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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > War > WWII > Epic > Melodrama > Family > Teens > Romance > Racism > Korea > Slice Of Life > Battle Cry (1955/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Glass Castle (2017/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Sayonara (1957/Warner/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Summer Of '42 (1971/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Battle Cry (1955/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Glass Castle (2017/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Sayonara (1957/Warner/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Summer Of '42 (1971/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Sayonara Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time and is limited to only 3,000 copies, while Battle Cry and Summer Of '42 are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

The following dramas have their share of melodrama, cover different stories with different ideas in different eras and have mixed reputations, but all are ambitious and worth knowing about... and maybe seeing!

Raoul Walsh's Battle Cry (1955) is the first of two big, widescreen, full color event films Warner Bros. released with high hopes in mind and at practically the same length of screen time. Helped by one of the grittiest filmmakers in Hollywood at the time, Walsh delivers this all-star tale of Marines fighting WWII on the battlefield, but also tied to their relationships on the field, back home and even in combination. Based on a novel by Leon M. Uris, the military side starts out in a boot camp in New Zealand, an extremely underrated and uncredited ally of the Allies, then leads to the invasion of Saipan.

The film tries to do it all and to its credit, holds up better than you might think (the boot camp moments at their best are worthy of the best in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket), the cast that includes Van Heflin, James Whitmore, Aldo Ray, Tab Hunter and Raymond Massey, work well enough, but some by-then cliches about camaraderie that is commercially fine and helps the film (even in the midst of all kinds of conflict), but dates it the most.

Nevertheless, Warner went all out for the film and you can see it in the time and money spent to deliver the results. I think it is a mixed bag, but at least it is ambitious as such a production needs to be and with a lesser director, would likely not hold up as much. Like any other big screen event film, you should see it at least once.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.

The new drama from the Director of Short Term 12, Destin Cretton, The Glass Castle (2017) is an interesting, yet dark, cinematic journey of a dysfunctional family that's based on a true story.

Based on the memoirs of Jeannette Walls, the film aims to tug at the heart strings but feels at times a bit too overdramatic for its own good. Received theatrically with mixed reviews, the film flashes back and forth between the past and present. The Glass Castle stars Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Max Greenfield, and Sarah Snook.

Coming from a bizarre childhood thanks to her crazy parents (Harrelson and Watts), Jeanette (Larson) becomes successful in her career despite all that she's been through. Encountering her homeless parents in her adult life, she attempts to reconnect with them despite the hell they put her through.

Special Features...

9 Deleted Scenes

The Glass Castle: Memoir to Movie

A Conversation with Jeannette Walls

Making of "Summer Storm" by Joel P West

Scoring The Glass Castle

and a digital UltraViolet copy is also included.

Joshua Logan's Sayonara (1957) is the other big Warner release, the first of nine huge Technicolor romps the studio would produce in the large-frame Technirama format, Marlon Brando plays a U.S. Air Force pilot with a huge reputation, currently serving during the Korean War when he falls in love with a young lady (Miiko Taka) actress who happens to be Japanese, a big deal back then that causes all kinds of conflict and drama. Outside of James Mason, Brando is one of the only actors of the time who would have has the guts to make this film and he did.

Based on a James A. Mitchner novel, it is long and melodramatic as just about everything ever based on one of that author's books. But even in the face of that and some conventions that may seem dated in how the film deals with race and racism, the film has some fine moments, interesting scenes and a strong supporting cast that helps it age better including Red Buttons, Patricia Owens, Ricardo Montalban, James Garner, Martha Scott and Miyoshi Umeki that keep the film going beyond its duller points. Of course, the final scene has its fine payoff and 60 years later, remains one of Brando's greatest moments.

Though made by Warner Bros., MGM has (somehow) landed up with the ownership of the film (quite a reverse since Warner owns just about all MGM films to 1986 via buying Turner entertainment) and they have made the film available as a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray. Besides the curiosity interest, it is a Brando film and like Criterion's recent release of One Eyed Jacks (reviewed elsewhere on this site), its another must-see Brando performance finally making it to Blu-ray after all these years. So serious film fans need to see this one just once just for him!

Extras include yet another 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 adds an Isolated Music Score with select Sound Effects and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Last but not least is Robert Mulligan's somewhat infamous melodrama Summer Of '42 (1971) with its serious flashback tale of a young 15-year-old guy (Gary Grimes) falling in love with an unattainable, 22-year-old 'older woman' (Jennifer O'Neal looking undeniably beautiful throughout here) who is alone as her husband is away fighting WWII. Though many might find the melodrama and final impact of revelation corny or overdone, the infatuation, time period and way the young man and his two friends (Oliver Conant and Jerry Houser are very good here in those counter roles) is way more convincing a slice of life than the forced likes of Stand By Me, The Breakfast Club or other 1980s such films that I never bought.

Despite its reputation and being a hit in its time, the film has sadly become lost in the shuffle of those later such pretentious such films that frankly ripped it off and imitated it badly, so Warner has settled for issuing the film as part of their Warner Archive series on Blu-ray. Another reason might be the soft, naturalistic cinematography might seem too soft to those who would mistake the style for poor/out of focus photography (HD has destroyed people's ability to perceive an artistic natural look already) so this is a smart move for the studio. It is not a perfect film and even I have to admit it can get corny in parts, but it is at least consistent and realistic enough dealing with adult and adult-to-be feelings of love and one's journey on the way to being a sexual being. You can hardly name any films since the 1980s that achieve that!

An Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.

The 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Battle can show the age of the materials used as well as the older CinemaScope lens system, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and this restoration has fine, consistent colors that equal the look of the WarnerColor (originating from Eastman Kodak 35mm color negative film) and with few flaws in that is likely to be as good as anyone can see the film now.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless track (rare for Lionsgate), Castle is pretty effective in playback. The standard definition DVD that's also included is of lesser, more compressed quality and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital track. The film is beautifully photographed and this shows through on the format well.

These last two films, originally released by Warner theatrically, were originally issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints that are very valuable today if you happen to own Sayonara is here in an 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image and was shot in the large-frame technirama format, so this would be a 35mm reduction print (later films in the format would be available in 70mm) and you can see in many scenes how this has some of the sharpest, clearest, color-rich images of the four releases here. Needless to say it makes watching it more of a pleasure as a result.

Summer is here in a 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer that proves the soft image is no accident, but soft to rebel against the too-perfect studio color of older Hollywood films and this was very common at the time. Of course, the softness suggests older days and maybe romance, but I think the natural intent is #1 and the look matches the world and flashback idea just fine. You could only get this honest look on film and not HD, something to think about.

With the Castle sound dealt with above, the remaining films (all three Warner theatrical releases originally), we get DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mixes, with Battle and Sayonara originally 4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects releases, so we get a 5.1 upgrade on Battle and Sayonara sadly only offers 2.0 Stereo for some reason as the track in that case seems to be missing. Still, they sound pretty good for their age (meaning Sayonara might sound better if its original soundmaster is ever recovered) and cheers to both productions for trying to sound as state of the art as they could at the time of their release.

That leaves Summer in a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix, but it was a theatrical mono releases and apparently not upgradable to simple stereo (even if the Michel Legrand score was stereo) with the sound being a little dated for its time. I don't think that was to be nostalgic, but just the mono sound feature films reverted back to by the late 1960s in the face of TV's big success and budget cuts at the studios.

To order the Sayonara limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




...and to order Battle Cry and/or Summer Of '42 on Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo & James Lockhart (Glass Castle)



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