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Hitchcocks Wrong Man receives a Blu-ray upgrade
Pam Grier is "Sheba, Baby" in the 1975 "blaxploitation" film, now on Blu-ray for the first time. - photo by Chris Hicks
Several vintage titles, ranging from Alfred Hitchcock to Pam Grier to 1980s 3-D, receive Blu-ray upgrades this week.

The Wrong Man (Warner Archive, 1956, b/w, featurettes, trailer). This gripping mystery-thriller marks the only time Alfred Hitchcock collaborated with Henry Fonda, and its also Hitchcocks only true story among his many mystery-thrillers.

Fonda is first-rate as a bassist with a band at the Stork Club until he is mistakenly accused of a couple of robberies. He has solid alibis for both crimes but cant corroborate them, despite the diligent efforts of his defense attorney (Anthony Quayle), and his wife (Vera Miles) is sinking into a deep depression.

This manufacture-on-demand disc is the films first Blu-ray release and looks gorgeous, vividly capturing in gritty black and white the on-location filming in New York, which allowed Hitchcock to create an uncommon sense of authenticity. (Available at

Sheba, Baby (Arrow, 1975, PG, audio commentary, featurettes, poster gallery, trailer; booklet). After hitting it big early in the 1970s blaxploitation era with the R-rated Coffy and Foxy Brown, Pam Grier toned it down a bit for a PG rating with this one. Grier plays a tough Chicago private eye who returns home to Louisville to help her father, whose insurance business is being threatened by thugs. This release is the films Blu-ray debut.

Comin at Ya! (MVD, 1981, R for violence, 3-D and 2-D versions). This sharp, remastered Blu-ray release looks great, but that doesnt make it good. My 1981 Deseret News review says, As 3-D its not bad, but the movie stinks. And yet, all these years later, theres a so-bad-its-good vibe to Tony Anthonys overwrought spaghetti Western, which cares about in-your-face 3-D effects more than a coherent story. Those effects now seem hilarious, albeit unintentionally. But it did spark a 1980s 3-D revival. (Spanish actress Victoria Abril co-stars, before she hit it big with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.)

The Taviani Brothers Collection (Cohen, 1977/1983/1986; R for violence, sex, nudity; three discs, three movies, in Italian with English subtitles, new two-hour interview with the Taviani brothers, trailers). Three of the most famous movies by the writing/directing team of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani: Padre Padrone, the true story of writer Gavino Ledda, whose life began as a brutalized young Sardinian shepherd; my personal favorite, Night of the Shooting Stars, an episodic anti-war film set during World War II, with some powerful segments; and Kaos, an anthology film with mystical overtones set in the 19th century, which essentially sets out to prove that human nature never seems to change.

Sierra Passage (Warner Archive, 1950, b/w). This low-budget Western has Wayne Morris as a revenge-minded sharpshooter whose father was killed by a gunfighter. Morris travels as a trick shooter with a medicine show, but hes ever on the lookout for that gunslinger (played by Alan Hale Jr., long before he began berating his little buddy on Gilligans Island). Lola Albright co-stars. (Available at

The Desperado (Warner Archive, 1954, b/w). Morris stars again, this time as a gunfighter with a price on his head who reluctantly helps out a young hotshot (Jimmy Lydon) accused of killings he didnt do. Beverly Garland co-stars, and get a load of Lee Van Cleef in two roles as the Crayton Twins. (Available at

The Mutilator (Arrow, 1984, R for violence, feaurettes; booklet). This 1980s slasher film is about a teenage boy recruiting some friends to party down at his familys remote beach condo during the winter, but they find themselves stalked by a killer with access to an axe, a hook, a pick, a boats motor, etc., for this genres favorite pastime, creative killing.
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