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Category:    Home > Reviews > Exploitation > Horror > Documentary > Vampire > Soap Opera > TV > Animation > Feature > Video Game > Science > Crazy Nights (1978/MVD/Full Moon Blu-ray)/Dark Shadows & Beyond: The Johnathan Frid Story (2021/MPI Blu-ray)/Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within 4K (2001/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Ladies They T

Crazy Nights (1978/MVD/Full Moon Blu-ray)/Dark Shadows & Beyond: The Johnathan Frid Story (2021/MPI Blu-ray)/Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within 4K (2001/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Ladies They Talk About (1933*)/Mafia, Inc. (2019/Film Movement DVD)/Party Girl (1958/MGM/*both Warner Archive Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: B/B/B/B/B-/B Sound: B/B/B+/B-/B-/B- Extras: D/C+/D/C/D/C- Main Programs: C+/B/D/B-/C+/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Ladies They Talk About and Party Girl Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

The next batch of genre films involve criminals, the supernatural and places that seem at least out of the ordinary to be....

Crazy Nights, also known as Follie di notte (1978), is a mondo sleaze movie directed by cult director Joe D'Amato (Beyond the Darkness), that is primarily a pseudo loose documentary on burlesque performances from all over the world (some of which turn into pretty graphic adult situations) and stars the infamous Amanda Lear. Uncut and restored, this disc is a must have for fans of classic sleaze, the disco era in which this takes place, and weirdo adult movies. This has been hailed by critics as ''the wildest mondo movie ever!''

Crazy Nights is presented on Blu-ray disc in 1080p high definition, an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and lossy 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital mixes. The film has been remastered from the original negative and overall the presentation is a mixed bag. Some of the more cinematically lit and shot sequences look really nice and then there are some shaky city shots every once in a while that look pretty awful. Not that this is of any fault to Synapse, but likely just the condition the negative is in. The music is funny and typical of Joe D'Amato films.

A product of the time, Crazy Nights does get pretty crazy and adult. Definitely not for younger audiences but has been nicely restored on Blu-ray from Synapse.

No extras.

Dark Shadows & Beyond: The Johnathan Frid Story (2021) is an interesting documentary on the star of the classic ABC daytime series, Dark Shadows, and how he has become a timeless pop culture icon in his role as Barnabas Collins. Directed by Mary O'Leary and featuring interviews with friends and family that knew him best, this documentary differs from other Dark Shadows docs as its primary focus is on Frid and so as much on the series itself.

Interviews within include Yale Drama School classmate Dick Cavett, actresses Marion Ross (Arsenic & Old Lace) and Christina Pickles (Seizure), American Shakespeare Festival associate Anthony Zerbe and Dark Shadows colleagues David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, Nancy Barrett, Marie Wallace and James Storm. The documentary also includes rare performance footage and previously unseen interviews and archival materials from Frid's private collection, all of which will be surely loved by fans.

Dark Shadows and Beyond is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and an English LPCM 2.0 mix, both of which give us a satisfying Blu-ray presentation all around. The documentary is nicely done and feels professional and not amateur, with acceptable upscalings of the old analog NTSC video the classic series was shot on.

Special Features:

Dark Shadows PBS Special/Jonathan Frid Interview

Jonathan Frid Reads The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

A Dark Shadows Letter From Jonathan

Jonathan Frid Dark Shadows Promo

Jonathan Frid Photo Gallery

and Dark Shadows Scenes: The Best of Barnabas

For more on the show, start with our coverage of a 35th Anniversary Reunion of the series at this link:


And for more episodes and specials on DVD, you can read more on these Beginning sets:




plus Best Of Barnabas and Fan Favorites


Next, since several animated Final Fantasy features had already been made and a few already had been reissued in 4K, it was inevitable, the infamous Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within 4K (2001) would arrive. A project that cost a small fortune in its time, the franchise still survived it and we reviewed the old Blu-ray at this link:


That older disc, all the original (and dull) extras and Digital Copy are here with the new 4K disc, which tries to upscale the already highly problematic CGI from the time. In regular HDF only, as expected, the 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image looks slightly better than the old Blu-ray, but it also reveals new aspects of how old and bad the visuals always were and reminds us how far we have and definitely have not come. The came for the sonic upgrade to lossless Dolby Atmos, which reveals some more detail not in the older mix, but also limits in the original soundmaster's mix, recording and editing choices. I still think it has some good sonic moments, but none of demo quality or enough to save this sad mess. For fans only!

Howard Bretheton and William Keighley's Ladies They Talk About (1933) has Barbara Stanwyck in one of her early leads as a gal who helps a group of bank robbers, than pretends to be a victim of one to cover for herself. Unfortunately, the lie does not last long and she lands up in prison in an early 'ladies in prison' entry and a few years before the Hollywood Code took effect. Thus, this was included in the fifth DVD set from Warner dubbed Forbidden Hollywood year ago.

No doubt Stanwyck was dynamic even then and one of the biggest movie stars around, more than able to handle herself behind and outside of bars, when a reformer (Preston S. Foster) falls in love with her. At only 69 minutes, this one has several nice ins and outs that keep it very watchable and the authentic grit, great dialogue and solid supporting cast make this a great addition to Warner Archive's Blu-ray series. Lyle Talbot, Dorothy Burgess, Lilian Roth, Maude Eburne, Harold Huber, Robert McWade and Ruth Donnelly round out the cast.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer looks really good for its age and easily surpasses the then-decent DVD version we reviewed so many years ago, while the

DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is also a marked improvement over the old DVD's lossy Dolby Digital. The combination makes that DVD passe and this will likely never sound better either.

Extras include the vintage Technicolor animated short I Like Mountain Music and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Mafia Inc. (2019) gets a DVD release from Film Movement and is a decent watch if you're a fan of crime / gangster films or shows like The Sopranos or The Godfather Trilogy. The Canadian film is based on a true story based on the expose Mafia Inc.: The Long, Bloody Reign of Canada's Sicilian Clan by journalists Andre Cedilot and Andre Noel. The center of the film is the Sicilian Mafia and the Gamache family: Vincent "Vince" Gamache being the focus, but when there's a bitter feud involving jealousy and betrayal, Vince is excluded from the family and goes rogue.

Mafia Inc. is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition on DVD with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, both of which are of the standard for the format. The foreign film looks and sounds fine, but isn't without video compression evident in the format.

No extras.

Finally, we have Nicholas Ray's Party Girl (1958) about mobsters and their club scene, Cyd Charisse is a dancer (et al) who wants more out of life when she meets the head mobster's lawyer (Robert Taylor) and they fall for each other. That eventually includes wanting to get out of this crime world, but their boss (Lee J. Cobb, very strong and convincing as the head gangster) is too paranoid to want to let him go.

This as the law is starting to take more notice (when they are not looking away) in 1930s Chicago) and Cobb's criminal empire is being threatened by new competition and maybe a few traitors within his organization. At first, this is humorous and lite, but being this is a Ray film, that quickly changes as the violence starts to pop out of nowhere in a surprising convincing early color Gangster-genre entry and is bolder for its time than one might expect. There are other surprises too.

However, this is a film with Charisse, so we get several musical numbers showing off her dance skills as much as most of her actual musical classics and when you add how well she handles the acting, action and drama, this is easily one of her best films. Also, MGM put the money in this one from the set design to her constantly classy, stunning and still-sexy wardrobe. Very impressive, even when it shows its age in the face of such genre films since.

Ray's early mastery of the scope frame also impresses, making it seem less dated than so many CinemaScope productions of the time, which show their age via the slight visual distortion the old lenses are known for. The superior use of color and composition was more innovative at the time than many realized. Nice to have this restored so well.

John Ireland, Claire Kelly, Corey Allen, Barbara Lang, Myrna Hansen and Kent Smith rounds out the great supporting cast. Any serious Gangster-genre fan who loves The Sopranos, GoodFellas, The Godfather films and Casino should consider this an immediate must see, but the rest of you will love it to for all kinds of reasons, so go out of your way for this one.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, shot on 35mm film in the older CinemaScope format and using some decent MetroColor, the look can be slightly dark (as intended) without looking phony and the color otherwise having a nice range and fidelity that can be as gaudy as the narrative. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix also sounds good, though it was originally issued at its best in 4-track magnetic stereo, but we guess that soundmaster has been lost or misplaced. This is still pretty clean and clear for its age.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extras.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Ladies They Talk About and Party Girl, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (4K, Warner Archive) and James Lockhart



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