A critically acclaimed film that won a total of eight 1970 Academy Awards (including Best Picture) Patton is a riveting portrait of one of the 20th century's greatest military geniuses. One of its Oscars went to George C. Scott for this triumphant portrayal of George Patton the only Allied general truly feared by the Nazis. Charismatic and flamboyant Patton designed his own uniforms sported ivory-handled six-shooters and believed he was a warrior in past lives. He outmaneuv
The Blue Max is highly unusual among Hollywood films, not just for being a large-scale drama set during the generally cinematically overlooked Great War, but in concentrating upon air combat as seen entirely from the German point of view. The story focuses on a lower-class officer, Bruno Stachel (George Peppard), and his obsessive quest to win a Blue Max, a medal awarded for shooting down 20 enemy aircraft. Around this are built subplots concerning a propaganda campaign by James Mason's pragmatic general, rivalry with a fellow officer (Jeremy Kemp), and a love affair with a decadent countess (Ursula Andress) As directed by John Guillermin (best known for 1974's The Towering Inferno), the film's main assets are epic production values, great flying scenes and stunning dogfights. The weak point is the sometimes ponderous character drama, not helped by Peppard who is too lightweight an actor to convince as the driven anti-hero. Clearly influenced by Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1958), The Blue Max is a cold, cynical drama offering a visually breathtaking portrait of a stultified society tearing itself apart during the final months of the Great War. On the DVD: The Blue Max DVD's only extra is a very grainy original trailer presented at 1.77:1. However, for the first time the film itself is complete to buy: the reel which was missing from the widescreen video release being restored here. Also included is the original intermission music. The film is presented anamorphically enhanced at a ratio approximating the original 2.35:1 CinemaScope, though some shots clearly have details cropped at the sides of the frame. Picture quality is good with an acceptable level of grain, which increases significantly during the brief back projection shots. There is a little print damage, but nothing too distracting and the aerial photography itself looks wonderful. The four-channel Dolby Prologic sound is excellent for a film of this age, with Jerry Goldsmith's superb score having richness and clarity and providing almost all the emotional impact. --Gary S Dalkin
Lieutenant Goodbody (Crawford) has absolutely no idea how to lead his British regiment in the North African battlefield of WWII. But what he lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm. And when he's ordered to build a cricket playing field 100 miles behind enemy lines he's determined to succeed even if this means most of his men are killed in the process. Abandoned by his superiors betrayed by his inferiors and finally captured by Nazis it's going to take more than his unre
Shout at the Devil was Roger Moore's second starring role in an adaptation of one Wilbur Smith's bestselling African adventures (the first being 1974's Gold, also directed by Peter Hunt). Taking its mixture of comedy and drama, and part of its plot, from The African Queen the movie finds Moore's decent, upright Englishman teamed with Lee Marvin--in a variation on his Cat Ballou drunken brawler comedy persona--fighting the Germans in colonial East Africa at the beginning of the Great War. Moore plays it straight and makes a most heroic and handsome matinee idol hero. Produced between Moore's second and third outings as Bond, Shout at the Devil was staffed with various 007 regulars, including Hunt who was had edited the first three and directed On Her Majesty's Secret Service, title designer Maurice Binder and director John Glen. It even has a ticking clock-gigantic explosion finale. This is an exciting, beautifully shot escapade which deserves to be much better known. On the DVD: The original Panavision 2.35:1 image is incorrectly letterboxed at around 2:1, cropping so much picture information that the credits disappear at either side of the screen. The print used is of very variable quality, with some scenes looking fine, others washed out and lacking detail, with long shots often being slightly out of focus. Adding to the problems is the abysmal digital encoding which, despite anamorphic enhancement, has left many scenes swarming with compression artefacts. The sound is adequate mono. Unfortunately this disc uses a heavily re-edited and shortened version of the film--cut from 147 to 119 minutes following poor reviews--and the losses in continuity, especially in the early part of the film are very noticeable. The extras are the original trailer, which reveals the entire plot right up to and including the ending, comprehensive filmographies of Marvin, Moore and Hunt, and a seven-minute compilation of posters and publicity stills set to the main themes from Maurice Jarre's score. --Gary S Dalkin
15-year-old Mike takes a job at the local swimming baths, where he becomes obsessed with an attractive young woman, Susan, who works there as an attendant.
One of the greatest screen biographies ever produced, Patton is a monumental film that won seven Academy Awards and gave George C Scott the greatest role of his career. It was released in 1970 when protest against the Vietnam War still raged in the States and abroad. Inevitably, many critics and filmgoers struggled to reconcile the events of the day with the film's glorification of US General George S Patton as a crazy-brave genius of World War II; how could a film so huge in scope and so fascinated by its subject be considered an anti-war film? The simple truth is that it's not--Patton is less about World War II than about the rise and fall of a man whose life was literally defined by war and who felt lost and lonely without the grand-scale pursuit of an enemy. George C Scott embodies his role so fully, so convincingly, that we can't help but be drawn to and fascinated by Patton as a man who is simultaneously bound for hell and glory. The film's opening monologue alone is a masterful display of acting and character analysis and everything that follows is sheer brilliance on the part of Scott and director Franklin J Schaffner, aided in no small part by composer Jerry Goldsmith's masterfully understated score. Filmed on an epic scale at literally dozens of European locations, Patton does not embrace war as a noble pursuit, nor does it deny the reality of war as a breeding ground for heroes. Through the awesome achievement of Scott's performance and the film's grand ambition, General Patton shows all the complexities of a man who accepted his role in life and (like Scott) played it to the hilt. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.comOn the DVD: The widescreen print of the movie (which was originally filmed using a super-wide 70mm process called "Dimension 150") is handsomely presented on the first disc, with a remastered Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. It is accompanied by a rather dry "Audio essay on the historical Patton" read by the president and founder of the General George S. Patton Jr. historical society. The second, supplementary disc carries a new and impressive 50-minute "making-of" documentary, with significant contributions from Fox president Richard Zanuck, as well as composer Jerry Goldsmith and Oliver Stone. Director Franklin J. Schaffner (who died in 1989) and star George C. Scott are heard in interviews from 1970. In the documentary, Stone provocatively complains that Patton glorified war and that President Nixon's enthusiasm for the movie was directly responsible for his decision to invade Cambodia. Also on this disc, in a separate audio-only track, is Jerry Goldsmith's magnificent music score--one of his greatest achievements--heard complete with studio session takes for the famous "Echoplex" trumpet figures. --Mark Walker
Director Michael Ritchie's (The Golden Child) debut film is a tense and taut look at the world of Olympic skiing. Robert Redford is the hero a handsome loner from Idaho Springs Colorado bent on making it to the top of the heap. As the pressure and tension build Redford handles himself well learning in the process how fleeting and lonely fame can be. Redford is well cast as the all American boy chasing his dream and Gene Hackman is excellent as the tough and demanding American sk
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