Results tagged “Warner Archive”

A Woman's Face (1941) / Flamingo Road (1949) DVD Reviews: The Dark Side of Joan

Two classic features from the one and only Joan Crawford return to DVD thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.
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While previously released to DVD by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, a number of Joan Crawford classics had fallen into that unfavorable "Out of Print" status movie collectors so hate to see. Fortunately, a total of six Crawford vehicles ‒ Dancing Lady, Sadie McKee, Strange Cargo, A Woman's Face, Flamingo Road, and Torch Song (the latter five of which comprised the bulk of The Joan Crawford Collection, Vol. 2 from 2008) ‒ have re-emerged from moratorium thanks to the Warner Archive Collection, two of which are reviewed here. In A Woman's Face, a 1941 thriller from director George Cukor, we not

The Yakuza (1974) Blu-ray Review: That Time Robert Mitchum Went to Japan

Like a trusty katana, the Warner Archive Collection whips out this neglected, gritty, emotional '70s cult classic with much grace and dignity.
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What can you say about a Japanese-American co-production from the director of Three Days of the Condor as written by the beautifully dark minds who penned Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Kiss of the Spider Woman? Well, if said film also happens to star the great Robert Mitchum alongside Japanese icon Ken Takakura, and features an eclectic funky score by Dave Grusin, then the one and only official answer to that query is a heartfelt "Plenty!" ‒ as Sidney Pollack's 1974 cult classic The Yakuza should prove to even the most jaded classic movie buff beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Bells Are Ringing (1960) Blu-ray Review: You Found Me Just in Time

The irreplaceable Judy Holliday teams with the one and only Dean Martin for a musical extravaganza which has received a dynamic makeover from the Warner Archive.
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The history of the American musical is indeed a fascinating one, particularly once the genre was introduced to the ever-changing world of the 1960s. Far removed from filmed vaudeville acts and Broadway show adaptations from the dawn of the Sound Era in the late '20s, the once-harmless naïvety of the movie musical of yesteryear was about to be shown the door by an increasingly cynical society which would soon be surrounded by great shifts in both cultural and political trends. And the beginning of those changes are quite noticeable in the classic 1960 musical Bells Are Ringing, which is now

The Valley of Gwangi / When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth Blu-ray Reviews: More Animated than Ever

The Warner Archive Collection shows off two showcases of animators Ray Harryhausen and Jim Danforth in these splendid catalog releases.
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Decades before civilized man would figure out new and inventive ways to suck the life out of that good ol' fashioned movie magic previous generations grew up looking up to, a species of gifted animators roamed the great halls of special effects studios near and far. Out of all the long-leggedy beasties, none were as revered and respected as the Hausenusharrius Rayus ‒ better known as Ray Harryhausen to us laymen ‒ whose magnificence and might effectively crowned him King of the Stop-Motion Animators. And it is with one of his tales that we begin this peek at two recent

Vitaphone Varieties, Volume Three: 1928-1929 DVD Review: Utterly Amazing

The Warner Archive Collection unleashes 16 more lost novelty acts from the days of vaudeville and burlesque shows.
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After nearly five years since the last installment in the intermittent series, the Warner Archive Collection has assembled another amazing assortment of forgotten, filmed novelty acts with Vitaphone Varieties, Volume Three: 1928-1929. Back in the mid 1920s, just a short few years before the various pioneers in the motion picture industry dreamt up a reliable way to record and print sound on to film, the folks at Warner Bros. and First National figured out a different method of providing sound to moving images: a mechanically synced-up record player. And though it may seem completely archaic and downright hipster today, the

Wait Until Dark (1967) / Love in the Afternoon (1957) Blu-ray Reviews: An Audrey Two-fer

The Warner Archive Collection brings us two remarkably different ‒ but nevertheless essential ‒ offerings from the inimitable Audrey Hepburn.
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In case you missed it, 2017 is already a great year for Audrey Hepburn fans. Twilight Time recently unveiled a gorgeous transfer of Stanley Donen's Two for the Road, wherein cinema's most beloved beauty co-starred with Albert Finney. And now the Warner Archive Collection ‒ who have been unveiling more classic catalogue releases on Blu-ray for film lovers to cherish ‒ presents us with two more for the road in what I can only call an "Audrey Two-fer" (yes, Little Shop of Horrors fans, that may have been a reference). The first title being perhaps the most popular of the

Millionaires in Prison (1940) DVD Review: The Club Fed of the '40s

The Warner Archive paroles a corny prison yarn featuring Shemp Howard and the voice of Jiminy Cricket as inmates.
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Despite the slightly uplifting title, RKO's Millionaires in Prison is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to happen today were the system ‒ which, as we all know, knows better ‒ to incarcerate a deserving fraudster or two: a lighthearted romp where no one gets hurt. This wouldn't necessarily a bad thing if the film was intended to be a comedy. Alas, Millionaires in Prison appears as if it is supposed to be taken seriously ‒ something which becomes all the more difficult to fathom when you stop to consider the film was directed by a man who mostly

A Girl in Every Port (1952) DVD Review: Because Chico Needed the Money

Groucho's last leading role ‒ now available from the Warner Archive ‒ isn't something you'd bet your life on, but warrants a viewing from devoted Marxists just the same.
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The wisdom and wit of Groucho Marx may be as timeless as comedy itself, but it can be a little hard to perceive underneath some of the late legend's latter-day contributions to cinema. And a prime example of just how hard even the mightiest of comics can struggle is no more apparent than in the 1952 RKO ditty, A Girl in Every Port. When he was given the chance to simply be himself and say whatever popped into his head (censors permitting, of course), Groucho was nothing short of dynamic. Here, however, in what would be his final leading role

Battleground (1949) Blu-ray Review: War is Hell, But This is Far From That

The Warner Archive Collection unveils a marvelous, meticulously restored look this WWII classic.
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Initially advertised to the public as "The First Great Picture of the Second World War!", William A. Wellman's 1949 epic Battleground certainly lives up to its own hype ‒ something very few films can truly lay claim to. Sporting an all-star cast that was trained by twenty veterans from the actual events the film's story is based on ‒ a heroic assembly the history books dubbed "The Battered Bastards of Bastogne" ‒ the two-time Oscar winner from writer Robert Pirosh (who won a total of three awards for this work) lives to fight another day thanks to another spectacular catalogue

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Blu-ray Review: A Great Day for Movie Lovers

The Warner Archive Collection brings us the groundbreaking precursor to the revenge film genre in what is easily one of the most beautiful transfers of the year.
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A stranger arrives in a small town, only to discover he isn't wanted. While such a premise may have been quintessential in the storyline of every other classic oater western made in the '30s and '40s ‒ to say nothing of many a hicksploitation thriller that graced grimy screen throughout the '60s and '70s ‒ said diegesis has never been more at home than in John Sturges' 1955 Bad Day at Black Rock. Here, in a performance that would earn him a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival that same year, the one and only Spencer Tracy portrays

It's Always Fair Weather (1955) Blu-ray Review: Gene Kelly's Blues

The Warner Archive Collection proudly presents something anyone can sing and dance to: a Cynical Musical from the otherwise sunny 1950s.
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Even if you're the type of person who generally loathes (or at least has trouble sitting through) musicals, you might actually find something to like about MGM's 1955 flop It's Always Fair Weather. For starters, It's Always Fair Weather marked the end of that strange era where larger-than-life movie musicals roamed the nation, thereby sparing many a poor sap (or sapette) any further misfortune of being dragged into an auditorium to see people sing and dance their blues away. But whereas that was the remedy in other (successful) musicals, It's Always Fair Weather proudly stood out from other song-and-dance titles

The Goodbye Girl (1977) Blu-ray Review: Back When Richard Dreyfuss Was Sexy

Neil Simon's Oscar-winning precursor to the contemporary rom-com receives a warm welcome from the Warner Archive Collection.
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If nothing else, Neil Simon's award-winning 1977 precursor to the contemporary rom-com, The Goodbye Girl is of a certain cinematically historical significance, inasmuch as it was one of a few films written by Neil Simon that didn't start out as a Broadway play. Granted, in the years since this multiple-Oscar winner first premiered, however, The Goodbye Girl has not only garnered a musical Broadway makeover, but it has also received the dubious honor of getting its own lackluster TV remake ‒ something that, sadly, has happened far too many times with Neil Simon tales (just ask anyone who had the

Dark Passage / On Dangerous Ground Blu-ray Reviews: Bogie. Bacall. Lupino. Ryan. Sold.

The Warner Archive Collection shows us its dark side with two more gems from the fabulous world of film noir.
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While history's greatest philosophers wise men may have brought forth many a pertinent question as to the purpose and situation of the human race, it was a total wise-ass the history books have unapologetically miscredited as a guy named Murphy who really seemed to hit the nail on the head with the phrase "Anything that can go wrong, will." In fact, Murphy's Law is one of the few philosophies which can be applied into storytelling without fear of alienating an audience, because if there's one thing any adult who has ever had to work for a living can tell you,

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Blu-ray Review: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

The motion picture that single-handedly brought about the fall of the Hays Code receives a fearless restoration from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Sixteen years after Elizabeth Taylor transcended from child actress into a full-fledged "adult" in Father of the Bride ‒ wherein, it should be noted, she entered her first of eight failed marriages ‒ the still-famous actress showed us just how big of a girl she could be. In every respect. For here, in 1966's motion picture landmark, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, we see a 32-year-old Liz donning more than a little stage padding as she stars alongside her most "popular" husband, Richard Burton, as Martha: an obnoxious, alcoholic, middle-aged shrew whose outward vulgarity is only complimented by the infinite

Father of the Bride (1950) Blu-ray Review: RSVP to the WAC BD ASAP

The original classic receives a makeover to die for thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.
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Let's take a brief gander at marriage, folks. While many of us are keen to issue a timeless, fool proof slice of advice when it comes to matrimony ‒ that of "Don't do it, it's not worth it" ‒ the fact is those darn kids never listen to us. Just ask Spencer Tracy's Stanley T. Banks in the three-time Oscar-nominated, AFI-approved 1950 classic, Father of the Bride. Though the trendsetting favorite is one of the few instances where a Steve Martin remake garnered critical praise (yes, we're still upset over that Pink Panther reboot), the original film possesses its own

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
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