Since I've been very busy with many projects, I think that Twilight Time got its just due with its' own very review forum devoted to just their titles instead of individually as I have been doing. So starting with this review, it'll be done just like this for everyone to pick out or want the titles they're interested in one full swoop when ordering from Screen Archives Entertainment. http://screenarchives.com/
Let's us begin.
"Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia" Starring Warren Oates, Isla Vega and Kris Kristofferson Directed by Sam Peckenpah 1974/Rated R/2 Hours 1 Min./1:85.1 Aspect Ratio. The film was one of Sam Peckinpah's somewhat bizzare, but stylistically unique films in the late auteur's arsenal that features that brilliant and violent Western "The Wild Bunch". The film stars Oates, as Benny, a bartender who gets wind of a bounty placed by a major crime lord on the head (literally!)of the man who impregnated his daughter. In search if this easy money, Benny and his girlfriend Elita (Vega) venture around Mexico in search of the body to claim the bounty. With everyone digging around and searching for him too, Benny and Elita must outwit and their rivals to the punch.
The film was not well received, but has become a cult classic because of Peckinpah's reputation and featuring a rather ingenious plot to be honest. This TT Blu-Ray is spectacular featuring a great array of special features including a lengthy documentary on the making of the film which is worth the price of this disc. Also featured is an isolated score track featuring the music of the late Jerry Fielding writing one his more turse and latin flavored scores as well as a commentary by producer Nick Redman and his cohorts which is very informative and very lively as they always are with Peckinpah's films. A very solid film not to be missed. Very strong thumbs up! (*** 1/2)
"Equus" Starring Richard Burton, Peter Firth and Jenny Agutter Directed By Sidney Lumet 1977/Rated R/2 Hours 17 Minutes/1:85.1 Aspect Ratio. The film which is based on the award winning play by Peter Schaffer is an interesting and overlong character study with Burton, who was nominated for an Oscar playing a psychiatrist treating Firth (also an Oscar nominee who many feel should've won) a damaged young man who's committed a rather unspeakable crime. Soon Burton's character begins to realize that Firth may have a stronger grasp on his concept of what life is than he personally does. As Firth develops a passion for horses and finds love with Agutter soon after.
The film was one of Lumet's strongest of the period following on the heels of his acclaimed "Network". The film to me works on the strength of its performances that at times does feature Lumet's visual style that doesn't quite work, but Lumet's films have never been about style to begin with as characters are always the most important element which have made his films personally endearing to me. TT Blu-Ray is a nice package that also features the 1988 documentary "In From The Cold: The World of Richard Burton" which runs 128 minutes and very interesting. "Equus" features an isolated music track of Richard Rodney Bennett's fine and sparse dramatic score and a commentary by Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman. Thumbs up! (***)
"Fever Pitch" Starring Colin Firth, Ruth Gummell and Mark Strong Directed By David Evans 1997/Rated R/1 Hour 42 Minutes./1:85.1 Aspect Ratio . The film which is based upon Nick Hornby's novel stars the charismatic Firth as Paul, a fun-loving teacher whose obsession with his favorite football team (soccer to all Americans) gets in the way of his budding relationship with a fellow teacher (Gummell) as his team is well on their way to winning their first championship in over two decades. Will Paul set his feelings aside for his team and let the woman of his dreams slip away?
The film is a very charming British import that is a very unique title to the Twilight Time library. Hornby's book (who personally adapted his book for this film version), would later be remade in the more successful and even more charming American version starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore and directed by The Farrelly Brothers, which was on the real life heels of the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series and breaking "the curse of the bambino" which in most ways is alot better in my view. This film has very charming moments and Firth is excellent as playing this obsessive nut whose in love and there is a chemistry with Gummell who at first is a little hard to swollow, but as the film moves along, you start to like her more. The film's lone features are an isolated score track, a commentary by Nick Redman and Julie Kirgo and the film's original theatrical trailer. Marginal thumbs up (***)
"Conrack" Starring Jon Voight, Paul Winfield, Hume Cronyn and Madge Sinclair Directed By Martin Ritt 1974/Rated PG/1 Hour 46 Minutes/2:35.1 Aspect Ratio. The film is based on "Prince of Tides" author Pat Conroy personal memoirs about his own difficult, strenuous and uplifting moments as a teacher off the coast of South Carolina. Oscar Winner Jon Voight ("Mission: Impossible", "Heat", "Deliverance") plays the young and passionate Conrack (as Conroy is named in this film) finds himself in situation dealing with a largely illiterate population of black children who are ill-equipped for life in the outside world to which no one seems to care. Determines to help them, Conrack gives all his sheer will filled with honest love and energy to show these young children that there is a good life outside of the hatred, bigotry and prejudice on that island which he himself has to contend with the those who oppose of his hopeful optimism.
The film was directed by the late Martin Ritt, who was a master of films such as this one: the against all odds protagonist that in the end overcomes all the obsticles and adversity that he or she has personally endured to transcend into someone of great importance or accomplish something inspiring. Aided by the great work of cinematographer John A. Alonzo, the film is a beautiful and wonderful dramatic effort which features one of Voight's best performances outside of "Deliverance" and "Midnight Cowboy." This is a special film and easily the type you root for and would inspire films like "Norma Rae" and "Lean On Me." years later. Aided by a sparse and tender score by Oscar winner John Williams, the film is one that is deserving of rediscovery and for great reason. It's good. This TT features an isolated score track featuring Williams' tender score and a good commentary by Nick Redman and Paul Seydor as well as the film's original trailer. (***1/2)
"All The King's Men (1949)" Starring Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, Mercedes McCambridge and John Derek Directed By Robert Rossen 1949/Not Rated/1 Hour 49 Minutes./1:33.1 Aspect Ratio. The stirring and memorable filim adapted from Robert Penn Warren's best selling novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize which told the tale of Willie Stark (Oscar Winner Broderick Crawford), a honest man of humble beginnings and good intentions who rises to power by nefarious means. Along for the wild ride are an earnest reporter (John Ireland), a classy society girl (Joanne Dru), and a too-clever-for-her-own-good political flack (Oscar Winner Mercedes McCambridge, who made her film debut with this film and steals the picture).
The film was later remade in 2006 featuring an all-star cast that featured Oscar winner Sean Penn, the late James Gandolfini, Patricia Clarkson, Oscar nominee Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Jude Law, Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley and Oscar Winner Sir Anthony Hopkins to which director Steven Zaillian claimed to have never seen this film and was a major misfire that boardered on overwraught melodrama at its 128 minute running time despite another great performance by Penn. This film is a great example as to why remakes go wrong and in trying to trump the original which was perfect as is. This film is a very solid film all round and very passionate in its' resolve. (*****) Sadly only an isolated music track and the theatrical trailer is all that's on board on this disc that's more deserving of that.
Where there you have it for this month! To recap the reviews!
- Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia/Thumbs Way Up!
- Equus/Thumbs up
- Fever Pitch/Marginal Thumbs up
- Conrack/Very strong Thumbs up
- All The King's Men/Thumbs Way Way Up!
Stay tuned for next round of Twilight Time reviews coming soon! All these great titles are available to order directly and exclusively through Screen Archives @ http://www1.screenarchives.com/index.cfm
Till next time!