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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Racism > Immigrants > Thriller > Journalism > Politics > History > Federate > Literature > Gothic > Ro > Alamo Bay (1985/TriStar/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/All The President's Men (1976/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Jane Eyre (1944/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Way We Were (1973

Alamo Bay (1985/TriStar/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/All The President's Men (1976/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Jane Eyre (1944/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Way We Were (1973/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Alamo Bay, Jane Eyre and Way We Were Blu-rays produced by Twilight Time are limited to only 3.000 copies while supplies last and can be ordered at the link below:

Now for a solid group of serious dramas now arriving on Blu-ray, three of which are limited editions...

Louie 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.

Some 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.

Alan 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.

However, 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.

Jason 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. See it!

Robert 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:


As 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.

Finally 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.

Streisand 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 Girl, reviewed elsewhere 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 Big Man, Midway, Convoy, The Prophecy, Midway) 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.

The 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. Men 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.

Extras on all releases save Men include a nicely illustrated booklet on the respective films (standard with 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 and Way add feature 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 All The President's Men Revisited that is more timely than you could ever imagine.

As noted above, you can order Alamo Bay, Jane Eyre and Way We Were limited edition Blu-rays while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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