The Cinephiles’s Corner looks at skullduggery on trains, hearts and flowers on the Seine, glam in the U.K, and heartbreak in L.A.

It’s time for another look at (relatively) recent Blu-Rays and DVDs aimed at the hardcore movie lover  — though more casual viewers looking for something beyond Hollywood’s latest mass-market offerings are certainly allowed to kibitz at the Corner as well. Today’s selections are from Hollywood, off-Hollywood, England, and France and were made mostly in the 1930s or the 1970s, though we will be looking at one from 1998 — only yesterday!

And so we begin…(after the flip, that is.)

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RIP Shel Dorf

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The reaction in the film geek/geek film press has been minimal, but Shel Dorf, the founder of what we now call Comicon but was for years known as “the San Diego Comicon” passed on yesterday from complications of diabetes. While comics blogger Heidi MacDonald covered his passing nicely, for the most part the only coverage has been a terse AP story which has been picked up at a few places.

By all accounts Dorf, whose  reputation was as an relentlessly positive and upbeat booster of the arts of comics, was unhappy with what the con is today — for better a worse a multimedia extravaganza and entertainment biz mecca, emphasis on “biz,” where comics themselvees come far down the list of priorities after toys, videogames, and movies. However, his creation is perhaps the single most discussed media event of the year on a lot of web sites and I would have thought his passing merited a bit more discussion. Anyhow, I can personally attest to the part of the AP story that mentions how he helped new talents in the comics field. One of those cartoonists was my good friend, Randy Reynaldo, with whom he bonded over their mutual admiration for comic strip legend Milton Caniff, for whom Dorf worked as a letterer for many years.

As a grown-up geek who grew up with pretty deep love of the comics form, I have no problem with comics derived movies — in fact, some of them are like dreams come true for my inner 13 year-old. (Others are nightmares.) I just wish the comics themselves from which they came got more respect as something more than a source for movie ideas.

It should also be said that Dorf and his cohorts in the early con days recognized the intimate link between comics and cinema, and included all kinds of movies from very early on. A slightly chubby 13 year-old kid who would take refuge in a back room where 16mm prints of obscure genre films, cartoons, and trailers, played continually remains particularly grateful to Mr. Dorf.

  

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