Brittany Murphy Story
Wharton: The Sense Of Harmony
In Spain (1961 aka Scent
(1959)/Cinerama/Redwind Limited Edition Blu-ray w/CD)
C/C+/C/B- Sound: C+/C+/C/B- (CD: B) Extras: D/C-/C-/B
Main Programs: C+/B-/B-/C+
Blu-ray/CD set is now only available from our friends at Redwind
Entertainment, only 2,000 copies will be made and it can be ordered
from the link below.
group of new releases get us behind the scenes of the arts and show
business in unexpected ways...
it comes to TV movies, the Lifetime Network continues to find new
ways to desecrate the format and with their production partners at
Marvista, strike again with Joe Menendez's The
Brittany Murphy Story
(2014) attempting to tell the story of the actress who died way too
young and had a promising career ahead of her. It starts with her
(Amanda Fuller) as a young, slightly heavy, insecure gal with dark
hair, how the film Clueless
put her on the map when her mother (Sherilyn Fenn) was not certain
what would happen and hits a promising stride when she gets involved
with Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher is played as such a nice guy here,
you'd think he secretly co-produced this telefilm.
for Murphy, that relationship ends and they become too distant for
her own good, a creepy photographer who seems to have obsessed about
her all along gets into her life and they marry (!!!???!!!) and she
lands up dying under mysterious circumstances. The teleplay is more
exploitive than it lets on and there are more than a few historical
holes in it all, whittling down a far more interesting story before
it is cheapened by this schlocky take. There are enough amusing
moments (and wacky unintentional ones) to see this for the mess it
is, but proceed with caution.
are no extras, unless you count Digital Copy.
Del Amo's Cantinflas
(2014) fares better as a biopic of the the highly successful comic
actor (Oscar Jaenada does a great job playing him) and how he
struggled before becoming an international sensation. Born Mario
Moreno, the script keeps the flashbacks to a minimum, has some great
period moments, has Michael Todd (Michael Imperioli really good in
the role) going after him for his independent mega-production of
The World In 80 Days
(1956, which took longer to make that you'd think), his personal
life, the women who kept trying to bed him, the businessmen who kept
trying to use him and what he did with his celebrity.
102 minutes, this is not bad, though a little more about his Mexican
films (several of which we have been lucky enough to review elsewhere
on this site) would have helped, I think this is well-rounded despite
falling into some biopic formula. I hope many people see this one
and his work is rediscovered again... and Around
The World In 80 Days
is issued in a restored version finally!
trailer and Digital Copy are the only extras.
Wharton: The Sense Of Harmony
(2014) may run only 57 minutes, but it manages to really pack in the
details on the life and work of the famous author and her work that
is the perfect crash course for those interested. Not only did she
write books about proper and polite society, she was divulging its
secrets and also wrote horror stories. I like how the history of
Capitalist Elites in the U.S. at the time are included and all the
interviewees/experts do a great job of adding to the data and
information we get. I did not know what to expect from this one, but
what a pleasant surprise that I wish were even longer.
trailer is the only extra.
but not least is Jack Cardiff's Holiday
(1961), a cut-down version of Scent
(1959) that was meant to be a grand spy thriller in the Hitchcock
tradition (shot on 65mm negative akin to the VistaVision Hitchcock
thrillers like To
Catch A Thief,
reviewed elsewhere on this site) with Denholm Elliott (now known for
the original Indiana Jones films) in the lead as a mystery writer
following a real mystery. He gets assistance from an amusing cabbie
(Peter Lorre) who speaks his mind and may know more than he lets on,
but off they go. The original film had a Smell-O-Vision gimmick
where smells where pumped into the theater, but that was no a big
hit, so the film was cut down and turned into a standard big screen
movie release to get more money out of it and make it profitable.
Michael Todd Jr. (his father had died by this time in a terrible
plane accident) and mother-in-law Elizabeth Taylor co-financed this
one, but in this cut has many issues.
of the condition of the prints used for this Blu-ray version, scenes
cut out has broken up narrative coherence and new, often bizarre and
awkward voiceovers added by Elliott for this version only make it
seem cheap, dumb and goofy. Some of the shots do look good as
expected, but this lacks suspense, humor we get never really works
and it is only sometimes amusing. Seeing it once (I had seen the
awful, further cut up version from an unfortunate MTV broadcast
decades ago instead of seeing at least this version) had ruined
seeing it widescreen a bit for the first time, but you'll be luckier
to enjoy this version.
also helps is the supporting cast including Leo McKern, Paul Lukas,
Beverly Bentley, Peter Arne and Liam Redmond, plus a cameo by Diana
Dors. No, this is not a great film by any means and is not even the
original version of said film, but Holiday
is worth a look for the ambitious big screen film it was meant to be
and was the end of an era in spy films as the next year brought the
first James Bond film, Dr.
include a bonus CD soundtrack for the music from the original version
of the film by Mario Nascimbene, a thick miniature reproduction of
the original Scent
movie program, while the Blu-ray disc adds several trailers for
Cinerama (and Cinemiracle) films (including the upcoming Golden
restoration), a Then & Now look at the film's locations, montage
of stills & original production ads, restoration/reconstruction
featurette, Deleted Scenes & selection of rushes, exclusive
interviews with Beverly Bentley & Susan Todd (Michael Todd Jr.'s
daughter) and a feature-length audio commentary track with Bentley,
historian Bruce Kimmel and restoration/reconstruction head/historian
3 DVDs offer anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image frames and tend
to be on the soft side, Cantinflas
by style choice in part and Murphy
by bad choices, so it is a surprise that despite some aliasing
tends to look more consistent. Once again, the Blu-ray is the visual
champ, but not without its issues.
1080p 2.59 X 1 digital High Definition image Smilebox transfer on
Spain can show the age of the materials used, as it is a
reconstruction of the second version of the film from two surviving
70mm prints of the film in fading Eastmancolor prints. Shot with
Mitchell 65mm cameras and standard lenses (versus MGM Camera 65/Ultra
Panavision 70/Technirama-type and not in Todd-AO either, despite
Michael Todd Jr. producing, the film was originally issued in a
longer version with Smell-O-Vision (30 scents were pumped in out of
the theater as audiences originally view it in limited release) when
it was called Scent
That also included a
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version of the film when it at
least was cut into three strips for Cinemiracle and/or Cinerama
presentations, but it was not shot that way, so those were blow-up
Strohmaier and company have done as much as they could with what they
had just for us to see how good this looked in its original release,
but the prints are too badly faded in some places, while some
in-camera flaws surfaced in other places despite the fact that
Cardiff is one of the greatest cameramen of all time and was assisted
here by Director of Photography John Von Kotze. The materials were
in such poor shape that it is amazing it looks as good as it does,
but color is inconsistent and other flaws were very hard to fix.
Strohmaier is referring to this as a reconstruction since not all the
elements were available, but it gives you an idea of how the older
film was repurposed. The sound was originally offered in 8-track
magnetic sound, but that soundmaster was lost.
the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix here comes from the
best portions of the surviving 70mm prints and their 6-track magnetic
sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects, which is decent, but
some sections of those tracks in both cases were a little worn, so
expect inconsistencies. Still, they did a nice job considering the
PCM 16/44.1 2.0 Stereo on the Scent
CD sounds even better throughout with very consistent sonics and
careful remastering. All of this makes you wish the original film
had somehow survived instead of being shelved and, for now, is lost
in its original form.
for the DVDs, the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Murphy
are good recordings, but nothing spectacular, while the lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo on Wharton
is passible, but a little inconsistent like many such low-budget
documentaries of its kind.
Blu-ray/CD set exclusively at this link: