Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Mental Illness > Tennis > Aging > France > War > Telefilm > Suicide > Melodrama > Medical > Live Telev > Broken Diamonds (2021/Blu-ray*)/Final Set (2020/**)/The Last Days Of Patton (1986/FilmRise DVD*)/The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997/Blu-ray*)/Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Paul

Broken Diamonds (2021/Blu-ray*)/Final Set (2020/**)/The Last Days Of Patton (1986/FilmRise DVD*)/The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997/Blu-ray*)/Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Paul Newman Trilogy (1955 - 1956/DVD*/***)/The Power and the Glory (1961/DVD/***both Liberation Hall/*all MVD)/The Rifleman (2019 aka Blizzard Of Souls/Omnibus/**both Film Movement DVDs)/Stillwater (2021/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: B-/C+/C-/B+/B/C/C/C/B & C+ Sound: B/C/C/B+/C+/C/C/C+*/B & C+ Extras: C/C/C-/C/B-/D/C-/C-/C Main Programs: C+/C+/B-/C/C+/B-/C+/C+/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Mary Stevens, M.D. Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Awards season is fast approaching, so here is a group of dramas of all kinds to check into....

Peter Sattler's Broken Diamonds (2021) has Ben Platt as a guy who has dreams of moving to Paris, but the unexpected death of his father and then meeting a gal (Lola Kirke) who has personal issues derails his plans. Now, he intends to stay involved with her and starts to deal with some of his own issues as well.

Not bad and well acted enough, but the writers come up with little new to offer than we have not seen in dozens (hundreds?) of other such dramas, but we may actually start seeing more of the leads if this production is any indication. They could have tried to do something more with the 90 minutes they had here, but it has some genuine moments if nothing else.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a little softer than expected, but is fine otherwise with some consistent color, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has a consistent soundfield and helps make up for the image's limits.

Extras include a Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery, Original Theatrical Trailer and Deleted Scenes.

Quentin Reynaud's Final Set (2020) is a tennis drama withy a little comedy about an older star (Alex Lutz) who is starting to have issues with his body from playing the game hard, well and successfully for so many year, but new competition in a new set of games might finally push him and his body over the edge.

The first three quarters of the film offers much of what we have seen on the sport and in most sports dramas and that's fine, but would usually mean a forgettable work. Then the final game with a young, aggressive new competitor turns up and the film suddenly kicks in and creates a remarkably palpable game that epitomizes the kinds of situations and resulting suspense that gets people worldwide to watch such games in the first place. I wish the rest of the film was this good, but I was glad it made it to this point and is the only reason outside of a decent cast to recommend it.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image has some softness and could be sharper, but is passable for this older format. The lossy French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes are good for the old codecs, but the 5.1 is better by default.

A Q&A with the Director Reynaud and lead Alex Lutz are the only extras.

Delbert Mann's The Last Days Of Patton (1986) is the belated, unexpected telefilm sequel to George C. Scott's Best Actor Oscar-winning performance and Franklin J. Shaffner 70mm hit feature film Patton from 1970 which we reviewed years ago on Blu-ray at this link:


Running a long 146 minutes, it takes place just after WWII when Patton (Scott, returning to a role he turned his Oscar down over) lands up getting injured by a car and how he deals with that. The on thing that makes sense is that Scott was older, so it was 16 years later and he could look the role as older without any make-up and he is pretty good here. However, you should see the earlier film first (we're waiting for Disney/20 Century to issue a 4K edition) and expect a long sit. It is not bad, but many might not be able to get through it all.

Helping is a decent budget and a supporting cast that includes Eva Marie Saint, Ed Lauter, Murray Hamilton and Richard Dysart.

Unfortunately, the 1.33 X 1 image is very noisy, soft and a mess, made worse, the larger the screen you look at it on. Color is a bit off and a new 2K or 4K scan needs to be made of the original 35mm camera negative, if it still exists. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is almost as bad, dated with some harmonic distortion, background noise and a bit compressed, so be careful of high volume playback and volume switching.

A Photo Gallery and informative text are the only extras.

The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997) gets the MVD Marquee Treatment on Blu-ray and features an all star cast in Keanu Reeves, Thomas Jane, Claire Florani, Adrien Brody, and others. The film is based on a 1950 letter written by Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac and is sure to pull at the heart strings.

Directed by Stephen Kay, the film centers on a poet Noel Cassady (Jane) whose wife attempts suicide and makes him second guess their marriage as a teenage love interest also takes shape. The Poet must decide between this new love or his first and what lies on the road ahead for him in life. A mixed film, some of the actors have dealt with this subject matter before (Reeves and Michelle Meyrink (Real Genius) in 1988's Permanent Record) and that was a subject addressed in some other dramas, but it produced no classics. At least they were trying.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and 2.0 surround mix. The film looks and sounds fine and to my knowledge this is the film's first release in HD.

The only extra is a trailer.

Lloyd Bacon's Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933) is one of those early melodramas where we get a female lead who has to sacrifice her own private, personal life, satisfaction and happiness to help others. Sexist, misogynist and problematic in other ways far to extensive to go into, Kay Francis is convincing as the title character and add that Mary falls for her medical practice partner (Lyle Talbot) while he falls for another woman (Glenda Farrell, looking great) and you can hear violins playing even when they are not on the soundtrack.

Add that most medical dramas got this sappy and you know you are in for an ordeal, even if this only runs 72 minutes. The actors give it their best and some of the sets and locales are interesting, but this is more of a time capsule than anything else and you can now see for yourself what you think.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is looking as good as it can from its new restoration and because it has a female lead and is a melodrama, the diffusion lenses get overused, so the softness is often intended, especially when filming its lead. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is as good and clean as it is ever gong to sound, but it is limited in sonic range and you can hear some background hiss throughout. That's just the way it is.

The only extra is an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Next up is a Paul Newman Trilogy (1955 - 1956) that sounds like a feature film collection, but actually three live programs he made back in the glory days of early live TV with Producer David Susskind: Robert Steven's The Army Game (1955, two hitchhikers avoid a storm only to be suspected a a murder just being reported with Jack Lord and Frank Overton), Franklin Shaffner's The Rag Jungle (1956, Newman plays a garment factory employee who refuses to pay protection money to criminals, then they kill his father. He retaliates by organizing the workers against them, et al. Nehemiah Persoff and Frank Campanella also star) and Franklin Schaffner's Five In Judgment (1956, Newman is a soldier who schemes to get a discharge in the draft-era of the military, but his scheme is seen though, then he is attacked. What will happen next? Frank Campanella and Sydney Pollack (the director in one of his early acting roles) co-star.)

It is a rare chance to see such amazing TV, the early work, birth and growth of some of the most important talent ever seen on any screen and how open and amazing early TV could be. It is also a big chance to see early works in the method school of acting that transformed the performing arts for the better forever. Glad to see these surviving and released for everyone to see them.

The 1.33 X 1 black and white image comes from old kinescope sources (a 16mm black and white recording off of an analog video picture tube) so it is soft, yet we're lucky to have it since so much live TV is gone. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also dated, lacking a full sound and including some microphone issues, some harmonic distortion, background noise, flaws and a bit of compression, so be careful of high volume playback and volume switching.

There are no extras.

Marc Daniel's The Power and the Glory (1961) is not my favorite tale of anything, but to have no less than Sir Laurence Olivier as a priest not very happy with much, sent to 1930s Mexico to spread the Gospel, but now has to do it in secret since a revolution has made such things illegal and could get Christians / Catholics killed. Will their need to get and use wine give hem away and get them killed?

Even when the story falls short (this runs a long 2 hours) and is uneven the supporting cast is also impressive, including Julie Harris, Keenan Wynn, George C. Scott, Roddy McDowell and Patty Duke, so it is worth seeing for the actors, even when the rest does not hold so well together. Still glad it has survived and now you can judge for yourself.

Like the Newman set above, the 1.33 X 1 black and white image comes from old kinescope sources (a 16mm black and white recording off of an analog video picture tube) so it is soft, yet we're lucky to have it since so much live TV is gone. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also dated, lacking a full sound and including some microphone issues, some harmonic distortion, background noise, flaws and a bit of compression, so be careful of high volume playback and volume switching.

Dzintars Dreibergs' The Rifleman (2019 aka Blizzard Of Souls) is a Latvian film about a young man (Oto Brantevics) enters WWI hoping for future success and glory, only to be ignored and censored by Russia. Running 104 minutes, there is some money on the screen and some good acting work, but since all we get is a bad English dub, watching the film was ruined and on the difficult side. I hope to see this in its original, native language, but until then, avoid this compromised version.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image happens to be a little weak anyways and on the soft side, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo English-only soundtracks are passable at best and often ring fake or too harsh for some reason.

A trailer is the only extras, also in English only.

Finally, Tom McCarthy's Stillwater (2021) has been receiving buzz for Matt Damon's lead performance as a father and oil-rig worker constantly having trouble keeping employed due to lack of work (and a good union, we gather) when his daughter, living in Marseilles, is arrested for murder!

Putting aside that it sounds like a recent real life crime case, I was only so convinced by the film with all of its twists and turns, seeming more conventional than believable. Damon does transform well into his gruff working class character and if you did not know he was one of the biggest movie stars around, you might not know the difference. Not quite an Oscar-begging turn, he has never failed to live up to an acting challenge despite his very long set of commercial acting credits.

The result is a mixed film where he steals too many of his scenes and a visual look that does not try hard enough to avoid looking like a Jason Bourne movie with its shaky camerawork in a foreign (read non-U.S.A.) land. It slack of color at times evokes a war film, which also seems out of place. Professionally done with a good supporting cast, it could have been much better, but it is still worth a look so you can see what you think.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray version here is an HD shoot that is not bad, but styling and camera work sometimes is not to its advantage, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has a good soundfield and is well recorded, but offers nothing extraordinary either.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD version is much softer and more annoying as a result, which also applies to the weaker, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound codec that just cannot compete with the Blu-ray's sound.

Extras include Digital Copy and three brief Behind The Scenes featurette clips.

To order the Mary Stevens, M.D. Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Time)



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com