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Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada)

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The Laurel and Hardy Movie Posters Book - Volume Two
The Laurel and Hardy Movie Posters Book - Volume Two
by Greg Lenburg
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from CDN$ 97.94

1.0 out of 5 stars No real research and cheaply done, Jan. 15 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Released the same time as the re-released Vol#1(Jan.10/16), we have yet another nice mess author Lenburg has gotten himself into.With roughly 94 actual pages showing posters,this volume is as cheaply made as the first.The posters reprinted herein are sometimes washed out.Pages 6-10 are prime examples.Many others look like poor scans from even poorer sources.Having said that,I think this volume's reprints do look a little better/clearer overall than the first.
As I stated in my review of the first one,the author wants you to believe these are rare or rarely seen posters.Nothing could be further from the truth.I had seen all the ones printed in Vol#1,and I was hoping to spot something new/old in this bunch.....nada.
I am also glad the author didn't insult our intelligence in this one like he did in the first.In that he included a a solo work section and pathetically could only come up with two Roach's for Stan, and the Fighting Kentuckian for Babe(!?).
In conclusion I do not believe the author has done the REAL necessary research to do a proper work on the subject matter at hand.Like the first it has been done cheaply and quickly(as the technology of our times allows many to do)with no thought to fans of Laurel and Hardy.Novices to the team MAY find it of some value,but to those of us who have been around the Laurel and Hardy block more than few times,it is old hat.Chances are they already have or have seen most if not all the posters/one sheets,etc. reprinted here.Save your money on this over priced "book".

The Laurel and Hardy Movie Posters Book - Reprint Edition
The Laurel and Hardy Movie Posters Book - Reprint Edition
by Greg Lenburg
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money on this over priced "book", Jan. 15 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Hot off the presses,January 10th,2016 to be exact,comes this poster book dedicated to the greatest comedy team of the 20th century.There have been countless reprints of posters by this team over the years,in books as well as magazines.And that is this books downfall....comparison.I have some of these one sheets and lobby cards and many a book and magazine with which to compare, and this very short volume(92 pages of actual posters) comes up wanting.
Colours are very poor in some cases and the quality/clarity of these reprints are acceptable at best, and poor in the very least.Not to mention the fact that this volume's paper stock is cheap which doesn't help the end product one iota.
The author wants you to believe you're getting some rare and rarely seen posters here.There isn't one I personally haven't seen and countless more he has left out;and that goes for the foreign reprints also.As far as solo work goes,there are actually just two Roach's here for Stan(Sailor Beware which is included has Hardy in it,so it is not considered solo work) and no Rock's at all(!?).As far as Babe goes there are NO solo posters at all pre-teaming;and there are a heck of a LOT of those available,considering the number of films he co-starred in.The two posters he has included,unbelievably, is from the very common Fighting Kentuckian.
All in all,while novices to the subject matter at hand might find this a bit interesting,any L&H veterans out there are going to wince at what this book presents.It is cheap all around,some of the reprints look like poor scans,and others still look like they have been lifted off of the VHS covers of the L&H silents issued some years ago.Thing is,THEY looked better! This book would be better priced at $5.00.L&H fans,save your money.

Thunderbirds: Complete Series - The Gerry Anderson Collection
Thunderbirds: Complete Series - The Gerry Anderson Collection
DVD ~ Alexander Davion
Price: CDN$ 45.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 41.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thunderbirds will always be"Go!" for me., Jan. 6 2016
The Thunderbirds, which ran from late /64 to /66(depending on your locale in the world),is now brought back to life for all to enjoy with this new set by Shout Factory.While SF can be iffy at times,they have proven what they can do when they do things right.All the original eps are here and they have been remastered beautifully in both picture and sound.
When I look back at this show when it first premiered in Canada,as with all the Anderson's efforts up to that point,I found them to be intelligent shows and not one that was made for the juvenile set with hokey plots and on screen production.They didn't talk down to kids;they actually assumed we had some grey matter up stairs.Another strong point of this shows was the production values and attention to detail,which really made TB's as good as it was.And mention MUST be made of Barry Gray's fantastic contribution in the music department.He is as important to TB's overall success as the Anderson's were.Of course there were the odd on screen faux paux's with animals not behaving as they should,puppets not responding on cue or wheels,those pesky vehicle wheels not turning consistently when needed.
When all is said and done I think of all the Anderson shows the Thunderbirds were the peak of their creativity.They pioneered a form of puppetry and miniature work that stills stands the test of time.And along with a BBC documentary on the show in this eight single sided disc set,you will find it back in all its glorious action.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (Bilingual)
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Tom Cruise
Price: CDN$ 10.00
10 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Action movies don't get any better than this., Dec 28 2015
Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation(released July/15)stars,among others,Tom Cruise,Jeremy Renner,Simon Pegg,Rebecca Ferguson,Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin.This newest of the MI franchise is a fantastic action packed ride,full of enough twists and turns to make your head spin.
The story finds the MI crew in deep trouble.Renner is the group liaison and he is being told by a Senate sub committee and the head of the CIA(Baldwin)that the organization has itself been the creator and perpetrator of many a covert operation against the government and their allies,and they must be shut down.Cruise is convinced that there is another rogue operation out there that has nothing to do with the MI group and sets out to prove it.On his journey he finds that Harris is the man he is looking for and he becomes involved with a British MI-6 operative(Ferguson) who is also trying to get close to Harris.The two work together,and eventually they gain possession of secret data that implicates Ferguson's boss as the man behind Harris' financing.In the end they capture Harris and expose her boss.Hunt has saved the day and the MI force.
This is a great adrenaline filled ride that has Cruise and the rest of the cast at the top of their game.There is little let up throughout and it is the kind of edge of your seat action that I love.
Technically speaking the film is its a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.There are no extras.
All in all a highly recommended action ride that is non stop from start to finish.Cruise and company are on top of their game and you cannot do better in the action genre than this.

Brazil (The Criterion Collection Single Disc Edition)
Brazil (The Criterion Collection Single Disc Edition)
DVD ~ Jonathan Pryce
Price: CDN$ 32.99
25 used & new from CDN$ 24.48

5.0 out of 5 stars "We're all in it together", Dec 28 2015
Brazil(released Feb/85)stars,among others,Jonathan Pryce,Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond,Ian Holm,Bob Hoskins and Michael Palin.Ex Monty Python-er Terry Gilliam directs this dystopian nightmare designed to shock and awe throughout.The Monty Python troupe often railed against the establishment in their works and this is that taken to the extreme.
The story finds Pryce in a hum drum position within the government.In a Walter-Mitty-ish behaviour, he often dreams of conquering a giant samurai and rescuing a beautiful girl.One day he literally sees his dream girl in real life and realizes the only way to find her is to take a promotion to a higher department.That higher department it turns out is also looking for the girl.When he finally does meet her the two try and break away.He takes her to his mothers house and returns to his work to delete her off the files so they won't look for her.When he returns his peers come looking for her and both are taken in to custody.Pryce is interrogated by a good friend of his,but it is interrupted by an outside group who rescue them. They flee and live in an idyllic abode way in the country,but this scene is cut short as we find Pryce is really back in the interrogation chair.As the film ends he is oblivious to all around him,and enjoying his new reality and humming the title song.
Was the entire film just a dream of Pryce's mind?Or was it a dream from the interrogation onward?The film is open to many interpretations,and symbolism and sly movie and literary references are everywhere.Terry Gilliam himself makes a brief cameo as what modern X-Files fans would call,Cancer or Cigarette man.The phrase"We're all in it together" that DeNiro speaks and is on a poster, is oh so true of our world.Pryce's dystopian world is not far removed from our own;that is the film's raison d'etre.
Technically speaking the film is in its original a/r of 1:78:1 and is clear and crisp.This is the single disc 142 minute version.I have seen this film many times in its truncated form on TV ,but this director approved version is by far the best and most comprehensible.
All in all a great and different film from the delightfully twisted mind of Terry Gilliam.Not originally a hit here in North America, I think it can now be fully understood and appreciated like never before.Everyone will see their own world in this film.Highly recommended.

Wild Geese
Wild Geese
DVD ~ Richard Burton
Price: CDN$ 19.98
17 used & new from CDN$ 10.63

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 70s equivalent of the Expendables., Dec 28 2015
This review is from: Wild Geese (DVD)
The Wild geese(released Nov/78)stars,among others,Richard Burton,Roger Moore,Richard Harris,Stewart Granger and Hardy Krüger.This film is the 70s equivalent of The Expendables today and still packs a punch.
The story finds Burton playing a mercenary-for-hire colonel.He is recruited by a high British official to extract Limbani,the former black president of an African country and bring him back to London.Burton gets his old buddies together and off they head.Harris is the brains behind the plan and all goes well until Granger makes a secret deal with another Black African leader,and the plane pre-planned to extract the group instead flies off without them.From there they are forced to run south where they eventually find a plane of their own to use.However they are now being pursued and as they are leaving most get cut to pieces,including Burton's close friend Harris.
Back in London Burton confronts Granger and kills him.The film ends as Burton stands with Harris's son,whom he promised to look after should anything happen to Harris.
The film comes in around 130 minutes and unfortunately can be slow in some spots.However it is solidly acted throughout and when the story starts to falter the star's talents keep it all together.There are many nice touches such as when South Africaner mercenary Kruger finally gets close to Limbani and dies trying to save him.There is is also an oh so brief scene where Burton's personally chosen drill sergeant calls out Burton's first name as he goes down in a hail of bullets;the first and only time he did so.
Technically speaking the film is in its original a/r of 1:85:1 and is clear and crisp.An excellent print.Extras include footage from the film's London premiere,the trailer,interviews with the director,the military advisory and a documentary on the producer.
All in all a wonderful trip down memory lane for me, as I remember it well during its first run but have never sen it since.The film has not changed my first impression, now I have seen it on DVD.It was a bit on the long side then(some judicious editing would have helped) and still is,but the acting was rock solid and the story generally good.Recommended.

A Night to Remember (The Criterion Collection)
A Night to Remember (The Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Kenneth More
Price: CDN$ 31.47
21 used & new from CDN$ 26.73

5.0 out of 5 stars The most factual film of the Titanic's sinking., Dec 28 2015
A Night to Remember(released July/58)starred,among others Kenneth More,Ronald Allen,Robert Ayers and Honor Blackman .The film was based on Walter Lord's best selling book of the same name.Other than not showing the breaking up of the ship above the water,the film is a relatively faithful adaption of that book and the facts.
The story of course finds the supposedly unsinkable ship foundering after sideswiping an iceberg late on April12/14(It actually sank on the 13th).This movie gets us to the strike rather quickly and settles down for the rest of the film showing us the after effects of it.At first comes the calm and reasoning period as they try and figure out the real damage then start putting people on to the lifeboats.Slowly but surely a sense of urgency descends over the passengers,ultimately making way to out right panic.There are many heroic moments,along with the cowardly.But in the end it is a human tragedy that need not have happened at all had laws been more stringent re the life boats.Not to mention the incomprehensible behaviour of the crew of the Californian,just 10 miles away and which could have saved most of the lives lost.
The film is solidly acted all around and Kenneth More shines as Lightholer,the captain's second and who ultimately survived the sinking.This print(in B&W) is a restored one and it looks as clear and crisp as if it had been filmed yesterday.It is in its original a/r of 1:66:1.Extras are on the second disc which include past interviews with real Titanic survivors, a /93 documentary of the film and an /06 documentary by the BBC.
All in all a fabulous and must have film for those especially interested in the Titanic.Even if you are not a Titanic fan,the tragedy that plays out will keep you riveted to your seat until the end.As usual a Criterion release is a superior release,so you can bet on the highest quality presentation available.Highly recommended.

Criterion Collection: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World [Blu-ray]
Criterion Collection: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Spencer Tracy
Price: CDN$ 46.00
23 used & new from CDN$ 39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A new convert!, Dec 27 2015
It's a Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad World(released Nov/63)stars,well too many folks to even start to mention.It is chock filled with screen veterans like Buster Keaton,Zasu Pitts and the Three Stooges,to relative new comers like Dick Shawn and Jonathan Winters.The only version I have ever seen of this film have been on TV and that version was totally paired own to where the gags and story,such as it was, never made much sense.I was always asking myself as to what Tracy's motivation was to go bad.Well I watched the new extended version which has newly found 70mm material reinserted in those places in which they were previously cut out.There are also scenes where footage doesn't exist and only the audio takes place.There are also sound drop outs and the dialogue is shown on the screen.From what I understand there is still about 20 minutes of footage still lost but the extended version is as close to replicating the roadshow version of this film as we are likely to get for some time.
So I am,what you might say,a convert to this film.The film,Tracy's motivation and the gags whose set ups were often cut to the point of pointlessness,now make sense to me.If one day we find the missing elements, this picture will finally make total sense and Kramer's original vision will finally be seen and fully justified.I hope that happens.
In the meantime this version will have to do...and it does its job.The story of course is about a group of five guys who happen upon a car crash and the driver,on his "deathbed",reveals the location of $350,000 just waiting for the taking.At first reason reigns,but in short order chaos descends and the five grows into almost two dozen as the rush to get the loot takes shape.It IS long,no doubt,but now making more sense than ever before,I have actually enjoyed it for the first time.I now realize a film like this should NEVER have been butchered the way it was and while the new extended version is as close to Kramers vision as never before,we need to keep searching to find that lost footage to restore it back, to FULLY appreciate it.
This is a five disc set,two for Blu Ray and three for DVD.The film is in its' original 2:76:1 a/r and looks like it was filmed yesterday,it is that good.This edition includes the 197 minute extended version and the general release 163 minute version.There are just too many extras to name but they include old TV interviews,featurettes,trailers,an explanatory insert,and so much more.The discs are inserted into half-cardboard sleeves,as the whole set unfolds like a book.I thought at first this was a sloppy way to pack these discs until I found Criterion has had the manufacturer coat the surface where the discs sit with an anti-scratch substance.Almost all other manufacturers would never do this.
In conclusion,for now these beautifully restored versions of this film are fantatstic.The extended 197 minute version replicates,as close as it can,the original /63 roadshow experience of the film and it can now be appreciated in story,as well as look,and as close to Kramer's original intent than ever before.As usual a Criterion release is a superior release and this one is no exception.They go,as usual,the extra mile to give the movie-phile the best viewing experience that can be had.

Way Down East [Import]
Way Down East [Import]
DVD ~ Lillian Gish
Price: CDN$ 27.49
20 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One the classics of cinema history., Dec 27 2015
This review is from: Way Down East [Import] (DVD)
Way Down East(released Sept/20)stars,among others, Lillian Gish,Richard Barthelmess,Lowell Sherman and Burr McIntosh.A classic of cinema,this melodrama directed by DW Griffith still retains its bite;of a wronged woman redeemed.
The story finds Gish as a country hick,living with her mother.They are poor and one day her mother asks her if she wouldn't visit a well to do cousin in the big city and ask for some help.Dutifully Gish complies.She arrives during a Whist party and the cousin isn't too happy about this unexpected arrival.She introduces her to her two daughters, who also want little to do with the waif.Gish stays a spell and in time meets up with the local playboy who is smitten with this frail and gullible quail.He arranges a mock wedding and gets her pregnant.When told about the arrival to come, when he comes to visit at her mothers home, the playboy tells her what really went down.He wants nothing to do with Gish now and, brokenhearted, she is on her own.
A few months go by and her mother passes away.Alone she leaves her home and arrives at a boarding house to have her baby there.The landlady has been told by Gish that her husband is away.But when the baby is born and dies soon after,with still no man around,Gish is kicked out of her apartment.Gish wanders the back roads of the countryside and ends up at a country estate run by a kindly but elderly gent and his wife.They have a son(Barthlemess)and when Gish arrives seeking a job he is instantly smitten.The squire is reluctant at firs,t but after a little persuasion by his wife,he hires Gish to help in the kitchen.
Life goes well for Gish and she becomes well liked.One day however her "ex",the playboy who just happens to be the squires neighbour,arrives for a visit.Gish and he of course meet up and he tells her he wants her gone.Gish refuses and stays on.Over time the son falls totally in love with Gish and tells her so.Because of her past she rebukes him and tells him never to mention his feelings for her again.
On a certain day Gish's old landlady visits the little town to hob knob with the local sewing circle.She runs into the town gossip.When the two see Gish outside on a grocery errand, the landlady is in disbelief and spills the beans to the gossip as to who she really is.The gossip hurries back to the squire and later during a barn dance spills gossip to he and his wife.The next day the squire goes to Gish's old boarding house to check the story out.Getting it confirmed,he rushes back home.He arrives in quite the state and almost immediately orders Gish out,in front of guests and the playboy who happens to have dropped by for supper.Before she leaves she finally admits to her"sins", but she also asks why he did not find out the whole truth.She outs the playboy and his dastardly conduct.She puts on a shawl and rushes out into a blinding snow storm.She eventually comes to a river and flings herself on to an ice flow,which is swiftly moving toward a waterfall as it breaks up.The squire's son is already in pursuit and when he happens upon some men at the local sugar bush cabin asking for help,in comes the playboy whose cutter and horse got away from him.The two struggle and the son knocks him out cold.Back outside he searches until he finds Gish.And in one of cinema's most famous scenes,the son steps his way across the fast rushing river,over ice chunks of various sizes,to rescue his beloved.He carries her back to the sugar bush cabin where a doctor is called.Shortly there after the squire,his wife and friends arrive.The squire asks and gets Gish's forgiveness for his behaviour.The playboy at this point wakes up and enters the scene.He mockingly asks for Gish's hand,wanting to do the right thing,but is rebuffed.He leaves,disgraced.The film comes to an end with a wedding for three,as Gish and the son live happily ever after.
The film comes it at a long 149 minutes but the story propels the action beautifully.Along with the great story is the cinematography.For instance,there is a gorgeous outdoor scene with Gish and Barthlemess sitting in the the grass by a river in the summer that is to die for,along with many other memorable moments like that.The acting is of its time but still holds up very,very well.This print is supplied through The Museum of Modern Art.
Technically speaking the film is in its full frame a/r and is generally crisp and clear.The film however does show some moderate deterioration in spots and has the odd scenes totally gone,for which title cards/and or still photos fill in.The original colour tints are intact.Extras include an image gallery,notes on the music score by the Mont Alto MP Orchestra,notes on the original play from which the film is derived and a film clip from Uncle Tom's Cabin(1903)with a similar ice flow sequence.
All in all a must have for all students of cinema and cinema history.This is one of Gish penultimate roles and the ice flow sequence is amazing.The acting may be a little dated but the story and the wonderful acting propel this melodrama on to its pleasing ending.

Sabu! - Eclipse Series 30 (Criterion)
Sabu! - Eclipse Series 30 (Criterion)
DVD ~ Selar Shaik
Price: CDN$ 38.53
15 used & new from CDN$ 38.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful films for the whole family., Dec 20 2015
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This three DVD set features three out of four of Sabu's first films,his debut piece Elephant Boy(released April/37),The Drum(released April/38)and The Jungle Book(released April/42).The fourth film was done between The Drum and The Jungle Book,and that was his classic Thief of Bagdad,which is available on Criterion separately.Sabu's natural charm shines through each and every frame of these films.A poor orphan boy in real life,an elephant drivers son in fact,plucked from obscurity and made a star by director Korda.Amazing.
The Elephant Boy,starring,among others, Sabu,W.E. Holloway and Walter Hudd, has Sabu opening the picture giving a monologue and setting up the story for us.It concerns Sabu's rise from a wanna be hunter,mocked by fellow elephant drivers,to a full fledged leader in his own right.His father's elephant is picked to join a hunt for wild elephants.During that time his father is killed by a tiger.Another driver takes over the charge of Sabu's elephant but treats it cruelly and is injured by it when it goes on a rampage.Fearing that they will kill the elephant Sabu flees with it.The two inadvertently find a huge wandering herd of elephants and when the rest catch up in short course, they have what they came after and Sabu is celebrated as a master elephant driver.
The film is shot in black and white and is clear and crisp.The film isn't perfect,as it does show its age,but it is a decent print,provided by the BFI.The shooting in India is impeccable and gives the film,along with it's new little star,an air of authenticity.4 stars.
The Drum,which stars,among others,Sabu ,Raymond Massey,Roger Livesey and Valerie Hobson, finds Sabu as the son of a local maharajah in the northwestern part of India.His bad uncle(Massey)is power hungry and wants the British gone so he can rule.He kills his brother,which leaves Sabu an orphan.However just before his death Sabu's father had signed a treaty with the British which involved mutual cooperation and protection.Sabu becomes quick friends with the local British colonel and his wife.When he gets word of an upcoming plot to massacre the British during a visit to see his uncle,Sabu tips them off.A total massacre is averted.His uncle is killed and Sabu is instilled as the rightful heir to the throne.Sabu's charm once more carries the film through.In fact if it had been done by some one else the impact would have not been nearly as powerful.This film is in colour, but does need a remastering/new print struck,as it shows its age.However despite that it is generally clear.4 stars.
Finally we have The Jungle Book,which stars,among others,Sabu,Joseph Calleia,John Qualen and Frank Puglia.This film finds Sabu raised as a young child by wolves.One day he happens upon the same village from where he came from.While snooping around he is surrounded by the people there and his real mother,takes him in.Over time he becomes reacquainted with civilization but never really feels totally comfortable there.His heart always belongs to the jungle and its creatures.One day Sabu stumbles upon old ruins with the daughter of one of the villagers, and finds a treasure there.One piece of gold taken by the girl and discovered by the girl's father,sets off a greedy treasure hunt by three men.They find the gold but only the girl's father returns alive,with no treasure to show for his travail.Blaming Sabu he sets the forest on fire and Sabu rescues as many of the animals he can find,while saving the villagers also.In the end he decides to return to the jungle and resume his life there.An utterly charming tale told very well,this film is as good as The Thief of Bagdad.It was filmed in colour and is a print from the BFI also.It is clear and crisp,and while showing its age,it is the best looking of the three.5 stars.
What can be said of this collection,is that it is a FAMILY oriented collection.That is it is as well suited for the older crowd as much as it is for the younger.The location shooting will amaze the adults,while all the wild animals and their antics will stir the small fry`s imaginations.The plots will please everyone.Unavailable for years,and in terrible prints,while they are not perfection the films are generally in decent condition and should please most viewers.There are no extras but informative liners notes with each disc,which is in its own slim case.It is great to see Sabu back in action once more and I hope his ineffable charm will captivate a newer generation as it did me so many,many years ago.

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