New flicks on DVD


Can't say I've ever seen a Ken Anger movie, though I'm now intrigued.

The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1
“The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1” (Fantoma)

Critic’s Choice: New DVDs: ‘Films of Kenneth Anger’ and ‘Samurai Classics’ Kenneth Anger’s experimental films get a makeover on DVD. Plus, two Akira Kurosawa samurai films are remastered.

Andy Warhol aside, Kenneth Anger may be the United States’ best-known maker of experimental and avant-garde films. Yet though many Americans own or have at least taken a guilty, surreptitious leaf through “Hollywood Babylon,” Mr. Anger’s famous if loosely researched compendium of film industry scandals, few have seen his movies: short works, shot on 16- and occasionally 35-millimeter film, that deal voluptuously in themes of sensual surrender, homoerotic desire and Devil worship.

Beginning with his first widely screened film, the black-and-white “Fireworks” (1947), Mr. Anger’s work has circulated through underground film societies and museum film departments, and briefly on VHS cassettes that did not do justice to his deeply saturated colors and seductively complex textures.

Now, with Mr. Anger’s 80th birthday coming up (Feb. 3), Fantoma Films has issued the first volume of Mr. Anger’s collected work. The contents include “Fireworks,” “Puce Moment” (a color fragment from an unfinished feature released in 1949), “Rabbit’s Moon” (1950), “Eaux d’Artifice” (1953) and the extended, ritualistic “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome” (1954), which together cover about half of Mr. Anger’s career. It’s the friendlier half, with relatively little occult imagery (Mr. Anger is a disciple of the British mystic Aleister Crowley) and a great deal of pageantry.

and I have seen both of these Kurosawa films, but am adding them back to my Netflix queue:

Yojimbo & Sanjuro - Two Films By Akira Kurosawa - Criterion Collection
“Yojimbo & Sanjuro - Two Films By Akira Kurosawa - Criterion Collection” (Akira Kurosawa)

The Criterion Collection has redressed an old wrong with new editions of “Yojimbo” (1961) and “Sanjuro” (1962), two samurai classics by Akira Kurosawa previously released by Criterion in flawed versions. The new transfers are anamorphic widescreen rather than letterbox releases; both have been digitally manipulated to bring out detail previously lost in shadows. ... “Yojimbo,” the story of a rogue samurai (Toshiro Mifune) who pits two rival gangs in a small town against each other while pretending to work for both sides, is as much a blatant rip-off of Dashiell Hammett’s great noir novel “Red Harvest,” as Sergio Leone’s pioneering spaghetti western “For a Fistful of Dollars” was a blatant rip-off of “Yojimbo.” Yet it was Kurosawa who successfully sued Leone, winning a piece of the profits of “For a Fistful of Dollars” as it went on to reshape the western in the late 1960s.

“Sanjuro” was reportedly rewritten to incorporate the comic cynicism of the unexpectedly successful “Yojimbo,” and if it is not quite as shapely and pointed a movie, it too has its sly, subversive moments.

Tags: , /


I just bought the "Yojimbo/Sanjuro" set because I'm addicted to Kurosawa films now. I still have the DVDs from Netflix, if you're wondering where they are. I just watched "Stray Dog." Mifune has a total Gary Cooper thing going in that film. I was in heaven.

Not sure if Netflix has the new release yet anyway, so take yer time. :)

I haven't seen Straw Dog in a while, I should re-rent that one too. Kurusawa is one of my favorite of-all-time directors, plenty of nuance to pick up when re-watching.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 23, 2007 9:39 AM.

50 Most Loathsome 2006 was the previous entry in this blog.

SOTU sucks is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37