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Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man

22 hours ago

This 1976 police thriller was gore-happy director Ruggero Deodato’s only foray into the genre but he leaves his fingerprints all over this brutal tale of a special squad of undercover cops given free reign in their strong armed tactics. It was familiar territory for both leading man Marc Porel (The Sicilian Clan) and co-star Adolfo Celi, the eye-patch wearing supervillain of 1965’s Thunderball.

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- Charlie Largent

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Four Faces West

12 December 2017 9:53 AM, PST

 

Westerns are all about values: good and bad, law and lawlessness, etc. Joel McCrea and Frances Dee’s ‘bad man’ saga isn’t faith based, exactly, but it’s great for humanitarian values, the simple notion that the good in people should be encouraged. And one important detail may make it unique. Hint: John Milius might be strongly prejudiced against this picture.

Four Faces West

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1948 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 89 min. / Street Date December 19, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Joel McCrea, Frances Dee, Charles Bickford, Joseph Calleia, William Conrad.

Cinematography: Russell Harlan

Film Editor: Edward Mann

Original Music: Paul Sawtell

Written by C. Graham Baker, Teddi Sherman, William & Milarde Brent from the novel Pasó por aquí by Eugene Manlove Rhodes

Produced by Vernon E. Clark, Harry Sherman

Directed by Alfred E. Green

 

Faith-based westerns exist, but much more numerous are lightly inspirational sagebrush pictures that deal »

- Glenn Erickson

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Night Passage — Die Uhr ist abgelaufen

12 December 2017 9:53 AM, PST

 

It’s the great Anthony Mann-James Stewart western that Mann didn’t direct: Stewart goes it alone, over-filling a good western idea with ‘cute’ scenes and conservative messages Mann had no use for. But it’s an exciting picture, and one of co-star Audie Murphy’s best — and it’s the first feature in the splendid oversized format known as Technirama.

Night Passage

Blu-ray

Explosive Media (De)

1957 / color / 2:35 widescreen / 90 min. / available at Amazon.de / Die Uhr ist abgelaufen /Street Date August 10, 2017 / Eur 17,99

Starring: James Stewart, Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea, Dianne Foster, Elaine Stewart, Brandon De Wilde, Jay C. Flippen, Herbert Anderson, Robert J. Wilke, Hugh Beaumont, Jack Elam, Olive Carey, Ellen Corby, Chuck Roberson.

Cinematography: William Daniels

Film Editor: Sherman Todd

Original Music: Dimitri Tiomkin

Written by Borden Chase

Produced by Aaron Rosenberg

Directed by James Neilson

 

Universal-International didn’t spare the production values for their big-screen western Night Passage. »

- Glenn Erickson

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Letter from an Unknown Woman

12 December 2017 9:53 AM, PST

 

This devastating romantic melodrama is Max Ophüls’ best American picture — perhaps because it seems so European? It’s probably Joan Fontaine’s finest hour as well, and Louis Jourdan comes across as a great actor in a part perfect for his screen personality. The theme could be called, ‘No regrets,’ but also, ‘Everything is to be regretted.’

Letter from an Unknown Woman

Blu-ray

Olive Signature

1948 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 87 min. / Street Date December 5, 2017 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98

Starring: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet, Art Smith, Carol Yorke, Howard Freeman, John Good, Leo B. Pessin, Erskine Sanford, Otto Waldis, Sonja Bryden.

Cinematography: Franz Planer

Film Editor: Ted J. Kent

Original Music: Daniele Amfitheatrof

Written by Howard Koch from a story by Stefan Zweig

Produced by John Houseman

Directed by Max Ophüls

 

A young woman’s romantic nature goes beyond all limits, probing the nature of True Love. »

- Glenn Erickson

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Cop Land

10 December 2017 9:00 PM, PST

Squint your eyes and you’ll see a Scorsese film in director James Mangold’s 1997 crime drama co-starring Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro. Sylvester Stallone stars in this Serpico-like story about one good cop surrounded by a bunch of bad apples. Stallone won praise for his performance and his De Niro-esque commitment to the part (he gained 40 pounds for the production).

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- Charlie Largent

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