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Category:    Home > Reviews > Retrospective > TV > Film > Documentary > Old Hollywood > Dining > Stage Plays > Civil Rights > History > Fi > Dahling: A Tribute To Zsa Zsa Gabor/Kirk Douglas Legacy Collection (Inception DVD Sets)/Le Cirque: A Table In Heaven (2009)/Making The Boys (2010/First Run DVDs)

Dahling: A Tribute To Zsa Zsa Gabor/Kirk Douglas Legacy Collection (Inception DVD Sets)/Le Cirque: A Table In Heaven (2009)/Making The Boys (2010/First Run DVDs)


Picture: C (Boys: C+)     Sound: C+     Extras: C/C+/C+/B-     Main Programs: C+/B-/B-/B



People can speak ill of the old days of Hollywood as if they did not matter, but in the period up to the 1970s, it was a town that mattered and it mattered because it had so many great people in it.  There are still great people there of course, but not like their used to be and in the way that put it on the map forever.  Here are four recent releases that remind us of how much fun those days could be.



Inception Media has issued two DVD compilation sets: Dahling: A Tribute To Zsa Zsa Gabor and the Kirk Douglas Legacy Collection.  They may not be of the best quality and there are better prints out there (if not better DVDs; they need Blu-ray editions) of some of the films here, but they are handy.  Dahling fits on a single disc and offers four trailers from four of her films, so-so copies of Mooch Goes To Hollywood (1971) and Frankenstein’s Great Aunt Tillie (1984, both far from great) and two very interesting TV appearances.  One is a 1950 episode of The Milton Berle Show and the other 1956 version of The Honest Man from the G.E. True Theater series.  It is nice these are available in any form and much more of her is in the vaults, plus some other key appearances (the final episode of the 1960s Batman series where she was the villain) have yet to surface, but this is fun and even funny at times with the films being the weakest offerings.


The Kirk Douglas Legacy Collection is a 3-DVD set and has its own problematic transfers of films like Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, My Dear Secretary, The Big Trees, Catch Me A Spy and the underrated actioner The Master Touch (1972) which includes a great car chase.  All of those need Blu-ray releases.  DVDs 1 & 2 adds trailers to some of his films, DVD 2 has some Michael Douglas trailers, DVD 3 a biography program and DVD 2 has two TV appearances worth your time: a 1952 Colgate Comedy Hour and 1954 Jack Benny Show: The Jam Session Show.  You know more has to be in the vaults on Kirk Douglas than Miss Gabor and this is an interesting start.



Andrew Rossi’s Le Cirque: A Table In Heaven (2009) is a great (if too short) look at the life of legendary restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, who became the top choice for movie stars, the ultra-wealthy and politically powerful for decades.  He eventually saw his original Le Cirque close in 2004, but with his three sons, is about to reopen a new version, but they and his advisors battle with him all the way.  They all want 3 – 4 star review ratings for the new place, but his sons and most of their advisors try to tell Sirio that the days of his kind of upscale dining are dead to the point that I was shocked at a certain sense of ignorance.  Sirio sticks by his guns and when the new place opens in 2006, it is review-proof enough that more big names show up than anyone expects.


However, the place still has problems and this is as much a character study of the family and dining business as it is of New York and a changing America.  If anything, Rossi (who also made the terrific Page One documentary on The New York Times we’ll cover soon) misses some points and opportunities, but I felt vindicated when those big names I knew would make it show up to see Sirio.  He must have been thrilled.  Extras include a director Q&A piece and Bonus Scenes worth seeing after the main feature.



Finally we have Crayton Robey’s Making The Boys (2010) which tells us the story of how struggling writer Mart Crowley (Hart To Hart) eventually wrote the play Boys In The Band which became a huge off-Broadway hit breaking ground for that kind of theater and showing homosexuals of any kind explicitly for the first time in stage history.  It still managed to be controversial and later became an underrated 1970 feature film by William Friedkin just before The French Connection and The Exorcist (both reviewed elsewhere on this site on Blu-ray) became huge blockbusters.  If you are unfamiliar with the play or film, try our coverage of the film on DVD:





Crawley, some persons involved with the original play still with us, Freidkin, Robert Wagner, Edward Albee, Dominick Dunne, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally, Michael Musto and more discuss the work’s success, the backlash it encountered so close to the Stonewall riots, Crawley’s life and gay discourse in this country are well-examined in this key documentary that also happens to show how great Old Hollywood was and how that connected to Broadway and so much more.  You do not have to be gay in the least to really enjoy the key history being shown here, including how the late, great Natalie Wood helped make this all happen.  See it soon.


Extras include five featurettes including about a scene that did not land up in the film, other personal observations not in the documentary and Malibu ’65 which shows more of Roddy McDowall’s highly attended beach parties including the big names that show up there.



The 1.33 X 1 image on Douglas and Dahling can be awful and sometimes good, but quality is rough all around, while the letterboxed 1.78 X 1 on Table is as weak and sadly does not fully capture any of the locales.  That leaves the anamorphically enhanced Boys looking the best despite its diverse amount of analog videotape, film and other worn clips.  All have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound with Table and Boys being more stereophonic than monophonic, but all even out being documentaries and compilation works.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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