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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Melodrama > Native Americans > Silent Film > Crime > Hunting > Revenge > Survival > Epic > Romance > L > Daughter Of Dawn (1920/Milestone Blu-ray)/Man In The Wilderness (1971/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The New World (2005/New Line/Warner/Criterion Blu-ray)/Who'll Stop The Rain (1978/United Artists/MGM/Twili

Daughter Of Dawn (1920/Milestone Blu-ray)/Man In The Wilderness (1971/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The New World (2005/New Line/Warner/Criterion Blu-ray)/Who'll Stop The Rain (1978/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)



Picture: B/B/B+/B Sound: B/C+/B+/C+ Extras: C/C-/B+/C+ Films: B/B-/B (B+ Extended Cut)/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The Who'll Stop The Rain 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 Man In The Wilderness Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Survival is a theme of some of the greatest films ever made, excluding exploitation cheapies of course, amusing and forgettable as they can be.



Norbert A. Myles' Daughter Of Dawn (1920) is lucky as a film that it survived at all. Thought to be lost for 90 years, a complete print was only recently unearthed in a really remarkable find and now, we have the film to see again. Hardly even seen in its time, the melodrama with an all Native American cast (300 in all from the Comanche and Kiowa tribes) uses the conventions of melodrama to show off various aspects of a culture that as been kept alive to this day by said tribes (et al), but having a record (albeit held together by a fictional narrative) made entirely in Oklahoma (The Wichita Mountains in particular) and becomes a priceless record of the original native peoples of what is now The United States of America.


Seeing this other world, just our world a century or so ago, can be haunting, sad, amazing and stunning, offering a mix of emotions and a deeper hidden truth of what has been lost, what has been barely preserved and kept alive and the way of life that held the territory together until it was discovered and conquered by outsiders. That the protagonist if female-centered is interesting and as compared to later Hollywood female-centered 'weepies' and 'woman's films' we now know as soap operas, how women play in this world can be familiar. However, there are also some interesting differences that will surprise you.


Despite the age of the film, Milestone still delivers more extras for this Blu-ray than you might expect in the form of the following clips: Finding the Film (with Bill Moore, Oklahoma Historical Society), Heritage: Darren Twohatchet, Comanche, Heritage: Dorothy Whitehorse: Kiowa, Magdalena Becker (William D. Welge, Oklahoma Historical Society) and three entitled The Music Score each respectively with Mark Parker, Oklahoma City, University School of Music, Benjamin Nilles, Oklahoma City University Symphony and John Cross, Oklahoma City, University School of Music. They could never be long enough, but they're all good.



Richard C. Sarafian's Man In The Wilderness (1971) offers a group of fur-trapping men from a long time ago out to make money in conjunction with a rich captain (John Huston) who will help them make money from their finds. However, they betray one of their own (Richard Harris) and leave him for dead. But they left too soon and he is still alive, they're violent efforts to throw him out did not kill him and he will now seek revenge against them. Sounds familiar? It is the same tory that the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Revenant was based on, which we reviewed at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14198/The+Angry+Hills+(1959/MGM/Warner


Warner Archive has restored and reissued this Warner Bros. film on Blu-ray and though it is not a perfect film by any means, it holds up well enough and is finally available in a worthy edition for people to enjoy and compare to the hit remake. Sarafian (Vanishing Point, Lolly-Madonna XXX, Sunburn, Fragment Of Fear) was in prime form and is able to put most of what he intended on the big screen. This is shot to be seen large.


Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.



Terrence Malick's The New World (2005) is one of his most remarkable films, telling the story of the romance of Captain Smith (Colin Farrell in an underrated turn, about to be hung for mutiny when he is sparred for a 'more important' purpose) and Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher in a remarkable, star-making performance; we should have seen her more after this) as he arrives on a huge ship Jamestown, headed by a cold captain (Christopher Plummer in one of his best roles in a career where he is always working) who could care less about anything but his agenda of gaining wealth, knowledge and power. However, instead of a fake melodrama, the film makes the extremely beautiful title land a major character, a place to love that is a strong as the love between the two leads. There is also immense attention to detail in bringing Native American culture and its world to life that is palpable and stunning.


Made by New Line before Warner folded them up into their own studio, Criterion has gone all out here for this incredible new Blu-ray edition with one of the best restorations of a recent film (last 25 years) we've seen anywhere. Though the dialogue is well-written, it is the quiet moments that often shine, telling us the truth of the situation constantly and as soon as the film beings, you are instantly enveloped. Malick's stunning comeback out of self-imposed retreat produced a trilogy that began with The Thin Red Line (1998, also on Criterion Blu-ray) and continued after with The Tree Of Life (2011, reviewed elsewhere on this site) that joins Badlands (1973) and Days Of Heaven (1978, also both out on Criterion Blu-ray, luckily) as the most underrated filmography of a modern filmmaking master. Audiences still have not caught up with him, even if more well-known filmmakers (Christopher Nolan) know (or Michael Cimino knew) better.


Also incredible is the on-the-money casting. The extras all seem like the real thing and often are, then you have the supporting cast that includes Wes Studi, Christian Bale, David Thewlis, Ben Chaplin, Noah Taylor, Eddie Marsan, John Savage, August Schellenberg, Michael Greteyes, Yorich van Wageningen, Raoul Max Trujillo and Jamie Harris among many make this a pure cinematic experience to be seen all the way through (I like the Extended Cut the best because it works best) as this is a great film finally restored to all of its unseen glory. Any serious film fans or filmmaker should consider this a must-see.


Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text, tech details and three excellent essays on the film, then you get more on all the Blu-ray discs. Blu-ray One with The Extended Cut of the film includes an Original Theatrical Teaser, Original Theatrical Trailer and vintage featurette The Making of "The New World". Blu-ray Disc Two offers The Theatrical Cut of the film with two new featurettes in Actors and Production, while Blu-ray Disc Three that offers The First Cut of the film adds featurettes Editors, The Versions and Extended Cut.



Karel Reisz's Who'll Stop The Rain (1978) is the only film here to take place at the time near the time of its theatrical release. Towards the end of the Vietnam fiasco, a quick-buck illicit drug sales opportunity turns up for a war reporter (the underrated Michael Moriarty) who needs to turn to a shipping friend (a great early performance by Nick Nolte) to get the heroin back to the U.S., something he reluctantly agrees to. To make things worse, the reporter's wife (Tuesday Weld) is an addict and their operation is known by a few thugs who want the money and heroin for themselves at all costs.


The result is a great deal of violence and terrorism for only a small bag, but I guess this was a more shocking, impressive amount about 40 years ago. However, it is the MacGuffin to get the story going (even of the script and film wallow in it a bit more that they should) and all climaxes into a savage battle that practically brings Vietnam home. With Coming Home (also issued by Twilight Time) and The Deer Hunter arriving the same year, you can see how this film partly got lost in the shuffle, but it too reflects how the 'he's back home from Vietnam' cycle of films that ignored the war directly was finished.


Reisz (The French Lieutenant's Woman, Sweet Dreams) is a decent journeyman filmmaker who was abled to mostly pull off the ambitions in his best films, yet a few flaws always seem to surface, though they are no match for the wrecked, sloppiness of bad films (including on the subjects addressed by this film) we get today. The result is a decent film everyone should see once. MGM has licensed this United Artists film to Twilight Time, who has issued it as one of their Limited Edition Blu-rays. As usual, the company has isolated a film that reserves a much wider audience, rediscovery and is worth your time.


Extras 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 disc adds an interview with Supervising Editor John Bloom, an Isolated Music Score and an Original Theatrical Trailer.



These Blu-ray editions all look as good as they possibly could in the format with few complaints, starting with the 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Dawn looking remarkable for its age and despite the age of the materials used, the detail and depth will surprise many not used to silent movies looking so good. It is the remarkable survival of an orphan film.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Wilderness has been restored thoroughly by Warner form the original 35mm anamorphic Panavision camera materials an the results are solid, gritty and show off the atmosphere to best effect of the work of the underrated Director of Photography Gerry Fisher (All The Right Noises, The Offence, S*P*Y*S, Brannigan, Running On Empty, Wolfen, the original Highlander) makes this look as great as it can be uncomfortable and dirty. It has its own density that holds its own against The Revenant and was originally issued in three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor prints that this transfers hints at being impressive indeed.


But the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on New World is even more impressive with its combination of 35mm anamorphic Panavision and 65mm Super Panavision 70 footage that is as stunning as it is jaw-dropping and beautiful beyond expectations. At the time, when films were not shooting totally on 65mm film negative like recent releases (Dunkirk, Hateful Eight, the Murder On The Orient Express remake), they would shoot partly on 65mm, the rest on 35mm (like The Patriot with Mel Gibson), though the 65mm format (and its cousin VistaVision) have been kept alive over the last few decades by 70mm blow-up prints and for visual effects use, IMAX 70mm-shot films and other occasional all-70mm films (Far and Away, Baraka and Samsara included). Color, depth and detail are incredible and you truly feel like you're there when you start watching, especially in the Extended Cut. Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki supervised the 4K transfer and this easily outdoes the previous basic Blu-ray edition from a few years ago.


That leaves us with the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Rain, shot on 35mm film and not showing the age of the materials used to often. Sure, the films stocks look like their era, but this is impressively clean and is well-lensed by Director of Photography Richard H. Kline (The Andromeda Strain, The Boston Strangler, Camelot, De Palma's The Fury (the same year as this film) Soylent Green) offers only subtle contrasts between Vietnam and the nightmare all come home to. It may seem gritty and even crude, but its on the money and realistic.


As for sound, New World is by far the sonic winner here with an extraordinary DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix befitting a 70mm epic (the 35mm is shot with big screen 70mm presentation in mind) with superior visuals and one of the late, great James Horner's best scores. Detail, depth, directionality and soundstage placement are superior, large, open, very high fidelity and will impress audiophiles as much as it will major cinema fans.


Dawn ranks second place with its new music score for its silent footage in PCM 2.0 Stereo that sounds fine, but I like the images so much, the music can be a distraction. That leaves Wilderness and Rain, both originally theatrical monophonic films, here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono lossless mixes that sound as good as the films can sound, but also show some flaws inherent in the original recordings unfortunately. I doubt they could sound much better.



To order the Who'll Stop The Rain 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 Man In The Wilderness Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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