Points To Ponder
(1951/MVD Visual/Juno Selects DVD)/Stan
& Ollie (2018/Sony
Blu-ray)/The Whole Town's
Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)
B/C+/B/B Sound: C+/C/B/C+ Extras: C+/C+/B-/C Films:
Whole Town's Talking
Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time,
are both limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while
supplies last from the links below.
a fine group of classic comedy, including a new film on the subject
that is no mess, but a fine mess everyone should get into...
(1957) is a sly comedy about class division in the U.K. and places
its conflict (at first) under one roof of a home run by Cecil Parker,
but it is his butler (Kenneth More) who is about to be needed more
than anyone could imagine when the divisions start to come into play
when a marriage is afoot and then, a simple trip turns into an
unexpected equalizing disaster (they get stuck on an island ala
likely inspired in part by this film) taking the divisions to their
logical and wacky conclusions.
could always handle comedy well, but was no drama slouch ands this
does have a few such moments, yet the cast is also really good here
and this could be seen as a minor classic 0of British Cinema.
Gilbert later directed three of the biggest budgeted Bond films ever,
huge hits all three (You
Only Live Twice,
Spy Who Loved Me,
starting a mere 10 years after this release, but he just always had a
knack for filmmaking and remains one of the great3est journeyman
director's in British film history.
in the cast are Diane Cliento (Sean Connery's wife for a time), Sally
Ann Howes, Miranda Connell, Mercy Haystead, Jack Watling and Gerald
Harper, later a big TV star ion the U.K. starting with a show that
did not do well and became a cult classic, the underrated spy series
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) and all in this adaptation of a
book by Peter
author J.M. Barrie!
is the kind of film Columbia used to syndicate as part of comedy TV
packages decades ago, only to be too forgotten for our own good
today. Great to have it back looking and sounding as impressive as
ever thanks to Twilight Time.
Points To Ponder
(1951) is a film you may not have heard of, but it is the first
feature film of the late Peter Sellers, one of the most critically
and commercially influential and successful comic actors in cinema
history, especially from Britain. Harry Secombe and Spike Mulligan
also debuted feature film-wise here and had impressive careers as two
men win a fortune and when they visit the summer boarding house they
go to annually, the guest want to get their newly-won riches in any
way possible. The results are mixed, but it is amusing to see
Sellers play several characters, including a turn of doing his best
Groucho Marx, which is not what I expected.
only 77 minutes, the film did not stick with me too much, but was
meant to be a cheap programmer and in that, it is fine, so it is a
historical curio worth seeing once, especially if you love Sellers
and his work in Kubrick's Dr.
(1965, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) in
particular. It should be in print and is one of the first releases
in the new MVD Visual/Juno Selects DVD series.
S. Baird's Stan
(2018) is an underrated new film about the final years of the most
successful comedy duo in cinema history: Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan)
and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly in some serious make-up). Lou
Costello died too soon and Jerry Lewis broke up with Dean Martin
before they ran out of hits, so the title people remain the champ duo
of all time still.
film begins with them still working with the Hal Roach Studios, who
were distributed by the biggest studio of the time, MGM. However,
Stan feels they are not making enough money for the insane amounts of
box office their work is bringing in and it eventually brings their
massive run to an end, one that began in silent films, and managed to
be even more popular as they switched to sound, a transition most
stars did not succeed in making. They also had the same energy,
magic, timing and talent, so their popularity was unstoppable and
that brief segment, we switch to the 1950s, where the partnership has
not always lasted, the newly arrived craze for television stars
playing all their films, but they get zero in royalties (an ugly old
story indeed) and they are ready to get money but doing a live comedy
tour in the U.K. while hoping for a new Robin Hood comedy movie to be
produced over there. However, they are not 100% good with each
other, a few regrets have set in.
people love them, but the U.K. promoters and studios there don't get
this. Fans cannot get enough of them, but don't go to the shows as
they are not promoted like they ought to be. Both have their wives
soon visiting them there and they both wonder how long they'll be
working overseas. It implies the U.S. studios were also neglectful
is easily one of 2018's most underrated films, maybe the most as it
did not get the theatrical release or push it deserved. Coogan is
not well known enough in the U.S., but this could have changed that,
while Reilly is more than his equal in this true labor of love
honoring two of the most important comic talents not only of cinema
history, but of all time. They're work here is amazing and shows an
advanced grasps of why these men were such legends. I have been a
Laurel & Hardy fan, even including the hit animated TV series
that was made after we lost them both and this felt honest and
authentic all the way. There are laughs here, but also some great
storytelling and you should go out of your way for this hidden gem.
we have John Ford's The
Whole Town's Talking
(1935), a rare comedy from the legendary director that was made at
Columbia but is spoofing the gangster films of Warner Bros. with no
less than Edward G. Robinson in the dual roles of a meek newspaper
guy and a brutal gangster in this case of mistaken identity comedy
that is not quite a screwball comedy, but knows what it is spoofing
because Ford knew his way around every genre.
Arthur is the great gal reporter who likes the meek version of him,
but no one catches the resemblance (obviously ignoring the office guy
as being worth anything) until the actual gangster makes the
headlines again and madness ensues. Years after The
ended, with a spin-off reportedly in the works, this films
restoration and release on Blu-ray thanks to Sony/Columbia Pictures
as a Twilight Time Limited Edition could not be better since that
show referenced Robinson's gangster films and persona plenty of time.
Fans of the hit series will not have to have seen any of Robinson's
films to get some of the jokes and even in-jokes here.
this is something for classic movie fans, comedy fans and gangster
picture fans to celebrate and is one they'll want to also go out of
their way to catch.
films all look as good as they can in the formats issued and are all
from restored sources, save Ollie,
which is a brand new shoot and needs no work. The 1080p 1.85 X 1
digital High Definition image on Crichton
is very nice, originally issued in 35mm
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor versions of the film in both
the U.K. and U.S. and coming from two of the greatest labs of all
time, this looks very impressive throughout and leans towards the
slightly darker British Technicolor their lab was known for. Great
Sony has Twilight Time debut this print with them, lensed by the
late, great Director of Photography Wilkie Cooper, B.S.C..
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Ollie
can have some slight detail issues in rare occasions, but this is one
of the smoothest HD shoots of last year and had to be to portray the
past it very accurately does, especially impressive with the
relatively slow budget they had.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Talking
can show the age of the materials used in very tiny places, but this
is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and
is yet another great restoration by Sony of a Columbia Pictures
classic that has that special monochrome look only Columbia releases
had at that time. Some shots are amazing in their depth.
is the newest film by many decades and despite being somewhat
dialogue and joke-based, is the best recording here sonically and is
nicely mixed and clear throughout. I also like the use of music and
sound effects. Crichton
are offered in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound off
of their original optical monophonic theatrical sound and they may
show their age, but they sound as good as they can here too.
1.33 X 1 black and white image on the Penny DVD is from a
restored print and not bad for the format, but could look better and
the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound is passable, but lossless
would get a little more out of the original theatrical monophonic
on the Crichton
Blu-rays include an Original Theatrical Trailer, Crichton
add the usual high quality, well illustrated booklets on those films
including informative text and yet another excellent essays by the
great film scholar Julie Kirgo and the Crichton
Blu-ray also adds an Isolated Music Score with select Sound Effects
also offers three brief-but-informative Making Of featurettes,
Deleted and Extended Scenes and a great Cast & Crew Q&A.
adds a restored 32-minutes long short, Let's
also with Peter Sellars.
Whole Town's Talking
limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these