Twilight Time Sale Recommendations – 20th Century Fox

In yesterday’s post I picked 12 Essentials from the Twilight Time sale and I happened to included a few of the 20th Century Fox catalog titles. I won’t repeat those in today’s list because 1) you’ve already heard me wax effusive about them and 2) I get to pick more movies that I like. Therefore, in today’s post I definitely won’t mention Stormy Weather, Two for the Road, The Bravados, or Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? other than to say that you should most definitely stop what you’re doing and place an order that includes Stormy Weather, Two for the Road, The Bravados, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? 

I should also mention that none of us know for sure what Disney will do with the 20th Century Fox catalog titles. I wrote about my thoughts in this post, but we’re all playing a wait and see game. It would surprise no one if these titles never appeared on another form of physical media. For anyone that rightly distrusts those gatekeepers promising “everything available all the time” this is no doubt disconcerting because their “everything” does not consist of the mid-century classics that make up 90% of the Twilight Time catalog.

Remember sale prices are ongoing through the month of September and most titles are available at both and Twilight Time — but some are only available at

Keep in mind that I’m just one guy and I haven’t seen all of the 20th Century Fox movies in this catalog — so I’m likely missing some gems. If you have a surefire recommendation leave it in the comments or hit me up at @007hertzrumble on Twitter and I’ll broadcast it to the Twatterverse.

12 (more) 20th Century Fox Titles Worth Picking Up from the Twilight Time sale


dragonwyck twilight timeDragonwyck (1946)

A dream blends into nightmarish reality as Miranda Wells (Gene Tierney) movies to New York to live with her rich cousin. The Tierney and Vincent Price combination doesn’t sound natural on paper, but handsome 1940’s Vincent Price has charm, pizazz, and an undercurrent of something nefarious. This is gothic fare of the highest order and reminds immediately of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Who needs soft focus when you have Gene Tierney?

snake pit twilight timeThe Snake Pit (1948)

Also available on an Indicator series Blu-ray in the UK. You might call her Queen O. Or Her Highness Livvy of Havilland. It doesn’t much matter how you worship, but worship you shall. Olivia de Havilland’s a force of nature as a disoriented woman who finds herself in a mental hospital with no explanation and no memory of her new husband. Dr. Kik works with her to unlock memories through electro-shock therapy. The suppressed memories come trickling out, building suspense and keeping the viewer guessing. A potent time capsule of our unfortunate views on mental illness.

inferno twlight timeInferno 3D/2D (1953)

An alcoholic millionaire (Robert Ryan) breaks his leg falling off his horse and is left to die by his philandering wife (Rhonda Fleming) and her lover (William Lundigan). Ryan’s at the peak of his powers. This story about survival against the odds takes place amidst immaculate desert landscapes and Rhonda Fleming’s highly articulate eyebrows. If you have the ways and means, view the 3D version, but if you don’t the 2D will do just fine.

dont bother to knock twilight timeDon’t Bother to Knock (1954)

And speaking of Roy Ward Baker… I caught Don’t Bother to Knock on TCM last year expecting a silly little one-note thriller notable for being an early dramatic vehicle for Marilyn Monroe. This hotel-bound melodrama gripped me from reel one. Richard Widmark plays Jed, a skeezy airline pilot (Widmark can’t not skeeze) trying to get some rest in a hotel when a young woman catches his eye — she’s babysitting for a wealthy couple, but he’s not so sure she’s exactly capable. Monroe shows great range, the film always feels off-kilter, and you won’t worry about predicting where it’ll end up.

warlock twilight timeWarlock (1959)

I could try to sell with the story or Edward Dmytryk or 2.35 : 1 Deluxe color cinematography — but instead I’ll just list the cast and let you ponder things. Richard Widmark (again!). Henry Fonda. Anthony Quinn. Dorothy Malone. Deforest Kelly. Richard Arlen. Frank Gorshin. You want to see this movie now, don’t you? Naysayers would call this a generic genre film, I’d call this an old-fashioned star-fueled Western saga about a weary town turning to hired guns for salvation — a year before the release of The Magnificent Seven.

morituri twilight timeMorituri (1965)

I chose this spy-oriented thriller over the (at times overly) languid The Quiller Memorandum because this is a movie that not even genre aficionados have heard about. And truth be told, I only watched this because someone pestered me for a month. Director Bernhard Wicki’s (The Longest Day) Morituri features surprisingly layered performances from Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner and Conrad Hall B&W cinematography. When you think the movie’s going to ride the standard wartime narrative, it becomes something more interesting — a character study aboard a grim, claustrophobic merchant ship that manipulates its inhabitants like a puppetmaster.

bedazzled twilight timeBedazzled (1967)

The story of the hapless schmuck who sells his soul to the devil for seven wishes he uses to woo the beautiful Raquel Welch. This Dudley Moore / Peter Cook classic necessitates viewing on Blu. Who knew this film could look so vibrant? (Though Adam Tyner at raised questions about a possible stretching situation.) Bedazzled remains an essential — albeit one constructed more like a sketch-show than a cohesive feature film. The schtick works for the old comedy team of Moore and Cook and this is one Twilight Time disc fans of British comedy shouldn’t be without.

incident twilight timeThe Incident (1967)

The tagline for Larry Peerce’s subway-bound thriller is “Hits like a switchblade knife!” — which causes me to think about West Side Story gangs throwing switchblades jabs in between jetes. Then of course there’s the reality of this gritty psychological drama about two thugs terrorizing a subway train. Martin Sheen makes his screen debut as one of the two hellraisers aiming to make your blood boil — and boil it will.

pretty poison twilight timePretty Poison (1968)

Only in the 1960s did studios dare to release a pop-art rom-com psychological thriller that’s as much Psycho as it is Bye Bye Birdie. Anthony Perkins convinces a smalltown girl (a radiant Tuesday Weld) that he’s a secret agent. He’s not, of course, and that sets this movie off in all kinds of surprising directions.

next stop greenwich village twilight timeNext Stop Greenwich Village (1976)

Paul Mazursky doesn’t always get the love he deserves because he directs low-key dramedies about fully formed human characters. His movies feel nostalgic and ponderous about the crazy human condition. Speaking of craziness, this story about an aspiring Jewish actor that moves to bohemian Greenwich Village in 1953 features Shelley Winters, Christopher Walken, Bill Murray, Lois Smith, and Jeff Goldblum among many other familiars. A wonderful card to have in your back pocket for “Six Degrees.”

black widow twilight timeBlack Widow (1987)

You might have expected the 1954 Film Noir Black Widow, but no! That’s a fine but unexceptional entry in the canon. Meanwhile this Black Widow from 1987 boasts Debra Winger and Theresa Russell playing a wicked game of cat and mouse — plus appearances by Dennis Hopper, Nicol Williamson, and Lois Smith (again!). Starts slow and probably needed a stronger finale — and yet this oh-so-80’s entry entertains due to the strength and screen presence of its two female leads.

rapid fire twilight timeRapid Fire (1992)

Sure — this is just another 1990s actioner, but it’s the final Brandon Lee actioner before an on-set accident on The Crow cut his life tragically short. Rapid Fire dispenses with downtime and just serves martial arts and shoot-em-up set pieces. This movie is pure disposable fun — and Power Boothe villainy! — and I’m still shocked someone had the wherewithal to release this gem on Blu-ray. Hopefully Brandon Lee’s oeuvre gets another wave of appreciation.

20th century fox

The master list of EVERY Fox-distributed Twilight Time title currently in print!

(Italics denotes titles on my short list for my highest recommendation. Titles listed in order of Twilight Time release.)

Violent Saturday (1955) – DVD
Woman Obsessed (1959) – DVD
Beloved Infidel (1959)
Royal Flash (1975)
Che! (1969)
The Vanishing (1993)
Flaming Star (1960)
Stormy Weather (1943)
April Love (1957)
The Best of Everything (1959)
Black Widow (1987)
Broken Lance (1954)
The Detective (1968)
From the Terrace (1960)
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
Julia (1977)
Garden of Evil (1954)
Panic in Needle Park (1971)
The Gang’s All Here (1943)
Tony Rome / Lady in Cement (1967 / 1968)
Pretty Poison (1968)
The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
Two for the Road (1967)
Kiss of Death (1947)
Peyton Place (1957)
How to Steal a Million (1966)
Inferno 3D/2D (1953)
Hell and High Water (1954)
State Fair (1962)
The Long, Hot Summer (1958)
Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)
Captain From Castille (1947)
Doctor Doolittle (1967)
Forever Amber (1947)
My Cousin Rachel (1952)
Dragonwyck (1946)
The Incident (1967)
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)
The Seven-Ups (1973)
Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)
No Down Payment (1957)
Blue Denim (1959)
Next Stop Greenwich Village (1976)
Hilda Crane (1956)
My Gal Sal (1942)
Let’s Make Love (1960)
The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956)
Cinderella Liberty (1973)
Rapid Fire (1992)
The Hot Rock (1972)
The Other Side of Midnight (1977)
The Bravados (1958)
Black Widow (1954)
The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954)
The True Story of Jesse James (1957)
Satan Never Sleeps (1962)
A Man Called Peter (1955)
Untamed (1955)
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)
Bedazzled (1967)
The River’s Edge
The Quiller Memorandum (1966)
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
Stagecoach (1966)
The Snake Pit (1948)
Warlock (1959)
Morituri (1965)
Bandolero! (1968)
Pin Up Girl (1944)
Mother Wore Tights (1947)
Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
Ten North Frederick (1958)
The President’s Lady (1953)
The Chairman (1969)
Whirlpool (1949)
Wild in the Country (1961)
The Tall Men (1955)



20th Century Fox, Disney and the Future of “Home Video”

When Disney purchased 20th Century Fox it acquired not only its intellectual property and in-production franchises, but also Fox’s film and television archive. I know that sounds obvious, but most coverage of the merger focuses on Disney’s stranglehold on the theatrical box office and who owns what superhero. You know, the “important” shit. (Pardon my expletive, but this post needs some fucking language.) Putting it mildly, Fox has been around for a very long time and made a lot of goddamn wonderful movies.

Pre 20th century fox
The Fox Film logo – before the merger with Twentieth Century.

A Brief History of 20th Century Fox

Hungarian-born newsboy turned mogul William Fox formed Fox Film Corporation on February 1, 1915 as the successor to his earlier projects, the Greater New York Film Rental Company and Box Office Attractions Film Company. Fox helped initiate the movie business’s move from New York to Hollywood in 1917 when he set up West Coast production facilities because the climate was more hospitable for filmmaking. In 1926 he bought the patents for the Movietone sound system – the sound-on-film method for recording synchronized picture and sound on the same strip of film. F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise (1927) became the first film released with Movietone. The film included music and sound effects and a few unsynchronized words. When the stock market crashed in 1929, the near bankrupt William Fox was stripped of his film empire and Fox Film and its more than 500 theaters went into receivership.

Created in 1933 by Joseph Schenck (former president of United Artists) and Darryl F. Zanuck (former studio executive and producer at Warner Bros.), Twentieth Century Pictures was an independent production company that distributed through United Artists and leased studio space at Samuel Goldwyn Studios. After a failure to merge with United Artists in 1934 (blame Mary Pickford), Schenck and Zanuck turned their attentions to failing Fox Studios. A hostile takeover later, 20th Century-Fox was born in 1935.

20th century fox logo

Among the studio’s first contracted stars were Tyrone Power, Carmen Miranda, Don Ameche, Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Betty Grable, and perhaps most importantly, Shirley Temple – the child actress who shepherded the young studio through the Great Depression.

For the next 83 years, 20th Century-Fox (the hyphen was dropped in the 80s when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation acquired the studio) was one of the “Big Six” American film studios. That’s a lot of movies. That’s a lot of history. And now Disney owns it all. Once everyone gets over the fact that Marvel has the X-Men back (mock cheer), there’s going to be a reckoning and a seismic shift in the way we’re allowed to consume media.

The Future of Fox Repertory Screenings

Disney has long held a policy to restrict the screening of its films by first-run or commercial discount cinemas. After the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the Little Theatre in Rochester, NY was informed that their screening of Fight Club would no longer take place as scheduled. As expected, the Disney no-exhibition policy has been applied to Fox’s expansive catalog as well – the exception being the midnight-mainstay The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

rocky horror 20th century fox

It’s not exactly that clear cut, however. Disney places theaters into two categories: “repertory” or “commercial.” Commercial theaters can screen Disney’s first-run features, but can’t play catalog titles. If the theater has “repertory” designation it can play old movies, but not first-run. Disney did not consult anyone about these designations. Successful appeals have been made, but as many programmers have pointed out, it’s not realistic to designate theaters as either one or the other. Many independent theaters that program repertory must balance their programming to stay afloat by running first-run features. No other major studio has such a policy — and this will undoubtedly cripple the available titles for many small-town locally-owned theaters.

And How This Applies to Home Video

While repertory theaters flounder in the dark, trying to navigate the obstacle course placed in front of them – home video consumers also sense the coming of a chilly winter where Disney expands their “vault” to include any number of Fox catalog titles.

Disney launches its brand new streaming service Disney+ on December 11. For $7 a month, subscribers can access almost everything the company creates. In addition to its Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and classic animation, the service will offer a significant number of original shows and movies. Jeff Goldblum’s show about whatever, The Mandalorian, and She-Hulk (and dozens of other Marvel properties) have been buzzy members of the lineup. With the addition of Fox, you’ll also see all 30 seasons of The Simpsons, for example, alongside the integration of classic Fox programming like The Sound of Music. Disney has also promised the “reimagining” of Fox franchises “for a new generation” is also in the works. (They’ve threatened a Home Alone reboot.)

Most everyone has made the logical assumption that Disney+ represents the next step in home viewership. The future of physical media is imperiled. Most statistics show that sales of physical media has fallen off a table during the last five years. Citing decreased sales at big box stores like Best Buy (not that they care about anything but selling big ticket items anymore) the numbers show that consumer spending has dropped from $10.3 billion in 2014 to $5.8 billion in 2018. Overall consumer spending, however, increased due to investments in streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. (Subscribe to the Criterion Channel, btw.)

niche blu-ray distributors

For the time being, however, studios are still releasing physical media and niche distributors like Kino (I highlighted the Kino Studio Classics line a couple years ago), Twilight Time, Arrow, Criterion are still pumping out discs. Prognosticators have been predicting the demise of DVD for years, but many of us are still on the front lines of this war, attempting to ensure that we’re allowed to own movies, in our home, for the foreseeable future. And that idea of ownership is going to become a crucial part of this new digital future.

If Disney attempts to force everything it owns onto this streaming service, logically they’re going to want to restrict repeat home viewership outside this paywall. If the only way to see these films is through a streaming platform, its in their best interest to make sure that you’re reliant upon this service to view your favorite Disney (and Fox films). Why would they go through the trouble of marketing and releasing a physical disc when they can curate a captive audience already mindlessly flipping through options for the next piece of digital chaff. The allure of pushing a button and queuing up unlimited entertainment sounds wonderful. The history of film at your fingertips! But that will never, ever, ever, ever be the case and it’s time that we, as a film community, broadcast the inherent fallacy of “everything available all the time” to the widest possible audience.

Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes, also coincidentally a 20th Century Fox property.

The Future of Ownership

While many celebrate these developments, I can’t help but equate the ultimate outcome of the streaming war with the ending of Planet of the Apes when Charlton Heston storms the beach, spots the sunken Statue of Liberty and recognizes that humanity has destroyed itself. Embracing this streaming future also means you no longer own anything. Disney and all the other potential streaming platforms want you to pay in perpetuity for the right to view these movies – movies we once owned on Betamax, VHS, CED, Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray, 4K and viewed for free whenever the hell we wanted.

What is a lover of all movies to do about this? Classic film has already been rendered a second class citizen. Netflix, for example, has dispatched most movies on its service made before 2010 in favor of its own original programming — some of which has pushed TV into new and inspired directions. That said, this generation that relies on streaming for 99% of its viewing will just not watch classic film because it’s not available at the touch of a button.

Buying physical copies of movies has become conscientious objection. Every time we buy a Blu-ray we’re making a statement that physical media matters, that owning and curating a collection of movies matter. It’s an interesting development, really, considering that only a little more than 30 years ago people thought they’d won the jackpot by being able to buy Top Gun on VHS for $14.95. What’s really happening is that studios have found a way to put that genie back in the bottle. They want to regain control over their properties – something they lost when they opened up their libraries and found themselves surprised that consumers actually wanted to own the movies they’d deemed largely without value. They proceeded to inefficiently milk that home video teet for decades as they fought format wars, modified movies “to fit your screen,” and released the same films over and over and over again while other wonderful properties gathered dust (but that’s a complaint for an entirely different tirade).

top gun vhs
Sorry, Disney. Maverick’s gives his flybys to Paramount.

Many of us have come to the conclusion that we should purchase 20th Century Fox catalog titles while we still can. For example, the aforementioned niche distributor Twilight Time has had a long relationship with Fox – releasing dozens of titles on Blu-ray that have never otherwise seen the light of day. It’s no stretch of the imagination to assume that the tide of titles supplied to them will soon run dry (if it hasn’t already) as Disney gathers up its belongings and refuses to let anyone else play with them. Twilight Time wooed studios with their business model of releasing only 3,000 units of any title supplied to them, after which distribution reverted back to the original company. The cap on the number of units made wary studios a little more comfortable about loaning out their properties. Listen to the Pure Cinema Podcast episode focusing on Twilight Time for a more in-depth conversation about the label.

Buy 20th Century Fox Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Twilight Time has just started a big sale during the month of September with many of its 20th Century Fox titles included. (I’ll highlight a number of recommended titles in a future post.) We should all be worried that these more obscure catalog titles will disappear forever once the 3,000 discs produced by Twilight Time have been sold. For a company as large as Disney, it would be wasted dollars bringing these to their streaming service since the financial gain from these films would be immaterial. If you want them, buy them now. You’ll regret it when they’re gone for good.

My Twilight Time shelfie.

It’s important to note that we don’t know any of this for sure – but we don’t *know* largely in the same way that we don’t know that it will necessarily be sunny in Los Angeles at some point next month. We’re staring at the future and it’s okay to want to be a part of it, but if you’re not also making sure that you’re gathering your essentials for the coming upheaval of man by a faction of hyper-intellectual apes, you also can’t say you didn’t see this coming.

Also, it should be noted that supporting physical media and allowing streaming services to supplement your viewing regimen is not sleeping with the enemy. You’re also not a heathen for choosing either side of the divide. I know many people who just don’t care — who think that whatever entertainment pops up on Netflix or Amazon Prime is good enough. I — like many of you — don’t want just “good enough.” I want access to all of the movies I love — and the potential to view all the movies I’ve yet to experience. We should all want this.