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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > War > WWII > Thriller > Comedy > Terrorism > Bank Robbery > Obsession > Heist > Australia > Gangster > Bridge At Remagen (1969/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Die Hard 4K (1988/Fox Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Gun Crazy (1949/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Money Movers (1978/Umbrella

Bridge At Remagen (1969/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Die Hard 4K (1988/Fox Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Gun Crazy (1949/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Money Movers (1978/Umbrella Import PAL DVD)/The Valachi Papers (1972/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B/B/C+/B Sound: B-/A-/B-/C+/B- Extras: C/C+/B+/C/C Films: B-/B/B/C+/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The Money Movers Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia and can only play on Blu-ray & DVD players that can handle PAL DVD format discs, Bridge At Remagen and The Valachi Papers can be ordered from our friends at Twilight Time and are each limited to only 3,000 copies, and Gun Crazy is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Action films take my forms, some serious, come comical, some with more graphic violence and some even based on true stories. Here's a strong group of such films now on disc...



John Guillerman's Bridge At Remagen (1969) is set during WWII and at first, instantly might sound like that 'other' famous bridge film, but instead of being a dumb recycle of David Lean's Bridge On the River Kwai (reviewed elsewhere on this site), is a smart tale of its own with U.S. troops trying to capture the title structure to disadvantage the Nazis, but the great twist in casting is that the main Nazi assigned to deal with the bridge and Americans is no less than Robert Vaughn (the original Man From U.N.C.L.E.) wants to blow the thing up before they get it. Instead of the usual boo hiss villain, Vaughn portrays the man with amazing depth and dignity, making him more formidable and the film more credible.


Ben Gazzara and George Seagal lead the Americans and it becomes an underrated film form that great year of 1969 that not enough people know about. This is among the last United Artists from MGM that Twilight Time has licensed as one of their Limited Edition Blu-ray, but it is a solid choice to be amongst the last ones. Bradford Dillman, Anna Gael and E.G. Marshall are among the other big names that round out a really great cast and all the war sequences and big crowd pieces are all real, no digital, faking or phony effects of the time.


Guillerman is an underrated journeyman filmmaker who was on his way to a career that included hits like The Towering Inferno, King Kong (1976) and the original Death On The Nile, so he even had what it took then and this is a fine film to revisit if you have not seen it in a while. If you have never seen it, you have to at least once to see how good it can get.


Extras include a DigiPak with a 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 and Original Theatrical Trailer.



One of the most legendary action films of all time, the first Die Hard (1988) starring the one and only Bruce Willis as John McClane, lands on the new 4K Ultra HD format in all its glory. While it looks and sounds fantastic, there isn't as significant difference as other titles in the format but still looks better than the also included 1080p Blu-ray release. In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, Die Hard even better now than it used to.


Die Hard also stars Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, and William Atherton to name a few.


New York City detective John McClane (Willis), lands in Los Angeles in an effort to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged wife that he is still in love with. As McClane waits for his wife's office party to break up, terrorists take control of the building, forcing McClane to take action as he ignites a one-man war against terrorist leader Hans Gruber (Rickman).


Bonus Features (previously available on Blu-ray):


Commentary by Director John McTiernan and Production Designer Jackson DeGovia


Scene-Specific Commentary by Special Effects Supervisor Richard Edlund


Subtitle Commentary by Various Cast and Crew


The News Casts Featurette


Interactive Style Gallery


Interactive Articles from Cinefex and American Cinematographer magazines


Full-Length Screenplay


Trailers & TV Spots



While it sadly doesn't offer any new featurettes (a retrospective piece or a dedication to Alan Rickman would have been nice), the new and improved presentation is enough of a recommendation to 'die hard' fans. Hopefully the other films in the Die Hard franchise will be available on 4K UHD soon.



Joseph H. Lewis' Gun Crazy (1949) is a pleasant surprise of a Blu-ray release considering it has been only available in poor video copies for way too long, plus that it is a great Film Noir that is a fave for fans but still not as well-known as it ought to be. Sometimes unintentionally comical and campy, the tale of a man whose been obsessed with guns since he was a child getting turned on by a female sharpshooter, they fall for each other in a relationship so hot and passionate, they start robbing banks and killing anyone in their way!


John Dall and Peggy Cummins are the couple as adults and once their madness starts, they just cannot help themselves, so you can imagine this just builds and builds until its spectacular end. Its a real gem of a classic and to have such a great copy of the film finally restored is great.


So Warner Bros. has this film (no more orphan status for this one) and is offering it via their great Warner Archive Blu-ray series. We expect this to become one of the most popular and successful titles in the amazing series to date. All serious film fans have to put this on their MUST SEE list. Don't miss it or put up with secondary (or worse) copies!


Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by film scholar and Noir expert Glenn Erickson and featurette Film Noir: Bringing Darkness To Light.



Bruce Beresford's Money Movers (1978) is easily the most realistic, edgy film the director of Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and one it turns out he still is not a fan of. Fortunately, this underrated heist film that helped make Bryan Brown a star and helped launch the South Australian Film Corporation holds up very well on its 40th Anniversary and might have some OzPloitation moments about it, but it is a genre classic and Australian classic that needed and deserved to be saved and restored. This is that edition.


The plot has to do with a clever way to steal $20 Million (Australian) from a security service, with a group of men pretending to be from that service, down to a imitation truck the workers cannot tell from the real thing, then they arrive earlier than the actual due truck and take the money with ease... unless something goes wrong and you can imagine how that might happen.


The actors are all in, the film looks good and even with a director who had not given up on challenging material as his career was getting started, the film works well, even with the more bloody violence we get in some very tough scenes. This Umbrella Import PAL DVD is our first chance to see the restoration and it is good, the film aging well and more than able to hold its own against such films now that might have some of the violence, but none of the intensity, suspense or solid script we get here. You won't see some of the these scenes in a more commercial film like a Die Hard!


Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer, a Making Of featurette Count Your Toes and trailers for similar films from Umbrella.



Finally, we have Terence Young's The Valachi Papers (1972) which had the luck of arriving when the first Godfather film hit theaters. Charles Bronson (who was on a roll working with three-time James Bond and Wait Until Dark director Young) is the title character, a real life man who finally told all the secrets of(the Italian Mob to federal investigators after being undercover all the way to a prison stay. It is pretty good, works better than I remembered and is long overdue for rediscovery after being popular for a long while back in the day.


It may not be a elegant as Coppola's films, but it is hard-hitting like a documentary without being an outright docudrama and has some of the best work of all its participants, including Jill Ireland, Joseph Wiseman (reuniting with Dr. No director Young here), Lino Ventura and Gerald S. O'Laughlin.


Cheers also to the period detail and how rich so many of the sets are, how amazing the clothes are and the subtle atmosphere the film establishes throughout, much of which is beyond your usual gangster genre film. Sony has licensed this Columbia Pictures hit to Twilight Time to be one of its Limited Edition Blu-rays which may surprise some considering how popular it once was, like Bronson himself, but it is really smart, mature filmmaking and serious film fans should get it while they can.


Extras include 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 a partial Isolated Music Score by Riz Ortolani, though I was surprised we got no Original Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots or Radio Spots, because they are in a few collections out there.



Presented in 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and paired with a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, Die Hard has been remastered in 4K with improved results over the included Blu-ray, which uses the older HD master. Texture and character details have improved but with the film taking place primarily at night, there isn't as apparent of a difference at first glance. Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray edition with similar specs and a digital copy.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Bridge was shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision and holds up very well throughout, the 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Gun Crazy rarely shows the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film for sure (this is a title plagued by many bad video releases) and impresses throughout as Warner seems to have the best 35mm materials surviving on the film.


The Valachi Papers (due to its own success, Bronson's following and the huge success of the first two Godfather films) saw its share of home video releases, so this 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a long overdue upgrade that looks so good, you'll see the film looks even better than you might think. Like the first two Godfather films, this film was issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints and finally, you can see that quality in many scenes and shots on this disc throughout. Collectors will really want this one before it runs out.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Money Movers is also from a restored edition cleaned and and preserved in its original 35mm origins, looking so good in shots here, one wonders where the Blu-ray is. However, the PAL video is sharper than it would be on a U.S. NYSC DVD, so that helps until the next format.


The four films here that are not Die Hard were all theatrical mono releases, with the Blu-rays offered in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes that sound as good as they likely ever will, while Money Movers settles for lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono that is not as good, but passable.



You can order the Bridge At Remagen and The Valachi Papers limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/



To order the Money Movers Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to get releases at:


http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/


...and to order the Gun Crazy Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Die Hard 4K)

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


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