(1974/Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray w/DVD)/The
Thin Man (1934/*both
MGM/Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Transit
(2018/Music Box Blu-ray)
B/B+/B & C+/B/B Sound: B-/B-/B- & C+/B-/B Extras:
B/B/C+/C+/C+ Films: B/B-/C+/B-/C+
Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
next are some smart thrillers, including a lost film, three classics
and a new entry...
Cukor is best known for his musicals, melodramas and helping many an
actor and actress behind the scenes in endless films (sometimes
secretly) you know, but he was capable of other genres and Gaslight
(1944) is a classic thriller that proves he was even more prolific
than many thought. Ingrid Bergman is amazing as a woman who marries
who she thinks is the man of her dreams (Charles Boyer) until the
marriage very slowly turns into an odd trap. Why? What is wrong?
Why is she being manipulated?
film has a few mysteries, all tied in, with a few others suspect in
the happenings, but a police detective (Joseph Cotten) finds himself
drifting into the situation when following a seemingly unrelated
case. In the meantime, Boyer hires a new maid (Angela Lansbury in
her first film) and we too are often in the dark (figuratively and
literally) as to what is going on.
referenced today, it is a smart remake of a British film and has been
influential on many a psychological thriller since, but the cast is
amazing, Bergman really shines (rightly winning the Best Actress
Academy Award) and now the film has been restored for this exclusive
Blu-ray release from Warner Archive. I had not seen it in a good,
while but it holds up very well.
include the 1940 British version worth looking at after seeing the
later remake, the 1946 Lux Radio Theater version in lossless audio,
1944 Academy Awards Ceremonial Reel, Original Theatrical Trailer,
featurette hosted by Lansbury and A
Reminiscence by Pia Lindstrom About Her Mother, Ingrid Bergman
H. Pakula's Klute
(1971) is a thriller that was a big commercial and critical success,
shocking all the more since Jane Fonda was at her controversial peak
rallying against the Vietnam fiasco off-screen while still being a
top international movie star on it, but she could also act and she
gives one of the best performances of her career as the very trapped
counterculture prostitute Bree, trying to have a better life, but not
quite fitting into anywhere or anything within society. This happens
to also make her the target of a killer.
she crosses paths early with the title character, Donald Sutherland
as a police detective working on a case that involves a potential
killer on the loose. The film also tells its story (like many a
Pakula film) visually, with darkness and grit. Some have criticized
the film for being potentially anti-woman since Bree is a hooker who
is always trapped and at the mercy of a male in one way or another
throughout the film, a contradiction of her supposedly progressive
and frank attitudes, but I would argue that despite some of that
ideas validity, she's actually stuck in the middle of her liberated
self and a situation where she is trapped beyond her genre as many
male anti-heroes and other men in cinema of the time (Robert Kolker's
brilliant book A
Cinema Of Loneliness
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) addresses this with films like Taxi
et al) just proves she is in the same situation so many men in these
mature, adult films were at the time.
may argue she is the immediate flipside to Jon Voight's Joe Buck in
(see the great Criterion edition when you can), where he is trying to
live a dream while reliving several nightmares, while Bree sees
everything clearly, yet a new nightmare lurks.
include another high quality, illustrated booklet with tech info, &
an essay by critic Mark Harris and excerpts from a 1972 interview
with Pakula, while the disc adds a newly recorded conversation
between actors Jane Fonda and Illeana Douglas, new documentary about
Klute and director Alan J. Pakula by filmmaker Matthew Miele,
featuring scholars, filmmakers, and Pakula's family and friends, The
Look of "Klute,"
a new interview with writer Amy Fine Collins, archival interviews
with Pakula and Fonda, and "Klute"
in New York,
a short documentary made during the shooting of the film.
1974, Kent Smith directed Taking
about a futuristic police state at least partly controlled by a group
of educated women who take a young man, manipulate his sexuality, et
al, and reprogram him to be an assassin. The twist here is that it
is the big screen debut of Bill Paxton, boldly taking on the role
with no hang-ups, wearing make-up at times, no clothes others and
following Andy Warhol star Joe Dallesandro as one of the first men to
appear in a non-X-rated hardcore sex film 'ready to perform' though
nothing XXX graphic happens here.
entirely in black and white (they made the whole thing apparently on
left over 35mm film from Lenny,
reviewed elsewhere on this site) and yet, the film never was
completely finished. In 1983, with Director Tom Huckabee taking
over, it was finally finished and released in the main version seen
here. Paxton was just on the verge of becoming one of Hollywood's
most popular character actors who occasionally got a lead role before
his awful, too-soon, recent passing.
get the 1983 version of the film that is not bad, but then a new 2019
'update'; is included that looks fake, waters down the film and looks
bad. The biggest problem with the original is we keep hearing about
things (usually bad) going on, but never see them, not even with
stills, which is bad filmmaking for which even a low budget is no
excuse (the 1997 Godzilla
remake had this problem and they had tons of money, so this can
happen anywhere). However, for its intelligence, ambition and
surprising good performance from Paxton this early, its great to see
the film saved and reissued. Even with some flaws and moments that
do not work, you should definitely see the picture.
include the also-included DVD, illustrated booklet with essay by
Heather Drain, reversible cover, lame 2019 cut, two Huckabee
interview segments and Interviews
a short film directed by Kent Smith.
the 1930s and 1940s, all the movie studios were making movie series,
like TV series, each film was a separate adventure (versus Saturday
Morning Serials for children, offering an average 12 short films to
make one adventure) and it made for some of the most interested
commercial filmmaking of the time, plus turned out some great work.
This included many mystery series featuring the likes of Charlie
Chan, Mr. Moto and Sherlock Holmes, plus the series that did not
succeed and only produced a few films each. MGM was the #1 studio of
the time and when they had W.S. Van Dyke direct Dashiell Hammett's
pairing of William Powell as Nick Charles and Myrna Loy as Nora
Charles was an instant success and audiences were thrilled with their
witty repartee in the tradition of Screwball Comedies and other
city-based sound films, it followed the book very well and was a hit.
This led to a series (unexpectedly or not) and is considered one of
the best such detective series ever made, though on the short side
like the Rathbone/Bruce Holmes films. Of course, they also had the
Thin Man name in the title, but Nick was not
the title character, though a possible dead man was.
the way Nick treated Nora at times, which I did not like then and has
not aged well, the film is just fine and much imitated since (all the
way to TV classics like The
and even Moonlighting)
has rarely been equalled and even spoofed by David Niven and Maggie
Smith in the 1976 feature film version of Neil Simon's Murder
(all reviewed elsewhere on this site) so it is a key film and it
should be added wit was already a part of the mystery genre to start
Archive has issued this film for the first time on Blu-ray in an
impressive restoration that looks as good as I have ever seen the
film and extras include a 1936 Lux
version of the film with Loy & Powell, the first episode of the
TV series version that lasted for a few episodes with Phyllis Kirk (a
Lois Lane from Superman
of the time) and Peter Lawford form 1957 and an Original Theatrical
Trailer that is particularly clever.
you've never seen this film, this is the best way to do so outside of
a mint film print.
we have Christian Petzold's Transit
(2018) taking place in a near-future (or current) Europe where
fascism has returned and fascists are overrunning one city at a time.
We join George (Franz Rogowski) in France, where he is a German
refugee who has to leave as soon as possible. Like Children
we are not told how things got this bad (again!?!) joining the terror
and murder in progress, trying to make sense of it all. He assumes
the identity of a dead writer and tries to get papers to get to
(supposed?) freedom in North America. It will not be easy and others
have troubles as pressing.
from a 1944 (!!!) book by Anna Seghers, the film and book before it
are suddenly more relevant than expected and though the film has
flaws, it has some fine acting, good directing and other moments that
reminded me of Children
but that's the film it cannot escape the shadow of. It is still
worth a look, but it has a few too many moments of the same thing
within its own storylines that hold it back and prevent it from being
its own total work. Still, it is ambitious and intelligent, which is
more than I can say about most releases we've seen in the last few
an illustrated Collector's Booklet featuring interviews and an essay
by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, while the disc adds a Making
interview featurette with Franz Rogowski, Interview with director
Christian Petzold, Franz
Rogowski: Shooting Star,
Filmmaker Q&A from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, press
conference with the cast and crew from the Berlin film premiere and
Transit: Thrown Into the World
a conversation with Christian Petzold and Barbara Auer.
for playback performance. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white
digital High Definition image transfers on
the age of the materials used in parts, but these are new HD masters
and show off the gloss of MGM's labs black and white lab work. Both
offer a few demo shots and are first rate for the format.
other three films are scope productions, but all achieve their image
by different means. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 black & white digital
High Definition image on Tiger
looks great, one of the only films ever shot monochrome and in 2-perf
Techniscope, but it works well (Lucas' THX-1138
actually Technicolor, but shot as if it were black and white) and
offers a few shots like little you've seen before. The
anamorphically-enhanced DVD is passable, but not as impressive.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Transit
is a decent HD shoot that is pretty consistent and fine throughout,
with only a few flaws. It almost achieves a look of its own, but
never quite completes that goal.
leaves the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
very rarely showing the age of the materials used, supervised by
camera operator and Director of Photography in his own right Michael
Chapman and emulating the darkness delivered unforgettably by
of Photography Gordon Willis, A.S.C., that was actually issued in
35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints that had the
darkness, thick film black and ivory white that makes this film work
so well. This is the most impressive transfer of the five releases
here and that says something, another amazing HD master from
Criterion that stuns and shows us how great those Technicolor prints
must have been to see on a huge, big screen.
for sound, Transit
is the only film here to offer modern sound in its German/French
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that has a decent
soundfield throughout with good dialogue clarity, which we get enough
of along with smart periods of silence. It never goes overboard to
its credit and is well mixed and recorded overall.
rest of the films were issued monophonically theatrically and are all
presented here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes
that sound pretty impressive in all cases, from the oldest two MGM
films to the indie Tiger
production (a good part of its audio was was prerecorded) and Klute
has a magnetic mono soundmaster, so its transfer is as impressive as
any of them.. This is a plus, since all the films look so good. The
DVD has passable, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono that is audible, but
actually loses some of the interesting sound editing on the film.
order the Gaslight
Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive