(2015/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/A
Killer In The Family
Warner Archive DVDs)
B-/C/C/C/C+/C Sound: B-/C+/C+/C/C+/C Extras: C-/D/D/C-/C/D
All DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
a look at more thrillers for you to consider seeing and should at
least know about...
(2015) combines the stuck-in-a movie with the 'sudden identity
switch' con story and does both very badly. Here January (Amy
Manson) comes home not remembering how she landed up physically
injured or who her real family is, but the persons in the house claim
to be that and are there to help her.
A boyfriend who never met them is with her and everything seems fine
at first, but we immediately know something is wrong and as more and
more odd things happen, we know we are not being told or shown any
more truths than she is.
there, we are supposed to figure out the big mystery, but every clue
is telegraphed to the audience in the worst ways proving once again
that the makes of the rightly-named Insidious film seem to be
totally incapable of any form of suspense or building a good mystery.
This runs on and on and on and on for a very long 92 minutes, we get
little in the way of real character development and the acting is
nothing to write home about either. Unless you are very
curious, this one is best skipped.
trailer and Making Of featurette are the only extras.
T. Heffron's A
Killer In The Family
(1983) is a rare drama produced by the infamous Sunn Classics
exploitation outfit, known for their speculative hot films allegedly
telling us the
of things like Noah's Ark, Jesus and near-death experiences. Based
on a true story, Robert Mitchum is
the father of three young men visiting him in prison, but they miss
hi so much that they want to break him out. When they do, it becomes
a mess and the chase is on.
one is a curio because of who plays his sons. You have Lance Kerwin,
the big up and coming star of the time who did not go onto what he
should have and both Eric Stoltz and James Spader, who suddenly
became the next big young stars. They are convincing together, but I
found it sometimes hard to believe they were Mitchum's sons. Still,
this has some good moments, while other moments fall flat and it all
ends to abruptly. Stuart Margolin (reuniting with Director Heffron
from their his Westworld sequel Futureworld, both reviewed elsewhere
on this site), Salome Jens (Seconds) and Lynn Carlin also star and
Gerald Fried supplies a decent music score.
are unfortunately no extras.
(1967) is a dramatic thriller about a young drug-addicted gal who
turns up dead at the hands of her party hosts/drug suppliers. Sam
(Richard Boone, taking a star turn after many supporting roles ans
the hit TV show of his people still love, Have
Gun - Will Travel,
reviewed elsewhere on this site) got a phone call from the gal before
she turned up dead and does not think it is an accident despite what
everyone else thinks. Sticking to this, he'll go back and forth
putting his life and livelihood in danger and watch things get crazy
in the process.
script is not bad and the idea that this older (read moral) guy takes
on younger adults taking advantage of the young counterculture for
their own pleasures is handled in interesting ways, even if the film
is a bit uneven in plotting. The unknowns are not bad here, while
Joan Blondell turns in a mostly dramatic solid performance and the
likes of Chip Rafferty and Kent Smith add to the tension of the plot.
I did not always buy this one, there are some good stand-alone scenes
and the Hawaiian locales are used to best effect, making this always
watchable even when it does not always work. Think of it as a curio
you never heard of and if interested, give it a good look..
are unfortunately no extras.
(1965) is another of the major films MGM put an up and coming James
Garner in to launch his big screen stardom in after Maverick
was such a huge TV hit for rival Warner Bros., but this was among the
many films that only did so well.
Here, he plays a man who wakes up not knowing who he is, makes up a
name for himself and tries to figure out who he is and what has
happened to him.
finding a phone number that leads him to one woman (an initially
unrecognizable Angela Lansbury) starts to think he sees a woman he
recognizes (Katharine Ross) and then another (Suzanne Pleshette)
seems to match up with his memories better. However, things are
still not adding up and when he sees a psychotic, dangerous person is
on the loose from the newspaper, he starts to think it might be him!
the script is ambitious and MGM got some good stars in here also
including Jean Simmons and Nichelle Nichols around the time she
debuted on the original Star Trek, the clues and conclusion
are not as strong or convincing as they should or could be. However,
seeing these stars work together and how this at least sometimes
works, those curious should see it once. I just thought now as I did
years ago, this one does not add up as much as I wish it had.
Making Of featurette is the only extra.
(1973) was an alternate crime drama film for Robert Duvall a year
after the first Godfather
was such a huge blockbuster, but is a different kind if film he did
for MGM that has sadly become lost in the shuffle. A smart,
sometimes suspenseful thriller that has aged well enough, it may not
be a great film, but it has its moments and is the best release here.
Duvall plays a man who has just been released from prison as his
brother has been killed by the title entity because of disagreement
over money and a heist, one he & his brother's crew did not know
the target of which was owned by them. Still, he thinks they have
gone too far and wants revenge.
the help of one of the fellow-heist operators (Joe Don Baker), they
get back at them in bits and pieces, all while he juggles his
girlfriend (Karen Black) and targets the main man (Robert Ryan) in a
series of scenes that add up nicely enough. Jerry Flelding's music
score is a nice plus, as is the supporting cast that includes Joanna
Cassidy, Henry Jones, Sheree North, Richard Jaeckel, Timothy Carey,
Jane Greer, Archie Moore and Elisha Cook Jr. that makes this
definitely worth a good, strong look.
trailer is unfortunately the only extra, but you can read more about
the music score at this link in our coverage of the limited edition
(1935) may be just over 80 years old, but it is a surprisingly
effective and interesting little drama with some mystery and crime
starts out as a simple story of a man and district attorney (Warren
William) who loves the daughter (Barbara Stanwyck) of the current
governor so much, he marries her, but does it without anyone knowing
for privacy and to keep any public conflict thereof to a minimum.
However, when a murder takes place, her father could be in big
trouble and a secretary (Glenda Farrell) may go to jail or worse for
being guilty of murder.
our title character (Stanwyck) has seen what actually happened, but
to keep their secret, will stay silent. But for how long when it may
send someone to the electric chair? Well, this is a Hollywood film
during the code's early years, but it still has some good moments in
its tight, solid 64 minutes. Nicely done, it is worth a look, but
only expect so much. Still, the money is on the screen with the
are unfortunately no extras.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Estranged
is easily the best performer here being a a new HD shoot and the only
Blu-ray here, but it is still inconsistent, flawed and has a few
issues with detail and motion blur. Thus, the
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 on
is able at times to compete, a solid representation of the original
it was intended in, it looks so good that it deserves its own
the rest of the DVDs are softer and have their own issues that hold
them back of what otherwise are solid, professional shoots. The 1.33
x 1 color image in Killer
is not bad, but it was meant for TV and this copy is at least second
generation. Time to go back to the 35mm here.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Kona
is as colorful as anything on this list, shot to be colorful and take
advantage of its production period and was originally issued in
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor 35mm prints. Even as soft and
even muddy as this transfer gets, the color still comes through and
the film would strongly benefit from a Blu-ray release. It could not
be more colorful than it is here, surprisingly.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 black
& white image Buddwing
is from a nice clean print, but it tends to just be too soft
throughout via what is an older transfers, as is the case with the
1.33 X 1 black & white on Secret,
but that print also has light dirt and debris throughout with some
print damage. Both would also look much better on Blu-ray, but the
Video Black and Grey Scale on both are convincing for the format.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Estranged
is well mixed and presented, but the soundfield is not as good as it
ought to be and the music is so much better than the dialogue
recording that it sounds like the on-set work was not as top notch as
it should have been. All five DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono, with Buddwing and Bride sounding poorer than the rest
unfortunately, so be careful of high volume playback and volume
order any or all 5 of the Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for
them and many more great web-exclusive releases at: