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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Detective > Mystery > British > Drama > Family > Gangsters > TV Production > Italy > TV Situation C > Kill Or Cure (1962/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/My Old Lady (2014/Universal Blu-ray)/Panic Button (1964/Gorton/Warner Archive DVD)/The Wonder Years: Season Two (1988 - 1989/New Line/Time Life/Star Vista DV

Kill Or Cure (1962/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/My Old Lady (2014/Universal Blu-ray)/Panic Button (1964/Gorton/Warner Archive DVD)/The Wonder Years: Season Two (1988 - 1989/New Line/Time Life/Star Vista DVD Set)

Picture: C+/B-/C+/C Sound: C+/B-/C/C+ Extras: D/C+/D/C Main Programs: C/C+/C/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Kill Or Cure and Panic Button DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

These are the latest comedy releases, one of which is new, the rest a mix of older titles finally hitting DVD...

George Pollock's Kill Or Cure (1962) is a Terry-Thomas comedy as an inept private eye landing up at a health farm to help a client who turns up dead to his shock. Now he will stay there no matter what (including bad food and odd treatments) to find the killer. Not a great film, but an amusing one thanks in part to the cast that includes Eric Sykes, Moria Redmond, Lionel Jeffreys as the police detective who suspects everyone as a killer, Dennis Price, Katya Douglas, Ronnie Barker and a few likable dogs in this lightweight romp.

A British MGM production, it looks good, but has not aged well story-wise playing a bit like a TV sitcom, if not Britcom. Still, I enjoyed seeing what did work here and Anglophiles, plus anyone who likes these actors will want to see this one once.

There are no extras.

Israel Horovitz's My Old Lady (2014) follows the formula of slightly absurdist comedies with Kevin Klein back in funny Kevin Klein mode as an American guy who thinks he has inherited an apartment building in France from his father, only to find it is occupied by an old woman (Maggie Smith) who has a few secrets to hide and is in an arrangement where she was paid to stay there! This shocks him as much as anything and he starts to figure out how to fix his financial situation where he is broke.

Kristin Scott Thomas and Dominique Pinon (Alien Resurrection, et al) also show up in what becomes an obvious, predictable comedy trying to go for that 'nice' feel we've now seen a 1,000 times since the 1980s and one that is long played out. Doing it with better actors does not change anything and neither do the good-looking locales. I want a script that works, not a travelogue with a few light jokes.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds the featurette 92 Street Y where the great Annette Insdorf interviews Klein & Horovitz for about an hour.

George Sherman's Panic Button (1964) is one of those odd comedies that somehow got made as big screen filmmakers did not quite know how to react and compete with TV situation comedies. Jayne Mansfield (who would find herself in this kind of situation again with The Fat Spy with Phyllis Diller, reviewed elsewhere on this site) plays the object of the affection of the son of a gangster (future Mannix Mike Connors, credited as Michael here) who flies to Italy on behalf of his dad to make a TV pilot that will lose money!

The star they want to hire is an older well-known (Maurice Chevalier) thinking that will help make sure this one sinks. Of course, it will not be that simple. They also hire a pretentious director (Akim Tamiroff) for bad measure, but suddenly, everyone is clashing. The script is also all over the place including moments that make no sense, Chevalier singing two whole songs that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot on what is definitely a non-musical and many would-be humorous moments that simply do not work.

There are even glaring mistakes (the pilot is shown at a film festival, but it is widescreen when all TV was narrow vision, so continuity is not this film's strong point at all) so we get to settle for beautiful shots of Italy and Mansfield if nothing else. The use of the scope frame is not bad either, but when its 90 minutes ended, it felt like an interesting opportunity was missed here (like doing The Producers a few years before Mel Brooks) and even the final ending is goofy while the title does not even really fit in. Time for the Mystery Science Theater guys to go after this one.

There are sadly no extras.

The Wonder Years: Season Two (1988 - 1989) continues the separate season releases of the series getting a belated DVD release since rights to the original music from the series for home video release were a big issue holding the show hostage in the vaults. Not a big fan of the show unlike my fellow critic who covered The Complete Series set (see link below), the endlessly voiced-over show (even in the voice of the likable Daniel Stern) never worked for me, got too cutesy for its own good and never stuck with me. It is not an awful show, but it never totally rang true for me and I know I am hardly in a minority on this one.

Still, it is a special show that has rightly found a fan base and I can see why it is doing so well in belated release. The actors are good, they got the remake of The Beatles classic With A Little Help From My Friends by the late Joe Cocker, yet it never totally feels like it comes from the years it takes place in. Now, you can see in separate season volumes before buying the whole series if you are not certain.

Extras include The Times They are Changin: The Era featurette, School Days roundtable featurette with Danica McKellar, Fred Savage & Josh Saviano and separate interviews with Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold), Alley Mills (Norma Arnold) and Daniel Stern (narrator), but you can read more about the Complete Series DVD set at this link:


All the seasins have been issued as singles since and the Complete Series received a regular, standard box release. See more about the elsewhere on this site.

Though it has its soft moments and ones of slight detail issues here and there, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Lady Blu-ray is the best visual performer here as expected, followed by the black and white, anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Cure and anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Button, the latter shot in rarely used TotalScope widescreen format used on films like The Cossacks (1960), The Minotaur (1961), The Tartans (1962) and the Goliath film series among the many films that were usually sword & sandal flicks, usually on the cheap. Button was one of the last films to use the format, not counting a few films that used 'Super' TotalScope, but more on that another time. Both monochrome prints are in decent shape and transfers not bad.

That leaves the 1.33 X 1, 35mm color-shot episodes of Years (likely finished on analog videotape for their TV broadcast) looking good in daylight shots, but lacking in darker shots throughout.

In the sonic department, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Lady is well mixed and presented, but is too quiet and refined at times to take total advantage of the multi-channel possibilities as expected for a light comedy, yet that is enough to outdo the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Years DVD episodes and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the older black and white films. However, the mono sound on Button is particularly weak, so beware of volume switching.

To order either of the Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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