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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Historic > Epic > Royal > Costumes > Melodrama > British > Concert > Jazz > Pop > Standards > Rock > Soul > Diane (1955/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Experience Montreux 3D (2010/Eagle Blu-ray Set)/The Only Game In Town (1970/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Second Chorus (1940/HD Cinema Classics/Film C

Diane (1955/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Experience Montreux 3D (2010/Eagle Blu-ray Set)/The Only Game In Town (1970/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Second Chorus (1940/HD Cinema Classics/Film Chest Blu-ray w/DVD)

 

3D Picture: B     2D Picture: C+/B-/B/B- & C+     Sound: C+/B/C+/C+ & C     Extras: C-/C/C+/C+     Main Programs: C+/B/C+/C

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: Diane is only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the first link below, while The Only Game In Town Blu-ray is limited to 3,000 copies and is available exclusively at the Screen Archives website which can be also be reached at the second link at the end of this review.

 

 

Now for a nice mix of Classic Hollywood, Musical and Music releases you should be aware of…

 

David Miller’s Diane (1955) is the last film Lana Turner did at MGM under her original contract and it was a big epic production as she played the title character (pronounced Dee-anne) who was married to a King (Pedro Armendariz) but falls for a young Prince (a young Roger Moore) with big sets, big music and big moments of drama that run between boring and unintentionally funny when they do not work.  Running 110 minutes, they quit while they were ahead, and yet this still does not work as often as it should or could have.  I never believed the royal marriage and the Turner/Moore relationship has an odd mix of chemistry, partly because of the age difference.

 

Miller (Sudden Fear, Lonely Are The Brave) was shooting one of the last CinemaScope films that would be a bit wider (2.55 X 1) before accommodations for a second optical soundtrack permanently reduced the width to 2.35 X 1, so when it drags, it drags a little more than one would like.  The supporting cast is not bad either, including Sir Cedric Hardwicke, plus the studio (slowly moving away from Musicals) put the money into it.  However, like Hawks’ Land Of The Pharaohs (also from Warner Archive, reviewed elsewhere on this site), the film just never adds up.

 

Still, it has some moments that make it worth a look and this one of three films Moore had under contract at MGM.  They all did poorly and he was dropped, a decision they later regretted.  Armendariz later found bigger success in the James bond film From Russia With Love and Moore became Bond for 7 films in a row.

 

A trailer is the only extra.

 

 

We have reviewed dozens of concerts from the long-running series at Montreux and Experience Montreux 3D (2010) is our 85th, mostly issued by Eagle Vision and though many have been DVDs and more than a few have been Blu-rays, this is one of the few 2-Blu-ray sets and the first to arrive in Blu-ray 3D.  There are three shows here including the first that is really a compilation that includes performances by Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock, both of whom have a show each to themselves.

 

The compilation also includes Massive Attack, Mumford & Sons, Angelique Kidjo, Elvis Costello, Nas and the Maccabees among then 15 tracks here.  Hancock guests on one of the Jones tracks and his own show ruins 8 songs.  That not only makes it a fine intro to these shows as mostly Jazz productions, but remains one of the few music-based Blu-ray 3D releases to date, which is as puzzling as it is unfortunate.  However, this is a solid set and even if you only see it in 2D, you will be impressed, especially if you like Jazz.

 

A booklet on the programs is the only extra and for more music releases on Blu-ray 3D, try these releases:

 

Bryan Pezzone: Piano Pieces 3D

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11776/Berliner+Philharmoniker:+Daniel+Bar

 

Carmen in 3D

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11530/Carmen+in+3D+(Opus+Arte+Blu-ray

 

Kenny Chesney: Summer In 3D

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10876/Kenny+Chesney+–+Summer+In+3D

 

Lang Lang: Live In Vienna 3D

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10675/Lang+Lang:+Live+In+Vienna+3D+(2

 

Peter Gabriel: New Blood – Live In London

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11317/Peter+Gabriel:+New+Blood+%E2%80

 

 

George Stevens had not made a film in five years when The Only Game In Town (1970) became his last, following The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) as another disappointment at the box office.  Based on Frank D. Gilroy’s play about a showgirl and gambling-addicted piano player/lounge singer had many actors circling the roles, but the duo landed up (like Diane above) being a combination of a maturing actress and young, up and coming male star.  Here it would be Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty, both of whom have two of the most public histories of multiple relationships of anyone, yet the combination of the two does not always work when it might possibly have.

 

Part of the problem is because of the age difference, it feels and seems more likely they will not be able to last as a couple.  Gilroy wrote the screenplay adaptation and the exchanges and issues the two have are real enough as both actors do their best to make their roles work, but Taylor was in an odd part of her career as Beatty was on a role after Bonnie & Clyde with this being one of the few misses he had at the time.

 

As compared to Desperate Characters (reviewed elsewhere on this site) another Gilroy play which he directed on film that time with Shirley MacLaine (Beatty’s real life sister) among others, this seems a little less real and naturalistic, yet Vegas is gaudy enough that some of the oddity and coldness fits the city.  Ultimately, it is not a great film, but an interesting enough one that deserves to be seen again and Fox has licensed it to Twilight Time as one of their 3,000 copy Limited Edition Blu-ray releases that brings smart, often overlooked films to the High Definition world.  Fans will be thrilled and film fans who have never seen it should try top get it.

 

Extras include another illustrated booklet with another solid essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds a standard-definition trailer and DTS-HD 2.0 lossless Isolated Music Score composed by Maurice Jarre.

 

 

Finally we have a new edition of H.C. Potter’s Second Chorus (1940), a Musical with Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredeth we reviewed years ago in another public domain copy on DVD (nice cover) at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/1534/Second+Chorus+(Passport)

 

My opinion still holds on the film, though to see it on Blu-ray shows us the dancing and acting performances better.  Meredeth steals several scenes, Astaire was still one of the greatest dancers in cinema history and though the film does not always work, it too is worth a look for what does work and legendary musician and Big Band conductor Artie Shaw plays himself.

 

Extras in this edition are better than the previous one, including a postcard with poster art, restoration comparison, a newly made trailer for the film and another fine feature length audio commentary track by film scholar Tom Santopietro.

 

 

The 1.78 X 1, 1080p full HD MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Montreux is impressive and better than the 2D 1080p version which has some minor flaws and detail issues from its native HD shoot in all cases.  Some material may be 1080i, but that’s fine too.  Color is not bad in either version and the 2D is equal to just about all other Montreux releases on Blu-ray to date.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Game is also excellent, coming from a decent 35mm print showing off how good the DeLuxe color was at the time of release and includes some great shots of the original Las Vegas that are up there with the two best Blu-rays featuring such footage: Diamonds Are Forever and Viva Las Vegas.  Taylor is shot with diffusion lenses in what was one of the last uses of such lenses for a long time, so those shots are supposed to look that way.  The print is not perfect, but I have never seen the film look better, so Fox and Twilight Time have done a fine job.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 2.55 X 1image on Diane was shot in the older CinemaScope system (using two lenses) so we get the expected, usual distortions and EastmanColor was the color of choice, so it does not look as consistent as it could due to the age of the color on the 35mm print, which itself show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and only makes me wish some more work could be done and a Blu-ray would get issued, because there is more color range and reproduction to get out of this film.

 

Too bad neither Game or Diane were issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints, but they are well shot.

 

Diane was lensed by Director of Photography Robert H. Planck (Ship Ahoy, Lily, Anchors Away, Royal Wedding, Above Suspicion, Moonfleet) and dopes a decent job of using the very widescreen frame, no matter how stilted it can look at times, while Game was lensed by legendary Director of Photography Henri Decae (Bob le Flambeur, The 400 Blows, Purple Noon, Le Samourai, The Boys From Brazil, The Island) in part because Liz insisted the film be shot in France since Richard Burton was there, pushing up the budget big time, but it looks fine here and there are still plenty of shots from the real Vegas.

 

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 image of Chorus has the film in a black and white 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image centered properly and is from a 2K master of a 35mm nitrate print.  It has some flaws and detail issues here and there, but is far superior to all previous releases of the film, though the anamorphically enhanced DVD sticking the 1.33 X 1 frame in a 1.78 X 1 space renders the film too soft like the older DVD, which was full screen 1.33 X 1.

 

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Montreux concerts all have solid soundfields, but some are even more impressive in their range and fidelity, but on average, all are excellent and that makes it easily the best sonic entry on this list.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Game is a little smaller and quieter than intended and too much in the center channel for my tastes, but it sounds better when sound boosted if you can do that.  Just be careful of volume levels and switching, something you do not have to worry about with the excellent isolated music score in DTS-MA 2.0 Stereo.

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Chorus is also a bit rough and maybe not even as clear as Game, but it sounds fine for its age, though it could use some work.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the DVD is weaker, but better than the older DVD version and equal to the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Diane.

 

The film was originally designed for 4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects, which you can hear to some extent, but it would be nice if the 4-track was found and remastered for a future release.

 

 

To order the Diane DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:

 

http://www.warnerarchive.com/

 

...and The Only Game In Town Blu-ray can be ordered while supplies last at:

 

www.screenarchives.com

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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