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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Thriller > Detective > Heist > Bank Robbery > Caper > Terrorism > Spy > British > Horror > Zombie > We > Bulldog Drummond (1929/United Artists/Samuel Goldwyn Company) w/Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951/MGM/Warner Archive Double Feature DVD)/Million Eyes Of Su Muru (1967) w/The Girl From Rio (1969 aka Rio 7

Bulldog Drummond (1929/United Artists/Samuel Goldwyn Company) w/Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951/MGM/Warner Archive Double Feature DVD)/Million Eyes Of Su Muru (1967) w/The Girl From Rio (1969 aka Rio 70): Shirley Eaton Double Feature (Blue Underground Blu-ray)/Night Of The Living Dead (1990/21st Century Pictures/Columbia/Sony/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Ride Vaquero! (1953/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Sunchaser (1996/Regency/Fox DVD)/Support Your Local Sheriff/Support Your Local Gunfighter (1969, 1971/United Artists/MGM)/Thunderbolt & Lightfoot: Encore Edition (1974/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Night Of The Living Dead Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia and can play on all Blu-ray players worldwide, the Support double feature and reissue of Thunderbolt & Lightfoot are only available from our friends at Twilight Time, are both limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while the Bulldog Drummond and Ride Vaquero! DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

If you like action and genre films, here's a new group of releases you really need to know about...

Along with Leslie Charteris' The Saint, Sappers' Bulldog Drummond was a forerunner of James Bond and many attempts to make a movie series were attempted. None worked out like Bond or even to the level of The Saint over at RKO, but Warner Archive has issued a double feature of two attempts. First we have F. Richard Jones' Bulldog Drummond (1929) that United Artists distributed for The Samuel Goldwyn Company decades before MGM owned both companies. The caper about a fake hospital and a newspaper ad with Ronald Coleman really good here as the younger 'old school boy' of the British club set who just loves getting into trouble and taking on dangerous goofs when necessary. The film may be a bit stagey and not as good as some other detective films of the time (like Basil Rathbone as Philo Vance, also on DVD from Warner Archive, elsewhere on this site), but Gregg Toland was one of its two cameramen, William Cameron Menzies did the settings, Goldwyn himself supervised and the rest of the cast is up to the occasion. A fun film.

Victor Saville's Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951) was a failed revival by MGM itself with Walter Pigeon better in the role than expected, but the film tries more to be a Thin Man film with its idea of wit and that backfires, yet it is still very British with Margaret Leighton having the female lead as Drummond comes out of retirement (?!?) to help Scotland Yard. We're supposed to believe Pigeon is that old and this is the 1920s Drummond, but that never convinces. We get some action starting with an interesting heist and gambling club covering up the robbery, so at least it was ambitious. I just liked the earlier film a bit more. You should see both for yourself to decide, but they are not bad. After two late 1960s attempts to make Drummond into James Bond on the Big screen, Drummond retired from the big screen for good.

A trailer for the 1951 film is sadly the only extra.

Next we have a Shirley Eaton Double Feature from the great Blue Underground label on Blu-ray with two of her last films: Lindsay Shonteff's Million Eyes Of Su Muru (1967) and Jess Franco's The Girl From Rio (1969 aka Rio 70) that also want to appeal to the idea of book action becoming big screen action. Sax Rohmer had created the villainous Fu Manchu character and the supervillian made a comeback at this time thanks to the late, great Christopher Lee, so the underrated genre producer Harry Alan Townes though a female version could have some appeal and box office. He hired Shirley Eaton, best known as the 'golden girl' from Guy Hamilton's James Bond blockbuster Goldfinger (1964, reviewed elsewhere on this site) producing both films on this Blu-ray. Eaton plays two very similar characters with two different names here.

However, both are from Rohmer books, so they belong together. In Eyes, Su Muru is a sadistic terrorist out to kill anyone who stands in the way of her power or crosses her, including the command of the loyalty of a female army, any of those women who defect must die and only Frankie Avalon can stop them! No kidding, he co-stars with George Nader as the spy out to stop her, Wilfred Hyde-White, Maria Rohm and another unique turn from Klaus Kinski make this a hoot of an action film in the spy mode worth seeing just on its own.

Rio goes further in the sexuality department (Miss Eaton was not happy) with Richard Wyler in the lead and George Sanders as a well-to-do up to no good. This one also plays as more science fiction as director Franco indulges himself as the fighting for human control plays out in Brazil, a location used very well here. Eaton's character is called Sumitra this time (she was in a Fu Manchu film by this time with Lee) and it is as amusing, but does not seem as old as the first film and is certainly not worried about censorship as much. However, it was too repetitive for Eaton and she retired after this film. Still, they are both fun films to see and are recommended.

Rio gets most of the extras with the Rolling In Rio interviews with Franco, Townes and Eaton, Eyes has its Original Theatrical Trailer and both get Poster & Still Galleries.

Tom Savini's remake of Night Of The Living Dead (1990) is back on Blu-ray, but this time as a Region Free Import from Umbrella that we first reviewed as a controversial, instantly out-of-print U.S. Limited Edition Blu-ray from Twilight Time at this link...


Due to it rarely being in print, plus the huge fanbase of visual-effects-make-up-innovator-turned-actor Savini directing a remake of the classic he did key sequels for, the disc has held its high value despite a controversy about its picture quality. Some critics and fans noted it was too darkly transferred, you could not see some detail and color was even off, as discussed in our last review of it. Usually we save this talk for the tech section at the bottom, but we need to talk about that and more, so we'll do it here.

Savini himself was reportedly perplexed by the critique, saying it was fine, yet the included (if flawed) original trailer showed something was amiss. What happened? Something not unlike what recently occurred with Brian De Palma's The Fury (1978) also issued in a far more celebrated Twilight Time limited edition Blu-ray (reviewed elsewhere on this site) that looked fine and had lite grain, but was dark, creepy and accurate. Then a new transfer arrived in the U.K. (we never got it) that was supposed to be better, but with less grain and maybe better.

So how can this be? We now have an answer. It has to do with two means of doing the transfer of film from 35mm to the digital HD realm. We guide you to the middle of this page from the great film lab Spectra as they show how their advanced telecine machine is still superior to some (if not all) newer digital scanners, comparing the same film clip of a dancer by Christian Schneider to make a point...


The Millennium II digital scanning machine may retain a little more shadow detail, light range and grain, but the Spirit Data Telecine with better lenses gives a more solid picture with less grain. The Fury is an advanced situation analogous to the two. It becomes a matter of preference in the 1080p world. So what of this Dead remake? The darker Twilight Time version is a digital scan where the operator got anti-grain crazy and overdid that, then made the film one to two f-stops darker than it was shot, creating the controversial HD master that caused the controversy. So what about the new Umbrella Blu-ray?

It is a telecine transfer that has more image in the lower and left hand sides of the frame, grain is back, proper lighting is back and color is accurate again, is fans who didn't like and/or get the sold out Twilight Time Blu-ray will LOVE this edition. However, the print also has some more visible flaws and is lite in some places, with its opening credits in color while the older Blu-ray's are in black & white for some reason, making the differences between the releases more of a problem than The Fury and needed improvements more obvious. The solution in both cases? Full restored print materials, but with new 4K transfers which would mean 4K Blu-ray releases as both thrillers obviously have too much visual information for 1080p alone. It'll take 2160p to really do justice to both films among many others, but I lean towards this new Umbrella Blu-ray as the more accurate of the two. Especially for fans who missed the Twilight Time Blu-ray, its the one to watch.

Extras repeats a vintage feature length audio commentary track (with too many spoilers) by Savini, but looses the Isolated Music Score Track of some good work by composer Paul McCollough. However, we get a reversible sleeve with two covers to choose from and five vintage featurettes that include a general Behind The Scenes piece, plus The Dead Walk and separate interview pieces with Savini, another with Patricia Tallman and Return To The Living Dead with the make-up creators John Vulich & Everett Burrell.

John Farrow's Ride Vaquero! (1953) would have played as just another old Western, but MGM decided to do two thing that set it apart from the usual productions of the time. One, they cast Anthony Quinn in the supporting role of a longtime dangerous criminal that was such a showcase for his work, he seems like he is from a Western 10 to 15 years later, stealing practically all of his scenes from Robert Taylor (who plays his enforcer at first), Howard Keel and even Ava Gardner. Second, it was yet another showcase for their new lab exclusively using 35mm Ansco Color movie film that had a look and feel of its own, something we recently looked more thoroughly at by combining an independent Ansco Color production with two from MGM around the same time (also on Warner Archive DVD) at this link...


This is as much a melodrama as any of them, but the color looks great (see more below) and an already unusual film is made all the more interesting and unpredictable by Quinn, who goes all out to be a dirty so and so. We get a love triangle and then some as well, making this one very interesting Western down to its personal and even general politics. Definitely catch it.

A trailer is unfortunately the only extra.

Next we have two Michael Cimino films, his most recent (20 years ago!?!) and his first film. The little-seen Sunchaser (1996) with Woody Harrelson in one of his most underrated performances as a well-off medical doctor who has a good life, but all that is challenged when one of his very sick patients, a very street-wise criminal, kidnaps him! If the film had been even a moderate hit, Jon Seda would have been lauded for his breakthrough work as the young, angry man with Native American origins who takes the hostage so he never has to go back to prison.

Warner Bros. was originally supposed to issue the film, but a regime change had them dumping it at the lats minute, so it has bounced undiscovered for the last few decades. Now, Regency Picture's most underrated production has been picked up by Fox for this DVD reissue and though Cimino did not write the film and only had limited control, it becomes an amusing road movie (down to Anne Bancroft's appearance) with serious undertones that will remind you of Cimino's past success with The Deer Hunter (1978) and underrated work in the controversial Heaven's Gate (1980) and remake of The Desperate Hours (1990).

Cimino is one of the most important filmmakers of our time and all time who never sold out, but bad luck and some targetting for political reasons (Year Of The Dragon (1986, reviewed elsewhere on this site) included) threw off his career permanently and some critics just had their knives out for him. Now more than ever, the work holds up, has appreciated well and even with my mixed feelings about The Sicilian (1987), he has never made a bad movie and I can say that about very few filmmakers. The Sunchaser is a film definitely worth a look, even if it has some limits.

There are sadly no extras whatsoever.

A little while ago, Cimino's Thunderbolt & Lightfoot (1974) was issued as one of Twilight Time's limited edition Blu-ray releases, but the ever-underrated film also sold out instantly. In this case, Twilight Time has brought it back in one of their rare Encore Edition Blu-ray releases. We reviewed the first Blu-ray at this link...


Of all the reissues, this is the first time you get exactly the same disc content, with only the cover of the case being new. That's good, because its a great film in a great special edition that holds up strongly and here's your chance to get it again while supplies last. Highly recommended!

Burt Kennedy's Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) and Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971) continued the move towards more comedies about the West on the small and big screen, serving a bit as forerunners of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (1972) if not that bold and wild. By casting James Gardner, one of the only starts of the time to be a big and small screen TV star at the same time, the films take one step after the humorous success of his TV hit Maverick and get wackier still, mocking the conventions and especially-by-then formula of the whole genre with a wink and a nod. This is all fine without being condescending and obnoxious (like the later 1990s Maverick feature film would be) and is aimed at fans.

Harry Morgan and Jack Elam show up in both films, Joan Hackett has the female lead in the first film, Suzanne Pleshette in the second. Walter Brennan also shows up in the first, while Joan Blondell, John Dehner and Marie Windsor try to keep the second film exciting. These have not been seen often in recent years, so there are more than enough people who will likely enjoy them, especially with the new cycle of Westerns, even if most aren't that good. They are not bad if your not a fan of the genre and have their moments.

Extras include another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray disc adds a remarkably informed feature length audio commentary track on Sheriff by film historians & scholars Lee Pfeiffer & Paul Scrabo, Isolated Music Scores on both films and Original Theatrical

Trailers on both films.

The 1.33 X 1 black and white image on the two Drummond films are well-shot, but the 1929 film shows its age and could use some work, while the 1951 film has the benefit for being newer and features a nice copy used here. However, I liked some of the style visually of the older film more.

The Eaton films come in two 1080p digital High Definition image aspect ratios: Eyes in 2.35 X 1 shot in Techniscope and Rio in 1.66 X 1, both very well restored and looking really good, even with some demo shots here and there. Eyes was originally issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor and you can see that quality often here, though it will also remind you of the Austin Powers films and is very much a product of the 1960s. The makers switched to faster color film stocks and Rio looks a little more detailed, with some more depth, while still retaining some really good color of its own. Worthy of the Blu-ray of Eaton's Bond film Goldfinger, this is impressive work all around.

Consult the actual text of the Living Dead review for its picture quality, so moving on to the Ride DVD, the 1.33 X 1 Ansco Color image has some good color, but the print has inconsistent color and some damage. However, when it looks good, it is as impressive as the other DVDs with Ansco Color discussed above, but is the earliest of the Ansco films on DVD we've covered and was actually issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor 35mm prints. That was the case in a few Ansco Color/Anscochrome productions of the time, but Ansco/GAF and MGM eventually made their own prints. The print used here can also be soft at some points, sharp at others, but has rare and superior color at its best you won't see hardly anywhere else.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Sunchaser uses the scope frame very, very well and seems to repeat an earlier, out of print DVD, but this was not issued widescreen at first, so nice to retain that. The great Director of Photography Douglas Milsome, B.S.C., shot this in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision and it really deserves a Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray at some point. That's the format Thunderbolt was shot in and it is the best-looking Blu-ray and title on this competitive list; the same great transfer as the last limited edition.

That leaves the two 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on the two Support films that can in small bits show the age of the materials used, they look really good as well and fans will not be disappointed here either.

The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Drummond films are going to show their age and be a bit weak, but the 1929 film is a bit more brittle and I hope it gets some work done on its like the image. The same sound on Ride falls somewhere between the quality of those films, but is a little rougher than not. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Sunchaser shows how well-recorded the film was, making wish this was lossless, but it is the best-sounding DVD here and can compete with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mixes on the first Support film and Eyes, but the same kind of sound on the second Support film, Rio and Thunderbolt actually sound better thanks to warm, lossless presentations that impress.

That leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Living Dead the only other multi-channel presentation here besides Sunchaser, but it was not originally so and the playback shows the limits of the recording at the time. This mix is still equal to the out-of-print Twilight Time version.

To order the Support double feature and reissue of Thunderbolt & Lightfoot limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these links:




To order either of the Umbrella import Night Of The Living Dead (1990) Blu-ray, go to this link:


and to order the Bulldog Drummond and Ride Vaquero! Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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