Film Score Monthly
Screen Archives Entertainment 250 Golden and Silver Age Classics on CD from 1996-2013! Exclusive distribution by SCREEN ARCHIVES ENTERTAINMENT.
Sky Fighter Wild Bunch, The King Kong: The Deluxe Edition (2CD) Body Heat Friends of Eddie Coyle/Three Days of the Condor, The It's Alive Ben-Hur Nightwatch/Killer by Night Gremlins
Forgot Login?
Search Archives
Film Score Friday
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
The Aisle Seat
Latest Edition
Previous Edition
Archive Edition
View Mode
Regular | Headlines
All times are PT (Pacific Time), U.S.A.
Site Map
Visits since
February 5, 2001:
© 2024 Film Score Monthly.
All Rights Reserved.
Return to Articles 

Message Board (open 24 hours!)

Twitter - @andredursin (for everything else!)

A film that’s long had difficulty rendering its dense, dark visuals in the home video medium, THE CROW (101 mins., 1994, R; Paramount) has, at last, generated a spectacular release for fans on 4K UHD courtesy of Paramount. This new Dolby Vision HDR enhanced presentation finally gives director Alex Proyas’ cult classic the richly detailed image it deserves, besting Lionsgate’s decent (but now inferior) Blu-Ray from over a decade ago.

Proyas’ 1994 adaptation of James O’Barr’s comic book series was plagued with production issues, not the least of which involved the tragic, accidental on-set death of star Brandon Lee shortly before filming concluded. Instead of shutting the picture down, Proyas rewrote some of the film and used stunt doubles (and some CGI) to finish the movie, one which met with unexpected box-office success in the spring of ‘94 due to the amount of interest stemming from Lee’s passing.

Distributor Miramax later exploited the property with a number of increasingly bad sequels (not to mention spearheaded a remake coming out later this summer), but “The Crow” itself has aged well. Looking at the film now, it’s a highly entertaining – even influential – film that seemed to initiate the “gritty comic book” film genre, with the Dariusz Wolski cinematography, Alex McDowell sets and overall visual design of the picture outweighing its undernourished script (credited to David J. Schow and John Shirley). Lee’s performance as a murdered musician who comes back from the grave to seek vengeance on the hoodlums who killed him is likewise an asset, with the film likely to have given the actor a major career boost had he not perished during production.

Due to the film having been shot in dim, murky confines with optical effects, early CGI and a myriad of other VFX elements in play, “The Crow” was long a problematic home video title from its first THX-approved laserdisc – with its smoky, overpowering reds – through muddy DVDs and a better but still far from spectacular 2011 Blu-Ray.

Paramount’s Steelbook packaged 4K UHD (1.85) puts them all to shame, offering a high-detailed image with a color tone much more neutral than previous presentations. The 5.1 DTS MA sound seems to be the same track as what we’ve heard before but it holds up fine, including a mix of ‘90s songs and one of Graeme Revell’s most satisfying scores, while new extras include a three-part retrospective, “Shadows & Pain: Designing The Crow” with Alex McDowell, plus archival extras (commentary with Proyas, another commentary with producer Jeff Most and writer John Shirley, deleted footage, extended scenes, storyboards, and the trailer). A digital copy disc is also included.

“The Crow” isn’t the only Paramount-owned catalog title getting an appreciable 4K UHD enhancement this month. Sergio Leone’s classic ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (165 mins., Unrated; Paramount) likewise debuts in a new Dolby Vision HDR master that’s marked by spectacular contrasts.

Leone’s masterwork is as fresh and powerful as ever as it recounts the slaying of the McBain family at the hands of the cold-blooded Frank (Henry Fonda), a hired gun for a railroad maven who wants the McBain property for its water source. The family patriarch’s new bride (a luminous Claudia Cardinale) arrives to find them dead, a gang leader (Jason Robards) framed for the crime and a harmonica-playing rebel (Charles Bronson) who wants to kill Frank for reasons of his own.

“Once Upon a Time in the West” feels like a natural progression for Leone after his Eastwood spaghetti westerns, offering a melancholy tone, more defined characters and sumptuously composed widescreen images. The film moves confidently yet leisurely, accentuated by a gorgeous Ennio Morricone score that alternates with sound effects and stretches of silence in rendering an effective sound design – it all makes for a western classic that’s my favorite of Leone’s genre works.

Paramount’s 4K UHD hails from a new restoration from the original camera negative (2.39) produced by Paramount, Ritrovata and the Film Foundation — and if that wasn’t enough, Martin Scorsese signed off on it as well. The new use of HDR enhances color and contrasts, providing a brighter image than Paramount’s superb 2011 Blu-Ray release, while detail seems consistent with its predecessor. The 5.1 DTS MA sound is comparable to that track while there’s also a “restored mono” mix on-hand in a Dolby Digital container.

The “Paramount Presents” package also includes a new commentary by hosts of the “Spaghetti Western Podcast” along with a Leonard Maltin introduction and archival goodies (retrospective featurettes and a terrific commentary track involving directors John Carpenter, John Milius, cast and crew members, and historian Sir Christopher Frayling among others). A Digital HD code puts the cap on another essential 4K upgrade from Paramount.

DUNE Part Two 4K Ultra HD (166 mins., 2024, PG-13; Warner): Quibbles about characterizations and its wretched Hans Zimmer score aside, “Dune Part 2” manages to be a superior sequel with director Denis Villeneuve advancing Frank Herbert’s massive tome into a sprawling intergalactic saga of action, politics and giant sandworms.

Here, Villeneuve and co-writer Jon Spaihts open up the comparatively barren environments of the first “Dune,” taking viewers around the galaxy as Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) leads the Fremen on a path of revenge while grappling with a messiah prophecy also being advocated for by his now-Reverend Mother mother (Rebecca Ferguson).

Evocative visuals – especially those Sandworm sequences – make this an absorbing picture that’s bigger and better than its predecessor across the board. Some issues still lurk, however, in terms of characterizations like Zendaya’s Chani, who’s supposedly in love with Paul yet you’d hardly know it from the amount of time they bicker with one another. Even worse is Hans Zimmer’s loud, grating, subwoofer-rattling “wall of sound” that doesn’t add a single emotion other than make you feel “THISSCENEISVERYMPORTANTNOITREALLYISTHISTIME” throughout. It’s an issue when the movie, while so much more interesting than its predecessor, still feels like it’s on a flatline emotionally. Some of that is due to the score, the rest due to Villeneuve’s staid directorial approach. Few scenes have any more or less “power” than others, especially after the first hour.

The whole conversation as to whether Paul is a hero, whether he’s a Messiah or a false prophet is obviously the entire point of Herbert’s book — but I didn’t feel it was satisfyingly conveyed in this film, especially from an emotional angle. You need more than a group of conversations and lines of dialogue that constantly shift as the movie progresses. Is he or isn’t he? Why should we care?

Nevertheless, “Dune Part Two” gets the job done, even with a hilarious Christopher Walken miscast as the Emperor (his reaction when Paul shows up for his brawl with Austin Butler’s Harkkonen villain – “Maud’d’ib” – seems right out of a Saturday Night Live sketch).

A spectacular Dolby Vision HDR (2.39) transfer and constantly active Dolby Atmos soundtrack (at least you can turn the bass down at home) grace Warner’s highly anticipated UHD with an hour of featurettes and a Digital HD code on the supplemental side.

AMERICAN SNIPER 4K Ultra HD (132 mins., 2014, R; Warner): The highest-grossing U.S. film in 2014 was director Clint Eastwood’s uneven but well-acted portrait of expert Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who kept the troops safe while taking out a myriad of targets while deployed overseas. As Kyle, Bradley Cooper gives a tremendous performance, convincingly portraying the marksman who had trouble – as many soldiers do – re-acclimating to domestic life with his wife (Sienna Miller) and family while he served a series of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I had no qualms with the performances, though there’s a detached feel one develops while watching “American Sniper.” Perhaps that’s because writer Jason Hall’s script settles into a repetitive pattern of contrasting Kyle’s military service and harrowing ordeals with domestic scenes that play out as somewhat contrived, no matter how close to the truth they may be. Perhaps a more effective film could’ve been made that fully treated one element of Kyle’s life or the other – as it stands, this is not a great picture but still a worthwhile one, particularly in its important portrayal of PTSD and the turmoil our soldiers face when they return home from battle, regardless of how visible (or invisible) their scars may be.

Warner’s HDR10 enhanced 4K UHD (2.40) transfer and Dolby Atmos soundtrack are both superb and a Digital HD copy is also included alongside archival featurettes profiling the production and how Kyle’s life was brought to the screen.

MAGIC MIKE 4K Ultra HD (110 mins., 2012, R; Warner): Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 box-office hit — the first, and by far the best, of an unlikely trilogy — offers a plum role for Channing Tatum as a daytime carpenter and night-time dancer who eventually wonders if there’s life beyond the performing stage. As it turns out, director Steven Soderbergh’s two sequels to the original “Magic Mike” basically void its ending and ultimate message, making the original best viewed as an enjoyable, star-powered standalone experience co-starring Matthew McConaughey. Warner’s no-frills 4K UHD (2.39) includes an attractive HDR10 transfer with 5.1 DTS MA sound.

Also debuting on 4K UHD from Warner is 12 STRONG (130 mins., 2018, R), a true-life account of the first U.S. Special Forces team, deployed into Afghanistan in the days after 9/11, in order to corral local forces into combating the Taliban and Al Qaeda – and eventually on horseback at that. This is a slick if forgettable Jerry Bruckheimer production with Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon leading an ensemble cast – worth checking out with Ted Tally and Peter Craig’s script adapting Doug Stanton’s non-fiction book. Warner’s UHD is polished with its usage of HDR10 (2.39, 5.1 DTS MA) with two featurettes provided on the supplemental side.

New on Blu-Ray From Warner Archive

THE RAIN PEOPLE Blu-Ray (102 mins., 1969, R; Warner Archive): Downbeat, moody late ‘60s character piece, an early feature from writer-director Francis Ford Coppola, stars Shirley Knight as an unhappy, pregnant housewife who decides to hit the road, meeting two men before, tragically, realizing that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on pastures outside her Long Island home.

Coppola’s tale of a woman searching for herself and failing to find happiness either with a former football star (James Caan) or a cop (Robert Duvall) harboring some serious issues is slow-going – in fact it’s hard to imagine how tedious his alleged, original 4-hour assembly of this story could have been. Admittedly, the performances are convincing and it’s compelling to watch Caan and Duvall a couple of years prior to their “Godfather” reunion with Coppola, but outside of its depiction of time and place, “The Rain People” isn’t an especially compelling or appealing story, complete with a dour conclusion.

Warner Archive’s Blu-Ray houses a spectacular transfer of “The Rain People,” which given Coppola’s pedigree and critical rep, seems to have taken an inordinate amount of time to reach Blu-Ray. The high bit-rate AVC encoded transfer (1.85) is stellar and a 2.0 mono soundtrack completes the no-frills package.

“The Rain People” followed Coppola’s exercise in “mod” era comedy, YOU’RE A BIG BOY NOW (97 mins., 1966), an adaptation of David Benedictus’ novel by Coppola himself. Peter Kastner plays a nebbish about to leave his Long Island home for Greenwich Village and take on a new, free living lifestyle, with Elizabeth Hartman as the girl he falls for; it’s silly hyjinks that would soon be relegated to the realm of cinematic obscurity after “The Graduate,” but Coppola fans might want to give it a spin. Certainly it’s filled with the good vibes of the ’60s from John Sebastian’s Lovin’ Spoonful songs to its eclectic cast (Geraldine Page, Rip Torn, Tony Bill, Julie Harris and a young Karen Black among them). Warner Archive’s superb Blu-Ray (1.66, mono) looks spiffy and incudes the trailer.

THE MASK OF FU MANCHU Blu-Ray (68 mins., 1932; Warner Archive): Wild, woolly, dated, racist and utterly compelling just the same, this 1932 MGM one-off adaptation of Sax Rohmer’s pulp novels offers a delicious Boris Karloff performance as the criminal mastermind with Myrna Loy as his equally villainous daughter. Pre-code violence served up in Fu Manchu’s “Torture Garden” and heavy anti-Asian sentiment (reportedly a result of this film, unlike other Manchu features, being produced by William Randolph Hurst’s Cosmopolitan Productions) are on-hand here to almost shocking degrees given the picture’s age; if you can get past them, there’s lots of entertainment to be found and that stellar Karloff performance to match. This 4K restoration in Warner Archive’s Blu-Ray (1.37 B&W, mono) is marvelous with the movie offered in its uncut version with two cartoons (“Freddy the Freshman,” “The Queen Was in the Parlor”) and a commentary by Greg Mank offering insight into this unique early ‘30s MGM fantasy.

DEVIL’S DOORWAY Blu-Ray (84 mins., 1950; Warner Archive): Ahead-of-its-time western from genre specialist Anthony Mann – directing his first western – works once you get past the strange casting of Robert Taylor as a Native American and Civil War hero who finds himself taking on a new battle – fighting for Native American citizenship and property rights – once he comes home from the war. This MGM western offers stronger characterizations than you’d typically find in a 1950 feature, hinting at Mann’s strong work in the genre to follow. Warner Archive’s Blu-Ray (1.37 B&W, mono) looks fine and sports the trailer and two MGM cartoons (“The Chump Champ,” “Cue-Ball Cat”).

THE NUN’S STORY Blu-Ray (149 mins., 1959): Appropriately reverent adaptation of Kathryn C. Hulme’s novel by Robert Anderson proves to be a perfect vehicle for Audrey Hepburn, essaying a Belgian nun working in the Congo before WWII breaks out. Fred Zinnemann’s film is classic Hollywood studio filmmaking typical of its era, with a top-class cast — also including Peter Finch, Dame Edith Evans, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Dean Jagger and Mildred Dunnock — and a memorable Franz Waxman score backing up its leading lady. Another stellar Warner Archive restoration (1.85, mono) marks their now-available Blu-Ray with the trailer as a bonus feature.

FRIENDLY PERSUASION Blu-Ray (137 mins., 1956): William Wyler’s 1956 classic features Gary Cooper as the head of a Quaker family trying to maintain his family’s values and beliefs even with the Civil War raging on around them. A multiple Oscar nominee, Michael Wilson’s adaptation of Jessamyn West’s book benefits from marvelous performances by Cooper and Dorothy McGuire, not to mention a young, sympathetic Anthony Perkins as their eldest son; Dimitri Tiomkin’s lovely score; and numerous scenes of compassion and integrity that make “Friendly Persuasion” relevant even in today’s increasingly fractured world. Warner Archive’s Blu-Ray (1.85, mono) features the trailer and a behind-the-scenes segment from NBC’s 1955 TV series “Wide Wide World.”

SCOOBY-DOO ON ZOMBIE ISLAND (77 mins., 1998) – SCOOBY-DOO! RETURN TO ZOMBIE ISLAND (80 mins., 2019; Warner Archive) Blu-Ray: Apparently two of the most popular of Scooby-Doo animated features, Warner this month brings both Scooby-Doo “Zombie Island” features to Blu-Ray in a single-disc release that kicks off with the 1998 original (1.33, 2.0 DTS MA stereo), wherein the Mystery Inc. gang head to a bayou island to investigate a haunting allegedly caused by Moonscar the Pirate. In the 2019 sequel, Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the Mystery Inc. head for a vacation at the Moonstar Island Resort. Unfortunately, the isle’s amok with cat people (yes) and zombies (yes), and this time they’re real – not just guys and girls in masks. Your mileage may vary with this 2019 animated feature, but our then-five-year-old was not impressed and found some of the material a tad scary. The sequel’s transfer (1.78, 5.1 DTS MA) is superior to its predecessor, showing off a slightly wider animation pallet, while the sound is likewise a little stronger.

Happy Horror Round-Up!

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE 4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray Steelbook (86 mins., 1988, PG-13; Shout! Factory): Fresh 4K edition of the Chiodo Bros.’ 1988 cult favorite hits UHD from Shout! Factory.

This genial genre outing about a group of murderous alien clowns who descend upon a small town offers playful make-up and visual FX with loads of imagination having been employed, especially considering the slender budget this Trans World Entertainment offering possessed. The Chiodo Bros., who had created the effects on “Critters,” didn’t ultimately helm many films but “Killer Klowns” has remained a genre staple ever since its initial home video appearance, working in ample humor that benefits repeat viewing.

A brand new 4K scan of the original camera negative (1.85) with Dolby Vision HDR makes for a stellar new Scream Factory edition, the disc marked with high clarity and colors as much as the low budget on the production allows. Archival extras include a Chiodo Brothers commentary; a Making Of; numerous featurettes; deleted scenes, bloopers, and some of the Chiodo Brothers’ early short movies.A Blu-Ray is also included featuring a new transfer struck from the same 4K source with both discs featuring 5.1 and 2.0 DTS MA sound.

CRIMSON PEAK 4K UHD Limited Edition (119 mins., 2015, R; Arrow): All dressed up with nowhere to go, Guillermo Del Toro’s admirable but vacuous “Crimson Peak” stars Mia Wasikowska as a young woman and aspiring writer in upstate New York, circa the late 19th century, who meets an ambitious British man (Tom Hiddleston) desperately trying to mine clay. After the death of her father, Wasikowska’s heroine moves to England to be with her new beau and his strange sister (Jessica Chastain), only to find herself becoming part of a nefarious plot and ghosts, of all kinds, surrounding her.

With its opulent sets, costumes and three strong performances, “Crimson Peak” has all the visual trappings of a classic Gothic thriller – as Wasikowska’s author-heroine explains at one point, more a story featuring ghosts than a “ghost story” itself – but the script by Del Toro and Matthew Robbins is distressingly basic and mostly unappealing. At a full two hours, “Crimson Peak” tips its hand early on and offers few frights as its mediocre plot – involving incest, dead infants and horrors of the past – plays out. Ultimately, the movie is too light on horror for genre fans, and yet it’s too gross and explicit for those who might have better appreciated its Gothic flavor and character (as opposed to shock) driven story, making its failure to find an audience all too understandable.

Still a great looking film, “Crimson Peak” benefits from a 4K UHD enhancement courtesy of Arrow Video. The immersive DTS:X sound is reprieved from Universal’s earlier Blu-Ray, sporting superb mixing from master engineer Randy Thom, but it’s the new Dolby Vision HDR (1.85) transfer that truly sings here, enhancing the movie’s cinematography and art direction in a way that Del Toro devotees will especially groove to. Arrow’s beautifully packaged Limited Edition also reprises Universal’s earlier supplements (deleted scenes, commentary with Del Toro, featurettes) while, of course, adding new goodies including a feature-length doc on the movie’s production, “The House Is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak,” plus a Kim Newman interview and Kat Ellinger visual essay.

THE GATE Blu-Ray Steelbook (85 mins., 1987, PG-13; Lionsgate): Tibor Takacs’ 1987 horror fantasy is best remembered for its playful special effects and the fact that it came within $10,000 of beating Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman’s massively expensive “Ishtar” at the box office!

A young Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp play a pair of kids who stumble upon a group of tiny demons from a hole in their backyard, resulting in a PG-13 genre outing with the duo trying to stop hell from spilling over into their suburban neighborhood.

Lionsgate previously brought “The Gate” to DVD in a 2009 Special Edition DVD that was easily bested by a “Vestron Video Collector’s Series” Blu-Ray release – now in a special Steelbook that’s premiering as a Walmart exclusive. The disc boasts a DVD commentary with Takacs, writer Michael Nankin and FX designer Randall William Cook as well as a Blu-Ray track with Cook, veteran makeup artist Craig Reardon, FX artist Frank Carere and matte photographer Bill Taylor. Isolated score selections and an audio interview with Michael Hoenig and J. Peter Robinson are on-hand plus a slew of featurettes (The Gate Unlocked, Minion Maker, From Hell It Came, The Workman Speaks, Made in Canada, From Hell: The Creatures & Demons of The Gate, The Gatekeepers), the vintage “Making Of” featurette. trailers, TV spots, galleries, a good looking 1080p (1.85) transfer and 2.0 DTS MA sound make this a must for horror fans.

Also new from Lionsgate in Steelbook form is another Vestron Collector’s Series title, THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM (94 mins., 1988, R), a goofy Ken Russell take on a Bram Stoker novel. Though there’s slickly-styled horrific passages and typically irreverent Russell imagery, “White Worm”’s strong suit is its comedy, and there are a handful of hilarious moments sprinkled throughout this period tale of a snake cult and its priestess (Amanda Donohue) causing trouble in the English countryside, with Hugh Grant as the archaeology student who uncovers the plot. Donohue’s sermon that’s interrupted by a door bell is still one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in a movie of this kind, and it’s a little unfortunate Russell – who did consider this film a tongue-in-cheek comedy – didn’t push more of those moments as the movie’s weakest elements are when it adheres to a fairly predictable genre framework.

Lionsgate’s Blu-Ray transfer (1.78, 2.0) is excellent with extras including the featurette “Worm Food,” new interviews with editor Peter Davies and co-star Sammi Davis, trailers, an archival DVD commentary by Russell and a new conversation between his widow, Lisi Russell, with historian Matthew Melia. The sleek Steelbook finish looks good and a Digital HD code is also included.

Quick Takes

NORYANG – DEADLY SEA Blu-Ray (153 mins., 2023; Well Go USA): Third and final entry in director Kim Nan-Min’s Korean historical trilogy washes ashore on Blu-Ray next week. Following “The Admiral: Roaring Currents” and “Hansan: Rising Dragon,” “Noryang” depicts the nautical battle of its title, wherein Korean admiral Yi Sun-Sin wages his final war against the invading Japanese. Big-scale action that can be appreciated in any culture works opposite rich character development in “Noryang,” new on Blu-Ray May 14th from Well Go. The 1080p transfer and 5.1 Korean DTS MA audio are all excellent with a character history provided on the supplemental end.

CLUB ZERO Blu-Ray (110 mins., 2023; Film Movement): Disturbing, oddly humorous indie effort from director Jessica Hausner affords Mia Wasikowska one of her finest roles to date, playing an unhinged culinary instructor at an international boarding school. Not long into her new job does Wasikowska’s “Miss Novak” recruit a group of students for her “Club Zero” — but it’s a cult you don’t want to belong to in a well-acted, strange little movie fans of Hausner’s previous (and equally strange) work “Little Joe” might enjoy. Film Movement’s Blu-Ray is out on the 28th featuring interviews with Hausner and Wasikowska, a Munich International Film Festival featurette, 1080p (1.85) transfer, and 5.1/2.0 sound.

ORDINARY ANGELS Blu-Ray/DVD (118 mins., 2024, PG; Lionsgate): Family-friendly true story about a widower (Alan Ritchson) working to provide for a liver transplant for his ailing young daughter, and the troubled, hard-working hairdresser (Hilary Swank) who strives to help them in their rural Kentucky town. Jon Gunn directed this contrived yet sincerely produced “faith based” drama with a solid script by actress Meg Tilly and Kelly Fremon Craig, convincingly backed by lead performances from Swank and Ritchson. Lionsgate’s Blu-Ray (2.39, Dolby Atmos) is now available featuring commentary, multiple featurettes, deleted scenes, a DVD and Digital HD copy.

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS The Complete Series DVD (1998-2004; Warner): Influential late ‘90s Cartoon Network series was a big hit at the time, but it’s funny how quickly the years pass and fads like “The Powerpuff Girls” fade away. For fans of this fast-paced series, one which stylistically laid the groundwork for years of similar shows on Cartoon Network and elsewhere, Warner has produced a marvelous DVD box-set. Compiling all 78 episodes of the series (1.33, 2.0 stereo) in a single, oversized plastic clamshell case, Warner’s box-set includes a brand-new documentary, extra episode, the archival 10th Anniversary special, and fan favorite extras from previous home video releases.

DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: SYDNEY POLLACK [Castle Keep/Bobby Deerfield Double Feature] Blu-Ray (Mill Creek): Single-disc Sydney Pollack retrospective offers the U.S. Blu-Ray premiere of “Castle Keep” along with the second edition of “Bobby Deerfield,” following Twilight Time’s out-of-print 2016 format effort.

CASTLE KEEP (107 mins., 1969, R) is a curio to be sure – an oddball late ’60s WWII tale that works enough if you indulge in the story’s eccentricities. Burt Lancaster and Peter Falk star as members of an American squadron who come across a medieval castle in the midst of the Ardennes Forest. What follows from there in the Daniel Taradash-David Rayfiel script (based on a book by William Eastlake) is a mix of satire, action-adventure, and black comedy, all backed by a Michel Legrand score, no less!

If nothing else it’s livelier than one of Pollock’s most critically lambasted efforts, the 1977 Al Pacino fizzle BOBBY DEERFIELD (124 mins., 1977, PG). Pollack’s European-set melodrama offers gorgeous Henri Decae cinematography of assorted Italian, French and Swiss locales, a very pleasant Dave Grusin score (still unreleased on CD), and the teaming of then-couple Pacino and Marthe Keller in a script by the usually reliable Alvin Sargent. In fact, “Bobby Deerfield” has everything going for it except a flaccid and unappealing story, as Formula One driver Pacino falls for Keller’s dying heroine, leading to a couple of superbly-shot racing sequences that briefly interrupt a romance that can best be described as limp. A production between Columbia and Warner Bros., “Bobby Deerfield” quickly became one of Pollack’s few outright flops, though it’s not without its positive attributes, from its technical aspects to a couple of strong scenes with Pacino and Keller – there just aren’t enough of them.

Both Sony-licensed catalog transfers (2.35) look fine with just an occasional bumpy note of medicore encoding rearing itself here and there. The 5.1 DTS MA soundtracks are also just fine in a no-frills, affordable Mill Creek release.

Also new from Mill Creek is DEAD WRONG (110 mins., 2024), a thriller from writer-director Rick Beiber starring Derek Smith as a jealous man who wants to get back at his local mob boss/lifelong bestie (Chet Hanks) by way of a troubled lawyer (Rob Schneider!) and a scheme that just doesn’t work out. Kenneth Clark’s book was adapted by Beiber for this independent thriller new on Blu-Ray (1.78, 5.1) featuring a Director’s Cut as a special feature.

NEXT TIME: New releases! 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!

Return to Articles Author Profile
Comments (0):Log in or register to post your own comments
There are no comments yet. Log in or register to post your own comments
Film Score Monthly Online
Handling the Underscore
The Watchers Project
Stafford Rising
The Great Mac Quayle
Hit Graham
David Fleming: Idea Man
The Atlas Project, Part 2
Coloring Outside the Lines
Enis Warning
Still Graves the Deep
Mixmaster Sands
Ear of the Month Contest: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Today in Film Score History:
July 18
Abel Korzeniowski born (1972)
Barry Gray born (1908)
David Shire records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Hell Toupee" (1985)
James William Guercio born (1945)
Nathan Van Cleave begins recording his score for The Lonely Man (1956)
Richard Markowitz records his score for The Wild Wild West episode “The Night of the Golden Cobra” (1966)
FSMO Featured Video
Video Archive • Audio Archive
© 2024 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.
Website maintained and powered by Veraprise and Matrimont.