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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Need Ideas For Last-Minute Holiday Gifts? Olive Films Can Help

Gift Guide from Olive Films

Streaming platforms may dominate the conversation for most of the year, but is it too impersonal to give a streaming service subscription as a gift? This holiday season, physical media reigns -- DVDs and Blu-rays of old and new favorite films make the perfect gifts.  Some of this year's most thoughtful presents are special DVDs and Blu-rays, and Olive Films has put together this ultimate gift guide to help you.


Widely panned at its 1954 release, this bizarre Nicholas Ray-directed Western starring Joan Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, and Sterling Hayden has been gaining popularity recently, soon to cement its status as a cinephile cult favorite. In September, Johnny Guitar came to Olive Signature on DVD and Blu-ray, mastered from a new 4K restoration and featuring loads of entertaining and informative bonus materials.  The Olive Signature edition of Johnny Guitar is sure to thrill (and likely impress) any cinephile.

    Introduction by Martin Scorsese
    Audio commentary with historian and critic Geoff Andrew
    "Tell Us She Was One of You: The Hollywood Blacklist and Johnny Guitar” - with historian Larry Ceplair and blacklisted screenwriter Walter Bernstein
    “Johnny Guitar: A Feminist Western?” - with critics Miriam Bale, Kent Jones, Joe McElhaney and B. Ruby Rich
    “Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures” - with archivist Marc Wanamaker
    “Johnny Guitar: A Western Like No Other” - with critics Miriam Bale, Kent Jones, Joe McElhaney and B. Ruby Rich
    “My Friend, the American Friend” - Nicholas Ray biographical piece with Tom Farrell and Chris Sievernich
    "Johnny Guitar: The First Existential Western" - an original essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
    Theatrical trailer

J'ACCUSE (1938)

Perhaps best known for his silent works, Abel Gance is remembered as one of the major figures of early cinema.  Haunted by the suffering he witnessed during World War I, he created the silent J’accuse (1919) to serve as the ultimate indictment of war. He eventually remade J’accuse in 1938, utilizing the newly available technology of sound.  If his original film is a lamentation of World War I, his remake is a plea for peace under the looming threat of World War II. For the film’s final act, Gance, always a technological innovator, used special effects that were ahead of their time to create a climax that walks the line between surrealism and horror. Despite the film's great importance, the DVD and Blu-ray of J'accuse  (1938) have only just debuted on November 15th, so this will give the cinephile on any gift list the opportunity to catch up with a long-neglected piece of film history.


With Macbeth, the prolific Orson Welles would use a potent mix of highly stylized visuals and theatrical performances to create an altogether unique vision for his interpretation of the Shakespeare tragedy. This special Olive Signature edition includes both the original 1948 107-minute cut, replete with affected highland accents, and the 1950 pared-down 85-minute re-release that removed most of the accented dialogue, making it one of the year's ultimate gifts for cinephiles.

    New High-Definition digital restoration
    Includes 1948 and 1950 versions
    Audio Commentary with Welles biographer Joseph McBride
    "Welles and Shakespeare" - an interview with Welles expert, Professor Michael Anderegg
    "Adapting Shakespeare on Film" - a conversation with directors Carlo Carlei (Romeo & Juliet) and Billy Morrissette (Scotland, PA)
    Excerpt from We Work Again, a 1937 WPA documentary containing scenes from Welles' Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth
    "That Was Orson Welles" - an interview with Welles' close friend and co-author, Peter Bogdanovich
    "Restoring Macbeth" - an interview with former UCLA Film & Television Archive Preservation Officer Bob Gitt
    "Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures"
    “The Two Macbeths” - an essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum



Many people find parents-in-law to be the most difficult family members to shop for. They want to impress with a sleek and elegant gift, but they also want something that strikes an emotional chord.  High Noon is considered one of the greatest Westerns of all time, and with a new 4K restoration used for this DVD and Blu-ray, people can give their in-laws the priceless gift of reliving a classic in the best presentation since its theatrical run.

    “A Ticking Clock” - Academy Award nominee Mark Goldblatt on the editing of High Noon
    "A Stanley Kramer Production" - Michael Schlesinger on the eminent producer of High Noon
    “Imitation of Life: The Hollywood Blacklist and High Noon” - with historian Larry Ceplair and blacklisted screenwriter Walter Bernstein
    “Oscars and Ulcers: The Production History of High Noon” - a visual essay with rarely seen archival elements, narrated by Anton Yelchin
    “Uncitizened Kane" - an original essay by Sight & Sound editor Nick James
    Theatrical trailer


Directed by the great Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, June Allyson, and Frank Lovejoy, Strategic Air Command is one of the absolute classics of aviation film. Its greatest claim to fame is its stunning aerial photography, which was filmed in breathtaking Vistavision. Also having the distinction of being the only movie to ever highlight the B-36 Peacemaker, this newly debuted DVD and Blu-ray will thrill any fans of Jimmy Stewart, classic film, or aviation.

FOR THE 80's KIDS...


Remember this gem from the days of the video store? 80's kids surely will.  Full of cheesy moments and goofs that endeared them to kids everywhere, Cannon Films’ American Ninja series packed enough ninja action to launch a wave of martial arts obsession amongst young people across the US. American Ninja, American Ninja 2: The Confrontation, American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt, and American Ninja 4: The Annihilation are each on DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films with bonus features that appeal to the 80's kid in all of us. All four films together would make an awesome and thoughtful gift.


Here's another offering from Olive Films sure to conjure up some nostalgia. When a lab accident leaves a high school student with telekinetic powers, it’s a comic free-for-all in this raunchy comedy starring Scott Baio, Willie Aames, Heather Thomas, and Felice Schachter.  Encouraged by his hormonally minded friend to put his powers to good use, he exacts revenge on school bullies, cheats a little at sports and improves his luck with the girls, culminating in a prom scene reminiscent of Carrie … with laughs.



Countless people across the country grew up watching The Quiet Man with their parents or their grandparents. Now, they can revisit this classic with their own children. The Quiet Man is now available from the newly launched Olive Signature on DVD and Blu-ray. With pristine video quality, bonus features that will enchant the whole family, and sleek packaging, anyone can be proud to give this Olive Signature DVD or Blu-ray to a loved one.

    Mastered from 4K scan of original camera negative
    Audio commentary with John Ford biographer Joseph McBride
    “A Tribute to Maureen O'Hara: with Hayley Mills, Juliet Mills, and Ally Sheedy”
    “Don’t You Remember It, Seánín?: John Ford’s The Quiet Man” - a visual essay by historian and John Ford expert Tag Gallagher
    "Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures"
    "The Old Man: Peter Bogdanovich Remembers John Ford”
    “The Making of The Quiet Man” – written and hosted by Leonard Maltin


A film can turn any night into a wonderful shared experience between generations, and The Night of the Grizzly exemplifies this. It's a simple but exciting Western about a family, a town, and a killer bear. This is the type of film that simply doesn't get made anymore. 

    New High-Definition digital restoration
    Audio Commentary by film historian Toby Roan
    “Blood on the Claw: How Cheyenne Bodie Became a Movie Star” - an essay by C. Courtney Joyner
    “The Legend of Big Jim Cole” –  interview with Clint Walker
    The Night of the Grizzly World Premiere archival footage
    “At Home with Clint Walker and His Home Gymnasium” – archival interview



The Monster of Piedras Blancas, only having recently debuted on DVD and Blu-ray, had become a sort of Holy Grail of monster b-movies. Shot over the course of two weeks, the film was produced with a final budget of $29,000. This micro-budget necessitated a resourceful craftsmanship from the filmmakers that resulted in the endearingly campy monster flick that fans know and love. Its shocking (for the time, at least) gore also earned it a place in the hearts of many young horror fans.


One of the reasons we at Olive Films love classic Sci-Fi so much is because of its zany, innocent fun. If that's what someone is looking for in a gift to a Sci-Fi fan, they should look no further than the complete serial Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe. This set contains all twelve pulse-pounding episodes of the beloved tv series-turned-theatrical serial.


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