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 > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Warner Bros. Director’s Showcase – Take Three/Volume Three (The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter/Payday/Personal Best/The Ritz/Tell Me A Riddle/DVD-Video)

Warner Bros. Director’s Showcase – Take Three/Volume Three (The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter/Payday/Personal Best/The Ritz/Tell Me A Riddle/DVD-Video)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras/Films



The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (1968) D/B-

Robert Ellis Miller’s enduring, decent adaptation of the Carson McCuller’s with one of Alan Arkin’s greatest performances as deaf mute John Singer, who moves into a town where a mentally ill friend (Chuck McCann) and lands up getting involved with a young lady in trouble (Sondra Locke) with her life.  Cicely Tyson, Percy Rodriguez, Biff McGuire and Stacey Keach Jr. also star in this mature, intelligent work that will hopefully get new attention as Arkin’s star rightly rises again.


Payday (1972) C+/B

The best film in the set has Rip Torn, one of the most underrated actors around, in the thankless role of a country singer/drifter whose antics and past begin to catch up with him as he continues to have his devil may care attitude and take son all comers.  Daryl Duke’s directing and Don Carpenter’s screenplay combine for a raw slice of life from Hollywood’s last golden age that deserves serious rediscovery.  Extras include Director Duke and producer Saul Zaentz doing a fine audio commentary track for the film.


Personal Best (1982) D/B-

Writer Robert Towne directed this bold film about two women (Mariel Hemmingway, Patrice Donnelly) who fall for in lesbian love with each other until competition gets in the way at the 1980s Olympics.  The film has its problems, but also some fine acting and writing that is not a novelty or exploitive.


The Ritz (1976) C/C

Richard Lester’s one-note wild hyper comedy about a man (Jack Weston) runs away from a killer brother in law and checks into a hotel that turns out to be a homosexual sanctuary.  Kay Ballard, Jerry Stiller, F. Murray Abraham, Treat Williams and a scene-stealing Rita Moreno co-star in a comedy you’ll either like or not.  I thought it was average at best, but had a few good moments.  Extras include a vintage featurette on Weston.


Tell Me A Riddle (1980) D/C+

Actress Lee Grant directed this fine, if sometimes too melodramatic drama about is about an old married couple (Melvyn Douglas, Lila Kedrova) whose marriage is in trouble as unhappiness and depression set in.  Then their daughter (Brooke Adams) arrives and helps as much as she can before it is too late. 



Warner’s series of key films from their catalog that took risks when the studios still did continues with this decent set and even if the film is rough, it is always worth seeing these films because they are ambitious filmmaking we never see enough and always offer some kind of surprise.  I wish all the studios would have such series.


All films are anamorphically enhanced and sometimes have good color (Hunter) or a good look, but only Blu-ray is going to do justice to the various aspect ratios here.  At least none have digital effects or were shot in Super 35mm film.  The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono sounds weaker than it should in all cases, though age between the films does not mean the newer films sound better.  Definitely catch this set if you can.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com