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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Filmmaking > Biography > Horror > Independent Cinema > Blockbusters > Classics > Murder > My > The Definitive Document Of The Dead (Synapse DVD)/Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard – Expanded Second Edition (Softcover Coffee Table Book by Matt Taylor/Titan Books)/Nobody Else But You (2011/Fir

The Definitive Document Of The Dead (Synapse DVD)/Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard – Expanded Second Edition (Softcover Coffee Table Book by Matt Taylor/Titan Books)/Nobody Else But You (2011/First Run Features DVD)/Rites Of Spring (2011/IFC/MPI DVD)/Zorro (1975/Alain Delon/Somerville House Blu-ray)


Picture: C/X/C/C/C+     Sound: C/X/C+/C+/C+     Extras: B/X/C-/D/C     Main Content: B/B/B-/D/C+



Now for a look at recent genre works, including revisitings of several classics…



Roy Frumkes’ The Definitive Document Of The Dead is an expanded edition of the film he originally made in 16mm to promote and look at the making of George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn Of The Dead, especially since it was a rare look at an independent production of any kind at the time.  This new edition has new video-shot footage of Romero working on the sequel trilogy and discussing all six of his Dead/zombie films, plus we get more on Romero (including an analysis of his approach to film with a welcome helping of clips from his underrated Martin) and it makes for a solid documentary on film culture, the slow way his films became influential (and now over-imitated) classics and much more.


I really enjoyed this updated look at his work (they included his underrated Monkey Shines among other things) and Frumkes delivers an excellent audio commentary as the discs sole extra, though you can find all six films reviewed elsewhere on this site, including on Blu-ray and in Blu-ray imports.



Matt Taylor’s heavily-illustrated book Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard is here in a huge, expanded second edition has arrived as a flexible soft cover book that is also heavy and the cover is plasticoted.  A huge winner of a chronicle of the culture and enduring success of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, it would go great with the new DTS Blu-ray edition (which supplanted the already-impressive DTS DVD upgrade) and is as high quality a movie softcover as we have seen lately.  There is also plenty of text and picture reproduction (including more black and white than you might expect) is wide-ranging.  This might be too much for non-fans or those who are sick of the film, but otherwise, this is a great gift volume and I wish more major motion pictures would get this kind of print treatment.



Gerald Hustache-Mathieu’s Nobody Else But You (2011) is a surprisingly good thriller with side ideas that never hurt it too much as a local model and actress (Sophie Quinton) who is very popular (and has a thing for Marilyn Monroe) turns up dead in the snow from an apparent suicide, but a writer of mystery novels (Jean-Paul Rouve) is not so sure and decides to look into it for himself.  When he seems to be stopped and worse, he knows he is onto something.


From there, this French film tells her story in flashbacks (she even narrates from the dead in a noir style, even if this is not a Film Noir) and I was very surprised this was as effective as it turned out to be.  The Monroe thing may be played out in iconography, but the film is not very heavy-handed about it and the directing is as effective as the acting.  We also get suspense and an intelligent screenplay throughout, so it is one worth your time and mystery fans will want to go out of their way for it.  A trailer is the only extra.



Padraig Reynolds’ Rites Of Spring (2011) had the potential for being as good and has some elements that work in so far as its cast and locales are concerned, but it eventually becomes a dumb torture porn film that could have been a good kidnapping tale, but gets so ridiculous with its torture, blood and gore that anything good is ruined by its lack of restraint and total absence of realism or suspense.  The actors are wasted as a result, as is the viewer’s time.  The sad thing is this one could have at least been watchable.


Extras include an audio commentary with little point, Storyboards, Poster Designs, Trailer, Sales Trailer and “Worm Face” (yawn!) Art Gallery Work.



That brings us to Duccio Tessari’s 1975 film of Zorro with Alain Delon as the title character.  Zorro is one of the early Superheroes (including a forerunner of Batman along with The Shadow) and with three big such films from the summer hitting Blu-ray, you can see why the owners wanted a Blu-ray of the film out there.  Zorro has been a success so many times that like Tarzan, it is easy to lose track, but this was a one-off that had mixed critical and commercial response.


In this case, the makers want to cross the character and his familiar story with the Spaghetti Western style, comedy that Richard Lester offered in his Three Musketeer films, more comedy by way of the Pink Panther films, the comic wit of James Bond films of the time Diamonds Are Forever, Live & Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun and even other slapstick comedy all the way to Our Gang/The Little Rascals.  In this way, they throw in everything but the kitchen sink.


Stanley Baker is good as the villain and this is an ambitious project, but the results are mixed and that is likely why there were no more Delon films afterwards as Zorro.  Still, it is as watchable as the Spielberg/Martin Campbell/Antonio Banderas films and worth a look.  However, it plays like a time capsule as much as anything, but I am glad to see it again as a curio at least and Delon was still a movie star the camera really liked.


Extras include three clips to show the restoration, two trailers, two radio spots, stills and text on the star and director.  For more of our previous Zorro coverage, try these links:


Filmation animated New Adventures Of Zorro, V.1 DVD



+ V.2 DVD



Mark Of Zorro (1940) DVD



Mask Of Zorro (1998) Blu-ray



Legend Of Zorro sequel Blu-ray



Walt Disney 1957 Zorro Season One + Season Two DVD Sets



Zorro 1990 TV series DVD set





The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Zorro comes from a damaged 35mm print (maybe one from a photochemical internegative considering how orange it is) and has flatness, plenty of white specks and damage that could not be repaired, yet it is still the best looking of the four video releases here and has its moments of good color, though no demo shots.  This also looks better than all previous home video editions I have seen and some were very weak. The 1.33 X 1 image on Dead is weaker because the analog video footage and later analog video shooting is pale, especially as compared to the original 16mm shoot.  A limited edition Blu-ray has also been released.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Rites is weak because of its styling and the same on Nobody is somewhat colorful, but the transfer of the Techniscope 35mm shoot is just a bit weak, making me wish for a Blu-ray in this case.  First Run should strongly consider it, because this is a nicely shot film.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless track on Zorro is also weak, showing how the available audio is a generation or two down and we get some tape his and background noise throughout.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 on Dead is a mix of mono and stereo, plus location audio with issues, so it is only so good, is uneven and could use some work.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Rites lacks a consistent soundfield and could/should have been the best sounding release here, but the same on Nobody (better than the Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix also offered) is just a sliver better and the best-sounding film here.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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