Fire: The Reflector Tapes
(2017/Universal Music/Eagle Blu-ray Set)/Bells
(1960/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Gimme
Pop/Sony DVD)/Go Johnny
Cohen: I'm Your Man
Sadie Thompson 3D
(1953/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)
Picture: B+ Picture: B-/B/C+/C+/B-/B Sound: B/B/C+/C/B-/B-
Extras: B/C+/D/B-/B-/B Main Programs: C+/B-/B-/B-/B-/B-
Sadie Thompson 3D
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.
a strong new set of music releases....
Fire: The Reflector Tapes
the new double Blu-ray
set of the longtime Canadian band Eagle has issued for Universal
Music. The band is getting new press as this comes out for their ''I
Give You Power''
duet with singing legend Mavis Staples, so the set itself is an
instant curio for the band that's been around since 2001, but only
had so much success in the U.S. market. Tied in with the album of
the same name, the documentary gives a good, if not always coherent
look at the band now. They are at least ambitious and you can see
why their distinctiveness has gained them a permanent Rock/Pop
I think the concert actually makes the more powerful statement and
left me with a fine impression about their talent, energy and that
they are far from being any kind of legacy act anytime soon.
Canadian musicians tends to be underrated when they even get
identified as such and I thought the total portrait the set gives us
is about as full and well rounded as it could be, save some
abstractions. If you want to know about the band, this is a fine
place to start.
include the concert if you want to count it as that as we do and five
bonus music performances.
a later MGM musical with the great Judy Holliday as a lone gal
working for an answering service who lands up getting more involved
with the clients' personal problems than she ought to. Her boss (a
fine supporting performance by Jean Stapleton) tries to keep things
as professional, but a music guy (Dean Martin in an unusual turn)
lands up getting as interested in her and this leads to all kinds of
problems... and subplots.
is humor about class division, love, loneliness and the arts courtesy
of Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jules Styne, making this a bit more
modern (and slightly post-modern in its self-reflectivity) than the
typical Hollywood Musical to that time, but the older forms had
declined with several musical films actually acknowledging such. It
takes Martin out of his 1950s mode, making him play more akin to a
Gene Kelly, but in as good way, while Holliday can more than hold her
own throughout. This has its down moments, while some sections have
aged better than others, but the song's are not bad at all and ''The
Party's Over'' is a classic in several ways, often referenced
even today. I cannot imagine a better film version of the stage
musical as MGM goes all out to their credit. In this well-restored
Bu-ray with extras, now you can really see for yourself.
include a Making Of featurette Bells
Are Ringing: Just In Time,
the Original Theatrical Trailer, alternate take of the song ''The
and outtake songs ''Is
It A Crime?''
with the film footage attached.
Danger: The Story Of The Stooges
not the first documentary look at the Punk Rock legend, but it is a
fine interview-based look at their story with new insight, great
stories, plenty of music and archive footage well paced and assembled
Pop himself is honest often throughout and never holds back, but I
also was surprised by the use of animation during some of the
stories. This is usually awful in most such documentaries, but his
one has animation that may be simple, but actually looks good and
works for a change.
109 minutes-long, it could have gone on longer as I know there was
more to say and show, but Jarmusch cuts off at the right time, though
I bet even he knew this could have been a mini-series with the same
approach. He also makes his point how Iggy & The Stooges are one
of the most influential music acts of all time.
are sadly no extras, but here's links to some of our Iggy coverage
over the years, starting with this documentary on his work with and
connection to David Bowie & Lou Reed...
three great concerts starting with this one that has links to two
as a contrast to the big Hollywood Musicals of the same period as the
rising Rock and Soul music if the time just was not getting the big
budget, big screen treatment the studios were still giving to
showtunes, et al. Nevertheless, this low-budget gem and time capsule
has some amazing talent including Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, Jackie
Wilson, Eddie Cochran, The Flamingos, Jimmy Clanton, Harvey (Fuqua),
The Cadillacs and Jo-Ann Campbell. Soon-to-be Motown Records founder
Berry Gordy was still writing for Wilson before starting his immortal
record label and added a company Harvey started early on, so there
are connections going on throughout all the way to co-star Alan
Freed, the DJ who helped break Rock 'N Roll nationwide, followed by
worldwide before getting caught up in his own scandal.
all makes this a special film indeed with a simple, sometimes silly
plot, but the music moments more than make up for it and seeing all
these legends looking so good and in their element is a real treat.
Definitely a film you need you see at least once, it is one of the
better films in this cycle of Rock/Soul films that started in the
mid-1950s and ended by the early 1960s.
include a fine feature length audio commentary track by Richard M.
Roberts, Randy Skretvedt & Brent Walker and the Original
Cohen: I'm Your Man
from Lionsgate just weeks after its subject sadly passed on, loaded
with new interviews with Cohen, some vintage ones and a long line of
fans and fine talent. They include huge fans who truly love the man
and his music like Bono, The Edge, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Nick Cave,
Rufus Wainwright and others we should know of and hear more of more
often. This one runs 103 minutes, but is densely filled with the
music, including full-length performance by the artists who love him.
They make their point.
now stands as a timely tribute and great crash course on the
underrated, yet influential artist who never got the full credit he
deserved and as hard as it is to believe, never even had a huge hit
(like he deserved) even during the peak of the singer/songwriter
movement of the early 1970s he firmly & squarely was part of.
I'm glad this got made because not enough has been said, shown, heard
or explored of his work, proving how ahead of his time he was and
include a conversation with Cohen, a feature length audio commentary
track by Director Lunson and bonus Cohen performances not in the
Sadie Thompson 3D
with Rita Hayworth has finally arrived on Blu-ray and in 3D, even if
it is a Twilight
Time Limited Edition Blu-ray. The
Technicolor Musical (as discussed in our 2D DVD review of the
release) has Hayworth in the title role as the title character, stuck
on an island with Marines who are all more than interested in her.
Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford played this role as well and
Hayworth is also just right for it, trapped in a moral dilemma and
between a Sergeant (Aldo Ray) and overly moralistic preacher (Jose
Ferrer), this is an odd take on the story, but an interesting film
extras in this release include a nicely illustrated booklet on the
film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated
essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds a
brand new feature length audio commentary track by David Del Valle &
Steven Peros, Introduction by actress Patricia Clarkson, Isolated
Music Score with select Sound Effects and an Original Theatrical
noted in the earlier DVD review, Bernhardt was best known for his
Film Noir hit Possessed
from 1947, which since then has been issued on Blu-ray which we
reviewed at this link...
1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High
Definition image on Sadie
was issued in 3D prints in 35mm dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor and it is likely that such a print or prints
were partly used to reproduce this fine 3D transfer that really
delivers all the fun intended by the film. The 2D 1080p digital
High Definition version is also a fine, color-consistent improvement
over the older DVD that was not bad for that format, but nice to see
the film arrive in the best possible ways.
the 2D Sadie
for second place performance wise is the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High
Definition image transfer on Bells,
which only sometimes shows the age of the materials used, but this
is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film in a
new HD master that shows off the color (MetroColor via Eastman Kodak
35mm color negative film) and money on the screen, shot with
CinemaScope lenses. There is not too much distortion either, so
cheers to Warner for fixing the film up so nicely.
for third place are the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfers on Fire
HD shoots that are not bad, but mixed and on purpose. Fire
mixes up all kinds of HD footage, including fake black and white and
some purposely degraded and shaky images more than it needed. Looks
like there is also some old analog video, like Cohen,
which also has archival film footage and some of it authentic black
leaves the anamorphically enhanced DVDs tying for fourth and last
place, but still not bad at all, with the 1.78 X 1 image on the
mostly HD-shot Danger
better than it would have been in lesser hands than Jarmusch's and
the fine black and white 1.85 X 1 image on Johnny
from what looks like a fine new print. I doubt they could look much
better in the format and look so good that they both deserve Blu-ray
for sound, Arcade
both offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes (94/24 on the
Blu-ray, with traveling dialogue and sound effects form the original
4-track magnetic sound) sounding as good as they could possibly be.
has a concert with a fidelity advantage, but the initial documentary
is fine. Someone took care of the magnetic soundmaster on Bells
and it really pays off here, but the same kind of mag masters on
Sadie were not even available, so it is only here sadly in DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless sound, but Cohen has a DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix.
However, it jumps from silence, to simple stereo, to location audio
to old monophonic archive audio, using its tracks best when we here a
classic Cohen song by he or the many artists covering him here.
leaves the DVDs with Danger
offering a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with the same issues as Cohen
a clean-but-limited and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix that sounds
lower than it should. Both would benefit from lossless transfers.
order the Miss
Sadie Thompson 3D
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
to order the Bells
iWarner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: