Thursday, October 20, 2005

About That TCM Copy of "Castle of the Living Dead"...

... the matte thickens! I've just been notified that the National Film Museum version of CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD that is scheduled to air on Turner Classic Movies at 3:30 a.m. on October 31 is indeed letterboxed, after all!

Now, considering that this movie has only ever been released in this country as a dead-center pan&scan TV print, I can't help being suspicious... this is probably going to be that same pan&scan print with mattes ("black bars") slapped over the picture, along with the usual additional screen credits for those big stars at NFM... but now I've got to tune in, damn it.

In case you're wondering why this broadcast is of such interest to me and a few others, it's that CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD is not only one of Christopher Lee's better European vehicles of the 1960s, but Donald Sutherland's screen debut (in a dual role as a soldier and a witch) and the (second unit) directorial debut by Michael Reeves, the cult British director of THE SHE BEAST (1965), THE SORCERERS (1967) and WITCHFINDER GENERAL aka THE CONQUEROR WORM (1968). Sutherland named his son Kiefer after the film's nominal director, Warren Kiefer. All this, plus the fact that this picture has never been screened stateside in its original aspect ratio.

Will this be the screening we fans have been waiting for? Probably not, but if only to hasten the possibility, I'm going to do my best to approach this playdate with an open mind.

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