Well, here we are at the heels of another month, and so it’s time for a new batch of rarities from Alpha Video. October starts out with one of the generally “ignored” genres, the jungle adventure. Long before Americans discovered that Africa wasn’t an entire continent of jungles, cannibals, and tigers, Hollywood churned out one jungle gem after another.
Many a Saturday Matinee Cliffhanger Serial was set somewhere in this fictionalized “Dark Continent,” and The Call Of The Savage was no exception. Luckily, for those of you with limited time or short-attention spans, you can check out Savage Fury, the feature-length version of the original 12-chapter serial from 1935. More exciting B-Movie jungle escapades lie in wait for you with Jungle Siren (1942): a wartime PRC release which pits Buster Crabbe and Ann Corio against the evils of the Nazis!
From “Africa,” we go Flirting With Danger (1934), a comedy wherein explosives experts Edgar Kennedy and Robert Armstrong are sent to South America to work in a dynamite plant. Heading north, we wind up in Mexico (or at least Hollywood’s version of it) with La Cucaracha (also 1934) one of several early color musical shorts that are housed in the Early Color Rarities Collection (which also includes an animated 1933 version of The Wizard Of Oz). More short subjects can be found in The Fantastic World Of William Cameron Menzies, a collection of works from one of early cinema’s greatest art directors.
There’s always room for a mystery — and there are plenty to be found this month, including Charles Lamont’s Below The Deadline (1936); Victor Jory in Streamline Express (1935); and Dennis O’Keefe in Unforgotten Crime (1942). Mysteries cross over into the comedy genre with 1932’s Strangers Of The Evening (aka The Hidden Corpse) starring Zasu Pitts and Eugene Pallette, and then cross further into the musical genre, with a Harlem Double Feature of Miracle In Harlem (1948) starring none other than Stepin Fetchit, and Ten Minutes To Live (1932). Another musical out this month, this time starring the legendary James Cagney, is Something To Sing About (1937), which also stars William Frawley and character actor extraordinaire Dwight Frye.
In Down To The Sea (1936), two men fight over for territorial rights in Coastal Florida. This leads the way to more thrills with Air Maniacs: Rare Aviation Shorts, a set of mind-blowing early aeronautic shorts and trailers from the ‘30s. The action continues (on the ground) as Alpha Video whips out two genres they are perhaps best known for: vintage television and B-Westerns. Two releases from the Golden Age of Television include Judge Roy Bean: Volume 4 (1956) and Meet Corliss Archer (1954). Western-wise, we have Bill Cody in Border Guns (1934), and North Of The Border (1946) with Russell Hayden, Lyle Talbot, and Douglas Fowley. Some serious competition for “The Singing Cowboy” comes in the form of The Singing Cowgirl (1938) featuring Dorothy Page and Dave O’Brien.
Lastly in Alpha’s October releases are two western double features. The Edward L. Cahn-directed Flesh And The Spur (1957) stars John Agar, Touch Connors, and Marla English, and is double-billed with Yellowneck from 1955. The second pairing, Law Of The Saddle (1945) and Wild Horse Rustlers (1943), both star Bob Livingston. All of these titles (and many more) are available now in stores and at Alpha Video’s website. Enjoy!