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Crawdaddy's "Random Thoughts" about Home Video, Film & TV

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Crawford, Feb 23, 2017.

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  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This morning's viewing was "The Night Strangler" (1973) on Blu-ray starring Darren McGavin again as Carl Kolchak. Along with Simon Oakland, Jo Ann Pflug, Wally Cox, Richard Anderson, Margaret Hamilton and John Carradine. Another serial murderer on the loose, this time in Seattle, WA. The killer murders six women in an 18 day period and does so every 21 years. The PQ of this Kino release is good, but I thought "The Night Stalker" looked a little better to me. Also, I think "The Night Stalker" is a better movie, though, "The Night Strangler" is funnier with some of its dialogue.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    [​IMG]

    One of my favorite Errol Flynn films "Objective Burma" (1945) about an American paratrooper mission to blow up a radar station in Burma just prior to the Allies launching their invasion to retake Burma from Japanese. The movie has some familiar Hollywood character actors like George Tobias, Henry Hull, William Prince, James Brown, Richard Erdman, Anthony Caruso, George Tyne, Warner Anderson and even Hugh Beaumont before his "Leave It to Beaver" days. I viewed this on TCM this afternoon. I'm still hopeful that some day we get a Blu-ray release for this 142 minute film. Upon release this WW II propaganda film offended the Brits as they felt shafted by it because they felt it showed the Burma invasion operation as strictly American, when the Brits played a major role in recapturing Burma. Warner added on a prologue to show the Brits involvement in the operation, but the damage was done for many Brits. It was banned in the UK for years, but it had good box office in the States.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    On iTunes in HD "The Left Hand of God" (1955) starring Humphrey Bogart, Gene Tierney, Agnes Moorehead, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb and Carl Benton Reid. This CinemaScope film looks better than I expected on iTunes in its OAR. It's definitely looks better than the 2011 DVD from Twilight Time. The film takes place in 1947 in a section of China run by a Warlord. The plot is centered around a former American WWII pilot/Bogart masquerading as a Catholic priest in order to escape that Chinese Warload/Cobb, who he had been working for the last three years. The fake priest arrives at a mission where he meets an American doctor/Marshall, his wife/Moorehead and an American nurse played by Tierney. IMO, it's a pretty good movie, but far from one of Bogart's best as the telling of the back story is kind of weak. Another issue is having Cobb and a favorite actress of mine, Jean Porter playing Chinese characters. Same old story with Hollywood back in those days.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I see that TCM showed "The Thing from Another World" again today in the wrong aspect ratio. The same crappy HD transfer that's playing on Amazon Prime and iTunes.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Noir Alley tonight and tomorrow is "Odds Against Tomorrow". IMO, one of better film noirs made in the late 1950's. I already viewed my Olive Blu-ray today that finally has this film in its OAR. I'll post more thoughts on the movie later after I listen to Eddie Muller's comments about the film.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I'll be looking forward to his comments and the film in HD (I imagine) tomorrow. I haven't gotten around to buying the Blu-ray making do with my DVD, but if the image impresses me, I may reconsider.
     
  7. Message #1127 of 1444 Oct 7, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
    Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Man, you're going to be disappointed with TCM regarding not showing this in 1.85 ratio. Eddie's comments were excellent as always including a short segment from Harry Belafonte recorded back in 2009 about this film. As to the film itself, it's recognized as one helluva film noir and I still think it's underrated. I appreciate the film more after each viewing. I love the New York location shooting. I love the jazz score throughout the film. I love the writing and how the script did not soften the ending. Robert Wise was one great director! The cast was top notch and the acting performances matched their resumes. Belafonte should have done more films. Robert Ryan is one of my favorites and as I stated beforehand, one of the most underrated actors in history. Both, him and Robert Mitchum should have been recognized with more acting awards. They were that good. Shelley Winters and Gloria Grahame in her brief role were really good. Ed Begley was another underrated actor as he was excellent in this film. Every time I see Richard Bright in this film, I think back to his role in "The Godfather" films and the diametrically difference in those two roles. Also, seeing all of those other actors in minor roles like Wayne Rogers, Zohra Lampert, Cicely Tyson and Robert Earl Jones was great.

    For those that haven't seen this 1959 film, it takes place in NYC and up in Hudson Valley. It's about a bank robbery being planned and executed by three men. One is an ex-cop played by Begley, who plans the heist and enlists a former convict/Robert Ryan, a racist from Oklahoma along with a musician/singer played by Belafonte, who has a gambling addiction and is in debt to a local crime figure. The bank heist is well planned, but will the racial divide among the robbers hinder their ability to successfully do this job? God, I love the ending of this film except for one thing.
    I doubt after those gas explosions and fire there will be any bodies left intact to carry away.

    I highly recommend this film to any person interested in classic films, particularly, film noir. As Eddie stated, the undertone film theme can be seen as still current in today's society. Sixty years later and we're still having those same societal issues. Won't the human race ever learn?
     
  8. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    "Odds Against Tomorrow" a brave Noir. Sure, there was the racial angle (and I loved Mueller's comments that basically equated working class Slater's bigotry about Ingram more as a misplaced jealousy and scapegoating another race for his own failings - and his implying that same type of thinking and voter helped put us in the situation we're in today, not 1959).

    But to me, it was brave of Belafonte to basically not give his character any notable redeeming qualities either. He's a desperate gambler who sacrificed his family for his own addiction and puts down his ex-wife's attempts to provide a better world for their daughter (and participate in the PTA). I compare that to an actor like Robert Redford, who turned down the role in "The Verdict" because he didn't want to play a drunk, and, even today, in his latest role ("The Old Man and the Gun")... as a bank robber like Ingram... he wants to have it both ways and play him... likeable. He's such a nice bank robber his victims say. Sheesh. Give me Belafonte's boldness here any day.
     
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  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Yes, the SD presentation was a BIG disappointment. I zoomed the picture to equate 1.85/78 to get a better idea about the frame compositions.

    The thing that has always impressed me about the film is the unhurried build-up to the actual robbery. More so even than in The Asphalt Jungle or The Killing, we really get a slice of life look at Slater's and Ingram's worlds, almost enough to cause one to momentarily forget that they're going to eventually be committing a robbery. Acting across the board was first rate, especially the men. Interesting information about Gloria Grahame's role which does seem to sort of come out of nowhere and exist in its own little cubbyhole of the film.

    And I can't wait for The Damned Don't Cry! next week as it's one of my very favorite Crawford/Warners movies, too.
     
  10. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    The Thing in widescreen and Odds Against Tomorrow open-matte, what has happened to TCM? I know, I know, they are at the mercy of what the studios provide them, but still...
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    How come if you don't mind me asking? I've been meaning to watch the DVD again with Vincent Sherman's audio commentary, the next Noir Alley will give me that opportunity.
     
  12. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Well, Crawford plays her tougher-than-nails dame as in many of her other Warner films, but here she's more age appropriate (as opposed to Flamingo Road where she's twenty-five years too old her role). David Brian (also in Flamingo Road) is a perfect tough guy mate for her. All of the crime boss stuff involving Brian and her as his "society" mate (Joan plays rags-to-riches in her designer wardrobe and furs better than anyone) rings true for the era. Great tough dialogue and wonderful supporting cast.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Thanks, I was just wondering as I always liked this film. Though, I do wonder what happened to Kent Smith's character after the shootout? Vincent Sherman was a good director. When you look at his directing resume, you realize how many good films he directed in his career.
     
  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Yes, he's a fine director and always had interesting stories to tell about working on his films.
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    That too, I thought about reading his memoir where he details some of his romantic entanglements with some of his leading ladies. Dude lived to be almost 100 years old, falling short by a month or two.
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Guys,

    Amazon is now selling "Odds Against Tomorrow" for $12.99. They're out of stock and are saying 2-3 months, but I bet you it gets in-stock much shorter than that time period. They're price-matching Best Buy.
     
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  17. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    That's a good price for an Olive release. I'll go ahead and back order it. I don't know why but unlike Kino and the Warner Archive, Olive has a terrible track record with keeping items in stock.
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    [​IMG]

    Wow, what a really good film. I wish Stefani would drop the Lady Gaga stuff. She doesn't need it as she's one beautiful and talented woman.
     
  19. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    That's a wonderful price which induces me to purchase the Blu-ray. Even if I have to wait for it.
     
  20. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Robert. For some reason this film is not showing up on the TCM app -- there is no Noir Alley listed under "Collections", either. The discussion here intrigued me enough to place an order for a blind purchase.

    I've been doing a mini-binge on the Rita Hayworth films on the TCM the past couple of days -- she's their Star of the Month.
     

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