- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2002

The dedicated archivists at All Day Entertainment unearth yet another vintage winner with the 1950 French/American co-production Gunman in the Streets. It's our …

Video pick of the week
Alternately titled "Gangster at Bay" but never released in the States theatrically or (until now) on homevideo, "Gunman" ($24.99 DVD) stars screen hard-case Dane Clark as Eddie Roback, an unrepentant career criminal who busts out of custody during a violent shootout in the Parisian streets. The wounded fugitive seeks refuge with far classier ex-squeeze Denise (a young Simone Signoret) for a desperate night-long race to the Belgian border and freedom, only to encounter multiple pitfalls along the way.
Veteran noir hand Frank Tuttle, who had earlier directed the 1940s Alan Ladd crime classics "The Glass Key" and "This Gun for Hire," adds neat touches to his tough tale, including an intense scene that sees Eddie painfully remove a bullet from his own arm. The action ultimately shifts between on the one hand Eddie, Denise and Frank (Robert Duke), a Yank journalist who enters the picture as Eddie's reluctant ally, and on the other French investigators, led by suave Fernand Gravet, seeking to draw the net over the fleeing killer.
The DVD edition from All Day (www.alldayentertainment.com) includes brief snippets (fairly restrained by today's standards) that had been clipped by British censors for their perceived brutality, along with a photo gallery, production notes and an informative collectible booklet. "Gunman" rates as a must for noir fans who think they've seen it all and as a strong bet for general viewers in the mood for a flavorful period suspense film.

Collectors' corner
And speaking of noirs, VCI Entertainment (800/331-4077, www.vcientertainment.com) kicks off its variegated February lineup with a pair of hard-boiled classics by noirmaster Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton: 1947's T-Men, starring Dennis O'Keefe, June Lockhart and Charles McGraw; and the next year's equally blistering Raw Deal, likewise with O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, and future "Perry Mason" Raymond Burr (unforgettable here as a sadistic slimeball).
The label also offers Allan Dwan's 1956 crime drama Slightly Scarlet, drawn from a James M. Cain novel and headlining John Payne, Arlene Dahl and Rhonda Fleming, the latter two as squabbling siblings. The titles are tagged at $14.99 each (VHS/DVD).
Also upcoming from VCI are two foreign films: 1994's Indian family drama Ele, My Friend tells the story of a boy and his elephant, while One's the Same As Another is a rare 1957 musical western from down Mexico way ($19.99 each VHS/DVD).
On the subject of vintage oaters, look for the 1968 spaghetti westerns Find a Place to Die ($19.99 VHS/DVD), with Jeffrey Hunter; and Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die ($14.99 VHS/DVD), with Bud Spencer. Look too for the homegrown 1959 Old California yarn The Young Land ($9.99 VHS/DVD), starring Patrick Wayne (John's son), Yvonne Craig and a very young Dennis Hopper.
The 15-chapter double-disc 1952 DVD serial Jack Armstrong ($29.99), with John Hart in the title role; the wrestling documentary Before They Were Famous ($19.99 VHS/DVD); and the Bruce Lee bio Dragon Lives ($14.99 VHS/DVD) round out the label's new release slate.

The 'A' list
Among recent theatrical movies headed for homevid this month, expect a pair from Warner Home Video: Anthony Hopkins and Hope Davis in the supernatural-tinged drama Hearts in Atlantis and Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito in David Mamet's typically mouthy and aptly named heist caper Heist.
Elsewhere, Robert Redford and James (Tony Soprano) Gandolfini topline in the military-prison set The Last Castle (Dreamworks/Universal). Kevin Kline stars in Life As a House (New Line). And Campbell Scott, Jared Harris and Laura Linney discover plot twists galore in "Maze" (Studio Entertainment). All of the above will be priced for rental and also available on DVD.

Phan mail
Dear Phantom: I wonder if you know whether the following TV movies are available on videotape or DVD: Savage (1973), directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain; Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island (1981), with the Gilligan gang, the Globetrotters and Martin Landau and Barbara Bain; Stagecoach to Dancer's Rock (1963), with Martin Landau and Warren Stevens; and Our Winning Season (1978), with Scott Jacoby, Dennis Quaid and Joe Penny. Thanks for your help.
Jenny Lobb, Washington, D.C.
Hmm, do we detect the presence of a Martin Landau lover? Unfortunately, though, and somewhat surprisingly, none of the above titles has joined the homevideo ranks as yet.

Send your video comments and queries to Phantom of the Movies, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 or e-mail us at: [email protected] And check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.

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