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Category:    Home > Reviews > Adventure > Comedy > Musical > Fantasy > Sex > Supernatural > Politics > Brazil > Drama > Filmmaking > Satire > Adventures Of Don Juan (1948*)/Cinderella (2022/Sony Blu-ray)/Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Downton Abbey: A New Era 4K (2022/Universal 4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Frisco K

Adventures Of Don Juan (1948*)/Cinderella (2022/Sony Blu-ray)/Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Downton Abbey: A New Era 4K (2022/Universal 4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Frisco Kid (1979/*both Warner Archive Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: B/B/B-/B-/B Sound: C+/B/B-/B/B- Extras: B-/C-/B/C+/C- Films: B-/C/B-/C+/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Adventures Of Don Juan and The Frisco Kid Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are a new set of comedy releases with some drama and often, with more music than expected...

Vincent Sherman's The Adventures Of Don Juan (1948) brings Errol Flynn back to the kinds of action romps that put him on the map and on top of the box office before WWII hit, such as The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) and Warner Bros. was ready to create another big budget Technicolor vehicle in the same mode here. At first, the film has way too many jokes and it looked like it was going to drone on like that, but the film eventually gets started and has some fun moments.

Viveca Lindfors plays the Spanish Queen who turns out to be his match, but has to fight her enemies, who also turn out to be his and one of them is a Duke (Romney Brent) who has it out for both of them. So sure, there is not too much new here that Flynn has not done before, but he is back in top form with a solid journeyman director and a lavish romp that has not looked this good in decades thanks to more painstaking restoration by Warner Bros.

More of this holds up better than you might imagine and outside of a mint 35mm or maybe 16mm Technicolor print, this is the best way to see the film. If you go out of your way for it, you won't be disappointed. Alan Hale and Ann Rutherford lead the supporting cast.

Kay Cannon's Cinderella (2022) seems like an uninspired idea, yet another version of a tale that has been filmed and animated one too many times, but we get a cast that could make a difference including Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Nicholas Galitzine, Minnie Driver & Pierce Brosnan (playing queen and king in a reuniting of co-stars from his first James Bond film, GoldenEye (1995)) and Billy Porter as the Fairy Godmother. Could the makers, including co-producer/supporting actor James Corden pull something special off? Maybe if they could have focused.

The film wants to be a musical, but keeps being coy and telling predictable jokes, including many that keep interrupting the flow of the narrative and/or music. The best case in point is when Porter's character shows up. What should have easily been a great into with the power of The Wiz, the original Fame or Grease is cut quickly when he is about to start singing an Earth, Wind and Fire classic, then... More jokes!!! Hmmm?..

So that is the silliness you get for 112 minutes and it borders on being smug, allowing the film to join a series of musicals that just did not work in the last few years (In The Heights, Cyrano, Dear Evan Hansen) that thinks just adding good actors and some money with music just thrown anywhere counts as a musical. No matter any issues with Spielberg's West Side Story remake, he at least actually understands what a musical is!

As it is, it is a curio at best and I am shocked how many dozens of missed opportunities are here, but they are here. Too bad, because once again, we have a project that shows how dead the musical genre really is, and none of the CGI animated features with music (even Sing 2, which is more watchable than any of the duds listed) does not count.

Bruno Barretto's Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976) was a huge international success in its original release, one of the big gems of the Cinema of Brazil, et al, making Sonia Braga an international movie star in a funny, smart, amusing, challenging story of the title lady who lands up getting remarried when her sexy, adventurous first husband (Jose Wilker) suddenly, shockingly dies!

When she remarries, maybe on the rebound, it is to a much more normal, simple, calm, at least semi-conformist husband (Mauro Mendonca) who allows her to be a more 'typical housewife' and homemaker with child. However, this is all interrupted when her dead husband starts to revisit her, always in the nude and as wild as ever!

Is she seeing a ghost, imagining this or is it something even more wild? The film explores everything from virgin/whore complex to families, the middle class where it was filmed and nearby, sexuality in general, religion, superstitions, rituals, happiness and much more. Some aspects might be predictable and others obvious, but this would likely just get an NC-17 today for its nudity and sexual situations, as the film holds little back without going overboard.

The cast is great and much of the film convincing, holding up as it approaches half a century already, but Director/Writer Barretto (from the Jorge Amado novel) makes his points very clearly and boldly, which is why it is worth revisiting.

Simon Curtis' Downton Abbey: A New Era 4K (2022) is the second (and hopefully last) feature film based on the surprise hit TV series and this time, instead of a visit from The Queen, a movie producer manages to buy his way into the title locale to make a new 'moving picture' and I will admit that this part of the film has its moments, yet it settles for more of the same now formulaic approach (read safe) in making one of these films and adds a few darker, sad twists and turns not related to the film within the film.

The cast has more than settled into their roles, so fans won't have anything to complain about, but this is mostly for fans only and that's that.

Robert Aldrich's The Frisco Kid (1979) is an unusual film for Aldrich to do, as he is best known for his dramas, war films, Noirs and even horror films, but he tried out a semi-politically incorrect Mel Brooks-type comedy here with Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford, slowly a rising star after the original Star Wars (1977) put him on the map. Wilder is a Hasidic Polish Rabbi asked to bring Judaism to the U.S..A. and this eventually lands him in Philadelphia en route to San Francisco and a whole bunch of trouble.

He meets a cowboy (Ford) who helps him out, but then they both start to get into trouble together, meeting all kinds of people who just do not take a liking to them, including 'Hollywood Indians' which is the most dated thing about this film. Needless to say it would never get made like this now and just cannot match Brooks at his best.

The actors are up to the task and you have to know about certain things in life and ethnicity for this humor to work. I had not seen it in a very long time and it was not that great then or now, despite the best efforts of all involved. It is now a curio and fans should give it a good look, but just don't have the highest expectations. Of course, Wilder goes all out, as usual.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Abbey has some good moments, but I was disappointed as it can often be soft, has a little blur at times and color is not always outstanding, though the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image in the regular Blu-ray is even poorer in all respects. The 4K version is preferable.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Juan was originally produced and issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor and you can see how good that looks often throughout. This gets better as the story moves on and you can see the money on the screen too. Once again, Warner has gone all out to save and preserve a key film in their catalog and its shows.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Cinderella can be colorful and has a few good visual moments, but too much CGI work and a presentation that is a little softer than I would have liked holds it back.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dona can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film in many video formats worldwide. Still, there are marks on the print here and there (including what looks like someone using a hole puncher on one of the frames) and detail can be lacking, so the film will eventually need some further work, but I liked many of the shots and scenes.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Frisco can also show the age of the materials used, but this too is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film

As for sound, Abbey has lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) mixes on both disc versions and it is fine for a dialogue-based film, but only goes so far. By default, it is slightly clearer than the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Cinderella, which itself is well mixed and presented. Dona has PCM 2.0 Mono sound which is very lacking and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless upgrade, which was the only way I could really hear the film without endangering my sound system. The age of the sound and its production show, but that is to be expected.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 mixes on Juan and Frisco also are not bad, with Juan unable to overcome its sonic age, but still is much better than the PCM track on Dona, while Frisco is among a series of major motion pictures still using mono sound before old analog Dolby System became the industry standard, so it is about as good as it will ever be.

Extras in all cases include an Original Theatrical Trailer, save Cinderella, which only adds a Gag Reel and Digital Copy Code. Abbey also offers that Code, plus (per the press release):

Good To Be Back: The cast is happy to be back at the estate and making their next film. Hear what it was like for them to see one another again and learn about their character's continuing story arcs.

  • Return to DOWNTON ABBEY: The Making-of A NEW ERA: A production as large as DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA takes incredible preparation, people, and craftsmanship. This in-depth making-of piece delves into the work that each department contributed to bring this film to life.

  • A Legendary Character: Take a look back at the legendary character that is the Dowager Countess of Grantham and see why Maggie Smith was born to play the role.

  • Creating The Film Within The Film: Take a deeper dive into the making of the film within the film, highlighting the extra research and details that were taken into consideration, from set design and vehicles to the plethora of period-accurate film equipment and props.

  • Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia: Learn the real history behind Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, and why it was a perfect vessel to play the cross-channel ferry in the film.

  • Spill The Tea (Time): Sit down with Allen Leech (Tom Branson) and Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) as they spill all the details of what life on the set of DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA was really like.

  • and a decent Feature Commentary with Director Simon Curtis

Dona Flor adds a nicely illustrated 16-page booklet on the film including informative text, stills and essay by film producer/costume designer Mary Jane Marcasiano, vintage Behind-The Scenes featurette and new feature length audio commentary track by Director Bruno Barretto.

Don Juan adds a really well done feature-length Audio Commentary by director Vincent Sherman and film historian/Author Rudy Behlmer, plus we also get:

  • Warner Night at the Movies Newsreel

  • WB Live Action Shorts ''Calgary Stampede'' and ''So You Want To Be On The Radio''

  • and the classic WB Cartoon ''Hare Splitter'' in HD.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The Adventures Of Don Juan and/or The Frisco Kid, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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