Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
 
In Stores Now
 
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Horror > Demonic Possession > Murder > Science Fiction > Technology > Mystery > Action > Detect > Black Moon (1934/Columbia/Sony DVD)/Demon Seed (1977/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Edge Of Eternity (1959/Columbia/Sony Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Girl and the General (1967/MGM/Warner A

Black Moon (1934/Columbia/Sony DVD)/Demon Seed (1977/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Edge Of Eternity (1959/Columbia/Sony Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Girl and the General (1967/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Joe Bullet (1973/Film Detective DVD)/Wanted: Jane Turner (1936/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The Black Moon DVD is now only available online and can be ordered from our friends at Movie Zyng via the order button atop this review or on top of our right hand sidebar, while the Demon Seed Blu-ray, Girl & The General DVD and Wanted: Jane Turner DVD are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below. The Edge Of Eternity 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 from the links below from the company.



Here are some very interesting, even great genre films to check out...



Roy William Neill's Black Moon (1934) is a film trying to capitalize on RKO's King Kong the year before. Actor Jack Holt (husband of an afflicted wife) has the star billing, but it is Fay Wray back in the jungle. As Columbia Pictures could not afford much stop-motion animation or create effects of any kind, they came up with a story about voodoo, natives (quasi-racist as that angle may seem now) and demonic possession of sorts as an older woman (Dorothy Burgess) keeps playing the jungle drums after a psychologically shocking visit to the jungle from her childhood.


She may be back home safe, but the possession has taken ahold of her soul, a link that may not easily be broken. Her young daughter and husband's secretary (Wray) go back there with her after all these years, but bad things await them. Little has changed in the decades since that first visit, and the past has to be dealt with one and for all.


Sony has issued this interesting Columbia curio on DVD and it is not bad, though it is dated in a few ways, it is still worth seeing and Wray was at that time was the pretty much the top female star for a time and rightly so. She is very appealing and you can see why audiences embraced her. If you are curious, especially with a new hit Kong film, this is worth (re)visiting and shows Columbia was smart for a then-smaller studio. Not bad.


There are sadly no extras.



Donald Cammell's Demon Seed (1977) is the ever-underrated sci-fi thriller with Julie Christie as a woman being tormented by a supercomputer, built be her husband (Fritz Weaver) to be a brain that is the first one more advanced than a human one. However, it (voiced by the late, great Robert Vaughn, who just passed on as this was being readied for release) wants to be free of its mechanical artifice and thinks it can via advanced biological iterations of itself (DNA it creates) and can breed through Christie.


We previously reviewed the MGM-released suspense tale in Warner Archive's DVD edition as reviewed at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12501/Berberian+Sound+Studio+(2012/MPI/IFC+Midnight


In only a few years time, A.I. (already an important topic) has become more hotly debated an issue making this film even more relevant than when we last looked at it. Some of the technology here still looks futuristic and at least on time, if not still-futuristic (though some parts still hold up as futuristic), others (old picture tubes, 5 ½-inch floppies to operate the brain, though the U.S. is still using those for nuclear missiles, so go figure) show the age of the film. Even the technologized house the couple lives in is of 1970s modernist design. However, the inventors Bricklin SV-1 sports car, controversial as it still is, is great.


Best of all is how suspenseful, well acted, smart and chilling this continues to be. In this new transfer, it is even creepier, so if you love the film, have never seen the film or want to see it again, this is now the way to go.


An Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.



Donald Siegel's Edge Of Eternity (1959) is a smart little thriller by the one-time montage editor turned successful director is set in the Grand Canyon where a series of murders have started to unspool. Cornel Wilde is the Sheriff who has to go out there and find out who and why, so we get mystery, suspense and some action set against a then-underused backdrop. At only 80 minutes, it is amazing how much more effective it is than its 2-hour competitors in the genre, backed by a fine support cast including Victoria Shaw, Mickey Shaughnessy, Edgar Buchanan, Alexander Lockwood and Jack Elam.


For a short film, Columbia Pictures boasted the full color and use of real CinemaScope in its production, so they had some high hopes that this might do well. Today, it is a little too forgotten for its own good, a tight thriller getting the Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray treatment, licensed by Sony. Siegel is a great director and he really shows off how he is able to handle a well-rounded narrative, which is not the case with most directors in the genre (or elsewhere for that matter these days) in the genre. If you like thrillers, you'll want to see this one, especially in this well-restored edition.


Extras include a well-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 new feature length audio commentary track by film scholars and historians C. Courtney Joyner Nick Redman and an Isolated Music Score track.



Pasquale Festa Campanile's The Girl and the General (1967) I a sort of one-joke comedy, somewhat dark with a sense of Italian humor, with Rod Steiger as a Austrian general circa WWI who goes outside when 'nature calls' only to be captured by an Italian soldier (Umberto Orsini) for reward, glory and to help his side's efforts to win the war. However, they are stuck with each other and the trip to cash in and is twisted when a woman (Virna Lisi) shows up with a rifle, she is just in time to recapture the general when he escapes, but the triangulation has the three not knowing who to trust or what to expect next.


If anything, it is like a walking stuck-in-a film and I saw this one eons ago. Some moments are not bad, thanks in part of the amusing music score by Ennio Morricone, but the MGM film (released by Warner Archive) is barely more hit than miss, despite the great Producer Carlo Ponti backing it. The cast is decent and Steiger is in good form, but it remains a disappointment, curio and worth one look for those interested.


There are no extras.



Louis De Witt's Joe Bullet (1973) is a remarkable film, made during the height of Apartheid in South Africa by an all-Black cast that combines the early Blaxploitation trend (think of the 'bad ass' title character) with more than a few points from the James Bond films to that time. It was an amazing achievement on its own, so much so that the all-white government banned it and it became a lost film... until now.


A foul local gangster is messing with the local soccer team (football to the rest of the world outside of the United States) with threats and eventual kidnappings. The title character (Ken Gampu) is called in to help and even the criminals are scared, enough to hire a deadly assassin expert in the ways of martial arts, but can he nail Bullet?


Film Detective has issued this lost gem on DVD and I was surprised how much of this worked, how the efforts of all involved (fearlessly I might add) make this a fun time at the movies and that by killing it, the Apartheid government killed an entire cinematic discourse, a possible self-contained cinema of its own (all as intended) and wow, what we lost as movie fans. It will remind you of the likes of Sweet Sweetback... and The Harder They Come, yet it is something else, new, fresh, fun and now, a special one-of-a-kind film everyone should see.


Extras include a feature length audio commentary, Restoration Demo and reissue trailer, none of which are listed on the back of the DVD case for some odd reason.



Last but not least is Edward Killy's Wanted: Jane Turner (1936), a great showcase for Gloria Stuart, now known as the 'older woman' in James Cameron's Titanic (1997), but (like Fay Wray) had a claim as the female lead in an all time horror classic (Universal's original Invisible Man) is great here as a female postal inspector (with a gun!!!) tracking down big bucks in a scam that crosses state lines. The title refers to the pseudonym being used to transfer illicit cash in the mail in this comical mystery/action film (more action than you'd expect) and here, you can see why Stuart was a big star in her time. Like Wray, they deserved more success, but that is sadly how things sometimes work out.


Lee Tracy is her partner trying to solve the case, surrounded by fine performances by a great supporting cast. The comedy works, the suspense works, the action works and for only running 66 minutes, this delivers more than you might think. A bit more than a B-movie to RKO Radio Pictures, Warner Archive has issued this fun gem on DVD and I think it is one everybody interested in it would love to catch. I had not seen it in decades and gladly forgot what happened next as I remembered how fun it was. Great to have it in print!


There are sadly no extras.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Demon and Edge look fine, rarely show their age and are definitely superior transfers to all previous releases of the film on home video, including When you see the Demon DVD vs. this Blu-ray, where colors are wider-ranging, depth and detail improved and the image is more realistic overall. Great work on the part of both teams who restored and saved these films.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on General is on the weak side and the poorest performer here, in part because the print is in rough shape undeniably. Still, this is watchable enough and not tampered with much.


The 1.33 X 1 image on Moon and Wanted look better than expected for their age, the oldest entries here, but the prints are in really good shape and I was impressed more than I expected. Bet these would shine on Blu-ray.


That leaves the 1.33 X 1 image on Bullet with some consistent color, but it is a roughly shot, low budget film, so only expect so much. Maybe some more work could be done later, but this looks decent for a film that was almost totally wiped out of existence.


All six films were theatrical monophonic releases, with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono lossless mixes on Demon (2.0) and Edge (1.0) being as is well mixed and presented as they can be for their age and circumstance. I thought they might be clearer here and Demon sounds a little better here than in the DVD lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono version, but not by as much as I had hoped. However, both cannot compare to the music score we reviewed elsewhere on this site and I wish Warner had included an isolated music score in this case.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Moon and Wanted sound pretty good for their age, holding their own against the Blu-rays somewhat though in lossless versions, more flaws would likely be revealed. I do get a kick out of films this old sounding as good as they do here though. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on General and Bullet show their age and sonic limits form their budgets, so expect some flaws and issues throughout viewing both, while being careful of high playback levels and volume switching.



To order Edge Of Eternity 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 either of the Warner Archive DVDs and/or Demon Seed Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


Marketplace

 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com