Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Essays > FIlm > Releasing > Restoration > Home Theater > Technicolor > Large Frame Format > Ten Great Films Warner/New Line Should Release In Both High Definition Formats Now!

Ten Great Films Warner/New Line Should Release In Both High Definition Formats Now!



Warner eventually moved to Blu-ray and the format war was over.  With Blu-ray a hit, it was time to update this essay we originally posted in the middle of the final showdown….



With that holding, we decided to suggest ten great, underrated, key films from both catalogs (which in Warner’s case includes all MGM films to 1986 and all RKO Radio Pictures) that in order to stun fans and potential customers, they should consider releasing now and not later to show off how good these formats can perform.


In making this list, we picked films that are not on the horizon, but should be.  We left out good genre films with remakes on the way (Westworld) leading to reissues of the originals, or classics of all sorts (Giant, It’s Alive, Year Of The Dragon) where they have created upgraded prints so HD versions are inevitable, and stuck with films that were widescreen so there is no doubt the wide frame was not fully being used.  These films are picked because they are exceptional films, have exceptional cinematography, have stood the test of time and would show that Hollywood in general is very serious about high definition.




Death & The Maiden (1994) – New Line has a limited catalog and is excellent about getting their work issued, but even they have a buried gem and this amazing Roman Polanski thriller with no less than Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley and the underrated Stuart Wilson is it.  Weaver plays a writer and survivor of torture at the hands of a fascist dictatorship that was recently overthrown, but the emotional scars are worse than the physical and when her husband (Wilson) helps a man (Kingsley) whose car has broken down, she is certain she recognizes him as her tormentor and plans on doing something about it.


The Devils (1971) – The great Ken Russell’s grossly under seen and underrated epic on politics and witchcraft was controversial enough in its time to get an X-rating and is little-seen these days.  Has the controversy actually grown and endured?  Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave lead the cast in this Panavision-shot masterwork (issued at the time in three-strip Technicolor by Director of Photography David Watkin of The Beatles’ Help!) that is among Russell’s greatest achievements.


Far From The Madding Crowd (1967) – The amazing John Schlesinger’s enduring epic version of the story of one beautiful woman (Julie Christie) and how she deeply affects the lives of three very different men.  With stunning acting, a solid screenplay adaptation, visually sumptuous Panavision cinematography (issued at the time in three-strip Technicolor) by future directing genius Nicolas Roeg and Richard Rodney Bennett’s amazing score, has a Thomas Hardy book ever received better treatment?  A DVD was issued and here is our coverage:



Ice Station Zebra (1968) – With 2001 and Grand Prix the two best films in HD-DVD (Blu-ray or any other optical format) being 40+ year old 70mm epics, Warner should take John Sturges’ Cold War action epic as a U.S. submarine crew (led by Rock Hudson) are about to meet the U.S.S.R. in the middle of the North Pole holds up with suspense and top rate production values long after the end of The Cold War.  Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown ands Patrick McGoohan also star.  If that is not dramatic enough, are runner-up pick of a 70mm film not issued yet would be David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter from 1970, but we expect they’d want to issue that when Sony put out their Blu-ray of Laurence Of Arabia.


Last Of Sheila (1973) – One of the greatest mystery films ever made, as penned by Anthony Perkins & Stephen Sondheim, Herbert Ross directed this brilliant puzzle about who killed the title character and the clues are laid out with plenty of false distractions to keep you going.  The amazing chemistry of the cast including James Coburn, Ian McShane, James Mason, Raquel Welsh, Dyan Cannon, Joan Hackett and Richard Benjamin increases the possibilities and it all ends with a crazy end theme by a then-wild Bette Midler.  Issued at the time in three-strip Technicolor, it is also one of the best-looking thrillers to date.


Outland (1981) – When Alien and Moonraker were big hits, some of the producers of Blade Runner made this grossly underrated, rough and highly influential (compare to James Cameron’s Aliens or Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop) space thriller from Director Peter Hyams (End Of Days) with Sean Connery as a Police Marshall on a Jupiter mining colony investigating why workers are dying, only to find they are taking a deadly new drug with insanity as a side effect.  When he investigates, it becomes High Noon in space when he lands up taking on the whole dealer ring himself.  Stunning sets and complex model work as enduring as any film in the genre would shine in high definition along with its early multi-channel sound mix.  The old DVD is one of the worst-ever in the format.  A great injustice would be corrected.


Prince Of The City (1981) – Sidney Lumet’s epic crime drama is up there with Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico and the recent Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead as with the underrated Treat Williams as the honest cop who exposes corruption and finds it beyond thankless as he is made as disposable as possible.  More powerful and honest than ever, the film was a hot rental in the VHS/Beta days along with Scarface, The Godfather and any other double tape program for people trying to get the most for their rental buck, but it has been forgotten for too long.  Jerry Orbach, Bob Balaban, James Tolkan, Lindsay Crouse and Lance Henriksen also star.


What’s Up Doc? (1972) – Many comedies got it wrong after Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H about what a counterculture comedy was, but Peter Bogdanovich more than understood it all when he understood that one of the square roots of the counterculture was the subversiveness and brilliance of the Screwball Comedies of the 1930s and 1940s.  Written by Buck Henry (The Graduate,) David Newman and Robert Benton (Superman – The Movie,) Barbra Streisand plays Judy Maxwell, a very smart and persistent woman who decides she wants to know a total stranger (Ryan O’Neal) no matter how little she knows about him.  She calls him Steve, even though his name is Howard Banister and is engaged to Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn) on their way to a conference on his expertise… rocks.  Though he is a square, he believes early man first composed music on them and believes he can prove it with a “rock” concert.  When four suitcases become confused, madness ensues in what is the most important comedy of the last 35 years, paving the way for Animal House, Caddyshack, 9 To 5 and great hit comedies all the way to Superbad.  As for the title, every major character is slightly built on a classic Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodie Warner cartoon character.  John Hillerman, Randy Quaid, M. Emmet Walsh, Sorrell Booke, Kenneth Mars, Austin Pendleton, Mabel Albertson (hilarious in her last role) and John Byner also star in this hilarious romp shot by Director of Photography Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces) issued at the time in three-strip Technicolor and would be a home run in high definition.


White Sands (1992) – In the 1990s, Warner kept producing smart thrillers (Absolute Power, Copycat, Extreme Measures) that did not get their due, but even above those, Roger Donaldson’s mature, adult, smart and complex thriller about a man found dead in the middle of the desert with a gun in one hand and the other hand holding a briefcase containing a fortune in cash was missed by too many at the time.  Willem Dafoe is the small town cop who decides to pretend to be the dead man and gets far more than he bargained for.  Mickey Rourke (Sin City, Year Of The Dragon,) Mary Elisabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface, The Perfect Storm) Samuel L. Jackson, Maura Tierney, M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner) and Beth Grant (Donnie Darko) co-star in this terrific thriller with amazing Panavision camerawork by Peter Menzies Jr. and in high definition would be a big winner.


Zabriskie Point (1970) – After his black and white Italian Neo-Realist trilogy, the great Michaelangelo Antonioni did a color trilogy that included the hit classics Red Desert (1964) and Blow Up (1966) with the influence of U.S. and U.K. cultural and countercultural movements figured in.  MGM backed up the third film and with huge expectations critically and commercially, the film shockingly died in its original release, but is now one of the most influential of his works, all the way to Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation.  A young lady (Daria Halprin) has a somewhat functional relationship with her father (Rod Taylor) but when she meets an intriguing guy (Mark Frechette) with new points of view, they become slowly attracted to each other, leading to shootings, robberies, counterculture protests and the most surreal group sex sequence in cinema history.  Unpredictable up to its unforgettable finale, this Panavision-shot rule-breaker was finally issued by Warner and we hope a Blu-ray follows soon.



Four other lists are also on this site and can be found in the Essays section.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com