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 > Faith > Persecution > Live TV > WWII > Nazis > Genocide > Holocaust > Poland > France > Stalin > Czech > L > Bridge Of San Luis Rey (1958/Liberation Hall DVD*)/Corinth Historical Drama set (with Habermann/2009 - 2016/DVD)/Ida (2013/Umbrella Region B Import Blu-ray DVD)/Sparrows (1926/Pickford/VCI Blu-ray w/D

Bridge Of San Luis Rey (1958/Liberation Hall DVD*)/Corinth Historical Drama set (with Habermann/2009 - 2016/DVD)/Ida (2013/Umbrella Region B Import Blu-ray DVD)/Sparrows (1926/Pickford/VCI Blu-ray w/DVD/*both MVD)/Suzanna Andler (2021/Icarus DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Ida Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray players that can handle Region B discs and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for an array of dramas, including rarities, restorations and ones that deal with social issues...

Robert Mulligan's The Bridge Of San Luis Rey (1958) is a David Susskind-produced TV version of the Thornton Wilder novel with Dame Judith Anderson, Hume Cronyn, Theodore Bikel, Viveca Lindfores, Peter Cookson, Steven Hill, Rita Gam, Clifford David and William Marshall. Set in 1714 Peru, when the title construct breaks apart and kills five people traveling on it. Brother Juniper (Bikel) form the local Catholic Church was almost the sixth person dead since he just missed being there with the other victims, then becomes obsessed with them, who they are and why did it happen.

This leads to five years of research, debating whether it is just a happenstance or something about 'God's Plan' that produces a book and leads to The Inquisition! Yes, that is a bit much and some people love the story, but I was not as impressed overall despite a tight near-90 minutes. It is still an interesting curio worth a look, but probably not for everyone.

There are no extras, save TV commercials in the program.

Next, The Corinth Historical Drama set (2009 - 2016) includes five films on five DVDs previously released the the video label, including Chronicles Of Melanie, which we reviewed at this link:


The other films include Volker Schlondorff's
Calm At Sea (2011) deals with Hitler's retaliation against a communist assassination of some Nazis, including Guy Moquet (Leo Paul Salmain) who was a symbol of the French Resistance.

Jurai Herz's Habermann (2010) about a wealthy German mill owner (Mark Waschke) who gets undone by a rising Hitler (sounds like Visconti's The Damned, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray, elsewhere on this site) and how his own workers turn on him in 1938.

Anna Justice's Remembrance (2010) is about two people trapped in a Polish Nazi Concentration Camp in Auschwitz in 1944, who fall in love, but he eventually escapes after saving her to fight in the resistance, breaking them apart. Alice Dwyer and Mayeusz Damiecki are good here, but it is hard to watch and maybe the toughest of the films here. It is more successful than not, though it has some off moments.

And finally we have Marleen Gorris' Within The Whirlwind (2009) with Emily Watson as a Russian Literature professor arrested for no reason by Stalin's secret police and sent to ten years hard labor in a gulag. Based on a true story (we believe it, especially as such stories about Stalin's Soviet are undertold) and has its moments, even if again, a few parts lag or are a little off. Ulrich Tukur and Ian Hart also star.

Its quite a set and not for the weak of heart or stomach, but I can see why Corinth would reissue these particular films, especially around awards season. They definitely have a larger audience to find than they have, so if you are interested in most of them, here's a convenient set.

Extras include stills and Original Theatrical Trailer on some discs, but many have none.

Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida (2013) about the title character (Agata Trzebuchowska) who is about to become a nun in Poland, circa 1962, but she first has to find out the truth about her past as she was a lifelong orphan abandoned at a convent. Of course, it involves WWII and much more, but I will not say much more as not to ruin anything, except to say it handles its material as well as it can and as intelligently and seriously. It just did not always work for me in its short 82 minutes, though it feels longer in some odd way.

Shot in black and white, the cast, locations and recreation of the period work well enough, so they got that taken care of, but I also felt I had seen some of this before. If you are interested, you might want to catch it, but I cannot recommend it too highly, though some of what works here surprised me in a good way.

Extras include an on-camera interview with the Director, On The Set of Ida Making Of featurette, Q&A with the Director and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

William Beaudine's Sparrows (1926) is one of Mary Pickford's most critically and commercially successful films, dealing with child poverty, neglect and abuse. So popular and important, especially in the silent film era, a restoration was issued about a decade ago in this set on Blu-ray we reviewed here:


Now, the Pickford Estate, Library of Congress and VCI Home Entertainment has issued a new Blu-ray/DVD set with a surprisingly good next-generation upgrade that brings out more of the film and gives it more impact. You can read more about the technical sides of that below, but like the original Birth Of A Nation (1915,) even our silent heritage needs revisited for further preservation and restoration. A pleasant surprise!

Extras, which are different from the Flicker Alley set with this film, include a fine 16-page illustrated booklet on the film with great stills, tech info and informative text, while the disc versions add two trailers for Sparrows, one each for Fanchon The Cricket and Little Annie Rooney and outtakes from Angel.

Lastly, we have Benoit Jacquot's Suzanna Andler (2021) with Charlotte Gainsbourg as the married title character, trapped in an unhappy marriage with two children she loves, but also has a young lover on the side (Niels Schneider) she could run off with and leave conformity behind. Well, the set up is good and the cast and locales are not bad, but it again offers things we have seen before in films that worked at least a bit better.

Gainsbourg is good here and you do keep watching, but when it was all over (and I was not so certain I bought the ending,) it did not stay with me. It runs only 88 minutes, so if curious, you might check it out.

There are no extras.

Now for playback performance. Both Blu-rays happen to offer 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer presentations, with Ida being the sharpest and clearest of the nine programs here, with fine depth, detail, Video Black and a solid gray scale for its monochrome presentation. Sparrows is a newer restoration that the older Flicker Alley Blu-ray from a decade ago (already?) that looked good for its time, but the odd issue with that whole set was all three films were in 1080i!

Though this new upgraded edition can still show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film (including the DVD that is also included, but is not even as good as the older Blu-ray) and save a few tinted shots in the Alley Blu-ray, this new VCI edition is far superior in all areas. That includes warmth, definition, detail and more information overall that makes the older Blu-ray looks a little faded or blown-out a bit despite al the hard work put into the older restoration. Outside of a rare film print that looks this good, this is now easily the best way to see the film.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Ida is well mixed and presented, even when it is quite, but it has the best fidelity of all releases here by far. We get lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo on the Sparrows Blu-ray (versus some lossless audio) and DVD, which offers different music than the PCM 2.0 Stereo on the older Alley Blu-ray, but none of the scores stayed with me and there is apparently some slight coding errors on the new version. Otherwise, it is a silent film and I would prefer to watch it that way or with the music lower than usual. They are a draw as far as I am concerned.

Like the Sparrows DVD, all the DVDs here are soft and poor including the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Andler, 1.33 X 1 black and white kinescope image on Rey and Corinth discs (usually in 2.35 X 1) including Melanie a little softer than I remembered. The sound fares better a little including the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Andler, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Corinth DVDs and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Rey. The Corinth discs can even be a little harsh when they are loud, while others recently have been on the soft side, so someone there needs to rethink their sound.

To order the Ida Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com