(1985/TriStar/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/All
The President's Men
(1976/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Jane
Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The
Way We Were
(1973/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)
B-/B-/B-/B Sound: B- Extras: C+/B+/B-/B- Films: C+/B/C+/B-
Blu-rays produced by Twilight Time are limited to only 3.000 copies
while supplies last and can be ordered at the link below:
for a solid group of serious dramas now arriving on Blu-ray, three of
which are limited editions...
Malle's Alamo Bay
(1985) is the ambitious, if mixed story about a young, joyous
Vietnamese immigrant (Ho Nguyen) who comes to a small town in Texas
to become a fisherman and join other immigrants in the town, even
getting a job with a longtime businessman (Donald Moffat) before
trying to strike out on his own, but racism of the South is
unfortunately alive and well. With a sense of reactionary
self-righteousness, eventually encouraged by a no-good politician,
the caucasian workers start to torment and gang up on the vietnamese,
though this unfolds slowly in the film's 98 minutes, making me wonder
if this was originally a little longer.
of this unfolding happens with a troubled man (Ed Harris in a complex
if thankless role) as a man who cannot make enough money for his new
family and possibly to keep his boat. Amy Madigan is the moral
center in town caught in the middle of the mess and Caroline Williams
is among the very convincing supporting cast. We do believe this is
based on a true story, but the film still misses the mark somehow.
Still, it is worth a look for all the things that work.
J. Pakula's All The
President's Men (1976)
has been issued just in time for the latest political season and
re-reminds us about how pure journalism in its most basic form
exposed the Watergate break-in at Democratic Party Headquarters and
how there were many times the hideous truth almost never made it to
the public and changed the course of history, No, politicians and
others have changed politics (i.e, making it uglier and more
divisive) in a way to ignore how ugly Watergate was and no, we have
not allowed ourselves to learn a thing to fix the system, especially
since many are making the system more broken to get political gain.
what Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin
Hoffman) accomplished was a breakthrough that showed how the founding
father's original design of the country was meant to stop such
corruption and third-world country-style takeovers of the government.
It could be argued we have had that a few times since and the
ongoing WikiLeaks affair shows the power of exposing lies and
secrets, but Woodward and Bernstein did this in the analog era with
limited help at first and now more than ever, it is a story that
needs to be told and retold because it is a triumph of integrity that
is all to rare and more than a few likely thought this would
continue. With the current war on real journalism, the opposite
happened and the world is suffering from this as a result.
Robards, Hal Holbrook, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, Jane Alexander,
Ned Beatty, Meredith Baxter, Steven Collins, Robert Warden, F. Murray
Abraham, Penny Fuller, Valerie Curtin, Polly Holliday and Lindsay
Crouse make up the great supporting cast in what is a classic film.
Stevenson's Jane Eyre
(1944) is one of no less than five adaptations of the novel by
Charlotte Bronte, but we actually reviewed this Orson Welles/Joan
Fontaine feature film version on DVD at this link:
visually capable as the others, no one has really hit it on the head
for me as the best version, but this is as visually compelling and
strong as any understanding the film is as much a gothic horror tale
as a romance, though too many just want to ditch the dark side and
play up the romance in a Pollyannic way. Though it has some issues,
this Blu-ray is a fine upgrade from the DVD in picture, sound and
extras. See more below.
we have Sidney Pollack's The
Way We Were (1973) which,
like All The President's
Men three years later,
was yet another huge hit for Robert Redford, making him one of the
biggest box office stars in history. Joined by Barbra Streisand in a
tale of two people who love each other throughout different important
time shifts of political, world and personal change from 1937 to
about 1955, the film is admittedly a little more melodramatic than
some might like, but their chemistry, Pollack at his directorial
best, the very serious & mature political issues discussed and
the late, great Marvin Hamlisch's music score (down to that immense
title song) made this a huge critical and commercial success.
was also on the rise as a major box office star, especially thanks to
the huge success of What's Up Doc? (1972, see the Blu-ray
review elsewhere on this site) and this only furthered her status as
one of the top women on film. The screenplay's liberalism and
challenging ideas are as fresh as they ever were and supporting turns
by Lois Chiles, Bradford Dillman, Patrick O'Neal, Viveca Lindfords,
Murray Hamilton, Sally Kirkland, Herb Edelman, Susan Blakely and
James Woods helps this film hold up very well. I am surprised a film
this major is only coming out in a limited edition, especially
considering how prominent the music is, so make sure you order this
one in particular if you are a fan before it is too late.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Bay
can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a
transfer to the few previous video releases of this film, all
standard definition. The same 1.85 X 1 HD presentation on Men
has one too many shots that look worn in detail and with more than a
few shots were the color is off, but you can still see plenty of
shots that demonstrate what a well-shot film this really was.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfer
on Eyre can also show the age of the materials used and that
the film needs some more restoration work, but this is a fine, solid
enough improvement from the recent DVD release in better gray scale,
deeper Video Black and cleaner Video White.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Way
is the visual winner here with a very clean print for its age, some
work has been done to clean and preserve the film without ruining it
(much like Funny
on this site) and was shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision and
issued in a
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints. This color here often
shows how good that color must have looked. Director
of Photography Harry Stradling, Jr., (Little
takes a very smooth, practical approach to using the widescreen frame
in a way that is always involving and makes you feel like you are
just in the corner of the events seeing
them, almost able to be there, yet not totally. The use of color is
a plus and this is some of his best work.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Way
has what we would expect to be the best sound on the list with that
kind of channel usage, but thew film was originally an optical
monophonic theatrical release like Bay and Eyre which both sport
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 lossless Monophonic tracks, so it is not
really able to get much past the age of its audio, though the attempt
at a soundfield is at least ambitious.
has a DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono track reflecting its optical
monophonic theatrical sound, but it too shows its age. When you take
all the pros and cons of each film's sound as presented here, they
even out to equal each other.
on all releases save Men
include a nicely illustrated booklet on the respective films
all Twilight Time releases) including informative text, illustrations
and essays by Julie Kirgo, while the discs add Isolated Music Scores
(usually in stereo!) and Original Theatrical Trailers. Men
length audio commentary tracks, with Way
having a one track with Pollack and the other with Kirgo and film
scholar Nick Redman, plus both also have vintage featurettes and Men
also adds a Vintage Interview with Jason Robards on the Dinah Shore
talk show Dinah!
and the bonus DVD has a terrific new featurette
The President's Men Revisited
that is more timely than you could ever imagine.
noted above, you can
Bay, Jane Eyre and Way We Were
limited edition Blu-rays while supplies last at this link: