Results tagged “Drama”

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) Blu-ray Review: It Happened One Time

Odd, compelling, and strangely satisfying, this unique and controversial film returns to shock contemporary audiences for entirely different reasons.
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Hailing from that time before the Southern Gothic tale somehow transformed into hicksploitation, Suddenly, Last Summer extends from the creative talents of both Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal and co-stars Montgomery Clift. That right there should indicate to most out-ward viewers there will be a certain subject matter hidden in the story's proverbial closet. In the hands of The Barefoot Contessa writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, however, the subdued element of homosexuality is about as subtle as, well, Liberace. And yet, somehow, they got away with it in 1959, mainly thanks to an element many exploitation filmmakers of the time would

Kid Galahad (1962) Blu-ray Review: Elvis. Bronson. Sold.

Twilight Time brings us the only film in history to feature Elvis Presley and Charles Bronson, which automatically makes it awesome by default.
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Despite having appeared in several dozen movies, there are relatively few things you can actually see Elvis do on-screen. One of them is actually get a chance to act. The other is something even more amazing: Elvis Presley training under Charles Bronson. And that right there is good enough reason for me to recommend Twilight Time's new Blu-ray offering of Kid Galahad. A musical remake (uh-oh) of the 1937 original starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart, this 1962 color dramedy finds The King himself as a young lad fresh who journeys to the remote countryside community he

The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975) Blu-ray Review: Deep Red Something

Sergio Martino's wild giallo/poliziotteschi/comedy hybrid is just as jaw-droppingly amazing as it sounds.
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An ordinary man of an artistic nature witnesses a brutal murder, only to meet a cast of kooky characters as he sets out to find the killer since the local police captain can't or won't do anything. Even if you've only ever seen one Italian giallo in your life, the aforementioned synopsis would go on to become one of the most conventional themes in an the otherwise unconventional subgenre. The motif is especially prominent in the early (and even later) works of Dario Argento, who changed both the face and style of filmmaking forever throughout the first half of the

The Moderns (1988) Blu-ray Review: Land of the Lost

Keith Carradine, Linda Fiorentino, and a dolled-up Wallace Shawn highlight this fascinating piece set in Roaring Twenties Paris.
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At one point in time, filmmaker Alan Rudolph described his 1988 film The Moderns ‒ a project which took him a full 12 years to nurture ‒ as "the most rejected screenplay in Hollywood." That in itself is the sort of thing which should fuel more artistically-inclined minds to take note of this underrated cult drama, particularly once you stop to take a good long look at the very sort of cinematic ilk the industry has descended into cranking out on a perpetual weekly basis ever since then. Set in 1926 Paris (and doubled by Montreal), Rudolph's fascinatingly oddball character

The Crimson Kimono (1959) Blu-ray Review: A Crash Course in Orientation

Samuel Fuller's powerful (and still topical) look at racism gets a beautiful HD release from Sony Pictures and Twilight Time.
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As someone whose entire adolescence coincided with the late '80s and early '90s, I was able to witness firsthand a remarkable movement in Hollywood during that time. It was a period on the calendar when the term "political correctness" first started to become an actual thing. Sure, it would eventually culminate in some really ridiculous casting as the years rolled by (to say nothing of what it did for a serial womanizer such as the character of James Bond), but, all in all, there was one really fascination thread in particular to emerge out of the period. For you see,

State Fair (1962) Blu-ray Review: Suppose They Held an Exhibition and Nobody Came?

Jose Ferrer directs Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, and Ann-Margret in an awkward musical remake of a musical remake.
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Were Twilight Time's double-bill of the Reader's Digest-produced early '70s musical adaptations of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn just not enough to satisfy the song-and-dance movie lover in you, don't worry. Because now they've added another musical remake of a classic tale to their lineup with Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair. But this isn't the famous 1945 musical remake of the original non-musical 1933 pre-Code film State Fair, boys and girls. Rather, this particular version is the (hold onto your straw hats, kids) musical remake of the musical remake of the original non-musical movie. You may take a

Tom Sawyer / Huckleberry Finn Blu-ray Review: Wild Oates and Foster Kids

Twilight Time proudly proclaims "I'll be your Huckleberry" with these '70s Mark Twain musicals from Arthur P. Jacobs and Reader's Digest.
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Years before they preyed upon lonely elderly folks with unfulfilled promises of winning phony lotteries even Ed McMahon wouldn't stamp his name on, the folks at Reader's Digest set out to lure entire families into theaters for motion pictures they produced. Thus begins one ‒ or rather, two, as it were ‒ of the strangest incarnations of Mark Twain ever to appear on any screen, big or small: the Reader's Digest Musical Adaptation. Appearing on the worn-out heels of a now-forgotten cinematic fad ‒ that of MGM's Children Matinees, wherein classic features were re-released and targeted at kids with nothing

Running on Empty (1988) Blu-ray Review: Fam on the Run

Sidney Lumet's stunning drama, featuring a standout performance by an Oscar-nominated River Phoenix, hits BD from the Warner Archive.
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While I may not be able to recall every single feature I have ever seen in a moviehouse (and, believe me, there have been many), Sidney Lumet's 1988 drama Running on Empty has always managed to stand out in my mind for some reason, despite the fact that I really don't remember much of the movie itself. And yet, at the same time, I found myself saying "Oh yeah, this happens" an awful lot upon my recent second viewing of the film, nearly 30 years after seeing it on the big screen in '88. I suppose the film must have

Where the Boys Are (1960) Blu-ray Review: Life Was a Beach Even Then

The Warner Archive Collection unveils the film that inspired the whole Beach Party Movie genre.
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Three years before the marketing genii at American International Pictures first discovered there was gold in the banks beside the sea with what would become the Beach Party series (and the many bad clones that came with it), the folks at MGM were having a little soiree in the sand all to themselves. Much like the later AIP franchise (which, technically, saw its roots in the late '50s via a couple of drag racing flicks), Henry Levin's Where the Boys Are features a group of kids heading off to the beach for a little fun ‒ something that, amazingly enough,

Beggars of Life (1928) Blu-ray Review: All Aboard

Kino Lorber reveals the dynamic Silent Era offering starring imposing vagabond Wallace Beery and a crossdressing, rail-hoppin' Louise Brooks.
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Although it was technically the first moving picture for Paramount to include a newly (however crude) developed invention known as "sound," William A. Wellman's 1928 classic Beggars of Life was never intended to be classified as a "talkie" by its creators. The year before its theatrical release, Warner Bros. unveiled the groundbreaking Al Jolson musical The Jazz Singer, effectively calling out to the industry to bring the curtain down on the Silent Era. With the forthcoming medium approaching them like a runaway train, Wellman reluctantly went along with the studio's request to incorporate sound into his project. Alas, the proverbial

Hell and High Water (1954) Blu-ray Review: CinemaScope Claustrophobia

Richard Widmark and Samuel Fuller sink to new heights in this wonderful Cold War sub thriller, now available in HD from the folks at Twilight Time.
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Ever the cinematic pioneer, director Samuel Fuller broke new ground ‒ by removing it completely ‒ with his 1954 Cold War thriller Hell and High Water, which would prove to be the first time audiences were exposed to a different kind of submersion. Previously, the wonders of CinemaScope (Hollywood's fancy way of pulling people away from their newly purchased 500lb TV sets at home) were limited solely to majestic Biblical epics, sprawling western dramas, and romantic comedies. Fuller, however ‒ hailing from that rare breed of filmmaker, the kind who created his own path ‒ sensed 20th Century Fox's newfound

The Quiet American (1958) Blu-ray Review: Silent, But Deadly?

Twilight Time gives the overlooked Americanized version of Graham Greene's bestseller an opportunity to speak up and be accounted for.
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Based on bestselling author Graham Greene's 1955 novel of the same name, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's motion picture adaptation of The Quiet American has remained fairly silent since its debut in 1958. Though, when one notes the radical departure Mankiewicz's screenplay takes from its anti-American source material and, more importantly, the pressure Hollywood was receiving from the witch hunters in D.C. at the time, it's not all that surprising the film takes a decidedly pro-American view towards the subject matter. Ultimately, novelist Greene would publicly disavow the feature, though the dynamic dramatic quality of Mankiewicz's film is not the sort of

The Valachi Papers (1972) Blu-ray Review: Pulp Non-Fiction

Twilight Time gives us a chance to tear into an underappreciated European Charles Bronson mafia flick from James Bond pioneer Terence Young.
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While it may have debuted in its native Europe more than two months before Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather forever changed the face of mobster movies, Terence (Wait Until Dark) Young's half-exploitation feature The Valachi Papers didn't see a stateside release until many months after the fact. By that time, however, full-time exploitation artists like Duke Mitchell had already cranked out or had started work on their very own low-budget rip-off of homage to Coppola's flick, thus ensuring The Valachi Papers didn't see a lot of action. The fact Charles Bronson would later be quoted as saying The Godfather "was

The Creep Behind the Camera / The Creeping Terror Blu-ray Review: Creepshots, Redefined

Synapse Films releases a docudrama about one of cinema's most inept movies, along with a new 2K scan of the original creature feature.
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Sometimes, the most interesting aspect of a movie is its production history. Especially when the movie in question is something as legendarily awful as Vic Savage's 1964 magnum oopus, The Creeping Terror ‒ a film so bad, it makes even the worst Ed Wood flick seem like fine art by comparison. Indeed, the story behind the infamous black-and-white no-budget monster movie messterpiece has garnered the interest of several twisted minds throughout the years, most notably by the honorably dishonorable mentionings of said in two of Harry and Michael Medved's books, The Golden Turkey Awards (1980) and Son of Golden Turkey

Varieté (1925) Blu-ray Review: The Spice of Life

Kino Lorber releases a restored look at a visually stunning masterpiece from the German Silent Era.
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If you were one of the many Americans to see Ewald André Dupont's Varieté (aka Variety, Jealousy) when it was first released here ‒ which is highly unlikely, considering it was released nearly a century ago ‒ there's an even better chance you didn't see the whole story. And that's because the 1925 German feature was slimmed down considerably when the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (which would later become the MPAA we all know and regularly question the sanity of today) objected to film's more amoral bits ‒ namely, the sight of miserable carnival resident Emil Jannings

The Accidental Tourist (1988) Blu-ray Review: Good Grief

Lawrence Kasdan's powerfully therapeutic film starring William Hurt and an Oscar-winning Geena Davis hits BD thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.
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Though he is probably only known to the current generation of stalwart moviegoers as one of the writers of several Indiana Jones and Star Wars pictures, there was a time when the name Lawrence Kasdan was a highly praised by older moviegoers as much as maybe a few younglings craving anything bearing the LucasArts logo might do in forums today. Those of you who may be dangerously close to nearing AARP status now might recall the first-run popularity of one of Kasdan's earliest, important contributions to the film industry, 1983's human drama The Big Chill. In the '70s, as the

Spencer's Mountain (1963) Blu-ray Review: Good Morning, Johnboy

Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara, and James MacArthur inspire everything from each other to TV shows in this classic family drama from Warner Archive Collection.
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Nine years before The Waltons was broadcast across the nation's airwaves for the first time, Henry Fonda was hard at work building the very homestead the aforementioned TV series would later inhabit. Figuratively speaking, that is. And while the names, places, and events depicted in the 1963 Warner Bros. hit Spencer's Mountain differ vastly from the famous television show it would later inspire, there's no denying the simple country worlds depicted in both incarnations stem from the same Earl Hamner, Jr. novel. Set in rural Wyoming somewhere in the first half of the 20th Century, Spencer's Mountain finds one of

Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965) Blu-ray Review: Who Says Chivalry Is Dead?

The one and only Ken Takakura shows those young upstarts how to do it in this early yakuza offering from Toei and Twilight Time.
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Much like Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather would someday pave the way for jaw-droppingly violent cult classics like Massacre Mafia Style, Kiyoshi Saeki's 1965 yakuza gangster drama Shôwa zankyô-den (Showa Era Resistence) is essentially the less-exploitative precursor to Kinji Fukasaku's Battles Without Honor and Humanity. Shôwa zankyô-den ‒ hence referred to by its better-recognized English-language alias, Brutal Tales of Chivalry ‒ even stars the same amazing actor: the inimitable Ken Takakura. Here, Takakura-san plays Seiji, a World War II veteran who returns from the battle abroad only to find a new one brewing up at home. With the whole of

The Man in the Moon (1991) Blu-ray Review: Wither Mulligan and Witherspoon

Twilight Time brings us Robert Mulligan's famous final film, featuring a dynamic debut from young Reese Witherspoon.
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At the beginning of the 1960s, a fairly new motion picture director by the name of Robert Mulligan accepted a project very few people in Hollywood had an interest in touching. It was a story about a small Southern community, where people were simple and problems were complicated. There was nary a trace of action or romance, and the only violence that happened occurred in-between the pages of its source material, as penned by a one-hit writer. The result, 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird, would go on to become an Oscar-winning American classic, thanks to Mulligan's ability to focus on

The Stone Killer (1973) Blu-ray Review: Another Winner Starring Charles Bronson

Michael Winner's overlooked third collaboration with the iconic stone-faced action hero gets the HD treatment from Twilight Time.
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Imagine a movie produced in the wake of both recently-beget Dirty Harry and The Godfather franchises, only constructed like a big-screen two-parter of a classic police procedural show like Hawaii Five-O. Now add United Artists' recently-crowned action movie king, Charles Bronson, place him in-between a venerable assortment of established and future TV veterans alike, and then drizzle the whole project with a funky score from Roy Budd. Et voilà, ladies and gentlemen ‒ the perfect recipe for Michael Winner and Dino De Laurentiis' early '70s action vehicle The Stone Killer! One of six memorable collaborations betwixt Bronson and his future
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