Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray: August 2017 - Elvis Presley, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, and More

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Twilight Time closes out summer of 2017 with another unpredictable clutch of titles, perhaps the most oddball inclusion being 1997 dark comedy 8 Heads In a Duffel Bag. Check out our full review for more about this somewhat bizarre Joe Pesci entity (written and directed by the man who scored an Oscar for writing the 1989 inspirational-teacher classic Dead Poet's Society). If you weren't aware, as per usual, Twilight Time's titles are each strictly limited editions with only 3,000 units of each issued.

rsz_kidgalahad_bd.pngAs we mark 40 years of mourning the passing of The King of Rock and Roll, TT pays tribute with a freshly-minted 1080p edition of Kid Galahad (1962). Elvis Presley stars as the titular boxer, Gig Young as his promoter, and Charles Bronson as his trainer. Six songs, including the minor hit "King of the Whole Wide World," may prove highlights for fans who'd rather the King be singing than acting.

Kid Galahad offers a lossless DTS-HD MA 1.0 soundtrack. Its music is available as an isolated track (score by Jeff Alexander, no stranger to Presley films—he'd previously scored Jailhouse Rock and would go on to score Double Trouble, Clambake, and Speedway). Also included is the film's original theatrical trailer.

rsz_1thelonghotsummer_bd.pngThe Long, Hot Summer, Martin Ritt's 1958 classic, stars Paul Newman, Orson Welles, Joanne Woodward, and Lee Remick (her second film). Though not a commercial hit at the time of its release, the film provided director Ritt—who previously had suffered the indignity of the career-halting (temporarily, in his case) Hollywood Blacklist—a successful opportunity to reestablish himself as a major filmmaker.

Twilight Time's Blu-ray, in addition to 1080p high definition image framed at 2.35:1, offers both DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 lossless audio mixes. For extras, in addition to TT's customary isolated score track (showcasing Alex North's music), there is an episode of AMC's Hollywood Backstories focused on the film. There's also "Fox Movietone Newsreel" footage and the original theatrical trailer.

rsz_suddenlylastsummer_bd.pngAnother summer title (with punctuation in its title, to boot!) arrives via Twilight Time with Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, this controversial film stars Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn—both of whom received Best Actress Academy Award nominations for their efforts (neither won). The theme is mental illness, with surgeon Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift) considering lobotomizing young Catherine (Taylor) at the insistence of her aunt Violet (Hepburn) after the questionable death of Catherine's cousin.

The new Blu-ray features an HD transfer of Jack Hildyard's B&W cinematography coupled with a lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack. The score (Malcolm Arnold got as far as composing themes before pulling out of a production he viewed as sordid; Buxton Orr handled the rest) is available as an isolated track.

rsz_theemperorinaugust_bd.pngAlso appropriately titled for the specific month TT has issued it, The Emperor in August is the most obscure of this batch. It also happens to be the most recent film, having been originally released in 2015. This Japanese production is a remake of 1967's Japan's Longest Day. The story takes place in the days following the bombings of Hiroshimo and Nagasaki, but prior to Emperor Hirohito (Masahiro Motoki), Prime Minister Suzuki (Tsutomo Yamazaki), and War Minister Anami (Kôji Yakusho) finalizing of the decision to surrender to Allied forces.

Featuring a 1080p transfer of Takahide Shibanushi's cinematography, Twilight Time's The Emperor in August also has the choice between lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 or 2.0 (in Japanese, English subtitles provided).

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is film and music. His new jazz album Good Merlin is now available.

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