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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Architecture > Horse Racing > Show Business > Hollywood > Homosexuality > Film > Aalto (2020/Film Movement DVD)/Harry and Snowman (2018)/Tab Hunter Confidential (2015/both MVD/FilmRise Blu-ray)/Tiger (2021/Tiger Woods/HBO/Warner Archive DVD)/The Titans That Built America (2021/Lio

Aalto (2020/Film Movement DVD)/Harry and Snowman (2018)/Tab Hunter Confidential (2015/both MVD/FilmRise Blu-ray)/Tiger (2021/Tiger Woods/HBO/Warner Archive DVD)/The Titans That Built America (2021/Lionsgate DVD Set)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Tiger DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Up next are a solid batch of documentary releases for you to know about...

Virpi Suutari's Aalto (2020) tells the story of the life and amazing design and architectural work of Alvar Aalto, whose innovative ideas (with his wife, who never got enough credit) built and rebuilt the world, from the Great Depression to two World Wars and much, much more. Including the usual rare stills and film clips, the program (running a rich 99 minutes) shows us just how far his work reached the world, changed the world, defined the world and even made it better.

His life had plenty of ups and downs, plus he was not always the nicest person, but he is a great thinker and all-time giant in his field and a program like this was long overdue. I liked the footage they found, its editing, pace and the visually graphic detail on all his work over the decades. There is even archive audio. I wish it had even more time ot go into his work, but I still definitely recommend it.

Bonus footage is the only extra,

Ron Davis' Harry and Snowman (2018) is a little-told story of horseman and Dutch immigrant Harry deLeyer, who arrived in the U.S. after WWII and among the many things he did well and correctly, saved a horse from being slaughtered. That in itself is admirable, but he saw something in the horse he named Snowman and this led to him saving, training, healing and feeding the horse back to heath to the point that he became one of the most award-winning horses of all time.

The critical and commercial success that followed, the celebrity of the man and especially his horse is amazing and Harry himself is interviewed at age 86 for this program. Running a tight 82 minutes, it is a great untold tale of show business and animals that is not as well known as it should be, so I was glad to see it you and may be surprised too.

Bonus footage is the only extra.

Jeffrey Schwarz's Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) is the hit documentary about one of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s, who Hollywood loved, the studios loved, women loved and had a series of major hit films. However, he had male fans, including those who were gay, but hardly no one knew at the time that he too was gay and he hid that for decades to stay employed. This was especially since it was known some who had become known as gay, even name stars, suddenly were fired and out of work and even the industry for good.

Hunter did extended interviews for this, as well as John Waters, George Takei, Robert Wagner, Debbie Reynolds, Darryl Hickman and others who knew him best. It is also a portrait of Hollywood, homophobia and our society, which is why it resonates, but the bottom line is Hunter was a big hit and maybe by default, a new kind of male sex symbol regardless of what the story is here. Would a guy with these looks and not one to go around being a tough guy been as successful pre-WWII? Either way, though this program has dated (several of Hunters key feature films have been remarkably restored (including a few reviewed elsewhere on this site) and it looks like his popularity and legacy continues and continues to grow. If you have not seen this one, you should definitely catch it.

Extras interview footage and a preview are the only extras.

HBO new Tiger (2021) documentary wants us to not judge its subject, Tiger Woods, leaning towards almost brainwashing us into thinking he is a 'great guy' or 'innocent' or a 'victim of circumstance' or the like, but I never bought that and that in itself starts this all off on a bad note. I am not being judgmental of the man and his talent in golf is undeniable, but he is a grown man who is responsible for his scandal and this idea that we have to not consider that is insulting.

The mini-series is loaded with great vintage footage, interviews (old and new) and other moments that give a us a look at the man who sadly did not have this program made before his scandals broke. In that, we still get a private view of his life at times we have not seen before, yet some of this was not consistent, as honest as it could have been at times and disappoints overall a bit. Too bad we did not have a host who asked hard questions, but it is worth a look for the things that don't come across as lame of condescending. This runs a long 192 minutes!

Promo clips are the only extras.

Finally, the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced The Titans That Built America (2021) mini-series has the usual reenactments that I can never take seriously and are never that good, but it still manages to do a competent-enough job of telling how Henry Ford, Pierre DuPont, William Boeing, Walter Chrysler and J.P. Morgan, Jr. helped make the country and Industrial Age possible. Even during The Great Depression, they thrived, then came WWII and they had to change course.

Again, this is not definitive and as thorough as it could be, even with the time it has, but it can be entertaining and at least delivers the basics. Those who can put up with the episode's limits will want to take a look.

There are no extras.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Harry and Tab Blu-rays can look good, but are a little rough in the editing and remastering department, plus some off location audio. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Tiger and 2.35 X 1-ish on Aalto and Titans look as good as they can in the format, but at least Aalto would have benefitted from a Blu-ray edition.

On all five releases, analog videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage, while more than a little bit of the vintage film footage has damage and more than a few color clips have some or much color fading.

As for sound, none of the releases have lossless sound, so Tiger and the Blu-rays only offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, while Aalto and Titan only have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound, though they offer Pro Logic-like surrounds and are no better or worse than the audio on the other releases. Tab needs a sound remaster and some of its clips upgraded, but these all play fine otherwise for what is offered.

To order the Tiger Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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