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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Pulp > Superhero > Comedy > Thriller > Spy > British > Crime > Drama > Murder > Mystery > Bri > Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze (1975/Warner Archive DVD)/The Double Man (1967/Warner Archive DVD)/Luther 3 (2013/BBC DVDs)

Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze (1975/Warner Archive DVD)/The Double Man (1967/Warner Archive DVD)/Luther 3 (2013/BBC DVDs)


Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C-/D/C- Main Programs: C+



PLEASE NOTE: The Doc Savage and Double Man DVDs are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Here are some new action thriller drama releases for you to consider...



Michael Anderson's Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze (1975) is the first and to this posting, only adaptation of the Kenneth Robeson (aka Lester Dent) action pulp novel series in live action and we have never had an animated version. Then-recent TV Tarzan Ron Ely was cast in the title role and fantasy producer (and sometimes director) George Pal would produce. Warner put up the budget, the production design and sets would be extensive, it would be set in its past period and hopes were high this would be a series.


Unfortunately, it was a dud (which may have shocked some) gong for some camp, though the ad campaign made it seem more like a 1960s Batman episode than it actually was. Its influence would eventually show up in the Superman films, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai, but so few people have seen it since and it it did not even become a cult item of any sort. Fans have bought up this on-line only edition, but even with its attention to detail, having all of his friends The Amazing Five well cast and written up in the script, the film is still uneven to this day.


It is uncanny how much Ely looks like the character and at this point, when so few people who did bodybuilding were seen on a normal basis, his body may have seem more exaggerated than we would see it as today. However, it was exactly as the character had been often illustrated to be. With a planned remake expected sometime soon, it would be a great time to see it now on its own before that happens, but will the remake be able to capture when Pal, Anderson and company did pull off here? We'll see.


Anderson was due to reunite with Pal on Logan's Run, but when MGM finally made the film, Anderson did it with a different producer, this became Pal's last big production sadly and when it was released in 1976 (see the Blu-ray review elsewhere on this site), it was the hit even thought Savage would be.


An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extras, but we thought it would be fun to add that the then on-the-rise Mego Toy company had signed a license to do action figures build around the movie, but this all fell through as the film bombed and Mego either cancelled when they saw it or because they did not. No prototypes have been found yet, but an 8 or 9-inch action figure line was planned and hardly any paperwork can be found on this. However, Doc has a car and Mego decided to still manufacture it, but it became a car for their Sonny & Cher line!



Franklin J. Schaffner's The Double Man (1967) has Yul Brynner as a top government agent going to the Alps to find out if his son's death was an accident or some kind of assassination. We know in advance that he is being set up, but not for what as a vengeful head soldier (Ronald Radd of Callan) confers with a fellow soldier (Anton Diffring) who is in on the plot. The film wants to be like a Bond film (soon to be outdone by On Her Majesty's Secret Service (reviewed elsewhere on this site) two years later) yet also a more serious Cole War thriller. By splitting the difference down the middle, it is a mixed success.


Still, the locales are nice, the fight scenes not bad, writing not bad and cast a big plus also including Clive Revill, Britt Ekland, Moira Lister and Lloyd Nolan, plus the film began Director Schaffner on a roll that included Planet Of The Apes, Patton and The Boys From Brazil. There are enough good moments in the 105 minutes that anyone serious about action films should see this one at least once. I was happy to revisit it.


There are no extras, unfortunately.



Finally we have the more serious BBC crime drama Luther 3 (2013) the Idris Elba hit that I though was not bad to begin with and many have raved about. We get four episodes this time out and as I felt from the last season, the TV grind was starting to catch up with the show and this time out, it has pushed it into a police procedural corner that even the leads solid talents cannot get it out of.


The teleplays are still smart, but I was hoping for some kind of breakthrough and we don't get that here. Now, I just wonder if the show will just work itself into rendering itself boring. Having his own fellow officers in conflict with him does not always work either. Now you can see for yourself, but I would recommend you start at the beginning.


The only extra is a Making Of featurette, but you can read about the previous seasons starting with the second and working back from this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11703/Luther+2+(2011/BBC+DVD



The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Savage and Double were originally issued In dye-transfer, three-strip 35mm Technicolor prints in the U.K., but only Double got the treatment in the U.S. since the format had been discontinued in The States by 1974. You can see the good color in both transfers more than a few times as lensed by the films respective (and respectable) Directors of Photography (Fred J. Koenekamp (Patton, Billy Jack, the original Amityville Horror) on Savage and Denys J. Coop (Billy Liar, Asylum, Vault Of Horror) on Double. Both DVD have detail issues and minor print flaws, but both do also eventually deserve Blu-ray releases and with Savage selling so well and about to be remade, it might just get one.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Luther is a new HD shoot and has its share of styling down issues and some motion blur, but can compete with the feature films.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Savage and Double and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Luther are also evenly matched, though I wish the films we in stereo and the TV show in 5.1.



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


http://www.warnerarchive.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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