Last Night (2014
& Fall Of A Bird Watcher
Cinema Archive DVD)/The
B-/C/C/C/B Sound: B-/C+/C+/C+/B- Extras: C-/D/D/D/B-
& Fall Of A Bird Watcher,
DVDs are now only available online and can be ordered from Amazon on
is a mixed selection of comedy releases...
was hoping Steve Pink's remake of About
(2014) would start from scratch with the original David Mamet book,
even asking Mamet to adapt, as I was no fan of the original as you
can see in my review of that 1986 release:
it is an amazingly bad rehash of the amazingly overrated original,
with the alleged twist simply being an all-African American cast as
if no one (regardless of sex, age, religion, skin color, nation
origin, etc.) had ever heard of the original. So we get a full
rehash with Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant.
Too bad it is sooooo dull. These actors and the rest of us deserve
Behind The Scenes featurettes, three of which are Blu-ray exclusives,
plus Ultraviolet Copy are the only extras.
Krish is best known for his long series of documentary and shorts
work, but he could take on the occasional narrative film and even
turned out three great episodes of the full color Diana Rigg/Emma
Peel episodes of The
He actually brings some of those sensibilities to his film
of Evelyn Waugh's Decline
& Fall Of A Bird Watcher
(1968) which is not a great film or even a very successful one.
However, it has some fine visuals and some interesting moments.
Phillips is Paul Pennyfeather, our private school student title
character whose misadventures start when he gets involved with an
older woman who is part of an elite he is not part of. From there,
he meets more eccentrics, lands up in more plain and wild situations
and more in this very odd and very British odyssey of the absurd and
this includes some wild costumes, exceptional use of color and
remarkable production design.
it feels a little long at 112 minutes despite a parade of exceptional
actors in good form including Kenneth Griffith, John Glyn-Jones,
Donald Wolfit, Donald Layne-Smith, Michael Elwyn, Colin Blakely,
Helen Christie, Clifton Jones, Genevieve Page, Robert Harris, Leo
McKern, Ivor Dean and Patrick Magee. Add an interesting Ron Goodwin
score and fine cinematography by the great Director of Photography
Desmond Dickinson, B.S.C. And you can tell the makers were trying for
a classic. They missed, but this one is definitely worth a look.
are no extras.
(1964) is a remake of the director's own 1954 hit Three
Coins In The Fountain,
which we reviewed on DVD years ago at this link:
original was not that great, even though this remake has a nice cast
that includes Ann-Margret, Carol Lynley, Pamela Tiffin, Tony
Franciosa, Gardner McKay, Andre Lawrence, Gene Tierney and Brian
Keith. Taking place in Madrid, Spain, it has a few interesting
moments, but this was a film that did not need remade. Worth a look
for what does work, which is only so much, but if you like the
actors/stars, you should see it at least once.
are no extras.
Hugh Herbert's Scudda-Hoo!
(1948) is a sometime too-silly comic boy/gal story with June Haver
and Lon McCallister possibly getting together living in midwest
farmlands. There is little to it and it has the pop culture aside of
having Natalie Wood in another child acting role, but it is often
forgotten just the same except for a brief appearance of an up and
coming actress in her first big screen appearance: Marilyn Monroe.
Don't blink, though.
there is not much more to offer and it is maybe worth seeing once.
are no extras.
(1939) is the classic gem here, remade unsuccessfully a few times,
this deceptively simple film based on the hit Claire Booth Luce stage
play, Cukor and MGM used it as a showcase for their unbelievable
female star power in what is considered the greatest year of the
Classical Hollywood era. A look at all kinds of women in an upscale
world, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Paulette
Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Marjorie Main, Mary Boland, Ruth Hussey and
Lucille Watson head a great cast in this still-amusing, sometimes
funny woman's film to end them all.
time capsule as well of a pre-WWII America, the film juggles its
personalities and ideas with panache and shows a filmmaker and studio
that knew what it wanted, what to do and how to make this kind of
film work. Later films with female team casts like a few on this
list were made possible by this critical and commercial success, but
they were not always able to pull off what was accomplished here.
See this one for laughs and for the classiness of it all.
include Score Session Music Cues, One
cartoon, two Another Romance Of Celluloid documentary featurettes, a
black and white version of the fashion show with totally different
footage and Original Theatrical Trailers for this and its first
remake, the 1956 campy musical drama The
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Women
is in great, restored shape, mostly in the glossy black and white MGM
had like no other studio, then the fashion show was shot and
presented in dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor looking just as good. That makes it the best
presentation here, despite being the oldest film on the list and
looks as good as the fine 35mm print I was many years ago. The 1080p
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on About
is a new shoot, but it is no better than the transfer on the older
1986 film's Blu-ray and that is not good. Nothing demo worthy
either, but the DVDs are the weakest of all.
show the age of the materials used, from the 1.33 X 1 problematic
print of Scudda
which was also a dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor release to the
DeLuxe Color 1.33 X 1 presentation on Bird
(good color in a too-soft print) and letterboxed 2.35 X 1 version of
the CinemaScope presentation on Seekers.
They all need some work.
the sound department, the Blu-rays tie despite About
offering a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix and Women
offering a much older DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix
as the former is on the weak, dialogue-based side and the latter has
had its audio very well preserved.
The DVDs tie again for last place, but fare a bit better with lossy
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono in all cases, but they sound fine for their
age and the compressed format.