Artists/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Dr.
Region Free PAL Import DVD)/L-Shaped
Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)/The
Wife (2018/Sony DVD)
B/C/B/B/C+ Sound: B-/C+/B-/B-/C+ Extras: B-/D/B-/B-/C+
The L-Shaped Room
Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time and
limited to only 3,000 copies, the Dr.
Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray, 4K and DVD
players that can handle the PAL DVD format and the Billy
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
for more challenging dramas you should know about...
Ustinov's film of Herman Melville's Billy
(1962) was the legendary actor's only directorial effort, but also
co-produced and plays the ship's apparently fair captain, but the big
deal here is that the film introduced actor Terence Stamp in the
title role and it made him a iconic cinematic star. Robert Ryan has
the thankless role as the man who has no friends as he sticks it too
all the crew to keep them in line, but he starts to go too far when
Budd arrives and complications ensue.
with the giant Ultra Panavision remake of Mutiny
On The Bounty
with Marlon Brando that same year, this was one of the last big years
for such ship-bound dramas for a long time. This film did fairly
good while the Brando film was a box office disappointment, yet both
are very ambitious in scale and big screen productions that do what
they can to entertain and connect with an intelligent audience.
Meant by Allied Artists to move them into larger productions, the
film has a few off moments, but it worth a good look and is one of
the final such black and white epics of any kind as color soon took
over the big screen for good.
Archive has issued an impressive Blu-ray with extras and a restored
version of the film that is the best way to see it outside of a mint
condition film print. See more bout it below.
(2017) is about a fake doctor and con artist in hiding (Omar Sy) who
is about to try to con an entire village out of more money in the
1920s, but his identity and luck will soon be challenged as various
circumstances (et al) start to shift. This is a drama with some
comedy, albeit tainted and is at least consistent, but it was a bit
predictable after a point, takes few risks and I only bought it so
much. I give it a point for trying, but was unimpressed overall and
is only for the very curious. I believe Sy could be this con artist,
but can only do so much with the script.
has the underrated gentleman British journeyman director take on the
story of a young woman (Leslie Caron) who is pregnant and is not
certain what she wants to do, but is leaning towards an abortion.
Without the father or anyone else knowing, she arrives in London and
rents a small place (the title locale) and very slowly gets to know
the various, sometimes eccentric tenants as she tries to decide what
will be best for her and her potential child.
Bell, Bernard Lee (the same year he started his James Bond films
run), Cicely Courtneidge, Brock Peters, Patricia Phoenix and Emlyn
Williams comprise of most of the supporting cast that helps bring a
sometimes claustrophobic film to life with its tight spaces
(sometimes intentional) that speak to a cycle of British dramas
happening at the time and speaks of a repressive post-WWII U.K. in
itself, but it is also a smart film. I cannot say it works all the
way through, sometimes getting muddied, but it is always striving to
be honest and about the people in almost a character study of they
and their surroundings.
all this, it is definitely worth a look and see more about it below.
(1958) was not the director's last film, but the adaptation of the
rise and fall of old ward politics (the book seems to have inspired
the famous phrase of the title) takes what is ultimately a darker
look at 'anytown U.S.A.' that had such systems and how changing
times, especially with the arrival of early analog television, was
bringing an end to it all. Spencer Tracy is the career politician
Major who is still trying to hold it all together, not knowing what
is ahead (no one apparently gets what is about to happen and how
things are about to shift) in what starts out as very slow moving,
then eventually picks up.
family is also unaware of what is about to happen, nor are his
friends or enemies, with even his nephew (Jeffrey Hunter) who is also
a journalist unaware of the 'media-ated' time they are about to
permanently enter. The mayor is able to take on the banks
construction bosses and much more to build the community as he sees
fit and most fair (as well as most politically advantageous) showing
us how these things benefitted voters by default when and before
major parties used media to sidestep and manipulate (i.e., vote
against their own economic interest for politicians out for
themselves) voters, leaving them high and dry. That is more relevant
not long after his classic The
Ford was becoming increasingly pessimistic about the U.S., world and
democracy and this film shows that. More of his longtime list of
stock and familiar actors show up here than in many of his then
recent films, plus we get the likes of John Carradine and Basil
Rathbone as bad people in two of their more serious career
performances. Though it is not his greatest film, Hurrah
is as insightful as his best and is worth rediscovering, especially
at this place in time.
we have Bjorn Runge's The
(2018), a film that has great performances, but is a mixed bag in
itself. Jonathan Pryce is a successful writer who is about to win a
very big award, but his wife (Glenn Close) is only happy for him to a
point. Sick of being in the shadows, we discover all is not well
with their children and dealing with respectable society can wear
thin for them, but more is going on here that challenges what seems
like a good marriage and a opportunistic writer (Christian Slater, a
but miscast) wants to write about them.
few more twists and turns happen, but there are a few holes in the
plot and a few points I did not buy, partly from a little sloppy
pacing and thinking, yet the actors are impressive, Close deserves
all the accolades she has received for the role and Pryce is solid as
usual. Don't expect much from the film, but do be prepared to be
impressed by the better acting here.
three Blu-ray releases here are all in black and white and look
really fine throughout in these new restored presentations. The
1080p 2.35 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image on
shows once again how unique the combination of scope and monochrome
can be, even if it used the older CinemaScope lens system with its
flaws and distortions. Warner Archive has done its best to make it
look good and I've never seen it look better.
offers recent restorations of L-Shaped
in a 1080p 1.66 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer that impresses even a bit more as does the 1080p 1.85 X 1
black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Last
delivering great detail and depth along with great grey scale and
playing like newly struck 35mm film prints.
for the DVDs, the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Knock
is a little softer than expected, especially with it being a PAL
format disc, while The
is an HD shoot with good color, but some flaws and motion blur. Both
would benefit from Blu-ray, which Wife was also issued in, but it
deserves 4K just for Close's performance. Both DVDs have
dialogue-based, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, but the three Blu-rays
were theatrical mono releases and even sound better in their DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes that are as clear and
undistorted as can be expected for films of their age not in stereo.
include Original Theatrical Trailers on all disc save Dr.
which has no extras. All three Blu-rays have feature length audio
commentary tracks, with Steven Soderbergh hosting Terence Stamp on
while Julie Kirgo, Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman (who sadly passed away
while we were listening to these tracks) deliver more excellent
which both also offer Isolated
L-Shaped Room and Last
limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these
Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard-to-find
to order the Billy
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: