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Robert Harris

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Robert Harris
For those unaware, F. Scott Fitzgerald was THE writer of the jazz age. Working for only two decades before his death in 1940, he created some of the finest novels of his generation. Think - The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. His final novel, The Last Tycoon was unfinished at this death and completed from his notes.

Elia Kazan's 1976 film, produced by S.P. Eagle with a screenplay by Harold Pinter is a class act.

Paramount's new Blu-ray is a credible representation of the film as photographed by Victor Kemper. I'm not familiar enough with it to be precise, but I'm hoping that whomever did the final work toward Kino's Blu-ray checked reference. Black levels in the opening appear a bit heavy, but I can't say that they're incorrect. They certain work.

Grain seems in place and the palette works beautifully. Do not adjust your set-ups. Parts of the film are in black & white.

The film has an interesting construction, which I'll leave you to discover.

Cast is superb.

Monroe Stahr (patterned after M-G-M wunderkind, Irving Thalberg is played by Robert De Niro. If you're seeking names before you purchase -- Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence, Ray Milland and Dana Andrews.

A warning. I happen to like this film, for which Mr. Kazan came out of retirement. Some reviewers were not kind. It works for me. Your mileage may vary.

Image – 9

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 2.0)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Works in projection - Yes

Works up-rezzed to 4k - Yes

Upgrade from DVD - Absolutely

Worth your attention - 6 to 9

Slipcover rating - 3

Highly Recommended

RAH
 

Angelo Colombus

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Have the Blu-ray and did a quick a/b comparison to the old Paramount dvd and a big improvement in detail and brighter colors. Great film and next time i see it will listen to the commentary by Joseph McBride.
 

Brian Dauth

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Sep 13, 2019
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Brian Dauth
RAH, you are very wise in liking this movie, which is not appreciated enough. Kazan admitted he did not understand the script. He said to Pinter: "It's seems like these people are under water," and Pinter replied, "Well, they are, aren't they."

So content with a paycheck, Kazan focused on the actors and his images, without trying to inject himself into the proceedings. I always enjoy watching Robert Mitchum and Robert De Niro face off at the end, in a classic Pinteresque male confrontation, with both actors doing superb justice to Pinter's dialogue. Kazan sneaks in a final shot echoing one of his greatest success, and some it all works beautifully.
 

Angelo Colombus

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I usually don't disparage other movie review web sites but the recent Blu-ray.com review of the film giving it two stars and calling it a "borderline surreal disaster" and a "cinematic catastrophes" is in my option completely wrong and do not agree. It's not a perfect film but have seen it many times and enjoy it very much and the fine performances.
 
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Brian Dauth

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The giveaway line is: "Also, if the dialog is reflective of the quality of the screenplay, then the writing must have been atrocious because every sequence features badly broken lines that any self-respected editor would have cut."

Did the reviewer fail to notice the writing credit: Harold Pinter?!?! (Pinter noted that he was pleased that the script was filmed as he wrote it, without any changes).

Pinter is as much the auteur here as Kazan, who dials back his aesthetic to accommodate Pinter's verbal style. While the reviewer disdains "Kazan's camera simply observ[ing] the actors doing a lot of very bad acting," he misses the fact that Kazan does not make the mistake that so many director's of a Pinter screenplay do of over-directing, and adding visual flourishes that distract from, rather than enhance, Pinter's dialogue.

Pinter used Fitzgerald's novel as the jumping off point for considering situation/issues important to Pinter. That they mesh fairly well with Fitzgerald's concerns is a bonus, but Pinter was not attempting a faithful adaptation of the novel. He was writing a screenplay during one of his career's peak periods of productivity. Sam Spiegel and Kazan didn't try to improve on or re-shape their writer's work (which they both had done with other scripts they had filmed). This non-interference pact is what makes THE LAST TYCOON so powerful and effective.
 

Richard Kaufman

Supporting Actor
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Nov 5, 2011
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Washington DC
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Richard Kaufman
Orson Welles on Elia Kazan: “He is a man who sold to McCarthy all his companions at a time when he could continue to work in New York at high salary. And having sold all of his people to McCarthy, he then made a film called On the Waterfront which was a celebration of the informer. And therefore, no question which uses him as an example can be answered by me.”
 

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