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1. The Shoes of the Fisherman
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2. The Jazz Singer
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1. The Shoes of the Fisherman
Director: Michael Anderson
list price: $14.95
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Asin: B00003OSTW
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4240
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Description

All eyes are focused on the Vatican, hoping to see the traditional puffs of white smoke that signal the selection of the next Pope. But this time, much more is at stake. The new pontiff may be the only person who can bring peace to a world hovering on the edge of nuclear nightmare. Year: 1968 Director: Michael Anderson Starring: Anthony Quinn, Oskar Werner, David Janssen, Vittorio De Sica, Leo McKern, Sir John Gielgud ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Really interesting movie about the papacy, inner Vatican turmoil, philosophical aspects of Christianity, and maintaining your principles in a morally complex, often violent world. That might sound off-putting, but it's anchored by exceptionally strong, moving performances by the late Anthony Quinn, Leo Mckern, Oskar Werner, and others. Kind of old-school Hollywood, with bittersweet rewards--it's pleasing in the manner of 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' or 'Ben Hur.' It looks and acts like a movie made in the late 60's, but that's a definite plus in my view. Leonard Maltin's review is unnecessarily harsh--he must have been having a bad day. Or sore at the pope or something. Don't let it deter you from enjoying a very colorful, well-acted, thoughtful and old-fashioned movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Authenic Christian Revolution of a Russian Pope
This 1968 film, based on Morris West's novel, has Anthony Quinn as Kiril Lakota, released after twenty years in a Siberian work camp to become a Cardinal and then Pope at a time when the Soviet Union and a starving People's Republic of China are about to go to war. The idea that the first non-Italian pope in centuries would be from a Communist country certainly seems prophetic today. Lakota is released by the Soviet Premier (Laurence Olivier), who is taking a chance that a sympathetic Vatican might tip the balance towards peace. Lakota emerges from imprisonment as something of a saint, admired by the Elder Pope (John Gielgud) for having refused to deny the faith even when seven priests were brought before him and shot.

Although the obvious comparison is to John Paul II, Quinn's pontiff is actually more like John Paul I, who was considered a "pastoral" Pope, capable of relating to the people more on the level of a parish priest. When he is elected and has to change into his papal robes, he introduces himself to his new valet saying simply,"I am Kiril Lakota." The politically charged atmosphere is a bit melodramatic, but the strength of this film is in its portrait of the inner workings of the Vatican where both politics and personalities come into play. My favorite scene is when the college of Cardinals are deadlocked, repeated votes having been "insufficient for election," and one of the elder statesmen of the church stands up to declare his belief that God has sent them the man intended to be the next Pope. With growing horror, Lakota watches as the momentum builds for his stunning election (Now if somebody could just explain to me, when reporter David Janssen announces "They have elected a Russian Pope" is the word "Russia" an adjective or a noun in that sentence? This has been driving me crazy for other 30 years).

Of the two subplots the romantic estrangement of Dan Janssen, the reporter covering the Vatican and his doctor wife, Barbara Jefford, is trivial soap opera nonsense, although it does lead to a nice scene where the Pope sneaks out of the Vatican disguised as an ordinary priest. The doctor sends him to the pharmacy for medicine and is stunned when he returns and is able to do prayers in Hebrew over the dying man. The other, with Oskar Werner as Father David Telemond, is much more provocative and provides an interesting counter-point to the main story line. Telemond has written several books, none of them published, dealing with what he calls the "Cosmic Christ." A Pontifical Commission is investigating his writings as being heretical. Certainly there is a sense in which this film, in the wake of the Vatican II Council, was trying to confront the Catholic Church with certain issues. Ultimately "The Shoes of the Fisherman" is a much more subversive film than "The Last Temptation of Christ."

Quinn's dignified performance holds "The Shoes of the Fisherman" together, aided by Leo McKern and Vittorio De Sica as a pair of Cardinals seated high in the Church hierarchy. This is not a great film by any means, but it is certainly thoughtful even without the provocative final scene in which the new pope proposes to actually implement "the authentic Christian revolution: work for all, bread for all, dignity for all men." Certainly it treats it characters and its subject matter with great seriousness. Michael Anderson's direction is hampered by the film's 157 minute length, but it is still worth the viewing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quinn and Werner make this a winner
This epic film has a few bumpy moments, but overall, it's vastly entertaining, with its fascinating cast, interesting premise, excellent cinematography and art direction.
Anthony Quinn is fabulous as the Russian Pope. It's a powerful portrayal, and not the type of role one would normally associate with him. Oskar Werner, in a part based on Teilhard de Chardin, is absolutely superb.

Other notable performances come from Laurence Olivier (as the Soviet Premier), John Gielgud (former Pope), Leo McKern and Vittorio de Sica (Cardinals), and Arnoldo Foa (the Pope's valet).
The part of a journalist (David Janssen), is used as a narrator, to move the plot along, and explain certain Vatican procedures, like how a new Pope is elected. I only wish less time had been spent on his petty romantic problems...the film feels more like an "Airport" movie while these scenes are taking place.

This is a sprawling 60's Hollywood treatment of Morris West's best seller, and I think it succeeds. It's thought-provoking, good for several viewings, and Quinn and Werner are riveting.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Movie Every Religious Person Should See
This movie was great and I am not a Catholic, I am a Protestant minister. Even though this was just a novel and pure fiction, I learned more about the inner workings of the Catholic Church than I had ever learned from my years of reading about all the "Bad Things" in the history of the Catholic Church. Protestant history, and no other religion's history is "pure white" either. I'm talking about such things and the Inquisition burnings at the stake, and other hedious torture methods that only a feind from hell could think of.

See this movie, meditate on it, and realize the horrendous impack all religions have on Planet Earth for both good and bad. It has been said that if you know only one religion, you really don't know much about any religion--- I agree!

See the struggle in the Church to know God, to understand God's will, to choose its leaders, to be loyal to its leaders, to reach conclusion about all moral, ethical, and social questions. All religions go thru this same process to one degree or another, even your local church. Compare your Minister and the problems in your Church to the the problems of the Pope and the Catholic Church. They are not really all that different. We all have a duty and a tremendous responsibility resting on our shoulders.. We must try to understand each other, love one another, forgive one another, pray for each other, and work together in every way possible......

.....If we will do this then we can help Planet Earth and its people take a "Quantum Leap" up and forward in spiritual consciousness and awareness - where The Word(or Love) becomes Flesh in us - which will usher in a New Day, a New Level of the Kingdom Of God On Earth, that is beyond words to describe. Planet Earth People, are you with me, will you join me in this glorious effort? We all have a Divine Mission and Destiny to fulfill while on Planet Earth. Ken Pamplin, 4504 N.W. 11th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73127

5-0 out of 5 stars Favorite Movie
This film is inspirational. The scene where the new Pope is proclaimed, against his wishes, he only wants a humble servent life is excellant. To watch Anthony Quinn's expression change when he hears that the Cardinals are talking of him is a classic. lso, his roaming the streets of Rome in a black cassock shows is humanity, wanting to get to know his flock. I think is conseling David Jansen's wife is important. ... Read more


2. The Jazz Singer
Director: Richard Fleischer
list price: $14.98
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Asin: 6302906644
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 467
Average Customer Review: 3.87 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Not much jazz spoken in this 1980 version of the Jolson classic, directed by Richard Fleischer(The Vikings) and starring a very tentative Neil Diamond as a cantor's son who would rather sing commercially than in a synagogue. The soundtrack is tedious, the portrait of L.A.'s music industry preposterous, and Diamond (despite his talents as a singer-songwriter in the real world) can't help but look like a speck on the wall in the presence of Laurence Olivier, who plays his father. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (45)

4-0 out of 5 stars Diamond's Music, Olivier's Presence, OH MAMMY!
This review refers to the VHS(1989 paramount) edition of this film....
At the 1927-1928 (First) Academy Awards Presentation "The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolsen picked up a special award for pioneering the "Talkies". Obviously sound has come alooooong way since then and this 1980 modern day remake makes good use of it.
Jess Robinovitch(Neil Diamond)is a 5th generation Jewish cantor,tied to his role in the temple in the lower east side of New York. . His voice is phenominal(of course),he writes his own music, ballads mostly and has a chance to strike out on his own in Los Angeles.
He leaves for L.A. against the wishes of father, the 4th generation cantor(Laurence Olivier), and his wife, who likes things just the way they are.
It will take a while to achieve super stardom(at least a month!), but with the help of his new manager Molly(Lucie Arnaz),it is accomplished!The problem is his family is unhappy with the situation, his wife liked life when it was just them, his father is torn up about his son going against tradtion.Jess is having trouble coming to terms with the downfall of his relationship with his father. Molly feels responsible for the rift. Get your Kleenex ready as they work this out.
Diamond's soundtrack is wonderful. It includes "Love on the Rocks" and "Hello Again".Sir Olivier has not lost his touch, He is still the master. The British legend plays the Jewish cantor steeped in tradtion like he was born to the part, his performance alone is worth the watch.
The VHS is in hi-fi stereo, Dolby Surround, which enhances this musical.
Need a nice cry? This is the one!.......Laurie

2-0 out of 5 stars For Diamond Music Fans Only
If you are a fan of Neil Diamond's music, then you will no doubt enjoy this movie.

Purely as a movie, however, this isn't very good. Cliched and schmaltzy, most of the scenes seem strung together as an excuse to fill time between musical numbers. The story, as borrowed from the original Jolson film: son of a cantor wants to sing popular music instead of following in his father's footsteps.

Neither Diamond nor Arnaz are going to win Oscars anytime soon -- in fact, Diamond demonstrates that, as an actor, he's a heck of a singer. The only shining performance in this movie is that of the incomparable Olivier, who proves that he can play any role given to him impeccably, no matter how dopey the surroundings.

If you are expecting any meat or substance to this movie, forget it. The music IS good enough to sit through once, which is why it gets two stars from me, but the only reason I own it is because my wife simply adores Diamond's music.

Buy the soundtrack, if you like it, but I would avoid the film itself. The DVD, meanwhile, is nothing special; the print is average at best, and there are no extra features worth discussing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Luci Arnaz- remove this from your resume
Ugh. Poor plot development and cardboard characters. For example, he loves his wife sooooo much and discards her sooooo easily? Not likely. Lucie Arnaz, a wonderful personality and normally "good" actress is a cartoon character. Who could fall in love with Neil Diamond with all his angst and schmaltzy whining? Not I, that's for sure.

3-0 out of 5 stars a bad movie with great music
This is not a great adaptation of the Jazz singer,the acting is mediocre,the progress of the plot is unrealistic,but Neil Diamond`s great music makes it worth watching.I used to have the soundtrack to this movie,i enjoyed it a great deal.

5-0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL!
I can't understand why this movie was so poorly accepted. It was a well acted, well directed film. ... Read more


3. Rebecca
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
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Asin: 6301670140
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 774
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Rebecca is an ageless, timeless adult movie about a woman who marries a widower but fears she lives in the shadow of her predecessor. This was Hitchcock's first American feature, and it garnered the Best Picture statue at the 1941 Academy Awards. In today's films, most twists and surprises are ridiculous or just gratuitous, so it's sobering to look back on this film where every revelation not only shocks, but makes organic sense with the story line. Laurence Olivier is dashing and weak, fierce and cowed. Joan Fontaine is strong yet submissive, defiant yet accommodating. There isn't a false moment or misstep, but the film must have killed the employment outlook of any women named Danvers for about 20 years. Brilliant stuff. --Keith Simanton ... Read more

Reviews (115)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gothic Greatness
From the opening shots and line about dreaming of a visit to Manderly again, to the final shots of Mrs. Danvers and the flames, Alfred Hitchcock creates a dark, eerie atmosphere that will remain with the viewer every time you see the film. Although Rebecca is never seen, her presence is felt throughout the entire movie. Laurence Olivier, as the late Rebecca's tortured husband is good, although I think his moods and personal torture are played too strongly. Joan Fontaine, never an actress I have especially admired, is surprisingly excellent as Olivier's new, unnamed, naive wife, thrust into a world she is unprepared to deal with. But the greatest performance of the film belongs to Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers, Rebecca's housekeeper, and consequently, Fontaine's nemesis. With her daunting profile and posture, and her chilling delivery of lines, she creates one of the most memorable film characters I have ever seen. With its winding plot, terrific performances, and the direction of Alfred Hitchcock creating tension and atmosphere on a Gothic scale, Rebecca is one of the greater suspense films I have ever seen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Suspense
The Best Picture in 1940 and an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's famous novel. It is not at all surprising this movie won two Academy Awards and nine other nominations. Through the masterful direction of Alfred Hitchcock, you will be kept in complete suspense. The newly restored version from the original negatives is presented full-frame and has been digitally mastered for optimum picture and sound. The result is a sumptuous black-and-white film that is better than I have ever seen it before. They do say this movie gets better each time you watch it, and I must agree.

The opening scenes convince you that this is going to be quite a forbidding story. A meandering path overgrown with foliage and a ghostly manor (Manderley) appears out of the Cornwall, England mist. The gothic quality is only the stage for a love story haunted by the memory of Rebecca. While this is mostly filled with suspense and mystery, there are a few moments of humor.

While a young woman (Joan Fontaine) is vacationing in the South of France as a ladies companion, she meets a wealthy widower Maxim de Winter (Lawrence Olivier). His wife, Rebecca is said to have died in a boating accident. They fall in love, marry and then he takes her home to Manderley. She is ill prepared for such a position in society and stumbles through her days trying to adapt as best she can.

"Rebecca" is the theme of this movie, yet the heroine is the second rather timid Mrs. de Winter when she rises to the occasion and takes on this ghost who haunts her husband. Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) manages the manor and seeks to keep the first Mrs. de Winter's memory alive in an almost obsessive way. She is cold and has no regard for Maxim's new wife's feelings. Judith Anderson is just magnificent in her role and her character is in a way is Rebecca's ghost personified.

The conclusion is surprising as we find out how Maxim really feels and the story unfolds one detail at a time to finish with a satisfying conclusion. You will never once think these characters are actors, they are their characters from start to finish.

You must watch this movie in complete darkness with just a few candles burning for it to be just slightly scary. One of my all-time favorite movies. Definitely worth owning!

5-0 out of 5 stars Yummy Classic Movie
I have seen all of Hitchcock's American work. If you are familiar with his movies, you probably agree that, with the exception of "Family Plot", his films are delicious brain food! Rebecca is a beautiful, mysterious and tragic piece. Olivier and Fontaine are at the peak of their talent and beauty. By the way, if you like Joan Fontaine in this film, her performance is equally good in Hitchcock's Suspicion, with Cary Grant. Why aren't most modern actors this good, hmmm? Hey Mr. Soderbergh, please don't remake this one! There's a reason why we call them 'Classic'.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic shines.
A stunning transfer from Criterion. "Rebecca" remains one of the finest films of the 1940's, and features Joan Fontaine as the second mistress of Manderley, forever living in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor. Lawrence Olivier is perhaps detached in his performance, but nevertheless embodies the master of Manderley as few others of his generation could. "Rebecca" also contains the paranoia, suspense, and dreamlike mood that would color much of director Alfred Hitchcock's later work. Criterion continues to put the major DVD distributors to shame with its transfers of old films, and once again proves that although higher in price, their DVD's are worth every penny.

5-0 out of 5 stars "We can never go back to Manderley again"
Joan Fontaine laments as she opens the film, obviously several years removed from her time at the lush, oversized estate, which recalls "Tara" from Gone With the Wind as a residence which is actually also a character in the movie. People remember the houses from these two films almost more than the characters. No coincidence that both films were produced by the ridiculously meticulous David O. Selznick. GWtW was of course the most popular film of all time, so Selznick figured he had the right idea about how to make a film. Details, right down to the last corner.

Alfred Hitchcock had made a career in London making films with complete autonomy. He basically called all the shots. When he got to America, he signed a four movie deal with Selznick. Rebecca is the first and best of the three. (no, not a mistake, I'll explain later) Rebecca was the only film by Hitchcock to win best picture from the Academy, although Hitch did not win best director. The film was basically a tug of war between producer and director. Selznick wanted the book followed religiously, Hitch wanted to take the basic idea of the book and add his own touches. Selznick wouldn't allow it, so Hitch was forced to make the film exactly by the book.

The film stars Fontaine as an unnamed young woman who while working as a paid companion for the unbearable Mrs. Van Hopper (Florence Bates), she meets and falls in love with the brooding Maxim de Winter (Lawrence Olivier). They marry after a quick courtship and go "home" to Manderley, Olivier's mammoth estate. Fontaine is very young and has no idea what she is getting into, especially when it dawns on her that Olivier's late first wife, Rebecca, still dominates the house. Her stationery, napkins, and rituals are still present, and Fontaine feels she has no chance against this woman.

The other problem in the house is the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson),who creeps around the house, showing up at any time to frighten Fontaine. She is still obsessed with Rebecca, still keeps Rebecca's old room the same way, hairbrush at the correct angle on the vanity. She makes Fontaine feel she will never measure up, will never be a great lady of Manderley, something that Mrs. Van Hopper tried to tell her as well. Everyone and everything in the house revolves around this dead Rebecca, so much so that Fontaine almost can't live through it.

Rebecca never appears in the film, yet it is amazing how much of a character she is. When Fontaine tries to dress up for a ball, Danvers suggests a portrait on the wall which is supposed to be a long dead relative of Maxims. Of course, when Fontaine wears the dress, she realizes from Maxim's reaction that the woman and the dress were Rebecca and that she just reminded him of her.

Eventually the film goes into Rebecca's death in some detail. We never know for sure that we know all the details of the death, but it doesn't really matter. By the end of the movie, all the major characters in the film will have been changed. Some will have been destroyed forever.

Criterion has done a great job with this film, giving us a great transfer, as always, along with a superb commentary. The second disc features trailers, interviews with Fontaine and Anderson, making of featurettes, examples of Selznick's letters and his attention to detail, and how maddening it got for the master.

By the way, Selznick got three films out of Hitchcock. They were Rebecca, Spellbound, and The Paradine Case. Well, he really got four, but he gave one of them to RKO studios because he was unhappy with the story and he thought it would interest no one. What was the film Selznick gave away? It was Hitch's best film of all time in my opinion--Notorious. What a waste it would have been had Selznick been allowed to ruin Hitch's masterpiece. ... Read more


4. Wuthering Heights
Director: William Wyler
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 6302278929
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1416
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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One of the most compelling tragic romances ever captured on film, Wuthering Heights is an exquisite tale of doomed love and miscalculated intentions. Though only half of Emily Bronte's classic tale of Heathcliff and Catherine was filmed by director William Wyler, it lacks for nothing.

The story begins when a Yorkshire gentleman farmer brings home a raggedy gypsy boy, Heathcliff, and raises him as his son. The boy grows to love his stepsister Catherine, with catastrophic results. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon were perfectly cast as the mismatched lovers, with Olivier brooding and despairing, Oberon ethereal and enchanting. This won cinematographer Gregg Toland a much-deserved Oscar for his haunting and evocative depiction of mid-19th century English moors. (Quite a trick, as this was shot in California!) Though nominated for seven otherOscars, it won none of them, as it was released in 1939, one of the best years in Hollywood history and the same year as Gone with the Wind. Interestingly, the script was written by Charles MacArthurand Ben Hecht, best known for their witty 1931 flick, The Front Page. --Rochelle O'Gorman ... Read more

Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars How Can You NOT Like This Movie?!
You can never compare the movie to the book since a movie can't possibly incorporate ALL of the text from the author! William Wyler put together an excellent cast, fantastic, dark, moody scenes and beautiful music to turn out this brilliant film. The handsome and brooding Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), the ravishing and haughty Cathy (Merle Oberon) along with the stoic, dull Edgar (David Niven)and the rebellious and pathetic Isabel (Geraldine Fitzgerald) turn this into one of the most romantic, haunting love stories ever.

This movie will forever be considered, for me, the epitome of the romantic film. When Heathcliff carries Cathy to the window to look upon the moors one last time as she's dying, my heart swells and tears fill my eyes. It's simply stunning!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incomparable Feat of Cinematic Storytelling
I had the good fortune of seeing this film on a big screen at a New York cinema in the early seventies. Viewing a master print in a darkened theatre was one of the all-time highlights of my movie-going experiences. Yes, this is a truncated version of the novel, which I would urge anyone who hasn't already done so to read. It is on my personal top ten list for greatest novels ever. In my opinion this film is far superior to GWTW, which took home the oscar for best-picture in '39. Basically this is due to the source material. Wuthering Heights is great literature. GWTW was a best-seller, but not what one could call great literature. Catherine and Heathcliffe belong in the same literary company as Abelarde and Heloise, Dante's Paolo and Francessa, and Romeo and Juliet. I cant think of anyone who could have been better cast as Heathcliffe than Olivier. Merle Oberon also made for a highly believable Catherine. Flora Robeson also delivers a flawless performance. This is William Wyler's masterpiece. I didn't know until reading some of these reviews that this was filmed in California. I was certain it had to have been filmed on the English moors. If you want to see genius at work, by all means buy the video or the DVD. And if you ever get the chance to see it on a big screen, seize the opportunity. I'm not ordinarily the sentimental type. I can only recall two occasions when I openly wept at the conclusion of a movie. The first was when I saw "Old Yeller" at about eight-years-of-age, the second when I saw Wuthering Heights. I have seen it about five times since and I'll be damned if it doesn't always have the same impact.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure movie magic
Does it really matter that this was released in 1939? What about the cheap production values, weak set construction, dated acting, primitive cinematography and low-budget sound editing? No, the fact is that it still can't be done better today. Olivier, Oberon, Niven and Wyler made a movie masterpiece that stands up remarkably well today despite numerous TV broadcasts and big budget remakes. The original is still the best. Watch for yourself. Within just a few minutes you won't be able to stop.

5-0 out of 5 stars I am torn apart by my desire for you
"Not even you, Cathy, could keep us apart," says Heathcliff. And thus is the ill-fated romance of two childhood friends who end up with different paths in life yet are kept from true happiness because of the void left by the absence of the other. The passionate acting of the handsome Laurence Olivier is supplemented with a talented supporting cast, especially Geraldine Fitzgerald, who plays exquisitely the part of Isabella, the long-suffering wife of Heathcliff who wants her husband to love her as she is and who will never get her wish because he is consumed with passionate desire for her sister. Having read the original novel by Emily Brontë, I would consider this possibly the greatest romance I've ever seen as such passionate longing is rarely seen. "I cannot live without my life. I cannot die without my soul," says the tortured Heathcliff about his Cathy. 10/10. A+.

5-0 out of 5 stars Olivier at his BEST.
Perhaps I'm biased...I'm absolutely in love with Laurence Olivier's performance in any given role--defintely my favourite actour. But along with Max DeWinter in Rebecca, this is his greatest role. After a string of unsuccessful Hollywood pictures, he lands as Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's classic pre-victorian novel. As I got from reading the book, the story is creepy + drawn out, yet a superb portrait of everything I believe it intended to be--the "unrequited love" between Cathy and Heathcliff. It's definetely my most favourite love story in literature, surpassing even that of Rhett + Scarlett. Olivier's performance is genius. Nothing short of that. The cinematography is a perfect capture as every frame captures the tale to perfection. I shudder to think of Vivien Leigh as Cathy...yes, Vivien would have to be my favourite actress, but I worry that it would've become trapped in the "Larry + Vivien" slot of time..tsk. No less, I enjoy Merle Oberon's performance, however it's not what makes this the grand film that it is. Watch this, if for nothing else, to see the greatest cinematic performance from the greatest actour of the century, and for haunting cinematography. The b/w photography only captures the mood moreso. ... Read more


5. The Shoes of the Fisherman
Director: Michael Anderson
list price: $24.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304365993
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3442
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Really interesting movie about the papacy, inner Vatican turmoil, philosophical aspects of Christianity, and maintaining your principles in a morally complex, often violent world. That might sound off-putting, but it's anchored by exceptionally strong, moving performances by the late Anthony Quinn, Leo Mckern, Oskar Werner, and others. Kind of old-school Hollywood, with bittersweet rewards--it's pleasing in the manner of 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' or 'Ben Hur.' It looks and acts like a movie made in the late 60's, but that's a definite plus in my view. Leonard Maltin's review is unnecessarily harsh--he must have been having a bad day. Or sore at the pope or something. Don't let it deter you from enjoying a very colorful, well-acted, thoughtful and old-fashioned movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Authenic Christian Revolution of a Russian Pope
This 1968 film, based on Morris West's novel, has Anthony Quinn as Kiril Lakota, released after twenty years in a Siberian work camp to become a Cardinal and then Pope at a time when the Soviet Union and a starving People's Republic of China are about to go to war. The idea that the first non-Italian pope in centuries would be from a Communist country certainly seems prophetic today. Lakota is released by the Soviet Premier (Laurence Olivier), who is taking a chance that a sympathetic Vatican might tip the balance towards peace. Lakota emerges from imprisonment as something of a saint, admired by the Elder Pope (John Gielgud) for having refused to deny the faith even when seven priests were brought before him and shot.

Although the obvious comparison is to John Paul II, Quinn's pontiff is actually more like John Paul I, who was considered a "pastoral" Pope, capable of relating to the people more on the level of a parish priest. When he is elected and has to change into his papal robes, he introduces himself to his new valet saying simply,"I am Kiril Lakota." The politically charged atmosphere is a bit melodramatic, but the strength of this film is in its portrait of the inner workings of the Vatican where both politics and personalities come into play. My favorite scene is when the college of Cardinals are deadlocked, repeated votes having been "insufficient for election," and one of the elder statesmen of the church stands up to declare his belief that God has sent them the man intended to be the next Pope. With growing horror, Lakota watches as the momentum builds for his stunning election (Now if somebody could just explain to me, when reporter David Janssen announces "They have elected a Russian Pope" is the word "Russia" an adjective or a noun in that sentence? This has been driving me crazy for other 30 years).

Of the two subplots the romantic estrangement of Dan Janssen, the reporter covering the Vatican and his doctor wife, Barbara Jefford, is trivial soap opera nonsense, although it does lead to a nice scene where the Pope sneaks out of the Vatican disguised as an ordinary priest. The doctor sends him to the pharmacy for medicine and is stunned when he returns and is able to do prayers in Hebrew over the dying man. The other, with Oskar Werner as Father David Telemond, is much more provocative and provides an interesting counter-point to the main story line. Telemond has written several books, none of them published, dealing with what he calls the "Cosmic Christ." A Pontifical Commission is investigating his writings as being heretical. Certainly there is a sense in which this film, in the wake of the Vatican II Council, was trying to confront the Catholic Church with certain issues. Ultimately "The Shoes of the Fisherman" is a much more subversive film than "The Last Temptation of Christ."

Quinn's dignified performance holds "The Shoes of the Fisherman" together, aided by Leo McKern and Vittorio De Sica as a pair of Cardinals seated high in the Church hierarchy. This is not a great film by any means, but it is certainly thoughtful even without the provocative final scene in which the new pope proposes to actually implement "the authentic Christian revolution: work for all, bread for all, dignity for all men." Certainly it treats it characters and its subject matter with great seriousness. Michael Anderson's direction is hampered by the film's 157 minute length, but it is still worth the viewing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quinn and Werner make this a winner
This epic film has a few bumpy moments, but overall, it's vastly entertaining, with its fascinating cast, interesting premise, excellent cinematography and art direction.
Anthony Quinn is fabulous as the Russian Pope. It's a powerful portrayal, and not the type of role one would normally associate with him. Oskar Werner, in a part based on Teilhard de Chardin, is absolutely superb.

Other notable performances come from Laurence Olivier (as the Soviet Premier), John Gielgud (former Pope), Leo McKern and Vittorio de Sica (Cardinals), and Arnoldo Foa (the Pope's valet).
The part of a journalist (David Janssen), is used as a narrator, to move the plot along, and explain certain Vatican procedures, like how a new Pope is elected. I only wish less time had been spent on his petty romantic problems...the film feels more like an "Airport" movie while these scenes are taking place.

This is a sprawling 60's Hollywood treatment of Morris West's best seller, and I think it succeeds. It's thought-provoking, good for several viewings, and Quinn and Werner are riveting.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Movie Every Religious Person Should See
This movie was great and I am not a Catholic, I am a Protestant minister. Even though this was just a novel and pure fiction, I learned more about the inner workings of the Catholic Church than I had ever learned from my years of reading about all the "Bad Things" in the history of the Catholic Church. Protestant history, and no other religion's history is "pure white" either. I'm talking about such things and the Inquisition burnings at the stake, and other hedious torture methods that only a feind from hell could think of.

See this movie, meditate on it, and realize the horrendous impack all religions have on Planet Earth for both good and bad. It has been said that if you know only one religion, you really don't know much about any religion--- I agree!

See the struggle in the Church to know God, to understand God's will, to choose its leaders, to be loyal to its leaders, to reach conclusion about all moral, ethical, and social questions. All religions go thru this same process to one degree or another, even your local church. Compare your Minister and the problems in your Church to the the problems of the Pope and the Catholic Church. They are not really all that different. We all have a duty and a tremendous responsibility resting on our shoulders.. We must try to understand each other, love one another, forgive one another, pray for each other, and work together in every way possible......

.....If we will do this then we can help Planet Earth and its people take a "Quantum Leap" up and forward in spiritual consciousness and awareness - where The Word(or Love) becomes Flesh in us - which will usher in a New Day, a New Level of the Kingdom Of God On Earth, that is beyond words to describe. Planet Earth People, are you with me, will you join me in this glorious effort? We all have a Divine Mission and Destiny to fulfill while on Planet Earth. Ken Pamplin, 4504 N.W. 11th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73127

5-0 out of 5 stars Favorite Movie
This film is inspirational. The scene where the new Pope is proclaimed, against his wishes, he only wants a humble servent life is excellant. To watch Anthony Quinn's expression change when he hears that the Cardinals are talking of him is a classic. lso, his roaming the streets of Rome in a black cassock shows is humanity, wanting to get to know his flock. I think is conseling David Jansen's wife is important. ... Read more


6. Pride & Prejudice
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
list price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6301977688
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3585
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (84)

3-0 out of 5 stars Miscast Elizabeth
Greer Garson stars as Elizabeth Bennet in this 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice. She plays the clever and witty eldest of five daughters, who are all looking for rich husbands. Lawrence Olivier plays Mr. Darcy, a suitably wealthy prospect, however he is too arrogant for Elizabeth's liking. The story follows the two as they tease and rebuff, only to end happily with their engagement, as we always knew it would.

Being such an old film, the quality of the picture and sound were poor. Even so, they were better than the outrageous casting of Greer Garson as the lead. She was much too old to play Elizabeth, and was utterly unconvincing. Two of her sisters were played by Anne Rutherford and Maureen Sullivan. They were both excellent and would have done better in the lead. Olivier was wonderfully snooty as the aristocratic Mr. Darcy.

The other major weakness with the film was the costume design. The ladies' gowns and men's suits looked like they were borrowed from the set of Gone With the Wind. The dresses were full and puffy, not at all like the delicate and low-cut gowns of the early 1800s in England.

There were no exterior shots of the grand houses; rather we saw only small rooms with very ordinary furnishings. The photography was drab, even considering the age of the film.

The screenplay was co-written by the famous Aldous Huxley, who, it seems, had no knack for reproducing Austen's glorious dialogue. All in all, I found this film an acceptable introduction to Jane Austen's classic book, but not deeply satisfying or beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie of a timeless novel
This version of Pride and Prejudice first got me interested in Jane Austen. Though it may not be the most acurate version of the famous novel, it is very funny and all of the characters are played well. Lawrence Olivier IS Mr. Darcy, and Greer Garson shines as Lizzy, despite her age difference to the character.

2-0 out of 5 stars An inferior adaptation of a great book
There are three film versions of Jane Austen's immortal "Pride and Prejudice" extant, and this one, the first, is by far the weakest. It would be hard to tamper with the great story, which is so well known as to need no rehashing here; but although the film tries to follow the story, Aldous Huxley proved incapable of incorporating Austen's incomparable dialogue into the film script, as the two later versions were able to do with remarkable success. There are other, more egregious shortcomings, in this film, which are:

1) Casting Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet. Whoever had this idea should have been put in the stocks and pelted with water balloons. Elizabeth Bennet is 20 years old in the book, and Greer Garson, on the wrong side of 35, looks absolutely ridiculous trying to play a young ingenue. Who was she kidding? She doesn't even look like Austen's description of Elizabeth. Vivien Leigh might have made a great Elizabeth, if she wasn't already fixed in the public mind as Scarlett O'Hara. Which brings us to:

2) The 1860-ish costumes. Were they trying to move the timeline up? Somebody should have told the costume department that Longbourn and Tara were six thousand miles and sixty years apart. "Pride and Prejudice" was set sometime between 1790 and 1810 (Austen's biographers are in disagreement as to the exact date), but the costumes in this first version of "Pride and Prejudice looked like leftovers from the set of "Gone With the Wind". A big no-no.

3) The casting of Lawrence Olivier as Darcy was a mistake. Austen describes Darcy as being tall and handsome. Olivier was handsome but he didn't look much taller than Garson. Or maybe Garson was too tall. Whatever... it was a total mismatch.

4) The whole scene at Pemberley, which is central to the book, was eliminated. So how did Elizabeth's one-eighty from loathing to love take place? The movie doesn't say and we're left totally unconvinced.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that "Pride and Prejudice" is one of the best-loved books in English literature. It certainly deserved a better film adaptation than this one. Fortunately it has not one, but two: the BBC version of 1985 starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul (my personal favorite), and the A&E film of 1995 starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Watch either or both of these after seeing the Garson/Olivier movie, to see what a good film adaptation of a great book really is.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst Adaptation!
This film was the worst adaptation of Jane Austen's famous novel that I have ever seen in my life. It is not really true to the novel, the costumes are ridiculous looking, not to mention that they do not match the kind of clothing that was worn in Austen's time. They hardly ever use the famous words and/or phrases from the book, only once or twice but they are somewhat changed. Granted I think Laurence Olivier made a great Darcy if he was more like Darcy is suppose to be, instead his version of him was more perky and uppity than nonchalant and melancholy and a little arrogant, which to me is what Darcy is actually like. If you want to see the greatest adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" ever made then check out the BBC and A&E production starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, I guarantee you'll watch it all the way through with a satisfied and happy smile on your face.

2-0 out of 5 stars It is a truth universally acknowledged that this movie is
Misleading, to say the least.

I saw this movie last week on Turner Classic Movie channel, expecting to see a nice little 40's style rendition of that book we oh-so dearly enjoy.

What a silly movie.

Granted, I'm sure making a two hour movie out of the novel is difficult, but if you were to take a high school test on Pride and Prejudice after seeing this movie instead of reading the book, you would fail miserably.

The dresses were too elaborate. Mary is way too pretty. Greer is too blonde to play Elizabeth, where are those dark "fine eyes"? Darcy grossed me out. I don't even remember Bingley or Jane, and Elizabeth's transition from hating to loving Darcy goes a little something like this (paraphrased, of course):

Elizabeth: "Oh, how I miss Mr. Darcy"
Jane: "What? I thought you hated him?"
Elizabeth : "Well now, quite suddenly I love him!"

This is without the reunion at Pemberly. Its rushed, to say the least.

I did like Lydia, and there is a lovely, albeit irrelevant scene where Mrs. Bennet and the girls Mrs. Lucas and Charlotte (who is much too pretty in this adaptation) are racing neck and neck via carriage to get to Netherfield to meet the eligible men.

And the slightly amusing part where Mr. Bingley is talking about what's wrong with Jane when she's sick. That was just weird. Trés 40's, no?

Mr and Mrs Bennet are enjoyable characters, but I imagine that it would be difficult to screw up those well-written characters in any cinematic endeavor.

And the part with Lady Catherine acting as a "secret agent" for Darcy. What the hell.

Ugh. This movie is slightly amusing, if it was 5 hours of nonsense I would give it one star, but since its only 2 hours you might as well watch it if you feel so inclined.

But read the book and check out the 1995 BBC production one, too. ... Read more


7. Pride and Prejudice
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000056BRD
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 6977
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Description

Jane Austen's classic novel about the prejudice that occurred between the 19th century classes and the pride which would keep lovers apart. ... Read more

Reviews (84)

3-0 out of 5 stars Miscast Elizabeth
Greer Garson stars as Elizabeth Bennet in this 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice. She plays the clever and witty eldest of five daughters, who are all looking for rich husbands. Lawrence Olivier plays Mr. Darcy, a suitably wealthy prospect, however he is too arrogant for Elizabeth's liking. The story follows the two as they tease and rebuff, only to end happily with their engagement, as we always knew it would.

Being such an old film, the quality of the picture and sound were poor. Even so, they were better than the outrageous casting of Greer Garson as the lead. She was much too old to play Elizabeth, and was utterly unconvincing. Two of her sisters were played by Anne Rutherford and Maureen Sullivan. They were both excellent and would have done better in the lead. Olivier was wonderfully snooty as the aristocratic Mr. Darcy.

The other major weakness with the film was the costume design. The ladies' gowns and men's suits looked like they were borrowed from the set of Gone With the Wind. The dresses were full and puffy, not at all like the delicate and low-cut gowns of the early 1800s in England.

There were no exterior shots of the grand houses; rather we saw only small rooms with very ordinary furnishings. The photography was drab, even considering the age of the film.

The screenplay was co-written by the famous Aldous Huxley, who, it seems, had no knack for reproducing Austen's glorious dialogue. All in all, I found this film an acceptable introduction to Jane Austen's classic book, but not deeply satisfying or beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie of a timeless novel
This version of Pride and Prejudice first got me interested in Jane Austen. Though it may not be the most acurate version of the famous novel, it is very funny and all of the characters are played well. Lawrence Olivier IS Mr. Darcy, and Greer Garson shines as Lizzy, despite her age difference to the character.

2-0 out of 5 stars An inferior adaptation of a great book
There are three film versions of Jane Austen's immortal "Pride and Prejudice" extant, and this one, the first, is by far the weakest. It would be hard to tamper with the great story, which is so well known as to need no rehashing here; but although the film tries to follow the story, Aldous Huxley proved incapable of incorporating Austen's incomparable dialogue into the film script, as the two later versions were able to do with remarkable success. There are other, more egregious shortcomings, in this film, which are:

1) Casting Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet. Whoever had this idea should have been put in the stocks and pelted with water balloons. Elizabeth Bennet is 20 years old in the book, and Greer Garson, on the wrong side of 35, looks absolutely ridiculous trying to play a young ingenue. Who was she kidding? She doesn't even look like Austen's description of Elizabeth. Vivien Leigh might have made a great Elizabeth, if she wasn't already fixed in the public mind as Scarlett O'Hara. Which brings us to:

2) The 1860-ish costumes. Were they trying to move the timeline up? Somebody should have told the costume department that Longbourn and Tara were six thousand miles and sixty years apart. "Pride and Prejudice" was set sometime between 1790 and 1810 (Austen's biographers are in disagreement as to the exact date), but the costumes in this first version of "Pride and Prejudice looked like leftovers from the set of "Gone With the Wind". A big no-no.

3) The casting of Lawrence Olivier as Darcy was a mistake. Austen describes Darcy as being tall and handsome. Olivier was handsome but he didn't look much taller than Garson. Or maybe Garson was too tall. Whatever... it was a total mismatch.

4) The whole scene at Pemberley, which is central to the book, was eliminated. So how did Elizabeth's one-eighty from loathing to love take place? The movie doesn't say and we're left totally unconvinced.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that "Pride and Prejudice" is one of the best-loved books in English literature. It certainly deserved a better film adaptation than this one. Fortunately it has not one, but two: the BBC version of 1985 starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul (my personal favorite), and the A&E film of 1995 starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Watch either or both of these after seeing the Garson/Olivier movie, to see what a good film adaptation of a great book really is.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst Adaptation!
This film was the worst adaptation of Jane Austen's famous novel that I have ever seen in my life. It is not really true to the novel, the costumes are ridiculous looking, not to mention that they do not match the kind of clothing that was worn in Austen's time. They hardly ever use the famous words and/or phrases from the book, only once or twice but they are somewhat changed. Granted I think Laurence Olivier made a great Darcy if he was more like Darcy is suppose to be, instead his version of him was more perky and uppity than nonchalant and melancholy and a little arrogant, which to me is what Darcy is actually like. If you want to see the greatest adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" ever made then check out the BBC and A&E production starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, I guarantee you'll watch it all the way through with a satisfied and happy smile on your face.

2-0 out of 5 stars It is a truth universally acknowledged that this movie is
Misleading, to say the least.

I saw this movie last week on Turner Classic Movie channel, expecting to see a nice little 40's style rendition of that book we oh-so dearly enjoy.

What a silly movie.

Granted, I'm sure making a two hour movie out of the novel is difficult, but if you were to take a high school test on Pride and Prejudice after seeing this movie instead of reading the book, you would fail miserably.

The dresses were too elaborate. Mary is way too pretty. Greer is too blonde to play Elizabeth, where are those dark "fine eyes"? Darcy grossed me out. I don't even remember Bingley or Jane, and Elizabeth's transition from hating to loving Darcy goes a little something like this (paraphrased, of course):

Elizabeth: "Oh, how I miss Mr. Darcy"
Jane: "What? I thought you hated him?"
Elizabeth : "Well now, quite suddenly I love him!"

This is without the reunion at Pemberly. Its rushed, to say the least.

I did like Lydia, and there is a lovely, albeit irrelevant scene where Mrs. Bennet and the girls Mrs. Lucas and Charlotte (who is much too pretty in this adaptation) are racing neck and neck via carriage to get to Netherfield to meet the eligible men.

And the slightly amusing part where Mr. Bingley is talking about what's wrong with Jane when she's sick. That was just weird. Trés 40's, no?

Mr and Mrs Bennet are enjoyable characters, but I imagine that it would be difficult to screw up those well-written characters in any cinematic endeavor.

And the part with Lady Catherine acting as a "secret agent" for Darcy. What the hell.

Ugh. This movie is slightly amusing, if it was 5 hours of nonsense I would give it one star, but since its only 2 hours you might as well watch it if you feel so inclined.

But read the book and check out the 1995 BBC production one, too. ... Read more


8. Clash of the Titans
Director: Desmond Davis
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304111231
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 22029
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (95)

4-0 out of 5 stars classic Harryhausen epic; finally on DVD
I remember watching this film in awe and rapture the first time when I was at school, studying Greek mythology. This classic good-defeating-evil story is always a dizzying adventure from start to finish.

CLASH OF THE TITANS tells the story of young Perseus (Harry Hamlin - TV's "L.A. Law"), the illegitimate son of the god Zeus (Laurence Olivier). Perseus discovers his ultimate destiny when he is mysteriously transported to the city of Joppa. There, he learns of the fair Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker), who is doomed to live her life challenging suitors with impossible riddles, given to her by the deformed Calibos.

Perseus solves her riddle, and is about to marry her, when the angered patron goddess of Joppa, Thetis (Maggie Smith), denounces the union and orders that Andromeda be chained to the foot of the sacrificial stone in a month's time, to be fed to the last of the Titans, the Kraken.

Perseus must find a way to defeat the Kraken, and sets off on a perilous quest to discover the answer...

Gorgeous romantic-adventure. Laurence Rosenthal's score perfectly captures the mood of the movie. Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects look quite obvious in this new digital age, but serve their purpose wonderfully.

Also starring Burgess Meredith, Claire Bloom, Ursula Andress, Sian Phillips and Flora Robson.

The DVD includes the featurette "A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen", "Map of Myths and Monsters" feature and the trailer. (Single-sided, dual-layer disc).

5-0 out of 5 stars Greek Epic Myth On DVD: Fantasy Of High Calibre
1981: Ray Harryhousen made the special effects, monsters and clay "creations" for this Greek epic myth about the heroic deeds of Perseus. Harryhousen had previously made the magic possible for such films as "Jason and the argonauts", another film revolving a Greek myth, and the sci-fi classic "Earth vs. the flying saucers." Harry Hamlin, tv actor from the 80's series L.A. Law (and a hot hunk I had a crush on as a girl), makes an impressive performance as the confident, toga-wearing, muscle-bound, swordsman Perseus, who defeats monsters, including the three headed dog from Hell and the sea monster Kraken.

British actress Dame Maggie Smith (from Sister Act films and Hook) and the esteemed British actor Laurence Olivier play the roles of the goddess Thetis and Zeus, who are involved in a bitter feud. Zeus protects Perseus, as he is his son by a mortal woman, but Thetis is upset that Zeus shows no mercy to the deformed Calabos, her son, who was once a handsome prince. Calabos has the princess Andromeda (Claire Bloom) under a dark spell. She will be married to the man who solves the nightly riddles she is given. Perseus solves the riddle and becomes engaged to Andromeda. But when the queen Cassiopeia elevates her daughter's beauty above that of their patron goddess Thetis, Thetis becomes so enraged she puts Andromeda in a tight spot. She will be the sacrificial victim for the hunger of the sea monster, the Kraken. Perseus journeys to the Underworld, defeates the snake-haired Medusa and with his friends, the old wise man, the winged white horse Pegasus and a robotic owl (who chirps and buzzes almost like R2D2 in Star Wars). He frees Andromeda, who as the classical myth dictates, was chaind to a rock by the sea, and the ending is a very happy one.

Thanks to the fine acting by Harry Hamlin, whose heroism comes through as shining as Perseus (not to mention his good looks), Andromeda (Claire Bloom), Maggie Smith as the vindictive goddess and Zeus (Laurence Olivier) as an eloquent, authoritarian king of the gods. The London Symphony Orchestra fills the soundtrack with lofty themes, romantic melody and dramatic highlights. One of these highlights is the moment when Perseus tames Pegasus. This film was a classic in the 80's and is still great to watch, especially with the magic of DVD. A must have for fantasy fans, a great addition to fantasy films. Look for "Jason and the Argonauts" with Harryhausen effects, equally a match to this film, although dating from an earlier time, the 60's.

4-0 out of 5 stars not for the new school kids
its hard to say what a child born in the last ten years will think of this film. they'll probably laugh. and realistically unless you're a film student studying stop motion techniques im not sure any adult would enjoy it either. its target audience is children of the seventies who originally saw this film in the theaters as a youth. i am within this group and i love this film. for most 80's kids Clash of the Titans was the first film to convince us that greek mythology was as cool as Indiana Jones. granted, the film took some liberties with the history and added some characters that didnt exist but it was all done with good purpose. even in the 80's the film was really aimed at kids and only Ray Harryhausen's stop motion animation drew in the adults. the story was weak and the acting was passable but visually it was breathtaking even by today's standards.

5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
This is my all time favorie Harryhausen film. The story and acting are good and the effects are amazing even today! I love the characters here and the creatures from the mythology we all love. This is a great addition to anyone who loves a good escape or a great fantasy adventure! The Dvd presented is pretty good as the digital transfer is good, not perfect but good and the film is in widescreen uncut and in its original form. An A in my book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply an excellent viewing experience
"Clash of the Titans" is a movie which I'll never get tired of, no matter how many times I've seen it. It just has it all: a great story, adventure, romance, excitement, mythology, and countless other qualities which make it such an enjoyable film to watch over and over again.

One thing that especially stands out about "Clash of the Titans" is the special effects. I don't care what anyone says, no multi-million dollar CGI special effect can ever be as cool as the stop-motion special effects used in this movie. Some might say that it's dated. Well perhaps it is, but they did such a great job in creating the monsters (especially Medusa) that one can only marvel at them. And the fact that this movie is over 20 years old makes it even more impressive.

The DVD presentation isn't superb but it's definitely more than substantial. Image and sound quality have been improved quite a lot from the old video format. Bonus features are good but one can't help feeling that more could have been included, perhaps some deleted scenes. Still, this excellent movie finally being available on DVD is reason enough to be thrilled. ... Read more


9. Love Among the Ruins
Director: George Cukor
list price: $14.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6301442733
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5415
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic
This is simply one of the greatest films ever made. Olivier and Hepburn, George Cukor, and a brilliant script. Does anything more need to be said? I have seen it repeatedly since its appearance in 1975 and still marvel at it. A masterful performance by all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Olivier and Hepburn were great
In this made for TV movie, Olivier and Hepburn were wonderful as two elderly people reunited by his love for her. The costumes, writing and acting are excellent. These two show us that great acting can be done no matter the age of the actor. The story is sentimental and hilarious and made us laugh and cry. If you haven't seen this one, do so.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two of the greats!
The joy of watching two of the greatest actors in the world? Hard to describe. The balance, the verbal thrust and parry of these two remarkable people. There is a terrific script, beautiful settings and costume, remarkable acting and great music. Never a tedious or tiring moment. I have watched this movie many times and always find nuances to these performances that I had missed. A must see for lovers of great acting.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece in every respect
I remember seeing this film while a graduate student at West Virginia University and bursting into tears at the end because it was such a perfect and beautiful film. I now proudly own the VHS of it and have watched it several times and each time I see it, it gets better. Olivier and Hepburn are perfectly matched and the score by John Barry is incredibly beautiful. Thank goodness Katherine Hepburn made the comment on Dick Cavett's show that Olivier was one star with whom she had not acted and would like to and that George Cukor and ABC had the smarts to do
something this beautiful. It will forever remain one of my favorites and is one of the great events of TV history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Olivier Does It Again!
Just in case you ever thought that old men can't play anything except "old grandpop in the corner over there", you should cast a glance at "Love Among the Ruins", starring Laurence Olivier and Katharine Hepburn. Larry's just wonderful! And Kate's no slouch, either.

Forty years before our story begins in Edwardian England, the young Larry was without prospects but had a torrid three-day affair with free-spirited actress Kate in Toronto. Although they pledged their love, they parted. Now, all these years later, wealthy widow Kate has been brought to his highly successful barrister's office for defense in a breach of promise suit. The shocker: while Larry's been carrying a torch for her all these years, she hasn't the foggiest idea what he's talking about; can't remember a blessed thing about it! Fun gender-bender twist on the usual "ship in every port" experience familiar from movies like, "Letter from an Unknown Woman". It's supposed to be the man who's love 'em and leave 'em, you know!

For me, the real joy is to see Olivier do a parody of himself as he was when he was younger. As he tries to kindle the memory of Kate while recounting their all-too-brief liaison, he uses all the same gestures and delivery that are visible in "Pride and Prejudice" and other earlier films where he had courtship scenes. We see an old man turn young again, and see his old love flare up as hot as coals. Proof that much of romance is in the mind after all.

Excellently rehearsed by director George Cukor, the film seems actually like a filmed play. If indeed this had been brought to the West End or Broadway, it would have been a great stage triumph. Nothing ruinous about these performers or this movie, believe you me. ... Read more


10. Sleuth
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
list price: $14.99
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304808038
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5127
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Wicked, nasty, delicious fun. Laurence Olivier is a wealthy, veddy English mystery writer. He invites Michael Caine to his elaborate country house, in order to settle some rather unpleasant business between them: Caine is having an affair with Olivier's wife, and she is about to divorce the older man. Olivier, smooth as brandy, suggests that there might be a way the two men can help each other, but what appears to be an intriguing proposition escalates into a deadly cat-and-mouse game. Sleuth boasts a twisty script by Anthony Shaffer, calculated to drive an audience to distraction; and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) shows a keen eye for the telling detail. But the real fun is watching Olivier and Caine go at each other hammer and tongs, a virtuoso wrestling match between two splendid actors (both were Oscar-nominated, but lost to Marlon Brando in The Godfather). Alec Cawthorne is also quite good as the inquisitive inspector on the case. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Making a game out of real murder...and making it fun.
The idea of a movie with only two actors in it may not sound overly exciting, but when you watch "Sleuth" for the first time, you realize that it couldn't have worked any other way. For many years, "Sleuth" has been one of my favorite movies, and remains so to this day. It is cleverly written and superbly acted by both Michael Caine (my all time favorite actor) and Sir Laurence Olivier.

The tag line "Think of the perfect crime...then go one step further" describes exactly what the movie is all about. Olivier plays Andrew Wyke, an eccentric and revered mystery writer invites Milo Tindle (Caine) over to his mansion over a weekend in order to discuss the terms of his affair with his wife. Wyke is known as a lover of toys, games, and deviously cunning games of trickery that he plays on people. Wyke has known for some time that Tindle has been having an affair with his wife, and that he intends to marry her. Wyke sees an opportunity to unload his wife, without the possibility of her coming back and getting deeper into his pocketbook. Knowing him to be broke, Wyke proposes to Tindle a robbery scheme that will solve both of their problems. Things got a bit awry. What happens next would be criminal to give away, but it is one of the most brilliantly crafted farces I have ever seen in a movie.

"Sleuth" was adapted from the stage play by Anthony Shaffer, and it plays out very much like the play itself. There is one setting, two actors, and lots of dialogue. It works very well, because it wasn't overdone in production. I cannot see how this could have worked with a more elaborate setting or cast. What carries the movie are the performances by Caine and Olivier, which ranks among their personal best (and picking ones from such distinguished careers is hard). Their interaction between each other is riveting, since their characters are so cunning. "Sleuth" was made in 1971, and 30 years on, every aspect of the movie has aged well. It is one of those movies that makes time stand still, and you are unaware that 2 hours has gone by at the end of it. That is the token of a great movie.

The Anchor Bay DVD boasts the best transfer and sound quality of "Sleuth" so far, though the previous versions were also very good (including the VHS, which is rare for older movies). The main supplement is the 20 minute featurette "A Sleuthian Journey with Anthony Shaffer", in which the famous playwright is interviewed on his experiences with the play, the making of the movie, and his interactions with the filmmakers. He is jovial and gives plenty of fun anecdotes throughout the interview. Aside from that, there are talent bios and the usual trailers and TV spots. Considering the age and modest budget, not much in the way of extras should be expected.

"Sleuth" is a rare movie that I can watch over and over again, and I am pleased to see that Anchor Bay did justice to the movie with this excellent (and modestly priced) DVD. An easy purchase for any movie fan.

4-0 out of 5 stars LABYRINTH MAN
Adapted for the screen by Anthony Schaffer, the author of the play, and directed by one of the legends of Hollywood, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, SLEUTH is the perfect movie for you if you like excellent actors, Laurence Olivier and Michaël Caine for instance, a subtle plot with unexpected twists and a superior cinematography.

I was amazed by the admirable production design of the movie. Laurence Olivier's mansion is a dream come true, every objects appearing on the screen seem to have a priceless value and the rooms, including the cellar, are little museums. Joseph L. Mankiewicz had to nail the audience in some way because SLEUTH is not a play with a lot of characters and could have discouraged the viewer if the director hadn't been such a talent. Another (innocent) trick of Mankiewicz is to film the puppets or the masks as if they were alive, you always have the feeling that the characters are not alone in the mansion.

One can regret that the Anchor Bay DVD presents only a scene access and no english subtitles. The image quality was, in my opinion, rather good, without black or white spots. Sound, on the contrary, could have been better.

A DVD for the smart ones.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Be sure and tell 'em... it was just...a bloody game."
"Sleuth" stars Michael Caine as the young hair-dresser "Milo Tindle" and Laurence Olivier as an upper-crust mystery writer "Andrew Wyke".

Michael Caine is having an affair with the wife of Andrew Wyke. Wyke invites Milo to his country manor to discuss a plan whereby Milo would "rob" Wyke of some expensive jewels, sell them to a pre-arranged fence in Amsterdam, and get enough money to afford Wyke's wife, thus freeing up Wyke to live with his own mistress (and get the insurance money for the stolen jewels.)

Wyke outlines the complexities of the plan, which involve Milo dressing in different clothes, breaking into the house, blowing up a safe, etc, to make it appear to be a legitimate robbery.

There are many appealing aspects to the movie. First is the character of Andrew Wyke, a famous writer of a series of detective-fiction wherein the main character, Lord Merridew, always outwits the rather bumbling police force to solve the crime. Second is Wyke's hobbies, which run the gamut from an ancient chess-like board game, a jigsaw puzzle that is only a white rectangle, and various assorted collectibles such as a full-sized animated sailor dummy. Wyke's gameplaying attitude is extended to the plan of the fake robbery. The third compelling aspect of the movie is the witty, sparring dialogue between Wyke and Tindle.

Although at first, the two characters try to maintain a slightly forced friendly rivaly, but as the robbery unfolds, it becomes clear that Wyke in fact resents Milo and his wife's affair, and is actually setting up Milo to be killed as a burglar. In a series of plot twists I won't reveal, Wyke humiliates Tindle and sends him away. However, Tindle gets the last laugh, literally, in the end.

A long-time favorite movie of mine, it earned best actor nominations for both Olivier and Caine, and a nomination for director Mankiewicz. The DVD has a 23 minute "interview" by playwright Anthony Shaffer, chapters and a trailer.

5-0 out of 5 stars St. John Lord Merridew's "Death by Double Fault"
Sleuth is Anthony Schaffer's play of mystery and murder brought to the screen. If you are an Oxford scholar you will have no problem with this film. Others may require a dictionary as this is a very erudite work. You also cannot blink, cough, or let your mind wander for a moment or you will lose your place as to what is happening. I say these things because they are true and because it is one of the most intelligent scripts ever brought to the screen. I can only compare the "Brideshead Revisited" script that was done by John Mortimer to match this production from 1972. Michael Caine was at his best, and although Oliver's performance on screen seems top notch, if you have read anything on the making of this film it was reported that he had trouble learning his lines among other distractions. The SETS on this film are memorable! VERY EXPENSIVE and CUSTOM games are everywhere.The music is VERY atmospheric, from the harpsichord improvs to the old Cole Porter tunes. Unusual in that it features only two men without the mandatory love interest that pervades every American picture but their duels do concern a love relationship with women of mutual acquaintance. Oliver is a mystery writer who has a character, St. John Lord Merridew solve all the plots ala' Hercule Poirot. The play and film are tributes to the classic detective fiction of the golden age of the 1930's. "Where every cabinet minister had a thriller by his beside and all detectives were titled." He uses his talent in mystery to entice and trap Michael Caine (his wife's current lover) in a series of games of death within the mansion meant to scorn and ridicule by upper class methods and put a trumped up pantry boy in his place! Caine turns the tables as Inspector Doppler drops by and makes Oliver believe he is going to jail for murder. Eventually the duels lead Oliver to crack under insults to his manhood and he performs the ultimate deed at the untimely arrival of the real police and sees his world that he created of games end in real life tragedy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun & Games With Two Fine Actors
1972's Sleuth is literally a two-man show, with Olivier and Caine matching each other scene for scene in this lengthy 2-hour, 18-minute story revolving around some rather unusual parlor games.

It's a pleasure to watch these two actors at work (or is it "play"?). I've never enjoyed Mr. Caine more.

It's quite unusual to see a movie with the entire cast comprising just two people! And each of them does a bloody good job of holding our interest till the end.

I would certainly recommend this top-notch tongue-in-cheek murder mystery. ... Read more


11. Battle of Britain
Director: Guy Hamilton
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 6301965817
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4623
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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There's something about this film that's so irresistible, despite its grandiose manipulation. Maybe because it recounts the greatest air battle in history, achieving the greatest aerial battle in film history. Maybe because it has such a terrific cast (Harry Andrews, Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Curt Jurgens, Laurence Olivier, Nigel Patrick, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Robert Shaw, Patrick Wymark, and Edward Fox). Maybe because it's so technically well-made, thanks to the Bond team of producer Harry Saltzman and director Guy Hamilton and the great cinematographer Freddie Young. Or maybe because there is something truly riveting about watching the British kick the Nazis back to Germany. --Bill Desowitz ... Read more

Reviews (80)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great aerial combat sequences with even better cast
Battle of Britain is a huge war epic along the lines of A Bridge too Far and The Longest Day. In the years before the United States entered WWII, England had to hold back Nazi Germany almost singlehandedly. After the disaster at Dunkirk, it looked like there was no stopping the Germans. All that remained was for the German Luftwaffe to weaken England to the point where a land invasion could take place allowing Hitler to take control of Great Britain. The only surviving hope for England was the RAF, Royal Air Force. Hopelessly outnumbered, 2500 German planes to 690 British planes, the RAF had to hold back the Luftwaffe in the skies above England. The movie tells the story, from both sides, of the British pilots and their efforts to stop Germany from complete domination of Western Europe. This movie has the best aerial combat sequences ever put on film. One particularly effective scene has the musical score playing over the silent dogfights between the RAF and the Luftwaffe. Battle of Britain is a great war movie, full of action that should not be missed.

Battle of Britain boasts an impressive cast full of notable British actors. The huge list includes, in alphabetical order, Harry Andrews, Michael Caine, Edward Fox, Trevor Howard, Curt Jurgens, Ian McShane, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Nigel Patrick, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Robert Shaw, Patrick Wymark, and Susannah York. The ones that really stand out from the rest are Robert Shaw as a squadron leader trying to get his fighter squadron through the battle and Christopher Plummer as a fighter pilot trying to save his marriage. The DVD offers a great-looking widescreen presentation and the theatrical trailer. For a great war epic with a huge cast and great aerial combat footage, check out Battle of Britain!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Terrific & Accurate Depiction of The Fight For Britain!
Sit back and relax, for you are about to enter the stirring, deep blue, and rarified air above the skies of England, where the battle for supremacy of the skies is about to commence. In one of the finest war movies ever made, the familiar saga of how the few available aviators with their Spitfires and Hurricanes simply out-flew, out-fought, and out-lasted the waves of Luftwaffe airplanes while the future of Britain and the free world hung precariously in the balance. The cinematography is magnificent, as are the dog fighting sequences of so many carefully restored vintage Spitfires and Hurricanes, and a number of German aircraft as well. In what became known as the biggest and longest running air battle in history, the British flyers overcame the stunning numerical superiority of the Nazi air services with luck, courage, and the assistance of the newly developed land-based radar systems.

The cast is splendid, with Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Christopher Plummer, Edward Fox and many others. The German players are excellent, as well and the oft-told tale of how the Germans at first devastated the British air force by overwhelming it through sheer numbers and often catching them on the ground in their most vulnerable positions. In the initial few weeks the losses of both planes and pilots was catastrophic, and it appeared that they would soon be overwhelmed and defeated. Yet, after the Brits decided to pursue a desperate bombing campaign over Berlin to inflict some punishment of their own, Hitler made a fateful vengeful error by angrily deciding to redirect the focus of attacks to urban areas such as London, thus making his unescorted bombers much more vulnerable to anti-aircraft batteries and much more open to attack by the British fighters. This is a wonderful and quite historically accurate depiction of the fabled 'finest hour' of the Brits in staving off the hordes of invading 'Huns', and carving a place in history for themselves in the process. It is quite long, but there is a terrific set of action sequences, and one can't help but be impressed by the magnitude of the events as they are portrayed here. So, turn down the lights and fire up that VCR, the battle is about to begin! Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars irresistable
Although made as a tribute to the RAF and this episode in World War II history, it nonetheless followed the successful formula of Tora, Tora, Tora, by making the enemy human and reasonable. It captures the essential spirit of the contestants in this epic air battle. The fact it was done for real, before CGI effects were what they are today, is an asset. There is a reality about it, a versimillitude, that comes from actually using the real articles. It gives the film an authentic look and thus there is no temptation to monkey with history by flooding the skies with an exaggerated computer panoply of planes or having the aircraft demonstrate exciting but very unrealistic maneuvers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Their finest hour: the movie
Some years ago I was talking with a late-middle-aged Englishman who had been involved in the U.S. film industry. After we had exhausted, for the time being, a mutual interest -- beautiful leading actresses -- the subject somehow got around to the film The Battle of Britain. My acquaintance said that among the film's distinctions was that, having been released in 1969 (which probably meant it had been written and filmed a year or more earlier), it possessed an authenticity that was becoming less possible with each passing year: many members of the cast and crew were old enough to remember the World War II years, and some had actually been involved in events related to the story.

When I saw the film in its DVD incarnation recently, it was that aura of authenticity, of being visualized through having "been there," that leaped out at me. The most critical year of the battle, 1941, was 28 years before the movie appeared. The key personnel could remember that time well enough to get the less obvious details right.

So, in The Battle of Britain, it's not just the uniforms and aircraft insignia and such that are accurate; you also get a sense that the words the characters speak, the vocal style (more formal by far than today's U.K. English), the interior decor, and the countryside as seen from the air (much less built-up in 1969) ring true in a way that would be hard to reproduce now.

(The only serious anachronism is that the women sport hairstyles that no one would have dreamed of in the '40s.)

The film is a remarkable technical triumph in its thrilling depiction of air battles. I know nothing about the production background, but they obviously used real Spitfires, Messerschmitts and Heinkels in dazzling maneuvers. I would not have thought there'd have been enough left in airworthy condition, or that anyone would have allowed them to be used in simulated aerial combat that surely had the potential for accidental destruction of the aircraft. Perhaps the Spitfires' owners felt that it was worth the risk to aid a movie that might enable the younger generation to better understand the heroism and sacrifices of the RAF pilots in the war.

The shots of the planes exploding and crashing were presumably done with models, but the verisimilitude is outstanding. You are almost never conscious that you are watching special effects.

In the intervals between aerial dogfights, the scenes on the ground are less compelling, although it's interesting to see how the locations of the German bombers and the RAF fighters were plotted on huge horizontal maps by RAF women (Wrens?) receiving radio messages from spotters via headphones.

With all this going for the film, it's too bad I have to tell you not to get too excited when you see the cast list. Many of the famous names involved have only routine or minor roles. Even Michael Caine doesn't make much of an impression. In the movie's one concession to romance, Christopher Plummer is a colorless "leading man." Susannah York, playing the object of his affections, blows her one big moment, in the aftermath of a bombing attack on the airfield where she's stationed, by egregiously overacting.

Two greats of the English stage and screen provide some compensation. Ralph Richardson, as a diplomat who receives a German ambassador who wants to persuade the British government that they have no chance against an invasion, has only one scene. But Richardson, with that extraordinary voice that Kenneth Tynan compared to the sound of very expensive tissue paper being crinkled, offers a riposte that stirs the blood.

Laurence Olivier plays the air chief marshal in overall charge of the RAF defense strategy, with an air of controlled, bottomless melancholy, as though he feels that every RAF airman who will die in the cockpit is his brother. We, too, should mourn all those who were killed or maimed to save Britain in her darkest hour, and honor them for every hour of freedom that they helped make it possible for us to enjoy. The Battle of Britain isn't the ideal tribute to those heroes, but it's a heartfelt one, and its virtues well outweigh its lesser moments.

The DVD transfer is good. And if you haven't seen the widescreen version, you haven't seen the film.

4-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best aerial combat movie I've seen
"Battle of Britain" starts with RAF pilots evacuating in France with the Germans in hot pursuit. The situation is grim, as the RAF are outnumbered nearly 4-1 and the Germans seem to be unstoppable. Despite this, the British continue a stiff upper lip and refuse to back down, and from then on must deal with constant German attacks and shortages in manpower - all real issues the RAF had to deal with back in this point in the war.

Much of the storyline is told from different perspectives of the characters, some historical figures and some from the ranks of the front-line. It is much like the way they did the story in "A Night to Remember": there is no real main story, but different characters in different parts of the event having their own experiences. It works fairly well, with the exception of perhaps Christopher Plummer's and Susanna York's characters. It's not so much that it's a love story as much that it's never really resolved and therefore makes itself pointless - I don't want to give away any spoilers, but if you watch the film you'll know what I mean. Otherwise, the other characters and subplots don't get in the way of the story too much and serve to give you a perspective of what the war was like.

The aerial combat scenes were - as I've already suggested in my title - completely astounding. The accuracy is very good, with Spitfires looking like Spitfires and Heinkels looking like Heinkels. The way they filmed the combat was well done, and I must give the cinematographer thumbs up for the beautiful shots of the sky backdropped against the planes. The point-of view from the cockpit was the best part of the film, especially a shot where you watch from cockpit-view as a Spitfire flies right over the edge of a Heinkel, nearly crashing into it.

The DVD is a bit lacking, I'm afraid. As far as special features...I hope you like the theatrical trailer and watching the movie with French or Spanish subtitles. The theatrical trailer isn't worth you're time, unfortunately. It's a series of random images from the film with a narrator chanting, "Never before has a movie been done like this! Watch as planes zoom around and things fall down and go boom!" The movie itself looks and sounds good, and I suppose that's what really matters to most people. Still, I see a waste of potential.

Despite this, I would definately suggest to my fellow war-film gurus that they pick up this movie. It is in the same breath of "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "A Bridge Too Far," and it doesn't fail. ... Read more


12. A Bridge Too Far
Director: Richard Attenborough
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 630407185X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5073
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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This massive 1977 adaptation by director Richard Attenborough (Gandhi) of Cornelius Ryan's novel features an all-star cast in an epic rendering of a daring but ultimately disastrous raid behind enemy lines in Holland during the Second World War. A lengthy and exhaustive look at the mechanics of warfare and the price and futility of war, the film is almost too large for its aims but manages to be both picaresque and affecting, particularly in the performance of James Caan. The impressive cast includes Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Dirk Bogarde, Sean Connery, and Liv Ullmann among others. While not a classic war film, it nevertheless manages to be a consistently interesting and exciting adventure. --Robert Lane ... Read more

Reviews (136)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film -- Historically Accurate.
In my opinion, the best war movie ever made -- a notch better than "Saving Private Ryan," which contains certain historical inaccuracies. "A Bridge Too Far" masterfully adapts Cornelius Ryan's meticulously-researched book of the same title. More importantly, with the exception of the German tanks and armored personnel carriers depicted in the failed attempt to capture the northern end of the Arnhem bridge, the uniforms, machine guns, rifles, tanks, landscape, etc. depicted in the film are accurate -- unlike the vast majority of war films that cut corners, film off location, fail to research key facts, etc. The "second Omaha Beach" crossing of the Waal River by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division -- filmed on loaction -- is the most riveting scene in the movie. Also spectacular is the reenactment of the dropping of hundreds of paratroopers over Holland from C-47 Dakotas. The only negative is that the movie can be quite confusing to one who is not familiar with the intricacies of Operation Market Garden. I urge anyone considering viewing the film to first read "Arnhem 1944" by Martin Middlebrook or Cornelius Ryan's above-mentioned book. Some research will help put this complicated military operation into perspective. After you've seen the movie, and if you have the time, money and inclination, take a battlefield tour of Nijmegen and Arnhem (both just an hour-or-so drive from Amsterdam) so you can truly appreciate the sacrifices made by the British, American, and Polish paratroopers depicted in the film nearly 55 years ago.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping account of Operation Market Garden
A Bridge Too Far is one of my favorite war movies, and books of all time. The book is a classic, which you should read if you have not done so before watching the film.

The film is long (almost 3 hours), but well worth it. I have seen it more than a few times, and always enjoy watching it. I particularly like the Airborne drop and combat scenes. All which leave me wondering how they actually filmed some of them. The cast is full of all-stars with the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, James Caan. The list of great actors just goes on and on.

The film does a good job of telling the tragic tale of Operation Market Garden, the largest Airborne operation ever. The plan is bold, which is a surprise in itself since General Montgomery was considered to be one of the more conservative well known commanders from WWII. As you watch the movie, you start to wonder how could they have been so wrong. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and you have to realize that this operation was to be the final punch to put Germany out of the war. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. And, in the end, the goal of reaching the Arnhem bridge is never achieved, and the British Airborne Division pays the ultimate price for the plan's failure.

The book does a better job telling the stories of individual soldiers involved in the battle. But, the movie does an excellnet job of keeping the viewer in the action, and aware of what happened when, during the fight. Especially considering, the action took place at three different areas all at the same time.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone interested in WWII, war movies, combat leadership, or airborne operations. I also recommend watching the movie on a large screen TV if you can.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Battles, Dialogue, Characters Make A Great Movie.
I liked this film very much. It's not overly patriotic like Saving Private Ryan. It doesn't go for the happy, crowd pleasing ending. It doesn't pick out heros & bad guys for easy watching and it doesn't oversimplify.

This is well-paced, collage-style film about human fallibility and what happens when large wartime operations break down.

The dialogue is superb. There are 10+ characters interlocked in various relationships at all levels inside the army. These were the top actors in the world at the time, each with a role to play and an independent fate in the battle. All these guys are in their 60's now and seeing them so young is a surprise. Look for John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven of Cheers) in Robert Redford's paratrooper platoon.

The production values were also excellent, on par with the best of WWII movies. There were many very realistic battle scenes and all the scenery and soldiers, equipment, etc. one could imagine. To the untrained eye it was 100% authentic.

This is not a happy movie or much fun. It's more real than that. Unfortunately it's also not especially harrowing - you know that things are not going to work out. It's just thoughtful and well-paced and very watcheable. If you like WWII movies this one is certainly worthwhile.

5-0 out of 5 stars You need the Australian 2-disc set!
Personally I found this so-called classic a total bore. But if you're one of those dusty old f*rts who collects war memorabillia and gets off on these true-to-life war epics, get yourself a multizone player and buy the Region 4 Two-disc set which also includes: "Heroes From The Sky" featurette, "A Distant Battle: Memories of Operation Market Garden" featurette, "Richard Attenborough: A Filmmaker Remembers" featurette, (These featurettes are quite long...some go for nearly an hour) Photo Gallery, Trailer, Audio Commentary and Trivia Track. This is the way classic movies on DVD should be presented. Tons of information and a great price. Ezydvd.com

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Adaptation of a Classic War Book
The movie version of Cornelius Ryan's book A Bridge Too Far is a fully faithful adaptation of a war classic. As such, it is a classic in its own right. The movie includes the planning and execution of the flawed Operation Market Garden, the largest Allied airborne operation of World War II. It also includes several of the human interest vignettes from Ryan's book. The movie is consistently interesting throughout and is never boring.

A true classic. ... Read more


13. Spartacus
Director: Stanley Kubrick
list price: $14.98
our price: $14.98
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Asin: B000054OW2
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 9835
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (107)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Cry for Freedom
Even though the story of SPARTACUS takes place in ancient Rome, the film itself is a profoundly contemporary work of the time that it was made; the eve of the Civil Rights movement in the US, and at the end of the HUAC witch hunt in Hollywood.

The chief engineer of this project is producer Kirk Douglas who portrayed the salve hero, but the wisdom behind all that is screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, black-listed in Hollywood, worked under various pseudonyms during the fifties for films such as ROMAN HOLIDAY, here properly restored to his rightful position of one of the best screenwriter in the business, with his own name credited on screen. The original novel is also written by another black-listed writer, Howard Fast, who claims that the idea of writing a film about the slave revolt came into his mind during the time that he spent in prison.

So the message that its story carries is unviersal, and even contemporary: man's struggle for freedom, striving for human equality, the solidarity of all that are oppressed disregarding their creed, birth and color of skin--the gladiator whose death triggers Spartacus' revolt is portrayed by Woody Strode, afro-american actor and a regular of John Ford's movies. The film embraces humanity, freedom to chose the way he wants to live, the freedom to trust one's friend, even the freedom of sexuality --Spartucus and his lover Varinia are never legally married, but she gives birth to his son--, and the freedom and passion to sacrifice oneself for the sake of his pears and the great cause of human freedom.

One the other hand, the film strongly accusse the corruption of power, the decadence of those who have power, and the rise of fascism. Democratic politician Charles Laughton, with all the virtues and vices that a regular politician has, taken over and eventually eliminated by seemingly much "cleaner" military leader Laurence Olivier. Needless to say, the clashes performed by those two great actors is a great excitment to watch.

Kirk Douglas gives one of his most convincing performances as the revolutionary leader of slaves, Jean Simmons plays his innocent, healthy and strong partner with a healthy sensuality, and Tony Curtis gives credibility to Spartacus' surrogate son who represents culture and education; they are not barbaric slaves, they can be as cultured as their masters are, and even better because they are true, honest humans as opposed to the corrupted masters whose wealth and culture are based on oppression of other humans.

To simply put, SPARTACUS is a fine example of how a good entertaining movie can carry a powerful message; when it truly suceeds, it'a great joy to watch.

This fully packed DVD is a re-issue of Criterion's celebrated LaserDisc edition. Added to a interesting commentary track by the filmmakers including Douglas and Peter Ustinov who won an oscar for his performance, there is another track on which Dulton Trumbo's notes to the rough cut of the film is read--a great lesson to all those who wants to learn how to write a film. Othe supplements includes a hillarious interview with Peter Ustinov, a lot of scketches and stills, and more. It's a great DVD. Please enjoy it as many times as you want.

note: the superb package design is a reproduction of the original poser art created by Saul Bass. The poster is also among the suplements of this DVD.

4-0 out of 5 stars Strong story, weak depth, but epic & entertaining
Based on the novel by Howard Fast, Spartacus recounts the life of a slave turned gladiator turned freedom fighter. The story of Spartacus begins with him as a free spirited Thracian slave in 70BC. Spartacus is trained in a gladiator school, where he meets and falls in love with the slave girl Varinia. He then leads the other gladiators in revolt, and assembles a huge army of thousands of slaves to challenge the might of Rome. The ending is tragic, but not without hope. Spartacus was in fact a historical figure and the movie's story of his squashed rebellion against Rome - including the crucifixion of 6000 survivors - is largely rooted in truth.

The movie can best be described as epic. On a grand scale, the Roman empire is brought to life, with its corrupt aristocracy and its simple lower class. The epic battle scene which forms the climax of the movie features 1000s of extras, and although it is sometimes hard to tell who is on which side, the effect is magnificent and grandiose. Despite the action scenes, the movie is surprisingly introspective at times. Unlike modern efforts such as Gladiator, Spartacus is not an action movie as such, and fans of contemporary action movies not surprisingly find it disappointing. Spartacus' struggles are just as much emotional as they are physical. But to me this is a strength and not a weakness: the shortcoming of most modern action movies is not present here because the characterization is superb.

Even though the movie is not gory (although it is bloody at times), the adult themes make it unsuitable for children. For instance, successful gladiators are given women to have their way with them. And on numerous occasions, although nudity is not shown it is strongly implied and barely concealed. The implication of bisexuality (in a scene not present in the original) and promiscuity is also strongly evident as part of the corruption in Rome. But it also touches Spartacus. In a rather daring move for the 1960s, Spartacus and his woman Varinia conceive a child out of wedlock, which is presented as natural and good. Spartacus' fight for freedom apparently includes sexual freedom. Its hardly surprising that these two fall in love in a rather sappy love-at-first-sight Hollywood romance, where they don't even know each other as yet. Ultimately it is not only Rome that chases gold, girls and glory without morals, but Spartacus himself is not really much different.

But it is not only the moral ambivalence of this movie that disturbs me, but also its underlying political themes. How is Rome presented? As totally corrupt, with no redeeming qualities. "If a criminal has what you want, you do business with him." How are the slaves presented? As noble and good. "We're brothers." The army of slaves proceeds in a carnival like atmosphere, and the producers present lots of images of joyful children and exuberant elderly as part of their number, to arouse sympathy for their cause. But isn't this rather a cliché? It is, but that's the whole point. Aristocratic Rome is presented as evil, and the oppressed lower class need to be liberated from her corrupt rule. The rich are all evil, the poor are all good. Sounds familiar? It's a defence of the brotherhood of communism. Ultimately the movie endorses peasant revolt as a legitimate option, and advocates rebelling against authority. Rather than rendering to Caesar what is Caesars, it encourages open rebellion, in order to usher in a new political system of brotherhood and freedom from repression. Sound too far-fetched? Here's the clincher: Howard Fast, author of the novel on which this movie was based, was a devout and committed member of the Communist Party of the USA, and for many years his works were black-listed. The story of Spartacus may be rooted in history, but Howard Fast has reinterpreted it as a defence of his own political communist ideals. Rome represents Western Capitalism, and the slaves represent the oppressed peasant proletariat. Spartacus' defence of liberty, equality and fraternity is in fact anachronistic.

So sure this is an epic movie. At the time of its production in 1960, Spartacus was the most expensive movie ever made. With a cast of star actors, especially the compelling performances of Kirk Douglas as Spartacus, Laurence Olivier as Crassus (the influential Roman senator), Peter Ustinov as Batiatius (the bumbling and greedy owner of a gladiator school), and Charles Laughton as Gracchus (the corrupt and scheming Roman senator), it's no wonder it won four academy awards. But the fact that Spartacus is an epic movie does not disguise the fact that it is not deep. Any deeper themes that the movie does have to offer are communist and hedonistic, and this ideology mars the story. This may be a movie that rivals the grandeur and scale of Ben Hur, but thematically, it doesn't come close.

Even so, it's still worth a look. Even if one cannot share the cause of Sparticus and political ambitions it embodies, one has to admire the spirit in which Spartacus fights for his cause: it is a losing battle, and yet with dignity and fervour he fights for what he believes is right - a quality to be coveted. And it's ironic that if you can overlook the weaknesses of its depth, the strength of this movie lies in its superficial story. It has comedy, tragedy, triumph, romance, action, intrigue, and an epic scale. As entertainment, it's an enduring epic that still can be enjoyed today.

3-0 out of 5 stars 3 Stars For 3 Outstanding Performances...
Kubrick replaced Tony Mann on directing duties for this brave, but lumbering costume epic which is ultimately propped up by three beautiful performances. Peter Ustinov(won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work here), Charles Laughton(should have been similarly nominated)& Laurence Olivier all do incredible work under the guidance of a very young Kubrick & all deliver what comes very close to their best work. Their presence is notable chiefly for the fact that without them, SPARTACUS would never have been the extraordinary spectacle it surely is. Kirk Douglas gives a brooding(& lifeless)performance in the title role, ultimately undermining any sequence not containing the three aforementioned thespians. Jean Simmons, as the love interest, is similarly uninteresting & while undeniably beautiful, fails to evoke for the viewer the love & devotion she receives from Douglas & ultimately Olivier. Pre CGI, it comes armed with some beautifully choreographed & violent battle sequences, but for those looking for an earlier version of Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR, this one may come off a little old-fashioned. It is worth noting(& you'll learn this from the wonderfully insightful 1992 Ustinov interview[his impersonation of Laughton is a riot]contained in the bonus material)that Ustinov rewrote all the scenes he plays with Laughton. It should come as no surprise to the discerning viewer, they are easily the best moments in the film.....

5-0 out of 5 stars Divine Right of Kings
Sparticus represented more than a gladiator-slave uprising. Sparticus represented the Italian's people dissatisfaction with the Roman Senate and the general corruption and impotence within the Senate.

Citizens once had a voice with the Senate and the Senate listened keeping the republic free. Now, the Senate caved to the demands of the dictators and military commanders and installed for the first time an Emperor giving him six legends too suppress the slave uprising.

In the end the slave and citizen uprising could not resist the Roman legions. Many of the people joining Sparticus were discontent citizens of Rome and individuals from countries that did not like Rome. Originally, the republic which was composed of strong free men. The military started the slow strangulation of the republic by replacing it with an empire. Julius Caesar was introduced as the shadow of the wings of power. Crassus was depicted as the total dictator who put oppressive demands on Rome and the Senate as the body that had lost its power. The Senate historically would have debated the issues and objected to outrageous demands. Instead, the Senate allowed the Emperor to rule Rome and the Emperor established the laws and source of the law and executed the law. The Emperor had power too repeal old laws and establish new laws, in place of the old ones. The punishments for violation of the law could be death and probably a Roman death on the cross demonstrating the Emperors absolute power. The Citizen did what they were told and they did not act without permission. Secret police reported any activity that could bring punishment on the citizen. The laws were supposedly designed to bring security. As the Emperor distrusted and feared the people this only accelerated the downfall of Rome.

The notion of divine right of kings was established. Taxes imposed on the people support the huge military appetite generated as Rome conquered many European countries. The government would become an autocracy and the Emperor the supreme commander.

Sparticus hoped to flee Rome, negotiated with pirates too build ships using gold taken during conquests that would take them from the tip of Italy away to a promise land. Instead, the pirates betrayed Sparticus and did not build the ships allowing the Roman legends to trap Sparticus from the South pushing him towards Rome and forcing a confrontation in the fields close to Rome.

Sparticus was defeated, his men cruxified along the way to Rome, when captured his men coined the phrase "I am Sparticus" when asked who was Sparticus. Sparticus wife would become a member of Crassus Heirloom yet the Senator would arrange for her escape and continue with his own suicide and Sparticus son would remain free.

2-0 out of 5 stars Good movie, bad transfer
It should be noted that the reviews on this page refer to two different versions of the Spartacus DVD. This review refers to the Universal single disc edition, not the Criterion two-disc release.

While both versions of the film are the same, this version is devastated by a bad transer: both sound and picture quality are seriously lacking - even as far as a blue edge to blacks, including the widescreen matting, and blue fades in parts of the film. The sound is poorly balanced - voices are too quiet, music too loud. I was contantly turning the volume up and down throughout. So much for "fully restored."

If you are interested in quality and really like this movie I would skip this version and go for the Criterion release, which many other people own and have approved. ... Read more


14. Clash of the Titans
Director: Desmond Davis
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304546335
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 10268
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

You have a classic tale full of drama, passion, and adventure. A tale of universal archetypes that speak to everyone. A tale that has remained unfailingly popular for thousands of years. Why not spice it up with a wacky mechanical owl? Such was the thinking behind Clash of the Titans. Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier, and Harry Hamlin (one of these things is not like the others...) star in a toga-ripper about a valiant hero, capricious immortals, and lots and lots of giant stop-action monsters. Perseus (Hamlin) is the favored son of the god Zeus (Olivier), but he has unwittingly ticked off the sea goddess Thetis (Smith). Just to make things worse, Perseus falls in love with the lovely Princess Andromeda, who used to be engaged to Thetis's son. Soon Perseus is off on one quest after another, with Zeus helping, Thetis hindering, and lots of innocent bystanders getting stabbed, drowned, and squished. Of course, the whole thing is just an excuse to show as much of Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation as possible, and good thing too. It's an old technique, but it still looks pretty darn cool, and it means the cast can just relax and do a bunch of reaction shots. Don't use this one to study for that big classical mythology exam, but if you just turn your brain off and enjoy the Kraken, it's pretty good fun. --Ali Davis ... Read more

Reviews (95)

4-0 out of 5 stars classic Harryhausen epic; finally on DVD
I remember watching this film in awe and rapture the first time when I was at school, studying Greek mythology. This classic good-defeating-evil story is always a dizzying adventure from start to finish.

CLASH OF THE TITANS tells the story of young Perseus (Harry Hamlin - TV's "L.A. Law"), the illegitimate son of the god Zeus (Laurence Olivier). Perseus discovers his ultimate destiny when he is mysteriously transported to the city of Joppa. There, he learns of the fair Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker), who is doomed to live her life challenging suitors with impossible riddles, given to her by the deformed Calibos.

Perseus solves her riddle, and is about to marry her, when the angered patron goddess of Joppa, Thetis (Maggie Smith), denounces the union and orders that Andromeda be chained to the foot of the sacrificial stone in a month's time, to be fed to the last of the Titans, the Kraken.

Perseus must find a way to defeat the Kraken, and sets off on a perilous quest to discover the answer...

Gorgeous romantic-adventure. Laurence Rosenthal's score perfectly captures the mood of the movie. Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects look quite obvious in this new digital age, but serve their purpose wonderfully.

Also starring Burgess Meredith, Claire Bloom, Ursula Andress, Sian Phillips and Flora Robson.

The DVD includes the featurette "A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen", "Map of Myths and Monsters" feature and the trailer. (Single-sided, dual-layer disc).

5-0 out of 5 stars Greek Epic Myth On DVD: Fantasy Of High Calibre
1981: Ray Harryhousen made the special effects, monsters and clay "creations" for this Greek epic myth about the heroic deeds of Perseus. Harryhousen had previously made the magic possible for such films as "Jason and the argonauts", another film revolving a Greek myth, and the sci-fi classic "Earth vs. the flying saucers." Harry Hamlin, tv actor from the 80's series L.A. Law (and a hot hunk I had a crush on as a girl), makes an impressive performance as the confident, toga-wearing, muscle-bound, swordsman Perseus, who defeats monsters, including the three headed dog from Hell and the sea monster Kraken.

British actress Dame Maggie Smith (from Sister Act films and Hook) and the esteemed British actor Laurence Olivier play the roles of the goddess Thetis and Zeus, who are involved in a bitter feud. Zeus protects Perseus, as he is his son by a mortal woman, but Thetis is upset that Zeus shows no mercy to the deformed Calabos, her son, who was once a handsome prince. Calabos has the princess Andromeda (Claire Bloom) under a dark spell. She will be married to the man who solves the nightly riddles she is given. Perseus solves the riddle and becomes engaged to Andromeda. But when the queen Cassiopeia elevates her daughter's beauty above that of their patron goddess Thetis, Thetis becomes so enraged she puts Andromeda in a tight spot. She will be the sacrificial victim for the hunger of the sea monster, the Kraken. Perseus journeys to the Underworld, defeates the snake-haired Medusa and with his friends, the old wise man, the winged white horse Pegasus and a robotic owl (who chirps and buzzes almost like R2D2 in Star Wars). He frees Andromeda, who as the classical myth dictates, was chaind to a rock by the sea, and the ending is a very happy one.

Thanks to the fine acting by Harry Hamlin, whose heroism comes through as shining as Perseus (not to mention his good looks), Andromeda (Claire Bloom), Maggie Smith as the vindictive goddess and Zeus (Laurence Olivier) as an eloquent, authoritarian king of the gods. The London Symphony Orchestra fills the soundtrack with lofty themes, romantic melody and dramatic highlights. One of these highlights is the moment when Perseus tames Pegasus. This film was a classic in the 80's and is still great to watch, especially with the magic of DVD. A must have for fantasy fans, a great addition to fantasy films. Look for "Jason and the Argonauts" with Harryhausen effects, equally a match to this film, although dating from an earlier time, the 60's.

4-0 out of 5 stars not for the new school kids
its hard to say what a child born in the last ten years will think of this film. they'll probably laugh. and realistically unless you're a film student studying stop motion techniques im not sure any adult would enjoy it either. its target audience is children of the seventies who originally saw this film in the theaters as a youth. i am within this group and i love this film. for most 80's kids Clash of the Titans was the first film to convince us that greek mythology was as cool as Indiana Jones. granted, the film took some liberties with the history and added some characters that didnt exist but it was all done with good purpose. even in the 80's the film was really aimed at kids and only Ray Harryhausen's stop motion animation drew in the adults. the story was weak and the acting was passable but visually it was breathtaking even by today's standards.

5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
This is my all time favorie Harryhausen film. The story and acting are good and the effects are amazing even today! I love the characters here and the creatures from the mythology we all love. This is a great addition to anyone who loves a good escape or a great fantasy adventure! The Dvd presented is pretty good as the digital transfer is good, not perfect but good and the film is in widescreen uncut and in its original form. An A in my book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply an excellent viewing experience
"Clash of the Titans" is a movie which I'll never get tired of, no matter how many times I've seen it. It just has it all: a great story, adventure, romance, excitement, mythology, and countless other qualities which make it such an enjoyable film to watch over and over again.

One thing that especially stands out about "Clash of the Titans" is the special effects. I don't care what anyone says, no multi-million dollar CGI special effect can ever be as cool as the stop-motion special effects used in this movie. Some might say that it's dated. Well perhaps it is, but they did such a great job in creating the monsters (especially Medusa) that one can only marvel at them. And the fact that this movie is over 20 years old makes it even more impressive.

The DVD presentation isn't superb but it's definitely more than substantial. Image and sound quality have been improved quite a lot from the old video format. Bonus features are good but one can't help feeling that more could have been included, perhaps some deleted scenes. Still, this excellent movie finally being available on DVD is reason enough to be thrilled. ... Read more


15. The World At War - 9 Volume Gift Set
list price: $99.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783107986
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 15468
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Sir Jeremy Isaacs highly deserves the numerous awards for documentaries he has earned: the Royal Television Society's Desmond Davis Award, l'Ordre National du Mérit, an Emmy, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. His epic The World at War remains unsurpassed as the definitive visual history of World War II.

The Second World War was different from other wars in thousands of ways, one of which was the unparalleled scope of visual documents kept by the Axis and Allies of all their activities. As a result, this war is understood as much through written histories as it is through its powerful images. The Nazis were particularly thorough in documenting even the most abhorrent of the atrocities they were committing--in a surprising amount of color footage. The World at War was one of the first television documentaries that exploited these resources so completely, giving viewers an unbelievable visual guide to the greatest event in the 20th century. This is to say nothing of the excellent, comprehensible narrative. Some highlights:

  • A New Germany 1933-39: early German and Nazi documentation of Hitler's rise to power through the impending attack on Poland
  • Whirlwind: the early British losses in the blitz in the skies over Britain and in North Africa
  • Stalingrad: the turning point of the war and Germany's first defeat
  • Inside the Reich--Germany 1940-44: one of the most fascinating documentaries that exists on life inside Nazi Germany, from Lebensborn to the Hitler Youth
  • Morning: prior to Saving Private Ryan, one of the only unromanticized views of the Normandy invasion
  • Genocide: this film is one of the most widely shown introductions to the Holocaust
  • Japan 1941-45: although The World at War is decidedly focused more on the European theater, this is an important look into wartime Japan and its expansion--early 20th-century history that lead to Japan's role in World War II is superficial
  • The bomb: another widely shown documentary of the Manhattan Project, the Enola Gay, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki

The World at War will remain the definitive visual history of World War II, analogous to Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. No serious historian should be missing The World at War in a collection, and no student should leave school without having seen at least some of its salient episodes. Rarely is film so essential. --Erik J. Macki ... Read more

Reviews (75)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series
When investing in any DVD, especially a boxed set, you might ponder the question, "How often will I watch this?" Let me say that your purchase of The World at War will offer you endless viewing opportunities! Besides the 26 original episodes, all of the extra features that were produced afterwards are included in the set. There is so much information generated in over 30 hours of material that you will discover something new with each repeated viewing. Each episode will hold your attention from first to last, and they are efficiently indexed so you can easily review a map or replay a speech. Along side the emotional impact of the pictorial images, you have Carl Davis' moving score, a judicious use of period music, personal accounts from all the major powers, and Sir Laurance's strong narration, making this the most comprehensive documentary on the subject. Now if we can only have World War I, narrated by Robert Ryan, available, we would have the documentary bookends to the two most devastating wars in the 20th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Finest WWII Documentary Ever Produced
For History buffs and those who have a keen, deeply felt interest in World War II beyond just the military events, the World at War, produced by Thames Television (1981) and released earlier on VHS by Thorn/EMI, is a 26 episode documentary set apart from all other documentaries about WWII. No other, with the exception of Walter Cronkite's CBS series, comes close to an unbiased, analytical perspective of a War that cost perhaps 50 million lives and took an emotional and philosophical toll we are still trying to comprehend today.

Narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier and covering all aspects of the war, this definitive series is used by many colleges and universities as a source for History and Documentary Film courses. There is an incredible depth of archive footage used; skilfully woven with interviews of major figures in the War from Britain, US, Canada, Europe and Japan. Many major eye-witness leaders and ordinary people who were still alive in 1981 contributed sometimes surprising, sometimes incredible, and sometimes haunting interviews. Yet, for all its skilful editing and historical sophistication, it is clearly presented and emotionally compelling. In my opinion, it is, along with Kenneth Clark's "Civilisation", the best ever produced British documentary.

What makes this a stellar and overpowering account of the War is Olivier's narration. Never blustery, patriotic, or theatrical, Sir Laurence delivers pointed, thoughtful analysis with his incredible command of English and oration. Music for the series was composed by Carl Davis and even the opening credits set an unforgettable tone in a haunting image of a child in a photograph, dissolving in flames. This series is for those trying to make sense of a 6 year period when the world went mad. Five Stars PLUS.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good. Probably THE documentary set to own
This kept me going for months (in one hour segments at a time). There is so much material presented here and I learned a lot.

I wanted to give 4.5 stars and only knock a half off for the sometimes annoying menu (it could have been presented in a more orgnaized fashion, I thought), or other small problems, but half points aren't allowed on the system. Very close to perfect!

1-0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware
This was a wonderful documentary as originally broadcast, but I'd avoid this product if I had it to do over again: the maker's quality control is awful. Disk 1 skipped badly. And I the same problem others have reported: two copies of one of the five disks (with me, disk 5), and one disk (disk 4) entirely missing.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Remember"
This is an excellent, extensive, British-made documentary about events leading up to, and including, World War II. With 26 episodes, there is quite a bit of material covered. Excellent narration by Laurence Olivier, and a memorable score.

If you are a war buff, particularly WW2, this is the set to have. Can't say enough good things about it. ... Read more


16. Pride and Prejudice
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304508573
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1974
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (84)

3-0 out of 5 stars Miscast Elizabeth
Greer Garson stars as Elizabeth Bennet in this 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice. She plays the clever and witty eldest of five daughters, who are all looking for rich husbands. Lawrence Olivier plays Mr. Darcy, a suitably wealthy prospect, however he is too arrogant for Elizabeth's liking. The story follows the two as they tease and rebuff, only to end happily with their engagement, as we always knew it would.

Being such an old film, the quality of the picture and sound were poor. Even so, they were better than the outrageous casting of Greer Garson as the lead. She was much too old to play Elizabeth, and was utterly unconvincing. Two of her sisters were played by Anne Rutherford and Maureen Sullivan. They were both excellent and would have done better in the lead. Olivier was wonderfully snooty as the aristocratic Mr. Darcy.

The other major weakness with the film was the costume design. The ladies' gowns and men's suits looked like they were borrowed from the set of Gone With the Wind. The dresses were full and puffy, not at all like the delicate and low-cut gowns of the early 1800s in England.

There were no exterior shots of the grand houses; rather we saw only small rooms with very ordinary furnishings. The photography was drab, even considering the age of the film.

The screenplay was co-written by the famous Aldous Huxley, who, it seems, had no knack for reproducing Austen's glorious dialogue. All in all, I found this film an acceptable introduction to Jane Austen's classic book, but not deeply satisfying or beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie of a timeless novel
This version of Pride and Prejudice first got me interested in Jane Austen. Though it may not be the most acurate version of the famous novel, it is very funny and all of the characters are played well. Lawrence Olivier IS Mr. Darcy, and Greer Garson shines as Lizzy, despite her age difference to the character.

2-0 out of 5 stars An inferior adaptation of a great book
There are three film versions of Jane Austen's immortal "Pride and Prejudice" extant, and this one, the first, is by far the weakest. It would be hard to tamper with the great story, which is so well known as to need no rehashing here; but although the film tries to follow the story, Aldous Huxley proved incapable of incorporating Austen's incomparable dialogue into the film script, as the two later versions were able to do with remarkable success. There are other, more egregious shortcomings, in this film, which are:

1) Casting Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet. Whoever had this idea should have been put in the stocks and pelted with water balloons. Elizabeth Bennet is 20 years old in the book, and Greer Garson, on the wrong side of 35, looks absolutely ridiculous trying to play a young ingenue. Who was she kidding? She doesn't even look like Austen's description of Elizabeth. Vivien Leigh might have made a great Elizabeth, if she wasn't already fixed in the public mind as Scarlett O'Hara. Which brings us to:

2) The 1860-ish costumes. Were they trying to move the timeline up? Somebody should have told the costume department that Longbourn and Tara were six thousand miles and sixty years apart. "Pride and Prejudice" was set sometime between 1790 and 1810 (Austen's biographers are in disagreement as to the exact date), but the costumes in this first version of "Pride and Prejudice looked like leftovers from the set of "Gone With the Wind". A big no-no.

3) The casting of Lawrence Olivier as Darcy was a mistake. Austen describes Darcy as being tall and handsome. Olivier was handsome but he didn't look much taller than Garson. Or maybe Garson was too tall. Whatever... it was a total mismatch.

4) The whole scene at Pemberley, which is central to the book, was eliminated. So how did Elizabeth's one-eighty from loathing to love take place? The movie doesn't say and we're left totally unconvinced.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that "Pride and Prejudice" is one of the best-loved books in English literature. It certainly deserved a better film adaptation than this one. Fortunately it has not one, but two: the BBC version of 1985 starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul (my personal favorite), and the A&E film of 1995 starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Watch either or both of these after seeing the Garson/Olivier movie, to see what a good film adaptation of a great book really is.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst Adaptation!
This film was the worst adaptation of Jane Austen's famous novel that I have ever seen in my life. It is not really true to the novel, the costumes are ridiculous looking, not to mention that they do not match the kind of clothing that was worn in Austen's time. They hardly ever use the famous words and/or phrases from the book, only once or twice but they are somewhat changed. Granted I think Laurence Olivier made a great Darcy if he was more like Darcy is suppose to be, instead his version of him was more perky and uppity than nonchalant and melancholy and a little arrogant, which to me is what Darcy is actually like. If you want to see the greatest adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" ever made then check out the BBC and A&E production starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, I guarantee you'll watch it all the way through with a satisfied and happy smile on your face.

2-0 out of 5 stars It is a truth universally acknowledged that this movie is
Misleading, to say the least.

I saw this movie last week on Turner Classic Movie channel, expecting to see a nice little 40's style rendition of that book we oh-so dearly enjoy.

What a silly movie.

Granted, I'm sure making a two hour movie out of the novel is difficult, but if you were to take a high school test on Pride and Prejudice after seeing this movie instead of reading the book, you would fail miserably.

The dresses were too elaborate. Mary is way too pretty. Greer is too blonde to play Elizabeth, where are those dark "fine eyes"? Darcy grossed me out. I don't even remember Bingley or Jane, and Elizabeth's transition from hating to loving Darcy goes a little something like this (paraphrased, of course):

Elizabeth: "Oh, how I miss Mr. Darcy"
Jane: "What? I thought you hated him?"
Elizabeth : "Well now, quite suddenly I love him!"

This is without the reunion at Pemberly. Its rushed, to say the least.

I did like Lydia, and there is a lovely, albeit irrelevant scene where Mrs. Bennet and the girls Mrs. Lucas and Charlotte (who is much too pretty in this adaptation) are racing neck and neck via carriage to get to Netherfield to meet the eligible men.

And the slightly amusing part where Mr. Bingley is talking about what's wrong with Jane when she's sick. That was just weird. Trés 40's, no?

Mr and Mrs Bennet are enjoyable characters, but I imagine that it would be difficult to screw up those well-written characters in any cinematic endeavor.

And the part with Lady Catherine acting as a "secret agent" for Darcy. What the hell.

Ugh. This movie is slightly amusing, if it was 5 hours of nonsense I would give it one star, but since its only 2 hours you might as well watch it if you feel so inclined.

But read the book and check out the 1995 BBC production one, too. ... Read more


17. The Betsy
Director: Daniel Petrie
list price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303203302
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 11376
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my top 10 movies....
I love this movie, it's one of my top 10 favorites. It's glitzy and it dazzles me, and it's just the kind of movie that gives me sweet dreams and one you'll love to cozy up with on a Saturday night. It's so very lavish and everything in this movie is just beautiful and huge!! Everything about this movie is on such a grand scale, everything is just so big and gorgeous, the mansion is again just gorgeous, the rooms are perfectly and beautifully decorated and the colors that are used are just dreamy, the flower arrangements are also huge and they sit atop huge fireplaces, this movie is just a feast for the eyes! (I found that I watched it again so that I could rewind and rewind just to feast on the sets!) For the most part, the movie stays pretty close to the storyline of the book, and the book was again a huge and wonderful read, (which I also suggest!) My husband also liked this movie, he liked the actors and the storyline, the cars, the racing and the bird's eye view of the auto industry, and one of his favorite actress is Leslie Ann Downs. The flashbacks made me feel like I had slipped back in time, and oh I also just loved how Betsy got her man, the little swim she took... (she's the same actress who played the little girl on Make Room For Daddy with Danny Thomas--I think?). Lawrence O is in my opinion, very sexy and magnetic and perfect for the part, he's very handsome and even though I had never seen him before in any other movie, whew, what a cutie he is, even for an older man! But I love Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. And yes, I totally agree with the viewer who said there was no chemistry between any of the actors and that Tommy Lee rushed through his lines like he was in a hurry to get to an audition for Coal Miner's Daughter (I had a good laugh at this!), but still he's young and cute and he does not disappoint. I love movies with good actors, pretty sets, lovely clothes, romance and happy endings and any movie that goes back in time or ia a period piece, gets my vote every single time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not a masterpiece but still good
The betsy which is based on a novel by Harold Robbins is not

a very good movie but it is not that bad.I didn't like Olivier's

performance but i think Tommy Lee Jones did great.The love

scenes in the movie are very beautiful and Kathleen Beller is

a very gorgeous actress [Most known for her role as Kirby

andrews in Dynasty] and i adore her love scene with Tommy Lee

Jones.

5-0 out of 5 stars A So-Bad-It's-Great Classic
There's so much awfulness to love in this movie, a camp classic done as straight as an arrow.

I have a hard time figuring out what's my favorite thing about this movie because there's so much to love -- the total miscasting? Olivier's "Americanish" accent which is frequently slurred? The complete lack of chemistry between any of the principle characters? That "Where's My Paycheck?" look on Katherine Ross' face? The way Tommy Lee Jones spits out his lines so quickly like he needs to leave the set early to go to the Coal Miner's Daughter audition? ... The heavily gauzed-lens flashbacks? The complete implausibility of Harold Robbins' story? Mansions decorated with whicker furniture? Sir Larry's parade of horrendous toupees?

If you miss Dynasty or The Colbys for any of the above reasons, or if you are just a connoisseur of So-Bad-They're-Great movies you can't miss this one. ...

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Fun in A Grat Pot Boiler
This is a movie with no pretensions. It is about corporate intrigue, family disputes and beautiful bodies. It is an unashamed pot-boiler. It is helped by the fine acting that does not descend into camp. There are many highy capable actors here. No one hams it up for the camera which only makes this glorius bit of cheese all the more fun.

4-0 out of 5 stars A 3-star movie, 5 stars for Tommy Lee Jones, average to 4
This is a big, gorgeous movie, but can drag at times. Whenever Tommy Lee Jones is on the screen, however, it's fabulous. I remember seeing this movie when it first came out, and wondering why he wasn't in more movies. Some very beautiful and surprisingly explicit nudity showing the actress playing Betsy. I wonder what happened to her? ... Read more


18. Dracula
Director: John Badham
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6300182193
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 23246
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Chalk this one up as something that seemed like a good idea at the time. Frank Langella had just taken Broadway by storm in a revival of the play based on Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. He was tall, elegant, and almost painfully romantic--all qualities that failed to translate to this garish, tarted-up film version. The story remains the same, if told in greater length than in Bela Lugosi's version. The film even offered Laurence Olivier as vampire-hunter Van Helsing (in one of several roles he played during the period that required a middle-European accent) and a young Kate Nelligan as the woman whose love (and blood) Dracula most wants. But director John Badham, working from W.D. Richter's clunky script, makes a hash of most of it, relying on special effects to do the heavy lifting. --Marshall Fine ... Read more

Reviews (65)

3-0 out of 5 stars Rip-roaring Gothic melodrama
The first thing you'll notice about the DVD version of John Badham's "Dracula" is the almost total absence of color. In fact, to all intents and purposes, this Technicolor film is now a black and white production! Apparently, the director felt his movie would play better this way on TV. Go figure. Anyway, the film itself is a rip-roaring Gothic melodrama, designed and photographed with a visual flourish that may seem old-fashioned and melodramatic, but it compels attention in a way that almost completely eluded Francis Ford Coppola's take on the legend thirteen years later. The script retains the basic structure of Stoker's novel whilst adding enough fresh ideas of its own to keep boredom (bred of familiarity) firmly at bay. For instance, Dracula's comeuppance during the climax is a million miles from his fate in the book, but it works here on purely cinematic terms. Frank Langella's rather unfortunate pompadour hairdo detracts from the power of his performance as the Count, but his deceptively romantic interpretation is fully in keeping with the film's approach. Lovely score by John Williams, too.

Though the DVD packaging promises the film has been "Formatted for 16x9 TVs", don't be fooled - the disc is simply letterboxed at 2.15:1. It looks OK (except for that irritating lack of color, of course) and Gilbert Taylor's rich Gothic compositions are preserved with crystal clarity. Sound is Dolby Digital Surround. Be advised that Universal/Image STILL haven't sorted out legal wrangles over some of the incidental music in the original film. As a consequence, this is the same "home video version" as all the others, with some music rescored.

4-0 out of 5 stars I Beg To Differ....
Ignore all the folks vetching and GET the DVD if you can find it...

I've seen every version of this thing from it's incarnation as a Bway play, it's airing as a film in the theatre, on cable, the VHS, and DVD, and there is NO difference in color or quality from the way it was done on screen. Yes, there was some BRIGHT color on screen but it was NOT throughout the whole film.

The b&w thing was done INTENTIONALLY and it was that way in the original cut. The revamped Hamilton-Deane stage play upon which the film is based had Edward Gorey type sets in B&W with touches of brilliant red. The film follows this in a smaller way with a more downplayed coloring scheme. The reason you see the brighter colors only part of the time is because it was the director's way of getting the same effect as the stage sets. Misty B&W period look for most part, then a sudden change to bright color...

IMHO, it WORKS. It's eerie, and it's effective...

As for Langella, I think perhaps of all his fine performances this is the one for which he will be most remembered and justifiably so. His was a unique Dracula, a passionate Dracula, and yes, IMHO,one of the BEST Dracula's I've ever seen, and I've seen them ALL. I like a lot of them, Lugosi, Lee, Jourdan, and Oldman in particular.

For Pre-CGI the effects are excellent and for once they do harken back to the folklore which inspires the vampire legend besides. The horse in the graveyard for instance is straight out of Rumanian myth...

(Mina's being a moldering corpse is intentional I think too. The director is making a distinction between "prey" and "love interest" here. Mina is basically FOOD, whereas Lucy, Dracula wants to make his bride. The inference here is that there is a difference and the blood exchanged between Lucy and Dracula makes her more like him. Mina, poor thing is simply destined to rot until someone stakes her....She's the "tradtional" vampire of folklore, and I was truly creeped out by her makeup job actually...It was unusually horrific for the time period in which this film was made...)

There are some nice touches in this film, and I honestly feel it holds up well some 25 years later. It's still a favorite, and justifiably so...In terms of acting it far surpasses the FFC 92" Dracula, and though it's not as showy it's still every bit as enjoyable to watch now as it was when I first saw it in the theatre.

It's a bit grainy in DVD, and I'd surely like to see a better transfer and maybe a cleaned up and completely restored soundtrack, but otherwise? I wouldn't change a thing, and I certainly would NOT want it colorized to make it all perfectly even.

It just wouldn't be the same "Dracula" at all...

Morrighan

4-0 out of 5 stars Sensual, quintessential version of the lover Dracula
Yes, the umpteenth Dracula remake/vampire film, and I stumbled upon it one morning on a movie channel, and was taken by the title character...Frank Langella's Dracula is sexy and charming and it's easy to see how the undead keeps winning so many wives.

Pre-computer special effects don't really bother me: the bats are stock. The fog creeping under the door of Mina's room looks like film rewound. I DO think the mirror uses were clever, in scenes without the vampire reflections. The scene where Mina becomes herself a vampire is an ounce campy with some seventies stock film. I'm not sure if it's a volcano erruption, a lava lamp, or what, but the scene feels like the credits of James Bond movies past...aside from this there are so many romantic moments. The lava-love sequence and the vampire's seventies hair date the film a little but so what...it's a pleasure to watch and get taken in.

This movie is amour fou, as Lucy and the people in her life become aware of the danger that is the Count. Lucy is captivated by the vampire until the end, where she grieves for her dying lover (or-does-he-die), and she moans for him like a substance abuse addict in withdrawl. As for her father, fiancee, and friends are wounded and dying to get rid of the vampire Lucy is aware but has already accepted a new life (new lifetime, i suppose, as an undead life) and she doesn't care anymore. Lucy greives as the sun shines down, but her rescuers do not notice what she does, the figure of Dracula as a speck flying off into the horizon. The credits end in the sunny sea air-a new beginning for Mina and Jonathan, although we imagine it woun't be long until the vampire comes back to retrieve his new bride.

I think Frank Langella made his the quintessential Dracula, tall dark handsome stranger. His character is never frail, but tender as the lover. He's handsome still as he sneers and spews bile at Van Helsing and his crucifix. It reminds me of Marlon Brando's Stanley Kowalski: who knows why you find him, a gorilla of a man, sexy? The scenes of an angry monster shine but the love scenes radiate.

This film was made about the time I was born; the films from my vampire phase featured Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise (no wonder I fell into a vampire phase) but this vampire has me. I stumbled onto it and too bad the films's not in print and too bad I wasn't around for the seventies stage version. Maybe Frank Langella would think about reprising the role of Dracula with another stage company...

4-0 out of 5 stars A fresh interpretation of the classic story of the Nosferatu
I have always believed that at least part of the reason this movie isn't better known is because it is confused just as much now as it was in 1979 with the comedy "Love at First Bite" featuring supertan George Hamilton as Dracula released at the same time. It is a dreadful misconception as "...First Bite" was a cross between horror spoof and Disco exploitation flick...which was and is absolute torture to watch.

This addition to the "Dracula" franchise is my personal favorite of all that have been attempted. I don't rate it as being the most faithful interpretation of Bram Stoker's classic novel (Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" holds that distinction, obviously enough...though Coppola also added more of the real history of "Vlad the Impaler" to his movie for additional background; nice touch), but for the sheer gothic style that the novel used to shock and horrify Victorian England upon its first publication, this movie comes as close to Stoker's original intent without necessarily following his novel on a word-for-word basis.

Frank Langella's performance onstage had to be one for the ages if it at all approached the level of his portrayal as the Count in this movie. Ultimately he has never delivered a performance quite like it...and of course with opposing roles filled by Sir Laurence Olivier and veteran character actor (and overperformer of Shatneresque proportions) Donald Pleasance were definitely sufficent to insure that Langella brought his "A" game to the set for every shoot. All performances are superb.

Additionally, the originality surrounding the climax of the movie alone makes it worth a viewing; the old Hammer films had interesting ways for the Count to meet his ultimate demise, and the manner in which this movie ends is very reminiscent of those latter day classics. You almost wish Christopher Lee could have had a guest appearance in this movie a la Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck in the 1991 remake of "Cape Fear".

Regarding the widescreen DVD's color transfer (or lack thereof), I do think that the washed out tones (which are nearly black and white, as noted in a previous review) actually adds to the movie's atmosphere. This is, basically, the second great gothic love story of all time (with E. Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" being the first); the blacks and the whites SHOULD be more pronounced, the funereal elements of Carfax Abbey should be brought out (the dinner scene with the Count and Mina is one of the most beautifully shot scenes from any movie...romance just isn't done that way anymore), and washing the colors from a movie as easily as blood from a vein leaves the correct pallor for both a vampire's victim and a terrific retelling of the "Dracula" story. You can hold out hope that a remastered DVD will be released (as this version seems to be out-of-print presently) that will feature a better color transfer, but as this movie approaches its 25th year, hope for any such treatment fades.

5-0 out of 5 stars The King of his kind
Ok, this version doesn't go along with the book, but it is worth while.
First of all Langella, Langella, Langella. He is 6'4" and has a voice to match. He is the only man I have seen that can place his hands on his hips and still make it look sexy! Langella had to tone his version of Dracula down (i.e. the R rating)...I had a teacher tell me how powerfull, sexy, and forcefull he was during the stage version...all I have to say is...WOW!!!

Second, he took Dracula to a new level. Before Dracula was this crude creature, who was loveless, mean, and wanted some blood. When Langella hit the scene, it all changed. Notice how each Dracula or vampire film has a sexy male lead? He broke the mold (thank you Mr. Langella)

Third, Langella didn't need red eyes, blood, fangs, and all the other stuff to make you think he was Dracula...you know by looking at him. One sceen which shows in hunger of blood is when they are at the Steward's house and the butler cuts himself with the knife. Dracula is telling a story, then he looks up and notices the butler sucking his cut finger. He was this look of hunger. His eyes widen with hunger.

The last is the famous sex scene. Just how he enters the room, the colors, and the music brings you closer to realizing he is not just a regular vampire, he is truly the king of his kind. ... Read more


19. The Boys from Brazil
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
list price: $9.98
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Asin: B000003NDB
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 22364
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thriller with a First-Rate Cast
When the film was made almost a quarter century ago, the concept of "cloning" was the stuff of science fiction, as far as the general public was concerned. However, with the recent developments in the area making headlines worldwide, the idea is not reserved to the imagination. Therefore, the basic premise of Hitler authorizing his own cloning doesn't seem as farfetched as it may have been. Hey, the Germans have given the world the Volkswagen; thus, their scientists could have possibly been working on the cloning process prior and during World War II.

Regardless, the film features excellent work from stars Peck, Olivier, and Mason. Peck went against type by portraying Josef Mengele as a crafty, calculating, and ultimately evil scientist who would go to any length to preserve the Third Reich. Olivier, as the Nazi hunter Lieberman, displays his versatility with accents by doning a very believable Jewish brogue. Mason shows his usual cool as a Nazi hesitant but forced to support the machinations of Mengele.

But, the film has an outstanding group of supporting players whose on-screen time may be brief but is memorable. Uta Hagen as an imprisoned Nazi nurse is captivating; stage veteran Rosemary Harris stands out as the widow of one of Mengele's victims; A young Steve Guttenburg shines as a Nazi hunter; and comedy team member Anne Meara (sans her husband) is great as another "mother" of a Hitler clone.

But, it is Jeremy Black, a young actor who seems to have drifted into obscurity since the release of this motion picture, who is impressive as four of the "boys."

Oh, yeah, the great Michael Gough is "hanging around" in this one, too! Look fast and you will see Prunella Scales from "Fawlty Towers" as Gough's wife.

4-0 out of 5 stars Peck vs Olivier as the Nazis try to clone Adolf Hitler
Gregory Peck gets about as far away from his Oscar winning role as Atticus Finch as possible with his over-the-top performance as the infamous Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele. Once you learn about the plot of "The Boys from Brazil," based on Ira Levin's novel, Peck's hammy performance makes perfect sense. At a South American summit of Nazis, Mengele announces that over the next couple of years 94 adult males with much younger wives and adolescent sons are to be systematically murdered around their 65th birthdays. Mengele had cloned Hitler, implanted the eggs in all of these women, and now wants to recreate what he believes was the Fuhrer's formative experience as a child. Fortunately young Nazi-hunter Barry Kohler (Steve Guttenberg) overhears the plot and right before he is murdered manages enlists the aid of the legendary Ezra Lieberman (Laurence Olivier) to stop this horrific plot. Just think of this film as a cross between "Jurassic Park" and "Triumph of the Will." The scene where a scientist explains the cloning process in excruciating detail to Lieberman is a textbook lesson on how too much exposition can stop a movie in its tracks. But then there is the final living room standoff between Mengele, Lieberman and one of the Hitler clones with his pack of trained killer Dobermans.

Actually, the actor who impresses me in "The Boys from Brazil" is James Mason, who plays Nazi Eduard Seibert and somehow makes the whole thing seem reasonable. Lilli Palmer, Uta Hagen, Rosemary Harris and Denholm Elliott round out the stellar supporting cast caught up in this madness. Jeremy Black has the interesting role of playing all the young Hitler-Wannabees (Jack Curry, Simon Harrington, Erich Doring, Bobby Wheelock, etc.). Director Franklin J. Schaffner ("Planet of the Apes," "Patton," "Papillion") directs this straight up while Peck spews curses and Olivier trots out his wise old man routine. But to be fair, once we get past the exposition and Olivier tells the scientist that the person who has been cloned is neither Mozart nor Picasso, the story does get into gear. In what other over the top film can you see this much acting talent chewing up this much scenery? "The Boys From Brazil" is a first-class bad movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overdone but chilling
Gregory Peck plays a Nazi doctor who escaped to Brazil as the Third Reich fell, while Laurence Olivier plays a Nazi hunter on Peck's trail. What is the evil doctor involved in? How about the creation of a Fourth Reich led by an Adolf Hitler clone? Will Olivier catch Pevck in time? Will that be enough?

Both of these great actors seem to have either tried too hard to make this movie work, or else treated it as somewhat of a farce. They overplay many of their scenes. Nevertheless, this is an intense, chilling, creepy movie with enough story to capture and maintain the viewer's attention. There is considerable gore at times; you might not want to pet a Doberman for a while after seeing "The Boys From Brazil". You might also find yourself wondering about the genetic background of eerily familiar-looking boys you might see, especially given recent advancements in cloning.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT a movie!
This is so weird to write this, BUT... The first time I saw this film I had a roaring migraine headache, complete with severe nausea. IF you're a migraine sufferer, as I am, YOU understand what it's like to be stricken with one of them- you know what it's like to lay in bed, in misery and bordom trying to escape the pain. Normally, you just want to be left alone in a nice quiet, dark room and hopefully go comatose till it's all over. Anyway, early in that afternoon- BEFORE the headache part of the headache came on- the time where the only symptom is the onset of nausea, I read in my TV guide that "The Boys From Brazil" was going to be airing that evening. "Cool." me thinks, "I've been really wanting to see that film, now's my chance!" (This was Pre-DVD, Pre-VHS; Damn, this was SO long ago that it was even PRE HBO! It was plain-old-time-commercial-break-infested-TV-land; which, truth be known, was kind of a blessing for me what with the nausea and all... That night, one could call them: "hurl-breaks" !) Anyway, to shorten an already way too long story: In spite of BLINDING, COLOR ARCHING, NUCLEAR-MELTDOWN BRAIN PAIN, I was SO thrilled by this film, so completely enteretained and SURPRISED by the thing, that, migraine or no, I watched the whole dog-gone thing!
MERCY! Talk about "association strengthening memory"! THIS is one film I will never, EVER forget by virttue of association... SHOOT, to this day, every time I watch it, my forehead sweats, I get kinda' achy at the base of my scull, and my stomach commences to churn. But it was WORTH it! What a GREAT flick, go ahead, buy it. You'll like it. Heck, watch it with a migraine sufferer YOU love. ;o)

5-0 out of 5 stars Passionate
The love secenes were especially moving. Watching two sensitive caring people commit themselves to lives of devotion and sacrifice for the benefit of children and the world was wonderfully refreshing. Long live the IV Reich !
(and George Bush!) ... Read more


20. Hamlet
Director: Laurence Olivier
list price: $14.95
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Asin: B00004Y87E
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 12157
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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In the opening scene of Hamlet (1948), Laurence Olivier's voice-over describes the play as "the tragedy of a man who couldn't make up his mind." But Olivier's screen adaptation is considerably more thoughtful and complex than this thesis would suggest. Drawing on his experience playing the prince on stage at Elsinore in 1937, the legendary thespian provides the film with the patina of greatness and shows how the constitution of the formerly cheerful prince weakens increasingly under the burden of his own thoughts and inability to accept his mother's hasty marriage to uncle Claudius (Basil Sydney). As Ophelia, Jean Simmons captures the character's early spirit better than her gradual disintegration. Purists may bemoan the loss of Fortinbras, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, but these choices allow Olivier to focus more squarely on Hamlet's plight. The winner of four Oscars® (Best Picture, Actor, Art Direction, and Costumes), this is a Hamlet for the ages. The rest is silence. --Kevin Mulhall ... Read more

Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Dane
Sir Laurence Olivier's 1948 version of Hamlet sets the standard for film version of the play about the Danish prince. Much as he did with Henry V, Sir Laurence exercises some significant plot points and characters from Shakespeare's play, but it is done to concentrate the focus of the film on the brooding prince. Make no mistake about it, this is Sir Laurence's film all the way. He brings an amazing breadth to character who disintegrates from a happy and sensitive man into a tormented and lost soul. There are some other great performances including Eileen Herlie who plays the Queen and is Sir Laurence's mother in the film despite being thirteen years his junior, a young Jean Simmons is luminous as Ophelia and Basil Sydney is effective as the villainous Claudius. Horror film notables Peter Cushing and the now ubiquitous Christopher Lee also appear as does Stanley Holloway. The film was a major success and it helped earn Sir Laurence his only competitive Oscars in 1948 as Best Actor and as producer on the Best Picture award in addition to two others for Best Art Direction (B&W) and Best Costume Design (B&W). He is also the only Best Actor Oscar winner to direct himself to the award.

5-0 out of 5 stars OLIVIER MASTERFUL IN HAUTING ADAPTATION
There are several film versions of Shakespeare's great play about the troubled Prince of Denmark; Mel Gibson's imbues the drama with a barely restrained mania while Kenneth Branagh's is notable as the most nearly complete version yet made. Still, it is Olivier's production which remains the standard, and justifiably so. His is the performance which I believe most nearly matches the Bard's own vision of how the tormented Hamlet should be played--sensitive, caustic and impassioned yet tortured and lost. Olivier's direction leads the viewer inexorably into the heart of the play, whose characters move through the nearly inescapable walls of Castle Elsinore like sleepwalkers through a lucid dream. But Olivier couldn't do it all himself, and doesn't need to. Felix Aylmer is a likeable wise old fool as Polonius; Eileen Herlie is an appropriately confused queen and mother; Basil Sydney is well-cast as the villain who would rather not be; and Jean Simmons shines as Hamlet's innocent love, whose disintegration is so realistic it breaks the watcher's heart. More, the individual scenes are beautifully orchestrated. Oliver's rendition of the "To be or not to be" soliloquoy is pure magic, and the story's climactic duel is worth the wait, as Hamlet and Laertes (Ophelia's brother, well assayed by Terence Morgan)duel to the death--one unwittingly, and both to the death of more than each other. True, the production is incomplete, and the lack of Rosencranz and Guildenstern is a regrettable omission. But overall, Olivier's film captures the essence of Shakespeare's play like no other. As long as Hamlet is studied in schools, this will be the version most often used to show how the play should be done. A worthwhile addition to even the most discerning video library.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another good Lawrence Olivier adaptation of Shakespeare
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

In this release Olivier's second adaptation of a Shakespeare play, Olivier again plays the title role. Unlike the previous film, this one is in black and white,

It follows the story of a Danish prince bent on avenging the murder of his father by his uncle.
I would assume that most people know the plot so that is all I will say about it,

The DVD has no special features which is not normal for a Criterion release.

5-0 out of 5 stars Olivier is fantastic!
A film by Laurence Olivier

The word "masterpiece" is thrown around far too often these days, but for years I have heard that this version of "Hamlet" is Olivier's masterpiece. Recently I had the opportunity to see this masterpiece and for the first time I saw Olivier at work. I was impressed with what I saw. To the modern ear, Shakespearean language can sound awkward and archaic, but with Olivier, much of the dialogue sounded like easy conversation.

I once heard "Hamlet" described as the most structurally perfect play, that every action stems directly from something else in the play and that every action happened in that particular way because it had to, that there was no other way for the actions to work out. I am not enough of a Shakespeare scholar to be able to really speak to this, but I do know that when done well, "Hamlet" is a fascinating play, and a fascinating film. Olivier succeeded at doing this play well.

The story is one that is well known. Hamlet (Laurence Olivier) is a prince of Denmark. His father had died a month prior, and Queen Gertrude (Eileen Herlie) married the dead king's brother, Claudius (Basil Sydney). Hamlet has been brooding, unable to accept either his father's death or his mother's rather quick remarriage. This continues until Hamlet sees the ghost of his father, who tells him that he was murdered, and that the murderer is now sitting on the throne of Denmark. As a character said early in the film, "something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Hamlet must avenge his father, but in such a way that he can get away with it. As he begins to plot, he pretends to be mad (crazy), so that his excesses can be excused away. So begins the story.

This is an impressive movie, from the acting to the set design. The castle has a dark, gloomy atmosphere and it feels (and looks) real rather than looking hokey (the movie is more than 50 years old, after all). I was most impressed with Olivier, and rather less so with Jean Simmons, as Ophelia. The character (and her motivations) just didn't feel real to me this time. Excellent movie and highly recommended for classic film buffs.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Dead for a ducket! Dead!!!"
With those words spoken with a maniacal glare, Lawrence Olivier had my complete attention. He is both director and the lead in this classic version of the celebrated play. The direction is smart, reminiscent at times of visual techniques used in "Citizen Kane." Praise, indeed! However, his acting performance is frustrating. He speaks softly, letting the poetry of the language speak for itself, then has a brilliant moment or exceptional scene, only to blaze sensationalistic at the wrong times. One such instance was just after Hamlet slays Polonius. Olivier cries out at the top of his voice, "Is it the King?!" Hamlet states early in the play that he is only playing at madness. Why is he then drawing so much attention to his bloody actions when we all know he just left the King praying on a lower level? He knows it couldn't be the King. Once again, his direction is amazing, but there are some excellent examples of why actors should not direct themselves. Seriously, who's going to tell them their performance needs work? Another scene that had me scratching my head was after the "players" first arrive. Why does Olivier pull the lead player aside, telling him that he has lines for him to memorize, only to have the "play-within-a-play" enacted without any words at all? He should have cut that earlier scene, or let the players have their lines.

The meeting with Hamlet's ghost is incredibly creepy here, with trick camera work, an eerie score, great special effects, and a thudding heart-beat announcing the ghost's arrival. This is my favorite version of this particular scene.

Jean Simmons looks very pretty here, and she does have her moments, but there are better portrayals of Ophelia in other renditions of the play. Both Helena Bonham Carter, in the Mel Gibson version, and Kate Winslet, in the Kenneth Branagh version, are superior. Jean Simmons is good, but not great.

Horatio is wooden for the most part. When will actors learn that one doesn't stop acting simply because it is not their turn to speak. Gestures and expressions, people! Lawrence Olivier uses subtlety in ever scene at ever moment, that is why so many consider him a great actor.

Once again, the character of Laertes is portrayed with only a little passion. Catch the Kenneth Branagh version to see a vengeful Laertes on the verge of exploding with blood-lust!

Overall, I was disappointed with the supporting cast. They have their moments, but none of them can match Olivier's performance. To quote a critical review I read, "Olivier is triumphant!" As both director and actor, his work here, for the most part, shines. Thank you. ... Read more


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