Sim's School For Laughter
(1947 - 1960/Film Movement Blu-ray Set)/A
Me Liberty (2019/Music
Box Blu-ray)/The Merger
and Arrows: The Complete Series
(2003 - 6/Acorn DVD Set/reissue)/Step
By Step: The Complete Seventh & Final Season
(1997 - 1998/DVD/*both Warner Archive)
B/B/C+/B/B-/B- Sound: C+/B-/C+/B/B-/B- Extras: B/C-/A/C-/B-/D
Main Programs: C+/C+/B+/C+/B/C+
Blu-ray and Step
DVD are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series and can be ordered from the link below.
now for a new slew of comedies, including a few sets to keep you
start with four comedies that have a big enough following, from the
Ealing Studios. Alastair
Sim's School For Laughter
(1947 - 1960) has the actor now best known for playing Scrooge in the
(reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) that remains one of the
most popular adaptations ever of that classic. Though we get some
religion in the four films in this new Blu-ray set from Film Movement
(rolling out a nice group of such comedies of late), these films are
all different and have their moments, their reasons they were
successful in their time. It should be noted that Sim sometimes is
only ion a few scenes in some of these films.
(1947) is the best-directed and most energetic of the four films as a
group of children form a local religious school start to (in some
disbelief) suspect that a pulp newspaper comic book they like to read
is containing codes for which criminals are using to steal and commit
all kinds of crimes. What could have been the start of a movie
series (think Our Gang/Little Rascals, Bowery Boys, etc.) is played
for laughs all the way, does not try to establish any kind of
franchise and Sim plays the comic book writer!
(1951) has a rich man (Hugh Griffith) leave 50,000 pounds (a few
hundred thousands dollars or more now) two four relatives still alive
(including Sim) to vie for the money by doing something for a month
each of them would never do. Fay Compton, Guy Middleton and George
Cole co-star in a work that plays somewhere between a movie and a
sitcom, but has some fun moments.
Belles Of St. Trinian's
(1954) has Sim playing a man and an older-accessorized old woman in a
girl's school whose students are already more interested in boys and
fun than learning, then two new gals show up and things get wackier.
The visual effects for placing the two Sim characters was amusing at
the time, but can be rough to see today, but then you watch a film
like this to see if you can find flaws. Not always funny or
memorable, Hermione Baddeley and Beryl Reed are a plus, but this one
is a bit uneven overall.
finally, we have Robert Hamer's School
(1960) in which an annoying, obnoxious Raymond (Terry-Thomas) who has
money and is showing off his Volante all the time, does his best to
drive Henry Palfrey (Ian Carmichael) nuts as to not outwit the
Price, Edward Chapman and Peter Jones also star. Thus, Henry goes to
school to try to get the one-up on him and a teacher (Sim) has some
ideas on how to turn the tables. Also with some good moments, it
never goes as far as it could or should have, but you have seen this
kind of comical rivalry film (and TV show for that matter) since and
this is at least a classier, upscale version thereof. Thomas went on
to be one of the most successful British actors of all time and this
is considered one of his better roles. Wonder what happened to his
1080p black & white digital High Definition image transfer have
some slight flaws here and there and can show the age of the
materials used, but all four films have been as fully restored as
possible with the surviving elements, usually in 1.33 X 1, but
(the newest film, looking a tad softer than the others in some
respects) is 1.66 X 1.
PCM 2.0 Mono lossless mixes have been remastered and cleaned up as
best they could be, but even when they sound good, they just cannot
help but show their age, sonic limits and limits of the recording
technology of the time. I cannot imagine them sounding much better
and dialogue is clear for the most part, accents or not.
include another nicely illustrated booklet on the films per what Film
Movement has been issuing lately, while three of the discs add extras
as (per the press release) follows:
BELLES OF ST. TRINIAN'S
Girls of St. Trinian's featurette
with film historian Geoff Brown
with Dr. Melanie Williams, Sr. Lecturer in Film Studies, UEA
with Alastair Sim's Daughter, Meredith McKendrick
with Steve Chibnall, Professor of British Cinema, De Montfort
with Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw
with Graham McCann, Terry-Thomas biographer
with Chris Potter, Stephen Potter's grandson
for Scoundrels restored trailer
HUE AND CRY
Roy Hill's A
(1979) is a slice of life comedy about two young people (Thelonious
Bernard and a very young Diane Lane) meeting in Paris while his
family is making a feature film on location there. Released in a
under-discussed cycle of such like Breaking
this was also one of the first-ever films made by Orion Pictures
(they were distributed for their first few years by Warner Bros.) and
Sir Lawrence Olivier is an elderly man who helps the two find each
in a relatively more innocent time, some aspects of this film have
aged more than others and Olivier accidentally outacts the cast,
while Arthur Hill's turn here is odd, on auto pilot and does not
always fit the film. Hill also overdoes the movie references,
especially when referencing his own films, a bad move, but the
scenery is not bad and the film is worth a look for those interested.
the idea was to create a parallel between movie romance the that of
the youngsters, that does not totally work either, though Sally
Kirkland is not bad here a Lane's mom. At least it is an interesting
curio and time capsule.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer looks good and
was shot well on 35mm with real anamorphic Panavision lenses. Hill
knows how to use this frame and it is big screen enough. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix reproduces the
original optical theatrical monophonic sound as well as it probably
ever will be, including the Georges Delerue score, its fine, but
you'll wish it was stereo. Many major films were actually still
monophonic at the time, believe it or not.
only extra is an Original Theatrical Trailer.
(Chris Galust) is a medical transport driver, to drive those in need.
Each day, everyday he has to drive, pick up and transport people.
To help those who can't help themselves, but because of all this
various riders needs and traffic problems he is always running late.
He has to deal with complaints, odd jobs and side jobs. Be it
official or not official, dealing with his boss or other officials
Vic always seems to be going from bad to worse... but it's not his
Kirill Mikhanovsky's Give
(2019), Vic is not having a good day, his (crazy) Russian grandfather
nearly burns down the apartment cooking chicken, their Russians
friends need a ride to a funeral, one by one each one of his clients
need extra 'help' with something before even riding with Vic
...making him late and later. And on top of everything there is
traffic due to a march over a shooting protest. At the end of the
day people ask Vic how is he able to put up with everything? Dealing
with people who don't respect him, being treated like garbage? Vic's
only silver lining is for every good deed he does other begin to
acknowledge Vic as someone who cares and not just someone who just
following the rules or just doing their jobs.
movie was like watching the lowest-pushed-down of people in America,
the poor, the foreign immigrants, handicapped and minorities trying
to live life, listening to their complaints and the crap they have to
deal with everyday. But like life, all things role down hill and at
the end of the day they only have each other, to help each other, to
try and make things better (even if it doesn't) ...because if they
don't ...then they have nothing else good in their lives. Realistic
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is consistent,
but a little duller and flatter than one might like for an HD format
like Blu-ray, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is
well recorded, but limited by its low budget and dialogue-based.
include Q&A with Cast and Filmmaker, Why
16mm Russian Choir, poster & image galleries and trailers.
critically acclaimed Australian sports comedy, The
(2018), comes out on DVD courtesy of IndiePix. Directed by Mark
Grentell, the film follows a former Pro Football Player (played by
Damian Callinan) who returns home after his career ends. As he
adjusts to small time life, he decides to take on the position of the
local sports team named The Roosters. In so doing, he reshapes the
community he grew up and finds a part of himself that he thought was
film also stars Kate Mulvany, John Howard, Rafferty Grierson, Fayssal
Bazzi, and Nick Cody to name a few.
is presented on standard definition anamorphically enhanced DVD with
a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a standard lossy Dolby Digital
5.1 audio mix. The film is cleanly and professionally shot but a bit
compressed due to the nature of the aging DVD format.
only Special Feature is a trailer, but you can read more ab0otu the
film with our coverage of its import Blu-ray edition from Australia
at this link...
hit Canadian TV-series, Slings
and Arrows: The Complete Series
(2003 - 6) is brought together in its complete three season run in
this new six DVD set from Acorn TV in this reissue of a previous DVD
set we covered a few years ago. Packed with over four and half hours
of bonus features, this is a must have for fans of the series. The
show is about a decline Shakespeare theater company and its many
characters behind the scenes. Mirroring in some ways the work of the
infamous writer himself, this behind the play look at a struggling
production is funny, ironic, and heartbreaking in the same breath.
and Arrows stars Paul Gross, Mark McKinney, Martha Burns, Susan
Coyne, Steven Ouimette, Don McKellar and Bob Martin. Some famous
faces include Rachel McAdams and Sarah Polley.
are as follows:
01 - Oliver's
Dream, Geoffrey's Return, Madness in Great Ones, Outrageous Fortune,
A Mirror Up to Nature,
02 - Season's
End, Fallow Time, Rarer Monsters, Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair,
Steeped in Blood,
03 - Divided
Kingdom, Vex Not His Ghost, The Way Madness Lies, Every Inch a King,
All Blessed Secrets,
is presented on anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD here
with a standard 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. All eighteen episodes that comprise the
three seasons are presented here commercial free with fourteen hours
total of content.
Features (repeating previous sets) include:
exclusive episode commentaries by the stars, writers, and director
- Deleted/Extended Scenes
24 page booklet with linear notes for all three seasons.
fans might want to try the Blu-ray set that you still might also find
at around the same price, give or take. You can read about that in
another rave review at this link:
By Step: The Complete Seventh & Final Season
(1997 - 1998) marked the end of the long running sitcom Step
(1991 - 1998), which is presented here commercial free for fans in
this collectible two disc edition. The show originally had a long
run on ABC and was canceled due to a decline in viewership. It came
back, however, after a resurgence of interest in syndication and ran
for one more year, which is what we have here.
is a Brady
sort of family sitcom where Frank (Duffy) and Carol (Somers) are a
married couple, each with three children of their own. The two
families are a perfect mix that shows dealing parenting children over
a variety of years from young to teenage. They go through many
mishaps in their daily lives, but at the end of the day learn a life
lesson from it.
show stars Suzanne Somers, Patrick Duffy, Staci Keanan, Brandon Call,
Angela Watson, Christine Lakin, Patrika Darbio, Christopher Lakin,
Patrika Darbo, Christopher Castile, Josh Byrne, Peggy Rea, Sasha
Mitchell, Kristina Meyering, Lauren Meyering, Emily Mae Young, Jason
Marsden, and Bronson Pinchot.
there aren't any extras, the show looks and sounds fine on standard
in a 1.33 X 1 full frame aspect ratio, which was the norm before
widescreen TVs and a lossy 2.0 channel Dolby Digital Stereo mix.
Compression issues are evident, but fine for the format.
the Grade, A Star is Born, Your Cheatin' Heart, Take This Job And...,
Poetic Justice, Can't Buy Me Love, Dream Lover, Girls Just Wanna Have
Fun, Goodbye, Mr. Chip, Too Many Santas, Phoney Business, Goin' to
the Chapel, Feet of Clay, Pain in the Class, The Half Monty, We're in
the Money, Movin' On Up, And Justice For Some,
a bit dated and cheesy 1990s humor, the sitcom is easy to throw on
and watch and presented fine here.
also have covered previous DVD releases of the show on this site....
order either of the Warner Archive releases, A
Blu-ray and/or the Step
DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive
Nicholas Sheffo (Sim,
Ricky Chiang (Liberty)