(1977/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Edge
(1959/Columbia/Sony Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The
Girl and the General
(1967/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Joe
(1936/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)
C+/B/B/C/C+/C+ Sound: C+/C+/C+/C/C/C+ Extras: D/C-/B-/D/B-/D
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
& The General
DVD and Wanted:
DVD are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below. The Edge
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.
are some very interesting, even great genre films to check out...
William Neill's Black
(1934) is a film trying to capitalize on RKO's King
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
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
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.
are sadly no extras.
(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
previously reviewed the MGM-released suspense tale in Warner
Archive's DVD edition as reviewed at this link...
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.
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.
Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.
(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.
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
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.
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.
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.
are no extras.
De Witt's Joe
(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.
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?
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
Harder They Come,
yet it is something else, new, fresh, fun and now, a special
one-of-a-kind film everyone should see.
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.
but not least is Edward Killy's Wanted:
(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
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
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!
are sadly no extras.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Demon
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.
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.
1.33 X 1 image on Moon
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.
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.
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.
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Moon
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
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.
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
to order either of the Warner Archive DVDs and/or Demon
Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive