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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Teens > Music > Cars > Rock > Musical > Satire > Bad Seed (1934/Flicker Alley Blu-ray)/My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (2023/Blu-ray w/DVD/*both Universal)

American Graffiti 4K (1973/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/Double Trouble (1967/Elvis/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/El Gangster (1965/MVD/VCI Blu-ray)/French Revelations: Fanfare Of Love (1935) + Bad Seed (1934/Flicker Alley Blu-ray)/My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (2023/Blu-ray w/DVD/*both Universal)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Double Trouble Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a wide variety of comedies from a wide range of time and eras...

George Lucas' American Graffiti 4K (1973) is now known as a major classic and one of the most imitated films around, a remarkable capturing of the Summer of 1962 in Los Angeles, et al, with the raw lives of teenagers growing up with Rock and Pop music still alive, though Rock was considered on the way out or down or just another trend (The Beatles and counterculture soon to arrive would change that permanently) and is also one of the great slice of life films.

Too bad Universal had zero faith in the film and wanted to shelve it. Producer Francis Coppola was suddenly flush in Godfather money and when he heard this, told the studio to sell the entire film back to him so he could take it elsewhere or release the it. They did and it became the #1 film the studio released that year, a huge hit. It also added music to the soundtrack like no non-musical ever had and invented the soundtrack-driven non-musical as ewe know it today.

Universal has now issued the film in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray set with no new extras and though the film is a classic, the playback performance is very disappointing, but more on that below. Otherwise, the film is a classic, has only gained in value and grown in greatness and its influence remains steady, only outdone by Lucas' next film as his most influential. Before she passed, I got to speak with the brilliant Cindy Williams about the film and she told me how very specific they were in every single shot they took here, every angle, every moment, the performances and so much more. There is plenty of comedy here, but also some of the best acting of all involved including actors known now more for comedy than drama. William, Mackenzie Phillips, Candy Clark, Ron Howard and Suzanne Somers more than show their actual dramatic acting sides and Williams would do the same a year later in Coppola's The Conversation, yet another classic!

It did not hurt that oldies stations all over the country were playing this music with great commercial and fan success, so how a studio that also owned one of the biggest record companies around did not catch onto that. Either way, it shows that Lucas can do more than fantasy space opera or science fiction material (as he did with THX-1138) and as I rewatched and saw so many great future names in their early prime, I was re-reminded that by having to turn producer and juggle the Star Wars franchise, his visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light & Magic, improve movie (and later home) theater playback technology with his THX program and fight for so much more, we likely lost a few more feature film classics from Lucas as director and are all the poorer for it. That is why seeing American Graffiti 4K in this 50th Anniversary Edition (compromised performance notwithstanding) reminds us that Lucas was as important a filmmaker as any of his great contemporaries at the time, so had he had a chance to make more films, he'd be remembered more as such. That's yet another reason to celebrate 1973 as another brilliant year for filmmaking from Hollywood's last golden age!

Extras include Digital Code, while the discs add an Original Theatrical Trailer, feature length audio commentary track by George Lucas, The Making of American Graffiti featurette and Screen Tests. The legacy Blu-ray also retains:

  • U-Control: Video Commentary with Director George Lucas

  • U-Control: The Music of American Graffiti

  • My Scenes

  • and pocket BLU App.

Norman Taurog's Double Trouble (1967) is the comedy director's sixth of nine Elvis films, also called 'Elvis Musicals' and though all of his films made money, this is one of the dullest and it is hard to believe it did enough business. Elvis does NOT play twins, but is pursued by two beautiful women (Yvonne Romain and Annette Day) in the midst of forgettable music, stolen gems, detectives, spies and more formula than in a maternity ward.

The film has limited energy and that this is his film during The Summer Of Love shows you how he had just practically entered another dimension of safe reality that had zero to do with what was happening in the world or country, the reason why he was being written off as a has-been and was still unaware of what had really happened to him and his popularity. Even more shocking, it is hard to imagine as you watch this that he was about to make one of the biggest comebacks in music and entertainment industry history. Yes, it is that dull.

Still, it is one of his films and it was a small hit, so it deserves to be preserved, restored, remastered and reissued as much as any film and any of his films, but it just is beyond obvious despite a Jo Helms screenplay and being one of the early productions of the later prolific Irwin Winkler. Professional at best, this is for completists only.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and two classic Technicolor, theatrical Tom And Jerry animated cartoon shorts: Rock 'N' Rodent and Surf-Bored Cat.

Luis Alcoriza's El Gangster (1965) offers a Mexican title character (Arthur De Cordova) who was a success in the U.S., but is trying to retire without any of the law on either side of the border still wanting to jail him or worse. He returns home and moves near his family, but some of the old fellow criminals who used to be in his life want to have the kind of reunion he absolutely does not want, so here he goes again and his nephews are not helping the situation one bit.

The result is a film with some laughs and interesting moments, but not a howler either, though it has a different look and feel to it and not just because it is from Mexico. The Gangster Genre was considered a bit dead at this point, though gangsters might show up in action films, crime films and other dramas, the big Hollywood gangster films were bombing and other comedies were surfacing. It would take Coppola's Godfather films and the more brutal Italian crime dramas of the 1970s to deliver a permanent revival, but to this film's credit, it is not just a big screen TV situation comedy. The actors are decent here and directing has some energy and is not bad. Glad it got save and restored as it is here, but it is as much a time capsule as anything. Those interested should catch it.

The only extra is a video essay by Dr. David Wilt, a solid film scholar worth taking in after seeing the film, but I want to add a special bonus note for hardcore film fans. Shot in 1964, at the 1:15:18 mark, there is a billboard on the right-hand side of the frame and it gets larger as the motor vehicle gets closer, it is a big ad by the Bolex Camera Company for their latest regular 8mm movie camera. By the next year, the sharper Super 8 film format (smaller sprocket holes, 50% more frame area) would be introduced, which they made some cameras for it, but did not think it would take off and missed the boat. After three models, any other Super 8 camera with their name on it would be manufactured by someone else!

A new double feature of two early, key, mid-1930s french films entitled French Revelations lives up to its name by pairing two key films related to Billy Wilder. Richard Pottier's Fanfare Of Love (1935) was the inspiration for Wilder's classic Some Like It Hot (reviewed elsewhere on this site, both about two out of work actors) and Billy Wilder's Bad Seed (1934) is the legendary filmmaker's first-ever feature film. The first film was not bad and still funny for its time (but instances of black face really hurt it and age it badly) while Wilder's debut has all the energy, timing, great eye for shots and amazing directing skill he quickly became known for.

In Bad Seed, which has nothing to do with the classic 1956 Patty McCormick drama, but instead is a still very funny romp about a group of car thieves that a young rich guy (Pierre Mingand) gets involved with when his father forces him to sell their beloved Buick. Instead of it being pat like that, all madness breaks loose as the police are slowly starting to catch up with the thieves, though not knowing they are an organized group yet. Some beautiful women get involved and conflict starts to develop within the organization.

The car chases have a surprisingly good amount of suspense and the comedy produces genuine laughs, but this is photographed so well, that makes it even more involving, while the cast is great and all very comic-able. I figured this would be interesting, but better than I expected and I just wished it were longer than it very packed 78 minutes. A young Danielle Derrieux is also in the cast, showing her star power at a very young 16 year of age. A real gem and surprise that all serious film fans should catch up with, it is more than enough of a reason to grab this disc!

Extras include a nicely illustrated color paper pullout on the film with informative text, essay by film scholar Richard Neupert, tech info and illustrations, while the disc adds two feature length audio commentary tracks for each respective film. August Ventura covers Fanfare, while Jan-Christopher Horak covers Bad Seed.

Nia Vardalos' My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (2023) is the latest iteration of the star and director's arc of 'travel to Greece and be romantic' feature films and a TV show she has been making for the last 21 years, but here it is and to be honest, it has been nothing but diminishing returns despite the great cast, money in the productions and undeniable beauty of Greece. This time, it is a family reunion, but this all feels too repetitive within the franchise and with similar franchises like Mamma Mia!, Moonstruck and others.

Since the last outing, Micheal Constantine has left us, so they do give him a fine sendoff, but after that in the beginning, the 92 minutes just keep getting more flat, obvious and repetitive, so to say this is for fans only is an understatement. Lainie Kazan steals her scenes, but you've seen it all before if you've seen the first film and the results is something only for the most hardcore fans. Andrea martin is also a welcome addition, but its just way too safe and just not that good.

Now you know.

Extras include (per the press release, on both discs) a GAG REEL


  • ON SET WITH NIA VARDALOS: The MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING franchise comes full circle as writer and star Nia Vardalos adds a new role, and takes Toula's ongoing adventure to another level, by taking a seat in the director's chair.

  • OPA! THE MAKING OF MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3: Enjoy even more fabulous fun with the Portokalos family as the cast and crew takes you to Greece for revealing behind-the-scenes interviews, sneak peeks of beautiful locations and inside stories on the film's creation.


  • and a full-length FEATURE COMMENTARY with Writer/Director Nia Vardalos

For more on the previous films, try our Blu-ray coverage of the first film:


The first sequel:


And the forgotten, similar, yet not connected My Life In Ruins:


Now for playback performance. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Graffiti 4K is a new mix for this release, but it has some issues, including an early song shoe-horned in that has a jump of fidelity and recalibration of speed that is so noticeable, it is distracting. The film originally has 4-track magnetic stereo on some of its better 35mm prints, so who know what happened to that soundmaster. The older Blu-ray repeats the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix that disappointed then and plays really old and low now.

But the real issue is the image. Shot in the 2-perforation Techniscope format, the 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Graffiti 4K looks like it started with a new scan of some sort, then someone got VERY carried away and did everything they could to remove grain unnecessarily and like the poor older 1080p Blu-ray transfer included here, made things look too waxy and bizarrely fake. Detail is ruined and depth of field look odd too, which would never be on a quality film print, especially the 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints that were made at the time that the color here can only hint at. So why did this happen again?

Well, it is an industry-wide problem that keeps happening at almost every video company in the world: one one seems to know how to do a transfer of Techniscope (aka Chromoscope, when it does not use the Technicolor format or even labs) without botching it badly.

Techniscope films that have been botched in their Blu-ray and even 4K release includes several of the Clint Eastwood Man With No Name Spaghetti westerns, The Ipcress File and endless home video releases since VHS and Beta to date of more than a few B-movies. Better Techniscope restorations and transfers on 4K and Blu-ray include the two Peter Cushing Doctor Who feature films, Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Robinson Crusoe On Mars, Pierrot Le Fou (both from Criterion, Messiah Of Evil, Thunderbirds Are Go!, Cat O'Nine Tails, Slaughterhouse Five, A Boy And His Dog and (not bad) A Bullet For Sandoval. Graffiti should have easily been among the latter and maybe they should have asked Walter Murch to remaster it all. Too bad they did not.

That means the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Double Trouble, though in tiny spots can show the age of the materials used, but this was shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision with the usually solid labwork by Metrocolor, is the best-looking release on the list. Though the compositions are nothing too memorable, the quality is consistent and inarguably holds up very well, maybe even better than one might expect. The producers cut corners on the sound, so instead of the 4-track magnetic sound such widescreen films were getting at the time, they only offered the film with optical monophonic sound, so the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is not some kind of surviving soundtrack because someone misplaced or destroyed the stereo sound. This never had any stereo, while the film had zero Top 40 hits. Thus, unless they add stereo tracks from a soundtrack album release, this is the best this film will ever sound.

The 1080p 1.66 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image on El Gangster can also show its age in parts, but it was only preserved so well, but some solid restoration work has been done here and you get some great shots. The PCM 2.0 Mono has been fixed up as well as possible and is likely the best this will ever sound, though with more money, some film issues could be fixed a little more. Otherwise, a fine viewing for a near-orphan film.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers on the French double feature can show the age of the materials used and by their own admission, but both are lucky to have survived and the Wilder film comes from the only surviving copy of the film. Shocking the debut film form one of the most important and legendary filmmakers of all time was almost lost, but considering its condition, there are some remarkable and beautiful shots here throughout. Fanfare used an incomplete 35mm nitrate negative (they lost a reel, some shots and/or some of the nitrate deteriorated beyond use and they had to throw it out before it caught fire or exploded) so it looks a bit better (they had two nitrate 35mm prints to fill in for bad or missing negative footage) and also looks good for its age and the circumstances. With some more money, a little more work could be done to fix a few frames here and there, but the performance of both are good otherwise, as is the PCM 2.0 Mono sound on both films, from the surviving monophonic soundtrack materials, likely optical. I do not think much more work on the sound could make it much better, but they otherwise sound about as good as they ever will.

That leaves us with the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Greek Wedding 3 and it is an HD shoot that somehow does not look as good as the first film and on some ways, not the second either. The first was shot on 35mm film and the sequels in HD digital and the digital just does not do justice to Greece either. Just compare to the superior cinematography of the country in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is better, but nothing special and there is some good music, but this is a joke/dialogue-based film, so one can only expect so much, yet this is the best-sounding release on the list by default. The included DVD has an anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image that is passable, as is the case with the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Just not so impressive, but professionally competent at best.

To order Double Trouble Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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