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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, July 29th, 2019

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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, July 29th, 2019

Old 07-30-19, 04:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, July 29th, 2019

Highly Recommended
The Silent Partner (Blu-ray)
<small>by Stuart Galbraith IV</small><hr />

An exemplary crime thriller, The Silent Partner (1978) is a far better movie than its Canadian-tax-shelter-movie* trappings suggest. Adapted by Curtis Hanson from a 1969 Danish thriller called Think of a Number (T nk p et tal) from Anders Bodelsen's same-named novel, it has a strong story made even better by subtle writing, directing, and acting choices.

Miles Cullen (Elliott Gould) is a teller at a bank located in Toronto's Eaton Centre (a real shopping mall that opened in 1977). At closing time, Miles stumbles upon a discarded hold-up note, and shortly after notices a Salvation Army-type mall Santa Claus holding a sign with the same distinctive, hand-written "G." The Santa has positioned himself near the escalator, with a clear view of the bank near...Read the entire review »

Madame X (Blu-ray)
<small>by Stuart Galbraith IV</small><hr />

Until its problematic climax, Madame X (1966), an adaptation of Alexandre Bisson's 1908 French play Le Femme X that had already been filmed at least eight times for the movies, is, even by 1966 standards, an old-fashioned, even classical "weepie," the type of which producer Ross Hunter excelled. A former actor, Hunter produced movies of all types but came to specialize, concurrently, in romantic comedies and melodramas, producing hit pictures that were among Universal's biggest successes of the 1950s.

Critics tend to ascribe the greatness of Ross-produced melodramas like Magnificent Obsession (1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955), and Imitation of Life (1959), exclusively to the director of those films, Douglas Sirk. While Sirk certainly greatly enhanced those pictures, a compelling case could be made that Hunter, rather than Sirk, was their true auteur. In in just ...Read the entire review »

 

Recommended
Lost in Space - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
<small>by Stuart Galbraith IV</small><hr />

The original Lost in Space series (1965-68) was a maddening show, even for many kids watching it when it was new or during the glory days of rerun syndication. Producer-creator Irwin Allen was a master pitchman: the first few episodes of all his TV shows of the period are action-packed spectacles overflowing with incredible eye-candy. Lost in Space's original pilot (minus Dr. Smith and the Robot) had the look of an expensive feature film, with as much breathless action packed into 50 minutes as four or five episodes of any ordinary series. Utilizing top talent culled from 20th Century-Fox and elsewhere, the set design (e.g., the Jupiter 2), props (e.g., the Robot), the music (mostly by John Williams) and especially the special visual effects were all first-rate.

But Allen couldn't tell a good script from a bad one. Unlike the producers of the nearly concurrent Star Trek, ...Read the entire review »


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