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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > Politics > Character Study > Rape > Prison > Murder > Crime > Caste System > Misogyny > India > Bandit Queen (1994/Film 4/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Days And Nights (2014/MPI/IFC/Sundance Selects DVD)/Inherit The Wind (1960/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Of

Bandit Queen (1994/Film 4/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Days And Nights (2014/MPI/IFC/Sundance Selects DVD)/Inherit The Wind (1960/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Of Human Bondage (1964/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Bandit Queen and Inherit The Wind Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, are limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while Of Human Bondage (1964) is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

These new drama releases, including three older films, are now on home video for your consideration...

Shekhar Kapur's Bandit Queen (1994) is the director's biopic of Phoolan Devi, a woman who was married off too young by her parents in India to an abusive pedophile, beginning a journey of abuse and worse throughout her life until she gets away from him and becomes a subversive menace to the society, government and its caste system that treats women so badly. Stealing for the poor, she still has more battles and brutality to endure, but the film can get very graphic at times to the point it overdoes it.

Kapur later admits he may have had such moments, but the main problem here is the same as with Oliver Stone on Heaven & Earth (made around the same time, reviewed on Twilight Time Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) in that you have a male director helming a tale that should be directed by a woman. The difference results in the woman being objectified in the wrong ways, no matter how good the male filmmaker is and that happens here almost as badly as in Stone's overly long film. However, Seema Biswas does a great job of playing the title character as an adult and this is not Bollywood fluff to its credit and is a bit more authentic and consistent than what Stone made. It is also not as long. If you can handle the violence, it is worth a look.

Extras include another one of Twilight Time's trusty, illustrated booklets on the film including informative text and essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds a feature length audio commentary track by Kapur and Isolated Score Track.

Christian Camargo's Days And Nights (2014) is a loose adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull, with a great cast that has the family and friends gathering at a lakeside place for Memorial Day. There may be good intentions at first, but that will not last, especially when a older actress (Allison Janney) starts going at it with her artist son (Ben Wishlaw) visiting to see her sick brother (William Hurt). I liked some moments, but thought others fell flat, leading to an uneven transplant of the original story despite a winning supporting cast that includes Michael Nyqvist, Katie Holmes, Jean Reno and Cherry Jones.

This one has some nice shots and locales, but the script has the actors talking at each other instead of too each other no matter how they perform it. You also have predictability, nothing adding up to be memorable and when it ended, it seemed anticlimactic and disappointing. Projecting the original book into it will not help either, but now, you can see for yourself.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by Camargo, Behind The Scenes, Original Theatrical Trailer, Deleted Scenes and Interviews.

Stanley Kramer's Inherit The Wind (1960) is as relevant as ever, dealing with the the famous Scopes Monkey Trial where an educator (Dick York) is put on trial for teaching evolution. Spencer Tracy plays his defense attorney, facing off against hardcore Right Wing prosecutor Fredric March in one of the great court movies of all time. Some of it has dated, some of it more recently become valuable again as a bizarre battle against evolution (and education, progress, science, the future, schools and anything else that matter to having a sustainable future) has risen again, but this was always an important film about how far ignorance can go and its points and portrays are as accurate as ever.

Adding to its power is the solid screenplay adaptation of the original play, Kramer's impeccable directing and a cast that gels well including Harry Morgan as the judge, Gene Kelly, Claude Akins as the extremist preacher, Hope Summers cheering him on, Noah Berry Jr. and Norman Fell among them. As effective as ever, the density of the witch hunt atmosphere is as vivid as ever and as I watched, it was sad to think that not enough has changed. The battle to think, create and question is as important as ever and this film now even seems a bit prophetic, unfortunately.

Extras include another one of Twilight Time's trusty, illustrated booklets on the film including informative text and essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds an Isolated Music and Effects Track and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Kenneth Hughes' Of Human Bondage (1964; Henry Hathaway directed some of this too along with writer Bryan Forbes at one point, uncredited) is the third major feature film version of the classic W. Somerset Maugham novel after the 1934 Bette Davis/RKO classic and 1946 Warner Bros./Paul Henreid/Eleanor Parker version. This time, it is MGM making it, but with the twist that it is an all-British production with Laurence Harvey as the doctor with the troubled past falling for waitress Kim Novak (with a pretty good British accent). Considering the many hands who worked on this one, the makers were trying their best to make this remake count and be remembered more than the 1946 release.

The idea here is that maybe this version could be more sexually open and honest, starting with the ideal casting of its leads, but the script by the smart Bryan Forbes (who became a director in his own right) is also staying faithful to the book and sometimes that becomes a restraint despite the moments that do work. Novak is good in a sometime thankless role, sexy without trying and is not afraid to get dirty or sacrifice her beauty for the role, yet when it all ends, I felt maybe a few opportunities were missed.

Needless to say the talent is here and this is version is definitely worth a look with a supporting cast that includes Robert Morley, Roger Livesey, Siobhan McKenna, Ronald Lacey and uncredited turns by Nicol Williamson and Brenda Fricker. No one has attempted to film the book since, but if they do, I hope they are at least as ambitious as the makers were here.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Bandit and 1080p 1.85 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfer on Inherit are the visual winners here, with Twilight Time again delivering pretty impressive transfers as usual, though the age of the materials used hold these back a slight bit. However, they are authentic, untampered with transfers that are a pleasure to watch.

Director of Photography Ernest Laszlo, A.S.C., (Logan's Run, Stalag, Judgment At Nuremberg (another Kramer classic also on Twilight Time Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), Fantastic Voyage, Airport, Kiss Me Deadly, Vera Cruz, the original D.O.A.) shoots this to be involving in big screen framing that makes a controversial film mire engaging and is the best-looking film on the list.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the DVDs are not bad with Nights being a little softer throughout than the newest entry on this list ought to be. Human has two of the greatest British cameramen ever on it, Oswald Morris, B.S.C. With some shots by Denys Coop, A.S.C. featuring a nice, smooth look throughout. The print is not bad and transfer works for the format.

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless mix on Bandit is easily the winner with solid Pro Logic surrounds that are well mixed and presented, surprisingly so for a film originally issued in Dolby's older A-type analog sound format. Right behind it are the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 lossless sound on Inherit (showing its age, but sounding fine for it) and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the Nights DVD. However, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Human is a little weaker, a bit distorted at times and older-sounding throughout, so be careful of volume switching.

To order the Bandit Queen and Inherit The Wind limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at this link:


and to order the Of Human Bondage (1964) remake on Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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