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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > War > WWII > Spy > Espionage > Murder > Crime > Literature > Epic > Judaism > History > Survival > Revenge > The Angry Hills (1959/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Exodus (1960/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Revenant (2015/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Try and Get Me! (1950/Olive B

The Angry Hills (1959/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Exodus (1960/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Revenant (2015/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Try and Get Me! (1950/Olive Blu-ray)



4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: C+/B-/B/B Sound: C+/B-/B+/C+ Extras: C-/C/C/D Films: C+/B-/B-/C+



PLEASE NOTE: The Exodus 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 The Angry Hills DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Films about struggle and survival have been popular on and off, even when they get graphic and for real, so we have the following four entries for you to consider.



Robert Aldrich's The Angry Hills (1959) is the first of two films on our list based on best-selling books by Leon Uris, with Robert Mitchum as reporter Mike Morrison in Athens, Greece just before the Nazis invade and occupy as WWII gets worse. He is given a a top secret list to take to the British, but does not know this at first, but a vicious Nazi (Stanley Baker, thanklessly brutal here) intends to find that list and he'll torture and kill anyone who gets in his way. He hides with a woman (Gia Scalia) to get him out of there, but turning to another woman (Elisabeth Mueller) might not help as much.


The gritty Aldrich turned again to writer A. I. Bezzerides, who penned the brilliant adaptation of the Mickey Spillane novel that made Kiss Me Deadly (1955, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) one of the greatest Film Noir films of all time. This runs a tight 106 minutes, but maybe this could have used more exposition and some minor changes for more impact, so it is not as strong as it could have been, but it is not bad as it stands and is definitely worth a look.


An Original Theatrical Trailer is unfortunately the only extra.



Otto Preminger's Exodus (1960) is also from a Leon Uris book, this time adapted by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo in a script that plays better than his work on Spartacus and a film that is long at 208 minutes (!), but this os one of Trumbo and Preminger's best long-form work telling the story of how world jewry was misplaced and rejected by the nations of the world after WWII and how this all led eventually to the State of Israel in holy land that had been part of the Ottoman Empire for a very, very long time.


Eva Marie Saint is the lady visiting a friend near camps where surviving and displaced Jews are living, which is being treated as no big deal, but a sour comment makes the professional nurse decide to volunteer to help those in need and that inadvertently gets her involved in what will be an uprising that also involves a few terrorist attacks and other acts of civil disobedience. Paul Newman plays one of the leaders of the rebels, along with Sal Mineo (including a few ironic moments) as they try to figure out their next move to save their lives, their faith and get a future they deserve like anyone else. Needless to say the anti-Semitism in the time is ugly and the film becomes a great time capsule of how it was and how it has become again, rearing its ugly head in new ways and transmutations.


Though it is long, it does not always feel so because the film keeps wisely moving along, looks good and has a fine supporting cast that includes Sir Ralph Richardson, Peter Lawford, Lee J. Cobb, Hugh Griffith, Gregory Ratoff, Jill Hayworth and John Derek. It is a sort of lost epic that deserves to be rediscovered and though some of the history may have been exchanged for dramatic purposes, the film has aged well and in some ways, is as vital as ever.


Extras include another illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds an Isolated Music Score and an Original Theatrical Trailer.



Alejandro G. Innarritu's The Revenant (2015) was one of the big critical and commercial hist of the year with Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning a Best Actor Academy Award as critics and viewers were amazed how engrossing a film with little dialogue about a non-talking lone man barely surviving in the wilderness was just amazing, but you can go back to the 1922 silent hit Nanook Of The North by Robert Flaherty which people just loved. It is funny how the non-dialogue 'Dawn Of Man' opening sequence in Kubrick's 2001 (1968) gets called boring for showing the same thing, despite how great, respected, extremely influential and innovate the film is. The later film Quest For Fire did not do well, but has a near-cult following and many other films have pitted man against nature plus men against each other in raw nature. Even with bear attacks, et al.


Though not a remake, this film particularly recalls Richard Sarafian's 1971 Man In The Wilderness with Richard Harris that has more than a few similarities to it, so this new film is not exactly new, groundbreaking or innovative, but is well done enough and flows nicely enough that you can see why people have enjoyed it so much.


Set in 1823, one Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) sets out in the stark unknown with friends, but he eventually gets separated form them and is stuck on his own. They betray him leaving him for dead and so, separated from his family and friends, has to move on until he can get to some kind of safety. Then bad thing after awful thing occurs and the downward spiral turns into a quiet, terrifying nightmare. Can he get back? Can he get revenge?


Loose takeoff or not of the Harris film, this stands on its own thanks to its look, sound and a supporting cast that includes Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleason. Not perfect, but definitely worth a look, especially in the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition.


Extras are only on the regular Blu-ray disc and include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds a Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurette entitled A World Unseen.



Finally we have Cyril Endfield's Try and Get Me! (1950) is a hard-hitting crime drama with a particularly vicious Lloyd Bridges as a criminal who drags an 'old friend' (Frank Lovejoy) into a kidnapping plot that goes very wrong and a rouge reporter (Richard Carlson) gets involved and in order to get his scoop and look good, bends the rules and makes the hideous twists and turns even worse. Those parts of the film work and they work, but the film is otherwise nothing special or distinctive from other such crime films until the last reel kicks in and the film comes to its surprising conclusion.


I won't say anymore, but it is definitely worth a look and is partly a Noir, but is as much a police crime procedural which is not a Noir. The performances and ending are enough though, so see it.


There are sadly no extras.



The 2160p 2.35 X 1 HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Revenant is the best of the first 8 releases in the format I have seen so far (surpassing Pineapple Express and the better shots on Joy, both shot on 35mm film) finished in 4K, but using formats up to 6.5K, thus the positive reaction to the look of the film along with some great lens choices. However, if you look at the regular 1080p Blu-ray version, you might wonder what the fuss is all about. The lack of color range in comparison to the Ultra HD Blu-ray is surprising and makes one wonder why so much information is not on the 1080p Blu-ray, so to really see the work by Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki, A.S.C./A.M.C. And you missed this on theaters, see the 2160p version.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 black & white image on Hills comes from a good print and though it may be the poorest performer here being the only DVD, the film looks good for the format throughout and should a Blu-ray surface would yield more detail, depth and information than this competent, gray-scale accurate DVD.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer of the Super Panavision 70mm-shot Exodus is here in a 35mm reduction print that can definitely can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film by just enough often showing how good the 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor reduction prints (the first such reductions from this 70mm format to such highly valuable, cherished prints) and that works well enough. Hopefully, MGM will be able to get a 70mm print to do a full restoration at some point and the film has a good, consistent look throughout as you would expect from such a big screen, large frame epic.


The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Try can also show its age at times, but there are plenty of fine shots throughout, though few we would refer to as Noir. Still, yet another solid Blu-ray that shows how great black and white film can look.



As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on Revenant with D-BOX motion and base-enhancement is well mixed and presented, but is still a mixdown of its 11.1 Dolby Atmos/12-Track sonic presentation in its better theatrical bookings. Still, this is very impressive and is featured on the 4K and regular Blu-ray editions and has more than a few impactful moments.


Exodus features three DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mixes: passable 2.0 Stereo, better 4.0 multi-channel sound and the best option, a 5.1 mix that opens up the aged sound the most, listed on some posters as ''Todd AO Stereophonic Sound'' meaning the film originally designed for 6-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects in the top rate 70mm presentations. The sound can show its age in places, but the Ernest Gold music score (here as an isolated music track, recorded separately from the location audio) stands out.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Try shows its age and budget limits, so though this is not a bad presentation, it can be trying in parts and limited in range. However, this is about the best this film will ever sound. Thus, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Hills can actually compete being made 9 years later and with a larger budget.




To order the Exodus limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/



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


https://www.warnerarchive.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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