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DVD Talk reviews for Friday, August 30th, 2019

Old 08-31-19, 03:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Friday, August 30th, 2019

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Razzia sur la chnouf (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

More classic French films from Kino Lorber, this time not from Studio Canal but from the Gaumont catalog. Undoubtedly made in response to the huge success of Touchez pas au grisbi the year before, Razzia sur la chnouf ("Raid on the Dope," 1955) again stars Jean Gabin, with Lino Ventura, who had a supporting part in Grisbi, more prominent here.

The film is not at all a rehash. Rather, it's more of an expos of France's drug trade, a bit less original but slickly made and, for its time, quite explicit. What's most interesting about the picture is how it depicts the strict hierarchy of gangsters and pushers, and how it's managed much like any other business - in this anticipating elements so strong in Francis Coppola's later The Godfather (1972). Also, in Razzia a third-act character is a desperate, pitiful addict played by Lila Kedrova, whose character clings to Gabi...Read the entire review »

 

Highly Recommended
One Sings, The Other Doesn't: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)
by Justin Remer

The Movie:

Agn s Varda's 1977 drama, One Sings, The Other Doesn't (L'une chante, l'autre pas), takes an episodic look at a decade and a half in the life of two young women who superficially have little in common, but who continually find comfort and strength from each other. It's tempting to call it a self-conscious attempt to make a new kind of "women's picture." It doesn't skimp on the melodrama one might associate with this kind of flick, but One Sings couches its plot in the hard realities that women often have to face: the struggle over reproductive rights, single motherhood, and the power inequality in male-female relationships.

It's a film that's overtly feminist in ways that are still resonant and in some ways that fee...Read the entire review »

 

Recommended
Man Without a Star (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

Long before the term "high-concept" movie came into use, Hollywood was already making them. The practice kicked into high gear in the 1950s, especially at Universal-International, a studio hitherto known primarily for its B-movies, ground out like sausages. That began to change when agent Lew Wasserman negotiated a contract on behalf of actor James Stewart for Winchester '73 and Harvey in which Stewart, in lieu of his $200,000/picture fee, was instead paid 50% of the profits. The Anthony Mann Western especially was a huge hit, Stewart eventually earning three times his usual asking price. Other stars soon followed suit.

Man Without a Star (1955) came together under similar circumstances. Star Kirk Douglas, too big a name for Universal under normal circumstances, likewise agreed to make the film for a percentage, and reportedly earned upwards of a million bucks. That same year he...Read the entire review »

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