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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Teens > Drugs > Crime > Poverty > Sex > India > Politics > Farming > Mining > Western > Feud > Kidnapping > Beneath The Harvest Sky (2013/Tribeca/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/That Girl In The Yellow Boots (2010/Indiepix DVD)/Gold Is Where You Find It (1938)/Lolly Madonna XXX (1972 aka Fire In The Meadow/MGM/Warner Arc

Beneath The Harvest Sky (2013/Tribeca/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/The Girl In The Yellow Boots (2010/Indiepix DVD)/Gold Is Where You Find It (1938)/Lolly Madonna XXX (1972 aka Fire In The Meadow/MGM/Warner Archive DVDs)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Gold Is Where You Find It and Lolly Madonna XXX DVD are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

These dramas have some amusing moments, but deal with serious issues just the same...

Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly manage to coherently enough co-direct Beneath The Harvest Sky (2013), a tale of two childhood friends now young men working a potato farm in a town between Maine and Canada, wanting to desperately get out. The more passively egotistical one (Emory Cohen) just got his girlfriend pregnant and starts getting the both of them involved in drug dealing to get quick, big money for their plans to escape the area. Of course, they are a bit naïve and things are not going to work out as hoped.

Despite the premise, not all is as predictable as you might think, we get some great scenes, a solid cast of actors acting and many nice sequences that are slice of life with little dialogue that manage not to force the narrative to make sudden stops. This is also good-looking, though styled down a bit for mood. Some predictability and a so-so ending hold this back, but it is worth a look including some actors we may see again. Aidan Gillen also stars.

Extras include Deleted Scenes and two featurette on the making of the film sponsored by co-producers Terra Chips.

Anurag Kashyap's The Girl In The Yellow Boots (2010) starts out very promisingly as a drama about the title character (Kalki Koechlin) working to find her way in the world, even if it is making extra money doing sexual favors for men at shady massage parlors. For the first reel of this, I thought we might get something bold and thoughtful with a new female discourse out of India at first, then a subplot involving her irresponsible boyfriend (a con artist type who gets involved with drugs) lands up causing dealers to look for her and attack her.

Suddenly, the story is not about her as it had begun, including a quest to find the father she never knew. The result is one too many missed opportunities (despite a good cast and many scenes that do work) that stopped this from being a big surprise winner. It at least sometimes takes us places we have not been before and is worth a look if you are interested.

A trailer and Q&A with the director are the only extras.

Michael Curtiz's Gold Is Where You Find It (1938) is a semi-Western drama in full Technicolor with a Max Steiner score and Olivia de Havilland in a female turn a year before Gone With The Wind that Warner made as Westerns were finally becoming a full-fledged genre. Facing farms and other waste destroying their farmland in the 1870s, a group of farmer (led by Claude Rains) eventually find themselves at logger-horns with a greedy mining company (led by Sidney Toler) who want to get gold and anything else any way they can at the cheapest cost and highest profits.

The daughter of the veteran farmer (de Havilland) has fallen for a young man (George Brent) who goes to work for the mining company, but that could tear their love relationship apart and much worse. The romance, melodrama and Western aspects are all tied together by what turns into a big courtroom drama in the end as the film boldly asks key questions about greedy and (ir)responsibility without wallowing in it. Curtiz is in rare form here on a roll and though the film is a little uneven, it is definitely worth a look and deserves to be rediscovered. Tim Holt and Gabby Hayes are among the solid supporting cast.

A trailer is the only extra.

Richard C. Sarafian's Lolly Madonna XXX (1972, based on a book by famous mystery writer Sue Grafton) is an underrated drama by the Vanishing Point director that has been out of circulation for a very long time, but has always been discussed in good terms. A Hatfields/McCoys split is going on between two families headed by stubborn patriarchs (Rod Steiger and Robert Ryan in perfect casting). Neither are stellar fathers and have big families that always taunt each other and worse. Ryan's sons create a ploy to get the rival family away from their moonshine set-up so they can destroy it by making sure they find mail by a woman who does not exist, coming up with the name of the title of this film. Unfortunately for a real life young woman (Season Hubley), she is abducted in the area when changing buses when mistaken for the fictitious gal in the piece of phony mail!

That lands up setting off long-simmering tensions between the families and all hell breaks loose, as just about everyone loses their minds taking on each other. Though some scenes do not work and I was not convinced the actors playing siblings were that, the supporting cast is amazing including Jeff Bridges, Scott Wilson, Gary Busey, Kiel Martin, Ed Lauter, Randy Quaid, Paul Koslo, Timothy Scott and Katharine Squire would today have pushed the budget of this thing insanely high, yet some of the actors were not as known when they made this. That makes this definitely worth a look, the best film on the list and even when it does not work, it just keeps moving like a real movie should. Again, a film worthy of rediscovery.

A trailer is the only extra.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Harvest is easily the best presentation here despite some styling and softness, but the look they go for works to the narrative's advantage. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Girl is the softest of all here with a blurry transfer, though I think it is also the way the HD was shot. We'd have to see an HD presentation to be certain, but I was patient with it because a consistent look is still achieved. The black & white 1.33 X 1 image on Gold is not bad for its age and ties the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Lolly for second-best presentation on the list.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Harvest is also the best-sounding well mixed and presented, but is too quiet and refined at times to take advantage of the soundfield, even in a limited way. It is recorded pretty well too for the most part. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Girl DVD and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Gold have their flaws and are about even, sounding better than expected. That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono Lolly a bit weaker than I would have liked and I know this could sound better.

To order the Gold Is Where You Find It and Lolly Madonna XXX Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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