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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biography > War > Terrorism > Religion > Comedy > Teens > The Rain People (1969/*all Warner Archive Blu-ray)

American Sniper 4K (2014/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)/Edge Of Everything (2023/Lightyear DVD)/Friendly Persuasion (1956/Allied Artists*)/Nun's Story (1959*)/Ordinary Angels (2024/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Rain People (1969/*all Warner Archive Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Friendly Persuasion, Nun's Story and Rain People 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 group of dramas old, new, well-known, restored and worth knowing about...

Clint Eastwood's American Sniper 4K (2014) is the director's best film of many solid ones he has made in the last 20 years and if anything, it has gained power and is more relevant than ever, featuring a great performance by Bradley Cooper as the title man, who was extremely effective and successful for the U.S. military and maybe one of the best of all time, anywhere. Now on Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, it has more impact than ever and is the best easily since I saw it theatrically. We covered the Blu-ray/DVD set at this link:


It also treats patriotism and the U.S. With the seriousness, authenticity and respect it always deserves, especially has nationalism has been eclipsing that too much in recent years, but aside from that, it is just a smart, suspenseful film and I cannot re-recommend it enough. Glad it got such a grade-A upgrade.

Extras repeat the previous Blu-ray release, but they are not bad.

Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman's Edge Of Everything (2023) has Sierra McCormack as a 15-year-old gal stuck with her father and her annoying and (much) younger girlfriend. She starts to get involved with others and other things, for better or worse, especially thanks to new friend Caroline and that marks a turning point or two in her life. Will she be any happier soon?

The actors and cast are OK, but the script is very uneven shows us almost everything we have seen before (no matter what kind of sex is involved) and goes bad very early when a guy walks up to her and invites her to his place in the nicest way. Her and her friend laugh, joke about it, then the film goers downhill from there. In a HUGE missed opportunity and one for character development, she should have eventually accepted, wether it worked out or not. Instead, this entire, short 82 minutes does not work out and turned quickly into a big disappointment.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer for this and a few other Lightyear releases.

William Wyler's Friendly Persuasion (1956) is a long, drawn-out melodrama about a Quaker family lead by a solid father (Gary Cooper) who thinks there must be a better way than war to resolve The Civil War. He may be correct, but how so and what can he really do to effect the mess?

Sure, they can talk about faith and the screenplay gets into that, but of course, no faith in the world can deal with the injustices of slavery, hate, racism, torture, human trafficking and murder, so this kind of thing can only go so far. Anthony Perkins is good here as his son and Dorothy McGuire more than holds her own, but even they cannot survive under the weight of the endless melodrama and yes, it can be a little preachy.

However, this was a coup for the smaller Allied Artists Corporation, including landing Wyler, so they benefited well and this is the kind of film that still had an audience. Today, it might be a very, very shallow 'faith' film, but at least this one treats its audience like it has a brain. Now you can be the judge, restored, looking and sounding better than it has in decades.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and clip from the 1955 NBC-TV series Wide Wide World on the movie.

Fred Zinnemann's The Nun's Story (1959) has the ace of Audrey Hepburn in the title role, leaving the convent, only to have to deal with her faith and the Church when WWII arrives. She has to fight he war and deal with either 'neutrality' as the script supposes, but unfortunately, this was not the actual history case. Though many of the Catholic faith itself fought against the Nazis and Axis forces as much as so many others, in real life, The Church (among other scandals we know far better now) looked the other way while The Holocaust was going on and helped the Axis forces more than many knew at the time.

The Church has apologized many decades after what they did, though some anti-Semitic things have happened since, but that is a separate essay. The problem is that this Award-winning, long film is based on a very bad premise and that makes it very hard, especially when you feel like you are being lied to. In fairness, many of the participants at the time may not have been aware of what had really happened, but the film was a long, dragged-out affair before I even knew all this.

Peter Finch, Dame Edith Evans, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Dean Jagger are decent here, of course, but they cannot possibly make up for its many shortcomings then and now and it is sad to watch them as it is almost like they were being liked to and used as well. See it at your own risk.

Extras only include an Original Theatrical Trailer, but I did not expect much more since this is just not that great a film despite a legendary lead.

Jon Gunn's Ordinary Angels (2024) puts Hilary Swank in a sort of faith film that I had some faith in because of her, but this drawn-out melodrama about her hairdresser working hard for the money when she meets a guy (Alan Ritchson) she hits it off with. He is in worse shape because his daughter needs a liver transplant, so she will take this on too to see if they can make it.

This did not become a formulaic 'disease-of-the-week' tale, but it is tired, cliched and muddy in every other way possible and we have seen this all before. Oscar-winner Swank can obviously act and she is good here, but even she cannot stop being drowned by the extreme boredom and avalanche of cliches. Too bad this was such an 'ordinary' drama.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by the director and Co-Producers, Deleted Scenes and four Making Of featurettes.

Francis Coppola's The Rain People (1969) has a fine, early performance by the now late James Caan and shows what a good actor he was and how good Coppola could handle palpable drama when he had the chance. You can read my coverage of the DVD version here...


Now restored and upgraded in time for Coppola's new epic Megaopolis, it is great to revisit it, see Shirley Knight and Robert Duvall at their early best as well and a year before winning an Oscar for Patton, Coppola more than demonstrates his adult handing of adult human beings as adult and for real, in a way one would recognize in real life. Though the film is not always great and has some off moments, it is often so good and that is why it is worth seeing, even if you have to sit though some down moments. When it comes to actors in a naturalistic, realistic way, he just has the knack for it. Now you can see how good it is and be amazed at how great these actors are too.

There are very, very sadly no extras.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Sniper 4K may be an unscaled presentation from the regular HD shot and production, but it is still a better presentation than the decent Blu-ray we covered years ago and also has color that is a little better, along with slightly more detail and depth. A really good HD shoot for its time, it holds up. The lossless Dolby Atmos mix is also a solid upgrade over the already impressive DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix from the older Blu-ray, so the combination impresses.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on all three Warner Archive Blu-rays look really good, with Persuasion in DeLuxe color and the rest in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor on the other two. Nun's Story looks good, but its hardly definitive in using technicolor for a drama, while Rain People fares best and not just because it is the newest shoot. It is also a fine improvement over the old DVD. All three also offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes that are all as good as these films will ever sound, so Warner Archive delivers more excellent restoration and preservations from their great catalog.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Angels is just fine, but nothing special, while the lossless Dolby Atmos soundtrack is surprisingly limited and does nto offer much more than a regular 5.1 mix would. The anamorphically enhanced (2.35 X 1 and 1.66 X 1) image on the Edge and Angels suffer as compared to the higher definition releases, but Edge is not bad, while Angels is on the softer side when compared to its Blu-ray version and that gets annoying after a while. Both DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, but Edge has a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo option that can sound a little better and more naturalistic.

To order either of the Friendly Persuasion, Nun's Story and/or Rain People Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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