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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, November 25th, 2019

Old 11-26-19, 04:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, November 25th, 2019

Konga (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

After conquering the drive-in market with I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) and proto-gore Grand Guignol in Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), producer Herman Cohen set his sights much higher with Konga (1961), an absurdly inadequate heir to the original King Kong. In its original advertising especially, Konga brazenly promised thrills along the lines of the 1933 classic ("Not since King Kong!" screamed the posters), but instead delivered a throwback to the cheap Monogram/PRC mad scientist pictures of the 1940s. This reviewer remembers being deeply disappointed seeing the film for the first time as a youngster. After impatiently sitting through the first 75 minutes of non-existent thrills, the Big Ape finally appeared during the last reel, brought to unconvincing life via crude visual effects that compare unfavorably even to Japanese monster movies of the same p...Read the entire review »

The 3-D Nudie-Cuties Collection (Blu-ray)
by Jesse Skeen

As a lover of all things 3D and also of vintage sleaze, this was one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Let's see if it meets my expectations:

The first feature on this disc is The Bellboy and the Playgirls dated 1961. This is known for being an early work of Francis Ford Coppola, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Most importantly, this movie is not entirely in 3D- only the last 13 minutes are. You might be a bit disappointed not knowing that going in. Another important point that I wasn't aware of on first viewing is that it largely consists of footage lifted from an earlier German movie (shot not only in 2D but also black and white), dubbed in English and with new American material to pad it out and ultimately make it even more confusing. Th...Read the entire review »

The Far Country (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

The Far Country (1954) was the sixth collaboration (and fourth Western) of director Anthony Mann and actor James Stewart, following Winchester 73 (1950), Bend of the River (1952), Thunder Bay, The Naked Spur (both 1953), and The Glenn Miller Story (1954). Except for Winchester 73, because of its unusual plot and the fact that it's the only one in black-and-white, the Mann-Stewart Westerns tend to run together, at least in this reviewer's mind. In all of them Stewart plays a loner, even when partnered with a sidekick, as here, and psychologically troubled, often obsessive and vengeful, in movies than paralleled his dark characters for Alfred Hitchcock in the late- 40s through 50s.

In The Far Country, Stewart plays another hard man, this time in the pitiless Yukon, where decent people have no place and "frontier justice" shows no mercy. So har...Read the entire review »

The Man Between (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

Following the tremendous critical and commercial success of Casablanca (1942), Warner Bros. tried to recapture that magic in several subsequent productions, most obviously Passage to Marseilles (1944), which again was directed by Michael Curtiz, featured a score by Max Steiner, and starred Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and others from Casablanca, though with French star Mich le Morgan in Ingrid Bergman's part. It's lavishly produced and not exactly terrible, but it had none of Casablanca's magic; it's hopeless flashback-within-a-flashback-within-a-flashback script so ludicrous it became the subject of parody.

Director-producer Carol Reed's The Man Between (1953) seems to be up to something similar, in this case vainly trying to repeat his earlier success with The Third Man (1949), one of the greatest movies of all-time. That ...Read the entire review »

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