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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > Crime > Mystery > Police Thriller > Science Fiction > Horror > Adventure > Literature > Com > Hickey & Boggs (1972)/Incredible Melting Man (1977)/Master Of The World (1961/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD)/Maniac Cop (1988/Synapse Blu-ray)/The 10th Victim (1965/Blue Underground Blu-ray)

Hickey & Boggs (1972)/Incredible Melting Man (1977)/Master Of The World (1961/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD)/Maniac Cop (1988/Synapse Blu-ray)/The 10th Victim (1965/Blue Underground Blu-ray)


Picture: C+/C+/C+/B/B-     Sound: C+/C+/C+/B-/B-     Extras: D/C-/C-/B-/C+     Films: C+ (Boggs: B)



PLEASE NOTE: The MGM releases featured are online-only exclusives from MGM and can be purchased from Amazon.com, which you can reach through the sidebar of this side.



We have some more films to recommend, including three never officially on DVD before, two now on Blu-ray you may have also missed and all that are worth seeing at least once and much more.



Robert Culp and Bill Cosby, co-stars of the big 1960s TV Spy show I Spy reunited for a hard-edged police thriller called Hickey & Boggs (1972) which Culp directed and was written by Walter Hill (The Getaway, 48 HRS, Last Man Standing), a film we very much enjoyed even when we cover it in this older DVD when we thought we would never see it on the market otherwise:




Turns out MGM has the rights and I knew they had the original camera materials.  Though there is not even a trailer, this anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 presentation is much better than the older DVD and except for darker scenes looking a little weak, the transfer has fine color, some nice shots and shows what a good film it really is.  Cosby would never do anything this challenging again and this remains one of Hill’s best scripts.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also sounds improved over the previous DVD and the score by Ted Ashford is very good.



William Sachs directed The Incredible Melting Man (1977) as a straight out B-movie and it works on that level well, but the big highlight (very strangely missing from the DVD case) is that this features remarkable early make-up work by the multiple Academy Award winner Rick Baker, making this another long-overdue key release.  An astronaut returns to earth and is not well, so he is put into a hospital to recuperate.  However, he is much sicker than anyone could imagine, suffering from a flesh-eating virus that is slowly causing him to entirely deteriorate.


No, it is not a great film and some people think it is even awful, but its approach, pace and odd feel make it something different and interesting in the genre, especially so many years later.  Alex Rebar and Michael Allredge are among the pretty unknown cast and like Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes the same year, it marked the end of a long line of raw independent genre films that started in the early 1960s and were willing to be unconditionally no holds barred.  I hope people get to see the film for what does work and understand what it actually has achieved.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image looks easily the best since I had seen the film way back when it first hit movie theaters and drive-ins, having more of a unique look (partly by accident) than it gets credit for.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also in better shape than I expected.  A trailer is the only extras, though it is one of several I have seen.



William Witney directed genre films and serials for decades when he took on turning Jules Verne’s Master Of The World (1961) into a feature film that was more successful than many may remember.  Vincent Price is the title character, terrorizing the world from his deadly zeppelin (ironically called The Albatross) determined to become its new ruler.  Though it may be on a comic book level, the film asks questions about power and life that makes it all the more fun and among the good supporting cast is a young Charles Bronson.  The screenplay is by the great Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) and the results are a underrated, entertaining film that may be dated, but it was dated to begin with by sticking with the older technology of the books and celebrates that older technology in a way sadly missing from current films set in the past (like the 2011 Captain America) in ways that are even embarrassing.  Price is one of the greatest character actors of all time, bringing his uniqueness into all of his work and remains one of the great big screen icons.  He could act in real life in even more challenging work (Witchfinder General and extending to his TV and radio drama work, which is massive) and pulls off a performance here that helps make this grander than it otherwise would be.  He is one of the first actors to make villains sympathetic because he was that good.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image has some flaws, but looks really good here and the other star of the film besides the script, ideas, cast and blimp is the Magnacolor (a process from the makers of TruColor) by Pathe which furthers the surreal look and feel of the film, pumping up the otherworldly aspects in ways that makes this winning B-movie filmmaking at its best.  Oh, and this was also made in “Dyna-magic”, which is its attempt to make its special effects more special in the mode of Ray Harryhausen’s DynaMation, his advanced version of stop motion animation.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sounds really good and I was very pleased it sounded so clean and clear for its age down to the Les Baxter score.



William Lustig’s very interesting Maniac Cop (1988) had a great DVD release and now, Synapse has wisely chosen it as one of their first Blu-rays and once again, they have improved on one of their ace DVD releases.  You can read our coverage of that DVD at this link:





The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is even cleaner, sharper and clearer than the DVD and seems sourced from the same solid 35mm print.  The have done a nice job here of making this as solid a presentation as possible for a film made with this budget at this age.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mixes are here in 6.1, 4.0 and 2.0 Stereo from the original Ultra Stereo analog (a cheaper and more distorted version of Dolby’s old analog A-type process) and likely other audio sources.  The result is mixed and you can experiment with the three options to see what sounds best yourself.  Extras are the same, but four of the features are now in High Definition.


You can also read more about Lustig’s older indie thriller, the controversial Maniac (1980, not related) in our Blu-ray coverage at this link:





Finally we have Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim (1965), the first of what we would now call the “death sport” films which were particularly popular by the 1970s (think Rollerball, Death Race 2000 and even parts of Logan’s Run) with Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress paired together at their popular peaks in a wacky, funny, satiric, unintentionally funny and campy thriller about “The Big Hunt” a game of legal murder in that future, the 21st Century.  In one of its better moves, the Austin Powers franchise also sent this one up and though it is not a great film it is a fun one and this Blu-ray is the best edition yet of the film and is likely to be for a long time, with only small reservations and this is the compete film.  You will also enjoy the weird chemistry the film achieves at times.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image can show off the great color intended, but the film was originally issued in three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor and those prints (especially in great shape) are worth quite a bit of money if you can find one, even in 16mm!  The shots that are good here shine, but some have more grain than expected and others looks almost a generation down, so I have to fault the disc for those, but you will be impressed otherwise,  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 2.0 Mono mixes are here in English and Italian versions that both work.


Extras include Poster & Still Gallery, U.S. Trailer, Italian Trailer, Mastroianni Still Gallery and a great vintage 90+ minutes featurette Marcello: A Sweet Life that shows the international star at his peak of power, class, chic and charm.  I only wish there was a retrospective on Andress in the 60s, which could have included this film and really rounded out this solid Blu-ray release.


Catch them all!!!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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