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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Heist > Jewelry > Canada > Comedy > Computer > British > Hollywood > Gangster > Murder > Science > Great Jewel Robber (1950/Warner)/Hot Millions (1968/MGM)/Jack Of Diamonds (1967/MGM/all Warner Archive DVD)/Rise Of The Krays (2015/Lionsgate DVD)/Rollerball: Encore Edition (1975/United Artists/MGM/T

Great Jewel Robber (1950/Warner)/Hot Millions (1968/MGM)/Jack Of Diamonds (1967/MGM/all Warner Archive DVD)/Rise Of The Krays (2015/Lionsgate DVD)/Rollerball: Encore Edition (1975/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Stakeout On Dope Street (1958/Warner Archive DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The reissued Rollerball Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited again to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while all DVD releases (except Krays) are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

In our latest look at genre films, we start with three heist films, then a gangster film, upgrade of a science fiction gem and conclude with a crime drama on illicit drugs...

Peter Godfrey's The Great Jewel Robber (1950) is about a jewel thief (David Brain) who loves freedom and valuables so much, he breaks out of the Canadian prison he is in and resumes his heisting crimes, based on a true story that just happened at the time of release. With mostly unknowns (save Marjorie Reynolds), the film is not bad, intelligently written and it takes its audience seriously for its 92 minutes. However, the Warner production is not very distinguished, though it also has some amusing moments and a little suspense. Borden Chase (Red River) wrote the script that helps make this worth a look.

There are no extras.

Eric Till's Hot Millions (1968) has Peter Ustinov coming out of prison legitimately (after helping his warden fix the books, apparently) up to new schemes and landing up at a monied company with a newfangled computer and the potential to skim a chunk of it for himself. He falls for a secretary there (Maggie Smith), has to deal with the man who runs things (Karl Malden) and his assistant (Bob Newhart) in this British production with a whimsical score by Laurie Johnson (The Avengers, Dr. Strangelove; particularly similar to his work on Jason King) and has some fin moments for the actors and in the storyline.

Unfortunately, the script gets sidetracked, though later appearances by Cesar Romero and Robert Morley help. It is worth a look for its energy and the many things that do work, but I wished it worked better.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

Don Taylor's Jack Of Diamonds (1967) was another leading role for George Hamilton, whose star appeal could carry a film, here a jewel thief stealing from actual movie stars (Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lilli Palmer and Caroll Baker show up as themselves) in this drama/comedy with Hamilton as a smart cat burglar who has to start dealing with a new age of devices called sensors and computers to get the goods. Joseph Cotten is his mentor (King of Diamonds), Maurice Evans and Marie Laforet play accomplices and it is one of those globe-trotting films that play as part travelogue. I liked the star power, some of the performances and some of the suspense works.

It also has some good, if not overt humor, so this is made for adults. However, it is no Topkapi or Rififi, taking somewhat of a leisurely Hollywood-style route (despite being a German co-production) but is also worth a look for the things that work. At least they were trying.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

Zackary Adler's Rise Of The Krays (2015) apparently is part of a U.K. gangster crime series of films that began with Rise Of The Footsoldier, but this has to compete with the recent Krays film Legend (which we look forward to catching soon) and the underrated 1990 Peter Medak film (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and comes up with mixed results.

Simon Cotton and Kevin Leslie are the deadly brothers in this very violent take that has some good moments, but also more than a few flat ones. Besides being late in telling the story, we never see their prominent mother much and Ronnie was gay and psychotic, but the film wants to make him super-psychotic to negate and erase the former for some odd reason. They have both been accused of worse since and who knows what is true and not at this point.

The film is also a bit mechanical after a potentially good start, but I was disappointed in the end. This one runs 115 minutes.

Deleted Scenes and a Trailer Gallery are the only extras.

Norman Jewison's Rollerball: Encore Edition (1975) has us revisiting the underrated Science fiction gem a third time after Twilight Time's first Blu-ray Limited Edition...


and the import Blu-ray edition from Arrow in the U.K. only....


Now, as the awful remake is continuously forgotten and has no defenders, this reissue proves the film has a larger following than may realize or want to give the film. Even James Caan himself may not realize how great this key death sport film really is.

Extras are the same as the previous Twilight Time edition inducing nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, as well as the two strong feature length audio commentary tracks (one by Jewison, the other by author/creator William Harrison), TV Spots, Trailers, vintage From Rome To Rollerball: The Full Circle featurette, Return To The Arena: The Making Of Rollerball featurette (all featured on the DVD version) and an Isolated Music Score track featuring the underrated music of Andre Previn. Though some may have hoped one or more of the new Arrow extras would be here, that is not the case, but it remains an excellent special edition all serious film fans should own.

Irvin Kershner's Stakeout On Dope Street (1958) is a still-decent drama about some teen friends (Johnathon Haze, Morris Miller, Yale Wexler) who find some dangerous drugs and not considering the violent owners might want the product back, start to sell it bit by bit. From the man who later directed Loving, The Empire Strikes Back, Never Say Never Again, The Eyes Of Laura Mars, Up The Sandbox and Robocop 2, 'Kersh' (as he was known by his friends) had a knack for directing and you can even see it here in this early work.

Besides his work, another reason this is a curio outside of any unintentional items about the drugs is an early acting turn by Abby Dalton, who was even sexy here in this early role. You can see along with the drugs why the one guy started to think he was going to have it all!

This runs a smart, tight 83 minutes and is as good as just about any release here.

There are no extras.

The 1.33 X 1 black & white on Jewel is obviously well-shot, but is just much softer than I would have liked and is the poor performer on the list but the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 black & white image transfer on Dope is more like it, clearer and more consistent from a solid film print that shows few flaws. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 color image and playback quality of the remaining DVDs are as good as Dope, though Jack claims it is shot in Panavision in its poster art, it is NOT a 2.35 X 1 scope film, but an anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image not uncommon by that time due to the company's success.

It and Hot are in MetroColor, so expect a lack of detail and some color flaws, while the often darker-than-needed-to-be Krays is the one digital shoot on the list. They are all watchable for the format.

That leaves the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Rollerball the same nice (despite a rough start) 35mm film print master used on the previous Blu-ray editions, sometimes showing the age of the materials used, but great for its age. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the film is also a repeat of the previous Blu-ray editions, but I hope a new soundmaster is created for any 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version as this is not showing off the full dynamics of the music and some other sound still on the original sound materials.

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 in Krays is as good as any of the DVDs, yet not so great (due in part to its silent moments) that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Jewel cannot compete with it. However, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Hot, Jack and Dope are all down a generation and are in need of sonic upgrades next time.

To order the Rollerball limited edition Blu-ray reissue, buy it (among other great exclusives) while supplies last at these links:




...and to order any of the four Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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