The Devil (1953/Sony
With My Family
(2019/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The
Hot Rock (1972/Fox/*both
Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)/Three
Men On A Horse
(1936/Warner Archive DVD)
B/B- & C/B/C Sound: C+/B- & C/B-/C Extras: B/D/B/C-
Blu-rays are 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 Three
Men On A Horse
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
are a wide range of comedies with something more to them, plus a new
one with zero comedy in it...
start with a restored version of a what turns out to be a lost film,
John Huston's Beat
(1953) from a mislabeled print that turns out to be the original cut
of the film. For 60 years, we've put up with a print that had scenes
missing, a last-minute voice over that never worked, and yet, the
film has still had a big cult following. I reviewed that version
before, including on a Blu-ray edition at this link...
new version has been picked up by Sony and the restoration makes it
both a better comedy and heist film than even I could have expected.
The film was shot in chronological order with the writing being done
as they were shooting, so hardly anyone knew where they were going
next, yet it has some interesting chemistry with its great cast and
the locations are looking better than ever.
the approach, by necessity or not, the film is much better in this
slightly longer cut and plays more nationalistically like a Huston
film would. Truman Capote co-wrote with Huston and they are
successful in mocking the caper film (upped by the likes of Topkapi
around this time) subtly sending up several such films, though many
tried to say it was mainly targeting The
I saw it being broader than that and knowing its way around the
genre, et al. You can enjoy the locales and great cast better than
ever in this version and should get ti while supplies last. It is
incredible how great this looks. See more on that below including
some great extras...
Merchant is already far and away the lead for worst director on every
single such list for his WWE-produced atrocity Fighting
With My Family
(2019, in two versions !?!?!?!) that manages to make you loose a few
hours of your life while desecrating the names of two of the greatest
studios of all time: MGM and Universal. A brother and sister want to
be in the WWE, but only the young lady makes it when the time comes
and how far can she go? Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson shows up to smile
and mug the same way he has been doing for decades and even Vince
Vaughn cannot stop this disaster from transpiring.
box states this was 'based on a true story' but if so, it is the
loosest adaption of any such thing in recent memory and hard to
believe any living humans act or talk like this. I am rarely
surprised by my intelligence being insulted, but this one managed to
pull that off. The WWE is the worst producers of any kind of filmed
or video-recorded entertainment and this catastrophe will be the
nadir of many nadirs. This is one of the most pre-processed, phony,
formulaic things I have ever suffered through, so beware!
(1972) is the underrated director's next attempt at a heist film
in 1967 and the classic Bullitt
in 1968. This time, Robert Redford is the lead in an adaption of a
Donald E. Westlake/John Dortmunder novel penned by no less than
William Goldman. It also has a good supporting cast including George
Segal, Ron Leibman, Paul Sand, Moses Gunn, William Redfield, Topo
Swope and the great Zero Mostel, but its attempt to be hip and
off-beat too often hurts the film's pacing and you get an uneven film
that should have been shorter or changed around to make up its mind
on what it wanted to be.
hurt it as the box office, but the film has a following just the same
and is at least ambitious to its credit. I like the heist moments
and some of the character moments, but then it has goofy moments one
too many times that I guess try to punch up the film and account for
some kind of realism that says the characters move in a world that is
not always so serious. Unfortunately, it seems contrary to Yates as
a director and is not for everyone.
this is why Fox decided this should be a Twilight Time Limited
Edition Blu-ray and there is more than enough talent here that makes
it overdue for release in high definition in the format. Redford was
just becoming a big star at this point, hard as that is to believe,
but it was all uphill for him from here where he was on a big box
office streak like few actors ever were (even a big hit like The
Way We Were
with Barbra Streisand actually got the Twilight Time Limited Edition
Blu-ray treatment in a surprise for such a well known film).
film is not as well known as most of Redford's later films, but I
believe it has a larger audience as it once did once it hit network
TV, then later cable and home video, so those interested will want
this Blu-ray with extras and fine playback performance while they can
get it. See more tech information below.
we have Mervin LeRoy's Three
Men On A Horse
(1936) with Frank McHugh as a writer having trouble breaking through
in his profession, but suddenly finding out he has a way to guess the
results of every horse race he takes on... as long as it is under
certain conditions. Of course, greed rears its ugly head and his
wife thinks his horse book is a list of other women he is cheating on
her with, not helped by the appearance of Joan Blondell and everyone
else in his life has some wacky complaint about him.
film is fairly good, but has no big laughs, though it is at least a
little amusing and interesting for its cast, but it also plays like a
sitcom too often. At best, it is a curio for the stars and director,
so it makes sense Warner Archive makes sure its issued on DVD. Now
you can see for yourself, but only have expectations be so high.
for a look at the playback quality of each disc starting with the
remarkable restoration on Beat
here in a sharp, crisp, impressive 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white
digital High Definition image transfer that is so beyond all previous
releases of the film we've seen in the last 60 years that it is like
finding a lost film. By not being a generation down or more, a bad
print or rough otherwise from censorship, it is a revelation that
includes several demo shots above its grade rating and you can really
appreciate what Director of Photography Oswald Morris, B.S.C.,
achieved here. For the first time ever, you can see how great the
deep focus photography moments are. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix still shows its age
(dubbing and all), but has hardly any background noise and is the
best the film has sounded maybe ever.
despite constant motion blur and bad lighting, you can still too
clearly see the bad acting, et al, in the bad HD shoot that makes for
the hideous waster of time the 1080p
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Fighting
is, much worse on the even softer, anamorphically enhanced DVD
with lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that almost makes you miss out on the
awful writing. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the
Blu-ray is one of the worst recorded and mixed such presentations
I've heard in a major studio release in many years, os think of it as
bad stereo trying to stretch to more tracks. Ugh!
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Hot Rock is a great
use of 35mm anamorphic Panavision with some great shots and a few
surprises that you will not forget, looking better than it plays,
allowing for nighttime to be rightly dark. The DeLuxe color is just
fine with few issues and the sound is here in DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 2.0 or 1.0 lossless mixes with Quincy Jones' score
that are not bad, but I preferred the 2.0 mix.
the 1.33 X 1 black & white image on Horse comes form a
copy (or two?) that are a little worn and so it is no surprise that
the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
sounds as worn and the combo plays like it is a few generations down.
Bet this would be more amusing if it were in better shape.
on all but Fighting include a Original Theatrical Trailer,
Fighting adds Digital Copy so you can show your friends how
bad it is, Deleted & Extended Scenes that differ little from the
final versions of the 'film', two lame featurettes, an actual audio
commentary where the Director tries to make us believe this works and
a Gag Reel that will make you gag for all the wrong reasons.
and Rock add nicely illustrated booklets on each respective
film including informative text and more excellent, underrated essays
by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, who participates in two great
feature length audio commentary tracks with writers/film scholars Lem
Dobbs and Nick Redman (who we sadly lost recently, so hearing him is
a real pleasure and something to treasure), Isolated Music Scores
with select Sound Effects and Devil has one more goodie: a
featurette Alexander Cockburn on Beat The Devil,
an on camera piece on the film with the son of the author of the
limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these
to order the Three Men On A Horse Warner Archive DVD, go to
this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at: