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NEW Swashbuckler Boxset (DVD)
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Item Type: DVD Movie
Item Rating: NR
Street Date: 05/01/07
Wide Screen: no
Director Cut: no
Special Edition: no
Foreign Film: no
Full Frame: no
Packaging: Sleeve Please note: This supplier will be closed on 11/24, 11/25, 12/26, 1/2 for the holidays. The shipping cut off is 12/10 to try and have the products delivered by Christmas.
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The oldest of the films, "Blood and Sand", is the strangest entry of the collection; while the other films are historical epics, this technicolor morality tale, told in a bullfight saga, was released in pre-WWII 1941. A remake of Rudolph Valentino's 1922 silent classic, Power is the fearless matador loved by sweet Linda Darnell, but corrupted by sophisticated vixen Rita Hayworth (being groomed for stardom at the time). The fun of this film isn't so much the drama, however, as the beauty of Power and Hayworth, and a fabulous supporting cast, including Anthony Quinn, Laird Cregar, and John Carradine; watch for future 'Superman' George Reeves in a small role!
"Son of Fury" (1942) is best-known as the film that helped launch Gene Tierney's career, and the sad swansong of Frances Farmer's attempted comeback, but it is closer in spirit to "Anthony Adverse" than swashbuckler. Supposedly illegitimate Power is abused by sadistic uncle George Sanders, and flees to the South Seas to gain the wealth to contest his status, falling for island girl Tierney. Don't miss the climactic fistfight between Power and Sanders; it's nearly as spectacular as the Wayne/Scott brawl in "The Spoilers"!
The end of WWII brought a new 'consciousness' to historical epics, and Power's films would be among the best, marred only by some poorly-cast leading ladies. "Captain from Castile" (1947) offered the one exception, sultry Jean Peters; while the concept was similar to "Son of Fury" (hero goes overseas...Mexico, this time...seeking fortune and fame to clear name), the film benefits from breathtaking Technicolor Mexican locations (watch for the active volcanoes!), a first-rate cast, including Cesar Romero (fabulous as Cortez), and Alfred Newman's unforgettable score. "Prince of Foxes" (1949), first of two Power teamings with Orson Welles, is one of Hollywood's first 'intellectual' epics; In 16th certury Italy, a pretender (Power), gains the confidence of legendary Cesare Borgia (Welles), who uses Power's wiles to win cities in his plan to conquer and unite Italy. Unfortunately, conscience (in the form of miscast Wanda Hendrix), would get in the way! "The Black Rose" (1950), set in 13th century Britain, completes the collection; again, Power goes to foreign lands (this time, China) to win a fortune, and save his Saxon family's estate and honor, accompanied by loyal Jack Hawkins (who nearly steals the film). He enters the service of exotic General Bayan (Welles), and wins the heart of captive Cecile Aubry (easily the worst of Power's leading ladies), bringing China's wonders back to the West. Produced in England, on a smaller budget, the film lacks the 'sweep' of the other titles, and Power (at 36) is getting a bit old to be playing youths, but it is still entertaining!
For Tyrone Power's many fans (including me), finally seeing these titles on DVD is a cause to celebrate, and one hopes that more of his film work will soon be available!
Fox has really gone all the way with this one, with the inclusion of postcard-sized lobby cards and four exquisite features, including excellent commentary, isolated scores of Captain from Castile and Prince of Foxes that are INCREDIBLE, and many other elements. I do not feel that Fox took the cheap way out at all. Through Warner Brothers in the past has had more output than Fox, Warners recently has not given the attention to their DVD sets as Fox has on this Power set. I have been critical of Fox in the past for their DVD production, but I think they're trying to make up for it now. It's a beautifully compiled set.
Three of the films are in color: Blood and Sand, The Black Rose, and The Captain from Castile. The color in Blood and Sand is excellent; in fact, there is a commentary by Richard Crudo, Pres. of American Society of Cinematographers who speaks about this film. The split-screen technique shows the beauty of the restoration.
Son of Fury is in black and white - there is some light flickering contrast but I think the picture looks great, using a dual-layering process.
The first two reels of Captain From Castile has some color problems but after that it's fine - and the score is a treasure. Make sure to listen to the isolated score by Randy Newman that is offered. It's also an excellent film, with great performances.
Actually I don't entirely agree with the negative review of the Prince of Foxes quality - it's not perfect but the black and white is fine, and I thoroughly loved watching the film. Again, the score is sensational.
My least favorite film in the set is The Black Rose, which as one reviewer suggests, was added because The Black Swan and Zorro had already seen release. However, the color is probably the best of the set.
I hope Fox will continue with another Power series and include Lloyds of London, I'll Never Forget You, Suez, and other of this fine actor's films.
Unfortunately, Power's best swashbuckling/adventure films, The Mark of Zorro and The Black Swan, have already been released. Nevertheless, this set has three absolute gems - Blood and Sand, Captain from Castile, and Son of Fury, all top-notch films. The latter film introduced the gorgeous Gene Tierney to audiences.
I'm not crazy about the outside cover artwork (from Captain from Castile), which doesn't resemble Power, but the artwork on the remaining individual DVD covers is stunning, and there is some wonderful film restoration done. I'll never get over not seeing Prince of Foxes in color. If there was ever a movie that deserves to be colorized (in a good way, like The Mark of Zorro was - I am NOT referring to the old colorization that Ted Turner did) - it's Prince of Foxes, with its authentic Italian surroundings and interiors. I hope Fox will eventually do that.
Power gives wonderful performances in all of the films. I admit my least favorite movie here is The Black Rose, in no small measure because of Cecile Aubrey, but the movie is pretty to look at. For brilliant direction, performances and cinematography, the Oscar-winning Blood and Sand is fantastic and is my favorite film in the set. It also has my favorite performance of Power's - in, not surprisingly, the best role - of the five films.
The other thing this set has is fantastic FEATURES - all of them are great, and one of them is a Power family reunion of sorts, with Linda Christian, her two children, and Tyrone Power Jr. This is a real treasure. There is also "The Leading Ladies" which features some of his living costars - Patricia Neal, Jayne Meadows, Terry Moore, Colleen Gray. A third feature is a Movietone about his fabulous wedding to Linda Christian, where 10,000 people mobbed the outside of the church (as opposed to the 1,000 when Tom Cruise married in the same place in Italy). The last feature is "Behind the Scenes" with some wonderful still photographs, clips, and interviews with Oscar nominee James Cromwell, whose father directed the film, and comments from a film historian.
Ty fans will love this. It is SO GREAT to have Captain from Castile, Son of Fury, Blood and Sand, Prince of Foxes, and The Black Rose out on DVD. Here's hoping Power gets the second collection he deserves.
"Blood and Sand," from the novel by Ibanez, has Ty stepping into Rudloph Valentino's shoes, which he fills very nicely, as the talented and charming but doomed bullfighter, led on by the gorgeous and evil Rita Hayworth who flamencos up a storm. Anthony Quinn as his hot-blooded rival and Laird Cregar a most slimy and rotund villain.
"Son of Fury," from a novel by Edison Marshall, rarely shown, has Ty making love to fetching Gene Tierney and matching wits and fistcuffs with George Saunders, one of the screen's most rapacious villains - and NOBODY can eat a grape like George Saunders!
"The Black Rose" from the novel by Thomas Costain features Ty as Walter of Guerney, the illegitimate son of a Saxon noble who finds himself in the court of Kublai Khan in the 13th Century. Orson Welles steals the show as the Mongol general, Bayan of the Hundred Eyes. First rate production values, exquisitely photographed by the legendary Jack Cardiff.
"Prince of Foxes," from the novel by Samuel Shellabarger, has Ty as Andrea Orsini, Renaissance adventurer, swordsman, lover and assassin in the service of Cesare Borgia, played slyly by Orson Welles. The cast is aided by Everett Sloan and Felix Aylmer. Photographed against the backdrop of Tuscan palazzos, this film should have been filmed in color. The transfer could have been better. The sound crackles and fades from time to time. Technically, this is the only one of the five that did not receive the treatment it should have, but rousing and worth viewing all the same.
Rounding out the set, "Captain from Castille," also from a novel by Shellabarger, has Ty as Pedro de Vargas, the son of a Spanish nobleman whose family is persecuted by the Inquisition in the person of oily John Sutton, a most loathsome and cowardly villain. With Caesar Romero as a lusty and bearded Hernando Cortez, Thomas Gomez as the kindly priest, and Jean Peters as Ty's love interest. Running time is 140 minutes and there's nary a dull moment.
With baited breath I await Volume Two: "The Mark of Zorro," "Jesse James," "Lloyds of London,"King of the Khyber Rifles," and "The Pony Soldiers."