File Of The Golden Goose (1969)/Man
In The Net (1959)/Park Row (1952/MGM
Limited Edition Collection DVDs)
C+/C/C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C- Films: B-
PLEASE NOTE: These releases are all online-only
exclusives from MGM and can be purchased from Amazon.com, which you can reach
through the sidebar of this side.
United Artists catalog is highly underrated and is the foundation of the back
catalog holdings of the production company/mini-major that is now MGM. Three new releases in the thriller and genre
category from the Limited Edition
Collection show just how interesting the material can get.
Wanamaker was a very successful, long time character actor who also had some
impressive success as a director, including a stretch of four feature films
that began with the underrated The File
Of The Golden Goose (1969) with Yul Brynner as an American agent wanting
revenge for a female friend being gunned down.
This takes him to England
to break into a murderous counterfeiting ring where he is paired up with a
Scotland Yard officer (Edward Woodward of The
Equalizer and Callan) to
infiltrate the organization.
poise as survivors of a big failed heist where all the crooks were killed in a
fiery auto accident and immediately make contact with a corrupt shipping local
(Walter Gotell, often the villain in James Bond films) which leads them to the
outskirts of the operation and a flamboyant operative (Charles Gray of You Only Live Twice and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) who
could be the key to discovering everything else.
C. Higgins (T-Men, Robinson Crusoe On Mars)/Robert E. Kent
(the original TV Wild, Wild West)
screenplay is solid, consistent, smart and pretty thorough, making this one of
the better counterfeiting films, though like most films on the subject, has
been dated by William Friedkin’s To Live
& Die In L.A. (1985), but I had not seen this one for a very long time
and was surprised how well it really held up.
John Barrie (Sergeant Cork),
Adrienne Corri (A Clockwork Orange),
Ivor Dean (The Saint with Roger
Moore), Graham Crowden, Hugh McDermott, Karel Stepanek (Fallen Idol) and Anthony Jacobs round out the strong supporting
enhanced 1.66 X 1 image was lensed by Director of Photography Ken Hodges (The Ruling Class, Negatives, Baffled!, Star Maidens) delivering a grade-A look
all the way, with a slight roughness throughout that only makes this thriller
only more pronounced. Editing is better
than most films of the genre of the time (thanks to Oswald Hafenrichter of The Third Man) and viewers will be
impressed all the way to the nice use of London
Curtiz’s Man In The Net (1959) is a
drama that turns into a thriller of sorts as an artist (Alan Ladd) has moved him
and his wife (Carolyn Jones) from New
York City to the country to help her with her
alcoholism troubles, but she cannot take the boredom anymore and is constantly
critical of him. He still does his
drawings, including of the neighborhood children whom she cannot stand, but is
also having an affair she is not telling him.
However, this drives her to more erratic behavior, then she goes
dead? Did she run away with a mystery
man? When blood is found around her
dumped clothes, he starts to become a murder suspect, even without a body and
the local townspeople start to become a vengeful mob. Reginald Rose (12 Angry Men) and Hugh Wheeler (Sweeney Todd) co-wrote the sometimes predictable screenplay that
has more ups than downs (and might involve the children more than you’d
expect), but Ladd and Jones are compelling to watch and supporting work by
Diane Brewster, Charles McGraw, John Lupton, Betty Lou Holland, Tom Helmore and
the child actors make this an interesting one.
anamorphically enhanced 1.66 X 1 black and white image was lensed by Director
of Photography John F. Seltz (Sullivan’s
Travels, This Gun For Hire, The Big Clock) is really good and even
compelling, but this is not a Film Noir and was released a year after the
original cycle ended, but it is a fine monochrome presentation and this
transfer may have more softness than I would have liked, but the grey scale is
not bad for a DVD.
we have an interesting film written and directed by Sam Fuller about publishing
called Park Row (1952), one Fuller
made with his own money. Set in the
1880s in New York City, it has three storylines going on at the same time: the
building of a more modern printing press, the building of The Statue of Liberty
and a battle for freedom of the press between a paper that just wants to be a
moneymaking monopoly and a smaller one that wants to practice true journalism
and benefit the community.
about the race to serve the greater good of the public, but also how some with
greedy, ideological and/or anti-American interests (in a point as relevant as
ever) would prefer not to see such progress.
The printing press section is even more ironic now that we are in the
Internet age, the Statue of Liberty (which the newspaper for it starts a fund
to get the money for the base of the gift from France, while the rival
newspaper talks some nonsense about a waste of taxpayers money or some other
cliché and propaganda to make people doubt its worth or the worth of anything)
is more ironic since the events of 9/11 and the idea of any outlet practicing
journalism that is not sold out to negative interests is more relevant than
when this film was issued.
was usually known for rougher films (Pickup
On South Street, Forty Guns, Underworld U.S.A., Shock Corridor, Naked Kiss,
White Dog), but this film falls
somewhere between the corny side of Frank Capra’s films and the newspaper
publishing section of Citizen Kane
for which this film can proudly claim to be a flipside (or even prequel of
sorts if you will) to that part of the all-time classic. Yet, this is pure, unadulterated Fuller and
those who have not seen the film should definitely see it. Gene Evans, Mary Welch, Bella Kovacs, Herbert
Hayes and Gorge O’Hanlon star.
X 1 black and white image was lensed by Director of Photography John L. Russell
(Hitchcock’s Psycho, 1952’s Invasion U.S.A., Beast From 20,000 Fathoms) shows once again how underrated a camera
talent he was here, showing just how effectively (both in a visual and
narrative way) he used the narrow vision frame.
Though this transfer can be soft and the print shows its age at times,
it looks good for its age just the same.
Digital 2.0 Mono on all three films sound good for their age with only some distortion
issues, with Goose having background
noise, but that is better than compressing it out and hurting the sound, but
Harry Robinson’s score sounds good. The
only extra on all three discs are the original theatrical trailer for each one
- Nicholas Sheffo