Blu-ray)/Fragment Of Fear
(1970/Columbia/Sony/Warner Archive DVD)/From
Beyond The Grave
(1973/Amicus/Warner Archive DVD)/Mr.
Jones (2013/Anchor Bay
(1973/De Palma/Arrow U.K. Region Free Import Blu-ray)/The
Strange Woman (1946/Film
B-/C+/C/B-/B/C+ Sound: B-/C+/C/B/B-/C Extras: C/C-/C-/D/B/D
Region Free Import Blu-ray is only available from our friends at
Arrow U.K., while Fragment
Beyond The Grave
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their great Warner
Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
group of thrillers is worth knowing about...
involves a cop (Willem Dafoe) going after a hired killer (Matt
Dillon) as a way to break up a ring of murderous killers, including
taking down its kingpin (Tom Berenger). A potentially good set up
and with a good supporting cast that includes Amy Smart, Neal
McDonough and Bill Duke, this is a serious attempt to of a gritty
crime thriller and has its moments.
some of the editing is awkward and the film becomes uneven. Then I
figured out why. The director passed away as this was being finished
and it is unknown if he got to finish this to his satisfaction, so
out of respect, the makers have left it as he saw it apparently.
That's a shame, because all involved were taking the material
seriously and this has its moments. You'll want to give it look just
to see how well it was going.
Scenes and a Making Of featurette, Taking
Down An Empire: On The Set,
are the only extras.
C. Sarafian's Fragment
was an attempt by the director and star David Hemmings to do a
mysterious thriller that makes you question reality and if the lead
(Hemmings plays a writer recovering from drug issues) who is now
being harassed, or is he? His Aunt is murdered and he tries to find
out why, but that is not going to be easy. Gayle Hunnicut is his
girlfriend trying to help him, but the screenplay by Paul Dehn
Days To Noon,
some of the original Planet
Of The Apes
sequels) keeps things uncertain to the end.
film is no Blow Up, but it has its moments and the supporting cast
including Flora Robson, Adolfo Celi, Daniel Massey, Roland Culver,
Arthur Lowe and Wilfrid Hyde-White are all a plus in this intelligent
thriller. Everyone should give this one a look.
theatrical trailer is the only extra.
Beyond The Grave
(1973) is one of the anthology films the Amicus Studios cooked up to
bring in as many high profile actors as they could in one movie and
push it. Peter Cushing is an antique shop owner with items for sale
that might not be as innocent as they look. Playing like a few
episodes of Night
we get supernatural dimensions, killers and other unexpected twists
here. Unfortunately, the results are very mixed, with the cast and
ideas often more interesting and convincing than the action.
it is also a serious attempt at solid horror fans will want to see at
least once and also stars Donald Pleasence, Diana Dors, Nyree Dawn
Porter, David Warner, Margaret Leighton, Ian Bannen, Ian Carmichael,
Leslie-Anne Down and Ian Ogilvy. I like the look of the film too.
theatrical trailer is the only extra.
(2013) is yet another tired, lame rehash of Blair
a piece of garbage whose cheap, cynical success continues its
possibly permanent damage on horror films. This one is
embarrassingly boring and even the actors look listless, looking as
generic as all the previous ones doing the same exact things into
total comatose dead-endedness. Less shaky camera work is no help
so-called title character is supposed to be scary, but you will laugh
or giggle if you have not fallen asleep after the long, long 84
minutes of this badly edited and not well thought out package deal.
thankfully no extras.
De Palma's Sisters
was the first of the director's many Hitchcockian thrillers, but
unlike the Master's many imitators, De Palma was just coming off of
some experimental comedy & political films and had more advanced
ideas of where to take what Hitch had established. In the year after
Hitchcock released his last great film Frenzy,
De Palma has no less than Bernard Herrmann creating a great music
score for this thriller about a young woman named Danielle (Margot
Kidder) meets a guy on a game show and brings him home. Her twin
sister (they were conjoined at birth) does not like him and bad
things start to happen.
a highly inquisitive reporter (Jennifer Salt) happens to be in a
building across from where Danielle lives sees what has happened and
investigates, but she keeps running into barriers into finding the
truth (some of which trivialize her because of her gender, which was
more common then) and things much more sinister than anyone can
imagine is going on.
great thriller that not enough people have seen, it is one of De
Palma's best films and has been celebrated by scholars like the late,
great Robin Wood (see his great book Hollywood
From Vietnam To Reagan... And Beyond
elsewhere on this site) and Criterion issued a terrific DVD edition
14 years ago (already!) that has been the definitive edition of the
film on home video... until now. Now we have an updated version that
is as spectacular as any previous version and if you can get it,
you'll love it. Barnard Hughes, William Finley, Dolph Sweet, Charles
During and uncredited Olympia Dukakis also star.
for an Original Theatrical Trailer, extras on this version of Sisters
is totally different than the Criterion version, a reversible sleeve
featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham
Humphreys, a totally different and new illustrated collector's
booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Kier-La Janisse
of Psychotic Women)
as well as Brian De Palma's original 1973 Village
essay on working with composer Bernard Herrmann and a contemporary
interview with De Palma on making Sisters,
and the 1966 Life magazine article that inspired the film, a PAL DVD
version of the film, a terrific Gallery
promotional material from around the world, archival audio interview
excerpt with star William Finley and these featurettes: What
the Devil Hath Joined Together: Brian De Palma's Sisters
- A visual essay by author Justin Humphreys, All new interviews with
co-writer Louisa Rose, actress Jennifer Salt, editor Paul Hirsch and
unit manager Jeffrey Hayes and The
De Palma Digest
- a film-by-film guide to the director's career by critic Mike
we have Edgar G. Ulmer's The Strange Woman (1946) back on DVD in an
HD-upgraded transfer from Film Chest. We reviewed this campy wreck
in an Ulmer DVD box set years ago at this link:
is as bad as ever, but watching it in a better transfer does make it
more interesting and reminds us how beautiful Hedy Lamarr really was.
However, all her beauty could not save this one and if you have
never seen it, at least see this better copy if you must.
are no extras.
its age, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
rarely shows the age of the materials used and is richer and thicker
in color, depth and detail than the old Criterion DVD, but the film
was originally a 1.66 X 1 shoot and in the opening credits (unlike
Criterion), Arrow zooms in and cuts off a credit. Still, this is a
fine-looking film and shows De Palma always had a great cinematic eye
along with Director of Photography Gregory Sandor (The
brought to the film. So much so that the 1080p 1.78 X 1 HD-shot
digital High Definition image transfers on the other Blu-rays lensed
40 years later may look good, but not always so and miss the
cinematic mark visually.
anamorphically enhanced 1.66 X 1 image on Grave
and anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Fear
were both originally issued on 35mm film prints in dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor versions of the film, but Grave
(lensed by the late, great, Alan Hume, B.S.C.) is in mixed shape and
(lensed by the great, but recently deceased Oswald Morris, B.S.C.)
has the color in its print, but I had to adjust my monitor to get
true Technicolor. Both deserves Blu-rays.
leaves the new HD-mastered 1.33 X 1 black & white image on Woman
looking better than expected despite print damage.
for sound, Jones
has a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix that is the best on the list and is easily
its default highlight with a consistent soundfield.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Country
(possibly not finalized like it might have been before the director's
death) and PCM 2.0 Mono on Sisters
(sounding better than expected) tie for second place. All 3 DVDs
offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but Fear
outdoes the somewhat compressed Grave
soundtracks that need restoration work, though Woman
might not have a better source to turn to.
can order Sisters
on Blu-ray among other expanded Arrow U.K. special editions at this
to order either of the Warner Archive DVDs of Fragment
Beyond The Grave,
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases