Of New York (1928/all
Warner Archive DVDs)/Red
Sparrow (2018/Fox 4K
Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: C/C/C/B+ Sound: C-/C/C/B+
Extras: D/D/C/B Films: C+
Of New York
DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and all can be ordered from the link below.
dramatic crime thriller dramas show how the role of women in such
cinema has and has not changed...
(1938) is NOT a musical from the legendary
choreography-turned-filmmaker/director, but though it is not an
outright thriller, it does have this wild combination of performing
arts, crime and a desperate woman that reminded me of Red
Here, Kay Francis plays a woman who wants to be a big time stage
performer, has daughter and child to take care of and runs a
newsstand, when she meets an actor who could gibe her a big break.
Too bad her dysfunctional husband kills him!
then goes to jail, but she feels it was an accident, intends to free
him and inadvertently becomes the very performer she always dreamed
of, but for a new end. Needless to say this can be all over the
place, but Berkley can juggle it and it is worth a look for the many
things that do work, along with its twists and turns. It also shows
he could handle genres outside of the Musicals he became so famous
are unfortunately no extras.
(1929) gives us an earlier tale of four men stuck at devil's Island
prison, including a murderer, thief, shut-in and warden with issues
in this Samuel Goldwyn-produced drama that can get really dirty, ugly
and real. It also has a few cliches of such films, but is bold in
the portrayal of hurt, flawed, sick individuals who are highly toxic,
looking for easy ways out of their situations and the results of
everyone going for the easy way adding up to more disaster for all.
is the kind of film that would be hard to get made by a major studio
today, so that Goldwyn's one-man mini-major did it back then tells us
something. Ronald Coleman is the bank robber trying to avoid hard
labor, even if it makes some others jealous and Ann Harding is really
good here as the warden's neglected wife who takes a liking to
Coleman. Yes, it is another film that gets that involved and
intense. You can also see why no one has dared to take it on; too
honest to deal with? Dudley Diggs and Louis Wolheim also star, more
than holding their own and though the film shows its age at times, it
also has much about it that holds up well.
are unfortunately no extras.
Of New York
(1928) was the next major sound 'talkie' film from Warner Bros. after
(1927, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and Don
have bootleggers trick two local guys who aren't too bright (Eugene
Pallette as Gene and Cullen Landis as Eddie) into buying a barbershop
in Manhattan (when such things were so easily affordable 90 years
ago!) that turns out to be an illegal speakeasy!
things gets worse when Eddie's old flame Kitty (Helen Costello) turns
up as a chorus girl and one of the gangsters behind the plot starts
taking a quick liking to her! Kitty is not exactly a disposable gal,
even if her stage performing might not be considered as 'legitimate'
as other such female activity in the 'arts' as the stereotypes go.
All in all, not a bad film, but expect some odd moments considering
sound was so very new at this point, especially from the studio who
finally found a way to make it a permanent part of world cinema. Yet
another film not bad for its age and one you should see once if you
are a big film fan.
include four restored Vitaphone short films from 1928 so you get the
further idea of how early sound cinema was like.
compare those three films to this new spy thriller...
Lawrence stars in Red
(2018), a film in which she plays a Russian whose unwillingly
enlisted into become a intelligence officer. Taught to be selfless,
ruthless and willing to kill, these agents known as Sparrows that use
their mind and bodies as lethal weapons. The film spends a lot of
time being risque and sexual when it could have more action and
suspense. There isn't much humor here and at times the slow pace,
length, and exotic locations make it feel almost foreign. Directed
by Francis Lawrence (Hunger
I Am Legend,
endless music videos), the film is a bold (and revealing) choice for
Lawrence - an actress who likes to show her range.
film also stars Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Matthias Schoenaerts,
Mary-Louise Parker, and Charlotte Rampling.
Egorova (Lawrence) begins as a ballet dancer who undergoes a tragic
injury to her leg. Faced with taking care of her sick mother, she is
recruited by her Uncle to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence
service. There she faces a life changing training process and is set
free on a mission that threatens her life. However, Dominika has
come far from her humble beginnings and is willing to do whatever it
New Cold War: Origination and Adaptation
Provocateurs: The Ensemble Cast
of the Tempest: On Location
to Sparrow School: Ballet and Stunts
Puzzle of Need: Post-Production
Commentary by Francis Lawrence
Deleted Scenes (With Optional Commentary by Francis Lawrence)
it wasn't quite what I was expecting, Red
highlights a great performance by Lawrence and a satisfying third
in a 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High
Definition image with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and an
English/Russian Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless track, the film is highly
cinematic and is breathing on 4K UHD. The film's lush cinematography
is backed by its Russian backdrops that comes across so life-like
you'll feel as if you're there. Also included is a 1080p high
definition with similar specs and a digital copy.
1.33 X 1 black and white image in the three Warner Archive DVDs are
watchable, but show their age with scratches, dirt and other
instances of damage, meaning they need restorations ASAP when 4K
versions are needed. Otherwise, they can look good. The lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono on all three DVDs are also down a generation or two,
which was hard to hear at times. Be careful of high playback volumes
and volume switching.
order the Comet
Of New York Warner
Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great
web-exclusive releases at:
Nicholas Sheffo and James