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Robert Mitchum Signature Collection
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Robert Mitchum: Signature Collection, The (DVD)
Complex to the point of being pleasingly convoluted, this Sydney Pollack film (from a terrific script by Robert Towne and Leonard and Paul Schrader) is an intriguing blend of Western and Asian sensibilities. Mitchum, in one of his best roles of the 1970s, is drawn to the Orient by an army buddy (Brian Keith), whose daughter has been kidnapped. But when he gets to Japan, Mitchum finds that her kidnappers are the shadowy Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia--an organization that is as vicious as it is tradition-bound. He must call on friends he made after World War II for favors and finds himself unintentionally trampling on issues of honor, even as he battles for his life and that of the girl he is seeking. Surprisingly heartfelt and deliciously exciting, the film features a sorrowful performance by Mitchum and a stoically touching one by Ken Takakura. And what great samurai swordplay! --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
the movies all look very good..and there are a nice group of bonus features from vintage featurettes to commentaries! On Macao...I particularly enjoyed the 30 minute interview with Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum that Robert Osborne conducted...very late in the life of Mr Mitchum. The packaging it great and frankly 6 films from the great Robert Mitchum at under $10 each on DVD w/bonus features is a terrrrrifffic deal!
The movies aren't generally considered Mitchum's best or best known but when you consider you've got Jean Simmons as a costar and Otto Preminger directing Angel Face, Josef Von Sternberg helming Macao, Vincent Minnelli directing HOme From The Hill, The great Fred Zinneman directing and the legend Deborah Kerr co-starring in the Sundowners ...you can figure this isn't the bottom of the barrel either! Oh and Sydney Pollack directed The Yakuza and contributes a great commentary....
To sum up...warner Bros...continues to deliver THE VERY BEST classic titles on DVD with the best combination of quality transfers/bonus features and value packages!!!!
He was best known for his iconic work in film noir at RKO, many of which have been released in recent years by Warner Brothers in superb DVDs. 2 more are included here, where he is under the direction of two legends: Otto Preminger at the helm in ANGEL FACE, with the great Jean Simmons, and MACAO by the one and only Josef Von Sternberg, where Mitchum once again is paired with a sizzling Jane Russell. These are a treat. Then, we move to broader territory. The amazing Vincente Minnelli, although best known for musicals, could master ANY genre, with his genius. HOME FROM THE HILL, is an example of a searing family drama, where Mitchum, Eleanor Parker and newcomers Georges Peppard and Hamilton are just terrific. Mitchum here sets the stage for Dallas' J. R. Ewing years later. An underrated masterpiece with a great score by Bronislau Kaper. Then comes one of Mitchum's truly greatest works, where under the direction of Oscar-winner Fred Zinnemann, he re-teams with Deborah Kerr in the unforgettable drama THE SUNDOWNERS from 1960. By 1969, Mitchum was ready for a little western fun, and you get that in spades from THE GOOD GUYS AND THE BAD GUYS. A delightful western comedy with an all star cast. Appropriately, the set ends with Sydney Pollack's masterpiece THE YAKUZA, a 1975 work that was ahead of its time. A brilliant performance by Mitchum, and a must have for his fans. Although you can cherry pick some of these separately, the deal you get by buying the whole box is the bargain of the Century!
Mitchum fans should also consider OUT OF THE PAST, HIS KIND OF WOMAN, CAPE FEAR, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, RYAN'S DAUGHTER and CROSSFIRE. All gems.
Sadly, one of his rarer, but more impressive roles in Kramer's NOT AS A STRANGER, has been kept out of release by MGM/Fox.
But why focus on the negative, this new set from Warners is true cause for joy!
AGENCY-- A millionaire buys an advertising agency and replaces personnel with allies chosen to subliminally slant product ads to further the owner's political aims and beliefs. A copywriter catches on to this scheme and ends up dead. 1970s cynicism is reflected in this mediocre Canadian-made whodunit.
GUNG HO! -- Mitchum is a lowly 10th banana here. A decent cast in an idealized rendering of a WWII true event: the Marine assault of a Japanese-held island that occurred two months after Pearl Harbor.
AERIAL GUNNER-- This one's even less of a Robert Mitchum film. He gets no screen credit for a bit role in this dual/genre WWII-era tale of a training camp love triangle and Pacific airwar story.
For a similar set, check out the RONALD REAGAN SIGNATURE COLLECTION, also from St. Clair.
Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 viewer poll ratings found at a film resource website.
(5.2) Agency (Canada-1980) - Robert Mitchum/Lee Majors/Valerie Perrine/Saul Rubinek
(6.0) Gung Ho! (" 'Gung Ho!': The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders") - (1943) - Randolph Scott/Noah Beery Jr./J. Carrol Naish/Sam Levene/Robert Mitchum/Rod Cameron (Chet Huntley-narrator)
(5.8) Aerial Gunner (1943) - Chester Morris/Richard Arlen/Lita Ward/Jimmy Lydon (uncredited: Robert Mitchum/Jeff Corey/John Hamilton)
BONUS: Robert Mitchum Poster Gallery
I had never seen any of these films before I bought the box set. My purchase was based on my enjoyment of other Mitchum films, mostly of the film noir genre. After viewing these, I came away with a much better appreciation for Mitchum's talents. Though these are not all great films by any means, each offers at least something to enjoy. Here is my ranking from best to worst:
1) Angel Face: I like noir and this is a great noir film. Robert Mitchum is easily lured in by a strange and spoiled rich girl (Jean Simmons) he meets when he is on an emergency call to her home. He already has an attractive and stable girlfriend but since he fancies himself a ladies man he's always looking for greener pastures. He should have gotten out while he was ahead. He suspects she is trouble but he let the wrong head do his thinking and pays for it. The end is gripping though I quite expected that was where the film was leading. Five stars!
2)Home From The Hill: There is a lot going on in this film besides the obvious. This is small-town East Texas where a man has to be a man or he doesn't make it. Mitchum is the biggest land-owner and employer in the area, but has made lots of enemies because he can't stay away from other men's wives. At the beginning of the film, he is shot by a cuckolded husband, at the end he is shot by an outraged father who mistakenly believes that Mitchum has pupped his daughter. In the middle is the story of Mitchum's two sons, one illegitimate but self-reliant, the other a feckless mama's boy that Mitchum eventually turns into a man. The question is, will the boy be just like his father, or will he seek his own path? Its a very well-written and well-told story. When you are not spellbound by the storyline, look around and see how everyone, including the minor characters, interacts. It will give you a fairly authentic look at rural East Texas society at the time. Five stars!
3)Yakuza: I found this to be an illuminating peek into the inscrutable customs of Japanese society. East meets West? Oh, yeah! Its a good story about a business deal gone bad and how the Japanese mafia, i.e.Yakuza, would likely deal with it. Great action and great acting. Mitchum is an old Japan hand from his post-WWII occupation days and has old contacts there who are obligated to him. So he is sent back by a friend in trouble with the Yakuza to try to rectify the problem. Can his old contacts help? The answer is spellbinding! Sidney Pollack has made a very interesting film. Five stars!
4)Macao: A quasi-noir that supposedly takes place in the former Portuguese colony of Macao. I never did figure out why Mitchum was there, or why love interest Jane Russell was there either, but he gets into a lot of life-threatening situations because he is thought by the local crime boss to be a cop when actually its someone else. You get exotica, a little romance, some knife-throwing local toughs, and a fat, greasy, and corrupt colonial cop to liven up the action. Not a masterpiece but not at all unwatchable. Three stars.
5)The Sundowners: This could be a Disney film, really. Mitchum stars as a restless Aussie who wanders the country with his family in a wagon and takes odd jobs when he must. His philosophy is easy come, easy go. His loving wife Deborah Kerr tries hard to get him to settle down to no avail. They hook up with another wanderer Peter Ustinov who provides a lot of comic relief. To me, some of the best parts of the film are the views of the Australian outback and life at a sheep station. The best action sequence is the harrowing escape from a raging bush fire. You see so many examples of Australia's unique fauna throughout you could be forgiven for thinking that somehow you are really watching a DVD of a Discovery Channel feature. And then there is the hokey Dimitri Tiomkin score that often makes the action seem silly as his scores usually do. Overall, the movie is light-hearted and enjoyable, but eminently forgettable. Three stars.
6)The Good Guys and the Bad Guys: You have to be kidding! One of the stupidest movies I've seen, it would never even make it into release nowadays. Come to think of it, I don't remember it from when it was released. Mitchum probably felt embarassed by the outlandish storyline. Actually, he does have sort of a sheepish look about him. The best thing about the movie is the setting in the beautiful environs of Chama New Mexico. You have to see it in order to appreciate how lame it is. Probably went straight to the kiddie movies on Saturday morning TV. One star.
Despite my comments about the last couple of films, overall I would recommend Robert Mitchum-The Signature Collection to any fan who wants to own a representative sampling of his work. I'll certainly be enjoying it more than once.
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