Artists/MGM/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray)/Battle
Of The Sexes (2017/Fox
Chase At Hal Roach: The Talkies 1930 - 31
(Sprocket Vault/VCI DVD Set)/Goodbye
National/Warner Archive DVD)/The
Jackie Gleason Show In Color
(1968 - 9/Time Life DVD)/Strictly
1951/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Tarzan
Region Free Import PAL DVD)/The
Top 100 Classic Radio Shows
(2017/Carl Amari & Martin Grams Jr./Portable Press Hardcover Book
B/B & C/C+/C/C+/C/C+/X Sound: B/B & C+/C/C/C/C/C+/C+
Extras: B/C+/B/D/D/C-/D/B- Main Programs: B/B-/B/C+/B-/C+/B-
Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia and can only play on Blu-ray and DVD
players that can handle the PAL DVD format, while Goodbye
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
set of releases offers great entertainment and usually, solid
Billy Wilder's The
(1960) gets a limited edition Arrow Academy release and has never
look better on disc than it does here, besting previous releases,
including a basic Blu-ray we looked at years ago. Hilarious, a
little dated in terms of technology but a great time capsule piece,
there are many things still relevant here that audiences will pick up
on. I'm surprised that this hasn't been remade in recent years with
a big name attached. Fans of the classic will swoon over this deluxe
release, which features nice packaging and a hardcover insert booklet
in this limited edition set from Arrow.
film stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray
Walston, Jack Kruschen, and David Lewis. The film is written by
Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond.
Baxter (Lemmon) is succeeding in his corporate job at a huge
insurance company in NYC, thanks to his side gig - renting out his
nice apartment for his many superiors to secretly take their
mistresses to. What at first seems like a pain in the neck (and
plenty of messes to clean up), Baxter soon meets Fran (MacLaine) - an
elevator girl - whom he in love with.. but whom is the mistress of
his new boss. Will Mr. Baxter choose a growing romance with Fran or
his rising career as his new romantic aspiration is frowned upon by
his jealous boss?
is restored in 4K from the original 35mm camera negative, and the
picture is much sharper than before. The presentation is impressive
with the film's black and white image displayed cleanly and sharp in
detail shockingly. No DVD version included in case you were
Features, aside from the collectible packaging and hard-bound
Commentary with Bruce Block.
Key to The Apartment
Letter to Castro
Informal Conversation with Billy Wilder
Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon
fun film that's nicely made and truly looks nice on disc, this is the
definitive version of The Apartment
Of The Sexes
(2017) is the story of how the great tennis legend Billie jean King
(at a pivotal moment in her life) landed up taking on the one-time
tennis great Bobby Riggs, who was celebrating his sexism in the face
of a backlash against a rising feminism in the 1970s. At first, King
(Emma Stone, who transforms herself in to the role) thinks nothing of
it when one of her rivals loses a big game to Riggs, in part through
snobbery and not understanding what is going on.
she has to take on Riggs (Steve Carell, who plays the flawed,
troubled man with surprising integrity) to help the entire sport of
women's tennis, where the ladies are being severely underpaid and
recreating the 1970s well, shows us the time as a character.
Directed by Music Video veterans Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris,
we do get some sloppy editing moments that do not help the film, but
the lead performances, ambition of the film and great supporting cast
that includes Bill Pullman, Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming and
Elisabeth Shue, manages to overcome those limits. Sadly, it got lost
in the awards-season shuffle, but deserves better and I recommend it,
even if you're unsure you'd like it, because I think it works better
than most would expect it to.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the disc versions offer a Stills
Gallery and three Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes: Raw
Footage of filming Billie Jean's grand entrance into the big contest,
Jean King: In Her Own Words.
Chase At Hal Roach: The Talkies 1930 - 31
is the third collection of the underrated, too-forgotten comedian's
remarkable comedy film shorts to arrive on DVD following solid sets
by other companies that cover the 1915 to 1925 period...
the 1924 to 1926 period with barely any overlap...
Sprocket Vault is stepping in with a collection that jumps four years
ahead and covers more really funny material that includes his famous
co-star Thelma Todd and includes from 1930:
Real McCoy, Whispering Whoopee, All Teed Up, Fifty Million Husbands,
Fast Work, Girl Shock, Dollar Dizzy, Looser Than Loose, High C's
and from 1931: Thundering
Tenors, The Pip from Pittsburg, Rough Seas, One of the Smiths, The
Panic Is On, Skip the Maloo!, What a Bozo!
strikes me as both odd and remarkable that he has not been
rediscovered, was ever forgotten and what is taking so long for
people to catch on. As before, this is a man those comedy sense is
superior and once I start watching, it is hard to stop. He fits in
perfectly with the wild comedy sense Roach's films were known for and
this not only all looks good, it all holds up much better than you
might think. Also funny is some of the dated technology in parts,
but you also have the timing and chemistry of the cast. That is why
I find myself highly recommending another set of his work that
impresses more than expected, in part by its smooth ease in being
funny. This is yet another Chase set worth going out of your way
include a Spanish version of The
Pip from Pittsburg
Senorita de Chicago
where the cast reshot their scenes speaking the other language, an
audio commentary track running on all the shorts by Chase fan and
expert Richard M. Roberts and a Photo/Poster/Stills Gallery.
(1933) is a mixed film that is saved by a solid, atypical performance
by Joan Blondell, not playing her usual supporting role or 'smart
alec broad' role, opposite then-major male lead Warren William as his
secretary, who saves his writer form a scandal in which another woman
(Genevieve Tobin) claims his new best-selling book about a scandalous
woman is her!
has marketed himself as the author of books by a man 'who knows
women' that helps hype sales, but no one could expect what happens
here. Not quite a screwball comedy, though one of a few manners gone
nuts, its a bit scattered for its short 66 minutes, but is worth
suffering the down sides for what works. I liked seeing Blondell get
more screen time and a better role, though it would be too rare for
her, despite being the big star survivor of this cast.
worth a look for those interested, Helen Chandler, Wallace Ford and
Ruth Donnelly also star.
are sadly no extras.
Jackie Gleason Show In Color
(1968 - 9) is the last of The Great Ones variety TV series, all hits
and all in the wake of the world discovering The
after it failed to launch the DuMont TV network to success. The four
episodes here from Time Life video have never been released on DVD,
though The Honeymooners sequences from the earlier seasons when they
were doing them as musicals have been issued years ago on DVD, as we
reviewed them here....
were still not compete episodes of the actual variety show and they
were still doing Honeymooners skits, but by this time, no more
musical numbers. Taped in Florida when that was unheard of,
Gleason's name and success meant powerful friends and new talent, so
a guest star list that includes Milton Berle, Red Buttons, George
Carlin, Nipsey Russell (amazing), Phil Silvers, Florence Henderson,
Morey Amsterdam (hilarious), Jan Murray (very underrated comedian who
was major in his day), Frankie Avalon, Edie Adams, Art Carney
continuing back as Ed Norton and the June Taylor Dancers in peak form
is no surprise and each episode has wall-to-wall chemistry.
are also hidden surprises like a buddy Berle brings with him, Morton
Storm, whose idea of talking inspired everything from The Beastie
Boys to The Jerky Boys. 'Morty' is a true original and its great to
have him in action on camera here.
are sadly no extras, but I hope more episodes are coming to DVD soon,
because these are great shows.
was made as two very different films from the same source material in
1931 and 1951. Warner Archive has issued both films in one double
feature DVD and gives you an idea of how filmmaking and the audience
aimed for had changed. Based on a hit play by future comedy
directing genius Preston Sturges, John M. Stahl helmed the 1931
version sticking closest to the play from Universal Pictures set in
high society and very literate. It holds its own in its cosmopolitan
form and is a surprisingly elegant time capsule from a studio that
was much smaller in that time.
picked up the rights to the play and remade it by upping the opera
element and some cornpone comedy. In both, a southern gal (Sidney
Fox in 1931, Janet Leigh in 1951) fall for an opera singer (Paul
Lukas in 1931, Ezio Pinza in 1951) and madness ensues from cultural
and socio-economy differences, of which the later MGM version goes a
bit more bonkers with and becomes over accessorized in production
design and more money on screen.
doubt Leigh shows in the 1951 version why she was so popular in that
time, a legacy too often overlooked versus Hitchcock's Psycho,
but she is good here. However, the 1931 film works a bit better for
me because it is closer to the stage version, is a Pre Code film so
it gets away with more and just how well it works on its own terms.
Now you can compare both and see if they live up to their provocative
only extra is a theatrical trailer for the 1951 film.
De Young's Tarzan
(2016) was made to go with the most recent Tarzan film Warner Bros.
made the same year (reviewed elsewhere on this site), but it is not
included as an extra on that Blu-ray release and sadly so, because
this was made by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate and does a really
good job of looking at most of the history of the character on film
since the silent era with a with a surprising amount of new
interviews, plus a few vintage clips (Johnny Weissmuller, for
instance) and runs a good 78 minutes. That makes it a decent crash
course in the character on the big and small screen.
being critical (the infamous Bo Derek Tarzan
is even included), the production has a generous amount of clips,
putting them into the best context possible, shows the pop culture
and tie-ins surrounding the character to further show its popularity
and new interviews with David Yates, Casper Van Dien, Hugh Hudson,
Ron Ely, Wolf Larson, Denny Miller and Christopher Lambert among
others makes this engaging enough (wish more on the animated 1970s
series had been discussed, though) and it becomes a celebration of
see this, we had to get it as an Umbrella Region Free Import PAL DVD,
but it is worth it if you are interested and like (or even love) the
character. It actually goes further than you would get on any DC or
Marvel Comics program on any of their heroes because they are trying
to only push the latest actor in a given lead role, which is fine,
but all these evergreen characters always have greater histories and
appeal than we hear about and this documentary delivers.
are sadly no extras.
in 1080p high definition with a widescreen black
& white aspect
ratio of 2.35:1 and a nice sounding PCM 1.0 Mono and DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mixes, both of which sound similar but
slightly better than the previous Blu-ray release, this new 4K
upgrade brings out even more detail, depth and authentic film black
in its presentation, plus the use of light is more naturalistic and
we get more of the original anamorphic Panavision frame. Its better
in motion too.
1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 30 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer
happens to also be shot on 35mm film and with solid color, ties
as the best playback performer here, even if it can have a mix of
looks. Editing is not bad, but a few parts did not work as well as
image on the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 DVD version also
included however, is much softer than I expected and ties the tough
prints and presentations on the two 1.33 X 1 black & white films
here from Warner Archive for poorest playback. Those older films
need serious restoration, but are watchable.
watchable are the 1.33 X 1 black & white Charlie
shorts, also sporting some print flaws, but more consistent than the
feature films, while the color Jackie
episodes have a little bit of trouble in the way of analog videotape
flaws including some video noise, video banding, telecine flicker,
tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage. Still,
they also look good and some color is very nice.
laves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Tarzan
also having some minor detail issues and some film clips looking
better than others, yet it is very watchable.
for sound on the rest of these releases, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
5.1 lossless mix on Sexes
is well mixed and presented, never going bonkers and as good as
anything here (the DVD has lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is passable
at best), while Tarzan
offers lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that is fine of a documentary,
but more than a few portions are monophonic.
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the rest of the DVDs are fair, but a
little weaker and lower in volume than expected, so be careful of
volume switching or high volume playback. The theatrical films need
more work, while Jackie
sounds about as good as it can (credited as stereo, though that is
pushing it), though I wonder if more work might fix them up a bit.
there are the three CDs in our final title, a new book entitled The
Top 100 Classic Radio Shows
(2017), which offers PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Mono of some older radio shows
that are pretty cleaned up without much compression or other issues.
Eddie Cantor Show,
Cavalcade Of America
are the programs the publishers decided to use as samples of how
network radio was before the advent of television or Internet
programming. They are not bad choices, but they sound about as good
as they possibly can and can be found inside the back cover of the
Carl Amari & Martin Grams Jr.-authored Portable Press Hardcover
hear about the Internet competing with (HD)TV and movies as
entertainment and you can think of what might happen if a bunch of
networks on the web-only suddenly produced weekly programming. In
actuality, that is what happened when radio arrived and in 1922, had
its first-ever radio ad for a New York suburb, then 1926 when a
barbershop quartet sang an ad for Wheaties Cereal, the first of
thousands of what would become known as jingles. By the 1930s, NBC
(with two channels), CBS and eventually, Mutual and ABC would offer
weekly shows with sponsorship and the first media market was born.
book has high quality image production, solid text, thick paper for
its 224 pages and does a fine job of explaining this lost world of
entertainment that helped make its TV replacement possible (TV was
invented by radio companies who saw no real value in what they
invented0 and the book is split into six parts: Comedy, Drama,
Mystery & Detective, Sci-Fi & Kids, Variety and Western &
shows were great (Duffy's
Mercury Theater On The Air, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and some
McGee & Molly)
some outright awful (Amos & Andy), with some literary characters
as well as comedians (Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Abbott & Costello,
Martin & Lewis) all thrived well. There were more hits shows,
but this is still a good introduction to those days when a higher
quality of radio was king.
I thought some better shows from the period were skipped, including
the writers have an aversion to Horror?) and especially Information
(maybe the smartest quiz show of the time) and You
Bet Your Life
with no less than Groucho Marx!
this is a solid new book that is thorough, has fine CDs to allow you
to hear some of the programs with higher quality than many copies of
the shows out there and the people who made the book obviously like
and love the subject, so definitely give it a look or give it as a
Umbrella import DVD, go to this link and other hard to find titles:
to order either of the Warner Archive DVDs, Goodbye
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo & James Lockhart (Apartment)