BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS


a-c / d-f / g-i / j-l / m-o / p-r / s-u / v-x / y-z


A - C

 

 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL-60TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

A Christmas Carol BluOne of my favorite Christmas movies that I watch every year is A Christmas Carol! My favorite version which by the way is the closest to the actual book is the 1951 version starring Alistair Sim as Scrooge and a young Patrick Macnee (The Avengers) as young Marley. VCI Entertainment once again has now released a newer print of the Blu-Ray of the movie, and the other the standard DVD of the movie. This time they have restored the picture by going back to the original 35 mm negative to make a new 1080p HD 24 frames per second transfer and that is what you see on this version. I am not a big fan of black and white movies on Blu Ray because they tend to be very grainy and not look as good, but with this print the grain is hardly noticeable. There are still some film specks and dirt but the movie is also 58 years old and has gone through a bunch of hands since then. The extras on this set other than the HD upgrade is an audio commentary by George Cole who played the young Ebenezer Scrooge and film historian Marcus Hearn, audio in mono and 5.1, the American and original British Theatrical Trailers, and several featurettes on the making of the film and also about the director of the film, Brian Desmond Hurst. There is also a new special introduction to the movie by movie critic and historian, Leonard Maltin. The only actors that are left with us are George Cole (Young Scrooge), Rona Anderson (Alice) and Patrick Macnee (Young Marley)! The standard version disc is in TV aspect ratio. The DVD is still a great print but you can tell the difference between the two. Well worth buying!!!

VIDEO

The video quality is fantastic! Film quality is quite good considering the age of the films.

Audio

Was originally recorded in Mono. Also here in 5.1 Surround sound!

Disc 1- 1. "A Christmas Carol" (Blu Ray)-(1951)-with Alistair Sim and Patrick Macnee (86 mins)

Disc 2- 1. "A Christmas Carol" (Standard DVD)-(1951)-with Alistair Sim and Patrick Macnee (86 mins)

Extras

Disc 1: Blu Ray-Audio Commentary with George Cole (Young Scrooge) and film historian Marcus Hearn
The Darker Side of a Classic-(26:31)
Distributing a Christmas Carol-(09:47)
Life and Films of Brian Desmond Hurst-(41:14)
Too Good To Be Shown Only At Christmas-(31:54)
Scrooge (Silent)-1922-(10:17)
Bleak House (Silent)-1922-(10:13)
British Theatrical Trailer-(01:43)
American Theatrical Trailer-(01:42)
Scrooge Revisited-(02:29)

Disc 2: DVD-Audio Commentary with George Cole (Young Scrooge)
Campbell Playhouse-"A Christmas Carol"-with Orson Welles-(Radio Show)
Bibliographic Essay by Fred Guida -(15:06)


CITY OF THE DEAD-BLU RAY

City of the Dead Blu-RayAn early Christopher Lee gem has been given the Blu-Ray treatment for the first time from VCI Entertainment! The movie stars Christopher Lee as Professor Allen Driscoll that encourages one of his students, Nan Barlow played by Venetia Stevenson who is researching the history of Witchcraft to go to a small old town called Whitewood that supposedly had a witch's coven there and burned witches at the stake back in the 1600's. Is there still witches living there? I loved the movie when I saw it as a child on our independent station down in Florida back in the 70's on a Saturday show called "Creature Feature" with horror host Dr. Paul Bearer! The movie was well written, had perfect atmosphere, great music and if you look closely, was totally filmed in a studio! No outdoor filming! And on top of that, it had a rather small budget! Christopher Lee went on to do many more films, and this movie was one of the last films Venetia Stevenson did before retiring from show business and Valentine Dyall went on to do other films as well as being the "Black Guardian" in the classic Doctor Who series! The Blu-ray has both the American version of the film entitled "Horror Hotel" which is 2 minutes shorter than the uncut British version which is also on this disc. The quality of the print is astounding considering the unrestored American version! The Blu-Ray was restored in 1080p and has the slightest grain with very little dust and debris. In my own opinion, I honestly think that although the movie was listed as a Vulcan Pictures production, it is in essence the first Amicus film made! Both producer of the Amicus dynasty were responsible for this film both Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg. The disc also has as extras three audio commentaries one by Christopher Lee himself, one by film historian Bruce Hallenbeck, and finally one by Director John Moxley, behind the scenes at the taping of the commentary with Chris Lee, Interviews with Lee, actress Venetia Stevenson and Director John Moxly, a theatrical trailer and a photo gallery. If you do not have this version, it would behoove you to pick a Blu-Ray of it today! You won't be disappointed!

 

VIDEO

The video quality is fantastic considering the age of the film.

Audio

Was originally recorded in Mono. Also here in 5.1 surround sound!

 

Disc 1- 1. "City of the Dead" (Blu Ray)-(1960)-with Christopher Lee, Veneita Stevenson and Valentine Dyall- American Version "Horror Hotel (76 mins) /Uncut British Version (78 mins)

Extras

Disc 1: Original Audio Commentary with Christopher Lee
New Audio Commentary with Film Historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
New Audio Commentary with Director John Moxley
Behind The Scenes interview with Christopher Lee (2001) (16:37)
Original interview with Christopher Lee (45 mins)
Interview with Veneita Stevenson (19:31)
Interview with John Moxley (26:23)
Video Linear Notes (04:00)
Theatrical Trailer (01:33)
Photo Gallery (03:15)


D - F

 

DEAD CERT

Dead Cert BluAdd Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with a pinch of Dracula A.D. 1972 and Dusk Till Dawn and you get Dead Cert, a gangster film with a twist! Dead Cert is from Shout Factory and is available for the first time on Blu Ray! In Blu-Ray, the blood and gore never looks so good! Plot of the story is about a former thug that turns legit and opens a nightclub on the lower side of London. Unbeknownst to Freddie, the nightclub in the 17th century was actually a satanic church ran by a vampire who now as a drug lord takes over the nightclub from Freddie and starts his terror with his minions all over again! The movie in a way harks back to a Hammer/Amicus type of movie mixing vampires and modern day settings to make the film happen. The only thing I had wrong with the film is that although there were a good amount of gore and vampire happenings, it dragged quite a bit with a lot of talking and exposition. Not to say that the dialogue was not important to the well-used plot but that kind of set up was fine back in the 60s and 70s when the plots were gory but with much more suspense. Unfortunately audiences now want it quick and over with and not actually think about what just happened. The cast is adequate and the special effects are well done. I just can't put my finger on exactly is wrong with it. All in all, I did enjoy watching it, just that it could have been better. The extras on this disc are an Audio Commentary with the Cast & Producer, Making of and Original Trailer. I am a long time Anglophile and whole heartily enjoy promoting British Cinema no matter what!

VIDEO

The quality is astonishing clear! The movie is in 1080p quality!

Audio

Was originally recorded in Stereo. Audio quality is also in DTS-HD 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound!

Disc 1- 1. "Dead Cert"-with Craig Fairbrass (Cliffhanger), Billy Murray (The Sweeney), Steven Berkoff (Octopussy) and Lisa McAllister (Sherlock)

Extras

Disc 1: Audio Commentaires with Craig Fairbrass, Billy Murray, Lisa McAllister and Producer Jonathan Sothcott
Making of Dead Cert-(29:49)
Original Trailer-(02:29)

 


G - I

 



J - L

 

THE JAZZ SINGER-1927

Jazz Singer Blu
For the 86th Anniversary of "The Jazz Singer", Warner Home Video has brought this history making movie to Blu-Ray for the first time! "The Jazz Singer" is the first feature length motion picture to have sound, but the first all talking sound film was actually "Lights of New York" in 1928 also produced by Warner Brothers, Never the less a landmark film. This film has been restored & re-mastered from the earliest surviving Nitrate film elements and original Vitaphone sound-on-disc recordings. There are hours of rare and never before seen features including 34 rare shorts and film excerpts along with a 1947 audio performance of the Lux Radio Theater production of "The Jazz Singer" and also a audio commentary of the film by film historians Ron Hutchinson and Vince Giordano. There is also a feature length documentary called "The Dawn of Sound". This Blu Ray set includes an 88 page Blu-Ray book with rarely seen behind the scenes photos and a souvenir Program book reproduction and a Blu Ray feature guide. A fine movie to own through Warner Home Video. Go to www.wbshop.com for more details.

 

VIDEO
Immaculately clear & restored. As old as the film is, it's fantastic! The film is shown in Full screen.


Audio
Some hissing occurs when dialogue is said but they are also from the original recording disc over 80 years old. Still very clear! It has been remastered in DTS-HD!


Disc 1- 1. Movie-"The Jazz Singer"-with Al Jolson (96 Mins)-Blu Ray
Disc 2- 2. Extras-Standard DVD only
Disc 3- 3. Extras-Standard DVD only



Extras
Disc 1: Audio Commentary of "The Jazz Singer" by Ron Hutchinson & Vince Giordiano
Short-"A Plantation Act" (09:56)
An Intimate Dinner in Celebration of Warner Bros. Silver Jubilee (11:12)
Short-Hollywood Handicap- (1938)-(10:17)
Short-A Day at Santa Anita- (1937)-(17:59)
Cartoon-"I Love to Singa" (1936)-(08:12)
OTR-Lux Radio Theater-The Jazz Singer (1947)-(58:17)


Disc 2: Feature Length Documentary-"The Dawn of Sound-How Movies Learned to Talk"-(85 mins)
Surviving sound excerpts from 1929's "Goldiggers of Broadway"-(15:43)
Short-"The Voice From The Screen" (1926)-(15:30)
Short-"Finding His Voice" (1929)-(10:45)
Short-"The Voice That Thrilled the World"-(1943)-(18:03)
Short-"Okay For Sound"-(1946)-(19:45)
Short-"When The Talkies Were Young"-(1955)-(20:20)
Audio Only-Millions For Defense Radio Excerpt
Theatrical Trailer-"Strike Up The Band" (02:49)


Disc 3: Short-"Elsie Janis: A Vaudeville Act-Behind the Lines"-(07:26)
Short-"Bernado De Pace-Wizard of the Mandolin"-(10:29)
Short-"The Pennant Winning Battery of Songland"-(09:21)
Short-"Blossom Seeley and Bennie Fields with the Music Boxes"-(09:43)
Short-"Hazel Green and Company- (08:11)
Short-"The Night Court"-(09:30)
Short-"The Police Quartette- (08:09)
Short-"When East Meets West"-(08:43)
Short-"Stories In Song"-(09:44)
Short-"The Jazzmania Quintette"-(09:37)
Short-"The Band Beautiful"-(09:15)
Short-"Chips Off The Old Block"-(07:42)
Short-"Dick Rich and his Melodious Monarchs"-(09:37)
Short-"Gus Arnheim and his Ambassadors"-(09:40)
Short-"The Beau Brummels- (08:43)
Short-"The Roof Garden Revue"-(09:34)
Short-"My Bag O'Tricks"-(10:02)
Short-"Green's Twentieth Century Faydettes"-(07:12)
Short-"The Eccentric Entertainer"-(07:17)
Short-"At the Seas Shore"-(08:20)
Short-"Paul Tremaine and His Aristocrats"-(09:28)
Short-"Baby Rose Marie, The Child Wonder"-(08:34)
Short-"Lambchops"-(08:00)
Short-"The Happy Hottentots"-(10:41)


M - O

 


P - R




S - U

 

SANTA CLAUS-1959

Santa Claus 1959Oh My God! I have forgotten how bizarre "Santa Claus" the movie from 1959 Mexico really was! It is available for the first time on Blu-Ray for VCI Entertainment. It is not your typical Christmas movie! In Mexico, they did not have a "Santa Claus" more like a version of the Three Wise Men and was after December 25th. This was their first try at the better known Santa Claus that everybody knew. What makes it truly weird is that Santa lives high above the Earth in a castle and has all sorts of weird things to keep his eye on the children of the Earth. Watching the movie, Santa's castle room had a "Pee Wee's Playhouse kind of feel to it which equally odd was that we then go to the pits of Hell, literally to see Satan and his minions basically coming up with a idea to kill Santa so there would be no more Christmas! So Satan sends his chief demon Pitch to do the job. Baby Jesus and Merlin the Wizard was thrown into the mix as well! A truly odd film! The movie was filmed at the Churubusco-Azteca studios in Mexico and was bought stateside by the distributor and all around swell guy, K Gordon Murray who also narrates the English Dubbed Version. The Blu-ray has both the Spanish language version which is about 9 minutes longer and the English Dubbed version. Both versions looks like they have had some restoration work done to them with vibrant colors throughout! The disc also has as extras such as an audio commentary by film historian Daniel Griffith, a making of featurette, photo gallery and shorts with Santa's Helpers. If you want a truly surreal Christmas experience, put up a copy of Santa Claus Today!

 

VIDEO

The video quality is quite good considering the age of the film.

 

Audio

Was originally recorded in Mono. Also here in 5.1 Surround sound!

 

Disc 1- 1. "Santa Claus" (Blu Ray)-(1959)-with Jose Elias Moreno and Jose Luis Aguirre (94 mins)- Spanish Version /(85 mins) American Version

Extras

Disc 1: Audio Commentary with K. Gordon Murray Historian Daniel Griffith
Santa Claus Original Trailer-(02:40)
It's a Howdy Doody Christmas-(08:32)
Santa Claus Conquers the Devil-Making of-(13:54)
Santa Claus Radio Spot-(00:59)
Santa Claus TV Spot-(01:01)
Deleted Scenes-Devil's Pit and Toy Factory-(12:15)
Photo Gallery
Christmas Shorts:
Santa & His Helpers-(12:50)-(1964)
Santa's Enchanted Village-(12:49)-(1966)
Santa's Magic Kingdom-(12:49)-(1966)
Wonder World Teaser-Teaser for Documentary about K. Gordon Murray-(03:31)


 

V - X

 



Y - Z