Recently we took a retrospective dive into the new WB DVD set to remember some of the most iconic moments therein, and discover something new. It’s part of the pleasure of rediscovering old favourites, often looking better than ever, on new formats and with new eyes.

Today we rummage through the delights of the latest set from the studio: the Premium Collection. Ten well-loved films from the past sixty years which have been lovingly restored on Blu-ray, packaged with artcards and each with a collection of bonus features. We’ll take a look at each film, and see how well they hold up today.

We begin with a film that is a personal favourite.

Logan’s Run

Michael Anderson’s 1976 sci-fi classic, loosely adapted from William F. Nolan’s dystopian novel, is still a thrilling, stylish yarn after all this year. This is despite the fashions of the decade making a strong appearance here, and the fact that no matter how hard they tried it still looks like they filmed it in a grotty America mall (they did).

Michael York and Jenny Agutter do very well as our distrusting eyes and ears in this youth-obsessed world. The ‘rebirth’ dance in the public carousel when each citizen turns 30 maintains its dread, and is as relevant today as it was then.

How well does it hold up?

Very well indeed. The youthful struggle to discover something beyond the confines of a society is an evergreen rites of passage. The cosmetic surgery by scary laser and corporate-sponsored hedonism is part of our every aspirations, and though some of the designs belie the futuristic setting this is still a very timely tale.


Soylent Green

The twist in Richard Fleischer’s 1973 tale is so well-known that it is easily identifiable as part of the vernacular. Despite the big spoiler being front and centre there’s still much in this adaptation of Harry Harrison’s novel to enjoy.

Like Logan’s Run, the global concerns on which Soylent Green is built are still with us today. Spiraling overpopulation and the corrosive effects of pollution are problems we are still fighting (or denying), and the surface detective story make it easy to dive into this particularly likely future.

How well does it hold up?

It’s one of the great ‘twist-in-the-tale’ cinematic treats. Yes, you know what Soylent Green is, but the slow burn investigation, which unearths a far more terrifying result, is still as compelling today as it was in ’73.


Forbidden Planet

Fred Wilcox’s 1956 sci-fi classic is a seminal film, rightly taught in film schools around the world. What appears on the surface as a tale of danger and interstellar exploration can be read as a thrilling evocation of what lies at the roots of human psychology. Rarely has a mix of Shakespeare and Freud been so enjoyable, or had as many robots.

How well does it hold up?

There’s a lot to enjoy here, despite the anachronistic treatment of Altaira in almost every scene. The special effects of the monster ravaging the planet may seem dated, but the iconic design of Robby the Robot succeeds in bringing some style to Wilcox’s film. The textured narrative (and the shock of seeing Leslie Nielsen in a serious role) means you’ll need to see this again. And it looks stunning in Blu-ray.



Another ’50s classic makes its way to clean and crispy Blu-ray in this new collection. Gordon Douglas’s THEM! rides the Godzilla bandwagon of using atomic energy to manifest its deadly creatures. In this case – giant man-eating ants.

In the vanguard of the Big Bug creature features so prevalent in its day, the rudimentary special effects do require some suspension of disbelief. However it’s a tightly written narrative and the film’s determination to take the whole thing very seriously is an endearing quality missing from the recent attempts to rekindle the genre. Eight Legged Freaks – we’re looking at you.

How well does it hold up?

It may not be easy to imagine the wholesale credulity which greeted this film on its release, much less replicate it. But if you can handle the effects without condescension, and want to immerse yourself in the nascent paranoia of atomic weaponry you’ll enjoy this one. Myrmecophobics need not apply.


The Omega Man

Coming five years after Vincent Price as The Last Man on Earth, and decades before Will Smith fought bad CG vampires in I Am Legend, The Omega Man was, for many, the best big screen incarnation of Richard Matheson’s iconic sci-fi novel.

Soylent Green’s Charlton Heston was the man to lead us through the slow death of the planet, with biological weapons blamed as the cause for the apocalyptic dearth of mankind. Filmed with a keen eye for the disconcerting sparsity of humanity by Russell Metty, the film’s only jarring moments come when the script slips into the quagmire of cliché.

How well does it hold up?

As with Soylent Green the cat is out of the bag before the title card appears. This doesn’t stop the film from having an unashamed swagger to it, helped in no small part by Heston’s alpha male one-liners.


The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic was among the previous WB collection we looked at, and despite recent reappraisals concluding that Kubrick hated the horror genre the film is one of the very best cinematic depictions of madness, and the chorus of ghosts who descend with it.

The Blu-ray treatment of The Shining is second to none. The steadicam sweeps of the (almost) isolated hallways of the Overlook Hotel have never looked better. The twin performances of Nicholson and Duvall still cling to the bones as nerve-shattering turns. The iconography of the genre Kubrick created for this film still has the power to shock, to disconcert and to invade the mind of the audience.

How well does it hold up?

Oh, come on – it’s The Shining. It’ll endure as long as there are cinemas to screen it.


Gremlins 2

The original Gremlins was a seminal film for many of us here at HeyUGuys. Listening to the recent, excellent Movie Crypt podcast with Zach Galligan you get an understanding of the curious journey of Joe Dante’s film. In order to maintain the satirical tone of the series Gremlins 2 did for movie sequels what the original did for ’50s creature features.

Eschewing the obvious rehash route of a sequel, so prevalent in the 80s, Dante moved the action from the small town of Kingston Falls to the Big Apple, and much of the homespun terror is jettisoned in place of a broad slap in the face of consumerism. It works perfectly, with a number of memorable cameos from some of Horror cinema’s greatest.

How well does it hold up?

It has taken a while for the sequel to grow on us, but it now sits alongside the original as one of our favourite films of the early 90s. Not as glazed in a seasonal, nostalgic glow as its forebear it has a much sharper bite, and is all the better for it.



Little Shop of Horrors

Another classic from the ’80s has its roots in a 1960 Roger Corman movie, however the infusion of SNL’s best and a star-making turn from Steve Martin, gives this rock comedy an endearing charm.

It’s the oft-told tale of the blossoming love between two shy and socially awkward people brought together by a man-eating plant. Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene are utterly charming and the confidence of the Frank Oz’s film in terms of performances and design makes for a delightful evening’s entertainment.

How well does it hold up?

You just try and watch this and not fall in love. You’ll find yourself singing the songs at odd moments for the rest of your days. Now, feed me Seymour!



Heavy nostalgia would crop up again and again in the movies of the 1980s as those filmmakers who came of age in the ’50s found themselves able to tell the stories of their lives so far. Diner is one such story for Barry Levinson, who made an impact with his tale of a reunion of old friends in the last days of the decade.

The cast is an impressive one (Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Daniel Stern, Ellen Barkin, Paul Reiser and a pre-Mahoney Steve Guttenberg among them), and Levinson’s fluid script benefited hugely from the improvisation he encouraged on set.

How well does it hold up?

The cast makes much of Levinson’s insight, and the hook of old friends reuniting for one night will always strike a chord with audiences. Though Diner has its feet very firmly in the ’50s (and the ’80s perhaps unsurprisingly) there is a timeless quality to it.



All The President’s Men

In a post-Wikileaks world the analog investigation of heavy deskphones and angry typewriters somewhat distances the procedural element of Alan J. Pakula’s entrancing trail of the Watergate scandal. The discordant on-screen relationship of Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein however grounds the film in a much-needed way.

Watching the magnetism of the two lead actors oppose and then complement each other is fascinating. All the while the wheels of impeachment turn and turn to their inevitable momentum. A classic.

How well does it hold up?

You only need to dip into the scandal-hungry internet pits manned by both sides of the current US Election cycle to see something of the distrust and media manipulation inherent in modern politics. This film is quickly becoming a movie out of time, when the general population thought that public office equaled an automatic sense of agency and decency. It would be nice to get back there again.

all-the-presidents-menEach of the titles in the Warner Bros. Premium Collection, including a Blu-ray, DVD & Digital version of the film along with artcards, are available now.