Of Anne Frank (1967 TV
remake/Susskind/ABC/MVD/Liberation Hall DVD)/Julietta
Lover (1955/*both Icarus
(1991/Blu-ray/**both Film Movement)
C/C+/C+/C/B- Sound: C (Hands: C+) Extras: D/D/D/C-/C+
Main Programs: B/C+/C+/C-/C+
for a set of dramas that include a few adaptions of classics...
Segal's The Diary Of Anne Frank
(1967) is a remake of the stage play, based on the actual title book,
as made into a critically acclaimed hit feature film in 1959 (see our
Blu-ray and DVD coverage elsewhere on this site) that we hope to see
on 4K disc at some point.
version was produced by the great David Susskind and made with the
ABC Television Network when the American Broadcasting Company was the
newest, boldest and most experimental of the Big Three Networks in
the early days of television. This gem stars no less than Max Von
Sydow, Donald Pleasence, Theodore Bikel (who just passed away not
long before this is posting,) Vivica Lindfors, Lilli Palmer, Marisa
Pavan and Diana Davila in the title role.
the 1959 film holds up, this is a remarkable version and holds up
very well, remarkably so and to think this was considered possibly a
lost program! The cast is great and it shows the power for great
acting (think I, Claudius
on PBS a few years after) and how even a low budget cannot hold back
great art and work like this. Highly recommended!
are sadly no extras, unless you count the TV ads left in, but unlike
some releases like later Johnny
Carson DVDs, you do not
have the option of watching the program minus the ads. This only
runs two hours with the ads, but is more like 90 minutes without.
Director Marc Allegret has two films of his restored. Julietta
(1953) offers Dany Robin as the title character, stuck with an older
prince until a young lawyer (Jean Marais) shows up to make her truly
happy and challenge her conformist, dull future. Pointing to the
slowly rising youth in French cinema, Jean Moreau also stars in this
melodrama six years before the French New Wave arrives.
has more good moments than bad or off, but it was worth a look for
are no extras.
Chatterly's Lover (1955)
adapts the D.H. Lawrence classic with the same on and off melodrama
results, but might be slightly better by an very, very thin margin.
Danielle Darrieux is the title woman, still with her war-wounded
husband (Leo Genn, good as usual) when she meets the new gamekeeper
of her estate (Erno Crisa) who is more agile and sexually capable, so
the film modernizes the book and juggles the delicate subject matter
the best it can.
its classiness in doing so, it still
became a censored film and had to go to the highest court in the land
to be seen, so it is an historical adaption that everyone should see
once just to understand censorship at the time, but it still works on
its own and captures the time well. Even without the controversy and
how its aged unevenly, it is worth a look.
are no extras.
Estanol & Johanna Lietha's Lovecut
(2020) is the least classical of our releases, trying to show the
'sexual awakening' of six Vienna teens in this Swiss/Austrian
co-production that barely has any sex or nudity, disqualifying it
from the cycle of films that do just that. It also claims it is
showing this in the 'digital/social media' age, but despite good
efforts by the cast, I never bought it, it has nothing new top say if
anything to say and is quickly forgotten after its long 94 minutes.
some of the locations are more interesting, you know you are in
trouble and the screenplay was in desperate need of character
development it never gets, so see this one when you are awake and
ready. Otherwise, you might get bored.
trailer is the only extra.
we have Ang Lee's Pushing
Hands (1991) which
happens to be his first feature film, which makes sense as it takes
forever to start like so many of his early works before he became too
enamored with Ultra HD cameras and frame rates, yet as cold as The
Ice Storm, it is just a
little better than that as the film has Mr. Chu (a solid performance
by Sihung Lung) dealing with a culture clash with his daughter-in-law
(Deb Snyder, who never allows her character to become cartoonish) and
he is a tai chi expert at a time when most people did not know what
that was like they might now.
follows are some unexpected conflicts and opportunities as the film
warms up and becomes less silent (and therefore, drags less) with a
decent infusion of characters. Not necessarily a character study,
the film has some good moments and though not as well-realized as
his only great film as far as I am concerned (despite being obnoxious
even about that one) does have one of the few positive portrayals of
Chinese people and Chinese Americans (as well as realistic, as in
Michael Cimino's Year Of
The Dragon (1985,) but
that was a much more controversial film, albeit highly imitated and
influential; read my review elsewhere on this site) even to this
bad his journey from this film took such a wacky course, but he can
direct when he leaves his many pretensions at the door and it is
worth a look for those interested. The cast is a big plus.
include another nicely illustrated booklet (per Film Movement's
usually fine such publications) on the film running 16 pages,
including informative text and a fine essay on it all by film scholar
Zhen Zhang, while the disc adds a round table discussion on camera of
the film by James Schamus, Ted Hope and Tim Squyers.
for playback performance. The
1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image on Hands
is the best-looking release here by default because it is the only HD
release, but the Video Black is somehow oddly a little weak
throughout for some odd reason and it hurts the viewing experience
more than it should. The image can look almost watery at times. The
PCM 2.0 Mandarin/English Mono sound shows its age, but is also the
best-sounding here, in part because all four DVDs much weaker and
more problematic than expected sonically.
1.33 X 1 color image on Anne Frank is from the early days of
color videotape production, so it can look even older than Laugh-In,
when they started to really perfect NTSC color videotape. As a
result, we get analog videotape flaws including video noise, video
banding, telecine flicker, vertical picture flip, waves through some
shots, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage.
The image reminds me of the same quality (and likely the same
equipment) on the videotaped Dan Curtis horror specials he made for
ABC around the same time and have been issued on DVD years ago.
Those DVDs were more color rich and did not have as many flaws.
for maybe on ad on color videotape, the rest are shot on 35mm film,
as the advertisers were taking no chances, wanted their products to
look great and also match ads being taken out at great expense in
magazines all over the place. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also
shows its age, so be careful of volume switching and high playback
black and white 1.33 X 1 image on the two French films looks as good
as they can in this format and are crying for Blu-ray release, but
the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks are on the weak side and
Lover sadly has an odd harmonic distortion throughout. In
these cases too, be careful volume switching and high playback
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Lovecut is
surprisingly soft throughout and disappointing as a result, for
whatever reasons. The fact that two French films form the 1950s look
better is not good, while the lossy German Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
is also on the weaker side, so yet again, be careful volume switching
and high playback volume. I double checked this one and it is the