11/18/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Eclectic DVD presents
The Humphrey Bogart Era (1953)

"If I loved you a thousand times more than you say you love me, it still wouldn't make a difference. I've got to have money. Doctor's orders are that I must have a lot of money, otherwise I become dull, listless and have trouble with my complexion."
- Billy (Humphrey Bogart) in "Beat the Devil"

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: October 29, 2002

Stars: Humphrey Bogart
Other Stars: Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollabrigida, Jack Benny
Director: John Huston, Ralph Levy

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:58m:50s
Release Date: September 10, 2002
UPC: 022891102298
Genre: compilation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B-FC- B

DVD Review

No one wore a fedora and trenchcoat any better than Humphrey Bogart, and if his style didn't quite define an era, his manner and presence are unmistakable and can't be reproduced. (Just look, for instance, at any other actor who tried to play Philip Marlowe, and the inability of all of them to shake Bogie's shadow.) This two-disc set brings together some disparate elements from what might be called the Late Bogie period, after most of his trademark performances, like The Big Sleep and The African Queen, were behind him, and when Bogart just seemed to be having a whole lot of fun being Bogart.

The feature at the center of the set is Beat the Devil, a John Huston picture produced in 1953. Bogart is one of a quintet of international adventurers, looking for fortune, legally or otherwise. Currently he and his comrades—Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Ivor Barnard and Marco Tulli—and are stranded in Italy, waiting for the captain of their ship to sober up and take them to Africa, where they intend to make a killing in the uranium trade. Bogart's wife is played by Gina Lollabrigida, an Italian married to an American with a weakness for all things English; it's trouble when they meet the Chelms, proper British folk, as Lollabrigida falls for the husband (Edward Underdown), and Bogie for the wife (Jennifer Jones.)

The Chelms are due to sail to Africa as well, for Mr. Chelm wants to establish a coffee fortune for himself; he and the missus become a terrible inconvenience for the hardened criminals, who spend much time on land looking for ways to rid themselves of the Chelms, either temporarily or permanently. The first half of the movie takes place on land; the captain gets it together and the crew sets out for the second half, where the Mr. Chelm continues to be quite a thorn in their collective sides.

In many ways the movie feels like a parodic version of The Maltese Falcon—the leading man and the director are the same, Lorre is also along for the ride, Robert Morley serves as a comic substitute for Sidney Greenstreet, and the dream of uranium stands in for the black bird. The problem is, though, that it's not especially funny. Bogart on occasion displayed a gift for comedy—Sabrinain particular, produced the following year, comes to mind—but he's forcing the issue here, and the screenplay, written in part by Truman Capote, just doesn't give him the setups or punchlines he needs to pull it off. Not enough happens to make it a proper caper movie, and the couples swapping up partners is done only half-heartedly, and without much panache. Bogart and Huston were one of the great actor/director combinations of the time, and of course their craftsmanship is at a high level; but this isn't their finest joint venture, by a long stretch. (For that, look to something like Key Largo or The Treasure of the Sierra Madre instead.)

The second portion of the feature presentation is the October 25, 1953 episode of The Jack Benny Show (29m:18s), with Bogart as the special guest star. The show is essentially a Benny monologue and one extended sketch, in which the show's regulars play police detective, and the guest is hardened criminal Babyface Bogart. It's fun to see Bogie having fun with his on-screen persona, and in fact his comedic efforts are more successful in this throwaway venture than they are in Beat the Devil.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The print of Beat the Devil is just ghastly. It looks in fact as if it were culled from two prints: one, in which sepia tones predominate, looks bad, and the other, which is grayer, looks worse. Many scratches, poor resolution and lots of interference make this one of the poorest looking features you're likely to see on DVD.

Believe it or not, the Jack Benny episode looks even more terrible. On occasion, the resolution is so poor that not a single feature on the actors' faces can be discerned; Benny looks like Claude Rains in The Invisible Man for much of this. I appreciate that these early television shows weren't made to last, but this looks just hideous, and can be downright painful to watch.

Image Transfer Grade: F

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
PCMEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The audio isn't quite as bad as the image—it couldn't possibly be—but there's still plenty of hiss, crackle and pop to interfere with the quality. And again, the Benny episode is markedly worse than the feature film, as a steady buzzing drone can be heard for the duration of the run.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. audio CD
Extras Review: The principal extra is a second disc, an audio CD, with music from the period. Some of it has associations with Bogart—the first track is As Time Goes By, though not the cut from the Casablanca soundtrack by Dooley Wilson—but most of them are just songs from the era. (A few even call to mind other non-Bogie movies, like the title song from Laura.) The first several songs are introduced with tiny little snippets of Bogart dialogue from other movies, and though it's a pretty arbitrary assortment, there's no excuse necessary to listen to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Here's what you'll find:

Turner Layton, As Times Goes By
Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Body and Soul
Charlie Parker with Miles Davis, A Night in Tunisia
Ella Fitzgerald, Is There Somebody Else?
Buddy Rich and His Orchestra, I Cover the Waterfront
Bing Crosby, In the Land of Beginning Again
Dizzy Gillespie, Things to Come
Lena Horne, Ill Wind
Django Reinhardt, Solitude
The King Cole Trio, I'm Lost
Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Embraceable You
Billie Holiday, I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You
Count Basie and His Orchestra, Fiesta in Blue
Dinah Washington, Pacific Coast Blues
Jo Stafford, Manhattan Serenade
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, Begin the Beguine
Dinah Shore, I've Got You Under My Skin
The Harry James Orchestra, I Cried For You
The Blue Dahlia, Laura
Louis Armstrong, Stardust


Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

The visual presentation is very poor, and the set doesn't make a persuasive case for this era, the early 1950s, belonging to Bogart. But it's two discs fairly loaded with pop cultural artifacts of the time, and while aesthetically and technically they may not be first tier, they still make for pretty interesting viewing and listening.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store