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Category:    Home > Reviews > Epic > Drama > History > Royalty > Assassination > Gay > Politics > Homophobia > Play > Action > War > Cable TV > Captain From Castille (1947/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Edward II (1991/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Furious (2017/Well Go Blu-ray w/DVD)/Game Of Thrones: The Complete First Season 4K (2011/H

Captain From Castille (1947/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Edward II (1991/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Furious (2017/Well Go Blu-ray w/DVD)/Game Of Thrones: The Complete First Season 4K (2011/HBO 4K Blu-ray Set)/The Prime Minister (1941/Warner Archive DVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B/A- & B/X/C Sound: C+/B/B+ & B-/B+/C Extras: B/C+/D/B/C- Main Programs: C+/B/A-/B/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Captain From Castille Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while The Prime Minister DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

The following releases deal with war and power in the past, sometimes with government, other times with royalty or both...

We start with Henry King's Captain From Castille (1947), the hit that proved Tyrone Power would continue to be a box office star long after WWII in this epic with the title character surviving the Spanish Inquisition to fight for justice along with those trying to make their way to greatness and just through life. Yes, it is obviously a stretch to accept Power as Spanish, especially when Cesar Romero is his co-star playing no less than Hernan Cortez (or tougher to see Tonto himself, Jay Silverheels, as an Aztec slave anting freedom!), but that was sadly the time when you could not cast actors who were the same ethnicity of the character or real life person.

Sometimes, we're still having that issue 70 years later...

Aside from that, the film is ambitious, Fox put the money into it and Alfred newman's music score saves it from being more dated. Also helping is the decent supporting cast including Jean peters, Lee J. Cobb, John Sutton, Antonio Moreno, Thomas Gomez, Alan Mowbray, Barbara Lawrence, George Zucco, Roy Roberts and longtime character actor Marc Lawrence.

If you can get past the datedness and problematic casting, you'll likely enjoy this one, but it I a long 141 minutes-long. For those reasons, one can see why Fox decided its Blu-ray release ought to be in the form of a Twilight Time Limited Edition. Fans should be very pleased.

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 feature length audio commentary track by film scholars Rudy Behlmer, Jon Burlingame & Nick Redman, Behind The Scenes profiles Tyrone Power: The Last Idol, Tyrone Power & His Ladies, an Isolated Music Score of a favorite by Alfred Newman and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

When Mel Gibson made Braveheart, it was a big hit critically and commercially, but it is a film with all kinds of problems and issues people ignored at the time, but not as much now that his problematic political leanings surfaced as a set of ugly scandals. Among other issues in the film is how it trivializes, stereotypes and treats Edward the Second and his lover, something you'd hear many more complaints about were the film to arrive today. It is also one of many bits of revisionist history the film is plagued with.

As that film arrives in a 4K Ultra HD edition, it is great to see Derek Jarman's Edward II (1991) arriving for the first time on Blu-ray, telling the true story of the man, his lover, his jilted female wife (played by actress on the rise Tilda Swinton in a stunning performance here that will shock you, even if you've seen her recent popular work) and how homophobic forces and other powerful people do what they can to get rid of the homosexual ruler. Based on the Christopher Marlowe play, it can be very violent, but it is very honest and though done in a post-modern style (you see items here you would not see at the time the events took place), Jarman inevitably draws parallels with the film's events with homophobia now, down to the AIDS crisis and retro-homophobia that was not being opposed when the film opened then, but is now.

Swinton plays her character not as a spoiler or shallow boo hiss cartoon, but of a woman honestly hurt and upset in a complex manner and she explores all the levels of her situation before her revenge on Edward. The result of showing all as human people makes it more realistic, but those who ultimate allow for the murders that happen in the end are sick individuals, and that's Jarman's point. They think death and murder is fine if it is someone they do not like for the most prejudice and casually hateful of reasons and that AIDS is just the latest manifestation thereof. As AIDS has not been cured since it arrived or in the over quarter century since the film was released speaks volumes of how correct he was.

Performances are solid all around, editing fine, sets (often minimalist) effective) and it is something to celebrate that Film Movement has issued such a fine Blu-ray edition of the film, one that fans will agree is long overdue. Hope the rest of Jarman's films get as good an HD and ultimately 4K treatment.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text including an Epilogue by Tilda Swinton and Bruce LaBruce essay on the film and its director, while the Blu-ray adds Derek's Edward documentary. For more on this work, see our coverage of this earlier British TV version from 1969 at this link...


During the mid 13th century, Mongol hordes invaded Russia destroying one city after another. Only one man was willing to stand and fight while the Lords and Princes of Russia run away, Evoaty Kolovrat (Ilya Malakov). With only two dozen brave men, they fight against an army of 10,000 and buy time to warn the other cities and help the children escape in Dzhanik Fayziev and Ivan Shurkhovetskiy's Furious (2017).

Kolovrat (this film's alternate title) is the captain of the city guard, but after the Mongols burnt his city to the ground he and a handful of survivors continue fight where they are hopelessly outnumbered and only certain death awaits them. Using guerrilla tactics and the unforgiving land itself, they will show that Russian warriors are not to be ignored, but feared. Kolovrat, because of an old war wound, he wakes up everyday forgetting previous day and must be reminded of the past. He tirelessly continues to fight and protect Russia and his people. Because of his courage he became a legend ...and legends never die.

This movie was like a Russian version of 300, a group of brave warriors in a epic last stand with heroic deaths and sacrifices, but more realistic, historical and with better directing. Extras include trailers.

Game Of Thrones: The Complete First Season 4K (2011) now arrives in a third Ultra High definition set, thus the 4K part. We previously covered the debut season of the huge HBO hit at this link when it first arrived on Blu-ray...


This HBO 4K Blu-ray set does NOT include regular Blu-rays (two separate sets should be enough) and looking back, one can see why the show cut through other series and feature films in the genre and is somewhat remarkable it developed into the at least genre classic it is today. More on the technical playback below in this upgraded edition, but first...

Extras, all in HD (as noted from the press release), include Animated Histories: Learn about the mythology of Westeros as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves, Anatomy of an Episode - an in-episode experience that explores the creative minds and colossal efforts behind episode six, "A Golden Crown", Cast Auditions: Watch rarely-seen footage of the cast auditioning for Game of Thrones, Making Game of Thrones - an exclusive 30-minute feature including never-before-seen footage from the set and interviews from the cast and crew, Character Profiles - profiles of 15 major characters as described by the actors portraying them, Creating the Show Open - an inside look at the creation of the Emmy-winning opening title sequence for Game of Thrones, From the Book to the Screen - executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss along with author George R.R. Martin talk about the challenges of bringing Martin's epic fantasy novel to life on HBO, The Night's Watch - an in-depth look at the unique order of men who patrol and protect the Wall, a 700-foot ice structure that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the darkness beyond, Creating the Dothraki Language - an insightful glance into the comprehensive language created for the Dothraki people in Game of Thrones, Audio Commentaries - Seven audio commentaries with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Bryan Cogman, Harry Lloyd, Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor and A Digital Download code for the ten-episode season in HD!

Finally, we have Thorald Dickinson's The Prime Minister (1941) has Sir John Gielgud as Benjamin Disraeli, a man who saved England from outside forces trying to destroy it, but like Winston Churchill (you can see why Warner Archive would issue this DVD as The Darkest Hour was just such a critical and commercial success) as well as apathy and worse from inside his own country, government and possibly by other forces who are far from loyal to The Crown.

It is a biopic, but is so busy with Disraeli's private life, the politics and situation surrounding him and juggling the large cast, it avoids some of the pitfalls of most such films. However, Gielgud was always one of the greatest actors of his generation, but he is usually best known for his work in a much later Warner hit, the original version of the comedy Arthur four decades later. In real life, he could go at it with any actor in the world and more than hold his own and he is actually so good here, he not only carries the film, he steals scenes and also seems less dated that many of his fellow actors in approach. The energy is impressive and ahead of most dramas of the time, which alone backs my points on his talent. That alone is why this film needs rediscovered.

Yes, it was meant to be anti-Axis WWII propaganda, but this British production exceeds any such pretension and you should definitely give it a look. Diana Wynyard also stars.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is sadly the only extra.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.78 X 1 HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the Thrones episodes are upscaled from their older Sony HDCAM standard HD video masters and the result is odd. Detail is lost in the opening credits, anywhere else digital CGI animation is used and in some overall shots, but I was surprised that the one thing that did improve was the look of the actors, what they wore and parts of the set, so it is a trade off. We also get the new Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless sound upgrade introduced on the Steelbook with medallion reissue on regular Blu-ray. Thus, you can stick with the older 5.1 mix and 1080p of the first Blu-ray set, keep the older picture quality with Atmos, or go the total upgrade route with this new set.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 color digital High Definition image transfer on Castille can show the age of the materials used in spots, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and shows how good often the 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints of the film looked at their best. You can see the money on the screen that multiple Directors of Photography delivered.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Edward II looked good on the old 12-inch analog Criterion LaserDisc decades ago and this new HD scan not only tops that, but is incredibly clean, clear, colorful and handles the film's darkness very well in a way only those who have seen the film on 35mm film would know was there. Jarman, who started shooting many of his films on Super 8mm film, shows a remarkable command of celluloid throughout his career and this is as visually challenging as any of them. You will be impressed.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Furious is the single HD shoot here and it looks really good for the format with fine color, detail and depth. Well Go keeps delivering on Blu-ray and we wonder when they'll start delving into the 4K format. We also get a passable, anamorphically enhanced DVD that is no match for the Blu-ray.

The 1.33 X 1 black & white image on Prime Minister of a film that was definitely well shot for its time, but this transfer is on the soft side and the print has issues, so it needs upgraded down the line and considering its lead alone, should get it.

As for sound on the rest of the films, Castille has dated-but-acceptable DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono sound, Edward II has very well recorded and mixed PCM 2.0 Stereo from its original Dolby SR (Spectral Recording) theatrical soundmaster that delivers solid sound, Furious has a decent, strong DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix in its Blu-ray that is fine (though it makes one wonder why no 11.1 mix) and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD that is weak and Prime Minister has a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix from its original theatrical mono that is a generation down or so like its picture and also needs and deserves an upgrade.

To order The Captain From Castille limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




...and to order The Prime Minister Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Furious)


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