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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Filmmaking > Industry > Writing > Studios > Directing > Cinematography > WWII > Facism.Drama > The Art Of Filmmaking (Documentaries)/The Hitler Chronicles (Documentaries/First Run DVD Sets)/The Nifty Fifties (Mill Creek DVD Movie Set)/Secret Pleasures (First Run DVD Movie Set)

The Art Of Filmmaking (Documentaries)/The Hitler Chronicles (Documentaries/First Run DVD Sets)/The Nifty Fifties (Mill Creek DVD Movie Set)/Secret Pleasures (First Run DVD Movie Set)


Picture: C+/C/C/C+     Sound: C+/C+/C/C+     Extras: C+/C+/C-/C     Films: B/B-/B-/B-



Box sets and other DVD compilations are more common than ever as the format starts to decline and both fans and collectors try to add titles they missed or catch up with.  Here are four of the more interesting releases of late.



The Art Of Filmmaking brings together five previous releases, including some we have covered before from First Run Features.  Those already covered include their links:


Tales From The Script is an excellent entry we are finally getting to tell everyone about and is a big highlight in this set.  Running four hours and directed by Peter Hanson, it comes from a period at the tail end of the possibility that great Hollywood films could still be made (even once in a while) before quality tanked and was replaced by overblown franchises that usually bomb, DVD sales about to tank and the studios doing away with their smaller subdivisions en masse.


This seems more optimistic now than when I first viewed it and those who rightly criticized what the studios were doing were being anything from extremely accurate to prophetic.  It is also of an interviewee group of mostly true professionals who have talent and love film as the industry was in its final months of being a majority 35mm film business in shooting and exhibition.  It can be argued the change to HD projection has lowered already falling standards.


William Goldman, Larry Cohen, Steven E. de Souza, David S. Ward, John Carpenter and Paul Schrader are among the veterans interviewed and they have some great stories, plus we get newer writers like Ron Shelton, Frank Darabont, Shane Black and a series of others including some who were hot when this was issued and have not done much since, whether it is their fault or not.  Some female talent is also included and it is the best program in this set and in this entire review.  Anyone serious about filmmaking and the industry should consider this a must-see.


I would rate the single DVD (also available as a single) C+ for the letterboxed 1.78 X 1 picture, C+ for the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound, B for the extras and B+ for the documentary.  Those extras include text director’s info. info on the book companion to this program and three additional shorts with more great interviews and information: More Tales From The Script, The Gospel According To Bill and Advice For New Screenwriters.



Directors: Life Behind The Camera



Light Keeps Me Company is a look at the work of Sven Nykvist, the master cinematographer and cameraman whose Director of Photography work with Ingmar Bergman is internationally known and highly influential, but he worked for other great directors and his son Gustaf directed this work…



Capturing Reality: The Art Of Documentary



Lavender Limelight: Lesbians In Film




The Hitler Chronicles offers four impressive titles we definitely have covered and you can read about them at the links following their titles:


The Architecture Of Doom



Dear Uncle Adolf



Hitler: A Career



The Top Secret Trial Of The Third Reich




The Nifty Fifties is more typical of the low-budget sets that we have seen since the days of VHS, but you can fit more on DVD and Mill Creek has put 50 films here on 12 single-sided DVDs.  The 1955 Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, Abbott & Costello Africa Screams, Beneath The 12-Mile Reef with Robert Wagner, Last Time I Saw Paris with Elizabeth Taylor and White Orchid are here with a bunch of B-movies (Lon Chaney Jr. in Manfish!) and some other top films in poorer copies here than elsewhere.  Still, it is a cheapo crash course set, but will usually look bad on HDTV and big screens.  A booklet telling about each film is the only extra.



Finally we have Secret Pleasures, the last of three First Run sets subtitled Four Asian Films About Love, Longing and Fishworks (the latter of which has nothing to do with the Lon Chaney Jr. film from the last set).  Here too, we have covered all four films and here they are with their links:

The Isle



Electric Shadows



The Personals







If you are looking for more for your money, any of these sets will fill the bill.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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