Of San Luis Rey
(1958/Liberation Hall DVD*)/Corinth
Historical Drama set
(2013/Umbrella Region B Import Blu-ray DVD)/Sparrows
(1926/Pickford/VCI Blu-ray w/DVD/*both MVD)/Suzanna
Andler (2021/Icarus DVD)
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+
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.
for an array of dramas, including rarities, restorations and ones
that deal with social issues...
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.
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.
are no extras, save TV commercials in the program.
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:
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
(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.
(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.
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.
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
include stills and Original Theatrical Trailer on some discs, but
many have none.
(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.
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.
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.
(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
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!
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.
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.
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.
are no extras.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great