Has Two Faces (1966)/The
Iron Curtain (1948)/Mr.
Moto Takes A Chance
(1938/Fox Cinema Archive DVDs)/Once
You Kiss a Stranger
(1969/Warner Archive DVD)/Revolt
Of The Slaves
(1960/United Artists/MGM Limited Edition Collection)/The
C/C/C+/C+/C+/C/B Sound: C/Blu-ray: B Extras: D/Blu-ray: C+
Has Two Faces,
Of The Slaves DVDs
are all web-only limited edition releases and can be ordered through
the sidebar while supplies last, while Once
You Kiss A Stranger
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series and can be ordered from the link below.
an interesting set of mixed-result genre films for you to know
Has Two Faces
(1966) is a spy feature film made of three episodes of a Fox TV
series called The
Man Who Never Was,
ran only 18 half-hours and was cancelled, though it was shot entirely
in Europe. Because they thought it had a good idea (Robert Lansing
as an agent who looks exactly like an assassinated man whose identity
he takes over to solve cases) appealed to them, so they cut this faux
feature film out of three episodes including the pilot, though we
have no episode guide to identify the other shows.
Wynter plays the widow, though she is unaware her real husband is
dead and it takes some time for her to figure out something is wrong,
but is far from happy about it. In the meantime, Murray Hamilton
plays his spy contact, working with him on each case. It is hard to
tell here where the show was going, but it was ambitious and Newland
(best known as the host for Twilight
created this show proving he could not resit some kind of bizarre
twist; even in another genre.
is not bad overall and makes me want to see the whole series, which
Fox ought to issue and Lansing was always a compelling actor. The
couple (she starts to get to know him better) drive around in a nice
Bentley and is one of the many spy shows made in the wake of the
first Bond films and their huge success. Though you can tell this is
not a real movie or telefilm, this compilation feature is worth a
A. Wellman's The
(1948 aka Behind
The Iron Curtain)
is one of the early anti-Communist propaganda film and wow, does it
lay it on heavy telling the 'true' story of a KGB spy (Dana Andrews)
for the Soviet Union pretending to be Canadian while helping to run a
secret spy ring in Canada. He has a wife (Gene Tierney), a job and
secret desk missions and assignments figuring out codes, plans, plots
and more. However, when they start to see how good a free life is
and have a baby, he starts to have a change of heart. How can he
expose the USSR operation and be believed?
Krims script goes way out of its way to show the differences between
the joyless coldness of Soviet living and 'warm, happy' life in the
free world invoking everything from singing, to family, to religion,
to a free press and much more in what became a model for these films
into the 1960s. Though it can be a bit much and preachy to boot, it
is also a sad time capsule of how dark and ugly those times got when
it seemed we had an ally after WWII, but it was just the beginning of
the next world-scale battle. June Havoc, Barry Kroeger and Edna Best
are among the decent supporting cast and this one too is definitely
worth a look.
Moto Takes A Chance
(1938) is one of the lesser-entries in the detective series with
Peter Lorre as the Asian (even if the actor was not Asian) detective
who was as good as disguises and judo as he was at thinking. This
time, he pretends to be an archeologist to pinpoint a secret
operation in a far-off jungle hiding behind a crazy native spiritual
dictator. A camera crew (from the American Society of
Cinematographers yet!) happen to be around filming when a female
pilot (Rochelle Hudson) and the two head guys (Robert Kent and J.
Edward Bromberg) go to find she has survived as does Moto.
this entry gets lazy when they rely too much on the make-up gag, too
much humor, a weak mystery and so-so action. This was part of a
series meant to recreate the box office success of Fox's Charlie Chan
films (see more about them elsewhere on this site), but it was not to
be and this entry sure did not help. It looks really good, but it is
a disappointment and even I forgot how weak it was.
You Kiss a Stranger
(1969) has the beautiful Carol Lynley in her climb to stardom as a
young woman who seems a bit irritated, but turns out to be on the
psychotic side taking a liking to a golf pro Jerry Marshall (Paul
Burke) who I not putting as well as usual, something she sees on the
TV coverage of the game. She is sick of her family and therapist, so
she decides to kill Jerry's big rival (Philip Carey), tells Jerry
about it in advance and expects him to do some killing for her or
she'll say he killed him and also has fun with early black and white,
sleeps with Jerry, secretly taping them before the murder
announcement and intends to manipulate the audio to it sounds like he
was 100% behind her killing the rival. The first half of the film
has its moments and Lynley is good here as are the rest of the cast,
but the script gets in real trouble in the second half of the film,
with near-idiot plotting that helps no one and I'll add that the way
the videotape is used and 'edited' turns out to be totally
impossible, but I won't say more except that the film is very, very
sloppy on that count.
this looks good and though is a disappointing film, worth a look for
what does work. Martha Hyer, Peter Lynd James and Stephen McNally
Of The Slaves
(1960) might seem like it would be another phony swords-and-sandals
romp, but it is more graphic and dark at times than I expected as
Lang Jeffries plays a slave the daughter (Rhonda Fleming) of a
powerful roman falls for. She is totally for the empire and hates
'those Christians' as much as the rest of the Roman Empire, but some
twists and turns will reveal more of her people are defecting than
expected as the Empire's days are numbered.
this is not a perfect film, but it has more money in it than usual
and looks better than expected, though a little dated versus
from the same year, yet the Totalscope-lensed international
production has enough interesting moments to give it a good look.
Note that this is an MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD, so get it
while supplies last.
(1977) is an all-British crime film as hard-hitting as many of the
films in the cycle (a big surprise from the man who has directed the
documentary series) with Stacy Keach as an alcoholic Scotland Yard
detective Jim Naboth who gets involved with some crazed gangsters out
for big money in a big heist they are secretly planning, but have
kidnapped the wife/mother and daughter of a prominent man (Edward
Fox) for a million-pound ransom. This puts Jim into some bizarre
situations and includes some torture, sexploitation and sadism
particularly common for the crime genre in British and Italian cinema
of the time, just going a bit further than similar U.S. product. In
this, we've seen some of this before and done better, but Apted holds
back nothing in how dark this gets at times. From a man who made one
of the worst Bond film (The
World Is Not Enough)
and a very underrated thriller not that long before that (Extreme
it remains one of his better films, though it also wants to challenge
the genre a bit (as he did with the mixed Thunderheart)
so gangster genre fans should see this one at least once and others
should expect some hardcore violence.
(2015) is a time travel film that wants to be a Film Noir, but barely
gets the first part correct while doing the latter with some style at
best. Chad McKnight is a scientist who works for a rich man (Michael
Ironside) with some ego and thinks he has found a break in the
development in traveling through time with his co-workers, but
something is amiss. Thus, he has to take a near-fatal journey back
in time to figure out what is wrong, but meets a woman (Brianne
Davis) there who may or may not hold the answers he needs and get the
invention out of monied hands. Of course, his boss won't like that,
but he's got more immediate concerns first.
I hoped this would go somewhere, but it lands up being choppy, having
uneven dialogue (people too often sound like they are talking at each
other, not to them, but that does not translate to real Noir either)
and in the end, I bought very little of this. The actors are trying
and when it is not imitating other films, which happens at times, it
can be watchable. Too bad most of it is forgettable. Also, Alain
Resnais' time travel masterpiece J'Taime,
(1968) recently hit Blu-ray and that is far ahead and beyond anything
'mind-blowing' here. See both and compare for yourself.
1.33 X 1 image on Danger
(with some color variances, partly from bring edited together from TV
episodes), 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Curtain
and anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Squeeze
(which received 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor release
prints in England) are all well-shot, but these transfers can be a
bit soft and weak throughout. Despite this, you can see some great
shots here and there in all cases, but not enough of them.
1.33 X 1 black and white image on Moto
(from a particularly good print), the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X
1 image on Kiss
and the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Revolt
(shot in the anamorphic Totalscope format on 35mm film), all look
better and are more consistent throughout. The latter two films were
both issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor release
prints and you can see how good that looks in both throughout.
is mislisted on the back of the DVD case as a letterboxed transfer,
but is from a new transfer.
leaves us with the digitally-shot 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High
Definition image transfer on Synchronicity,
which is not only the best-looking transfer here being the only one
in HD, but also pretty consistent if not spectacular throughout. Too
bad they kept imitating Blade
instead of finding their own style, as this looks inferior to that
classic all the way.
the DVDs here are a little on the weak side in lossy Dolby Digital
2.0 Mono sound (all were issued as theatrical monophonic sound
releases) so be careful of volume switching and high playback levels.
The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Synchronicity
is well mixed and presented, but lacks character, though I give it
credit for even sounding good in quiet moments. It's easily the
best-sounding film here.
are totally absent on all 6 DVDs, but the Synchronicity
Blu-ray offers an Original Theatrical Trailer, music video, BD Live
interactive functions, feature length audio commentary track with
Director Gentry trying to explain what he was doing, an on-camera
interview with Gentry doing the same thing, plus separate on-camera
interviews with co-stars McKnight and Davis.
order either of the Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and
many more great web-exclusive releases at: