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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Documentary > Culture > Time Capsule > Illness > Acting > Sex Industry > Cable TV > Biopic > Backsta > America As Seen By A Frenchman (1960/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/The Carer (2016/Corinth DVD)/The Deuce: The Complete Third Season (2019/HBO DVD*)/Million Dollar Mermaid (1952/MGM/*both Warner Archive)/Pitchin

America As Seen By A Frenchman (1960/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/The Carer (2016/Corinth DVD)/The Deuce: The Complete Third Season (2019/HBO DVD*)/Million Dollar Mermaid (1952/MGM/*both Warner Archive)/Pitching In: Series 1 (2019/Acorn DVD)

Picture: B+/B-/B/B/B Sound: B/B-/B/B-/C+ Extras: B/C/C/C+/C Main Programs: B/C+/B+/B-/B+

PLEASE NOTE: The Deuce DVD and Million Dollar Mermaid Blu-ray are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a new set of dramas from several mediums....

America As Seen By A Frenchman (1960) is a fun time capsule piece by Francois Reichenbach that is appropriate for the time in which it is made and ultimately a portrait of a more pure and peaceful time in America.

The film is exactly as the title indicates: a French documentarian spent 18 months traveling the USA circa 1960 and documented it as any filmmaker would. Being from a different culture and background, his unique perspective is at times humorous. Prison rodeos, Miss America pageants, assembly lines, Disneyland, all sorts of subjects are photographed here, which gives the film a feel akin to a softer version of the exploitative Mondo films of the time, especially with the use of voice over narration. Watching the film now, so much has changed in some ways and in other ways not, which is part of what makes this an interesting and recommendable watch.

The film also stars legendary filmmaker Jean Cocteau, Paul Klinger, and June Richmond to name a few.

America As Seen By A Frenchman is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc from Arrow Video and has a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio paired with an original French uncompressed mono 1.0 track (with English subtitles) that sounds excellent. The film has been respectfully remastered and looks and sounds very good considering its age. The color and overall image are clean and leave little to gripe about. The score is also notable by Michel Legrand (Une femme est une femme, Never Say Never Again).

Special Features include:

Newly translated English subtitles

New video appreciation of the film by author and critic Philip Kemp

Image gallery

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ignatius Fitzpatrick

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Caspar Salmon.

Brian Cox and Coco Konig star in The Carer (2016), also known as Shakespeare Fur Anfanger, which is a touching drama that the older crowd is sure to enjoy. Brian Cox stars here as Sir Michael Gifford, an extinguished Shakespearian theatrical actor who alienates his friends and family due to contracting an incurable illness. His daughter makes a last ditch effort to hire him a caretaker for his final years, who happens to be a refugee with artistic aspirations of becoming an actress. The two kindred spirits end up touching each others lives in ways neither thought possible as they become unlikely friends.

The film also stars Emilia Fox, Anna Chancellor, Karl Johnson, Selina Cadell, and even former James Bond star himself, the late, great Sir Roger Moore.

The Carer is presented in standard definition on DVD with an anamorphically enhanced, widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix mix (48kHz). Compression issues are evident on the DVD and of the norm for the format, however, this film is quite well shot and produced with direction by Janos Edelenyi. The soothing soundtrack by Attila Pacsay is soothing and appropriate. Overall, the film looks and sounds as good as to be expected here.

Special Features include:


and a Trailer

The Carer is akin to a Hallmark Channel-style film and isn't too heavy or hard to watch. The style of the film, being from a Hungarian director, has a 'foreign' feel to it that helps liven up a formula that's been done more than once.

It is now a new era in Midtown, New York, circa the early 1980s, where you could find sex, drugs, rock n' roll and prostitutes on every corner every night. When the 1970s ended it turned into the seedy underworld of pornography, amateur VHS home porn movies and AIDS. With The Deuce in the middle of it all, follow the lives of the bartenders, pimps, gigolos, prostitutes, police, mobsters and actors. But through it all they were just people, friends and family trying to make a living ...and now their way of life is endangered when the city wants to tear down midtown and build a new high-rises in The Deuce: The Complete Third Season (2019).

The Deuce is bar in midtown run by the Martino twins, Vincent and Frankie (both played by James Franco), it is a front for the mob but every drug, prostitution, alcohol comes through there first. But now, both Vincent and Frankie want more money but everyone else is not happy with them getting a smaller piece of the pie. Eileen 'Candy' Merrell is one of the few prostitutes became successful, she got out of the game and now she directs and makes films featuring feminist's pornography, but she never thought about her business is basically turning female 'actresses' into whores. While the rest of the girls in the sex industry has dreams of acting and hoping to becoming a star one day, but more often just end up used, abused and burned out.

Lori is a sex worker/stripper, she could have become a successful actress but because of her drug addiction it costed her everything and she learned that being a whore was the best that she will ever get and, in the end commits suicide. Abby is the bartender with the heart of gold, helping every girl or person with a washed-up dream to keep going. Now it's the 80s and business seems to be slowing down and the city council wants to bulldoze midtown and uses the police to find any excuse to get rid of the porn industry and those living in Midtown. At the turn of century everyone is either dead or gone and only Vincent is left as he walks through Times Square, he sees the ghost of his friends and the phantoms of his past.

This series is about those who work in the porn industry, but they aren't just prostitutes, gigolos, film makers. This HBO cable TV series humanizes them, they are men and women, people with families and dreams, but reality is cruel and life is vicious, in the end what they really wanted was a little dignity in a world in a world that need them but hated them for their jobs. It also shows how these people rode a wave of underground culture we will never see again. Maggie Gyllenhaal leads the rest of the cast.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound play as well as they can for this older format, but they cannot match how good the First Season Blu-ray looked and sounded. The show is well-produced and deserves a larger audience than it has received. Extras include setting the scenes with each episode.

Mervyn LeRoy's Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) us juggling two kinds of films at once, a biopic and despite no singing or much dancing, a backstage musical as the film tells the story of real life Australian swimmer and diver Annette Kellerman (Esther Williams in prime form) starting with a few scenes from her childhood and her ambition to take her swimming talents and become a star out of them, hopefully making serious money out of them in the process. This becomes a little more likely when she meets James Sullivan (Victor Mature) who is already promoting all kinds of novelties.

They eventually find some publicity stunts to show off her talents, but some do not go as smoothly as others and as this is the beginning of the 20th Century, her outfits start to shock a very sexually oppressed world. However, we get some great swimming sequences, including a few classics that put Williams on the map and have been imitated and referenced often since (Miss Piggy in The Great Muppet Caper a relatively more recent example) so that makes this film at least a minor classic in the Musical genre.

But it also takes the material and audience seriously and holds up well, despite a few aged parts and points. It does not make Kellerman an outright saint or gets too phony, so cheers for it bucking conventions that still haunt biopics today. Definitely, this one is worth a look. Walter Pidgeon, Jesse White, David Brian and Donna Corcoran also star.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is in incredibly good shape with hardly a flaw, looking eve more incredible as it was shot in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor often exactly on the money with some amazing uses of color, but not just in things like clothes and sets. It also is in the naturalism of the outdoors and is held back for dramatic effect. Another restoration does well. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is also impressive for its age, the old theatrical mono sound and this film will likely never sound better.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer, the live action Pete Smith Specialty short Reducing, the classic MGM animated cartoon short The Wise Little Quacker (Tom & Jerry) and an audio only radio version of the film from Lux Radio Theater with Williams and Pidgeon.

Off the North Wales coast lies the small but beautiful community of Daffodil Dunes. The owner/pillar of the community is Frank Hardcastle (Larry Lamb) who recently announced his plans to sell community and retire. That is until his wayward daughter Carys (Caroline Sheen) suddenly returns and tells her father that 'she' will take over Daffodil Dune and return it to profitability. However, not everyone in the community is happy with changes that she is making in Pitching In: Series 1 (2019).

Daffodil Dunes is a small but picturesque village in Northern Wales, it is mainly populated by retirees who earn money off vacationers and sightseers, but they really all they want is peace, quiet and a pint of ale at the end of the day. Frank Hardcastle is the unspoken leader of the small community (because he owns most of the lands) and has earned everyone's respect and trust over the years because he cares for all the members in the community. Carys, however is Frank's prodigal daughter who sudden returns and decides to 'take over' her father's business and 'save' Daffodil Dunes from being sold, but secretly she is running away from a failed marriage and wants to profit off of Daffodil Dunes by turning it into a modern health spa with juice bar. Carys has big shoes to fill and sadly Frank will have to put his retirement on hold and save his Daffodil Dunes from Carys' plans until she learns to put people first before profit.

This was a picturesque drama about a bunch of old retirees who are trying to save their village from being sold. Most the episodes is how the older villagers resisting against modernization and the various drama between all the characters. Hayley Mills also stars.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image looks fine and takes advantage of its locations, but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 can be on the weak side and is very dialogue-based. Extras include behind the scenes featurette, characters and trailers.

To order either The Deuce DVD and/or Million Dollar Mermaid Blu-ray from Warner Archive, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Million), Ricky Chiang (TV) and James Lockhart



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