Nancy Kwan, Part 2: The Corrupt Ones + Fate is the Hunter

August 17, 2014 | By

FateIsTheHunter_BRThe latest Blu-ray edition of a previous DVD-only release from Twilight Time is Fate is the Hunter (1964), a highly underrated and still timely procedural drama about an airline investigator attempting to disprove his cocksure friend was responsible for the crash of a plane that killed dozens of passengers.

Co-starring with Glenn Ford and Susanne Pleshette is Nancy Kwan, and for the BR edition there’s a new commentary track and Brian Jamieson’s documentary To Whom It May Concern – Ka Shen’s Journey (2010), a touching portrait of Kwan and her challenging life.


Stylish and highly misleading French poster. Brilliant in every way.

Kwan should’ve enjoyed a rich career in the sixties, but by 1967 she’d been relegated to small roles, often in B-pictures which failed to exploit her acting chops. The Corrupt Ones / The Peking Medallion / Die Hölle von Macao (1967) could be seen as an exception, since she played a rare villainess, and done quite nicely.

That’s part of the actress’ appeal – downplaying roles which could easily have been weakened by playing a character too big, too emotional, or too physical. It’s also a weirdly fun movie which still remains unavailable on DVD, and perhaps hasn’t been seen in its original widescreen ratio since its original theatrical release (unless there’s an HD version floating around TCM).

Now, October 18th is the 4th annual International Independent Video Store Day, begun by Eyesore Cinema’s Daniel Hanna, and marked by local video shops in Toronto, and many other cities. The review of The Corrupt Ones stems from a pre-recorded Betamax tape (yes, really, and bought sealed for a buck off Ebay), and from now until mid-October, each week will feature a review from a once-on-tape / still-unavailable digitally / on disc movie, and maybe some rare ephemera associated with the rental business.



$60 for a full-screen ‘meh’ transfer? Are you kidding, Embassy Home Video?


I’ll also pen a few observational editorials, so to speak, regarding the challenges facing those surviving stores, and their increasing importance now as private archives of movies forgotten, and likely to remain marginalized, with slim chances of appearing on disc, let alone digital services like Netflix.

I won’t get ahead of myself at this early stage and spoil upcoming editorials, but I’ll certainly drop the first review teaser: the next tape review will feature an IMAX film not on disc. After that one, I’m jumping to a few CanCon films which, like The Corrupt Ones, are available nowhere: one’s a classic, one’s cultish, and one’s probably tax shelter shit starring aged actors long past their prime.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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