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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Action > Camp > Police > Detective > Murder > Crime > Assassin > Spoof > Teens > Sex > Drama > Soap Opera > Freebie And The Bean (1974/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Killing Hasselhoff (2014/Universal DVD)/Where The Boys Are (1960/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Freebie And The Bean (1974/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Killing Hasselhoff (2014/Universal DVD)/Where The Boys Are (1960/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The Freebie and the Bean and Where 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.



The following are all comedies that are each unconventional in their own ways....



Freebie and the Bean


Richard 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.


The 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, Dirty Harry 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?


Of 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.


Thus, 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.


As 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.


The 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.



Killing Hasselhoff


Killing 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.


Starring 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.


The film is directed by David Grant (Diary of a Mad Black Woman).


A 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?


Presented 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.


No digital copy.


Special Features...


Deleted Scenes



Definitely worth watching at least once, this comedy is fine for the R-rated movie crowd.



Where The Boys Are


Henry 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?


A 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.


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.


It 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.


Not 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 least once.


The 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.


Despite 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 DTS-HD MA (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.


Extras 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.



For 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...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10472/Connie+Francis+%E2%80%93+26+Greatest+Hits



To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- James Lockhart (Killing) & Nicholas Sheffo

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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