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Back when THE OUTSIDE MAN (112 mins., 1972, PG; Kino Lorber) was released, its straightforward study of a French assassin (Jean-Louis Trntignant) who comes to Los Angeles to execute a hit for a mob boss’ son and his wife (Angie Dickinson) was as much interested in serving as a depiction of time and place as it was a crime thriller. An American-shot, French-made picture, director Jacques Deray’s film – long forgotten but thankfully restored here in a Gaumont 4K scan – is packed with scenes of a Los Angeles marked by roller derbies, public “TV viewing chairs” where quarters could be used either there or for a quick shave (via an “auto sterilized” public razor) in a nearby rest room, and murders could be carried out while turning up the sound on an episode of “Zoom!” airing on afterschool TV. Not only will this world seem as foreign to any contemporary viewer but add in a fascinating cast and you have a must-view that marks Kino Lorber’s most exciting release of the new year to date.
Admittedly, Deray’s picture isn’t an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride – “The Outside Man” is cool and laid back in the French tradition, with the director’s observational eye capturing the environment of then-modern day Los Angeles brilliantly. Infrequent blasts of Michel Legrand’s background score add to the mood, but much of the film is unscored, following Trintignant as he finds himself pursued by another hit man (Roy Scheider) while getting help from a waitress (Ann-Margret) who’s his last resort. It’s mostly a chase picture with Scheider, fresh from “The French Connection,” embodying an icy, sly killer while Trintignant navigates through unfamiliar terrain – one that, again, will seem as alien to the average viewer today, an attribute that enhances the film’s appeal.
So, too, does the casting: Ann-Margret is sultry and superb, with the script (credited to Deray, Jean-Claude Carriere and Ian McLellan Hunter) providing her with the material’s meatiest dramatic turn, while other familiar faces abound. The housewife Trintignant meets outside a supermarket is future “Mary Tyler Moore” star Georgia Engel, her son soon-to-be “Bad News Bears” hero Jackie Earle Haley. Alex Rocco, meanwhile, shows up as one of the goons working for Dickinson, while John Hillerman and a late appearance from Talia Shire as a funeral home worker will add a great deal of fun for movie buffs.
Through it all, there’s a remarkable economy in the storytelling – a lack of heavy exposition and dialogue, likely in order to sell the film as much overseas as the U.S. — that makes “The Outside Man” so entertaining. A delectable mixture of American genre elements and authentic early ‘70s L.A. surroundings presented through a distinctively French lens, this confident, leisurely yet engrossing film is one of those pictures you’ll be surprised hasn’t been talked a lot before. Certainly it’s a movie a lot of viewers may never have had a chance to watch – myself included – since the film, once distributed by UA domestically, doesn’t seem to have circulated much at all on home video in the U.S.
Kino Lorber’s new double-disc Blu-Ray is hopefully going to rectify that, presenting restored 4K scans of the 35mm original camera negative with both the movie’s English and French versions presented here. The 1080p (1.85, mono) transfer is superb with lots of detail and grain present, so clear you can make out store signage and other markings of the era; it’s a great looking disc, though I did note two sections where French dialogue should’ve been subtitled (you’ll need to manually turn on the subtitle track, particularly vital since a major plot element is part of the first exchange Trintignant has with his associates back in France). Extra features include a solid commentary from historian trio Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson, trailers, and the French version on a separate platter (framed at 1.66 and subtitled in English).
It’s a blast of the ‘70s – from its depiction of the environment and its people through to a fitting “crime doesn’t pay” nihilistic end – that could only have been made thorough a collaboration between unique French and American cinematic sensibilities, the type we just don’t see any more. Highly recommended!
Another one of those fabulously cast movies you can’t believe that you’ve never heard of before, SPLIT IMAGE (111 mins., 1982, R; Kino Lorber) offers an overstuffed amount of cinematic ingredients that director Ted Kotcheff — coming right out of “First Blood” — doesn’t quite get to gel.
Michael O’Keefe plays Danny, a straight-laced college gymnast who’s entranced by a young woman (Karen Allen) from a nearby religious commune. No sooner does Danny go from having dinners with his wealthy, materially-oriented ’80s parents (Brian Dennehy, Elizabeth Ashley) than he’s cutting his hair and becoming “Joshua,” a zonked-out cult member brainwashed by the placid “Neil Kirklander” (Peter Fonda, who looks like he’s on another planet for real). Desperate for help, his folks turn to flamboyant bounty hunter Charles Pratt — played by James Woods in a go-for-broke, over-the-top performance that might’ve been more fun in another movie and not the otherwise placid, “Afterschool Special”-like picture it’s sandwiched in, no thanks to this movie’s unfocused script (credited to Scott Spencer, Robert Kaufman and “Karate Kid” scribe Robert Mark Kamen).
Kotcheff’s career is filled with solid films and “Split Image”‘s story was certainly topical for its time. Yet, while the movie is certainly watchable, it comes off trying to do too much — bouncing from O’Keefe and Allen’s puppy-dog love story wrapped up with cult crazies, to the parents’ POV and Woods’ “I’m taking this movie over and you ain’t getting it back” performance. Woods, who would later partner with Dennehy on the Orion thriller “Best Seller,” gives this film such an injection of energy that whenever he’s not on-screen, you’re aware of the movie’s conflicting agendas, which ultimately extends down to a critique of Danny’s family’s obsession with wealth and materialism. You can virtually tell which scenes were penned by Writer A or B or C, there’s just no cohesive line running through this film.
Still, if you’re a fan of Woods or Karen Allen (cute coming straight from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”), there’s enough here to warrant a look, even with its underwhelming freeze-frame ending and warbly Bill Conti/Will Jennings ballad that finishes up a long-forgotten, but not necessarily forgettable, Fall ’82 Polygram Pictures release.
“Split Image”’s Blu-Ray premiere comes via a good-looking new HD master via a 2K scan of the 35mm interpositive (2.35, 2.0 mono). The trailer and a fresh Daniel Kremer commentary are on-hand for extras.
The belated final entry in the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby “Road” series, THE ROAD TO HONG KONG (91 mins., 1962) isn’t regarded as the best film in the hugely successful series – in fact, the picture is generally looked down upon as being an inferior footnote to the comic heights scaled by its much earlier predecessors.
With that being said, “The Road to Hong Kong” is still good for a few laughs, with Crosby’s Harry Turner and Hope’s Chester Babcock trying to sell a “do-it-yourself space kit” in Calcutta when Chester loses his memory. An Indian doctor (a funny Peter Sellers cameo) informs the duo that the only way for Chester to regain his lost memories is to head to Tibet – therein setting in motion a madcap adventure wherein the boys unknowingly cross paths with a secretive spy organization and one of its alluring female members (Joan Collins).
With Dorothy Lamour reappearing in an extended cameo, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank’s film updates the “Road” formula to accommodate the trappings of a ‘60s spy film. In that regard, the picture was prescient of the Bond craze that would soon take hold of the world in “Dr. No,” which UA would release just a few months later. Backed by cameos from Sellers and Robert Morley, this is a good-natured if scattershot comedy that’s been issued here on Blu-Ray by Kino Lorber (1.66, mono), joining the label’s release of the other “Road” movies. The MGM master appears to be the same as the one housed on the 2015 Olive disc, but it holds up pretty well here, while a welcome new commentary by Michael Schlesinger and Stan Taffel adds historical insight into the movie’s production. The trailer is also included.
THE HELL WITH HEROES Blu-Ray (102 mins., 1968): Interesting WWII drama – carrying a harsher late ‘60s tone than one may anticipate – offers Rod Taylor as a former Air Force pilot, still in Europe following WWII, who runs cargo for smuggler Harry Guardino. After finding out he’s carrying illegal shipments for Guardino, he ends up wedged in a battle with the corrupt bad guy alongside another pilot (Peter Deuel of “Alias Smith & Jones”) and Guardino’s mistress (Claudia Cardinale). Joseph Sargent helmed “The Hell With Heroes” and crafts an engaging character piece in widescreen with a Quincy Jones score, and there’s a bit of nastiness inherent in its era that gives it a decided “edge” compared to most of its genre counterparts. Kino Lorber’s attractive new 2K scan (2.35) of the interpositive debuts on Blu-Ray here along with the trailer and a nice commentary from the reliable genre duo of Steve Mitchell and Steven Jay Rubin.
THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE Blu-Ray (130 mins., 1968): The training and first mission of the famed Devil’s Brigade – a group of American and Commando commandos – is portrayed in this entertaining David L. Wolper production. Like “The Bridge at Remagen” and other ‘60s WWII films, Wolper here assembled an all-star cast – William Holden, Cliff Roberson, Vince Edwards plus Carroll O’Connor and Claude Akins – for a slick WWII film that’s formulaic but nevertheless finely executed by the reliable Andrew V. McLaglen. Returning to Blu-Ray here following a 2017 Twilight Time release, the MGM-licensed 1080p (2.35) AVC encoded transfer offers a respectable high-def image from source elements in generally good shape. Alex North’s score adds an able assist to the 2.0 DTS MA mono soundtrack, with extras including a trailer and the TT commentary from movie historians Steven Jay Rubin and Steve Mitchell. Overall, “The Devil’s Brigade” is an entertaining, old-fashioned WWII movie produced at a time when the genre was winding down in the turbulent late ‘60s, one that’s more conventional than “The Hell With Heroes.” Well worth a look.
New on 4K UHD
SCARLET STREET 4K Ultra HD (101 mins., 1945): One of the most highly regarded of Fritz Lang’s American movies, “Scarlet Street” is a wicked film that nearly defies categorization. Though branded (mostly deservedly) as film noir, this nasty story of a meek, married cashier and amateur artist (Edward G. Robinson) who sees his life upended after he becomes obsessed with a floozy (Joan Bennett) who thinks he’s a rich painter – and an outlet for her and her criminal boyfriend (Dan Duryea) – offers no retribution for its lead. Instead, Lang and writer Dudley Nichols are as interested in the amoral activity of Bennett and Duryea, who take up as much screen time as Robinson and paint a memorable portrait of depravity, particularly for a mid ‘40s film.
“Scarlet Street,” though, isn’t much of a thriller and takes a long time to reach its destination – unfolding leisurely before a stunning final 20 minutes. Through it all, Robinson’s character is a bit unevenly portrayed by the actor – not quite pathetic, not entirely sympathetic – which keeps you emotionally at arm’s length – yet the film’s impact, overall, is palpable. Certainly the impressionistic cinematography, Hans Salter’s score, and the terrific final shot rank with some of Lang’s best work.
Kino Lorber’s 4K scan of a 35mm nitrate composite fine grain (1.37 B&W) is mostly finely detailed. Some print damage is unavoidable from its source and can be seen throughout, but the portions that are healthy offer an appreciable upgrade from the Blu-Ray (also included). The disc includes a slipcover plus two commentaries: one from Imogen Sara Smith, another from David Kalat.
THE BOOGENS 4K Ultra HD (95 mins., 1981, R): Small-scale, low-budget monster movie from the early ‘80s finds a pair of guys opting – unwisely – to explore a recently unearthed old mine near the Denver area. When one goes missing, a search party – mostly lambs for the slaughter – go hunting after him, unaware creatures are lurking about. James L. Conway’s “The Boogens” was a video store mainstay back in its time and horror fans nostalgic for the era ought to find sufficient entertainment out of this serviceable Jensen Farley Pictures release. The movie is predictable but adequately staged for what it is, and now under the care of Paramount, fully remastered in a 4K scan of the 35mm OCN (1.78, mono) that presents an image that – likely due to the limitations in the movie’s budget and appearance – offers just intermittent gains from Dolby Vision HDR. Enjoyable extras include two commentaries: one with Conway, writer David O’Malley and star Rebecca Balding, and another with co-star Jeff Harlan and historian Howard S. Berger. A featurette on creature designer William Munns is also included in Kino Lorber’s UHD/BD combo pack.
Kino Lorber Studio Classics Re-Issues
THE BIG COUNTRY (167 mins., 1958) needs little introduction for Golden Age fans. From Jerome Moross’ classic score to William Wyler’s strong direction, this character drama with Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker and Charlton Heston looks brilliant. In fact, the Blu-Ray’s 1080p (2.35) AVC encoded transfer seems more detailed than MGM’s first format release, and even better, corrected some slight “stretching” of the image that plagued that earlier Blu-Ray. The result is a wonderful presentation that accentuates the wide open spaces and spectacular cinematography of the film, one of the finest westerns of its time (if not all-time) preserved in a superior release from Kino Lorber – a direct reprise of its 2018 Blu-Ray.
In addition to the transfer (with the same DTS MA mono soundtrack as its predecessor), Kino Lorber rolled out an extensive array of special features. Packed onto the single BD platter is a consistently listenable, informative commentary with historian Sir Christopher Frayling; the early ‘80s hour-long documentary “Directed By William Wyler,” featuring interviews with everyone from Peck to Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand and Wyler himself, in a conversation filmed just days before his passing; outtakes from that documentary with Peck, Heston and Billy Wilder; brand-new interview segments with Peck’s children, Fraser C. Heston on Wyler working with his father, Catherine Wyler on her dad’s classic film, and the archival, Jean Simmons-narrated “Fun in the Country” B&W featurette (the lone extra on MGM’s earlier disc). There’s also a brief vintage clip of Larry Cohen discussing Chuck Connors, the trailer and a TV spot. Highly recommended (if you missed the original release!).
WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION Blu-Ray (116 mins., 1957): Classic Billy Wilder-helmed adaptation of the Agatha Christie stage play, scripted by Wilder and Harry Kurnitz, makes a welcome return to Blu-Ray. This 50GB presentation (the original disc was 25GB) ups the bit-rate and overall encoding of the MGM master – the same one used for the 2014 Kino Blu-Ray – while also adding a fresh commentary from Joseph McBride. An archival Wilder/Volker Schlondorff featurette is also included along with the trailer.
COMING HOME Blu-Ray (127 mins., 1978, R): Another KL Studio Classics re-issue, this one for the Oscar-winning, Hal Ashby-directed 1978 Vietnam drama featuring outstanding performances from Jon Voight, Bruce Dern and Jane Fonda. As with “The Russians Are Coming,” Kino replaces their earlier BD-25 with a new BD-50 disc of the same MGM catalog master (1.85, mono) while reprising its extras: archival commentary from Voight, Dern and cinematographer Haskell Wexler, plus two featurettes and the trailer.
BURNT OFFERINGS Blu-Ray (116 mins., 1976, PG): Dan Curtis went “’70s bleak” with this all-time downer chiller about an unhappy couple (Karen Black and Oliver Reed) who take their son (Lee Montgomery) and “Aunt Elizabeth” (Bette Davis) to a slightly ramshackle old country estate that seems to come to new life with each bout of misery the group experiences. Curtis and writer William F. Nolan adapted Robert Marasco’s made-for-the-movies novel with a workmanlike visual scheme that nevertheless scared many a young viewer on TV years after it made a fast exit from theaters. “Burnt Offerings” is pretty plastic even for its time, but you’ve got to give Curtis credit, this one offers literally no hope whatsoever for its characters – it’s just unfortunate some of the performances aren’t very sympathetic or appealing, particularly Reed who’s over-the-top throughout. Kino Lorber reprises the same MGM master (1.85, mono) as was previously released with two commentaries: one sporting historian Richard Harlan Smith, another an archival commentary with Curtis, Black and Nolan; interviews with Lee Montgomery, William F Nolan and Anthony James; and the trailer.
THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR Blu-Ray (102 mins., 1968, R): Norman Jewison’s recent passing makes this a timely reissue of Kino Lorber’s 2018 “50th Anniversary Edition” Blu-Ray. Sporting a superior encoding than the initial BD of the Steve McQueen/Faye Dunaway box-office hit, “Thomas Crown” is a breezy time capsule caper with great stars and a classic Michel Legrand score. Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray (1.85) offers a Lem Dobbs/Nick Redman commentary and archival extras (Norman Jewison’s commentary; a talk with the director; interview with Pablo Ferro; 1967 on-set featurette; trailer).
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING Blu-Ray (126 mins., 1966): All-star comedy, wherein a Russian sub lands on Nantucket and causes havoc with its residents, receives a new Kino Lorber Studio Classics re-issue with a higher bit-rate and fresh commentary. Director Norman Jewison’s 1966 film is breezy and engaging, even with the movie’s Cold War satire being apropos of its time, boosted considerably by standout lead performances from Carl Reiner as the family man trying to reign in some of his neighbors, and Soviet lieutenant Alan Arkin, bemused by American culture and the wackos he runs into. Able support from the likes of Jonathan Winters, Theodore Bikel, Brian Keith and Eva Marie Saint made this loose adaptation of Nathaniel Benchley’s “The Off-Islanders” (scripted by William Rose) a viewer favorite back in the ‘60s, and Kino’s new Blu offers a superior encoding of the old MGM master (2.35, mono) offering a higher bit-rate (the old disc was a BD-25, this one is a dual layer BD-50). An archival interview with Jewison is included along with the new commentary by Michael Schlesinger and Mark Evanier.
Finally, another catalog favorite is brought back into circulation from Kino Lorber this month: the WWII submarine classic RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP (93 mins., 1958), a taut, effective, and terrific Robert Wise film. Clark Gable stars as a determined submarine commander out to down the Japanese destroyer that sunk his old command. Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden, Don Rickles and Brad Dexter also star in this vividly shot (by Russell Harlan) picture which set the stage for many a submarine thriller to follow. Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray (1.85 B&W, mono) reprises the old MGM catalog transfer, which holds up pretty well, and enhances the bit-rate while adding in a new and welcome commentary by historians Steve Mitchell and Steven Jay Rubin.
Cinematic Forays from the ‘40s & ‘50s
FILM NOIR: THE DARK SIDE OF CINEMA XVI Blu-Ray: Kino turns back the clock for their latest “Film Noir” Blu-Ray box-set, sporting a trio of Universal releases. THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET (61 mins., 1942) was an Edgar Allen Poe tale loosely reconfigured as a vehicle for then-Universal starlet Maria Montez, in the story of a strange disappearance of a major Paris music hall star. Solid Universal atmosphere from the era abounds in this Hans Salter-scored, Phil Rosen-helmed outing co-starring Patric Knowles and “The Wolf Man”’s Maria Ouspenskaya…Alan Ladd stars in CHICAGO DEADLINE (87 mins., 1949), a Paramount crime drama about a reporter trying to piece together a mystery revolving around a girl who died of tuberculosis. Victor Young scored with Donna Reed and June havoc co-starring…the box is rounded out by IRON MAN (81 mins., 1951), a remake of Universal’s 1931 film of the same name, here starring Jeff Chandler as a coal miner who becomes a professional boxer. Joseph Pevney helmed the ‘51 “Iron Man” co-starring Evelyn Keyes and Stephen McNally. All three films include fresh 2K scans of their respective 35mm fine grains (1.37 B&W, mono) with extras including two sets of critic commentaries on “Marie Roget,” one featuring Tom Weaver and friends, the other with Kim Newman and Stephen Jones; Alan K. Rode discussing “Chicago Deadline”; and Gary Gerani detailing “Iron Man.”
Another film noir title available independently this month from Kino Lorber, HE WALKED BY NIGHT (79 mins., 1948) sports Richard Baseheart as a chilly criminal who’s the subject of the largest manhunt in the history of the LAPD. How he’s tracked down before he strikes again is the subject of this independently-made Eagle Lion picture co-starring Scott Brady and a pre-”Dragnet” Jack Webb, who parlayed his appearance here – in one of the groundbreaking cinematic police procedurals of all-time – into one of the undisputed classics of the TV crime genre. Alfred Werker, meanwhile, was the credited director, albeit with numerous reports Anthony Mann was involved as well. A brand new 16-bit 4K scan of the 35mm fine grain (1.37 B&W, mono) makes for a more detailed and nuanced transfer than has typically been seen of this picture previously, while Kino has added a pair of historian commentaries: one sporting Imogen Sara Smith, the other with Alan K. Rode and Julie Kirgo.
Douglas Sirk’s back catalog continues to be mined with HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL (89 mins., 1952), a short but sweet ‘20s-set musical from Universal. Charles Coburn is terrific here playing a millionaire who pretends he’s got nothing left in order to test the moral fortitude of the family he may leave his fortune behind to; Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson are the young leads opposite the veteran Coburn, while classic ‘20s tunes from “Tiger Rag” to “When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along” populate the soundtrack. It’s light as a feather but breezily entertaining, preserved in a new 2K scan (1.37) from the 35mm interpositive in Kino’s new HD master. Special features include Piper Laurie and Gigi Perreau remembering the film, the trailer, and a new commentary with Laurie and moderator Lee Gambin.
ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW Blu-Ray (96 mins., 1959): The great Robert Wise showcased his versatility with this taut character drama about a trio of crooks planning on toppling an upstate NY bank – only to have their personal vices, including racism, get in the way. Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan and Ed Begley star in this adaptation of William McGivern’s novel which offers a tight script from Nelson Gidding and a then-blacklisted Abraham Polonsky (credited under “John O. Killens”). The movie is a bit on-the-nose at times yet nevertheless functions as a testament to the varied filmography of its director. Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray features a fine MGM catalog master (1.85 B&W, mono) with extras including a commentary by Alan K. Rode; a 2007 interview with co-star Kim Hamilton; and a 2009 interview with Belafonte.
Kino Classics & Special Interest Titles
THE SEA SHALL NOT HAVE THEM (92 mins., 1954) – ALBERT R.N. (89 mins., 1953) Blu-Ray (Cohen): Long before he became an established British director who could helm projects as diverse as “Educating Rita” as well as multiple James Bond films, Lewis Gilbert was a reliable helmer of projects like these two ‘50s wartime dramas. THE SEA SHALL NOT HAVE THEM stars Dirk Bogarde and Michael Redgrave in the story of four Allied soldiers trying to survive in the North Sea after their plane is shot down; meanwhile ALBERT R.N. finds Jack Warner, Anthony Steel and William Sylvester as British POWs trying to find the German spy who’s preventing their escape plans. Both 1.37 transfers have been licensed through BFI.
PLEASE, NOT NOW! Blu-Ray (86 mins., 1961): Brigitte Bardot fans ought to be thrilled by this restoration of Roger Vadim’s dizzying 1961 comedy about a photographer’s model who believes she’s involved in a family curse after being dumped by her boyfriend. The widescreen lensing of Robert Lefebvre combined with Vadim’s playfulness and, of course, the alluring Bardot at her peak results in an enjoyable confection restored on Blu-Ray (2.35, French mono with English subtitles) with a commentary by historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on the Kino Classics Blu-Ray…Also new from Kino Classics is the earlier French thriller THE ROAD TO SHAME (88 mins., 1959), director Edouard Molinaro’s film about a working class fiancee (Robert Hossein) who’s tortured and framed for murder after exposing the criminality of sex-trafficking playboys who have since taken in his beloved (Estella Blain). Restored by the Centre National du Cinema, “The Road to Shame” sports a stark 1080p (1.66 B&W, French with English subtitles) transfer with a historian commentary from Adrian Martin.
Another of Italian action specialist Fernando DiLeo’s films is new on Blu-Ray this month from Raro Video. LOADED GUNS (96 mins., 1975) is a title a little lighter on its feet than some of DiLeo’s works, offering a solid vehicle for Ursula Andress, here playing a stewardess who improbably gets wrapped up in the midst of a Naples gang war. Woody Strode and Marc Porel co-star in a more playful crime drama than DiLeo’s harder-edged pictures, preserved in HD here by Raro with a 1080p (1.85) transfer, in Italian with English subtitles. There’s also an English dub track, commentary by historian Rachael Nisbet, and the featurette “Fernando DiLeo: Parody of a Genre.”
TV on Disc
MONK Season 3 Blu-Ray (640 mins., 2004-05): Fan-favorite cable series that aired on USA during the ‘00s, offering a prime, career-defining role for multiple award-winner Tony Shalhoub. Here essaying the OCD-plagued but brilliant police “consultant” who tackles a group of cases in and around the Bay Area, this third season now pairs Shalhoub’s Monk with Traylor Howard’s sidekick, Natalie Teeger. “Monk” was a runaway hit for USA, in its later seasons ranking as the highest rated scripted cable series with millions of viewers tuning into Monk’s familiar goofy antics, mixed with a formulaic but sturdy assortment of crime procedural plots. Yet it’s Shalhoub’s performance that made “Monk” the success that it became, his performance anchoring a show that managed to mix comedy and crime with equal aplomb.
Kino Lorber’s Season 3 Blu-Ray includes all 16 episodes with guest stars Brooke Adams, James Brolin, Mako and Judge Reinhold, plus five featurettes culled from the DVD release and 1080p (1.78) transfers with 2.0 DTS MA sound.
DVD Quick Takes
A documentary charting how a Tunisian woman’s two eldest daughters were radicalized by Islamic extremists, FOUR DAUGHTERS (107 mins., 2023) is an especially relevant documentary utilizing artistic recreations and real interviews to good effect in its portrait of Olfa Hamrouni and both those two girls as well as her other pair of daughters. An interview with director Kaouther Ben Hania is included in Kino Lorber’s new DVD (1.78, 5.1, Arabic with English subtitles)…The Polish documentary PIANOFORTE (93 mins., 2023) is a terrific look backstage at the International Chopin Piano Competition, held in Warsaw every five years. A compulsively watchable piece by director Jakub Platek new on DVD from Greenwich and Kino Lorber (2.39, 5.1). Also new from Greenwich, SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD (89 mins., 2023) hails from Estonia, where Anna Hints’ Sundance-winning documentary looks at the country’s centuries-old tradition of women cleansing themselves – and their souls – in smoke saunas. This important cultural documentary is new on DVD (16:9, 5.1/2.0) from Greenwich and Kino, in Estonian with English subtitles. Lastly, WEAK LAYERS (92 mins., 2023) is a comedy wherein three female skiers hang around Tahoe trying to win a 2-hour short ski film competition (16:9, 5.1/2.0).
Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan’s EVER DEADLY (90 mins., 2022) looks at “Inuk throat singer” Tagaq and her relationship with “Nuna,” aka “The Land,” in her art. A documentary that profiles the individualistic performer, “Ever Deadly” is now out from Kino Lorber on DVD (1.85, 5.1/2.0)…FIREWORKS (134 mins., 2023) finds a pair of Sicilian boys falling for one another in a tragic teen romance set during the summer of ‘82. Director Giuseppe Fiorello’s film debuts on DVD this month from Cinephobia Releasing with extras including a director interview and conversations with cast members (16:9, 5.1)…From Japan comes the provocative SEXY S.W.A.T. TEAM (60 mins.), Mototsugu Watanabe’s comedy-sex film recommended for purveyors of “pink” cinema (16:9, Japanese with English subtitles).
NEXT TIME: Universal Monsters UHD Limited Edition and more! Until then, don’t forget to drop in on the official Aisle Seat Message Boards and direct any emails to our email address. Cheers everyone!