For San Sebastian
Private Lives Of Elizabeth and Essex
(1939/*all Warner Archive Blu-rays)/The
B/B/B/C+/B/B/B+/C+ Sound: C+/B-/B-/C+/B-/C+/C+/C Extras:
C/C/C-/D/C/C/C+/C- Films: C+/B/C-/C/C+/B-/B-/B-
For San Sebastian, Madame
Private Lives Of Elizabeth and Essex
are now only
available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and
all can be ordered from the link below.
next are a solid group of dramas, including two war films featuring
two of the greatest cinematographers of all time...
(1950) is the first of several war films we will cover here, the
drama takes place in WWII and involves Humphrey Bogart as a jet pilot
with exceptional skills who might be flying a secret new jet to stop
the Axis from gaining the upper hand, but the film is more of a drama
and melodrama when Eleanor Parker shows up as an old girlfriend whose
relationship mighty not be as wrapped up and over as either thought.
Massey leads the supporting cast in this film that is also part of a
cycle of war films fired up about the latest jet plane technology, a
hot topic until the space age of the 1960s arrived. The story is
nothing we have not seen before and the flying footage is a mix of
stock footage and a little new work that was passable for the time,
but looks dated now. If anything, it is a curio, one that deserves
to be issued in a nicely upgraded edition like this.
(2021) is one of last year's best films with Anthony Hopkins winning
the Best Actor Oscar as a man (the title character) who has dementia
and is slowly sliding into the condition in worse and worse ways.
Instead of just watching, we are put in his position to experience
just how bad it can get, reality and logic crumbling, the man
suffering. It can be a painful film to watch and experience, but the
condition is so bad and there is no cure. One medication is being
argued about as we speak as it was approved as we were covering this
always great Olivia Colman is his daughter, trying to help him out,
yet, is it always her we are seeing? Who are the other people we
meet? Like another Sony release, David Cronenberg's Spider
with Ralph Fiennes (reviewed elsewhere on this site) as a
schizophrenia sufferer who keeps becoming more ill, the film is
honest and says there are no easy answer, easy solutions or solutions
at all. Zeller adapted from his book with Christopher Hampton and
they do no t miss a beat. The supporting cast, including Rufus
Sewell (whose been in plenty of surreal films already,) Imogen Poots,
Mark Gatiss, and Olivia Williams are good here, but it is Hopkins who
somehow manages to pull this all off and is more proof that calling
him one of the greatest actors of all time is not hype.
For San Sebastian
(1968) is a big Anthony Quinn star vehicle, playing a rebel soldier
who has conned the locals he is a priest, but people are out to get
him and that includes Teclo (Charles Bronson) as a mean, down-low
type up to no good and hiding things himself, going after him.
Anjanette Comer becomes the love interest, but the fists and bullets
flying get in the way.
is a Western enough and gritty enough to fit in with the best of the
time, but it gets convoluted by the halfway point and never really
recovers. I like some moments, but the film as a whole never really
worked for me. I was glad to see it again after all these years to
give it a second chance and can say it looks more ambitious now than
ever and is the kind of film Hollywood used to take risks on then,
but not anymore. Another nice restoration job by Warner, Sam Jaffe
leads the supporting cast.
(2021) features Finn Wittrock (of the instant classic TV hit Stranger
as Bart, a good guy with a bad run of luck. He has to stay with
friends as he tries to put his life together, but a chance encounter
with Vienna (Zoe Chao) might mean new love and a new life. Yet,
something is off on his life still and maybe this might not work out,
no matter how perfect she is.
it was nice to see the actor older and trying something different,
but there are two things here that did not work: the often goofy
dialogue (no one talks like this unless they watch too many bad
movies) and the ending is a failure. He gives a good performance and
the rest of the cast is not bad, but with 91 minutes to sit through,
this is the best they could do? Oh well...
(1943) is a typical Hollywood biopic with Greer Garson as the title
discoverer of discovering radium in 1903. That changed the world of
course, but the film is heavy with melodrama from romance to a heavy
dose of religion, as if the makers had to have glowing faith to match
gets heavy-handed very quickly, a supporting cast that includes
co-star Walter Pidgeon in an early role, Henry Travers, Robert
Walker, C. Aubrey Smith, Dame May Whitty, Reginald Owen, Albert
Basserman, Victor Francen and Elsa Basserman are not bad here at all.
It is just all held back by layers of pretense. Still, those
interested should see it in this new restored edition and skip older
versions and bad copies.
(1941) is a WWII film made as the war began raging, led by Errol
Flynn as U.S. forces go into the title locale to stop the Japanese
Imperialists and Axis powers from winning the war. More convincingly
gritty than many such films of the time, it has the added luxury of
being photographed by one of the greatest Directors of Photography of
all time, James Wong Howe. Thus, to see it in a restored edition is
something to celebrate.
has no problems getting his hands dirty as this more realistically
gritty film holds up better than most of its time with Flynn giving
one of his better performances backed by the likes of George Tobias,
William Prince, Henry Hull and Warner Anderson, all good actors of
the day. Definitely worth a look for those interested.
Private Lives Of Elizabeth and Essex
(1939) was Warner's attempt to top the Errol Flynn Adventures
Of Robin Hood
a year prior and pairs him with Bette Davis in one of her greatest
roles and films. The two occupy the title roles as two historic
figures who land up more romantically involved than expected, but
age, greed, power, betrayal, jealousy and thrones get in the way.
some of the acting and dialogue may be more in the 'talk at' than
'talk to' mode, the film holds up very well and since period pieces,
royal tales and costume dramas have seen an upsurge in recent years
(with or without the Fantasy genre involved) on TV and the big
screen, this film is suddenly a curio that is as relevant as ever.
Well, with a supporting cast that includes Vincent Price, Olivia de
Havilland, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale, Henry Stephenson and more, this
classic endures. Catch this restoration ASAP!!!
we have Pierre Schoendoerffer's The
in 1954 and the earlier portion that rarely gets discussed or
dramatized of the Vietnam conflict the U.S. later mistakenly
inherited from the French. This is a French film about that earlier
period and is not bad, has aged decently and is better than many of
the would-be Vietnam films from the U.S. that as the 1980s moved
forward, tried to revise the truth on. There is nothing here being
lied about to heavily rewritten.
is not a French New Wave film per se, but part of a new naturalism
and realism that War films were seeing and this one is about as
visually vivid as any of them since Kubrick's Paths
(1957, reviewed elsewhere on this site) thanks to Godard's longtime
Director of Photography Raoul Coutard (who had finished Alphaville
before making this film, skipping lensings Masculin
also reviewed on this site) so I can see why so many people were
impressed when they first saw it.
is one of those 'simple mission gone wrong' films we have seen more
often recently, but it is more convincing, though the film has been
imitated a bit since, so some things here age better than others. I
thought it was good and anyone interested should give it a good look,
but it is a case where I wonder if I would enjoy it more from a
quality film print or Blu-ray edition.
Perrin, Bruno Cremer, Pierre Fabre and Manuel Zarzo lead the solid
for playback performance. All six Blu-ray discs deliver fine
performance as expected, including the new HD shoot of The
as presented in 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition, but the big
surprise is how incredible the 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfer on Essex
is one of the great full color Hollywood films, made in 35mm
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor and looks so great here, it is
loaded with demo images. I would also argue it is every bit as
impressive as Gone
With The Wind,
Wizard of Oz and
Flynn's own Robin
film when it comes to a superior use of that greatest of all color
format. Yes, it is that good and the visual champ on this impressive
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Sebastian
can show the age of the materials used, but the film is supposed to
look a bit rough and this is the best I have ever seen it. Shot in
anamorphic 35mm Franscope, it has a look that differs from most films
of its hind, which usually were in Panavision, CinemaScope,
Techniscope or other odder widescreen scope formats. The result is
it always feels a little different and the MetroColor lab work holds
up very well.
four remaining Warner Archive entries are in 1080p 1.33 X 1 black &
white digital High Definition image transfer can sometimes show the
age of the materials used, but all are superior transfers to all
previous releases of the film and have many sequences that have
amazing detail and depth.
six Blu-rays offer lossless DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) sound with Father
the only 5.1 mix here, Sebastian
with 2.0 Stereo (may have originally been 4-track magnetic sound with
traveling dialogue and sound effects) and 2.0 Mono for the remaining
(well-recorded, but dialogue-based, sometimes very quiet), Sebastian
are the best-sounding films here, with some warmth and good sound.
The remaining Blu-rays simply show their sonic age, which is a shame
because the picture deserves multi-channel sound.
anamorphically enhanced image on the two DVDs, 2.00 X 1 on Weekend
and 1.66 X 1 on Platoon,
look as good as they can for the format and deserve Blu-rays at
least. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Weekend
is fine for the old codec, though this is often dialogue-driven, but
the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Platoon
is much weaker and lower in volume than expected. In that case, be
careful of high volume playback and volume switching.
include Original Theatrical Trailers on all discs, save Lightning,
which adds the Joe McDoakes live-action short and So
You Want To Be An Actor
and the classic dysfunctional bears Warner animated classic Bear
in HD, Father
adds Deleted Scenes and two Behind The Scenes clips and Weekend
has no extras.
adds a vintage Making Of featurette, Curie
adds the live action Pete Smith Specialty short Romance
Burma adds two Warner Wartime live action shorts (The
Tanks Are Coming
(1941) with George Tobias and Gig Young and The
(1943) with Burgess Meredith and Ronald Reagan) and Essex
adds the newer featurette Elizabeth
and Essex: Battle Royale,
plus we get Leonard Maltin hosting Warner Night At The Movies 1939
with a newsreel, live-action musical short The
and classic Porky Pig Warner Technicolor cartoon Old
where Uncle Sam visits him to teach him U.S. History and it is very
charming. The transfer is in HD and looks good.
of the five Warner Archive Blu-rays reviewed, go to this link for
them and many more great web-exclusive releases at: