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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Ned Kelly (1970/MGM DVD)

Ned Kelly (1970)

 

Picture: C+ ††††Sound: C+††† Extras: D ††††Film: C+

 

 

What is it that has always attracted musicians onto the big screen and vise versa?Well, Ned Kelly would be the second acting attempt by Mick Jagger following up 1970ís Performance directed by Nicolas Roeg.This would not be that last time we would see Jagger on the big screen either as he would turn up in 1992ís Freejack, Bent (1997) and the more recent 2001 film Man from Elysian Fields.Heath Ledger would be put into the title role in the more recent 2003 version of the film, also starring Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, and Naomi Watts.That alone will make this original version sought after.††

 

The film is loosely based on the famous Australian bandit from the 19th century, which is directed here by Tony Richardson, known for his work on Tom Jones (1963), Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), and a few Shakespearian works along the way.Ned Kelly attempts to earn money with moonshine as his mother is being persecuted by the police.He does this by his moonshine operation, but that quickly becomes a hot pursuit with deadly robberies and before too long he is an infamous bandit on the run, but also a revered hero.Interesting enough the film is accompanied by lyrics from Shel Silverstein and songs by Waylon Jennings.

 

For M-G-Mís debut issue of Ned Kelly they have transferred the film at its original 1.66 X 1 letterbox aspect ratio, with the film looking pretty solid, even with its gritty looking nature and no anamorphic enhancement.Most of the film was shot with a desaturated look to an almost monochromatic effect.The film was shot by Gerry Fisher, a semi-unknown cameraman who would go on to work on one of my personal favorites Wolfen (1981).The audio is still in its original mono setting, with the DVD being virtually clear with some minor inconsistency in the overall fidelity.This is not a film with boosting sound design so the dialogue comes through well enough.

 

Special features?None!Zip!Zero!However, in this phase of the DVD market, itís nice to see that some companies are dedicated to relying on the film to sell itself rather than rely on its supplements.In the beginning of the format the movie being on a format like DVD was good enough, then the movie had to have extras to make it worthwhile, but now customers are becoming 1) more selective 2) smarter consumers because of the internet and 3) putting titles in their collection that they want to watch more than once.These are three attributes that customers did not have just a few short years ago.So does that mean Ned Kelly is a film that will make it into most collections?No.Will it make it into some?Perhaps.The defining question is whether the remake will spark any interest towards this film yet again, but it is already hitting home video outside of the United States.

 

 

-†† Nate Goss


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