the Kevin Costner vehicle No Way Out.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
Turning Back the Clock, a newly filmed analysis of the film by the critic and chief executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton
A Difficult Actor, a newly filmed appreciation of Charles Laughton and his performance in The Big Clock by the actor, writer, and theater director Simon Callow
Rare hour-long 1948 radio dramatization of The Big Clock by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring Ray Milland
Original theatrical trailer
Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Christina Newland
Street Date: 05/14/19
Genre: Film Noir
Run Time: 96 mins
She-Devils On Wheels
Wild! Vicious! With motorcycles as their lovers! Experience sights and sounds beyond your very imagining as “Godfather of Gore” Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!) tackles the biker chick sub-sub-genre with She-Devils on Wheels! Have you ever heard the saying “it’s a man’s world”? Well don’t dare repeat that to The Man-Eaters – a raucous, rowdy and randy gang of female bikers who ride their men just as viciously as they do their motorcycles. When they’re not racing each other to get first pick of the “stud line-up”, these female hellcats are busy terrorizing the town and clashing with the rival male gangs. Billed as “by far the most exciting picture of its type ever filmed”, She-Devils on Wheels sees splatter pioneer H.G. Lewis going full throttle with the most shocking biker flick of its kind – now accompanied by his other vicious gang opus Just for the Hell of It for a thrilling, pulse-racing double-bill!
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Bonus Feature! 1968’s Just for the Hell of It!
Introductions to both films by Herschell Gordon Lewis
She-Devils on Wheels feature-length audio commentary with H.G. Lewis and Something Weird’s Mike Vraney
The Shocking Truth! – filmmaker and Grindhouse Releasing head honcho Bob Murawski on his discovery of the films of H.G. Lewis
Garage Punk Gore – filmmaker and musician Chris Alexander discusses the films and music of H.G. Lewis
H.G Lewis on his 1968 film The Ally Tramp
H.G. Lewis Promo Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
Street Date: 05/21/19
Run Time: 83 mins
Tags: Arrow Video, film noir, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Lee Van Cleef, Spaghetti Western