His later television productions in color - including IT TAKES A THIEF, SEARCH, THE INVISIBLE MAN (starring OUTER LIMITS alumnus David McCallum), GEMINI MAN and BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY - gradually dissolve what we know as the feel of Stevens' work, but what most of us associate with his look is the cinematography of camera legend Conrad Hall, who contributed to virtually all of Stevens' projects through INCUBUS. In addition to the TV-movie FANFARE FOR A DEATH SCENE (1964), their collaborations extend back to the short-lived but essential "intellectual western" series STONEY BURKE (starring Jack Lord and Warren Oates as a pair of itinerant rodeo workers) and a little-known debut feature, PRIVATE PROPERTY (1960), which until recently had not had a public screening in roughly 50 years. Shout! Factory released the complete series of STONEY BURKE as a six-disc DVD set back in 2013, and PRIVATE PROPERTY - the subject of a recent 4K restoration - is now available as a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD package from Cinelicious Pics.
|Warren Oates and Corey Allen.|
|The view from the Halls' window.|
|Corey Allen and Kate Manx.|
While I applaud the film's restoration and availability, I was frankly hoping for more from it than it delivers. My initial response was that it felt like Curtis Harrington directing a script that Sam Fuller had left in a drawer. It's like that: a coltish art school noir with flip dialogue and a brazen spirit, with one foot firmly planted in a 1950s Sirkian idea of gracious living, while the other stirs with its toe an ambivalent hope that it might summon up something transgressive, progressive, or moderately dirty before it's through with us. The picture of which it most reminds me is Russ Meyer's THE SEVEN MINUTES (1970): tightly edited, nicely shot, prurient as hell but more tease than treat - a curiosity for sure, but ultimately a misfire. That said, and as with THE SEVEN MINUTES, any real connoisseur of the period or the people involved need to see it.
The imbalance of the main feature might have been adjusted by more generous bonus supplements, but Cinelicious Pics' set is accompanied only by an on-camera interview with still photographer and technical consultant Alexander Singer. The US theatrical trailer promised by the packaging was created for this release and should not be mistaken as archival promotion. There is nothing here to tell us if the film's original release even generated a trailer.
PRIVATE PROPERTY can be obtained here.
(c) 2016 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.