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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Sports > Mental Health > Politics > Racism > Teens > Violence > Toxic Family > WWII > Hate Group > Champions (2022/Universal Blu-ray)/A Lion Is In The Streets (1953*)/Rebel Without A Cause 4K (1955/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Red Angel (1966/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Storm Warning (1951/*both Wa

Champions (2022/Universal Blu-ray)/A Lion Is In The Streets (1953*)/Rebel Without A Cause 4K (1955/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Red Angel (1966/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Storm Warning (1951/*both Warner Archive Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The A Lion Is In The Streets and Storm Warning Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a mix of new dramas over the years, with the older entries restored...

Bobby Farrelly's Champions (2022) has Woody Harrelson as a basketball coach who wants to be in the NBA, but keeps letting his character flaws get in the way, which reaches a new low of incompetence when he accidentally hits a police car and has to do community service for it. However, he is assigned an amateur basketball team whose members happen to have to deal with Downs Syndrome.

A remake of a Spanish feature film hit, it has its moments and the actors who play the team with the Syndrome actually have it and are actually very good here, but even they, Harrelson and solid turns by Ernie Hudson and Cheech Marin cannot overcome the formulaic nature and predictability of the underdog sports cycle the film comes from. Nice to see the name actors try for something different, but Farrelly can only do so much, so it is only worth a look for those interested. Basketball fans might find this more interesting, but this has been done dozens of times since at least the original Bad News Bears in the 1970s.

Extras include 12 Deleted Scenes, a feature length audio commentary track by director Farrelly and three Making Of featurettes.

Raoul Walsh's A Lion Is In The Streets (1953) stars James Cagney as a man trying to help people by running for Governor in the 1920s Deep South, with the usual bigotry, prejudice and ignorance getting in the way. Revealing how a local cotton business is ripping off everyone, he has a shot winning election, but the pettiness of others he would expect to be grown up adults adds to the difficulties and troubles.

A solid portrait of such awfulness by a gutsy filmmaker like Walsh, the film has always had some sad-but-necessary predictability and in recent years, his points about people who will not grow up and love living in ignorance has sadly become very relevant again. It is worth visiting and revisiting for all the good work here, including a supporting cast that includes Anne Francis, Barbara Hale, John McIntire, Lon Chaney, Warner Anderson, Frank McHugh, Warner Anderson, Oslow Stevens, James Millican and Jeanie Cagney, so everyone should see this one at least once. Franz Waxman's music scorer is a plus.

Extras include the classic Warner animated short Duck! Rabbit! Duck! (looking great, but sadly in lossy Dolby Mono) and Original Theatrical Trailer.

Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without A Cause 4K (1955) is one of the true classics of the 1950s, a film that broke ground in portraying the youth culture of the time that still resonates today, a film that deals with teens and alienation from a time when being a teen (think post-WWII) was suddenly a new thing with the idea of childhood attached, but that does not always work out as the film show.

James Dean became an instant icon as an angry loner with a broken, toxic family life where he is even feels alone when they are around. We see this life, that suburban life is only so great, school and teens getting raw and even violent. He lands up falling for a pretty gal (Natalie Wood in one of her great performances) and they have a good friend (Sal Mineo, also becoming an icon in more than one way) facing uncertainty. Dennis Hopper shows up as one of the gang members, as do great future character actors like Jack Grinnage (Kolchak: The Night Stalker) and Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo, TV's Gillian's Island) is the emasculated, hen-packed husband in Dean's home.

Ray created one of the most famous, biggest and most imitated films of its time and as relevant as ever. The film is a time capsule, yet parts of it are as relevant as ever and in some ways, sadly, more so than it has been in a few decades. Everyone is in top form, but it is Dean who carries the film and reminds us that we not only lost him way, way too soon. We also lost one of the greatest actors in cinema history. For Warner Bros. 100th Anniversary, it is one of the THE key films to upgrade and reissue. Also, with Grease getting a prequel TV series, that is yet another reason for this film to return. Though some parts do not work for me, most of it does and it is a must-see for all serious film fans,

Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by Douglas J. Rathgeb, author of The Making Of Rebel Without A Cause on both discs, while the regular Blu-ray adds Addition Scenes (silent, some in color, others in black & white only), an Original Theatrical Trailer, James Dean Remembered, Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents and Dennis Hopper: Memories From The Warner Lot featurettes, three Screen Tests, Wardrobe Tests and three Behind the Camera clips.

Directed by Yasuzo Masumura (Giants and Toys, Blind Beast), Red Angel (1966) is a war drama that captures the 1939 Japanese war with China in horrific black and white detail. The heavy hitting film is beautifully made and transports the viewer into a grim world based on fact that is hard to believe existed. In the film, a nurse helps a man with a morphine addiction along the backdrop of a horrible war. The film would be interesting to be remade as a beautiful love story amidst a world of horror.

The film stars Ayako Wakao, Shinsuke Ashida, and Yusuke Kawazu.

Special Features:

Brand new feature length audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar David Desser

Newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns

Not All Angels Have Wings, a new visual essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Original Trailer

Image Gallery

and a Reversible Sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

Lastly, we have Stuart Heisler's Storm Warning (1951) is the surprise hoot (from the Reagan Warner DVD set we reviewed a long time ago), with the soon-to-be gutsy director Richard Brooks co-writing this wild drama about the evils of the Klu Klux Klan. In a role the Left still climbs the walls over, Reagan is the D.A. [!?!?!?!] who intends to nail the Klan over murder. This begins with a brutal murder witness by a woman (no less than Ginger Rogers) that could put a real dent in the organization if she could successfully testify. Doris Day is her sister and Ned Glass also stars in this one-of-a-kind film that never ceases to shock with its ideas of reality and the amusing ways in which the film tries to approach them. You have to see it to believe it!

Extras include the classic Warner animated short Bunny Hugged (also looking great, but sadly in lossy Dolby Mono,) live action Warner short One Who Came Back and Original Theatrical Trailer.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.55 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Rebel looks the best it has ever looked on home video, better than the 1080p version here, which still looks good but cannot resolve the Video Red anywhere nearly as well and does not have the clarity, depth or detail of the 4K disc version. Though East of Eden got a Technicolor dye-transfer release, this film (also a older CinemaScope film made by Warner Bros.) was only issued in Eastman Color sometimes credited as WarnerColor. The original 4-track magnetic stereo sound has been updated to Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) for the 4K release, though the regular Blu-ray only offers a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix. The differences between the two are not extreme, but the Atmos does a little bit better of a job of updating and clarifying the original soundtrack and the remixers from the restoration team have done the best job possible, so it was worth the effort. This is likely the best the film will ever sound.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Champions is a little on the soft side, but some of it is the style chosen, but some of it is the camera(s) chosen. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is more consistent and well recorded, so the combination is not bad.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both Lion (three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor) and Storm (black & white) are from new HD masters (likely 4K) as Warner's restoration work continues to ever impress. Storm more than outdoes the old DVD we covered eons ago. You can show the age of the materials used, but any issues are limited. Both have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes form their original theatrical optical monophonic sound and sound as good as they likely ever will, though Lion might be a decibel or two down, so be careful of volume switching and high playback levels as it just makes its letter grade rating.

Red Angel is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a Japanese LPCM Mono mix with a black and white image. The film has been nicely restored but shows its age with beautiful scope cinematography by Setsuo Kobayashi (Fires on the Plain, An Actor's Revenge). Arrow Video continues to do an outstanding job with their transfers and this is no exception.

To order the A Lion In The Streets and/or Storm Warning Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Red Angel)



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