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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Mystery > Detective > Satire > Politics > Neo Noir > Australia > Melodrama > Revenge > War > Large Fr > Goodbye Paradise (1983*)/The Heiress (1949/*both Umbrella PAL Import DVDs)/Merrill's Marauders (1962/Warner Archive Blu-ray w/DVD)/President's Lady (1953**)/Wild In The Country (1961/**both Fox/Twilig

Goodbye Paradise (1983*)/The Heiress (1949/*both Umbrella PAL Import DVDs)/Merrill's Marauders (1962/Warner Archive Blu-ray w/DVD)/President's Lady (1953**)/Wild In The Country (1961/**both Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)

Picture: C+/C+/B/B/B Sound: C-/C/C+/B-/B- Extras: C-/C-/C-/C+/C Films: C+

PLEASE NOTE: The President's Lady and Wild In The Country Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time and limited to only 3,000 copies, Goodbye Paradise and The Heiress PAL import DVD are now available from out friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on DVD, 4K and Blu-ray players that can handle the PAL DVD format, while the Merrill's Marauders Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Next up are a set of classic releases being issued in specialized ways...

We start with a comical late Neo-Noir of the time, Carl Schultz's Goodbye Paradise (1983) with Ray Barrett (who narrates extensively) as a former police officer who quits to write a book exposing what has been going wrong with his part of Down Under to expose the dark side of sunny days, surfing, sex, fun, money-making tourism and the like. Of course, some people want to end his new career before it begins, but his life is a wreck and as the publisher he has a contract with starts to doubt the book getting finished, an old friend asks him to find a missing woman who is the daughter of a politician.

So we're off to a trip to the dark side of a nice place to visit, but one that you might not want to move to, unless you have something remarkable going on. We've seen this kind of thing in a few Michael Caine films and Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973, reviewed elsewhere on this site) though this film gets cheeky (expect unexpected nudity) in ways those films did not and that is why it qualifies as an Oz-Ploitation film. Some moments do work, but the film overall has a been-there-done-than feel also reminiscent of Woody Allen's Play It Again Sam and a few later Robert Mitchum, films revisiting Noir territory.

It is worth a look for what works and deserves to be in print, a film lost no more.

William Wyler's The Heiress (1949) was a big hit melodrama in its time with Olivia de Havilland as the title character, hoping to find love with Montgomery Cliff, but her father (Sir Ralph Richardson will cut her out of the family fortune if they do because he dies not trust him. Is he correct? Is it true love? Does the young man just want her money?

Base don a Henry James novel, this runs 116 minutes and is well made, but it gets soapy more often than I would have liked and has aged oddly through the years. De Havilland sells the film and is always someone to watch, but much of this is also obvious and is ultimately for fans only. It is worth a look, but be prepared for as long sit.

Samuel Fuller's Merrill's Marauders (1962) is an early war film he made that h e did not have final cut on and tells the story of the last 500 miles the 5307th unit had to go to stop a vital Axis battle point to sway the results of WWII the Allies way. We see some of the training and meet each of the men before they have to trek out and deal with this 'based on a true story' film that I bought much of, even if the actual film does not work as well. Especially if Fuller had received final cut on it.

The cast is impressive and includes Jeff Chandler, Andrew Duggan, Ty Hardin, Will Hutchins, Peter Brown and Claude Akins in a film that has some cliches, but overcomes others thanks to Fuller's more gritty approach and the fact that post-WWII filmmaking was becoming slowly more realistic. Though the film is not as remembered as much as many of its contemporaries of the time, it was meant to be a big big screen near-epic and has one too many missteps in this studio cut.

Still, it is a Fuller film and an ambitious studio production at that, Warner going big at a time when Westerns, War films and Sword & Sandals films were still very common and very popular. It will remind you at times of the later war films like it, even better ones, but is worth a look for those interested and this cut landed up being 98 minutes. Wonder if Fuller had a longer, better cut in mind?

Henry Levin's The President's Lady (1953) has war in the background as Charlton Heston plays Andrew Jackson, a later president who was also a lawyer, 'indian hunter' and could throw a few fisticuffs when the occasion permitted. He's good here, if sometimes unintentionally funny, falling for a woman (Susan Hayward) who is about to be divorced. This affect their reputations and how people deal with them in even the most subtle ways, but this is more melodrama than character study and has a more book-like narrative than anything else.

Heston and the other actors look a bit younger here (when he is not wearing age make-up) as you'll say to yourself a few times 'look how young they were' and no doubt this did not hurt his rising star or Hayward's continued appeal. The supporting cast is also impressive, headed by John McIntyre, Carl Betz and Charles Dingle, so it is worth seeing once to appreciate what they made here and how much of it actually holds up better than many films of its kind (a period piece) and is a welcome arrival on Blu-ray. Just remember this is a limited edition.

Finally, we get to The King... of Rock N Roll. Phillip Dunne's Wild In The Country (1961) is another melodrama Elvis Presley made at Fox, where he had more success than many remember and we remind you all that only one movie star can claim that every film he made made money. Yes, only Elvis.

Finally arriving on Blu-ray, Elvis is a restless country boy who wants more out of life, is torn between two women (Millie Perkins, Tuesday Weld and Hope Lange, who plays his psychiatrist!) with competition all over (john Ireland and Gary Lockwood are the father and son gunning for him) while it turns out our hero (who sings four songs, added at the last minute, but that does not make this a musical) may just have special writing talents.

It gets ridiculous at times, but it makes for interesting viewing with Elvis in his young, vibrant prime, always made sad by his early death. Only the seventh out of 31 films he would act in, it would be his last drama before he was trapped in his 'Elvis Musicals' cycle that nearly destroyed his reputation and career before his stunning late 1960s comeback.

Helping make the film work when it does is an impressive supporting cast that also included Rafer Johnson, William Mims, Raymond Greenleaf, uncredited turns by Linden Chiles, Alan Napier (later Alfred on the 1960s Batman TV show), Jason Robards Sr., Harry Shannon and also credited and not a main love interest that is an interesting surprise: Christina Crawford!

If you wondered why Fox never did an Elvis Blu-ray set, it is because they never got the films out in a general set and one of the previous films was also a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray like this one, so here are links to two other Fox/Elvis films on Blu-ray we covered if you are interested:

Flaming Star


Love Me Tender


The visual playback in all five cases are really good for their respective formats with few flaws. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Marauders is a new restoration that looks decent and can show its age in spots as expected. The case correctly states that the film was issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor, which happened when it was issued in 35mm film prints. However, the text, poster art and (in a rare miss for Warner Archive) the explanatory text on the back of the case fails to state that the film was originally shot in the large-frame Technirama format. That means it was meant to be a big A-level production and major release, the format still being used often. Why they missed this is odd, but that is why this reduction transfer looks as good as it does without the distortion CinemaScope lenses would deliver and even less than other squeeze lenses like the superior Panavision lenses that were replacing CinemaScope in the industry at the time.

The color is not always top rate or as good as Technicolor can be, even though this is a war film and is not going to be as vibrant or wide-ranging as a genre like the musical or a travelogue. In that, who knows what materials survived and did or did not fade way, but this is as good as you will see this film unless you somehow have an old 35mm, maybe 16mm or (somehow?) Technirama print of the film in mint shape.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Wife is nice, sharp and consistently good throughout, reminding us of how good Fox's labs (DeLuxe actually) developed and printed monochrome film. Some of the detail and depth is really impressive here and you can see the money they put into this one. It looks like a new HD master.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Wild can also show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and was developed via Color by DeLuxe, so it might not be as great as Technicolor was then, but competitive with most other color formats of the time (a bit behind MetroColor) and fans of both Elvis and the film will be happy that it turned out so well, but expect distortion as it was shot in the older CinemaScope format.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Paradise looks good with decent color and was shot by Director of Photography John Seale, now a big name in the business, creating a consistent look for the narrative in one of his early works. Not bad.

That leaves the 1.33 X 1 black & white image on Heiress, showing how good Paramount's black and white was, though Universal owns the film since Paramount sold all their movies up to around the time this film was released to TV, which Universal now possesses. This looks to be a solid HD master from a few years ago and has little to complain about. Both DVDs have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound, but it is too low on both, especially Paradise, so be careful of high playback volumes and volume switching in both cases.

All three Blu-rays have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless mixes, with Lady monophonic and sounding much clearer and better than expected. Marauders was originally a 4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects, so this is a mixdown and sounds a bit limited and a bit compressed at times. Thus, the 4-track soundmaster must be misplaced, missing or sadly lost, which is the case with Wild, but the 2.0 Stereo here sounds better.

As for extras, all five releases offer Original Theatrical Trailers, Heiress adds a Turner Classic Movies intro by host Robert Osborne, both Twilight Time releases add nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and essays by Mike Finnegan and both discs also feature Isolated Music Scores. Lady also adds a vintage radio drama version of the film on Hollywood Radio Theater, later known as Lux Radio Theater.

To order The President's Lady and Wild In The Country limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these links:




To order either of the Umbrella PAL import Goodbye Paradise and The Heiress DVDs, go to this link for them and other hard-to-get releases:


and to order the Merrill's Marauders Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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