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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Melodrama > Mystery > Biopic > Backstage Musical > Romance > Ballet > Literature > Fairy Tale > Brit > Cry Macho (2021/Blu-ray*)/Fabulous Dorseys (1947/Film Detective Blu-ray)/The Red Shoes 4K (1948/Criterion 4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Saint-Narcisse (2020/Film Movement DVD)/Waltons' Homecoming (2021 remake

Cry Macho (2021/Blu-ray*)/Fabulous Dorseys (1947/Film Detective Blu-ray)/The Red Shoes 4K (1948/Criterion 4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Saint-Narcisse (2020/Film Movement DVD)/Waltons' Homecoming (2021 remake/DVD/*both Warner)

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

All kinds of dramas and melodramas are arriving for the season and here are five of them...

Clint Eastwood's Cry Macho (2021) is one of the oddest films the legendary star and actor has made in a long time, the most off-the-mark since Pink Cadillac (1989) with Bernadette Peters. The premise, dialogue, and performances are not convincing either. Based on a novel, Eastwood is a cowboy forced into quitting by his longtime condescending boss (Country Music legend Dwight Yoakam) only for the man to ask his former employee to get his son out of Mexico (at his age!?!?) as a favor.

He says he is a young boy being abused by his mother down there, but this turns out to be several lies (as very, very expected) that he gets, though he goes down there just the same. The boy (Eduardo Minett) is much older and a hustler, but naive and eventually goes back with him to get to the U.S., though all kinds of things get in their way. This does not make it any kind of road movie or character study either, but that's it in 104 minutes and explaining any other problems and issues would spoil what little the film has to offer.

Apparently, this project was delayed many times over the years (including with different stars, et al) and is also supposed to take place in 1978, though there is only so much to show us that and again, they are often in isolated areas. The supporting actors are not bad, but there are some problematic moments too, so expect some oddity here as well.

For the curious only.

Extras include Digital Copy, while the disc adds two Behind The Scenes featurettes: Back In The Saddle and Macho & The Mustangs.

Alfred E. Green's The Fabulous Dorseys (1947) is a biopic with touches of a backstage musical, but mostly melodrama as we get a variant of the story about the two music brother legends (who eventually play themselves in the film!) reached fame, popularity, hits and fortune from a small Pennsylvania town. Hardly with the depth of either character study or documentary, it is still interesting as a time capsule and showing off some of their hits, Janet Blair plays a hometown gal friend who is shown as key in their lives.

I did not buy that or some of the other cliches here, but it uses its 88 minutes consistently with some energy at least, so it is worth a look for those interested. Its not a bad-looking monochrome film either.

Extras include a booklet on the film with an essay by Don Stradley, while the disc adds the featurette The Fabulous Forties: Big Bands On Screen very much worth seeing after watching the film with thorough details on a key cycle of music dramas of the period that featured the new music of the time and a feature-length audio commentary by film scholar Jennifer Churchill.

Criterion is starting to issue classics in the 4K format and Powell & Pressburger's The Red Shoes 4K (1948) is the first we get to see and it is very, very impressive. We covered the previous regular Blu-ray edition with all the same extras and its extraordinary restoration and preservation at this link:


If that was not enough, go to the tech section below to read more about what a solid upgrade this is even over the already-impressive Blu-ray.

Bruce LeBruce's Saint-Narcisse (2020) is supposed to take place in 1972 and have some connection to the new openness of the sexual revolution of the time, but it has so many surreal moments and isolated locales, that such a period feel never really happens. The tale of a self-centered, sexually free Dominic who even carries print pictures of himself (it is the analog era) never totally gets examined, but we see religious oppression, other kinds of sexual oppression and this is also tied to his lesbian mother who may still be alive despite him being told otherwise.

With the religious imagery, much mostly male nudity and male-to-male sex, a sort of revenge thriller side is also revealed, but it cannot complete with the one film it kept reminding me of, Paul Verhoeven's underrated 1984 thriller The Fourth Man which often did well what the script skips here. In its 101 minutes, we get too many missed opportunities, things that do not add up and a conclusion that was too abrupt. This might become a curio, but after the little hype I read on it, I was not impressed or found much original here.

Extras include Deleted Scenes, a montage of clapboards and a feature-length audio commentary by the director.

Finally, one of the few times a TV movies was remade, The Waltons' Homecoming (2021) tries to recreate the original telefilm that launched the hit TV series about a family trying to survive The Great Depression, et al. All the older telefilms were issued on DVD a while ago, as have every season of the actual show, so if anything, why is the series at least not on Blu-ray yet among counterparts like Little House On The Prairie or The Andy Griffith Show?

If it was out of hope this would lead to a relaunch of a new version of the series, that was a big mistake, especially since the original show has not been remastered for HD. The new cast (including Bellamy Young, Logan Shroyer and Ben Lawson) has actors that fit the roles, but they just do not have the chemistry or synergy the original cast had. I was not even the biggest fan of the original show (too much melodrama and obvious situations) but at least understand what made it a hit. And at this point in our history, can the Great Depression be nostalgic?

This runs a long 80 minutes and is for fans only.

There are no extras.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 1.33 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Red Shoes 4K is a demo disc with some shots even above my rating, now THE ultimate demo to see what British three-strip Technicolor does and should look like. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer from the older Blu-ray (included here in the new set; both discs have the same solid PCM 2.0 Mono) still looks good, but it cannot compete with the detail, range and visual surprises the 4K version has. If you need to see why dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor is a big deal, you just need to see two 4K discs: this and The Wizard Of Oz!

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Macho can be slightly darker than I would have liked, though this was issued in 4K, no copies were available like that at press time. Still, there are some good shots and compositions throughout just the same, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is well recorded with a good soundfield and easily the sonic champ of all the titles on this list.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Dorseys can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and the 4K scan looks like it came from more than one source, so this film is somewhat an orphan film. Most films before 1950 that United Artists distributed either became such and/or landed up with a smaller production company holdings. With that, you still get some good shots to go with the many that are second generation and we get a few signs of damage here and there. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix has some sonic range issues, but also can sound warm and forward, though some might feel too forward. Still. This is better than expected considering.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Saint has some slight softness and darkness at times that is not good, but is consistent in the look chosen otherwise. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the new Waltons telefilm tries to imitate the look of the old show and previous telefilms, but the results are mixed and not as good, plus this can be soft in unexpected places. Both discs offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is fine for the format, but would likely sound at least a little better in a lossless codec.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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