DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Rainmaker

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Jul 11, 2005.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    The Rainmaker





    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1956

    Rated: NR

    Length: 121 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: Dolby Digital English Mono, French Mono

    Subtitles: English

    Special Features: None

    Estimated Street Price: around $20 USD


    Release Date: July 12, 2005

    The Rainmaker stars Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster in wonderfully affecting performances. Lancaster plays “Starbuck,” a wandering charlatan who sells Tornado Rods to people in towns prone to tornados, and the promise of rain to drought-stricken farmers.

    Hepburn, in her Oscar nominated role, plays “plain” Lizzy, a plain, tomboyish rancher in danger of becoming an “old maid.” Try as her father and brothers might, they can’t seem to make her a match. Even the local and available deputy sheriff can’t be persuaded to take an interest in Lizzy.

    Along comes Starbuck, promising rain to Lizzy’s family, who have lost much of their herd to thirst in a never ending drought. Lizzy, her father, and her brothers all know he’s a fraud, but they are so desperate they pay Starbuck $100 up front, to produce rain within 24 hours. Lizzy’s father says he’s lost more in an evening of poker, so it can’t hurt.

    It seems, though, that the deputy may be taking an interest in Lizzy after all, at the same time as Starbuck - and Starbuck is a wanted man. Not only that, but Starbuck seems to be the only one who is capable of giving Lizzy the confidence she needs.

    Wendell Corey is Deputy File, and Lloyd Bridges is Lizzy’s brother, Noah.

    Playwright Richard Nash transferred his hit Broadway play to the big screen. And, while the production definitely maintains a stagey feel, it also maintains the emotions of the original play. This story is about more than an old maid and a snake-oil salesman. It’s about loneliness, family, love, and living confidently.

    The Transfer
    This Vista-Vision picture is presented in an anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Overall, detail is good. Occasional soft moments are made up for with moments of crystal clarity. Sharpness is not mitigated by ringing artifacts, which, while occasionally visible, are exceedingly mild.

    Colors are deeply saturated, but the hues tend to wander a bit. Not a major concern. There is a mild flicker that is frequently seen in transfers of older films - this is not a major distraction, either. Contrast is good, with fairly solid black levels.

    The print is reasonably clean. There are momentary flurries of dust specks and scratches, but longer segments with flaws too minor to mention.

    The picture isn’t perfect, but it is good for a film of its age that hasn’t seen any serious restoration.

    The sound is presented in Dolby Digital Mono. Frequency response is good, with nice rendering of lower frequencies. Higher frequencies seem slightly rolled off, perhaps to compensate for some hiss, which is mild but ever present in the sound track. Not a bad rendering of an old mono track, and probably about as good as the source would allow.

    Special Features
    None.

    Final Thoughts
    A familiar but enjoyable story with nice performances all around make for an entertaining couple of hours. The audio/video presentation, while not flawless, is good for a film of this age.
     
  2. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    Very cool. I am getting this for my weekend viewing.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Sorry. I must be confused.

    Who is Katherine Hepburn, and what does she have to do with The Rainmaker?

    RAH
     
  4. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    I think she's one of the lesser known Hepburns, along with Kathryn and Kathrine. None of them can hold a candle to Katharine the Great, however.
     
  5. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Haha!! Good one Mr. Harris!
     
  6. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Yes... Katharine, Katherine, Kathrine and Kathryn were quadruplets. It is not widely known, but it is Katherine, not Katharine, who starred in The Rainmaker and Adam's Rib. Katharine received credit for all the films. There is no record of the other sisters ever acting in film... but those Hepburn sisters were always doubling for each other - so one never knows.

    Thanks for the catch. The typo has been corrected.

    -Scott
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    [​IMG] According to what I've read and heard about Kate Hepburn having her first name spelled incorrectly used to really burn her.





    Crawdaddy
     
  8. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    I know Kate's niece, and YES, Kate got highly insulted with people who did not take the care to spell her name correctly.
     
  9. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    I went after work last night to Best Buy to purchase THE RAINMAKER. I Searched through the Drama section and could not find it. The other Paramount titles released yesterday were stocked so I kept looking only to find it in the Comedy section. Is this considerd a comedy, or is Best Buy clueless? They had ELEPHANT WALK and THE ADVENTURES under the Action/Adventure section.
     
  10. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    I work for a major bookstore chain which also miscategorizes things like mad.
    Annoying, eh?

    The Rainmaker is a film that has grown on me over the years.
    I think it works better on a stage, where it came from...
    But, there is some beautiful writing here.
     
  11. DavidBC

    DavidBC Second Unit

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    In the book, "Kate Remembered", the author talks about how in her later years, Hepburn started reading her own fan-mail for the first time, and would get annoyed that people could claim to have seen her movies dozens of times without ever bothering to read the credits.
     
  12. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    It's truly a shame that Katherine Hepburn never got work work with some of the great modern directors like Martin Scorcese or Steven Speildberg.

    Regards,
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    She did alright working with Cukor, Stevens, Ford, Hawks and Huston.

    Though, she was fine in this film, I thought she was too old for this role. An actress about 10-15 years younger would've been more appropriate.
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Robert,
    I was just throwing a couple of my favorite name mis-spellings into the fray. It was not a serious post. I do agree that she did "alright" working with the Hollywood legends she did. [​IMG]

    Regards,
     

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