And The Bean (1974/Warner
The Boys Are
(1960/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)
B/B-/B Sound: B- Extras: C-/C/C+ Films: C+
and the Bean
The Boys Are
Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
following are all comedies that are each unconventional in their own
and the Bean
Rush's Freebie and the Bean
(1974) was part of a few cycles at the time in film, the cop/buddy
film, the chase film, the buddy film, ethnic comedies (somehow
considered progressive, but regressive, or both at the same time
depending) and dark comedies about corrupt cops (think also Law
& Disorder, Super
Cops or in slight ways,
The French Connection)
and these films would pair two well-known actors with the promise of
delivering something different and interesting. In this case, it is
James Caan (on a roll after the first Godfather)
and Alan Arkin (who was all over the place as one of the premiere
character actors of the time, even playing the title role for a
single Inspector Clouseau
film) whom were both considered cutting-edge talent of the time.
film begins with them stealing trash and dumping several large cans
in the trunk of their car to find clues. Already, the language and
unusual situation (do they have the legal right (at the time) to do
this without a warrant?) sets up that this is a film where unusual
things will happen throughout. Set in San Francisco (the locale of
three other Warner classics: Bullitt,
and What's Up Doc?),
the duo is out to get a lead gangster, but complications ensue (they
cause most of them) and when murder and their mostly self-inflicted
mayhem, destroying property trying to solve the crime without even
consulting their boss, will they kill each other by accident before
this is all over?
course, this may sound very familiar, because this film and films
like it from this cycle are being made a few times every year, but
without the edge of even this film. However, despite some decent
directing by Rush (The
Stunt Man), this was all
becoming formulaic by the time it arrived and even the makers knew
they were repeating themselves (the great Laszlo Kovacs, A.S.C.,
lensed What's Up Doc?
(reviewed in an amazing Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and we even
get some of the same shots, but this time in a scope frame) so the
results are a little cynical. In its time, it as a moderate hit,
helped by supporting actor turns by Alex Rocco, Loretta Swit and
Valerie Harper, but the thin plot is just an excuse for the banter,
car chases, property destruction and action/violence moments.
as it has on;y held up so much and is not as remembered as much as I
expected, Warner has restored the film and issued it as part of their
web-only Warner Archive series on Blu-ray and it is nice to see it
again just to see what did work. Arkin is too forgotten to the
detriment of us all and this does have energy. However, it also has
more than its casual share of racism, sexism and especially
homophobia tired to the plot (as the landmark documentary The
Celluloid Closet said
about the portrayal of homosexuals in Hollywood mainstream cinema of
the time, 'now they were killers!') the film is also an antique and
time capsule of the counterculture era and its limits. Still, it is
worth a look for what does work and the actors.
noted, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer
looks really good and the film was issued in 35mm film prints of the
time in dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor prints (now very valuable if you actually own
one) as shot with real anamorphic Panavision lenses. You can see how
good that would look from this solid presentation. This was shot to
be big screen, wide screen and look better the larger the screen.
Wish I could say that about most films now.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is decent for its age
and sounds about as good as it ever will here, so you'll be able to
hear all the yelling and insults about as clearly as expected.
However, the only extra is an Original Theatrical Trailer.
Hasselhoff (2014) is a pretty funny comedy that's finally finding
its way onto video about a celebrity death pool that ends up being
quite valuable and one man's hope for Hasselhoff, his pick in the
game, to die. Not without plenty of raunchy jokes, over the top
action, and a decent size production budget, the film is way funnier
than other big budget comedies I've seen this summer.
The Hangover's Ken Joeng, hilarious stand-up comedian Jim
Jeffries, Jon Lovitz, and of course David Hasselhoff himself, the
film is from the producers of the new Baywatch.
film is directed by David Grant (Diary of a Mad Black Woman).
struggling night club owner named Chris Kim (Jeong) has an answer to
all of his problems. All he has to do is win the celebrity death
pool between some friends (his pick is the Hoff) and whoever's
celebrity dies first wins a small life changing fortune. When he
gets in deep financially with a guy named Fish (Rhys Darby) and is
framed for a celebrity mishap at his club with a teen celebrity,
Chris Kim must figure out a way to pay off his debts and keep his
fiance in the mean time. Soon, he gets the odd ball idea of hiring a
hitman to kill the Hoff for him, thus bringing him his fortune. Will
his hair-brained scheme work?
in standard definition with a 1:78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the film looks and sounds average for
the format. Details are missing that would be evident in HD, but for
a film of this nature its passable on DVD.
worth watching at least once, this comedy is fine for the R-rated
The Boys Are
Levin's Where The Boys Are
(1960) was sort of MGM's attempt to come up with a Rock music film
after it was assumed Rock music was dead (the bobby soxer era
replaced Elvis (in the military), Little Richard (in church), Jerry
Lee Lewis (in permanent trouble with the law) and others either with
no more hits or gone tragically (Richie Valens, Buddy, Holly &
The Big Bopper) so why not have a female Jailhouse
Rock in the opposite way,
in the open outdoors of the beach?
film that dared to deal with premarital sex when the Hollywood code
was in its final years and before the counterculture arrived (The
Pill and all), the film had a very capable journeyman director and a
cast that turned out to be one that was on the way to all kinds of
stardom including the ever-underrated Paula Prentiss (in her first
film), Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux, Barbara Nichols, George
Hamilton, Jim Hutton, comedian Frank Gorshin and one of the most
successful female vocalists of all time debuting in her first acting
role, Connie Francis.
was recording for MGM Records at the time and did not even want to be
in a film (now we have this full color scope record of her in her
prime!) running up pop chart records that were unheard of at the
time, becoming the successor to the big WWII and post-WWII female
music megastars of the time (Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Peggy
Lee, Brenda Lee (no relation), Patti Page, Teresa Brewer, Georgia
Gibbs) and whose only immediate competitor in her generation was
Leslie Gore. It was a big deal to have her in the film and with her
legendary writing team of Howard Greenfield and Neil Sedaka writing
the title song (they wrote two versions and the one they liked less
was picked) that became a pop culture classic, you can imagine how
big this near-musical film was.
is actually a drama of sorts, with some comedy (some unintended,
maybe even then) and the story of how the gals from school interact
as they deal with men, fortunately played here by actors worth their
time, et al. Thus, it is own kind of time capsule and what was racy
then seems charming now, sadly in some ways and still managed to
influence films like Grease
(1978) in its own way. It is really a product of the 1950s, yet
somehow seeing the 1960s on the way without knowing it.
perfect at 99 minutes, there are a few more songs here, but this is
no a musical in any way, yet could be thought of as a precursor to
the 1980s soundtrack-driven non-musicals that even led to an
unnecessary redo of this film. It is also the film that helped
establish what we now know as spring break, so in all this, it is
worth a look and for serious film and music fans, should be seen at
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the
age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all
previous releases of the film, though you can see some flaws with the
use of the older anamorphic CinemaScope widescreen lens system. It
is not too bad, but that adds age and was in the last years of the
format's domination before Panavision, Franscope and better 'glass'
came along. The MetroColor (now using Kodak 35mm negative film
stocks) looks as good as it can here and it is likely not going to
look much better save a great film print of 4K disc.
Francis recording her hits often with stereo release and
multi-channel stereo being a permanent part of film releases since
1953 and that this film was issued in its best prints in 4-track
magnetic stereo sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects,
this presentation is unfortunately a monophonic version here in a
(Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix that sounds good, but is lacking
when the music kicks in. Sad. Hope they find the 4-track master or
some great copy down the line, but this will have to do for now.
include a fine feature length audio commentary track by Miss Prentiss
that is very informative, Fort Lauderdale Premiere Newsreel, a brief
featurette Retrospective clip with Francis and Prentiss interviewed
on camera separately and the Original Theatrical Trailer. Not bad.
more on Francis and to hear some of her choice early work in the
highest fidelity possible, try our coverage of hits and more in the
Super Audio CD format (with a regular CD layer) at this link...
order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them
and many more great web-exclusive releases at:
James Lockhart (Killing)