(1958/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The
Hateful Eight (2015
Theatrical Cut/Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Shadow
Of Doubt (1935/MGM/Warner
B-/B/B+ & C+/C Sound: C+/C+/B+ & C+/C Extras:
B/B-/C/C- Films: B-/C+/B-/B-
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,
is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
are four very unique, key genre films you should know about and see
at least once....
Franco's Count Dracula
(1970) is a really interesting film with Christopher Lee once again
playing the most famous vampire of all time, but instead of making
this as part of the series he did at the Hammer Studios, this was a
one-shot adaptation of the original book where Lee plays the
character at a much older age (including the age he was at the time)
wanting to do the book purely and originally. A lack of budget and
circumstances got in the way of that a bit, but this was part of a
larger cycle of Dracula and vampire films beyond Lee's Hammer work,
including television, comic books and even hit records.
takes a different tone with the character, the look & feel of the
film is different from anything Hammer and a supporting cast that
includes Herbert Lom as Van Helsing and Klaus Kinski as Reinfierd
(later Nosferatu himself in the Werner Herzog remake in 1979) makes
this a version that has only appreciated in value, but has not always
been as available. It holds nothing back in the blood and grossness
department, but that makes it all the more authentic and closer to
the book than many other versions before and since.
are also some scenes that are very effective (co-producer Harry Alan
Towers co-wrote the screenplay adaptation) and we get some good
chemistry between the actors throughout. Severin has issued this on
Blu-ray uncut from a new HD transfer that has its moments.
Especially in this longer cut, this is one of the key Dracula,
vampire and horror titles to have. Along with the great locations
and sets, Maria Rohm, Fred Williams, Soledad Miranda, Jack Taylor,
Paul Muller and Franco Castellani also star.
are many and include CUADECUC, VAMPIR (1970), an
Experimental 'Making Of' Feature By Pere Portabella based on this
film, a fun feature-length audio commentary track with horror
historian David Del Valle and Actress Maria Rohm, Beloved Count
interview with Director Jess Franco, An Interview With Actor Jack
Taylor, Handsome Harker interview With Actor Fred Williams,
Stake Holders: An
Appreciation By Filmmaker Christophe Gans and a German Theatrical
(1958) is an unusual Western from Daves, who was no stranger to the
genre, with Glenn Ford as the head of a posse of working cowboys and
Jack Lemmon as a hotel worker who meets them and lets their head man
know he has money and is interested in making more the hard way... by
joining them. Ford thinks he's grossly underestimating his abilities
to endure and survive the great outdoors and hard work required to
make a single penny and say no. However, circumstances start to
twist and turn enough that they land up together, like it or not.
is not an outright comedy, despite Lemmon's famous talents for that
genre and Ford has proven he can do comedy as well, but is only
passively funny himself. Instead, this seriocomedy takes the
situations seriously and any comedy is incidental, ironic or
contextual. Thus, this is not just another disposable comic Western
of any kind and is trying to do more in its long 92 minutes. Dick
York, Richard Jaeckel, Brian Donlevy, Strother Martin, King Donovan,
James Westerfield and Frank DeKova are all a plus, but this tends to
drag a bit.
of the reasons this tries to stretch the genre without being a major
transitional work in it is Dalton Trumbo was the writer, originally
uncredited during his Hollywood Witch Hunt exile, so this has more
clever things going for it than if it were standard writing and a
standard release. However, it also does not always gel and so, this
is still for Western fans only or those curious to see the players
(or how Trumbo's work was handled), so I see why Sony and Columbia
Pictures decided this one should be a Twilight Time Limited Edition
Blu-ray. As usual, they have done a great job with this release.
include another illustrated booklet on the film including informative
text and very cinematically literate essay by Julie Kirgo that is
standard with all Twilight Time releases, while the Blu-ray adds a
feature length audio commentary track with Kirgo, Nick Redman and
Paul Seydor that really gets to the core of the film, Isolated Music
Score by George Duning and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
Tarantino's The Hateful
Eight (2015) has been
issued in its slightly shorter Theatrical Cut only for now by Anchor
Bay on Blu-ray with a DVD copy. Originally, an early draft of the
screenplay was leaked in an incident that led to a lawsuit at one
point, but Tarantino always intended it to be a 70mm production and
after a time, he fortunately changed his mind and the production
eventually got under way. Little did anyone know it would lead to a
revival of one of the great large-frame formats.
film starts with people meeting in the middle of blizzard conditions
when it is calm, then all land up at a haberdashery, where some know
each other from reputation and others from previous meetings. What
happenstance. From there, things start to not add up depending on
whose perspective we are following, with everyone looking for the
next reward money (Kurt Russell plays a man who has taken a rough
Jennifer Jason Lee prisoner to collect on her arrest) and the Civil
War has ended, but the hatreds than made it possible... like all
major wars, are far from over.
the indoor locale becomes the slow boiler for the return of the
repressed. Samuel L. Jackson is a solider who fought for those
yankees, while Bruce Dern is a Confederate whose seen his world fall
and end. Tim Roth and Michael Madsen are among the other solid
supporting actors (we won't revel all) who also turn up and as usual,
we get some rough language, some gross moments, pure hate pure anger,
pure violence and crazy twists that tell us it could only be a
Tarantino film. The Weinstein Company backed this more than any film
any studio or distributor has backed in recent memory, down to 70mm
productions and 70mm presentations nationwide; up to $80,000 a screen
just to install such projectors, plus prints and skilled
projectionists for the longer roadshow version.
Blu-ray only has the shorter version, but as it turns out, those 20
minutes of footage from that longer director's cut does make enough
of a difference and enough of an impact that I prefer the longer
version. Still, this is impressive enough in this shorter cut and
even in that form, is one of the best Westerns in the last few
decades... a genre that needs totally reinvented every time you make
one or you fail. Tarantino did not and its a new chapter in his long
line of purely cinematic experiences. Definitely catch it if you
haven't yet, but expect a very graphic tale.
in a slipcase packaging that opens up in the front, the DVD copy and
Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber
iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds Sam
Jackson's Glorious Guide to 70MM
which does a great job of explaining the Ultra Panavision 70 process
a Behind The Scenes look at the film.
B. Seitz's Shadow Of Doubt
(1935) starts out simply as a tale of a few gals interested in the
same movie producer (Bradley Page) who want to be with him, work for
him or use him against other men in their life... until he is killed!
That leaves the women (Virginia Bruce, Isabel Jewell, future
Westinghouse Electric spokeswoman Betty Furness) and at least one man
(Ricardo Cortez) murder suspects. The police, headed by a so-so
detective (Edward Brophy) tries to find out, but the dead man's
reclusive aunt (Constance Collier) is already questioning one of the
women when he is killed, so she
intends to find out who done it!!!
nice twist on the usual mystery at a time when Hollywood was making
so many good feature films of them, you think at first auntie will be
a royal pain, snob and really bad person making all the drama worse.
Then she springs into action and the film takes a 180-degree turn
that makes it more interesting, fun, exciting and suspenseful. The
result is a remarkable 74 minutes that one wishes went on longer, but
the makers get in there, tell their story and wrap it up on a good
note. This is a fine mystery gem worth going out of your way for.
original theatrical trailer is sadly the only extra.
1080p 2.76 X 1 digital High Definition image on Hateful is
often a remarkable transfer, including demo shots for any HDTV (and
4K Ultra HDTV), shot on Kodak Vision 3 65mm camera negative film
stocks throughout by the incredible Robert Richardson, A.S.C. with
Ultra Panavision 70 anamorphic lenses; the first film in half a
century since Khartoum (reviewed on limited edition Twilight
Time Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) to use the format that saw only
ten feature films produced this way. It is lavish, expensive, meant
to imitate 3-camera Cinerama in one camera and its return is stunning
and a true, pure cinematic event in itself.
70mm productions going back to the 1950s (as well as large frame
VistaVision) and recent actual IMAX 70mm productions tend to look
really great on Blu-ray and this being the newest such narrative
production, expect to see color, detail, depth and definition like
nothing on home video today. Using this superior equipment with the
best movie camera negative stocks ever made delivers a key must-have
disc for any serious collection. The indoor shots are worthy of
Ford's The Searchers, while the outdoor footage bests Ice
Station Zebra (ha!) and will make you want to get any IMAX
Blu-ray you can get for comparison. It also compares extremely well
to the 70mm print I viewed of the uncut version of the film, a true
event screening (booked everywhere for two weeks) that was as
important as any film engagement of the last 20 years.
anamorphically enhanced DVD version is also included, but it is not
able to compete with the Blu-ray in hardly any way and is even a
little softer than expected.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dracula
has a consistent full color print that shows the age of the materials
used a bit, but despite the good condition and the color on the
stable side, it seems a bit lite for being shot on Eastmancolor 35mm
film stocks and shots in the supplements confirm some warmth and
richness is missing a bit. Despite that, detail is good and we get
some depth, so this is not a bad presentation and I don't think any
Technicolor versions of the film exist at least in the U.S. despite
several Hammer Draculas of the time getting that treatment.
Otherwise, it looks really good and was lensed by two main DPs.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Cowboy
can show the age of the materials used, but the film was actually
issued in 35mm
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor versions of the film and the
color holds up well here to the point that you can
see in many places how good it must have looked in such copies.
Director of Photography Charles Lawton Jr. (The
Lady From Shanghai,
Carter - Master Detective,
3-D Technicolor Miss
to pull off something odd here in making the film look like a top
A-level Hollywood production while still also making it look dirty
and gritty. The two qualities almost go to war with each other here,
but the result does not seem strictly from its late 1950s time
period, so it has not dated like most Westerns of the time. Of
course, this can still ring odd, but I cannot imagine this looking
much better either way.
1.33 X 1 black & white on Doubt is so well shot and a
Grade A release from the original, giant MGM Studios, but this
transfer is sadly a little too soft and print a little beat in parts.
Thus, this underrated mystery romp deserves a total restoration for
Blu-ray and it would be worth it. Even here, you can see the great
shooting, money on the screen and smart approach to how this was
shot. For its age (18 years and counting!!!), it also impresses.
for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Hateful
is often as exceptional as its image, well mixed, presented and even
better than the DTS 70mm sound I heard theatrically. Again,
Tarantino takes total advantage of the multi-channel possibilities,
so the film's impact just increases. Add the Oscar-Winning Ennio
Morricone music score and you have one of the best soundmixes of the
past few years. The DVD has a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is
passable, but a bit weak, especially as compared to the DTS on the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
1.0 Mono lossless mixes on Cowboy
and PCM 2.0 Mono on Dracula
I had hoped would reveal all kinds of interesting nuances in the
respective films and though they sound good, both are a bit more
sonically limited than expected and a bit disappointing. Sure, they
sound better than they ever have before, but they show their age more
than I thought. When you compare the isolated music score on Cowboy
to its soundtrack, that becomes more obvious, but the sound stems
were obviously too old or lost for even a simple stereo upgrade.
leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Doubt sounding its
age too much, with tiny spots of brittleness here and there, but more
than deserving of a restoration and upgrade.
order the Cowboy
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
to order the Shadow
Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: