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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Serial > Superhero > Mystery > Film Noir > Thriller > Sexual Assault > Green Hornet (1940 serial/Universal/MVD/VCI Blu-ray)/The Maltese Falcon 4K (1941/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Rose Plays Julie (2019/Film Movement DVD)

Green Hornet (1940 serial/Universal/MVD/VCI Blu-ray)/The Maltese Falcon 4K (1941/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Rose Plays Julie (2019/Film Movement DVD)

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

Here's a few new releases, two of which are upgrades of a classic and solid genre entry worth revisiting...

The first two titles are ones we happened to have covered twice before. We first covered the underrated 1940 serial version of The Green Hornet (produced by Universal Pictures at the time) when VCI issued it on DVD, then enjoyed it again when we covered a PAL DVD import edition from Australia that was even a bit better-looking. VCI is now back with a nice new Blu-ray set that fans will love. You can read about our previous coverage, starting with the imports, at this link:


A link to the VCI DVDs are there and this Blu-ray set repeats the older extras that include two sample radio dramas of The Hornet, which was one of the most successful action/adventure radio series (along with The Shadow) ever made. Though the series is a crime/detective series, it is also obviously a superhero series as well and after the first gigantic cycle of such films is winding down as we post (before a relaunch, staring sometime in 2024, most likely) that it is a real pleasure to get back to basics and see these 13 chapters again.

Gordon Jones is really good as the little character, but the great Keye Luke steals his share of scenes as Kato and the shows can be as charming as they are fun. Even as we wait for the Bruce Lee TV version to come to Blu-ray and for Sony to issue the Seth Rogen version possibly in 4K, we expect the second Hornet serial will get the Blu-ray treatment by VCI. We do get one nice new extra and that is a reversible cover that is more interesting than usual

John Huston's The Maltese Falcon 4K (1941) is the first detective film that also was a full-fledged Film Noir, arriving the same year as Welles' Citizen Kane, so we have reviewed the film twice before on Blu-ray and it was not only in this Bogart-themed set...


But that has a link to a single version we covered before that and that happens to be the regular Blu-ray edition included in this 4K set!

Well, despite no Dolby Vision in this edition, this is the best I have seen the film in eons and only film copies I have seen in the past can match what is here. Now you can really enjoy and immerse yourself in the darkness and palpable creepiness that only the Video Black from the 4K disc can deliver here, but more below in the tech section.

There are no new extras, but this set repeats all the previous extras, so no problem there for fans.

Lastly, we have the UK drama / thriller, Rose Plays Julie (2019), is on DVD from Film Movement. The film follows a veterinary student who is trying to find her foster parents and ends up discovering that her mother was sexually assaulted, and didn't have plans of keeping her regardless of her having a sister. The woman changes up her identity when she finds out that her mother was raped by a semi-celebrity, whom is her birth father, and she seeks revenge on him. At least that's the film in a nutshell. The filmmaking and performances aren't bad, but the film is a bit predictable and similar to other dramas in the same vein.

The film stars Orla Brady, Ann Skelly Sadie Soverall, Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), and Lochlann O'Mearain.

The one Special Feature is a Bonus Short Film: Who Killed Brown Owl?

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, black and white 1.33 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image looks great as noted and you still get some soft shots (and not the ones where women are photographed with diffusion lenses to make them look softer, when that even happens) but the film only occasionally shows its age and it will get a whole new from people who see it from this 4K disc. We also get some demo-quality shots that rank above my rating. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray is the same as it was in the previous two pressings and it holds up for what it is. The sound is DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on all discs, but it sounds very slightly better on the 4K disc and oddly, the regular Blu-ray just might sound a little better than the older Blu-rays.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers on all chapters of Hornet look better than the previous DVD sets and maybe the 35mm materials are the same, but the gray scale range, Video Black and Video White resolve better here overall, so only pristine film copies of this serial (35mm or 16mm film copies) could top these. Yes, some part show their age and you get brief signs of wear or damage, but this is in solid shape for its age otherwise. The PCM 2.0 Mono sound in all the chapters offer more than either lossy Dolby Digital DVD set and is as good as this series will ever sound, which is great for serial fans. The combination is fun.

Rose Plays Julie is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo Dolby Digital Audio mixes. Aside from compression issues evident in the aging format, the film looks and sounds fine on disc here with no glaring defects.

- Nicholas Sheffo (4K, Hornet) and James Lockhart



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