Accursed! (1957 aka The
Artists/Warner Archive DVD)/Escape
Jinx: The Life & Deaths Of Robert Durst
(2015/HBO Blu-ray Set)
C/B-/B- Sound: C/B-/B- Extras: D Main Programs: C+/B-/B
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
a new set of recent crime drama releases, including an adaptation of
a real life one and a documentary mini-series on another...
(1957) had then-upstart Allied Artists picking up a small British spy
thriller and seeing what they could do with it. Donald Woffit,
Robert Bray, Jane Griffiths, Anton Diffring and Christopher Lee lead
the mystery cast as British WWII soldiers reunite years later, but
some have mysteriously died... or were not so mysteriously murdered.
This is found out by a German Jewish doctor and with all stuck in the
house, who will die next?
78 minutes, it is a tight, decent little thriller that is not great,
but always interesting and I had not seen it for many years. The
cast is solid, it has a good look going for it and is always at least
smart. Those interested should give it a good look.
Siegel's Escape From
Alcatraz (1979) is a
loosely-based-on-a-true-story drama about the men who somehow managed
to get away from the island-based prison that was deemed unescapable.
Clint Eastwood leads the cast of those daring to get away, made
harder by the great Patrick McGoohan as the not-too-nice prison
warden who is more than a match for any of the toughest prisoners.
Those who have never seen it, but liked Shawshank
Redemption or are more
familiar with the Sean Connery/Nicolas Cage hit The
Rock (both reviewed
elsewhere on this site) should go out of their way for this one.
who taught Eastwood how to direct, was still able to create tension,
suspense and a palpable dark sense of realism in his films decades
after making his mark in Film Noir in a second career as director.
He was a major editor at Warner Bros. before that, honing his
narrative skills and abilities to construct with impact early
on. There's very little humor here and little time is wasted in
getting started or moving the story arc along. Richard Tuggle's
script was so good here, Eastwood had him direct the underrated
Tightrope a few years later. Look for Fred Ward, Danny Glover
and Carl Lumbly among the cast of unknowns.
Fielding delivered a really good score and Director of Photography
Bruce Surtees created a look for the film that has aged very well.
Jarecki's The Jinx: The
Life & Deaths Of Robert Durst
(2015) tells the unbelievable (it was more so then than these days)
story about how a man with money went around pretending not to have
any and even be other people, all while possibly committing murder.
Even the various ways he got out of jail, with huge amounts of money
he didn't seem to have suddenly showing up to save him from
incarceration. What was going on here? Was he innocent and just
kept showing up at the wrong places at the wrong time?
it took six-hours to show what was really going on tells you how
bizarre Mr. Durst's life and behavior was and that as eccentric and
suspicious as he was, he was not getting arrested or called on
anything going on simply because he had money. The comclusion
is as much a character study of him as it is of our justice system
and as this arrived, he was finally charged with murder in an ongoing
case. Cheers to the producers, Jarecki and HBO for yet again going
the long way in investigative reporting to expose the truth and yet
another scandal. Can't wait to see how the next parts of this tale
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 black and white image in Accursed
has some nice shots, but can be soft and has more light debris and
dirt throughout than it ought to have, but I like the look of the
film. Someone should upgrade this one for HD.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Alcatraz is
from an older HD master so fine detail and black crush can be seen
throughout the disc, but it was a darkly shot film (not too much so)
and this will do until a new HD master can be made. Thus, it can
equal the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
Jinx due to a variety of old analog, regular definition clips
and some similar low-def digital clips to tell the story over its 6
episodes, while the new HD shooting is not bad.
for sound, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Accursed is low
and on the weak side, sounding as second-generation as it looks, so
this again needs some upgrading. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Alcatraz
tries to expand the original theatrical monophonic sound of the film,
which was always a bit flat, but comes up with mixed results.
Another attempt at upgrading is going to need the original sound
stems with the latest transfer technology, but it would be worth it.
leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the Jinx
episodes, which are often simple stereo in their interviews and often
monophonic or problematic location recordings otherwise, so any added
music or the better sounding material is the sonic highlight by
default, but only expect so much sonically. The makers have done
their best though.
of these releases have any extras, but Jinx
has Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes
capable devices for a limited time, but we won't count that one as it
DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive