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61. The Joy Luck Club
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62. Jim Henson's The Storyteller -
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63. White Chicks (Unrated and Uncut
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64. Waiting to Exhale
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65. Witness for the Prosecution
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66. Stephen King's It
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69. The West Wing - The Complete First
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61. The Joy Luck Club
Director: Wayne Wang
list price: $14.99
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B00005JKGK
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2501
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (101)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Heartbreaking and Powerful Testament to the Human Spirit
"The Joy Luck Club" is a ground-breaking film with universal themes that anyone can relate to regardless of age, gender or nationality. Truly epic in its scope and haunting vision, the movie is also deeply heartfelt and familial, enhancing its ability to speak to the audience in myriad, boundless ways. This is an intimate portrait of two generations of Asian women - the mothers who risked everything to create a better life for their daughters in the United States. At this juncture in American history, the movie resonates more than ever by reminding the viewer of our fore-mother's immigrant experience. In doing so, "The Joy Luck Club" serves as a vibrant contemporary document on freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Ming-Na Wen (now known to millions as Ming-Na or Deb Chen on NBC's top rated drama "ER") is superb in the central role of June, greiving for her recently deceased mother with the 3 "aunties" who miantain her place at the mah-jon table. Their gatherings continue, with June's presence, and in the process form the backdrop from which these women's personal stories and life-journies are shared. Each auntie - and their now-adult Americanized daughters - explain their often-harrowing attempt to escape Communist China and their difficult transition to an American way of life in the U.S. Tears flow in both generations, not only for what has been lost, but also for what has been found here - a society with different values that challenges these women in unexpected but nearly universal ways. As both generations - and all eight women eventually - share their stories, the viewer literaly steps into each life, aware of where the characters end up, yet fully experiencing the challenges each of them faces. Set against the backdrop of June's trip to China to find her long-lost sisters (whom her mother was forced to leave behind in one of the film's most powerful sub-plots) "The JOy Luck Club" can be ANY family's story, regardless of how long they or their ancestors have lived in this country. In doing so, it succeeds at building bridges to the past, while staunchly looking ahead to the future. This is the sort of film that embraces real life and human themes, but also puts a face on what it means to be a zero-generation immigrant, or an exile in a land far from one's home and culture. Like the current spate of Latin and Soviet block immigrants and the last century's explosion of new Americans from Europe and Africa, we recognize through the characters the meaning and value of freedom, family and peace as well as the unimaginable challenges our elders faced in coming to this land of opportunity.

The cast of Asian-American actresses is uniformly superb, straddling a delicate balance for the viewer that requires they be both accessible AND remote at once. Although long seen as a "woman's movie" the film deserves to be widely experienced by all people, including men, who might otherwise reject the film as nothing more than handkerchief fluff. In fact, since few similar films exist with central male characters, "The Joy Luck Club" stands as a film I believe many men would embrace if they give it a chance. The film speaks for our fathers and brothers, not just our sisters, mothers or wives. This is grand, epic storytelling with a heart, beautifully directed by Wayne Wang and amazingly accessible in every way, due to its stellar cast. Had there been a Best Ensemble Oscar designed to honor the contribution of a group of actors at the top of their form, "The Joy Luck Club" cast would have surely been honored.

A magnificent film that fully captures what it means to be an American of any descent.

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the great overlooked gems! Deserves a DVD release!
This and the Ang Lee film "Eat Drink Man Woman" were both released at about the same time. And I think they may have cancelled out each other. Both are great but like any wonderful film, if another equally great film with a similar theme is released at the same time it can cause an overload. People won't go see either.

So why should you see the Joy Luck Club? Because the acting is wonderful. Really top notch. If the current affection for having asian women in films lasts then maybe we could see more of these fine actresses. Too bad that so many wonderful actors can get typecast because of race but there is hope. I'd absolutely love some more films like this.

Wayne Wang's direction is great. This story goes from funny to sad to touching without being cliche. This movie might be marketed more toward women, and it does hit on great female relationships, but it's not to sappy the boyfriend will cry from boredom.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is not only about being Chinese
Plenty of people have pointed out the movie's good points but beyond the mother - daughter theme that is so wonderfully dealt with, this movie is also about the immigrant experience. In this world today, so many people immigrate and must contend with the difficult process of watching their children grow up in another culture - wonderful, different, distant, restive - and they have to figure out how to connect with their children. "Joy Luck Club" portrays this poignantly. How many children of refugees really have any idea what their parents went through? Many people from a variety of cultures will appreciate the film for that reason alone.
As for those who say Tan is "male-bashing", keep in mind the very loving character of June's father. Also, if you've read Tan's other books, (The Kitchen God's Wife, for example), there are both good and bad men with great depth of character.
Let's remember, too, that history is not exactly littered with the stories of women, and Tan is just trying to rectify that imbalance. Having lived in Asia for 8 years, I'd say that male privilege is still alive and well...and in support of Tan's story, the (lack of) legal rights of women alone in pre-war China should illustrate the possiblity that four women might have had such experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great movie from a story by a wonderful writer


Having spent a year in China (1948), I admit to a soft spot for the Chinese people and their stories, and especially for Amy Tan, whose books I have read and loved. This superlative movie was based on her book of the same name.

In this story (the script was written by Tan and Ronald Bass) the tension between four Chinese women, who were born in China and later came to the United States, and their Americanized daughters, is the foundation of the story, and is the theme that epitomizes Amy Tan's stories. She has noted in an interview that such tension existed in her own life between her and her own mother.

Much of the tension is due to the cultural clash. Times in China were hard a few short decades ago, and life was harsh. Starvation and disease was rife even in later years, when I was there in the late 'forties. When Americans today refer to poverty or hunger in this country, they have no conception of the real poverty and hunger that existed in China in the 'thirties and 'forties, or customs like the very painful historical binding of women's feet, which in effect crippled them for life, in the name of beauty, or the custom of wealthy Chinese men often having multiple wives and concubines, or the total degradation of women which existed and was totally accepted throughout the culture. Not to mention the impact of continuing warfare between warlords, the nationalists (Kuomintang) and communists, and the Japanese occupation all of which lasted for generations.

This is an emotion evoking story. It is more than simply entertainment; it is a story with which you will identify, with characters with which you will empathize.

Amy Tan knows whereof she writes, and her stories are compelling and sympathy evoking. Another Chinese woman who wrote her autobiography which touched on some of the same themes, who was in Tsingtao when I was, and whose tale enchanted me, was Dr. H. Mei Lu, who now lives in Honolulu, and whose book was titled, "Grandfather's Microscope" q.v. Coming from a humble background, in China, she became an esteemed pathologist in the United States. I heartily recommend her book as well as Amy Tan's, for any Sinophile. These ladies both write extremely well, and have immensely interesting things to say.

Joseph (Joe) Pierre, USN (Ret)

author of The Road to Damascus
and other books

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Very Impressed with EITHER the Book or the Movie
I had to read the Book and watch the movie in school and I did not like either of them. I had to also write a movie review for it so im gunna publish it to the whole world to see. Hope this helps anyone who is thinking about watching this movie or buying the book. Also there are a few spoilers in this review so be forwarned but their isnt anything that really ruins the story, wait what am i saying the story is to mixed up to really understand in the first place that it shouldnt make much of a difference. O well here goes nothing:

The "Joy Luck Club" was just an average film due to its soap opera-like quality and random flashbacks. This made me confused by sending the plot into all different tangents and directions. When a book changes time frames, the reader can go back and re-read sections if need be. In a movie setting, however, the viewer cannot turn back and rewind the lost moments and the time frames quickly occur. The movie features only fine looking Chinese daughters who are part of this "Joy Luck Club." I felt that this was an unrealistic portrayal, as in the real world; there are many types of people. The "Joy Luck Club" is not explained to the audience and assumes that all have read the book prior to this movie. This movie was directed by Wayne Wang and the screen play was written by Amy Tan, who also wrote the book.

This movie begins in San Francisco where a party is being held for Jing-Mei "June Woo". She has been given money to go to China to see her two lost sisters. Jing-Mei June Woo is played by Ming-Na. The movie followed closely to the book in some respects by not others. For instance, during the red candle scene in the movie, there was no mention of the importance of the candle. The chapters in the book were scrambled when they appeared in the movie.

The acting was inconsistent. At the end of the film when she meets her sisters for the first time they do not seem to be reacting to each other. One of the women who is supposed to be the sister, also played the mother of June in a flashback. Andrew McCarthy who played Ted Jordan did a good acting performance and sold the scenes he was in, such as the scene where he told his mother off. Some of the mothers, such as Ying Ying and Lena Saint Clair who were played by France Nuyen and Lauren Tom respectively, made me want to laugh because of some of their unrealistic portrayals of overly broken Chinese accented English.

The plot was sporadic at times and seemed to take away from the original story line to the point that was irritating. The whole movie was a series of flashbacks that each person lived through. There was originally a party at the beginning of the movie, but then the scenes would quickly shift backwards in time to each person's life. I liked the transition that the director made when June's father talked about her mother's past because he explained what the mother had experienced. The flashback of best quality, however, didn't quite fit into the movie where it had been placed. It seemed to throw the viewer into the scene without hesitation. This movie was also quite choppy with too many events occurring in rapid sequence which began to lose steam while becoming dull and redundant. Three out of the four mothers seem to have lived the same story comprised of a bad marriage followed by a divorce and remarriage with many trials and tribulations along the way.

The themes were spelled out much more in the movie than in the book. The feather that was given to June was explained to her by her father without subtlety. The mother who sacrificed her life for her daughter was also played out and the reasons for it were amply described by the daughter. There was one theme that was explained in the end of "Best Quality". The scene was not portrayed or shown in the beginning of the flash back scene.

This book, turned movie, would be better for an older audience, such as 40 and up. It is more of a "woman's movie" with a sappy ending that most men probably wouldn't like, me included. I give this movie a C, but would probably receive a B from a more mature viewer who may be more interested in true life situations as opposed to comedy or action movies that a younger viewer might enjoy.

I would give this 2 1/2 stars but I could only select either 2 or 3 which is why I selected 2. Hope this helps! ... Read more


62. Jim Henson's The Storyteller - Greek Myths
Director: Tony Smith, Paul Weiland, John Madden, David Garfath
list price: $19.94
our price: $14.96
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Asin: B0002J4X2U
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1287
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

One of Jim Henson's finest hours was the Storyteller series that aired on HBO in 1987. As with his other non-Muppet creations (Labyrinth), Henson fills the screen with wonderful creatures that have a wisp of a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. Half of the eight-part series was adapted from Greek myths by Anthony Minghella, who became an Oscar-winning filmmaker a decade later with The English Patient. Minghella weaves the narration of the storyteller (a sturdy and wonderful Michael Gambon, accompanied by a scene-stealing dog) with dialogue from the stories to beguiling effect.

By nature, the Greek myth episodes are a bit more mature and downbeat (ages 8 and older) than the rest of the series, yet give the audience lasting impressions of oft-quoted tales. In "Perseus and the Gorgon," King Argos locks away his wife when it is foretold his future son will kill him. Soon mother and son (Perseus, fathered by none other than Zeus) are washed ashore and another angry king looks to take away Perseus's mother. How can Perseus win the day? By killing the evil Gorgon whose snake-covered head includes eyes that turn humans into statues. Derek Jacobi stars as the brilliant Greek designer in the second tale, "Daedalus and Icarus." The father goes through many hardships, including the famous episode of his son flying too close to the sun. All is not well and does not end well. John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directs the tale of "Theseus and the Minotaur." A young man reunites with his father, King Aegeus, but is cursed by his witch of a stepmother (literally). When Theseus tries to stop the regular sacrifice to the half-bull, half-man Minotaur, a new curse awaits the young prince. The magical musician Orpheus (Art Malik) finds his muse in "Orpheus and Eurydice." Unfortunately, she soon dies and goes to Hades where Orpheus follows, attempting to win her soul from the devil himself. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Immerse Yourself In Ancient Mythos...
Whether you are a Mythology major in a university or one who has become so familar in the subject that you consider yourself an expert, you are sure to love these myths-come-to-life retellings brought to the screen. Kept in the same vein as Jim Henson's The Storyteller series featuring John Hurt, this series is also told by a teller of stories represented by Michael Gambon and with as much ability to mesmerise the listener as his predecessor.

The music (which is a crowning point, in my opinion) is weaved by Rachel Portman who, as always, delivers a lovely score marred fittingly with dark, forboding - yet bittersweet tones. In many instances such as in the tale of 'Orpheus & Eurydice', the climatic storytelling is accompanied by the score which successfully heightens the intensity of what will happen next. Everything set to music from Eurydice's 'birth' to Ariadne's furious curse when she realises Theseus has abandoned her is rapturously beautiful, chillingly haunting.

The acting performances are also well worth mentioning, most notably that of Gina Bellman [Eurydice], Jesse Birdsall [Aristaeus] and Maggie O'Neill [Ariadne]. Whether it be the wonder found in new life, mischief or the sting of being betrayed, these things prove small feats to bring across by such seasoned performers as these.

Having waited what seems forever for this program to come to DVD, I am ecstatic that it finally has. Remaining true to the original Grecian myths, this series will be cherished for ages to come in the homes of fantasy and mythology lovers alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complete your Jim Henson's The Storyteller Collection
Last year, fans were thrilled to find Jim Henson's The Storyteller Collection on DVD for the first time featuring the fairy tales crafted for the series. Thanks to the success of that DVD, the Greek Myths are also being released this year. While the effects of the series are somewhat dated, the series is still spectacular, incorporating the genius of Jim Henson and those he gathered around him. Also note that the storyteller in this series is Michael Gambon, the new Dumbledore in the third Harry Potter movie.

And to let you know what is on the DVD, here is the episode info provided by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment:

DAEDALUS AND ICARUS: Daedalus, one of the greatest inventors of ancient Greece, and his son Icarus are betrayed by cruel King Minos and must flee for their lives. To escape Daedalus creates wings to they can fly to safety but will the young Icarus heed his father's instructions or will their dreams melt away.

ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE: The great musician Orpheus vows to bring back the soul of his beloved Eurydice from the depths of Hades. But the task he must complete to reunite with his love turns out to be as tortuous as the fate he will have to endure.

PERSEUS AND THE GORGON: When the evil king threatens Perseus' mother, he must bring back the head of Medussa - who's stare will turn anyone who looks upon her to stone. Will the help of the gods be enough to aid in this seemingly impossible task?

THESEUS AND THE MINATAUR: With the help of a beautiful princess, Theseus tracks down the man-eating Minotaur, half-man, half-bull to prove his courage and loyalty. A fight to the death ensues, and a shocking secret emerges. ... Read more


63. White Chicks (Unrated and Uncut Edition)
Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
list price: $28.95
our price: $21.71
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Asin: B0002VYOVI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 736
Average Customer Review: 3.34 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (53)

3-0 out of 5 stars History/360
We already had black face movies people. Are you from America or not? White people are the only race allowed to be made fun of in this way because of America's history. There have been countless movies made in this manner where there was an uproar from the minority community with no response from the movie studios. Now the old white men who are the head of these companies have decided that it is OK to make fun of themselves. ITS ABOUT TIME. You don't have to look too far to see the blackface movies being made recently (without the black paint on the faces). One of the most recent racist hits was Bringing Down the House when Steve Martin did his "hip hop" minstrel show. Give me a break with the racist crap OK.

5-0 out of 5 stars White Chicks is an all-time favorite.
This movie is spectacular!!! The Wayans brothers are fantastic and the entire cast keep you laughing through the entire movie. This movie also has a great ending and message for all.

3-0 out of 5 stars black men II white chicks
White Chicks is a rehash of every single 'man dressed up as a woman' movie. This plot has been done to death in countless movies like Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Big Momma's House, among dozens and dozens of others, but White Chicks doesn't bother to hide its unoriginality; it has fun with it. Add a hint of Miss Congeniality and you have the formula for this standard, but enjoyable comedy.

The problem with this one is that the Wayans Bros. are totally unconvincing in their woman make-up and do not look ANYTHING like the women they are pretending to be. In fact, they look damned scary. This can get a bit distracting. If that is something you could get past, White Chicks turns out to be a forgettable but entertaining time-waster. There are a few scattered laughs and the story certainly stays interesting. Add the beautiful and extremely talented Brittany Daniel, of SWEET VALLEY HIGH fame, to the mix, and you have a fun, if unenlightening motion picture experience. Yes, it's stupid, but it sure is fun to watch.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely hilarious
I have watched this movie 4 times in Theatre, and would not mind seeing it the fifth time. This movie is lovably funny and nice. You can laugh till your hilt for the 1 hr 45 min. I do not care about what critics say, but this movie is a must see for people who love sense of humor and fun!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm
Yes some people think this movie sucked. Some people think it was great. I personally think that it was good. It wasn't the best movie ever, but it was good. It had all the things a good movie needs...comedy...love...stupid blonde's...etc. This was a great movie, my friend and I both agree. I went into it thinking it would be stupid, but when I came out I was laughing my head off. I don't what there is not to like about it. I mean they fought, there were jokes, dancing, laughing, and lots more. If you ever get the chance, you should go see this movie. I mean you should at least rent it. I loved it and am thinking about buying it on DVD. :-) Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did. ... Read more


64. Waiting to Exhale
Director: Forest Whitaker
list price: $19.98
our price: $17.98
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Asin: B00000ILEE
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 13741
Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars Chick flick? Yes. But men will laugh too!
I think this movie would have gotten a more informed review from movie critics who could actually relate to the African-American female experience. If you have lived the Black female experience, then you will realize why women flocked to this movie in droves, dragging their husbands and boyfriends along with them. Finally, someone was telling a story about the joy and support of friendship, the pain and anger of loss of love. At the same time, the cinematographer made Black people look beautiful on-screen.

Best scenes, Bernadine (Angela Bassett) destroying her ungrateful husband's material possessions, then meeting the surprise man of her dreams. People refer to this as a man-bashing story, but I'd like to point out there were actually two men who revealed themselves as strong, loyal, and moral characters in the movie.

Written by Terry McMillan, directed by Forest Whitaker, and acted by a strong ensemble cast - notably Angela Bassett (who can do no wrong in film), Loretta Devine, and Gregory Hines. Waiting to Exhale was the precursor to Soul Food, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Eve's Bayou, Love Jones and more films featuring a Black, ensemble cast. Hollywood, are you listening? There is a market for these movies!

4-0 out of 5 stars Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Depending on who you are, Terry McMillan's 1992 novel "Waiting to Exhale" is either a blessing or a dreaded curse. McMillan's third novel about four African American women struggling to attain stability, identity, and normalcy in Phoenix was praised in some circles for giving contemporary Black women a much-needed voice. But in other circles, mostly male, "Waiting to Exhale" was ripped to shreds as a spiteful and ungrounded damnation of Black men as philanderers, deadbeats, and no-good-dooers. It also made McMillan the biggest literary target of criticsm since Alice Walker unleashed her novel "the Color Purple." But whatever your take on the book is, the film adaptation won't likely change your stance, as it stays overall faithful to the book. Director Forest Whitaker does a respectable job bringing to life these characters: Savannah (Whitney Houston) is the buppie still in search for Mr. Right; Bernadine (Angela Bassett) just got dumped by her husband of 11 years for a white woman; Robin (Lela Rochon) is the ditzy bimbo still trying to shake off her no-good ex, and Gloria (Loretta Devine) is the full-figured owner of a successful hair salon. The best performances, hands down, are Bassett and Devine, who make the best impressions, and they help keep the film moving at a good pace. The script, co-written by McMillan, is crisp with enough funny one-liners and a story compelling enough to keep the viewer interested. But there are flaws. Whitney Houston struggles in her role as Savannah; her performance is wooden and forced, and when paired against a seasoned pro like Bassett, she flat out crumbles. A more relaxed approach to the material would have helped. Also, memo to Black filmmakers: drop the swishy gay hairdresser stereotype! It's tired, done a million times before, and, frankly, is grossly out of touch with reality. That aside, it's not often that a movie successfully adapts a novel as well as this one, and "Waiting to Exhale," warts and all, merits a B in my school of cinema.

4-0 out of 5 stars Blah Blah Blah @ The Critiquing Of This Movie
This is a great movie, will definately keep you laughing at the Diva's in this movie. So what the movie is not as good and thorough as the book(what movie is?) I mean if you want ever detailed in a book put on screen then we will still be sitting in the movie theatre trying to see the end.

2-0 out of 5 stars good
This should have been better but Angela Bassett's performance was the best, so I guess it's worth a watch.

5-0 out of 5 stars "No she di-uhn": A different type of review
Okay, so I've read every review on this movie, and none of them touch upon the things that I (and most of my friends) personally think make this movie great. One might say this movie is man-bashing, woman-empowering, etc, etc, and while it IS about these things, I think that those aspects pale in comparison to why this movie is great for me: these women are such DIVAS, it's RIDICULOUSLY hilarious! The lines that come out of their mouths, and the situations that they get themselves into are utterly jaw-dropping, causing you to say "NO SHE DIDN'T" just say that! "No, she DIDN'T just do that!" "NO SHE DIDN'T" just have sex with a man and say "my body NEEDS this!" You are constantly left absolutely amazed with the boldness, brashness, and utter DIVA-ness of these crazy hoochie ghetto mamas, who do and say the things that you wouldn't dare do yourself. If you are into seeing beautiful black divas who know they da sh*t, work their bad-a** selves and shake their booties, and still come out clean without breakin their acrylic nails, then you will think this movie is off the hizzy. If you don't understand what I just meant when I said all that, then you probably won't appreciate the humor in these BLACK DIVAS! ... Read more


65. Witness for the Prosecution
Director: Billy Wilder
list price: $14.95
our price: $11.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005PJ6Z
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5317
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect courtroom drama...
Quite simply, this film is brilliant. In addition to being one of Billy Wilder's best films, this is one of the best courtroom dramas ever made! It is cleverly directed, has a compelling plot, features great performances (especially by Marlene Dietrich), and is all in all very exciting and entertaining. This is a film you won't forget.

This plot of this film, which was based on a play by Agatha Christie, is your basic courtroom drama: a series of witnesses testify about the murder of a wealthy widow. Tyrone Power plays the young man accused of the murder, Marlene Dietrich gives an amazing performance as the key witness in the case, and Charles Laughton plays the lawyer determined to unravel the mystery. This film has some terrific, very surprising, twists and turns, so to say any more about the plot would give too much away!

Anyhow, this film is really suspenseful, captivating, and memorable. It's a true classic by the brilliant director Billy Wilder, and has been imitated countless times since its release. But no imitation has come close to the original, which is why this film is a must-see. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Billy Wilder's ultimate best!!!!!
Director Billy Wilder has crafted the most energetic adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel entitled "Witness for the Prosecution" An aging bannister named Wilfrid Robards (played brilliantly by Charles Laughton) can't resist taking an intriguing murder case involving Leonard Vole (played by Tyrone Power in his final film). A seemingly open and shut case becomes more and complicated as the case gains momentum. Splendid acting by all including Marlene Dietrich as Leonard's wife Christine and Elsa Lanchester as Miss Plimsoll (Robard's pesky nurse) Full of surprises from beginning to end. A classic for all time!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Witness for the Prosecution
I first saw this movie as I was walking out the door, and continued to stand mezmirized by the twists and turns. To see these two great actors, not playing their normal roles but so opposite of what I normally see them as.
I was 2 hours late for an appointment, because I was literally glued to the TV

5-0 out of 5 stars "It's not the jury's judgment that worries me. It's mine."
"No more murder cases," is the doctor's strict prohibition upon reluctantly releasing renowned barrister and recent heart attack survivor Sir Wilfrid Robarts (Charles Laughton) from hospital. (Although even the word "release" seems to be a matter of some dispute here, because according to Sir Wilfrid's nurse Miss Plimsoll [Elsa Lanchester], he was "expelled for conduct unbecoming a cardiac patient." But let's leave that aside for now.) And following the doctor's orders, Sir Wilfrid's staff have lined up an array of civil cases: a divorce, a tax appeal, and a marine insurance claim - surely those will satisfy their hard-to-please employer's demands?

Err ... not likely.

So, try as he might to be a good patient, Sir Wilfrid needs only little encouragement to accept the case of handsome drifter and small-time inventor Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), accused of murdering his rich benefactress Emily French (Norma Varden). Of course, the very circumstances that most disturb the famous barrister's colleagues Mayhew and Brogan-Moore (Henry Daniell and John Williams) - Mrs. French's infatuation with Vole, his visit to her on the night of the murder, the lack of an alternative suspect and his inheritance under her new will - just make the matter more interesting in Sir Wilfrid's eyes. Most problematic, however, is Vole's alibi, which depends entirely on the testimony of his German wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich), an actress he had met when stationed with the RAF in WWII-ravaged Hamburg. Troubling, insofar, isn't only that Christine is her husband's sole alibi witness and that - Sir Wilfrid explains - a devoted wife's testimony doesn't carry much weight anyway. The real problem is that Christine isn't the loving, desperate wife one might expect: far from that, she is cool, calculating and surprisingly self-controlled; so much so that, worried because he cannot figure out her game, Sir Wilfrid decides not let her testify at all, rather than risk damaging his case. That, however, seems to have been one of his illustrious career's few major miscalculations - because now he and his client suddenly have to face Christine as a witness for the prosecution. And her testimony on the stand is only one of several surprises she has in store.

"Witness for the Prosecution" is based on a concept Agatha Christie first realized as a four-person short story (published in the 1933 collection "The Hound of Death") and subsequently adapted into what she herself would later call her best play, which opened in London in 1953 and in 1954 on Broadway, where it won the N.Y. Drama Critics' Circle citation as Best Foreign Play. Throughout the adaptations the storyline was fleshed out more and more, the focus shifted from the work of solicitor Mayherne (whose name changed to Mayhew) to that of QC Sir Wilfrid Robarts, and the screenplay ingeniously added Miss Plimsoll's character, utilizing the proven on-screen chemistry of real-life spouses Laughton and Lanchester, for whom this was an astonishing eleventh collaboration, and whose banter bristles with director/co-screenwriter Billy Wilder's dry wit and the fireworks of the couple's pricelessly deadpan delivery, timing and genuine joy in performing together.

Perhaps most importantly, the story's ending changed: not entirely, but enough to give it a different and, albeit very dramatic, less cynical slant than the short story's original conclusion. - To those of us who have grown up with Christie's works, those of her idol Conan Doyle and on a steady diet of Perry Mason, Rumpole of the Bailey and the many subsequent other fictional attorneys, the plot twists of "Witness for the Prosecution" (including its ending) may not come as a major surprise. At the moment of the movie's release, however, the ending was a much-guarded secret; viewers were encouraged not to reveal it both in the movie's trailer and at the beginning of the film itself; and even the Royal Family was sworn to silence before a private showing. Similarly, features such as the skillful, methodical unveiling of a seemingly upstanding, disinterested witness's hidden bias in cross-examination have long become standard fare in both real and fictional courtrooms, and any mystery fan worth their salt has heard more than one celluloid attorney yell at a cornered witness: "Were you lying then or are you lying now?" (Not recommended in real-life trial practice, incidentally.) Yet, in these and other respects it was "Witness for the Prosecution" which laid the groundwork for many a courtroom drama to come; and herein lies much of its ongoing importance.

Moreover, this is simply an outstandingly-acted film; not only by Laughton, Lanchester and a perfectly-cast Marlene Dietrich but by every single actor, also including Torin Thatcher (prosecutor Mr. Myers), Francis Compton (the presiding Judge) and, most noteably, Una O'Connor (Mrs. French's disgruntled housekeeper). This is true even if Tyrone Power's emotional outbursts in court may be bewildering to today's viewers - and even if one wonders why an American-born star was acceptable for an Englishman's role without even having to bother trying to put on an English accent in the first place, whereas Dietrich and other non-native English speakers of the period, like Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman, were routinely cast as foreigners. (Yes, yes, I know. Redford and "Out of Africa" come to mind more recently, too, but that's a can of worms I won't open here.)

"Witness for the Prosecution" won a Golden Globe for Elsa Lanchester, but unfortunately none of its six Oscar nominations (which undeservedly didn't even include Marlene Dietrich), taking second seat to the year's big winner "Bridge on the River Kwai" in the Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean), Best Actor (Alec Guinness) and Best Editing categories, and to "Sayonara" for Best Supporting Acress (Miyoshi Umeki) and Best Sound. No matter: with the noirish note resulting from its use of multiple levels of ambiguity - in noticeable contrast to Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries - it fits seamlessly next to such Billy Wilder masterpieces as "Sunset Boulevard" and "Double Indemnity;" and it has long since become a true courtroom classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars The first time I saw this...
...six unblinking, spellbound eyes took every moment in--that is to say, my parents and I (eye!) were thoroughly riveted. The plot was deliciously unpredictable, and Marlene was so unflinching in her role. Perhaps it's not the most feel-good movie in the world, but it's well worth watching anyhow. You're a witness... ... Read more


66. Stephen King's It
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
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Sales Rank: 3510
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Is there anything scarier than clowns? Of course not. And who knows scary better than Stephen King? You see where we're going. It puts a malevolent clown (given demented life by a powdered, red-nosed Tim Curry) front and center, as King's fat novel gets the TV-movie treatment. Even at three hours plus, the action is condensed, but an engaging Stand by Me vibe prevails for much of the running time. The seven main characters, as adolescents, conquered a force of pure evil in their Maine hometown. Now, the cackling Pennywise is back, and they must come home to fight him--or, should we say, It--again. Admitting the TV-movie trappings and sometimes hysterical performances, this is a genuinely gripping thriller. As so often with King, the basic idea (the bond formed during a childhood trauma) is clean and powerful, a lifeline anchored in reality that leads us to the supernatural. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (256)

4-0 out of 5 stars Through the Eyes of Children - Great Movie!
This movie I believe was one of the first mini series I have seen by Stephen King. I watched from start to finish I was so interested in the kids in this film. Two who are played by popular actor's today Seth Green (Young Richie Tozer), and Jonathan Brandis (Young Bill Denbrough). The children band together and call themselves "The Looser's Club" they face being different from their classmates and they also face their parents. But what they must ultmiately face is the monster who kills children called "Pennywise the Clown." Together and only together as a team can they defeat the monster.
In the first half of the film we learn of the Clown (Played by the great Tim Curry) and the history with the town of Derry, Maine. We see the kids meeting for the first time and the fun they all have. But the serious times comes when they band together to stand up for themselves against a few of the classmates namly Henry Bowers who likes to torment the other kids in the school. They then come together to form a circle and defeat the clown/monster. With a promise that if it wasn't dead they would all come back to destroy it.
In the second part of the film we see whats happened to them career wise and love life wise. Its a tad slower, but it is definately funny and has its serious moments as well. The kids all grown up are now played by a great cast: Henry Anderson (Richie Tozer), Dennis Christopher (Eddie Kaspbrak), Richard Masur (Stan Uris), Annette O' Toole (Beverly Marsh), John Ritter (Ben Hascom), Tim Reid (Mike Hanlon), and Richard Thomas as (Bill Denbrough). Again the second part starts off slow. But its fun to see them all come together again. And to try and remember the good and bad times and defeat the "clown."
I was very much interested to see Stephen King use children to believe in this monster to where the adults couldn't. It's also interesting to see this sort of similarity in some of his other where the children are the key. Which I find really grand in a way. This movie did; however, really turn me off of clowns. So it does have its creep factor in the movie. I would definately recommend it! Athough the book does give more great detail and is better, and the book is different in most parts. But for a mini series this was my first love of Stephen King.

4-0 out of 5 stars "They All Float Down Here!"
STEPHEN KING'S IT is arguably the best of the TV films based on a Stephen King work. While devoid of countless details from the novel that would have made the plot more understandable to those viewers who don't actually READ King, the movie is nonetheless engaging and downright SCARY!

One reason STEPHEN KING'S IT rises above standard TV-movie fare is the excellent cast. John Ritter, Annette O'Toole, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, and Harry Anderson deliver stellar performances in their roles of adult versions of the story's protagonists, and Jonathan Brandis (later the teen-heartthrob co-star of TV's SEAQUEST DSV), Seth Green, and Emily Perkins do an excellent job of evoking childhood crisis and trauma in the flashback segments. But it is Tim Curry (yes, THE Tim Curry of ROCKY HORROR fame), as antagonist Pennywise the Clown, who really chews the scenery and steals the show. If Curry's marvelously malevolent merry-andrew doesn't make you develop coulrophobia (fear of clowns), he will at least haunt your nightmares for a night or two after your first viewing.

Another reason this flick rates so highly is that it is, simply put, a ripping good horror story. King is a master at realistically recreating the wondrous ambiance of youth and childhood, and in spite of the minor shortcomings in the film's recreation of King's plot, the atmosphere of the novel is perfectly translated to the screen. Besides that, King is also keenly aware that the things that scared us when we were kids are probably still lurking deep down in our grown-up psyche, just waiting to find a little mental crack to jump out of and give us a case of goose bumps and chills. The film version of STEPHEN KING'S IT finds that same little crack...then pries it wide open!

The long-awaited DVD version of STEPHEN KING'S IT is sparse on frills, but it does have an excellent feature commentary with stars John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Dennis Christopher, and director Tommy Lee Wallace. Of course, the picture quality is beautifully crystal clear, especially when compared to the VHS version, but purists should consider a few caveats before purchasing. First, the picture has been cropped a bit to simulate theatrical widescreen format. In comparison to the VHS version, which offers the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, there are small slivers of image missing from both the top and bottom. (To be fair, it should also be noted that the picture on VHS appears to be scrunched a bit horizontally to fit it into the TV "square," so it really doesn't seem as if all that much has been removed to create the faux widescreen on DVD.) Also, gone are the "To be continued" message and the second set of credits, both of which originally appeared between the first half and second half of the original two-part movie (these were included on the VHS).

So the new DVD version of this excellent movie should, for the most part, please King fans and general horror fans alike. For the movie alone, STEPHEN KING'S IT would easily rate 5 stars. But taking into account the adulterated aspect ratio and the slightly altered transition from Part 1 to Part 2, this DVD gets an overall rating of 4 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars It traumatized a whole generation about clowns
The second best translation of a Steven King novel into a movie (the best being Carrie). It caused a whole generation of people afraid of clowns. The other option is reading the 1500 page book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Derry, Maine...
I have read many reviews and they all complain about the novel being TOO long, "over 1000 pages long" they say. Well excuse me but many of the great literary works are extensive. This novel in particular is extensive due to the perfect description of places, chacarters, thoughts, etc.

Taking into account the enormous amount of detail and description put into this book, I think it would be more than clear to anyone that MAKING A GOOD MOVIE OUT OF THIS NOVEL IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!

-Please save yourself some money.
-Watch "The Shining", that's good acting
-Read the book when you are 11, 12 or 13
-Read it again 10 years later
-Read it at night

2-0 out of 5 stars great book, ultra bland 'made for tv' movie
I'll put it like this: if your expectations are to see an 'ABC/CBS/NBC Movie of The Week' type thing , then you may be MILDY entertained by this. Yep, this DVD is actually a 'made for TV' movie done in 1990 or so. These things are at best, usually hokey, sappy, shlock filled semi-entertaining fare, where your constantly reminded how every shot, dialogue, scene ,script and action sequence could have been done SPECTACULARLY better as a 'big budget movie' movie. This DVD is no exception! Horror movies just don't have the horror , imo, in a made for TV format. And to make matters much worse, I don't think even a big blockbuster could even touch the magical depth and character the book has. It truly is one of Stephen King's best, imo. ... Read more


67. Gone With the Wind
Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
list price: $24.98
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Sales Rank: 22263
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (481)

3-0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Overrated Films Ever
Gone With the Wind is remember as a great movie because of it's epic scope and excellent production values. But 60 years later when the big budget no longer thrills us, we are left with a decent film but nothing special.

To begin with the entire film is very campy and melodramatic. The whole film is very heavy-handed and over-done. Scenes like where Scarlet crys "I'll never be hungry again" are just plain ackward. Someone should have tatooed the word "subtlty" on Selznick's head.

The script is fairly weak too. It presents a very narrow, one dimensional view of the Civil War. Worse, the Civil War ends half way through the movie and the rest of the film lacks the first half's energy.

Another major flaw is that the characters lack any real depth. Scarlet is cold and nasty through the whole movie. She never changes untill the last two minutes of the movie. There is simply no development. Ashley is noble and his wife is so nice and sweat that it makes me sick. These characters simply aren't human and don't feal real. Probably the only character in the whole movie who actually developes at all is Ret. Sadly, Clark Gable's strong performance isn't enough to carry the rest of the cast.

It should also be noted that Gone With the Wind is very racist at some points. The scene where all the slaves are going off to fight the "evil yankees" is enough to turns one's stomache. Most of the black characters are portrayed as child-like and stupid. The only exception to this is Mimi who does an excellent job and deserved her Oscar.

Gone With the Wind is still an example of fine production values but when you strip away all the lavish sets and money spent on the film, you're left with a rather hollow experiance. While there is no denying that it is a very pretty movie, even today, and it does have it's moments, Gone With the Wind is simply an over-done and campy movie. This film does not deserve to be ranked up there with the likes of Citizen Kane or the Godfather. It's just not that good.

4-0 out of 5 stars After more than 400 reviews...
...you can't say much else!! A spectacle to end all spectacles; the epitomy of costume, art direction, and cinemagraphic grandeur (Technicolor film was still rare in the 1930's, and the industry was already engulfed in production of at least one *other* color movie that same year). I wasn't enthralled with this film when I first saw it years ago but I have come to appreciate its epic presentation and gothic, almost soapy, storytelling. And the cast is entirely first-rate, from the leading lady (whose historical casting was a mini-series in itself) to the supporting roles (Hattie McDaniel, Thomas Mitchell, Ona Munson, Laura Crews, Ann Rutherford, Harry Davenport, Oscar Polk, 'Superman's' George Reeves, et al) to the hundreds (thousands?) of extras who populated the pre-and-postwar South (the tracking shot of the Twelve Oaks mansion at the start of the barbecue and the sprawling, widening shot of Scarlett walking amidst all the wounded soldiers come to mind). It is a great script ("Waste always makes me angry;" "Do you ever shy away from marrying men you don't love?") and great direction (Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and Sam Wood- anyone else?). It is a record-holder of sorts among Oscar nominated (or Oscars won) films, but it came out in an extraodrinary year of films. 1939 also saw the releases of, among others, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, DARK VICTORY, THE OLD MAID, GUNGA DIN, ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, JUAREZ, ON BORROWED TIME, THE WOMEN, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, AT THE CIRCUS, BABES IN ARMS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, LOVE AFFAIR, MADE FOR EACH OTHER, and THE WIZARD OF OZ.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lesley Howard is brilliant and a strong character
In his role of Scarlett O'Hara's (initially) true secret love. I had been a fan of Mr. Howard's for many years. His performance here is among his finest. Also check him out in The Petrified Forrest. As for the rest of the film. When he's not in it it's a little strong on the romantic side.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth Another Look for this Fan of Classic Film
Gone with the Wind creates many strong opinions, but I daresay many of them by people who haven't seen the film, or at least not in many years. It is sort of an amalgamation of both Margaret Mitchell's book and a reworking of DW Griffith's even more controversial silent blockbuster Birth of a Nation.

I had written this off as a silly commercialized Hollywood fairly tale but recently decided to give it another look. Basically, I think the claims of racism are far overblown, especially compared to other films of this era. It seems to me that Selznick and company went to great pains to stamp out the more overtly racist themes of Griffith's famous 1915 film. For instance, Scarlett's attempted rapists were all white; real black actors have menial but still important roles; those black actors are treated with dignity and respect; and finally the "n" word probably more frequent in southern parlance of the day was replaced with the more delicate term of "darky", and never used in a scornful fashion. And while establishment opinion in the North still clings to belief that the Civil War was a most noble and unselfish effort, the truth was something much less certain. Surely slaves in the prewar South were not all treated as gingerly as in this film; but just as certainly they were also brutally repressed in the North as well (just watch Gangs of New York for a history lesson on Northern feelings towards African Americans). All wars have a side people would rather forget, and this one was certainly no different. Also on the positive side, the film does a good job of capturing this broad historic period with smart scenes amidst well designed sets. It's really quite a grand production, in color no less, with a marvelous historical and cinematic scope.

On the less positive side, the heralded performances I think are a bit overrated. Clark Gable's presence helps considerably, but he is certainly not nearly as natural or comfortable as he was in It Happened One Night. And Mitchell's sappy, soap operaesque story frequently slips nearly into the preposterous, especially in latter scenes of the film when the historic takes a back seat to the dramatic. But maybe that's what gave the film its broad appeal, as it has a little of something for everyone. I think another factor may have really launched its success: released during the cold winter of 1939, its four-hour sitting time gave depression-weary Americans a warm night on the town for a cheap price that they could all afford.

Regarding the standard edition DVD, its very serviceable but the extras are appallingly poor for a film of this esteemed history. Also, Spanish subtitles would have been nice (only has English and French).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best
A total classic...everyone should own this film. ... Read more


68. Touch of Evil (Restored to Orson Welles' Vision)
Director: Orson Welles
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Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2026
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (104)

5-0 out of 5 stars a film noir masterpiece
While not as highly regarded as Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil is arguably Welles' second greatest film and now it is being presented as the filmmaker had originally intended it to be. Included on the DVD is his 58-page memo to Universal Studios detailing all the changes he wanted to be made to their compromised version of the film.

As it stands now, this is an amazing film with some of the most impressive deep focus photography ever put to screen. The depth of field that Welles creates is astounding.

Touch of Evil is also probably one of the last of classic film noirs produced by Hollywood and was a great way to end this period of the genre.

A lot of people poo-poo the casting of Charlton Heston as a Mexican (?!) government muckty-muck and to be sure that was some really odd bit of casting but he's perfectly cast as the straight-arrow good guy of the film. But he's totally blown off the screen by Welles' corrupt sheriff who simply steals every scene he is in. Janet Leigh, stunning as ever, is also really good as Heston's beleaguered wife.

What I like best about this film is the moody atmosphere that permeates every scene -- even the daylight ones. It draws you into this corrupt, cynical world and never lets go. Essential viewing.

5-0 out of 5 stars 100-Proof Noir
Seedy border town is the setting for this noir classic--justifiably called by a New York Post film critic "The Baroque Cathedral of Film Noir." Orson Welles' entrance as the crass, venal Capt. Quinlan is just one example why this film is a must-see on the big screen--not that this DVD widescreen version is so bad (it's a gem). Quinlan's massive, bloated bulk fills the screen as he climbs out of his car to begin the murder investigation that will soon envelop and taint the film's principal characters--immediately establishing Quinlan as the embodiment of corruption. The breathtaking opening sequence (shot in one take) incorporating the ambient music and sounds of the town's lurid nightlife is a key part of this reedit DVD version, setting right the studio-maimed opening of the original release, which ran opening credits and Henry Mancini's score over this sequence to Welles' fruitless objections, diluting its effectiveness. Respected Mexican police official Miguel "Mike" Vargas (Heston) and his American bride Susan's (Janet Leigh) ("She doesn't look Mexican either," Quinlan sneers) honeymoon is derailed when they become targets first of local crime family boss "Uncle Joe" Grandi (Akim Tamiroff), whose brother is about to be sent to prison because of Vargas, and Grandi's impulsive nephews, and then Quinlan, when Vargas accidentally uncovers the latter's penchant for tampering with crime scenes to ensure a death sentence for the accused--whether guilty or actually innocent. Leigh drips sex and is the perfect pawn for those scheming to wreck her husband's career and their marriage. Joseph Calleia stands out as Pete Menzies, who idolizes Quinlan and painfully must come to terms with his betrayal. Dietricht is enigmatic gypsy Tana (memorable line as she looks over the considerably changed Quinlan and bluntly says: "You're a mess honey.") Mancini score, especially "Tana's Theme" ("Pianola"), is exceptional. One valid complaint about this otherwise beautiful DVD is that the standard version should have been included in addition to the widescreen version for those who have not yet overcome the perception problem of "those black bars." Now for me, widescreen is the best. It is how we see the movie on the big screen. This is how the film was shot, and we see camera angles that are lost when the film has been "reformatted to fit your television screen." Those who put together this DVD should have known better and provided BOTH options--usually standard practice with many DVDs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pulp Fiction
Orson Welles may have made the supposed greatest film in history with "Citizen Kane", but the experience virtually ruined him. Ostracised by Hollywood and the press after his insulting portrayal of William Randolph Hearst, he was relegated to making low budget films.

Touch of Evil was made in 1958; the last film to be directed by Orson Welles. Unexpectedly given the reins of the film, Welles threw away the script for the planned film, and in just two weeks scratched out a script based on a cheapo pulp fiction novel called "Badge of Evil".

The result, as presented now in a restored version (the movie was, like Magnificent Ambersons, butchered by the studio) is quite remarkable.

On the one hand, it is definitely pulp, with an extremely rough-and-ready style, gritty elements (this is the only "pot party" you're likely to see in a "great film" from the studio era!) and a very, very low budget.

On the other hand, it is a masterpiece. I was extremely impressed by the scene in which (*spoiler!*) Hank Quinlan strangles the Hispanic fellow. I have never seen a movie scene shot like this, especially with the surreal effect of the flashing neon, and the slanting camera.
And who can forget the end of the film, where (spoiler!) Hank Quinlan sits in a pile of garbage in a stream, and tries to cleam blood off his hands? Look at Orson's acting in this scene - truly magnificent.

Someone called this the best B film ever made. If you want to see a pulp masterpiece made on the cheap, see Touch of Evil!

5-0 out of 5 stars You don't have any future , just only past!
This cynical answer given by Tanya (Marlene Dietrich) is obviouslly a clear a reference's pattern shakesperian.
Any other fim noir before or future has been able t tarnish Welles's vivid creatin of a mexican nightmare, or his realization of a set of characters who are so well depicted , resonant , cruel and colrful. This shakesperian giant utilizes his accustomed approach so efficiently that it makes hard for any viewer t be capable to disecrn which moment create the dramatic thrust of the story and the others laded of outrage and fuRY.
A film is really good when the camera becmes an eye in the mind of a poet. Welles made movies as an orchestra conductor.
The opening shot , lasting ver four minutes , show us once more the personal style of Welles in what concerns to the moving camera and the longtake, establishing the premise around whixh the narrative is built. Like the genius he was; he knows to emphasize the dramatical effects without losing his goal.The camera begins with a close up of a time bomb ; then the camera travels up and back , and fllows the car as a constant witeness . This opening shot is widely in all and every masterful of cinema in the world. Notice fr instance, the cinematic fluidity works out as a visual device .
Once more , we must recall the huge influence about the expressionism german permeated the visual style nt only of Welles , but Hitchcock and a a crowd of talented directors alng these three decades of glorious films noir.
If you need any other proof, think in Fritz Lang , wh came from Germany and (coincidentially?) fllowed the road of the film noir.
In these puzzle of corruption and shame Quinlan is shocked due he failed to bring his wife's murderer to justice ,and retaliates by enlisting the help of the racketeer Uncle Joe Grandi .
Once more the film noir works out as an extrardinary expressive device to express the hopelessness, the existential anguish , the shadows of the fate, the shame and distrusts that shapes the behavior of the human being. All this puzzle runs with the timeless tragic atmosphere ; you face the cruelty in Vargas's wife in the motel where she is kidnapped where visual scenes suggests us all the horror , told in theatrical language where the words are useless.
When Quinlan (as Macbeth)decides to visit Tanya about his future , he listen these bitter words wh wrk out as headline in the review.
From all the stanpoints , this is the one of top movies entitled as film noir , because Welles enriched the bitter insights so typical of this genre with shakesperian moods.
Notice for instance that Grandi reminds us to Yago ; obviusly Grandi has a minor stature since he is much vulgar and obscene . and Tanya is linked with Macbeth's witches ; and the nightmares and the demons who live in the cavern - mind of Quinlan reminds us to the decadent power.
A unforgettable masterpiece all the way.!

5-0 out of 5 stars Restored to Orson Welles wishes. Great nighttime mood film.
Great black & white film noir film with Orson Welles. The opening sequence has the feeling that you are moving with through the night time streets of the California/Mexico border. You might be astonished by the weight of Orson welles as he does not look like himself from the time of Citizen Kane. The film starts with a bride and groom Janet Leigh and Charlton Heston as they walk into the Mexico border town. Orson Welles plays a wrong-doing police chief who wants to follow the couple. Heston is a well-known Narcotics Investigator and his wife trys to inquisitivly get involved in her husband's professional business. Well, when she sticks her nose in too far, she has got a mexican boy and his boss on her trail. While Heston separates from his wife for official business, he advises her to go on to a hotel for sleep. She ends up in this out of the way hotel taken care of by Dennis Weaver. (Janet Leigh would end up in another hotel two years later in PSYCHO [1960]). Heston must square off with Orson Welles. There are two different versions of this film. When Welles was fired as director, Universal Pictures recut the film. After Welles saw the film in 1958, he wrote a 58-page letter to the studio about the way the film should be re-edited and scenes added. In 1998, Universal obliged. This letter was found and a new version of "Touch Of Evil" was made from the original negetive and the film was reconstructed the way Orson Welles had wishes. This new version is longer at 111 minutes. This DVD version is the 111 minute version. The 1958 print is 108 minutes and shorter prints are 95 minutes. Cast also includes: Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Valentin De Vargas, Ray Collins, Mort Mills, Victor Millan, Lalo Rios, Michael Sargent, Phil harvey, Joi Lansing, Harry Shannon, Dan White, with special guests Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor. ... Read more


69. The West Wing - The Complete First Two Seasons (2-Pack)
Director: Chris Misiano, John David Coles, Marc Buckland, Scott Winant, Don Scardino, Kevin Rodney Sullivan, Ken Olin, Bryan Gordon, Arlene Sanford, Lesli Linka Glatter, Richard Schiff, Bill D'Elia, Lou Antonio, Clark Johnson, Paris Barclay, Bill Johnson (IV), Jeremy Paul Kagan, Vince Misiano, Thomas Schlamme, Anthony Drazan
list price: $119.92
our price: $74.99
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Asin: B0001M3MYS
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 517
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Seasons 1 and 2 of the 4-time Emmy Award-winning Drama available together on DVD. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Episodes. Not so great extras
The DVD version of this series is dangerous because the story arch is so compelling you'll find yourself sitting and watching episode after episode unable to stop just to see what happens next. If you've already seen the shows you'll watch them in great anticipation of those dynamic character moments contained in each episode (Yo-Yo Ma at the White House, sparing between the Bartletts, the moment when Donna learns of the President's medical condition). It's incredibly enjoyable to spend time with these characters and Mr. Sorkin's writing tickles us and touches our hearts such that we're reluctant to leave this amazing world and these equally amazing people who populate it.

The unfortunate part of the DVD package is the extras. The commentaries are just plain awful. They are stilted, awkward and boring, offering very little insight into the making of the show, backstage with the actors or any technical information - or what we're all hoping for -- some real gossip. In the published scripts of the show, Mr. Sorkin has written introductions which provide fascinating anecdotes about what was going on around the construction of the script and/or what was the inspiration for the story. That doesn't happen on the DVD. The outtakes or gag reel is short and not very satisfying. And where are the taped interviews with the actors and show's creators? I wonder if the departure from West Wing by Mr. Sorkin and Mr. Schlamme (which seemed to happen not be their choice) has created a situation in which pulling together some meaningful documentary regarding this significant television drama undoable.

Buy the DVDs to watch the episodes over and over (and you will, I'm sure). Buy the published scripts for the real "behind the scenes" stuff that adds a bit of color and depth to an already deeply colorful and moving television show.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic First Season & Superb Second Season
I didn't start watching The West Wing till early in the second season, but it quickly became my favorite show (replacing Aaron Sorkin's other masterpiece, 'Sports Night', which had just been dropped by ABC). It was killing me that I'd missed so many episodes, so I was ecstatic when I heard that Warner was finally releasing the first season on DVD! Having the episodes on DVD is great, even for episodes you've seen. If you've seen The West Wing, you know how rapid-fire the dialogue is; with DVD, it's easy to back up a few seconds to catch a line you missed.

Sorkin is an amazing writer. He is able to weave a compelling and entertaining storyline involving real issues facing our country and world. The characters debate those issues in a way that illuminates both sides of the argument. You'll likely find yourself thinking, 'I'd never looked at it that way', at least a couple times every episode. It may be fiction, but it is fiction that inspires hope that our political system CAN work.

The show is definitely a thought-provoking drama, but that certainly doesn't mean it's dry or boring. There is a huge dose of witty banter and a fair share of light-hearted sub-plots in every episode. Great writing, great acting, great sets and music, all come together to form what has become my favorite TV show ever. Get these DVD's to get caught up on early episodes you missed, or to revisit the incredible beginnings of this masterpiece.

SEASON ONE:
Pilot
Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
A Proportional Response
Five Votes Down
The Crackpots and These Women
Mr. Willis of Ohio
The State Dinner
Enemies
The Short List
In Excelsis Deo
Lord John Marbury
He Shall, from Time to Time
Take Out the Trash Day
Take This Sabbath Day
Celestial Navigation
20 Hours in L.A.
The White House Pro-Am
Six Meetings Before Lunch
Let Bartlet Be Bartlet
Mandatory Minimums
Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
What Kind of Day Has It Been?

SEASON TWO:
In The Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part 1)
In The Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part 2)
The Midterms
In This White House
And It's Surely To Their Credit
The Lame Duck Congress
The Portland Trip
Shibboleth
Galileo
Noël
The Leadership Breakfast
The Drop In
Bartlet's Third State of the Union
The War at Home
Ellie
Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail
The Stackhouse Filibuster
17 People
Bad Moon Rising
The Fall's Gonna Kill You
18th and Potomac
Two Cathedrals

(You can look up an episode guide if you want a quick summary of the plots; I didn't want to spoil any surprises here. My favorite guide is at epguides.com.) ... Read more


70. A Dirty Shame (NC-17 Theatrical Version)
Director: John Waters
list price: $27.95
our price: $20.96
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Asin: B000929UOQ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 601
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When prissy, prickly Sylvia Stickles (Tracey Ullman) suffers a head injury during a traffic altercation, she's, er, revived by self-appointed sexual missionary Ray-Ray Perkins (Johnny Knoxville) and is transformed into an insatiable, take-no-prisoners sex maniac. Yes, it's a John Waters film. Yes, it's filthy. No, it's not as hilarious and sustained as you'd like it to be. It works for a while, though: Ullman, never a stingy comedienne, does everything Waters dares her to do without hesitation; words cannot describe the perversely sporting delight with which she mounts a water bottle during a round of "The Hokey Pokey" at an old folks' home. And there's some fun to be had when Sylvia's emancipation leads her Baltimore 'burb to new heights of ecstasy, freeing her large-breasted daughter Caprice (Selma Blair) while horrifying husband Vaughn (Chris Isaak) and her hardline mother Big Ethel (Suzanne Shepherd, hysterical) in the process. It's also packed with the standard cameos, the most satisfying of which is good old Patty Hearst at a Sex Addicts Anonymous encounter. But, for all the nasty, necessary glee, the movie feels inescapably been-there-done-that, and you can't help but wish this was 1972 and Divine was on hand to prowl for dog droppings. The most shocking thing about A Dirty Shame is how desperate and tiresome its anarchy becomes.--Steve Wiecking ... Read more

Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars Worth a watch
Something tells me John Waters only referenced the Bear community to have the community watch it and then show it as more bizarre than it already is.It sure got guys in my metro to pack the indy cinemas!

5-0 out of 5 stars Back to true form!
Being an extra on this hysterical film was a true barrel of monkeys. Receiving direction from one of the most notorious cult directors of all-time was quite an experience. A Dirty Shame is yet another twisted Waters' installment from his brilliant and unbelievably retarded mind. Sex addicts run rampant in Hamilton,
a NE Baltimore neighborhood and Johnny Knoxville is the ringleader. This film addresses such sexual fetishes never before spoke of in any previous film. Of course John's most recent films lack the angst of his 70's films, but the fact is
that was nearly 30 years ago and him and his entourage are way past the age of youth rebellion. This is clearly the most outrageous film Mr. Waters' has made since Desperate Living in 1977. Anyone who has been wise to his 70's films will absolutely
enjoy this picture. Folks who are ignorant to Waters' pictures
or those who have never seen one should not see this film without first viewing at least Pink Flamingos(1972) or Female Trouble(1974). A Waters' film you view because OF HIS name. NOT the stars. He is the puppeteer, and they are his marionettes. His recent tango with mainstream cinema and theatre is all well and good but this film proves once again what John Waters' is and will always be.
A Renegade...



5-0 out of 5 stars I f**kin loved it!
A Dirty Shame is a must see and must own film. I loved it. Would make a great gift.Anyone who doesn't like it is a neuter.Watch it with uptight people!

2-0 out of 5 stars Weak even for Waters
I love a lot of John Waters' movies, but this was a major disappointment.A lot of this is over the top, but it doesn't really work like "over the top" did in his earlier films.It has one hilarious scene, and the rest is just sub-par material.It mostly comes off as corny, even when you "get" the John Waters style of overacting.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent Film From Water's POST Divine Era!
A Dirty Shame is a pretty good film. It has it's classic John Water's one liners that could only come from the master himself which make me laugh hysterically. It's John Water's getting back to the basics--post Divine, that is. I separate John's films in 2 catagories: The Divine Years and The Post Divine Years. Let's face it, there will NEVER be another Divine in this lifetime nor will there ever be a John Water's Film that comes remotely close to the Divine Days. So JW fans have to deal with that reality. Of the Divine Years John Water's films, my all time Favorite is FEMALE TROUBLE. Followed by DESPERATE LIVING (which did not include Divine as she was working on another project at the time), POLYESTER, PINK FLAMINGOS, HAIRSPRAY, and MULTIPLE MANIACS. Then we cross over to the Post Divine Years. These films still have the John Waters edge, but not as heavily grotesque and vulgar as in the Divine years. These films include my all time favorite SERIAL MOM, PECKER, A DIRTY SHAME, CECIL B. DEMENTED, and my least favorite-CRY BABY (this film, if any, is the most detached from JW film--the only scene that shows a hint that its JW is the court room scene when Mink Stole is wheeled in in an iron lung smoking a cigarette. The dialogue there is hysterical.)

My suggestion is that if you're a John Water's fan and have seen one or more of his films Divine or Post Divine, then you'll appreciate this movie. In addition, you'll know why Patricia Hearst amoung other actors appears in this film. The reason I say this is because someone who NEVER saw a JW film wrote a review on A Dirty Shame and asked why the [...] Patricia Hearst is in the film? HELLO---she's been in EVERY JW FILM FROM HAIRSPRAY TO PRESENT!! But if you've never seen a JW film or know his antics you obviously won't relate!

GO SEE IT! ... Read more


71. Highlander - The Complete Series (Seasons 1-6)
Director: Jorge Montesi, Yves Lafaye, Mario Azzopardi, Jerry Ciccoritti, George Mendeluk, Adrian Paul, Ray Austin, Charles Wilkinson, Paul Ziller, Dennis Berry, Clay Borris, Gérard Hameline, Daniel Vigne, Paolo Barzman, Neill Fearnley, René Manzor, Bruno Gantillon, Duane Clark, Robin Davis, Richard Martin
list price: $539.98
our price: $377.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007DA3V6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20284
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally, the complete series is quickening to dvd
This show was sometimes great entertainment to me. Basically a dimestore romantic-adventure novel brought to life. I think the producers were mostly successful with providing something for everyone. The shows ranged from brilliantly written, to definitely a bit cheesey. The dvd collection is better than the vhs, however questions did arise quickly about it's quality. I think it was the 2nd episode on disc one, when the disc appeared to be sort of freezing up for a minute. I hit FF for a second, and it was fine again. ( This was with a brand new dvd player ) Since that occurance, I have not yet run into any other problems; although I've only watched 1/3 ofthe discs. I did have a couple other little gripes about these dvd's, but nothing too serious. I would have preferred more than three episodes on a disc...a typical season for ex. has NINE discs-three unfolding booklets of 3 discs, which all fit into this 1/2 box...I wasn't too crazy about that at all. There is however a lot of content within them if you like bloopers and interviews and watcher chronicles...I do and I don't.. I mean, it's tough enough to watch all 6 seasons..I really don't need boxes hoggin up all my shelf space just so studios get extra market value-which is also why it took em so long to go over to dvd's, and why it's off the air. Nevertheless, I do still appreciate the Highlander phenomenon. It's solidly entertaining while it also demonstrates virtues that I like. I can live without the Duncan Macleod boxer shorts though, and the pillows with kissy lips, and the rest of the merchandising extraveganza. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best series ever made
It's jam pack with everything a fan really wants, and the best part you can go form your favorite episode to another. 2 tumbs up!!!
... Read more


72. Cry Baby Director's Cut
Director: John Waters
list price: $19.99
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0009IOR6Q
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 89
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

John Waters's goofy, 1990 comedy about a Baltimore girl (Amy Locane) who can't decide if she should remain "good" in her 1954 world or hang out with the motorcycle boys is funny in a scene-by-scene way, but doesn't quite gel into the grand piece the director was hoping for. The cast is exceptionally likable, however, including Johnny Depp as an Elvis type and Iggy Pop as a chattering loony. The best material is set in a fringe world of bikers and losers on the outskirts of town, and Waters writes some hilarious sardonic dialogue for the characters. Cry-Baby is the last of Waters's more undisciplined features; he followed it with the glossier but no less perverse Serial Mom. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (131)

4-0 out of 5 stars If you have a desire for camp, this is the movie for you!
This movie is hilarious!As long as you watch it with the realization it is not a serious film, you will enjoy the viewing.Half the fun is picking out the actors in the over-the-top characters.This is a typical John Waters movie, if that tells you anything.Big spoof of the 50's and the movies that harken back to that era.

Plot:A square of a girl falls for the leader of the drapes.Hijinks ensue and eventually girl gets guy and becomes a "scrape."

Definitely get the DVD version because the equivalent of the VHS can be caught on late-night tv and offers no special features.

5-0 out of 5 stars Woo-Wee, you caught me in my birthday suit! Buck naked!
I'm really excited to see this great film finally make its debut on dvd; it's been a long wait.

John Waters has proven himself time and time again as America's avatar of bad taste and all things tacky, but he sidelined his more base urges for a greater good over a decade ago. Starting with Hairspray, Waters essentially re-created the American musical, and honed that to perfection with the castly underappreciated Cry-Baby. But it's not just a musical - it's also a heartfelt valentine to a simpler time, his beloved Baltimore of the late 1950's.

Depp stars as "Cry-Baby" Walker, a juvenile delinquent from the wrong side of the tracks who spends his time hanging with his gang and singing that evil rock n' roll music. He and his way of life are constantly threatened by the town 'Squares' who are both threatened and repelled by Cry-Baby and those like him.

Naturally, he falls for a Square girl and all hell breaks loose. That part of it is a simple story, and I won't waste time rehashing or giving it away here. No, what really stands out about this film is its gleeful embrace of 'white-trash culture,' its loving tribute to the great juvenile delinquent movies of the 50's and 60's, and its rambunctious energy.

As usual, Waters peppers the film with eclectic casting; Susan Tyrell, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, Mink Stole, Joe Dalessandro, Willem Dafoe, David Nelson (son of Ozzie), Traci Lords and Patty Hearst (yes, that Patty Hearst) are just a few of the many talents that form this wonderful ensemble cast. And of course, it's another one of Depp's great iconoclastic roles that have helped define him as one of the great idiosyncratic actors of our time.

So grab yourself an RC Cola, a Moon Pie, and put yer teeth up on the windowsill while y'all enjoy this trashy good time. You'll thank me for it and if y'all don't like it, I'll eat me a bug.

5-0 out of 5 stars Now it's my daughter's favourite too!
Firstly I would like to ask- how the heck is this film rated a 15?! My daughter watched it with me, she is 3- yes, 3- and she adores it now. She asks me to watch it several times a day!
I have loved this film since I was around 12 and watched it with my friend over and over 'till the original tape broke. It isn't deep, it doesn't have a message and the plot has more holes in it then finest Emmenthal. But it's one of the silliest, funniest films I have ever seen and I never tire of watching it (I'm 25 now...) The spontaneous dancing, the cheesy lines, the stereotypes- I love every minute of this cr*p. There's a traitorous mouse, a helicopter hijacking, a Swedish milkmaid, Ricki Lake giving birth to what appears to be a 3- month- old infant in the back of a speeding car, Traci Lords (ex- porn star) in a cartoon bear suit and even Iggy Pop in a tiny tin bath "buck nekkid". But don't worry, there's no rudeness, no swearing and no aggressive violence- it's all very much of the Tom and Jerry variety. If you like meaningful films that stir your soul and deliver a 'message', buy this and use it as a doorstop- but if you have a juvenile sense of humour (like mine) and don't take things too seriously, watch this every day!

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, Cry Baby on DVD!
I love this movie so much and I own it on VHS. CB is a real funny movie, it has good actors in it, and the music is great, too!
Finally the studios opened their eyes and realized that the public wants CRY BABY ON DVD! Now, not only there's going to be a DVD of CB, but it will also be the Director's Cut with 7 minutes extra, and I'm sure they won't be boring. The movie will be shown in 1.85:1 WIDESCREEN, which is awesome and we can now enjoy better this great film!

5-0 out of 5 stars loss for words
I can only imagine that the popularity of John Waters is due to people under the delusion that they are suppose to like John Waters.As much as I love Sontag I do have to take exception with the focus on camp as a meaningful medium.Certainly there is humor in campy fare like the original Batman series, but when do we simply call tripe for what it is?Cry-Baby, is the greatest example of this, as it is by far the worst film in a list of films by perhaps the most overrated director I have ever come across.Cry-Baby is not goofy, it is not fun, it is not silly, it is not camp, it is simply a terrible terrible movie.The acting is abysmal, and I like Johnny Depp.The story is extremely terrible, and the overall production exemplifies my point: there is no such thing as so bad it is good.Laughing at a film (as opposed to laughing with a film) for it's low brow style cheesiness doesn't make the film funny.This movie seriouly belongs on a MST3K style lampoon, but instead people revel in it for what I can only assume is a sensation that they are suppose to like John Waters.I had a similar sensation when watching Pecker, the other supposed great Waters flick.If you happen upon this film because you have heard of Waters, and are curious, trust me, he is not an artist, and this film is a waste of time.Johnny Depp may be a good actor, but sweet mother of all that is holy, even Ed Wood made better films than this.Avoid John Waters like the plague, because frankly, if I had to choose between dying having the bubonic plague and watching this film again, I would gladly choose the plague. ... Read more


73. Mystery Science Theater 3000 - The Wild World of Batwoman
Director: Jerry Warren
list price: $19.95
our price: $15.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000056VOO
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6651
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Description

A mad scientist attempts to drive his captive, Mike Nelson, insane by forcing him to watch B-Movies. This episode's feature is "The Wild World of Batwoman" (1966, 70min.) - Batwoman struggles to help her recover a mad scientist's invention, an atomic bomb hearing aid, before the evil villian, Rat Fink, can use it for his own personal agenda. ... Read more

Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars Laughing out loud
Ever notice that you don't really laugh out loud when you're alone? Well, while sitting on the couch alone on a Sunday afternoon, this movie made me laugh until I hurt. Give the MST3K folks a movie with no plot and horrible acting and they'll turn it into on of the funniest things you've ever seen.

The (supposed) plot: scientist builds atomic hearing aid - Rat Fink and his agents steal it - Batwoman and her clan of scantily clad Batgirls save the day. Trashy? Yes. Awful? Yes. Entertaining? Absolutely.

Coupled with the "Cheating" short, this is one of the best episodes of MST3K I've seen. The typically unpredictable combination of obscure cultural references and Ye Olde Scatological Humour can cater to all of your comic sensibilities and leave you exhausted and begging for more.

5-0 out of 5 stars "You're Speaking in Chinese Again!"
This is the original uncut version of 'The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman', as director Jerry Warren wanted it seen. The world was not ready for it when it was made and it still isn't. Most people know this film from Mystery Science Theatre 3000, where it was one of their most diabolical experiments ever. This is the un-MST version, so you are on your own. Good luck.

This is one of my favorite MST episodes because this movie is so unbelievably bad. Rarely has a film been so badly conceptualized, scripted, acted and directed. For lack of viability, I think that the only movie to top this is Warren's own "Frankenstein Island", where Katherine Victor plays Shelia Frankenstein. Here she plays Batwoman. Batwoman and her Batgirls spend the movie fighting crime against a dizzying array of bad guys (including the Mole People) but in the end are able to save the atomic powered hearing aid and, thus, civilization. If this sounds like a mess, that's not the half of it. This movie must be seen to be appreciated.

Five stars for staggering ineptitude on the part of every single person involved with this film. It is a work of grade Z genius!

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrible - in a good way!
It is a testament to the immense talent of the Mystery Science Theater folk that they managed to turn such a horrible piece of rubbish as "The Wild World of Batwoman," into an uproarious comedy, worthy of being watched over and over and over again.

The plot is simple. I think. If there is a plot. Whatever it was supposed to be, it seems to involve a hearing aid (a "very large and ungainly hearing aid," to quote Crow), a mad scientist, a middle-aged woman in an uncomfortably revealing costume (and her cult of scantily-clad "batgirls"), monsters, cobalt, soup, guns, and dancing. The whole mess is bewilderingly incoherent, and at the film's climax (was there even a climax?) Mike expresses the audience's frustration by begging for an explanation - "What about the hearing aid?! Am I crazy? Wasn't that the PLOT?!" During the final scene of the movie, Tom loses it altogether, screaming "END!! END!!"

The movie is preceeded by a preachy short on the evils of cheating, which leads to some cheating-related friction in the Satellite of Love. Luckily, all is worked out in the end, with the help of Hostess Snowballs.

If only Batwoman had had some Hostess Snowballs, perhaps things would have made sense in her world, too. One can only wonder.

Buy this tape!

4-0 out of 5 stars "Looks like Casual Day at Control Data"
Zounds -- the sight of our zoftig hero is enough to make even Luke Skywalker go over to the Dark Side. One of the most deliciously bad movies EVER, and Mike and the 'bots give it the full treatment it deserves. Store these images away for future nighmares: The wild scene with everyone swinging on ropes, while the soundtrack reverberates with "Ellie Mae goes to the see-ment pond"; Count how many times the Norm Crosby lookalike says "little doll,"; and finally Batwoman playing the organ (where's Al Lewis when you need him?) in her "hideout" that looks like part of Levittown. Who knew that drugs were such a problem in Hollywood, so early on? Don't try to figure it out - just let the wave roll over you and swim with it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Where do they FIND this stuff??
This is one of my favorite MST3000 episodes, a true feast for bad-movie fans. It features not one, but two bizarre films to be spoofed. The first, an oh-so-earnest fifties-era industrial black & white short on "cheating," contains some of the worst performances I have seen in a long time. The director tried to make his film look surreal and Bergmannesque, a delusion of grandeur that results in some very funny comments from the MST3K team. The robot interludes, typically the least funny parts of an episode, here play off the short and deliver some great comedic interplay.

The second film and main attraction, "The Wild World of Batwoman," is almost incomprehensibly bad. This is the kind of film that could only have been made in the 1960s. You keep asking yourself, was this intended to be hilariously weird, or was the director simply on a par with, say, Ed Wood? Batwoman herself looks ridiculous, with a lumpy frumpy shock of a haircut, a cheap black mask and a bat tattooed right above her pulchitrudinous cleavage. She bears no resemblance whatsoever to a DC comics character. Her "bat-girls," decked out in bikinis for most of the film, spend most of their time either go-go dancing or obsessively reciting chapter and verse of the arcane bat-regulations.

The director's obsession with food is worthy of a Jan Svankmajer film. In the beginning, the girls force a newbie to drink what is supposed to look like blood, later explaining that it is only a synthetic substitute. Later on, there is a plot about drugged soup that makes people dance compulsively. Some of the scenes are so bizarre (but politically incorrect) that they would have been funny even without the MST3K commments...a seance interrupted by a disembodied voice screaming in ersatz Chinese, or the villains donning disguises that look like something out of Yiddish theater.

One of the characters, who looks something like Martin Mull, sits motionless for about five minutes during an interminably stupid and boring scene. When we later discover his dark secret, which puts him on a par with Robin Williams in "One Hour Photo," the moment is so badly bungled that we can only sigh and go on to the next absurdity.

If you are a MST3K fan, this one is for you. If you are not, give it a try. ... Read more


74. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple Gift Set
Director: John A. Davis (II), Tony Wharmby
list price: $39.98
our price: $31.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000068UE9
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1850
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the hands of Agatha Christie, the murder mystery is like a sonata crossed with a magic trick--an intricate formal structure that depends on ingenious misdirection. On top of that, the movies made from her novels are an opportunity for great British character actors to languish in icy disdain, insinuating glances, arch humor, and trembling suggestions of guilt. This set gathers together three fine BBC productions, starting with The Body in the Library (in which a blond stranger's corpse turns up in a British squire's house), A Murder Is Announced) (in which a supposed parlor game has fatal consequences), and A Pocketful of Rye (in which a nursery rhyme becomes a recipe for a series of poisonings). All star Joan Hickson as Christie's much-loved elderly sleuth, Miss Marple. The way Hickson's eyes light up at the mention of mysterious death makes her seem like a delightfully dotty old ghoul; she hovers at the periphery of investigations, noticing the telling details that police inspectors overlook. The productions lay out plot threads and clues with surgical precision, while the actors play stock characters with exquisite relish. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great fun
To begin, Joan Hickson is marvelous as Miss Marple--even better than Margaret Rutherford--no easy task!
The three story's in this set are quite good-though I found the first story-"The Body in the Library"-moved along a little too slowly for my taste. No such problem with the other two stories however. "A Murder is announced" is the best of the three episodes--in which an announcement of a pending murder is placed in the local newspaper. "A Pocketfull of Rye" is also an excellent story--which I especially enjoyed because of Peter Davison--better known as Tristan in "All Creatures Great and Small" as well as portraying "Doctor Who"
These storys are great to watch in a group setting--trying to figure out among yourselves "Who done it"

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
My Gift Set Miss Marple DVD collection is of excellent quality. Miss Marple is my favorite Christie sleuth and I am so pleased to have these episodes (Body in the Library, Pocket Full of Rye, Murder is Announced) on DVD. I noticed no grainy quality whatsoever. There are a few ads in the beginning and the episodes are individually split up into separate parts as in when they were broadcast on TV but these facts really did not bother me. I especially enjoyed the "Who's Who" feature which gave brief bios of the BBC actors. All-in-all very enjoyable!

5-0 out of 5 stars Splendid showcase
Restricting my comments to the quality of the 3-disc release: I was very worried, based on a review published here, that the video quality of this product might be poor. It isn't; in fact, it's very good. I don't know why the reviewer would have complained about this unless his/her copy of the DVD was really as poor as described, which I have to accept that it was. All I can say is, mine isn't. A couple of nights ago, one of our Bay Area PBS channels did re-broadcast one of the 3-part episodes on this disc, and the quality of their print was awful. So, I can tell the difference between grainy and spotty on the one hand, and sharp and clear on the other...it's quite plain on my equipment, which is only average. Unlike the other reviewer's, my discs are quite sharp.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must have for Marple fans
My 3 favorite Miss Marple programs. Video quality excellent. If they had left off all the ads at the beginning of each CD it would have been even better. A nice value.

2-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful mysteries; horrible DVD transfers
I love the Miss Marple mysteries in both book and movie form, but unfortunately not a one of them has been transferred properly to video or DVD. While this BBC set of the longer Marple mysteries looks somewhat better than the two A&E sets, they're still pretty bad. The main reason for this (apart from the BBC's obvious indifference to whole matter) is that the transfer material is SEVERAL generations removed from the negative. The result: loads of grain, overall dark and muddy look, little detail, washed out highlights, faded color, dirt, occasional wavering picture, focus problems (except for most closeups, many long shots look as if NOTHING is in focus), contrast problems (floors and people's legs disappear into the blackness--caused by using a copy of a copy of a copy, etc.) I don't know if the BBC treats all of their projects this way or if they just have a thing against poor Miss Marple, but they need to hear from us. People should not receive defective merchandise for their money.

One of the most irritating things about this set is that each movie is split up into 3 episodes, each with the same opening and closing credits, just like they are broadcast on TV. Of course, the viewer can fastforward through this, but it was a stupid thing to do, and it's just another indicator of the lack of care in making this set of DVDs.

It's wonderful to have these mysteries available again on video, but it's aggravating to see the indifference of big business to its customers and to its own product. Buyer beware! ... Read more


75. The Complete Gidget Collection (Gidget / Gidget Goes Hawaiian / Gidget Goes to Rome)
Director: Paul Wendkos
list price: $27.95
our price: $20.96
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Asin: B000286S2E
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1923
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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"Just remember, she might be pint-sized, but she's quite a woman." The original surfer girl gets her own three-film DVD collection, dippy fun from a more innocent time. 1959's Gidget made real surfers nauseated, but it's a kicky movie with some great lounge-era lingo. Sandra Dee, perkiness personified, plays the curious teen who breaks the gender line in surfing. She's also got the attention of surf-happy Moondoggie (James Darren) and the big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson), the latter the prototype of the surf bum who roams the globe in search of the endless summer. The film actually kicked off the great boom in surfing popularity (the Beach Boys and the Beach Party movies followed), much to the chagrin of purists. It was based on a novel by Frederick Kohner, who was inspired by his daughter's experiences.

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) puts Deborah Walley in the title role. She's no Sandra Dee, but at least there are shots of Walley doing her own surfing stunts. The action's in Waikiki, and Gidge is pursued by a confused Moondoggie and a famous dancer. They are played by James Darren and Michael Callan, and having the two 1960s male ingenues in the same movie suggests a weird collision of matter and anti-matter. The spark goes flat in Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), with yet another new actress (Cindy Carol) paired with a loyal James Darren. It's closer to Three Coins in the Fountain than the sandy beaches of Malibu.

DVD caveat:none of the films is in widescreen. The sequels don't suffer much, but the original Gidget was shot in CinemaScope, and the pan-and-scan approach hurts the summery look of the picture--even if it's just Sandra Dee balancing in front of blue-screen waves. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars BEWARE - Gidget DVDs are pan & scan
I was all set to pre-order this DVD set of the first three Gidget films when I learned that they are pan & scan, not widescreen. All three films were made in widescreen, and the original "Gidget" was filmed in Panavision--meaning that the pan & scan version will cut off 1/2 of the picture. (I'm not sure if the other two Gidget films were Panavision (2.35) or 1.85 widescreen.)

If you're thinking about buying this as a permanent part of your DVD library, you may want to wait until Columbia does a proper job on the DVD. Even if you don't have a widescreen televison now, you will before too much longer...

5-0 out of 5 stars Fond Memories
I grew up with these movies and in fact have two out of three of them on VHS already. My daughters who are just entering their twenties enjoy them with me. James Darren was my teen idol, and Sandra Dee was so sweet it was a joy to watch. Now Gidget goes Hawaiian still gave me James Darren, but I also got to enjoy the dance and music of a variety of other stars, it takes me back to a softer time. I can't say I enjoyed Gidget goes to Rome as much, but the scenery was worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars YAY! They Are FINALLY Out On DVD!!!
I grew up with these movies. My mom had me watching them when I was very young. They are VERY dear to my heart. They are somewhat dated (style-wise), but still completely enjoyable. The issues involved still ring loud and true among teens nowadays. I am just out of my teens (I'm 20 years old) and even with all the "teen flicks" coming out these days, I would have to say that Gidget Goes Hawaiian is one of my favorite teen movies of all time. But here you don't just get that one, you get all three (although let it be known I've never seen the entire Gidget Goes to Rome--but I would pay 20 bucks just to get the first two!)! These movies are just ADORABLE! ... Read more


76. Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Director: Peter Weir
list price: $39.99
our price: $29.99
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Asin: B0001DI0FI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 262
Average Customer Review: 4.01 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (403)

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful and Commanding
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is the latest attempt by the Hollywood establishment to revive the nautical adventure genre that enjoyed great popularity during Hollywood's "golden age." Based on Patrick O'Brian's phenomenally successful novels about British heroism during the Napoleonic Wars, the film traces the efforts of Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and his loyal crew to intercept and destroy an errant French warship in the Pacific waters near the Galapagos Islands. Although this movie will disappoint any audience member who is expecting a great deal of background information about the historical intricacies and personalities of the Napoleonic Age, it will thrill and entertain all filmgoers who love the kinetic energy and old-fashioned showmanship of a well directed swashbuckler.
Veteran director Peter Weir is entitled to an Oscar nomination simply for staging some of the most dazzling and exhilarating naval battle sequences of all-time. The violent encounters between Aubrey's HMS Surprise and its French counterpart the Acheron were so gripping and realistic that several audience members at the showing I attended were literally gasping for breath as they left the theater (the sound of cannon fire and rushing water no doubt reverberating in their ears). However, Weir deserves the most credit for his detailed and provocative portrayal of every aspect of life aboard a British warship, circa 1805. Audiences get to see the chief lieutenants create strategies and chart courses, the midshipman cope with the responsibilities holding authority over much of the crew while still conforming to the expectations of their superiors, and the common sailors, mates and boatswain confront unbearable weather and inedible food as they prepare to risk their lives for the country they love. Several characters leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of viewers, particularly Max Pirkis as a prepubescent crew member who faces the amputation of an arm with unwavering courage and Lee Ingleby as an indecisive midshipman who becomes convinced that his presence is cursing the ship. The battle scenes owe much of their punch and power to Weir's realization that it is far more engaging to watch complex, multifaceted figures battle it out for God and country than it is to watch caricatured personalities scramble through combat without purpose or motivation.
At the center of the fray is Russell Crowe, who thoroughly captures Captain Aubrey's intensity and charisma. It isn't easy to play a character that orders the vicious beating of an unruly sailor in one scene and makes charming toasts to wives and sweethearts ("may they never meet!") in another, but Crowe succeeds brilliantly by imagining Aubrey as an impulsive individualist who stands by his instincts and emotions in any context. When the Captain engages in heated philosophical discussions about loyalty and leadership with his friend Dr. Steven Maturin (Paul Bettany), it is riveting to watch the star's fascinating portrait of a man obsessed with his own righteousness. Crowe will almost certainly reap some significant awards from this impressive performance, and at the very least he has found a profitable new franchise to sail through the rest of the decade with.

3-0 out of 5 stars The War on the Waters
I came to 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World' with little expectations beyond reasonable entertainment. I was thus surprised that this was a powerful little human drama about a vicious chase in the high seas.

What makes 'Master and Commander' successful is not the plot, which is a straightforward cat and mouse story. Rather, it succeeds because of its gritty sense of realism and the ability to capture the feel of time and place.

While most historical movies feature ordinary, contemporary people in period dress (see 'Gangs of New York'), Master and Commander does feel like it takes place in the early 19th century. It is little things, like Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) motivating his troops by demanding "Do you want your children to sing 'La Marseillaise'?", or the real excitement the characters display in discussing Nelson.

Also powerful is the film's feel for the hardships of warfare on the Sea. Early in the film, a child loses his arm, and throughout the movie real characters suffer casual death. At one point Jack Aubrey must choose between saving one man and saving his crew, and he allows the man to drown. This form of realism is so rare in Hollywood films, in makes 'Master and Commander' truly unique.

The great weakness of the film is its episodic nature. There is scarcely a plot - the hunt for the French frigate "Acheron" is merely a framework for the individual happenings, which include a storm, a suicide, and most infamously, a rather overlong subplot about Crowe's sidekick's (Paul Bettany) Darwin-like expedition to Galapagos Islands.

Indeed, the emergence of this subplot makes the second half of the film slow and much less interesting then the first half. Although the scenery is breathtaking, the story just fails to move, until Bettany's accidental discovery of the Acheron, which sets the stage for the climatic battle.

Director Peter Weir and his crew should be commanded for a great adaptation of Patrick O'Brien's seafaring adventure. If there will be a sequel, I will go with high expectations.

4-0 out of 5 stars EVERYTHING --& more!!
1. this is THE cute guy movie. from 8 to 80, small, tall, thin or round, this movie will have someone for you. i can only imagine my sister, who once had a list of 254 men she Truly Cared About that included people like the guy 3d from the left in the second scene of Star Trek 2, drooling like a pet of pavlov w/in the first 3 minutes.

2. & speaking of star trek-----

russell crow _IS_ Captain James T. Kirk.

this is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen!!

here is an actor playing a captain playing an actor playing a captain!!

i think captainhood has been forever embedded in the mind of anyone young or old & privileged enough to see the _real_ & _only_ Star Trek as meaning one thing: William Shatner. watch the timing!! watch the _gestures_!! watch the way he looks at the camera. the likeness is uncanny!!

my partner watched this movie a couple of days before i did & when i said to him, "you know who that is--" he said he had thought the same thing.

amazing!!

dont worry, i LOVE Captain James T. Kirk. when i was a very little kid, even younger than any of the little kids in this movie, my parents & i saw him (the actor, not the captain) screaming at his girlfriend at a folk dance festival. that image is embedded in my brain as well!!

anyway.

Captain Kirk, in order to be Captain Kirk, MUST have his Spock. & here, of course, he does. but oddly his Spock is only the entrée into........

3. the Monty Python element. think John Cleese, younger (much much younger), w/ a lot of freckles & a slightly skinnier jawline. think his uppercrust gestures & the way he often looks up at you (thru the camera) w/ those eyes..... right here. Mr. Spock as a naturalist-warrior-sailor-doctor who also, on the side, runs the Ministry of Silly Walks.

but thats not all!!

you also get, in this movie that was modeled on "Star Trek transports itself into Monty Python & the Holy Grail on the High Seas" --the old guy. you remember the Old Guy. he is embedded in yr brain too. i know he is. & it will be very very hard for you to watch a scene wherein he appears w/o thinking of eric idle, hanging on a dungeon wall & singing. every single time.

but nobody is singing "la marseillaise" b/c when you finally do meet those french types, they are too busy yelling things like:

"oh you english pig-dogs!!" --you get that too!! i almost expected a bunch of fruit & a cow to come flying over the side of the boat.

& theres more-- so much more-- it makes ones brain itch trying to remember it all.....

4. &, speaking of an itchy brain, in addition to heroic self-surgery, one also gets: trepanning. woohoo!! personally, i recommend amanda fielding's video (worth looking up) as she is doing real-life, real-time self-trepanning, but this one works as a little preview. & besides, she doesnt stick a quarter into her skull.

5. &, wait, there is so much more!! poop on the poopdeck (rewind or you will miss it. my partner, who worked on lots of boats made us rewind so i wouldnt miss it)-- & LOTS & LOTS of animals. i LOVE this movie!!

but probably not in the way that peter weir intended. which is why i gave it 4 stars. it is the most postmodern movie i have ever seen. the whole thing seems plotted, directed & acted as if it were a bunch of archetypal television programs strung together or laid on top of one another (lets not forget marlon brando (rip) in "mutiny on the bounty," although that might just have been inspiration for the costumes) (& do remember "the poseiden adventure" & undoubtedly "titanic" (i havent seen it)) w/ unbelievably fabulous images of oceans, islands, ground & ships-- just gorgeous stuff from the director of "the last wave."

& yes, it is a roiling barrel of entertainment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cat and Mouse on the high seas
Set in the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteeth century, Master and Commander is based on the Patrick O'Brian's historical novels. The essence of the story is a chase starting off the coast of Brazil and ending up off the Galapogos islands, between a French ship with its clever commander and the HMS Surprise- the ship at the center of the story.

The movie itself is richly laid out in genuine props of the era, which succeeds in giving it an air of realism. Russell Crowe does a fine job as Captain 'Lucky Jack' Aubrey, a man with a history of experience and well respected by his sometimes grumbling men. The supporting cast is excellent with a list of characters that adds to the richness of life on a seafaring ship of that era.

Crowe doesn't grandstand and take over the movie allowing the story, other characters and action to speak for themselves. A lot of credit should of course go to Peter Weir for his direction and his adaption of O'Brian's novel.

Master and Commander is very reminiscent of old Hollywood epics and a quite enjoyable movie. I honestly didn't expect much and came away very satisfied and entertained.

Highly entertaining and recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well acted action-adventure film
A definite surprise - I enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would. Very well acted, especially Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin and Max Pirkis as the very young midshipman who loses his arm in the opening battle scene. While the special effects of the movie are amazing, they didn't overshadow the depth of the characters protrayed. Unless you are a reader of the O'Brian novels (which I recommend even more highly than the movie), you wouldn't notice one major change. The Acheron was really the USS Norfolk - an AMERICAN ship - not French. I guess the producers figured we wouldn't put down our dollars to see a movie where we were the losers. ... Read more


77. Big Jake
Director: John Wayne, George Sherman
list price: $14.99
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B00008CMR4
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3367
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Big Jake, the man who put the bad guys in their place!
Big Jake has always been a family favorite. Whenever it aired on TV, we watched it. If it were played 3-4 times a year, we watched it. You just can't beat the all-star cast. John Wayne, Bruce Cabot(very famous in the 1930'3 and 1940's) Richard Boone, as the lead bad guy, was a great choice. PAtrick Wayne and Christopher Mitchum were both excellent choices to be his sons. Maureen O'Hara, as the ex-wife, she is still as beautiful as ever. All-in-all, a great action-packed western that holds up to the best. Big Jake, a real treat for all.

5-0 out of 5 stars don't call him DADDY!!!!!!!!!
This film is one of the better later-day John Wayne films, though strangely violent for a Wayne film. The Duke stars Jacob MacCandles (maybe a reflection of his real life family situation) as a tough man, estranged from his wife and grown sons. Bobby Vinton gives a quickie performance as Wayne's eldest son, shot when (the great) Richard Boone and his band of cutthroats nearly slaughter all on Jacob's ranch in the kidnapping of his grandson (played by Wayne youngest son Ethan). Patrick Wayne, his real son, plays second eldest son and youngest son, Michael, is played by Christopher Mitchum (Robert Mitchum's son!).

In tow are Wayne regulars, Harry Carey (disgusting tobacco chewing baddie), Bruce Cabot as the Indian tracker showing age with Jacob, Glen Corbett as breed the fast gun that faces off against Patrick Wayne in a gun fight, the most natural actor to ever grace the screen, the late Richard Boone, and a lovely appearance by the eternally beautiful Maureen O'Hara, once again playing John's long suffering wife whot loves him, but cannot live with him.

It is super to watch Wayne with Cabot, Carey, Boone and O'Hara, and Jim Davis (later rose to fame once more as Jock Ewing of Dallas) and though the film is intensely violent, I don't see it was gratuitous. The violence came from the end of a very violent era, times were changing, but not fast enough. The violence of the kidnappers had to be there to show Wayne's to-the-wall rescue of his small grandson was called for. Wayne's character was a violent man when the times called for it, but it was just as willing to let things go - if ONLY the other person walked away.

He worked well with his sons and Mitchum, and the interaction between Jacob and his two sons provides the Wayne brand humour in the film.

The times were changing for the code of the old west, and in the same way, times were changing for John Wayne....

I give Wayne credit for not pulling punches in a film that does him credit.

5-0 out of 5 stars They made the mistake of kidnapping Big Jake's grandson
"Big Jake" is one of my favorite John Wayne movies, which is not to claim that it is a classic film. This film is directed by George Sherman, who first began doing Westerns back in the late 1930s, although Wayne is known to have directed some scenes as well. In retrospect I would argue that this 1971 film is the first of a trio of film that Wayne made at the end of his career reflecting the passing of the Western. The other two would be Wayne's next film, "The Cowboys," and obviously his final film, "The Shootist." Of that trio "Big Jake" is clearly the most fun and my biggest complaint about this film is that when it is shown on television they almost always have the first commercial break at the absolute worst moment.

The film begins with a raid on the McCandles Ranch where Little Jake McCandles (Ethan Wayne, the Duke's youngest son, named for the character he played in "The Searchers") is kidnapped by a gang of cutthroats led by John Fain (Richard Boone). Fain demands a ransom to be delivered across the border in Mexico. The Texas Rangers are willing to do it, but Martha McCandles (Maureen O'Hara), the boy's grandmother, announces that this is a disagreeable task and needs to be done by a disagreeable man. At this point the came cuts to a close up of John Wayne peering down the barrel of a rifle. It is a great introduction to Wayne's character in the film and a fitting counterpart to the moment in "Stagecoach" when we first see the Ringo Kid and his Winchester. But television stations keep putting commercials before the cut because the film's opening sequence, in which narrator George Fenneman, who went from being Groucho Marx's announcer and straight man on "You Bet Your Life" ended up doing the narration for Jack Webb's "Dragnet," introduces us to all of the members of the Fain gang runs on a bit before we have the raid and the decision of what to do next. So Act I runs out for a bit and if there is a good reason to have this movie on DVD or VHS it is because that way you miss this horrendous commercial placement.

"Big Jake" is basically a chase story as the title character goes after his grandson, heading out with the ransom with only his trusted Native American friend Sam Sharpnose (Bruce Cabot) and a dog named "Dog." But there are several others things going on to make the proceedings more interesting. Big Jake did not even know that he had a grandson, and while the boy's father Jeff (Bobby Vinton, the singer) is wounded, his two brothers James (Patrick Wayne, another of the Duke's son) and Michael (Christopher Mitchum, son of Robert Mitchum who co-starred with the Duke in "El Dorado"). Clearly Big Jake has been separated from his family for a while and there are issues, particularly with James, who makes the mistake of calling his father "Daddy."

There is also a whole sub-text about relying on modern technology. While Big Jake heads off with horses the Texas Rangers take off in new fangled motorcars. Of course this is a mistake, but there is a recurring theme of the old ways being best. Michael has a motorcycle and James has a new fangled pistol, but they are able to overcome their reliance on modern technology. If the Old West is disappearing it is not disappearing until the Duke has his last fight.

Then there is the running gag that everybody seems to think Big Jake is dead. When we are treated to that great close up our hero is watching a group of cattlemen get ready to string up a sheep farmer. Big Jake does not want to get involved, not wanting to make a mistake of his youth that almost cost him his life. But then the leader of the lynch mob (Jim Davis) makes the mistake of kicking a boy ("Aw," says Big Jake, "why'd he want to go and do that for?"). There could be trouble but then it is discovered that the big man on the horse is Jacob McCandles, who apparently is not dead. This happens so often that Big Jake swears he will kill the next man who says that and, of course, he does.

Finally, this film has some great dialogue by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink. This was their first film together (he did "Major Dundee" and "Ice Station Zebra") and after this they created "Dirty Harry" for Clint Eastwood (no wonder the choice lines in this movie are so choice). When James calls Big Jake "Daddy," the Duke knocks his son on his can and announces: "You can call Dad, you can call me Father, you can call me Jacob and you can call me Jake. You can call me a dirty old son-of-a-b***h, but if you EVER call me Daddy again, I'll finish this fight." But my favorite is when Fain first encounters Big Jake (not knowing who he is, of course) and gives a very serious warning. At the climax of the film Big Jake repeats the warning word for word with a grim earnestness that is quite impressive. That is why this is not a great film, but a great movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my Favorite John Wayne Movies
Big Jake, although not his best, was still one of my favorite movies. My own grandpa was a larger than life figure, and this movie rings true to what he was in the prime of his life. One of Wayne's last, and I think it has to be on everyone's list. The adversary is a tough nut to crack, and knows just how to hit the nerves. It's not over the top violent (I suppose that compares with today's movies). GOD i wish they would have picked anything else for that kid to wear but that girlish little jumper with the white collar!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I hoped...
I'm giving this one four stars for the quality of the video, sound, and the fact that this movie has, for at least 90 minutes, everything you would ever want in a late-era John Wayne movie. The acting is not bad at all, the story is set up very well, the villians are believable, and you have the obligatory old codger showing up his estranged smart-aleck sons while he teaches them a thing or two.

After we've been through 90 minutes of establishing trust and killing a few bad guys along the way, we come to the big showdown where the Duke tries to bluff the kidnappers, and then kill them. It's a pretty good shoot-out, and of course the good guys win.

The problem I have is that the Duke loses his best friend and his dog in the fight, as well as getting shot twice himself. When it's all over, Big Jake, his two sons, and his grandson exit with big smiles on their faces. The camera freezes on this image while the credits are rolling. It was kind of like a bad 1970's crime drama. I expected to see in bold letters, "A QUINN MARTIN PRODUCTION." ... Read more


78. Con Air
Director: Simon West
list price: $14.99
our price: $11.99
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Asin: 6304806434
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2477
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Con Air is proof that the slick, absurdly overblown action formula of Hollywood mega-producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, Days of Thunder, The Rock, Crimson Tide) lives on, even after Simpson's druggy death. (Read Charles Fleming's exposé, High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess, for more about that.) Nicolas Cage, sporting a disconcerting mane of hair, is a wrongly convicted prisoner on a transport plane with a bunch of infamously psychopathic criminals, including head creep Cyrus the Virus (John Malkovich), black militant Diamond Dog (Ving Rhames), and serial killer Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi, making the most of his pallid, rodent-like qualities). Naturally, the convicts take over the plane; meanwhile, on the ground, a US marshal (John Cusack) and a DEA agent (Colm Meaney), try to figure out what to do. As is the postmodern way, the movie displays a self-consciously ironic awareness that its story and characters are really just excuses for a high-tech cinematic thrill ride. Best idea: the filmmakers persuaded the owners of the legendary Sands Hotel in Las Vegas to let them help out with the structure's demolition by crashing their plane into it. --Jim Emerson ... Read more

Reviews (149)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buckle Up
Con Air is a blockbuster movie. A film that soars with the best of them. And since it's produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, no wonder it's a hit. Making his directorial debut, Simon West does a terrific job pleasing the crowds of movie-goers. Cameron Poe (played by Nicolas Cage, with a Southern accent and shoulder-length hair) has just been releashed from prison after being convicted of manslaughter in the first degree. After 7 years, Cameron is finally going home to his wife and daughter. Hitching a ride home on the 'Jail Bird,' Cameron is put on a plane with the world's most vicious criminals including Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (John Malkovich), Diamond Dog (Ving Rhames), Billy Bedlam (Nick Chinlund), and Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi) who "makes the Manson family look like the Partidge family." Within 5 minutes of takeoff, the criminals have already assumed command of the plane, are in possession of all the weapons, and took all the guards hostage. Being the former United States Park Ranger that he is, Cameron Poe decides to try and save the day with the help of on-the-ground U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin (played by John Cusack). Con Air is an explosive film with great special effects, superb acting, and humor on the side. I recommend it for anyone looking for a movie with non-stop action beginning to end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Con Air
Con Air is a good action film and several things keep it alive. One is acting. John Malkovich is good as Cyrus "the Virus" Grissom, who claims he's killed more people than cancer. John Cusack is in good form as U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin, who owns the plane the criminals take over, named "the Jailbird". Nicolas Cage delivers one of his best performances as Cameron Poe, a decorated military hero who is catching a ride home after being in prison for 8 years for defending his wife in a bar fight. Other good performances were by Steve Buscemi as serial killer Garland Greene and Ving Rhames (Mission:Impossible) as Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones. The musical score was very good. There are a few plotholes but hey, there aren't too many movies that don't have a few plotholes here and there. Another good thing is action. Most of the action on board the plane is hand-to-hand combat. Probably the best action scene in the movie is where the criminals stop to get a new plane. U.S. troops attack them in a long and great gunfight. The other action sequence is when Cusack and Cage chase Cyrus on motorcycles through a tunnel in Las Vegas. It is very humorous when the plane is crashing and Garland Greene is singing "He's got the whole world in His hands". At the Academy Awards Con Air was nominated for two things:Best Sound and Best Original Song. It did not win either. Though Con Air may be a level below Crimson Tide, The Rock, and Air Force One, it's still a great action film

1-0 out of 5 stars As Believable As Finding Out "Snow White" Is A True Story
This movie is about as believable as finding that "Snow White" was based on a true story...this movie is so ridiculously stupid that I gave one star. First of all, if Nicolas Cage's character killed someone in self-defense, there'd be no trial, he wouldn't be charged. Second, JOHN MALKOVICH AS A VIOLENT, MULTIPLE FELON? WHO DID HE BEAT FOR THE PART...STEVE URKEL? Then there's John Cusak trying desperately hard to show us that he can act...that he's still got it...but HE NEVER HAD IT! BELIEVE ME, IF THESE FELONS COULD FIGURE A WAY TO TAKE CONTROL OF A PRISON TRANSPORT PLANE USING A PAPER CLIP AND A MATCH, THEY WOULDN'T BE IN COUNTY LOCK UP, THEY'D BE RUNNING THE WORLD. Most of the directing shots are tilted and herendous, the acting is stupid (with Cage's phoney Southern accent), and the fact that Malkovich conviently lands on a conveyer belt that ends up crushing his head is way too unrealistic...ANOTHER THING, MALKOVICH IS ABOUT AS BRUTAL IN THE FILM AS IS WATCHING HIM ACT!

3-0 out of 5 stars OVER THE TOP AND THEN SOME
For pure adrenalin and testosterone exposure, one can't do much better than CON-AIR. There are a ton of unbelievable action scenes, and that's the key word---unbelievable. One can't say director Simon West didn't keep the action flowing. The finale in Las Vegas is way over the top!!!
Credit the actors for doing something with their roles, especially the brilliant John Cusack who puts his teeth into his meaty role as a US Marshall. Also Colm Meaney as the DEA agent who is obstinate and overbearing, to say the least. There are a nasty set of villains--John Malkovich, Nick Chindlin, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, David Chappelle---a nice looking guard played by Rachel Ticotin, another good bad guy played by Mykel Williamson, and Monica Potter does a nice turn as Poe's wife. Nicolas Cage is so bland, saddled with a ridiculous Southern accent, and does so many stupid things, it's hard to see how we can consider this guy that heroic.
But, if you want a two hour roller coaster ride with plenty of guns and action, CONAIR is hard to beat. It also has the Trisha Yearwood version of "How Do I Live," which is worth watching the movie!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Flick!
When I first sat down to watch this film I was expecting anything, but when it was over I knew it was one i'd always want to Have! The Story is about a man who has done time in prison for murdering somebody who tried to hurt his wife! And Finally he's going to go home! Tho on his way home he is put onto a plane that seems to have Americas worst criminals in hostory abourd, and the plane is highjacked by them and the plot starts! to take place and unfold, and many storys are told through the way, with some comedy, some action and some fun along with some decent acting for a film of this type!

This movie is worth it in my opinion! But its not to everyones taste, my recomendation is to hire it before you buy it if you can! It does play on personal opinions and tastes! To me its a great movie, but you be the judge for yourself! ... Read more


79. The Ed Wood Box (Glen or Glenda / Jail Bait / Bride of the Monster / Plan 9 from Outer Space / Night of the Ghouls / The Haunted World of Ed Wood)
list price: $39.99
our price: $31.99
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Asin: B0002W4TNA
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2109
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Description

Weird! Wild! Wood! The most legendary B-movie director of all time, Edward D. Wood, Jr. assaulted audiences worldwide with a string of bizarre, no-budget fusions of horror, science fiction, noir and comedy. Now his oddball legacy is finally collected in one indispensable box set! Feast your eyes on his first feature, the madcap Glen or Glenda? in which Eddie himself portrays a transvestite struggling with his addiction to angora while Bela Lugosi offers inscrutable narration. Blackmail, outlaws on the run, and plastic surgery collide in the surreal crime drama Jail Bait, featuring a young Steve Reeves (Hercules), while Bela returns to create the Bride of the Monster in a heady collision of atomic experiments, a rampaging octopus and clumsy assistant Lobo (played by wrestler Tor Johnson). Wood's indisputable disasterpiece, Plan 9 from Outer Space, offers pie-plate flying saucers, incompetent alien leaders, all-seeing psychic Criswell, goth favorite Vampira and a post-mortem appearance by Lugosi himself in his last film role. Then Lobo and a phony spiritualist usher in a Night of the Ghouls at a spooky marsh filled with shuffling undead and wailing ghosts. Finally, learn all about the man himself with The Haunted World of Ed Wood, a comprehensive disc packed with interviews, film clips, TV rarities and much more! It's enough to make you scream! ... Read more


80. The Storyteller Collection
Director: Steve Barron, Paul Weiland, Jon Amiel, Peter Smith, Jim Henson, Charles Sturridge
list price: $19.94
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000A2ZU6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 828
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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One of Jim Henson's finest hours was the Storyteller series that first aired on HBO in 1987. As with his other non-Muppet creations (Labyrinth), Henson fills the screen with wonderful creatures that have a wisp of a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. This collection of nine stories (it does not contain the Greek myths arc) were adapted by Anthony Minghella, who became an Oscar-winning filmmaker a decade later with The English Patient. Minghella weaves the narration of the storyteller (played with aplomb by John Hurt) with dialogue from the stories to beguiling effect; the storyteller doesn't simply introduce the tales.

A few of the stories have been available before on video, but this collection starts with the debut, the Emmy-winning "Hans My Hedgehog," the title role being a young disformed man who helps a lost king in the woods. Other highlights include "The Luck Child" about a king bent on destroying a commoner boy, known as the luck child ("the seventh son born of a seventh son on a week with two Fridays"). After a wizard declares the boy will grow up to be king. The fate of the king is one of those hooks that should have the kids smiling for days. Henson himself directs "Death and the Soldier," a brilliant example of how these episodes were so wonderfully complex. A penniless solider (Bob Peck) is given a magical sack and he uses it to full effect, capturing gremlins and greater evils on his way to be king. "Sapsorrow" is a curious variation on the Cinderella legend. "A Story Short" is the storyteller's own adventure. He makes a deal with a king to tell a story every day of the year. Yet on the last day, the storyteller's mind is a blank and his fate may lead him to a boiling vat of oil. Henson's work is true family entertainment and at only 22 minutes per episode, it's the perfect companion for some fine entertainment around the TV. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars We're almost there. . .
It's been taking the Henson company a long time to get these titles pumped to DVD, and it's nice to see The Storyteller fill the gaps in the shelves. I am still waiting for Fraggle Rock, but hopefully that is on the horizon.

I remember these as part of the Jim Henson Hour (another series I would like to see again) and they were as enjoyable to watch as they are now.

I gave the DVD 3 stars, simply because it's just that. . . a DVD. No extra's no behind the scenes, nothing added to it, just the stories, one after another in a digital format. The content and movies are great, its just that, well, there wasn't anything else. Kind of disappointing, but I'm sure back then, they didn't have a lot of cameras on the set filming behind the scenes, it wasn't the fad or desire back then.

This is a dvd though, that's not for kids. Young kids that is. Some pretty spooky moments, and the creatures can be a bit scarey. It's a fairly dark, gritty form of story telling, but fun and amusing at times.

To wrap up, its great. If your a fan of Jim, it belongs in your DVD library. No extras though, just the 9 episodes and that's it. The sound is good, picture great, just as I remember them. My only desire for some of the recent releases of Henson DVD's is to actually have more of Henson on them. He was a great man, and to hear him speak about his films and what he was doing is always a rare treat. I just wish they had more film footage of him.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fairy tales will never be the same
I'm amazed that this series has gotten so little attention. This is Jim Henson and crew at their best, making fun of the lines between fantasy and reality, costume and puppetry, and new storytelling and old stories.

All of these short pieces were unfamiliar to me, at least in part. 'Sapsorrow' turned out to contain a story I knew, or thought I did. Part of the reason these fairy tales were unfamiliar was their authenticity. These stories were originally meant for adults. They had hard, dark edges, and were not the vapid Disneyfied versions that most people know.
Lots of kids will like these stories as much as adults do, but this may be too much for younger children. This isn't Sesame Street - it's one of the dark alleys off to the side.

The narrator is one of the unexpected treats on this disk. He opens and closes each short story, talking to his dog on a fire-lit night. The narration is a treat, too. It has a wonderful rolling cadence, too musical for regular speech but too prosaic to be a chant. It may give you some idea what the old epic poems must have sounded like in their original settings.

This is for anyone who likes fantasy, who likes a rich visual experience. You just have to see it for yourself - typed words can't begin to give the experience you'll find in this collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fairy-Tales Aren't Just Kid's Stuff
I remember seeing this series for the first time years ago and thinking it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever experienced. I still believe that when I watch it now. These stories, based on old folk legends (some woven together), have a great deal of resonance - that is why they have endured. Fairy-tales are not dumb, or childish, but rather are for those who still have the ability to enjoy the extraordinary, without needing to continually question the logic and criticise the rationality. Jim Henson was himself a modern-day storyteller, and is very much missed - they are a rare breed.
The stories are wonderfully crafted, if you wnat to be picky, some of the visual effects are a little dated (hey, it's 1987), but who cares when you're listening to such great tales!?
John Hurt is fantastic as the intriguing Storyteller, and even gets a well-deserved episode all about himself.
Hans My Hedgehog was always my favourite episode, and IMHO the Grovelhog costume is incredibly impressive. It's a genuinely touching story, and for me is on a par with The Elephant Man in terms of the tissue factor. I really wish that more of these had been made, but the ones that exist are a real blessing.
Show Storyteller to your children (I know some of you are worried about age, but I say go for it, children are darker than you think) and I am sure they will thank you profusely when they get older. As some have pointed out, they aren't always happy tales, but here is the valuable lesson - life isn't always happy. But it's still beautiful, and someting to marvel at, and learn from. Just like this DVD.
Oh, and if anyone tries to tell you it's just kid's stuff, let it go. They've lost their heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just as good as it was 15 years ago.
I did not have the luxury, when I was growing up, to see these stories as they were originally shown on the Jim Henson Hour which aired in America and not until much later, in Australia. I happened upon the videos (these nine episodes were set on three videos) in a local rental shop and under extreme duress, my father rented them for myself and my sister. Much like we had done with the Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, we were transfixed by each and every episode. The thing we loved most about them was that they weren't your usual Disney-esque fluffiness. They were based on German, Russian and Celtic folklore and are in many cases, even today, still considered quite dark tales.

Now, many, many years later, I found and bought the DVD and am quite happy to say that the Jim Henson magic is still very much there. Sure, there's no special features on the DVD and I admit I would have liked to have seen some behind-the-scenes productions that are so accessible in this format of entertainment, but what was most important is that we got the series. To be honest, I couldn't complain about the quality of the DVD, it seemed pretty good to me. If the picture was blurry, it added to the atmosphere of the story rather than from detracted from it.

Some people who are not familiar the Jim Henson Creature Shop would find these productions stupid, cheesy and very out of date, but please remember, Jim Henson was a puppeteering pioneer and set many a standard for the fantasy genre. It was also well before the marvels of CGI were used on a regular basis, so please, don't complain when you see a puppet squirrel or badger flit across your screen and say that it would have been much better as a computer animation.

If you want seamless realistic graphics, go and watch the new Lord of the Rings epics, or The Matrix movies.

If you want to recapture a charming, fanciful bit of your childhood, when we didn't need thrills and spills to entertain us, watch The Storyteller series. You won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Best Place by the Fire was kept for the Storyteller!"
Jim Henson's most famous contribution to the entertainment world is obviously "The Muppets", but if you're looking for his best work (in terms of both visual brilliancy and depth of theme and meaning) the award would have to go to "Labyrinth" and "The Storyteller." The former is of course the famous movie starring David Bowie, but the latter was a television series that was made up of a collaboration of Anthony Minghella's screenplays that drew on a range of folklore and ancient storytelling, Jim Henson's amazing puppets and John Hurt's performance as a nameless, gnome-like storyteller who sits by the fire with his (extremely talkative) dog, speaking directly to the viewer of the marvellous things he's seen and done in his lifetime.

There are nine episodes altogether, each one about twenty-five minutes long, with a separate tale in each one. Each one is both narrated by the Storyteller, but also acted out by a separate group of actors with which the Storyteller and his dog interact with - and it's not just them entering the world of the stories (such as the Storyteller performing a card trick in the court of the king)- sometimes the stories invade their fireside hearth: figures appear in the flames of the fire, shadows perform on the sides of pots and cups, the dog looks into his bowl to see faces looking up at him, and often the Storyteller produces objects that feature in the stories as proof of their reality.

Each story is very different, both from each other and from their original source material in order to create tales that are new, but also deeply familiar. Archetypes such as foundling children, wicked stepmothers, fay-like helpers, magical implements and triad motifs are prevalient, and you'll be surprised at how many familiar faces turn up! Some of the episodes are melded from several stories (such as "The Soldier and Death" which uses three Slovac tales to piece together a longer story) but others simply change a few details from their original sources ("The Three Ravens" uses ravens instead of swans as seen in the myth "The Children of Lyr" or Hans Christian Anderson's later retelling "The Seven Wild Swans") Spotting the similarities is part of the fun of watching, but a warning to parents - not all of the stories end happily, and often the content itself can be violent, scary, enigmatic or even mildly sensual.

"Hans My Hedgehog" is the winner of several television awards, and tells a darker version of "Beauty and the Beast" and "East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon", of a woman who makes a wayward wish for a baby and ends up with a hedgehog for a son.

"Fearnot" is the story of a young man that is so cheerful and simple that he has no idea what it's like to quiver and shudder in fear. Determined to know what the sensation is like he sets of - but the answer to being afraid may lie closer to home than he thinks...

"The Heartless Giant" is the bittersweet tale of a young prince named Leo who befriends a giant that has a nest of wasps in place of his heart. But can such a creature be trusted?

"Sapsorrow" is an interesting take on the "Cinderella" legend, as well as "Donkeyskin" in which a young woman seems to be forced to marry her own father if he does not hide herself within an elaborate disguise.

"The Three Ravens" is one of my favourites - three brothers are turned into ravens by their stepmother, and it is up to their sister to break the curse by never speaking a word. But when she falls in love and finds her beloved's stepmother is the witch that caused her brother's grief her danger intensifies: her children begin to disappear, and she cannot speak to defend herself.

"The True Bride" is the story of Anja, the slave of a troll who is helped by a beautiful white lion into getting her fortune. But when her financee (Sean Bean!!) is kidnapped by the troll's daughter, she leaves all her riches in order to get him back.

"The Soldier and Death" tells of a soldier who manages to a deal with devils that results in him capturing Death itself in his sack. The portrayal of Death is fascinating, and the puppetry of the devils is amazing.

"A Story Short" is the Storyteller's own story about beggars and fleas, a cruel wife, a deal with a king and a pot of boiling oil. This is another of my favourites.

Finally, "The Luck Child" concerns a young man named Lucky who is fated to be the next ruler of the land. The jealous king sends him on a dangerous quest to prove his worth, instructing him to bring back the griffin's golden feather. The puppet of the griffin is amazing, and the humour in this episode is great: "No, you're a sensitive monster!"

Although some of the techniques used for scenery looks a little dated by today's standards, the puppets are as ingenious as ever, and "The Storyteller Collection" is an educational and intriging display of storytelling that I highly recommend. ... Read more


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