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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Thriller > Drama > Homosexual > Stalker > Counterculture > The Detective (1968/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Flareup (1969/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)

The Detective (1968/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Flareup (1969/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Detective limited edition Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while Flareup is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

After Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), thrillers and filmmaking were changed forever and as more innovations hit filmmaking during the decade, innovations culminated in groundbreaking work in all genres, including non-Horror thrillers. The following two films show the different directions A-level movies from major studios in Hollywood chose.

Gordon Douglas' The Detective (1968) shows the side where things became more and more serious and tried for realism, sometimes grim in ways no one had ever seen before. We previously reviewed the film on DVD at this link:


Now, Fox has allowed Twilight Time to issue a Limited Edition Blu-ray, possibly because the film I still controversial, in part because the homosexual content was considered shocking and groundbreaking at the time. Yet, Gay Civil Rights hit months after the film did decent box office and some elements in it were already considered old hat and stereotypical (I can hear Lily Tomlin say 'now they were killers' in the way Hollywood showed gay men too often until Friedkin's Cruising in 1980), though we get some good portrayals here. Needless to say gay men did not make this film and it shows.

Outside of that, it is more than just a mere police procedural, but a mystery that seems to take us somewhere that we don't know what to expect next and sex is only part of it. The conclusion is a bit much and goes on too long, but the sheer ambition of this remains impressive no matter how it ends and I wish more films, especially in its genre, would be this bold. Sinatra was trying to push beyond Lady In Cement and Tony Rome, succeeding well enough. No matter it limits, The Detective is worth your time, but be expecting R-rated themes.

Extras versus the DVD doubles the Original Theatrical Trailers for the film from 1 to 2, then adds another illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another smart Julie Kirgo essay, while the Blu-ray adds an amusing, informed, feature length audio commentary track by film scholars Nick Redman, David Del Valle & Lem Dobbs and a lossless Isolated Music Score presentation of another great score by Jerry Goldsmith. You can read more about the Tony Rome/Lady In Cement double feature Twilight Time has since released at this link...


James Neilson's Flareup (1969) might seem like a silly film at first, but this thriller with the all-time cinematic sex bomb Raquel Welch as a go-go dancer who is stalked by a killer after she witnesses him committing a murder is more interesting, suspenseful and unintentionally funny than you might expect. Welch had been in Sinatra's Lady In Cement and her choice to try thrillers and hist films was a very smart move, taking risks sometimes that worked (The Last Of Sheila) and some that did not (like Myra Breckinridge), but she understood her star power and runs with it here.

She is appealing without trying and though her acting deserves some criticism, how would a woman of her socio-economic class and means, how much different would she act? Luke Askew is very good as the killer trying to get her and James Stacy shows up as a love interest. There are also many beautiful women in the film (like the woman in the title sequence that shows up dancing to a variant of the title song later), but that Raquel can still stand out with all that competition is amazing. I also liked the way it dealt with issues of the day (a gay woman hits on her after a dancing performance and the way she lets her down is not a put down, but very smart and classy, which is why Raquel fans love Raquel) and it is in that spirit the film's script tries its best to be realistic.

Of course, this still cannot stop from being campy, unintentionally hilarious at times and has a climax that is a howler, but so much here works and is interesting, it remains one of my favorite Welch films and one that deserves better than it gets. See it!

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Detective has much to live up to as the older DVD we covered looked good and this transfer improves in almost every way: color, definition, depth, warmth and consistency. However, some shots have a flat Video Black to them and in more than a few scenes, the shots are so dark that background details are gone. Strange, but that's what we get and it is a bit of an issue for an otherwise fine presentation.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Flareup is at least as colorful as it is not as darkly themed a thriller, but like the Deluxe Color on Detective, the MetroColor here has some limits. The print used is in decent shape and makes one wish for a Blu-ray.

The older Detective DVD offered a lossy Dolby Digital 4.0 mix, but the new DVD is a more outright improvement with a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo mix and flatter DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix. Going from 4 to 2 tracks may seem like a step backwards, but the stereo tracks just seem warmer, richer and better overall.

The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Flareup is unfortunately weaker than I would have liked, so you should be careful of high volume playback and volume switching.

You can order The Detective limited edition Blu-ray among other great exclusives (now including the Tony Rome/Lady In Cement double feature) while supplies last at these links:




...and to order the Flareup Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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