(2014/Image Blu-ray w/DVD)/Violent
(1955/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)
C+/B- & C/B Sound: C/B & C+/B- Extras: C-/D/B-
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series, while Violent
is from our friends at Twilight Time and only 3,000 copies are being
made. All can be ordered from the links below.
some new action films old and new, all involving anger, revenge and
intricate plots, except one that glaringly fails...
start with an underrated thriller in John Hough's Brass
Target (1978), a WWII
thriller loosely based on what was $250 Million in gold bullion
stolen by someone of Nazi Gold that was meant for the Allies to
split, which includes the then-Soviet Union. That's $32 Billion
today as of the posting of this review. A Soviet officer accused
General Patton (George Kennedy very convincing in the role) of the
robbery being on his end, so Patton tells him in not-so-nice terms
that he'll investigate where it when and return his share. It turns
out it is an inside job and what follows is a plot to throw Patton
and investigators off the case and hide the gold.
amazing cast includes John Cassavetes, Sophia Lauren, Robert Vaughn,
Bruce Davidson, Patrick McGoohan, Edward Herrmann, Ed Bishop, Lee
Montague, Bernard Horsfall and Max Von Sydow as an expert assassin.
MGM made this a big event film, but it was not the hit it should or
could have been despite having strong United Artists distribution
behind it (they were on a roll at the time) so it has become an
interesting gem worth catching again.
few moments mighty seem dated or flat, but this is very consistent
and very well directed by Hough, who started working on the final
seasons of The Avengers
with Linda Thorson, quickly climbing into a directing role. From
there, he landed feature films like Twins
Of Evil, Sudden
Of Hell House, Incubus
the the original Disney Witch
Mountain films, yet also
continued TV work for shows like The
New Avengers and Hammer
House Of Mystery & Suspense.
Here we have a very talented journeyman director pulling off one of
the most complex, largest films of his career and it still works. If
you have not seen Brass
Target, you definitely
should add it to your list.
trailer is the only extra.
(2014) is a new Nicolas Cage film where he is a father horrified that
someone has killed his daughter in a home invasion, a case of his
darker past before becoming a good guy has caught up with him. Or is
it? The worst film Cage ever made (replacing Gone
In 60 Seconds easily) has
no real story, is very formless, follows a formula that telegraphs
(or texts if you prefer) its twist instantly and has the most
violence, blood, guts and outright stupidity in the genre we have
seen in a while. I'll be professional enough not to give away the
twist, especially since you'll figure it out in a few minutes if you
really think about it. Awful!
lame extras include Deleted Scenes, a Making Of featurette and
Alternative Ending that did not help and would not have made a
of great journey filmmakers, Richard Fleischer has made more than a
few underrated films like Soylent
Green and even Mandingo
(both reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), but here we can
add another underrated gem in Violent
Saturday (1955), an
underrated heist thriller like Brass
Target, but on a simpler
scale, yet it also has an amazing cast and is as dark and gritty as a
small group of men (Lee Marvin, J. Carroll Naish and Stephen McNally)
intending to rob a bank in a small industrial mining town. All goes
well until human nature and some plot twists kick in in this
semi-Noirish thriller with some other dark sides.
Noonan is a bank executive who also happens to be a peeping tom and
stalker, Sylvia Sidney is a librarian who has fallen on hard times
who resorts to stealing to pay a big debt, Victor Mature is the man
running the mine who gets involved in the madness and Ernest Borgnine
is the father of an Amish family who clings to his non-violence when
the trio of crooks threaten him on when they return on the run as
part of their master escape plan.
is a well-made, well-acted, event film as well with a cast that just
gets better with time, a look that uses the very wide (wider then)
CinemaScope frame and has so many subtle, smart moments that really
build the film up to its climax that it was built to last and it
does. I had not seen this or Brass
Target for eons, but only
minor flaws stops this momentarily from delivering and it is a
terrific film worth your time.
include another illustrated booklet on the film (standard in all
Twilight Time releases) including informative text and thoughtful
essay by Julie Kirgo, feature length audio commentary track by Kirgo
and fellow film scholar Nick Redmond and isolated music score track.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Target is not bad
for the format, shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision, came from
the MetroColor labs and is not bad as a result. Some shots really
stand out and the wide frame is used to nice effect. The
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Rage
Blu-ray is an HD-shoot that has more motion blur and other limits
than it ought to, so the anamorphically enhanced DVD lands up being
the softest entry on this list. The visual winner here is the 1080p
2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Saturday,
restored nicely and showing off a great example of DeLuxe Color from
the period. I have seen the film before, but it never looked this
good and will impress anyone lucky enough to see it.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
5.1 lossless mix on Rage
is the best sonic performer here, but barely so as it is not a very
imaginative mix and just happens to be professionally done, so they
got something just about right, though the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD is on the weak side. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Saturday
is an impressive upgrade from the originally
4-track magnetic stereo sound with traveling dialogue and sound
effects issued on better 35mm film prints of the time. All the
original qualities are retained, though some sound can show its age.
leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Target
just sounding a generation down and a little weaker than I would have
limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at this link:
to order Brass
go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at: