Of The Clouds
(2021/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Repeat
(1947/Flicker Alley Blu-ray w/DVD)/Servants
(2020/Film Movement DVD)/A
Star Is Born
(1937/Selznick/*both Warner Archive Blu-rays)
B/B & C+/B- & C+/C+/B Sound: C+/B & C+/C+ &
C/C+/C+ Extras: C+/C-/B/C/B- Films: C+/C/B-/C+/B
Of The Clouds
Star Is Born
(1937) Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through
their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
are five dramas with very different looks at life and results...
start with Michael Curtiz's Captain
Of The Clouds
(1942) made for Warner Bros. around the time they made Casablanca
and part of Hollywood's first propagandic assault against the Axis
Powers as the Brothers Warner were the first to go after Hitler and
company, though the twist I like here is that James Cagney is
actually leading a Canadian Air Force! That's a 'good neighbor'
policy that we can all endorse.
is ready to fight and looking for action, which he lands up getting
sooner than expected, so with the kind of efficient, quick-enough
pace most Curtiz films are known for, we get action, melodrama and
story he is known for an this is not bad. It cannot shake off its
propaganda side, but the Technicolor and solid supporting cast help
it hold up. Joining Cagney are Dennis Morgan, Brenda Mitchell, Alan
Hale, George Tobias, Reginald Denny, Reginald Gardiner, George
Meeker, Ray Walker and Gig Young, in a small role. And yes, this is
the first Hollywood film to be produced entirely in Canada!
include a 1942 Newsreel, Original Theatrical Trailer, live action
Mountain Big Game
and two classic Warner animated shorts: What's
The Lion, Please.
Caruso strikes again with his latest sappy melodrama, Redeeming
(2021) where a couple (usually white and heterosexual only, for
whatever reasons) slowly find each other during 1850 when the
California Gold Rush hits. Not exactly the most 'romantic'
background, but the idea (based on Francine Rivers supposed best
seller) is that it is more realistic so any kind of love that comes
out of this 'rough' situation must be more realistic. Well...
Coven and Tom Lewis play the couple, backed by a cast of mostly
unknowns (so this look and plays like a cable TV movie we've seen
hundreds of times, granted you survived watching such 'cinema') and
also includes Nina Dobrev, Eric Dane, Logan Marshall-Green and a
'special' appearance by former Bond Gal and X-Men Famke Janssen,
minus any of her superpowers. She sure cannot save this script.
include Digital Code, while the discs add Deleted Scenes and two
Making Of/Behind The Scenes clips: Casting
The Author - Francine Rivers.
L. Werker's Repeat
(1947) is a show biz tale of sorts, but enough of a part of the
original Film Noir cycle that it is often as honest as such a film,
yet also offers the unrealistic twist that the lead (the underrated
Joan Leslie) plays a stage actress who has a very bad New Year's Eve,
only to awaken and discover (after being thrown off at first) that it
is actually about a year earlier and only she knows what might be
the Horror Genre and German Expressionism as forerunners of Noir, it
was not going to be long until such surreal elements started working
their way into the only genre out of the U.S. cinema that Hollywood
did not invent. Not as stark or shocking as what you might get out
an actual Horror film or early Twilight
episode, that does not make it any less creepy, chilling, smart,
unsettling or challenging. It asks some interesting questions and
presents some unpleasant people, as well as a few who were still much
more invisible then than they would be now.
Hayward, who has played several heroes including a few feature films
as The Saint, plays her husband, who is not a nice guy. Tom Conway,
who played The Falcon in a series of films that were Saint knock-offs
before becoming a Val Lewton veteran is also here with Virginia
Field, an up and coming Richard Basehart and Natalie Schafer as a
rich, attractive socialite. She later became most famous and iconic
as an older such lady on the hit TV sitcom Gilligan's
but she gets plenty fo screen time here in her role and is more
highly convincing than you might expect. Thus this is very
interesting for all kinds of reasons and makes it hard to believe
this was a lost film in any way, but that's the sad truth. Now
saved, you should all give it at least a good look and I expect most
people who see it will be surprised and impressed.
include another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including
informative text and another excellent essay, this time by film
scholar Brian Light, while the discs add a digital version of the
original Promotion Pressbook, a feature length audio commentary track
by film scholar Nora Fiore, an on-camera intro to the film by Film
Noir Foundation founder Eddie Muller, Eagle-Lion:
A Noir-Stained Legacy
featurette on the rise and fall fo the studio that made this film
(hosted by film scholar Alan K. Rode) and a solid featurette look a
our female lead in Profile
Of Actress Joan Leslie
narrated by film scholar Farrah Smith Nehme.
(2020) is the sometimes disturbing story of a highly communist,
authoritarian and totalitarian Czechoslovakia in 1980, unhappy with a
local school for priests (I was surprised one even existed in any
communist country, but they apparently let it for propaganda and
surveillance reasons here) and the government wants 'social realism'
so all it becomes is another part of the government machine.
this goes further into the lives of these young men trying to become
priests and how despite it being illegal and too subversive, some of
the old communist guard may have some homosexual designs for some of
the seminary students, so you can imagine how creepy this gets when
they start trying to force themselves on these guys. Worse when they
are not expecting this to begin with.
film also is shot in black and white to further communicated the
dead/dying world they exist in and does this very well for all
intents and purposes. At 81 minutes, however, I wish it were longer
or did more with the time it had because it is on track to really say
even more, but it never gets there. Still, it has its bold moments
and can look impressive in its density, so those interested should
take a good look.
include Trailers and short film A
(20 minutes) directed by Martin-Christophe Bode.
another film about show business that is considered one of the
all-time classics, was a huge hit in its time
and has had three huge hit remakes. William A. Wellman's A
Star Is Born
(1937) with Janet Gaynor as the acting hopeful who meets and falls
for a very talented star (Fredric March) in what seems could be a
match made in Hollywood heaven. Too bad he has a drinking problem
and his career is in decline, then she starts to become a big star,
even against all the artifice of the town and its glamorous
breakthrough in full color filmmaking, the script, editing and pace
are tight and solid, even all these decades later, the acting top
rate and this is an outright drama, whereas the three sequels are all
music film and first an all-out musical. Lionel Stander plays the
quintessential Hollywood agent, Andy Devine shows up with his comic
personality and the rest of the supporting players deliver, including
Adolphe Menjou, May Robson, Edgar Kennedy, Owen Moore, Peggy Wood and
uncredited turns by Dennis O'Keefe and Franklin Pangborn among a
surprisingly large cast.
O. Selznick did everything he could to back this film too, so it all
adds up into one of the greatest early classic sound films, holds up
really well and more than a few moments are as relevant now as they
ever were. There are some serious moments, funny moments and points
that are so influential, they have been imitated all over the place
since. Consider this a must see film if you are serious about
movies, Hollywood, the big screen and great story-telling. It's that
include two Lux
radio drama versions of the film (9/13/37 with Janet Gaynor and
Robert Montgomery, 12/28/42 version with Judy Garland and Walter
Pidgeon,) three live action Warner shorts (Mal
Hallett & His Orchestra,
and classic Technicolor Warner cartoon A
Star Is Hatched
with a lead character who looks like Miss Prissy trying to make it in
Hollywood that is great until the last scene.
more on other version fo the film, try these links:
version (DVD, Blu-ray available, hoping for 4K soon)
version (Blu-ray, hoping for 4K soon)
version in 4K
expanded on Blu-ray
(DVD, hoping for Blu-ray and 4K soon)
for playback performance. The
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image on both Clouds
were shot in full Technicolor and Warner Archive has done a great job
on both. Clouds
looks as good as it probably ever will (4K version notwithstanding)
is especially amazing after all the bad copies we have suffered
though since the Beta & VHS days, even up to an older restoration
for Blu-ray that was sufficient for its time, but no match for what
we get here.
pretty much deliver near-total representations
of a 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version of each film,
can have some rough moments being a war genre film. Star
(1935) as an all-time groundbreaker on the road to full color
filmmaking and so much of this still impresses 85 years (!!!!) later
looking more vibrant and wide-ranging than ever. However, some
scenes are a little darker and others a little softer than the better
shots, but even they are improvements over all older video transfers.
As you watch, you can see how this led to the 1939 Wizard
and how Technicolor became the king of color for decades on the big
screen and for all intents and purposes, forever!
discs also have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes and
this is the best either of these films will ever sound, which is
really good for their age.
1.33 X 1 black & white high definition image transfer on
can show the age of the materials used, but this is a lost film that
was lucky it got saved, an orphaned gem Flicker Alley, the great Film
Noir Foundation and all of its supporters have delivered another
miraculous cinematic recovery of a film everyone can really enjoy
again in such fine condition. The PCM
2.0 Mono sound is also as good as it probably ever will, derived from
more painstaking work. The combination is a real treat. The 1.33 X
1 DVD with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono included is also fine, but it
does not have the impact of the Blu-ray, which is the preferred way
to view this.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Love
has little to love about it with boring color, detail issues and a
little motion blur, plus unmemorable compositions that constantly
play like a bad TV movie, while the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has a limited soundfield
and is not the best mix we've heard lately. The anamorphically
enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the DVD version with its weak, lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1 is even worse and is best skipped if you must see this
for whatever reasons.
1.33 X 1 black & white image transfer on Servants
is not bad and stylized well, so too bad it is not here on Blu-ray or
even 4K, but is effective, while the
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Slovak Stereo is not badly recorded and is
subtitled. A decent combination that is effective enough.
either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Captain
Of The Clouds
Star Is Born
(1937,) go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive