A nice element of Shout! Factory’s Roger Corman DVD/blu-ray reissue series is that they’ve managed to work in some entries from his Concorde Pictures days alongside the expected New World Pictures fare. For example, there have been quality DVD releases of Jim Wynorski’s Not Of This Earth remake and The Terror Within. More recently, they made a lot of grindhouse buffs happy by turning their attentions to the 1985 cult favorite Streetwalkin’. The result not only looks great but also offers an impressive bonus feature in the bargain.
The transfer is surprisingly strong for an 1980’s era low budget effort. One of the most appealing aspects of Streetwalkin’ is Steven Fierberg’s neon-drenched cinematography and it comes across nicely here. The anamorphic letterboxed image does well with the vivid hues as well as the frequent night photography, offering up an acceptable grain texture that doesn’t get overbearing. It retains its gritty yet stylish look and fans will be happy for the upgrade from the old, fuzzy VHS editions of this film. The sound retains the original Dolby 2.0 mix: there’s a little age-related wear and tear here (the odd pop or crackle) but overall it retains a solid, vintage sound.
There’s also a truly noteworthy extra on this disc: a commentary track with director/co-writer Joan Freeman and her producer/co-writer husband, Robert Alden. The two offer a thoughtful but no-holds-barred combination of memories and analysis of the Corman filmmaking experience. Both speak frankly about how Corman was an effective but oft-manipulative mentor, right down to using spies on the set to keep tabs on the young filmmakers’ progress.
Better yet, there are some fascinating stories about the research done to give the film its sense of grit, including a great story about Freeman using herself as bait in a pimp bar to get first-hand experience on dealing with them. Elsewhere, tales of a real-life hooker and pimp who served as script consultants are unexpectedly poignant. It all adds up to a real treasure of a track that fans of the film will adore.
The only hiccup on this disc is that the back cover promises a trailer that doesn’t turn up on the disc itself. That minor issue aside, this disc of Streetwalkin’ is another strong edition to Shout! Factory’s Corman repertoire and a must for fans of this series. It’ll look great on the DVD shelf next to your copies of Vice Squad and the Angel trilogy.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Streetwalkin’, click here.