Our Pick of the Week Has an Appointment with Death at ‘High Noon’

Plus 7 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD!
High Noon

Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for May 7th, 2024! This week’s home video selection includes new 4K UHD releases of High Noon and The Crow, new Blu-rays of Chevy Chase’s Fletch films, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

High Noon [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? The most un-American film John Wayne has ever seen.

Why see it? There’s no one way to make a western, regardless of what John Wayne thinks, and Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 feature remains a stone-cold classic. Gary Cooper is the small town sheriff on the cusp of retirement who decides to stand his ground when some well-known thugs head to town. The townspeople, though, scatter and hide due to cowardice and fear. Wayne hated this because he didn’t think it represented Americans well — he reportedly did the equally excellent Rio Bravo (1959) as a direct rebuttal — but that’s just naive. People are people, and most people are cowards. Regardless, the film is a fantastic drama and character piece exploring motivations and personal struggles, and it all leads to the film’s big action piece which still delivers the goods over seventy years later. Kino’s new 4K UHD looks fantastic.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentaries, making of, featurettes]

The Best

The Crow [4K UHD, steelbook]

What is it? A man returns from the dead to seek vengeance.

Why see it? Alex Proyas’ breakout hit remains a stylish pairing of a rape/revenge story line and an execution touching on both the supernatural and the silly. The specifics are a bit odd — I’d argue the girlfriend that was raped and murdered is more deserving of a go at revenge — but the rain/crime-drenched cityscape carries a visual weight alongside the “Hot Topic” costumes and memorable soundtrack picks. It’s an entertaining enough time, but it’s not an easy enjoyment given the palpable sadness hanging over every frame. Sad not just for the loss of Brandon Lee, but also for Michael Massee — the actor who fired the fatal shot and then had to live unfairly with both guilt and blame. The new 4K UHD offers up a fantastic picture with detail and depth to spare.

[Extras: Featurettes, interview, commentaries, deleted scenes]

Fletch [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A newspaper reporter goes undercover to catch crooks.

Why see it? Jon Hamm’s recent go as Fletch is a great turn in a great film that never tries to ape what Chevy Chase did back in the 80s. That’s not a knock on Chase’s comedic stylings as his first in the franchise remains a very funny romp filled with entertaining dialogue and a stellar cast including Tim Matheson, Joe Don Baker, M. Emmett Walsh, Geena Davis, George Wendt, William Sanderson, and more. It’s a fun, highly quotable time, and while some of the antics are dated that’s just the price you pay for watching movies more than a decade old.

[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary, featurettes]

Secret Beyond the Door [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A young woman comes to regret saying yes to the dress.

Why see it? Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca remains a favorite of mine for numerous reasons, from its lead Joan Fontaine to the mystery drenched in atmosphere and angst, so I’m probably inclined to like other films that run in similar circles. Fritz Lang’s 1947 feature feels directly inspired by Hitchcock’s film as young Joan Bennett meets and falls in love with Michael Redgrave before settling into his large, unsettling mansion. Secrets abound, and most of them spell bad news for the couple. Lang crafts a compelling tale that constantly threatens to leave its grounded setting, and that makes for a film that leaves viewers on edge and carried away

[Extras: 4K scan, commentary]

The Rest

Dr. Jekyll and the Werewolf [Mondo Macabro]

What is it? A werewolf heads to the disco in search of a cure!

Why see it? Okay, that’s not quite the exact truth, but Paul Naschy’s long-suffering Waldemar the Wolfman heads to the UK hoping the renowned Dr. Jekyll can cure his hairy malady, but instead the guy injects him with the Mr. Hyde nasties. This is Naschy’s fifth go-round as Waldemar, and if you’re a fan, you’re a fan. He’s not happy being a werewolf, but damn does this guy get the ladies! Toss in some blood-soaked kills, human villains far worse than our lupine friend, and the incredible Hulk-like feeling as our hero wanders the earth hoping for a cure only to find trouble instead. They may not be high art, but these movies still have a sense of atmosphere and silly fun about them.

[Extras: Interview]

Fletch Lives [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A sequel!

Why see it? The word on the street is that this follow-up to Chevy Chase’s first Fletch film was bad in 1989 and even worse now, and, well, it’s hard to argue that. To be fair, there are some fun beats here including a brief musical interlude that nods to Song of the South in spirit and as a live-action/animation hybrid, but they’re few and far between. The supporting cast is once again aces with Richard Belzer, R. Lee Ermey, Phil Hartman, Cleavon Little, Geoffrey Lewis, and more brightening the screen, but the laughs are a bit hard to find.

[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary, featurettes]

Founders Day [VOD]

What is it? A slasher set during the election cycle!

Why see it? I’m all for more slashers attaching themselves to holidays or annual traditions — and I’m still waiting for an adaptation of Mad Magazine’s Arbor Day — as it’s a perfect setup for the genre and for follow-ups. This one ties itself to a small town’s impending election and the founding of the town itself, and there’s meat here to chew on as it touches on the political divide, self interest versus the communal good, and more. But, and this is a big but, it’s a pretty mediocre slasher. The kills are dull as hell, the characters are never any fun, and there’s a real lack of satisfaction. The big reveal is a convoluted, overly complicated journey, and while it doesn’t quite work I do appreciate its attempt to stand apart from the norm.

[VOD release]

She is Conann [Altered Innocence]

What is it? A woman’s journey, inspired by Conan and queerness.

Why see it? Bertrand Mandico’s latest is a visually full exploration of human barbarity, both as tragedy and necessity, and nearly every frame features some bit of influence and imagination. It’s a Frankenstein of a film that builds something original out of inspirations, references, and homages. The low budget execution isn’t remotely for me as the ideas can’t quite sustain against those limitations, but it’s impossible to ignore the creative vision at play here.

[Extras: Short films]

Also out this week:

Devil’s Doorway [Warner Archive], Hardware Wars [MVD Rewind], Joysticks [MVD Rewind], The Mask of Fu Manchu [Warner Archive], Monk – Season Six, One from the Heart [4K UHD], The Rain People [Warner Archive], Sabotage [MVD Rewind], Seeing Red: 3 French Vigilante Thrillers [Fun City Editions], A Story of Floating Weeds [Criterion]

Rob Hunter: Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.