Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Mourning Becomes Electra
Productgroup: DVD
Mourning Becomes Electra - movie DVD cover picture
Hotter than Hell

All of a sudden, after World War II, Rosalind Russell seemed poised to become Hollywood's greatest star. The studios were bowing down to her, and she started flexing her muscles and chewing up the kind of parts that hitherto she had been excluded even from dreaming about. Previously there had been a sort of appreciation for her clipped comic roles, most notably in Cukor's THE WOMEN, and she was deemed a serviceable leading lady in glossy MGM romantic dramas and thrillers, nothing too special. I wonder what happened to signal to Hollywood that she was actually an actress of some range? Were people tired of Bette Davis and thought, let's give Rosalind Russell the parts we used to give to Davis automatically, the droit du seigneur distaff side?

Anyhow her casting in MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA was an inspiration that could have been good, but somehow, the movie got away from the makers. It wasn't just putting Russell into it--though some believe that casting JANE RUSSELL as Lavinia might have made more sense--it was that every last part was filled with some cockamamie choice. The casting director must have been on drugs. And yet, that is part of what makes this 1947 movie such a gem.

By the way, Lucille Ball is said to have lobbied heavily to land the role of Lavinia, in a production which would have co-starred Jane Darwell as Christine. But who did they get for Christine?

Katina Paxinou--the revered Greek actress who had made a sensation playing a Spanish peasant in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. Audiences just barely made out what she was saying in BELL TOLLS. Here she plays Rosalind Russell's mother, a New England aristocrat. As many have noted, she seems to be encountering the English language for the very first time, and, as she has the most important role for the first half of the movie, it only gets better after she shuts up and lets Russell, as Lavinia, take over the ranting and raving. Michael Redgrave! He's great but where did they get him from? Had he made any US pictures before, or did they just say, he was super playing the nutty ventriloquist in DEAD OF NIGHT, let's bring him over to RKO to play Orrin--the "Orestes" character in O'Neill's secong hand Oresteia. And on and on it goes, right down to Kirk Douglas and Raymond Massey and the insufferable Leo Genn as the man both mother and daughter desire. I'm sorry, but that fire hydrant over there has more sex appeal than Leo Genn in this movie.

They say that somewhere, there is even more footage waiting to be joined up to extend this long, long picture into a fourth hour. I'm looking forward to a "special edition" of this DVD, perhaps with the later, Joan Hackett version from PBS as an extra. That one is good too, with Peter Weller from ROBOCOP playing the Kirk Douglas part, hey, why not?

Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Dudley Nichols

DVD title: Exorcist II - The Heretic
Productgroup: DVD
Exorcist II - The Heretic - movie DVD cover picture
very shocking! linda blair at her best!!!

It Is Great, All Exorcist's are. Just plain spectacular

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: John Boorman
Linda Blair
Richard Burton

DVD title: Baby Einstein - Baby Galileo - Discovering the Sky
Productgroup: DVD
Baby Einstein - Baby Galileo - Discovering the Sky - movie DVD cover picture

SO I bought this one while on vacation with my little boy of then 10 months. Totally mesmerized by this one and I loved it too, the music and content.I've just bought baby neptune & van gogh and I liked it alot but my son goes in and out of one, more verbal and maybe he's a little young for it, but looks great. The only one that annoys me is the baby einstein language nursery, annoyed me to have it on, the sounds of all the different languages, not musical. Didn't care for their choice of language and the visuals were too boring, too slow, & too simple...looks like they spent little on making this video. ANyway mozart was great for the younger months. world animals ok.
well thats what i think, hope it helps ya in some way

Studio: Walt Disney Home Video

DVD title: The Cosby Show - Season 1
Productgroup: DVD
The Cosby Show - Season 1 - movie DVD cover picture
Why not???

CLEARLY there is a strong consumer base for this show to be made available onn DVD. I wish someone would at least explain why this hasn't been released yet while "Green Acres" somehow eeked its way into reproduction. =/

Studio: Ventura Distribution
Bill Cosby

DVD title: Howling II - Your Sister Is a Werewolf
Productgroup: DVD
Howling II - Your Sister Is a Werewolf - movie DVD cover picture
Sheer entertainment, and for all the wrong reasons!

I fondly remember seeing this film on the big screen when I was a lad. It was the first film I laughed at in delighted derision. Boy, what a dog. And thank God! There is more glee generated by this film than in any ten comedies of recent years. I saw it again and again. Christopher Lee battles a scantily-clad Ms. Danning. What more can I say? I think a midget has to put magical teeth in his ears to stop some kind of evil sound. I'm not kidding. I don't need Joss Whedon, thank you. Not with HOWLING II on the scene. In every sense, a gem! We need more films like it. And MORE REB BROWN!

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: Philippe Mora

DVD title: I Love Lucy - The Complete Fifth Season
Productgroup: DVD
I Love Lucy - The Complete Fifth Season - movie DVD cover picture
John Wayne, NYC, Europe, the Queen, Grapes & Cheese

Over 50 years ago during the early years of broadcast television, the very inspired talents of Lucille Ball (1911-1989) and her then husband Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) were showcased on their hilarious television show "I Love Lucy". TV execs had initially rejected the plausibility of the show because of Desi and because they intended to tape the shows. However, thanks to the tireless efforts of Lucille Ball and Desi's obvious talents, the show first aired in 1951 and quickly became one of the most successful TV shows during all six of its regular seasons. As Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on "I Love Lucy", Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were joined by William Frawley (1877-1966) and Viviane Vance (1909-1979) as their best-friends/apartment landlords of Fred and Ethel Mertz.

The fifth season of "I Love Lucy" that aired between 1955 and 1956 has 26 memorable episodes:

1. "Lucy Visits Grauman's": With Ethel's help, Lucy steals John Wayne's footprints from Grauman's Chinese Theater.

2. "Lucy and John Wayne": Lucy and Ethel try to return the footprints that they stole, but they break; so Ricky enlists the help from John Wayne (himself) to make a new set. More than one may be needed.

3. "Lucy and the Dummy": After Ricky backs out of a party where Lucy wants her big break, Lucy makes a dummy of Ricky to dance with at the party.

4. "Ricky Sells the Car": After Ricky sells the car, Fred & Ethel think they'll have to ride a motorcycle back to NYC; but Ricky buys train tickets for all.

5. "The Great Train Robbery": Thinking there's a jewel thief on board the train to NYC, Lucy can't stop pulling the emergency brake cord. (Train conductor played by Frank Nelson, 1911-1986.)

6. "Homecoming": Upon returning to NYC, Ricky is a big star, but Lucy initially doesn't share in everyone's worship of him.

7. "The Ricardos Are Interviewed": Ricky & Lucy consider moving and Ricky is to be interviewed on a prestigious show.

8. "Lucy Goes to a Rodeo": After Ricky can't help Fred with a rodeo-themed show for his lodge, Lucy & Ethel volunteer to help.

9. "Nursery School": After Lucy's fear of Little Ricky getting sick at nursery school comes to pass, she is determined to stay with him at the hospital.

10. "Ricky's European Booking": When Ricky can't afford to take Lucy on his European tour, she & Ethel dream up a raffle to help the "Ladies Overseas Aid", which they think is themselves.

11. "The Passports": Lucy can't find her birth certificate so that she can get her passport.

12. "Staten Island Ferry": To help Fred overcome seasickness, Lucy takes him onto the Staten Island Ferry; but she gets seasick herself and may be late to the passport office. (Passport clerk played by Charles Lane.)

13. "Bon Voyage": When the ship leaves port for Europe, Lucy is inadvertently left behind; so she'll have to get to ship via a helicopter. One of the best fifth-season episodes!

14. "Second Honeymoon": Lucy wants the Atlantic cruise to be a second honeymoon, but Ricky is too busy with the band.

15. "Lucy Meets the Queen": After Lucy misses seeing the queen at Buckingham Palace, Ricky gets invited to met the queen, but not Lucy. Of course, when has "no" ever stopped Lucy?

16. "The Fox Hunt": Bragging that she can ride, Lucy gets to show how well she can actually ride a horse in a fox hunt.

17. "Lucy Goes to Scotland": Lucy wants to travel to Scotland to meet her distant McGillicuddy relatives. The dream sequence that unfolds is unforgettable.

18. "Paris at Last": Not having any French currency, Lucy, Ethel & Fred exchange money with a so-called French artist (Shepard Menken, 1921-1999), who turns out to be a counterfeiter. The translation sequence is priceless, as is Lucy's introduction to escargot!

19. "Lucy Meets Charles Boyer": Lucy & Ethel are star-struck when they encounter Charles Boyer (himself) at a sidewalk cafe.

20. "Lucy Gets a Paris Gown": When Lucy goes on hunger strike to force Ricky to buy her an expensive French-designed dress, Ricky & Fred have dresses custom-made out of burlap. (A fantastic episode!)

21. "Lucy in the Swiss Alps": Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel get trapped in an avalanche while mountain climbing until they here "La Cucaracha" being played.

22. "Lucy Gets Homesick in Italy": In this heart-warming episode, Lucy misses Little Ricky during his birthday, so a little Italian shoeshine boy (Bart Bradley) and his friends get to celebrate with her.

23. "Lucy's Italian Movie": In one of the best episodes of all time, Lucy takes "getting some local color" a little literally when she travels to an old-fashioned Italian winery to press grapes to impress an Italian film director. (Italian wine stomper played by Theresa Tirelli, 1907-1989).

24. "Lucy's Bicycle Trip": Lucy has trouble crossing back into France when she can't find her passport.

25. "Lucy Goes to Monte Carlo": When Lucy picks up a chip in a Monte Carlo casino, she inadvertently wins thousands of French franks.

26. "Return Home From Europe": To sneak home a 30-pound cheese, Lucy dresses it up as baby to fly home to NYC; but the passenger (Mary Jane Croft, 1916-1999) next to her flips out when the cheese disappears.

Paramount Home Video's superb job of packaging all 30 episodes of the fourth season of "I Love Lucy" onto 5 DVD's is a good indication as to how they will similarly package the fifth season onto 4. Overall, for superb packaging and a great price, I rate the "I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season" DVD box set with an anticipatory 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it!

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Lucille Ball

DVD title: Carnival of Souls - Criterion Collection
Productgroup: DVD
Carnival of Souls - Criterion Collection - movie DVD cover picture
a great cult classic!

This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film
This film is one of the best known of classic horror films of th early 1960's. This film has hitchcockian elements and even can remind one of Shyamalan's film, "The Sixth Sense"
The story follows a young Kansas woman who survives a tracic car accident, she later moves to Salt Lake City Utah to be a church orgainist (at a non-Mormon chruch.) While driving there, she passes the old Saltair resort, recently abandoned. She feels an overwhelming compulsion to go closer but does not yet do so. She later has visions of a man who seems to be caling her to the resort. Later she enters an unusual state of mind where noone else can see or hear her. I don't want to say anything else as it would be a spoiler. The movie is filmed on location at the Saltair pavilion. At the time it held the largest indoor ballroom ever built. It since was destroyed by fire but another was built and later flooded.
The film has many special features.
2 versions of the film. The theatrical version and the Director's cut. The director's cut has optional partial length audio interviews with some of the film crew.
Disc 1 hasAn illustrated history of the Saltair resort on the lake shore. Theatrical trailer, Outtakes of filming, a vidoe update on filming locations, and a documentary on the 1989 reunion of cast & crew.
Disc 2 hasInterviews with members of the cast and crew, and an Essay on the film's production comapny, Centron.
It also has 5 short documentary films made by the movie's production company Centron.
Star 34; A docudrama about tourism in Kansas
Signals: Read 'em or Weep; a saftey film for the Caterpillar Tractor company
To Touch a Child; a documentary about the school system in Flint Michigan.
Jamaica, Hati, and the Lesser Antilles; a documentary film on the afforementioned countries.
Korea: Overview; a documentary film on Korean culture.
This DVD set was one of the most comprehensive released by Criterion at the time of it's release.

Studio: Criterion Collection
Director: Herk Harvey
Candace Hilligoss

DVD title: Mansfield Park
Productgroup: DVD
Mansfield Park - movie DVD cover picture

How absurd that modern filmmakers feel that the public could not possibly understand the classics without their help. Austen is the ONLY classic author whose entire collection is still in full circulation - an indication that generations later, the audience still "gets it". Hollywood has endlessly held the notion that they have greater artistic and creative powers in their peabrains than the authors whose books have passed through millions of hands for decades.
This version of Mansfield Park is, for the time, the most bloodstirring adaptation in existence - due to the contraversial retelling. In my opinion, the only consistencies are the names and bits and pieces of the storylines. Frances O'Connor gives an amazing performance considering the fact that she has nothing to work with - she is the gem and only point that makes the film worth watching. However, Fanny is no longer Fanny at all - the director has completely reinvented her. The most appalling sequence was the one in which Fanny accepts Henry's proposal. The chances of this happening in the novel are so absolutely impossible that I thought that this was some sort of dream sequence. In the novel, Fanny (whom the director actually shows getting smashed at a party given to her by the Bertrams - imagine Lizzie Bennet, Emma, or any of her other noble creatures portrayed in this manner) knows intuitively from the beginning that Henry shows enormous lack of character and NEVER for a moment considers accepting any of his attentions. The fact that she does so in the film is an enormous flaw and shows the director's complete misunderstanding of Austen's heroine.
Also, the pivotal chapters in Mansfield surround the play and through it, our players true characters are revealed(Austen's own midsummer night if you will). Fanny is the innocent one - set apart during this whole section of the book by her wisdom and naivete. I was shocked when the film skimmed it for only a moment.
The "sketch book scene" was, without a doubt, too great a liberty to take with the work of a classic author, as is the entire storyline that corresponded with it. I'm sure we all understand the vulgarity of slavery without needing to see it graphically displayed in a format that Austen herself would refuse to watch. Austen understood something the director of this film does not: subtlety.
Finally, the most distressing scene to me was the moment after Henry and Mariah are discovered together. Rather than seeing our leading man and lady in a state of anger over what they've discovered, we see Fanny and Edmund aroused by the moment, grasping for each other and then ashamed by their own reaction. HELLLO! What is that?
And for anyone that didn't catch the sexual innuendo in the scene where Mary is helping Fanny out of her wet clothes - I have to ask what planet they're from. There was no Edmund standing nearby to arouse in that scene. Oh, and I almost forgot, the director adds such a nice touch to the character of Fanny's father by making him a pervert as well - clutching at his daughters in a way that makes your stomach turn.
Without a doubt, this film lacks Jane Austen's wit and wisdom. It disgusts me that it is considered some sort of tribute to her. Mansfield Park is considered by many to be Austen's greatest work - grand and subtle. Fanny's complex character is lost here, as well as everything that Austen was trying to say through her. This film has reduced this masterpiece to nothing more than the poor story of an unfortunate girl surrounded by perverts. But are we really shocked? Hollywood's idea to make anything better is - just add sex. From now on, I think I'll stick with the BBC.

Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
Director: Patricia Rozema
Frances O'Connor (II)
Jonny Lee Miller
Alessandro Nivola

DVD title: Ran
Productgroup: DVD
Ran - movie DVD cover picture
a sublime epic

The scope of this film is has everything in large quantities. Gorgeous panoramas, a great looking cast, brilliant acting, war, intrigue, murder and revenge, all brought together by Kurosawa's magical vision. I've seen this film dozens of times and still find it captivating!

Studio: Fox Lorber
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Tatsuya Nakadai
Akira Terao
Jinpachi Nezu
Daisuke Ryu

DVD title: Forrest Gump
Productgroup: DVD
Forrest Gump - movie DVD cover picture
It's Forrest Gump!

This is one of the best movies, I've ever seen. It's about time it's on DVD.

Studio: Paramount Studio
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Tom Hanks
Robin Wright Penn
Gary Sinise
Sally Field

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