Results tagged “Warner Archive”

Alfred the Great (1969) DVD Review: Greater Things Have Happened

The Warner Archive Collection presents the home video debut of this legendary box office failure featuring a young Ian McKellen.
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Sprawling epics were all the rage in the 1950s, with fantastical biblical yarns and timeless tales of undefeatable conquerors popping up in theaters near and far, usually presented to eager audiences via the modern miracle of of CinemaScope and stereo sound. And yet, long after American filmgoers had had their fill of wildly inaccurate and often preposterous cinematic blockbusters which damn near bankrupted Hollywood's biggest studios, the Brits decided it was their turn to rewrite history and produce a large-scale saga which people would avoid in droves. Thus, Alfred the Great ‒ the UK's 1969 throwback to the great epics

When a Feller Needs a Friend (1932) DVD Review: How About a Break Instead?

The Warner Archive Collection dusts off one of the sappiest, nerve-wracking, Depression-era family melodramas ever made. Enjoy.
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While I am always eager to point out how wretched contemporary filmmaking seems to have become, I can never dismiss the notion that bad movies have been getting cranked out by Hollywood since the beginning. In fact, as the type of feller who appreciates that certain kind of maligned movie manufacturing (see: just about any of my articles), I don't mind discovering a previously unseen Tinseltown atrocity from yesteryear in the least bit. That is, until I stumble across something as wretched as When a Feller Needs a Friend, of course. That's when I feel like gnawing my own arm

Binge-Worthy Collections from the Warner Archive

From forgotten comedy duos to early travelogues to matinee cowboy pictures, the WAC has just a bit of everything for classic film collectors.
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In this time where people will often sit and binge-watch an entire television series, half of the population gleefully engages in such sittings regularly, while the other half will sit and wonder why the term "binge-watch" was added to the dictionary, especially since there was already a perfectly good word selected for marathon viewings in the first place: "marathon." But no matter what side of the vernacular you're on, there truly is nothing quite like being able to sit down and get a good proper feel for a particular performer or series. Thankfully, even film history's lesser-remembered talents continue to

Blu-ray Reviews: Musicals and the Musically Inclined from the Warner Archive

Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day, and Julie Andrews highlight a trio of amazing rom-coms from more enjoyable, innocent times.
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Romantic comedies may have been a dime a dozen back in the '50s, but ‒ as any good numismatist knows ‒ a mint condition dime from the 1950s is worth much more than a pretty penny today. And the Warner Archive has been quite busy of late bringing a venerable assortment of shiny motion pictures classics to Blu-ray for future generations to marvel over, including a grand musical from the '50s, an amazing throwback to the musical from the '80s, and another '50s flick starring one of the era's most beloved musical starlets. In the latter instance, I speak of

Moby Dick (1930) DVD Review: The Version You Never Thought Possible

For those of you who think they know Dick, the WAC salutes you.
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Anyone who has seen a single Hollywood adaptation of a classic (or even contemporary) work of literature knows full well how much Tinseltown can change even the most simple of premises. Sometimes, liberties are taken in the scriptwriting and/or filmmaking processes because of budgetary restraints or per the request of certain thespians who probably never had a very good grip on the subject matter to begin with. In other instances, time-honored tales are completely rewritten in the bold attempt at making them seem "fresh" ‒ a move which usually culminates in widely distributed box office debuts that would fare far

Time After Time (1979) Blu-ray Review: And Now for Something Completely Different

Nicholas Meyer's quirky sci-fi classic ‒ wherein Jack the Ripper and H.G. Wells travel through time ‒ gets a much-needed makeover from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Imagine, if you will, Jack the Ripper ‒ having just committed his final murder in Victorian London ‒ hopping into a time machine built by H.G. Wells and venturing forth to modern-day (1979) San Francisco, leaving the latter famous figure no choice but to follow him. It's the sort of premise to a motion picture which definitely falls under the category of "something completely different" ‒ so much so, one might theorize the entire concept had been taken from an unfilmed Monty Python sketch. After the success of writer/director Nicholas Meyer's previous movie mashup ‒ the combination of Sherlock Holmes

Body Snatchers (1993) Blu-ray Review: Uneven, But Not Unnecessary

The Warner Archive Collection dusts off filmdom's oddest pod people Invasion yet.
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Imagine a science fiction parable ‒ one for Communism, paranoia, conformity, or whatever ‒ where, should you fall asleep, you will be replaced by an unemotional clone grown from a pod. Sound familiar? Well, of course it does: we've been seeing such shenanigans on-screen since the mid '50s, when the first official adaptation of Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers hit theaters and sent chills up our spines. Since then, we have witnessed a number of bad imitations and three big-screen remakes ‒ the last of which, 2007's big-budgeted dud The Invasion starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, failed to garner

Michael Collins / Man in the Wilderness Blu-ray Reviews: Super Heroes

The Warner Archive Collection brings us both a legendary man and a man of legend in these two High-Def offerings.
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Some things simply go well together, hands down. Things like chocolate and peanut butter, Burt and Loni, and ‒ of course ‒ the fine art of combining totally true stories with complete and utter bullshit. And apart from politics and people on social media who should not be permitted to access the Internet, there is no great force behind blending fact with fiction than Hollywood. And for those of you who can't handle a little truth without a bit of falsehoods being thrown into the fray, these two "true stories" ‒ recently released to Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection

They Were Expendable / She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Blu-ray Reviews: The WAC Duke

Two of the most famous John Ford/John Wayne collaborations make their HD home video debut courtesy the Warner Archive Collection.
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While both names carry around their own amount of (significant) weight, it's almost hard to imagine a John Ford movie without John "The Duke" Wayne ‒ and vice versa. Thankfully, the Warner Archive Collection has been gracious enough to help fans of both classic motion picture greats fill two voids in their High-Definition libraries with new Blu-ray releases of two of their best-known collaborations, They Were Expendable and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Both films showcase The Duke doing what he did best ‒ giving 'em hell ‒ but is in the first of these individually released titles, MGM's They

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze Blu-ray Review: A Hero? Yes. Super? Hell, No.

One of the pulp world's first heroes makes for one of film world's worst zeroes.
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Lately, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been threatening all of mankind by announcing he is slated to star in one remake after another, including a short-lived, fleeting fantasy of a new version of Big Trouble in Little China and ‒ more recently ‒ the reboot of a footnote in the revised American Superhero book, the Doc Savage franchise. And though no such crimes have been perpetrated as of this writing, I almost think a re-envisioning of Doc Savage is in order. Not necessarily because I would support it (I wouldn't), but because it couldn't possibly be any worse than the

Crime or Climb: Tails of Scaling and Failing from the Warner Archive

Sean Connery ascends, George Hamilton pretends, and Don Siegel defends in this trio from the WAC.
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It is oft said one must reach the top in order to succeed, and this trio of minor motion pictures from Hollywood's past can serve as a painful reminder of how much of a fall you're in for should you slip up somewhere along the line. And both of those terrible analogies certainly come into play in the 1982 Warner Bros. drama, Five Days, One Summer, for it quite literally has to do with mountain climbing. But before you get your hopes up, this is not the sort of exciting cinematic fare like you might find in The Eiger Sanction.

Edward G. Robinson Breaks Out of the Warner Archive Collection!

Yeah, a quartet of individual titles starring classic Hollywood's perennial tough guy make their DVD debuts, see?
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Compared to the infinite number of indistinguishable pretty boys popping up in one forgettable flick after another today, there could only have been one Edward G. Robinson. Hailing from a time in Tinseltown when tough guys could be larger-than-life no matter how short and squatty they may have been, Robinson's noticeable lack of height (or a handsome mug) may have prevented him from landing more romantic, nice guy roles, but his natural grumpy-looking demeanor soon found him shooting up the ladder of success in 1931 when he landed the lead in the crime drama classic Little Caesar. This pivotal role

Marine Raiders / In Our Time (1944) DVD Reviews: WWII WAC

The Warner Archive Collection encourages you to buy war bonds ‒ and these old World War II propaganda flicks, too!
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Every time the Warner Archive Collection unearths another wartime propaganda movie, I have to wonder if Hollywood didn't make an entire feature-length drama for every war bond sold during the duration of America's involvement in World War II alone. But of course, I'm also glad to see rarities such as these two drastically different flicks being made available, and neither In Our Time or Marine Raiders will prove to be disappointing. Well, not unless you're easily offended, that is. Truth be told, the latter offering of this WWII-some from 1944 may drop a jaw or two with its less than

From Horrifying to Horrible: Back in Print from the Warner Archive

From a magnificent assembling of classic horror of the '30s, to the various sorts of silliness the whole of the '90s had to offer, these four releases will have you screaming.
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While the Warner Archive mostly brings us new and previously unreleased goodies to DVD, they also bring us the odd re-release of titles which have become out of print. Or possibly new and improved versions of old catalog releases which were unfortunate enough to have been pressed to disc when DVD was still new. This lot falls under both categories, sporting two new widescreen offerings of titles which were only ever seen in early (read: unmastered) releases, as well as the reawakening of two cult gems, the first of which has been on many a classic horror movie lover's wish

Stablemates / Lord Jeff DVD Reviews: A Double Dose of Rooney

The Warner Archive Collection slips us a couple of Mickeys (with plenty of Wood) in these two rarely-seen gems.
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The late Mickey Rooney made a sizeable impact on classic cinema, leaving behind a list of motion picture and television appearances tallying well over 300. With a résumé like that, it may be quite some time before all titles are present and accounted for on home video (and even then, it's unlikely we'll see everything). Nevertheless, the Warner Archive Collection and it's many Mickey Rooney fans working there have been doing their best to fill in the gaps to their abilities. Two recent releases from the WAC marked the home video debuts of MGM's Stablemates and Lord Jeff, both released

George O'Brien Western Collection DVD Review: 9 Oats and a Lot of Grain

The Warner Archive Collection presents some of the final starring roles from one of B western cinema's most charismatic naturals.
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Generally, the star of vintage cowboy pictures ‒ or "oaters," as they are commonly referred to as ‒ tended to be a big hulking lunk of a feller who was quicker with his fists and side irons than he was with his grey matter. And I say that referring to the actual actor, not the character he would portray. In the case of George O'Brien, however, there was something more than a big dumb oaf: a personality. The son of a San Francisco police officer set out for Hollywood at an early age to be a cameraman, only to find

Stakeout on Dope Street (1958) DVD Review: Kershner. Corman. Coleman. Oh, My!

This forgotten gem from the Warner Archive Collection offers just the facts, and more than a little strange movie history.
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Best known by today's various subcultures for bringing us that which is often cited as the best Star Wars film of the entire expanding film universe (The Empire Strikes Back, in case you missed that one), the late Irvin Kershner (The Return of a Man Called Horse, The Flim-Flam Man) started out directing episodes of another nature ‒ television shows completely forgotten by history ‒ before landing his first big screen gig with Stakeout on Dope Street. No doubt inspired by another television series (and one which has withstood the test of time), Dragnet, this late '50s crime drama from

Valley of the Kings (1954) DVD Review: The Other Precursor to Indiana Jones

The Warner Archive Collection digs up a significant artifact from cinematic history, albeit from a print which has sadly been desecrated.
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The history of biblical epics in Hollywood, especially once filmmakers began to broaden their horizons and film on location (to say nothing of widening their aspect ratios to compete with television), is almost as unique as that chapter of history itself. Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 version of The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston‒ a film he had previously made 33 years earlier in Southern California ‒ was one of the first movies to actually shoot on location in Egypt. It was not, however, the first. Rather, that important footnote from cinematic history goes to MGM's big budgeted international 1954 production

Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 10 DVD Review: The End of an Era? Not Quite!

The Warner Archive Collection unveils its final 'Forbidden Hollywood' set with a fine gathering of controversial and naughty gems from the pre-Code days.
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It has been a full ten years since the first Forbidden Hollywood collection wandered into our lives courtesy the Turner Classic Movie Archives. Since then, the multiple film/disc series has moved over to the Warner Archive Collection for distribution, and has given viewers around the world a chance to see a few forgotten ditties that wound up becoming buried by the sands of time. And while it is with a heavy heart that I report this latest installment in the franchise ‒ Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 10 ‒ is to be the final chapter in this series, I am pleased to

Seven Miles from Alcatraz DVD Review: Prison Breaks for Patriotism

A minor WWII flick about Nazi spies featuring John Banner as the bad guy makes its way to DVD courtesy the Warner Archive Collection.
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A low-budget 1942 effort from RKO, Seven Miles of Alcatraz was directed by the very busy Edward Dmytryk, who helmed one of those propaganda pictures for the same studio (and with some of the same case and crew) the following year, Hitler's Children. Here, however, Dmytryk spins a fun little web full of venomous Nazi spies, set in the claustrophobic confines of a small lighthouse out in San Francisco Bay. James Craig (Kismet, Dark Delusion) is our big dumb hero, who escapes Alcatraz along with his cellmate, as played by one of filmdom's greatest funny faces, Frank Jenks. To say
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