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1. They Died with Their Boots On
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2. Objective, Burma!
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3. Blackbeard the Pirate
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20. Regeneration

1. They Died with Their Boots On
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $19.97
our price: $15.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007OY2OY
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3486
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Bert Glennon, who shot Stagecoach and seven other John Ford classics, has given this Raoul Walsh biopic of George Armstrong Custer a burnished glow--an evocative interplay of raw sunlight and elegiac shadow like no other vintage Warner Bros. Western. Glennon's artistry and Walsh's trademark gusto sustain enthusiasm even as the screenplay beggars belief. The flamboyant Custer (Errol Flynn), rushed into Civil War service straight from West Point, did get promoted overnight to general and establish a spectacular record for "ride to the guns" leadership. However, Custer as defender of Indians' rights--to the point of willing his own Last Stand so he could accuse corrupt Indian Commissioners from the grave--is historical rewrite of such sweeping chutzpah as to shame DeMille. Flynn and Olivia de Havilland make an even more appealing couple than usual, and the big supporting cast is unflaggingly energetic above and beyond the call of duty. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy it for What it Is, Not What it Isn't ...
"They Died With Their Boots On" was one of the first really big films that saw Errol Flynn cast without Michael Curtiz in the Director's chair. The result was pure (if somewhat propagandist to say nothing of racist) magic.

Flynn always thought the idea of using him in westerns was ridiculous. On paper it probably was. He may have looked like the most dashing of cowboys but with his Australian accent he certainly didn't sound like one. It was never a problem though. Flynn had the ability to deliver any line easily and make it utterly convincing. That, coupled with his natural charisma made almost any hurdle insignificant. His performance as Custer, from the comic situations in the first half of the film to the darker moments later on is never less than brilliant. Of all the portrayals of Custer on film his may be one of the least accurate but it's the most believable. Only a great actor could manage that feat.

Great films don't become what they are with just one great actor though. Olivia de Havilland (though she has a smaller part) matches him step for step. These two always worked well together but this pairing may be their best one. Her character is just as well developed as his. She is funny, thoughtful, assertive and supportive. Any scene she does without Flynn on the screen she steals. Together they're either hilarious or tender. There is never a moment where it seems the love they have for each other is anything but total. Their parting scene has to be one of the great ones in all of film. Arthur Kennedy is just as strong as Ned Sharp, the villain of the piece. Some of the scenes involving him and Flynn are very strong. The final interaction between them is chilling. Other great names from film (Sydney Greenstreet and Anthony Quinn to name two) are just as strong in their parts.

Great films also require great direction. With Raoul Walsh in the Director's chair this one had it. This was the first film Flynn made with Walsh and (with the possible exception of "Objective Burma") it may be their best. Walsh knew how to get the best out of actors and he knew where the camera should be to make the most of dramatic moments. His other films include "White Heat", "High Sierra", "The Naked and the Dead", "The Lawless Breed", "The Roaring Twenties" and "Gentleman Jim" (another of Flynn's great films).

The film isn't without problems. The nicest thing that can be said about its portrayal of people from any race other than white is that it's condescending (the worst is that it works to keep the racial hierarchy of the time intact). Hattie McDaniel (who was anything but a simpleton) plays the part of one. Anthony Quinn plays Crazy Horse as the atypical "Hollywood Indian" of the time. And things haven't improved much. The Hollywood community may have dropped those stereotypes but they keep coming up with new ones. Films like "Marci X" (for instance) prove that.

Some good points are made though. The scene where the Cadets loyal to the Southern cause depart from West Point captures the pain of that split without sermonizing over it. That fact makes it all the more touching. The portrayal of how greedy individuals wilfully sacrifice other people to instigate wars that serve them is exceptional. Even though it's done from a point of view that's never better than patronizing the film makes it clear that the blame for all the major violations of treaties made between the white man and the Indians lay with the white man. It also makes it clear that these things were done in the service of commerce. The "incidents" depicted may not be accurate but the patterns they portray are. The idea of creating situations that get people to demand war is a method that's been used since the dawn of civilized society. This film gives a textbook lesson on how it's done.

"They Died With Their Boots On" isn't historically accurate (or even close). It's not intended to be either. It's entertainment that rises above its problems. It should be enjoyed as such.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Entertainment
In a few short words,I just want to say how wonderful and entertaining this movie is.I have had it on tape for years,now that it is on DVD I will treasure it.I wish most critics would not hamper on about "Historical Inaccuracies" etc and just let us,the public decide for ourselves.The movie never intended to be accurate and Raoul Walsh the director had a knack of bringing tension through great rousing set-pieces.Along with "Robin Hood" and "Objective Burma" "Boots" is my favourite Flynn movie

5-0 out of 5 stars DIED? STILL ALIVE AND WELL!
Many, many years ago, when I was much younger and much skinnier and movie theaters had one screen, I was lucky enough to meet Olivia de Havilland. She was speaking at a local cinema, reminiscing about her life and career, the famous folks she knew, the movies that made her a star. Everyone wanted to know about the movie: Gone With the Wind.

What was Clark Gable really like? Was Vivien Leigh really that beautiful? Was Leslie Howard really that aloof? Was Hattie McDaniel really that fat? No fool was she. De Havilland answered candidly and cordially, recalling the 1939 classic as "a great event that I am proud of." (Yes, I was keeping notes even back then. No April fool was I!)

When the chat was over, I snuck into the room in which de Havilland was relaxing, waiting for the signal her car was ready. I introduced myself and handed her a still from Captain Blood and asked if she would sign it. She took glasses from her purse and stared at the photo. "Oh! Errol Flynn! He was the most virile, the most famous, the most magnetic man I ever knew. And we were so very much in love."

De Havilland asked me what I knew about the man with whom she co-starred in eight films. I told her I knew little - that he was a swashbuckler, known for his love of the fast life and his wicked, wicked ways; that he was acquitted of a statutory rape charge; that his autobiography was published after he died and that co-star Bette Davis hated him. "You know so little," she said softly. "Do yourself a favor and research his life. He was quite the man."

I never took her advice. I discovered Judy and Liza and Annie and Tracy and Hepburn and Bud and Lou and Stan and Ollie, but never Errol Flynn.

Until now.

The other day, a friend who works for Turner Classic Movies sent me an advance copy of the documentary, The Adventures of Errol Flynn, making its TCM debut Tuesday, April 5, at 8 p.m. (The show will be followed by an evening of Flynn flicks; TCM will present more than 30 EF classics in all, every Tuesday throughout the month, from the classics to the curious ... including the ones made with de Havilland). On April 19, TCM will offer an encore presentation of the documentary at 8 p.m. - the same date Warner Home Video is releasing Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection, a library of DVDs including Captain Blood, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk, Dodge City and They Died With Their Boots On.

So I cleaned my heads and cleared my head. So this was the man she was talking about! Crammed with rare footage, home movies and revealing interviews - including several with de Havilland - The Adventures of Errol Flynn paints a portrait of a man noted as much for his screen work as his predisposition for rebelling against authority.

"His life was a series of adventures," says narrator Ian Holm, "and movie making was one of them." Flynn said it a bit differently: "I have a zest for living, yet twice an urge to die."

Seeing the clips and footage is telling - even his 1932 screen test for In the Wake of the Bounty, the first feature film made in Australia, shows his natural charm and sex appeal - but hearing, first-hand, from people who knew and respected him puts a different face on the legend. There's Greer Garson and David Niven (Flynn and Niven once shared a beach house together, a den of booze and sin they nicknamed "Cirrhosis By the Sea"). Joanne Woodward recalls that "like Peck's bad boy, you would forgive Flynn anything. It was the smile. It was that sense of knowing a secret." de Havilland remembers that "he was accustomed to getting his way, which was often very harmful to him. No sense of consequences. I think the rest of his life really did illustrate that particular failing of his over and over again." (A side note: The beginning of the film is simply hysterical: In 1957, his personal demons bulging and his popularity waning, Flynn appeared on The Steve Allen Show in a spoof of To Tell the Truth. The two other gents proclaiming "My name is Errol Flynn" were mustached Don Knotts and Louis Nye. Funny, yet quite sad.)

And when those people are his third wife, Patrice Wymore Flynn, and daughter (from his second marriage), Deirdre Flynn, the man behind the smile and devil-may-care attitude becomes more human and less a creation of the silver screen. Says Deirdre: "He was very down-to-earth and very much a parent. But nobody ever writes about that. Nobody ever looked at that side of him." Patrice harks back to the day they made their first film together: "My hairdresser said, `I think Flynn has his eye on you.' I said, `Don't be silly - he's engaged to be married. Let's just show him this is one woman he can't get.' And I got caught in my own trap. The friendship started, I got to know him and I fell in love."

There's much crammed into the hour, and I don't want to give it all away. de Havilland's stories are priceless. His warped relationship with his parents is abundantly clear: There's rare color footage of sailing with his father, a noted marine biologist, and nothing but hatred for his mother who, ironically, was a descendent of Fletcher Christian of H.M.S. Bounty fame, whom Flynn would play on screen. Former wife Patrice says that Flynn and his mother's relationship was "like two pieces of steel being rubbed together;" director pal Vincent Sherman recalls that when Flynn spoke of his mother, :"it was the first time I heard a man use a four-letter word to describe his mother." And his demise is shattering ... as his daughter describes finding the needles that her father used to shoot himself with morphine and him telling her they were "vitamin shots."

5-0 out of 5 stars I Don't Care
I don't care if the film is historically inaccurate.Errol Flynn may not have been an ideal figure in real life but the movies he was in, well, I was raised with the 30's and 40's films and his films always gave me a hero to look up to and how things should have been done.They inspired me and taught me right from wrong and how to treat people fairly.Along with my Dad's guidelines, I was better for it. That's all I care about, not whether it was historically accurate.Mr. Flynn, even in real life, was a chip off the old block.I love this film.I grew up with it and it still gets an emotional rise out of me when I view it.Its what Custer should have been in my opinion and as a young boy watching this for the first time, influenced me for the rest of my life.Errol Flynn was my hero after I saw this and his WWII Burma movie.Its a shame he's gotten a bad shake from the critics whether now or in the past.

3-0 out of 5 stars TDWTBO Is not History As She Is Spoke -- but it's FUN
I thought TDWTBO was in B&W......

Some of the Hollywood Historians here, while cautioning readers that this film isn't historically accurate, are woefully inaccurate about Custer.

He was NOT an "often inept commander."He was one of the more briilliant commanders of horse to come out of the Civil War.A master of the *flanking* attack. Who was pivotol in holding off the CSA's rear attack on the Union at Gettysburg.Who was pivotal at Appomattox.

While he certainly would not sacrifice himself and his troops, he did put his career on the line in Spring 1876 when he testified before Congress regarding the Indian Bureau's corruption.

He did not ignore his Indian scouts' advice at Little Big Horn -- in fact, he took their advice, which was to attack the village NOW before it broke up and scattered.

Custer was not "arrogant" -- he was supremely confident in himself and his troops.Would you prefer to serve under a commander who thought otherwise?He was Cavalry -- supreme confidence came with the territory.

The most common terms I come across when contemporaries describe Custer, are "Gentleman."And "soft spoken."The only things he really bragged about were his hunting dogs and his own hunting prowess.

Custer had a great sense of humor and was pretty good at deprecating himself.Flynn manages to portray all of this. If Custer had never existed, he would have to have been invented for Flynn to portray in a movie.

THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON is a rip-snorting adventure, full of humor, pathos honor, and gallantry.Which really was what Custer was about. ... Read more


2. Objective, Burma!
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $19.98
our price: $17.98
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Asin: B00008MTY1
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6502
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Description

A group of men parachute into Japanese-occupied Burma with a dangerous and important mission: to locate and blow up a radar station. They accomplish this well enough, but when they try to rendezvous at an old air-strip to be taken back to their base, they find Japanese waiting for them, and they must make a long, difficult walk back through enemy-occupied jungle. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good action-packed movie.........wheres the DVD
I saw this movie one, but I only saw a fraction of it. I now have it and I love every minute of it. Errol Flynn does very good in his role as the company commander. Flynn slides toward his British accent a few times, but that's all right, I know he's does his best. The movie starts when Flynn's outfit, a army paratrooper battalion, get's orders for a hit-and-run mission in enemy-infested Burma. Thier mission, knock out a japanese radar installation and high-tail-it out of there. I won't spoil the surprise though, but it is a very good action movie. It even had real army paratroopers serving as advisors on the sets. Only two movies were made about the Burma campign, Objective Burma and Merrils Mauraders. If you were in the paratroopers in World War II or if you're in the Airborne paratroopers now, you will love this film. I hope it will be released in DVD format someday.

5-0 out of 5 stars Action-filled, exciting war adventure
Objective, Burma! is a great WWII adventure about a behind-the-lines mission involving fifty paratroopers. The story follows Captain Charles Nelson and fifty paratroopers who are dropped behing enemy lines in Burma so that they may blow up a radar station. They run into numerous problems and have to fight their way out of the Burmese jungle. There is action at every turn with the tense conclusion a perfect ending. Fans of Errol Flynn will love this one as well. As the movie moves along, the viewer begins to feel the same feelings the soldiers stuck in the jungle do. The whole movie seems very realistic because of the setting in the jungle, actually filmed in California.

What is there to say about Errol Flynn? He gives another great performance as Captain Nelson, the heroic leader of the paratroopers. Henry Hill is also very good as an aging war correspondent who accompanies the men on their mission. Also joining them are James Brown, William Prince, George Tobias, and Stephen Richards. This is a great World War II adventure that will keep all viewers interested. The final battle is great with plenty of anxiety in the air. Excellent action, great story, interesting character, how can you lose? Check out this Errol Flynn classic!

4-0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise
I had always heard about Objective Burma, but had never been able to find it. It was finally aired on TV and I got to see it. The film features Errol Flynn, in one of his most impressive acting turns, stars as Captain Nelson, a paratrooper commander who leads his men into a mission that was supposed to last under a day. Instead, they are cut off and are forced to wait it out behind enemy lines, experiencing absolute hell.

The movie was a pleasant surprise, as I didn't know how Flynn would play out in a WWII film. But Flynn was excellent as is the movie itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Objective Burma
A Great transfer to DVD for a great movie. Although not the best history lesson considering Burma was a major British theater of operations and not American, the movie still provides an excellent story about the many obstacles "the fog of war" throws in the way of a group of paratroopers lead by Errol Flynn. The DVD picture is crystal clear and the sound transfer is good. Flynn's acting in this film is surpassed only by The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk.

It is well past time for Flynn's great films to be released: The Adventures of Robin Hood (September 30, 2003 FINALLY), The Sea Hawk, Gentleman Jim, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and Captain Blood!!! It has been a real travesty keeping fine Flynn vehicles like these films unavailable on DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars muted grace
OK, so it does give an impression that only Americans fought the Japanese in Burma. (The British most certainly fought there, too, especially since Burma was THEIR colony, part of the Indian Empire.) I personally don't mind that at all, after all, this was a story about ONE company of paratroopers taking out ONE Japanese radar station. They did not even represent the entire American presence in that front. So I have no problem with that.

But when you consider the time this movie was made, you cannot help but admire the no-nonsense, straightforward manner it was told. Not an ounce of excess fat (OK, maybe a little, but forgivable). This movie simply means business. The language is spot on. The other reviewer's remark about salt tablets was right on the mark. (Who would have thought salt, which terrifies some people today, was so vital to some people, once upon a time?) Equipment checks, last minute reminders, "hook up", "stand in the door", the burying of parachutes, tactics, the positioning and pulling out of machineguns, you'll have to make a great leap forward, to "Band of Brothers" in the 21st century, to find something this sound, this honest. I don't know how technically authentic it was, but I know it just feels so authentic.

No superheroes. Even the lead character, Capt. Nelson, is your average (G.I.) Joe. The only thing that makes him special is his ability to focus on the mission and to put the welfare of his men above all things. Yes, during the scene where they were ambushed after supplies were dropped, you wish Nelson had been more active in saving those stricken men. But when you really think about it, what he actually did, saving those who can still be saved, avoiding an engagement when they were poorly positioned and low on ammunition (they did not get the supplies, remember), is what YOU would have done. No blind, heroic charges against entrenched enemies. No unnecessary displays of gung-ho. Even without all those, you still feel their peril.

(And thankfully, no silly encounters with snakes, scorpions or - God Almighty - rhinos as in most "jungle" war movies. I don't know where the crocodiles in the Editorial review came from, though. Never saw one.)

Obviously, the audio will not match that of modern war movies, such as "Saving Private Ryan", the current standard. Some of the props are poorly done, such as the TNT, which look like wooden blocks painted over. On the other hand, you get a war movie that is nothing short of a breath of fresh air in a world choked by the smoke of "Windtalkers", one that does not rely on special effects to hold you in its grip. Highly recommended. ... Read more


3. Blackbeard the Pirate
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000B0JJ3
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20306
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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Description

In 1674, "reformed" pirate Sir Henry Morgan is a high official in Jamaica, but Edward Maynard hopes to win a large reward by proving Morgan still dabbles in piracy. Maynard goes undercover as ship's surgeon with a Morgan henchman...who's been supplanted by the notorious Blackbeard himself. Also on the ship is Edwina Mansfield, seemingly a damsel in distress, to whom there's much more than meets the eye. A great pirate adventure awaits them all! ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Robert Newton's over the top performance as Blackbeard
"Blackbeard the Pirate" was one of the films that really freaked me out as a kid. This is not because this 1952 film is anywhere near a great film but because of the way that Blackbeard (Robert Newton) meets his fate at the end. That might be the first genuinely scary thing I ever saw in a movie on a Saturday afternoon (after the transformation of Elvira Gulch into the Wicked Witch of the West). You would expect more from director Raoul Walsh ("Captain Horatio Hornblower," "They Died With Their Boots On," "High Sierra," "Battle Cry") but this film is subverted by the over the top, eye rolling, leering performance by Newton. Come up with the most extreme seafaring pirate accent you can come up with ("Aarrr") and you will still fall short of what Newton uses in "Blackbeard the Pirate" (and that includes Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"). The only thing that makes Newton's performance look okay is that of William Bendix, who plays first mate Ben Worley and is so miscast in the role that it makes his infamous performance in the titel role of "The Babe Ruth Story" look better in comparison.

Linda Darnell has little to do besides looking good as damsel in distress Edwina Mansfield, the comely captive with whom the 17th century buccaneer falls in love. Yes, yes, that is indeed Irene "Granny" Ryan as Alvina, the lady in waiting. Torin Thatcher (great name) is Sir Henry Morgan, the former pirate who is set by the King of England to hunt down Blackbeard. Just to make things interesting, Edwina turns out to be Morgan's daughter. But she likes Edward Maynard (Keith Andes), a honest lad who ends up as the ship's surgeon on Blackbeard's pirate vessel. By the standards of the time this is a pretty bloody little film, and you can certainly argue that Blackbeard gets his just deserts (shudder), but time and time again Newton's performance turns this into too much of a cartoon; even if the end of this film still freaks me out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blackbeard sails once again!!!.....the DVD
I have this movie recorded on tape, but I just now stumbled on the DVD on Amazon. This movie nearly outranks Treasure Island which is also one of my favorites. Robert Newton, fresh from his role of Long John Silver in Treasure Island, does a surperb job in the role of Blackbeard, the most feared of all pirates. William Bendix adds comic relief as Blackbeard's First Mate Mordey. Linda Darnell does really good in her role as Edwina Mansfield, and I forgot who did the role of Robert Maynard, but he does a good job in the role, and last, but not least, whoever does the role of Sir Henry Morgan, does a excellent job of it. I saw this movie on DVD, and I may purchase it off Amazon. If you didn't see this movie, you don't know what you're missing. I recemend this movie to everyone who loves pirate movies. Glad it's on DVD. Thanks Amazon.

3-0 out of 5 stars Robert Newton's over the top performance as Blackbeard
"Blackbeard the Pirate" was one of the films that really freaked me out as a kid. This is not because this 1952 film is anywhere near a great film but because of the way that Blackbeard (Robert Newton) meets his fate at the end. That might be the first genuinely scary thing I ever saw in a film on a Saturday afternoon (after the transformation of Elvira Gulch into the Wicked Witch of the West). You would expect more from director Raoul Walsh ("Captain Horatio Hornblower," "They Died With Their Boots On," "High Sierra," "Battle Cry") but this film is subverted by the over the top, eye rolling, leering performance by Newton. Come up with the most extreme seafaring pirate accent you can come up with ("Aarrr") and you will still fall short of what Newton uses in "Blackbeard the Pirate." The only thing that makes Newton's performance look okay is that of William Bendix, who plays first mate Ben Worley and is so miscast in the role that it makes his performance in "The Babe Ruth Story" look better in comparison.

Linda Darnell has little to do besides looking good as damsel in distress Edwina Mansfield, the comely captive with whom the 17th century buccaneer falls in love. Yes, yes, that is indeed Irene "Granny" Ryan as Alvina, the lady in waiting. Torin Thatcher (great name) is Sir Henry Morgan, the former pirate who is set by the King of England to hunt down Blackbeard. Just to make things interesting, Edwina turns out to be Morgan's daughter. But she likes Edward Maynard (Keith Andes), a honest lad who ends up as the ship's surgeon on Blackbeard's pirate vessel. By the standards of the time this is a pretty bloody little film, and you can certainly argue that Blackbeard gets his just deserts (shudder), but time and time again Newton's performance turns this into too much of a cartoon; even if the end of this film still freaks me out.

4-0 out of 5 stars Blackbeard the Pirate
This film is classic Saturday matinee pirate fare from 1952. The tongue-in-cheek coupling of 18th century lingo with 1950's hip slang is clever. Critics who bashed this film missed the point--it's simply to be enjoyed. It's a semi-farce,and should be viewed as such.

Excellent casting, charaterizations and script. Good seafaring musical score and great special effects considering the technology that was available at the time the film was produced. And Robert Newton, despite criticisms, is clearly the best pirate to ever grace the silver screen. Good perfomances by Linda Darnell, Keith Andes, William Bendix, and Irene Ryan (granny Hillbilly). Better than average in every way. But what less than a cool flick like this could you expect from RKO in the postwar era? ARRRRH!

2-0 out of 5 stars WE'VE BEEN ON THIS BOAT BEFORE
The early 1950s proved to be a Golden Age for pirate movies as Hollywood countered the threat of small, black-and-white TV screens with big, colorful adventures set in exotic Caribbean locations. Although "Blackbeard the Pirate" has all the trappings of such rousing adventures as "Against All Flags" and "The Crimson Pirate," it lacks the necessary verve and style needed to lift it above the routine level.

Robert Newton makes for a larger-than-life title character but he'd be better in small doses and he's given little opportunity to modulate his boisterous performance. Linda Darnell does what she can with the damsel-in-distress part but that's simply not enough. Keith Andes has the face and physique of an action hero but his bland personality is probably what kept him from becoming a star. There is an interesting moment when he's flogged across his bare back, and Newton orders that salt be thrown on his bloody welts in order to increase the pain. Here's one of those unique touches that the movie could have used more of, but -- typically enough -- little is made of the situation. Andes doesn't seem to be affected by the salt and there's no shot of his face to show his reaction to this punishment.

William Bendix, Irene Ryan (in her pre-"Beverly Hillbillies" days), and a young Richard Egan provide adequate support, but no one really seems to have his heart in this project. ... Read more


4. Battle Cry
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $19.98
our price: $17.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008MTY7
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 9916
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Description

Van Heflin, Aldo Ray and Tab Hunter in Raoul Walsh's hard-hitting-action epic of Marine Corps heroism in the WWII Pacific, based on Leon Uris' gritty best-seller. Year: 1955 ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Battle Cry
This movie is based on Leon Uris' best seller, and while it does not strictly adhere to the plot/timeline, it is still a relatively faithful treatment of the book. For those of you with short attention spans, this isn't the movie for you. It requires an investment in time and emotion to see the characters develop, in the movie and as friends of each other, culminating in the final battle scene, at Saipan. It is enjoybale, believable, and yes...a movie from the Fifties with all its good and bad points.....only a boorish or immature person would judge the movie because of that though....See for yourself, if you enjoy a great yarn, this movie is for you...and...if you don't think this is how barracks life really is.....you aint been in the Corps...Semper Fi

2-0 out of 5 stars I have a better name for this movie..
Instead of "Battle Cry", how about naming the film "Cry Over My Love Life"! Who made this movie anyway? The same people who made "Pearl Harbor"? This action COMEDY stars Van Heflin as the commander of a company of marines in WWII, from it's early days of basic training through its last battle in the closing months of the war. It's not a bad film actually if you like cheesy acting, boring and overbearing narration, and don't mind that there's only 20 minutes of actual fighting during its almost 2 and 1/2 hour length? In fact, the war seemed to be almost a bother to the makers of this film, who for whatever reason believed that moviegoers would prefer to see exciting moments of a kid cheating on his girlfriend with a woman old enough to be his mother? Of a nerdish bookworm who falls in love with his buddy's weekend plaything? Or a macho lumberjack who considers desertion to make his new war widow wife happy? Sprinkle in a couple more tragic love stories, and you have most of what this long, insufferable movie is about? As for the acting..FORGET IT! And could anyone who grew up in the 50's please explain to me what the big deal was with Tab Hunter? I've seen porn actors do a better job of acting? I've heard it said that this was a box office hit? WOW! lol The bottom line is..if you're buying this movie because you think it's a war movie, you better keep your finger on the fast forward button, because the action scenes are few and totally far in between! I give it 2 stars for what little action actually made it onto the screen? As for the rest..ANNOYING!

4-0 out of 5 stars Semper Fi !!
Panned by reviewers at the time of it's release, but a box office hit, nonetheless. In some respects, Battle Cry is not much more than a soap-opera type presentation, but a bunch of good acting and sympathetic characters helps sell it.
As pointed out by another reviewer, this movie was ALWAYS in color, and as far as it not running very frequently on TNT or elsewhere, that's because of economics and availability, not content.
James Whitmore turns in a fine job as the stalwart Sarge, and minor roles by Fess Parker, and L.Q. Jones (the character's name, as subsequently actor McQueen's name), and others help make this a worthwhile viewing experience.
Sure, the Danny [Tab Hunter] character is pure mush, but even there, it's probably his best acting and kudos also goes to Aldo Ray, as a hardass lumberjack who finds true love along the way.
Certainly not on the level of From Here To Eternity as a "war" movie, this IS enjoyable viewing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Battle Cry ¿ there¿s a lot to see here.
It is surprising how a sprawling war film like this contains so little action. But, don't be disappointed. This film focuses on characterization and characters are plentiful be they ever so stereotypical. James Whitmore as Sgt. Mac, Aldo Ray, Tab Hunter, L. Q. Jones and Perry Lopez as Marine recruits and Dorothy Malone, Anne Francis and Nancy Olsen as their love interests all give standout performances. Max Steiner's patriotic and rousing score is in its full glory. This film is high on good old-fashioned sentimental entertainment. By the film's end the viewer comes to realize many of the sacrifices that were made during this time in history and some of the gloss wears off. As an aside, a deceased acquaintance of mine who served in the US Army 1st Division during the Second World War from North Africa, D-Day to Germany's surrender, found this film to be the best representation of W.W.II military life. That was an exceptional compliment and recommendation for this film from a veteran who was not a Marine and one who fought in the European theatre. This is a good film. This VHS recording sounds very good in stereo.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent adaptation of Uris novel
An outstanding motion picture which deserves a widescreen release on VHS. By the way, viewer from Minneapolis, the film was originally released in Warnercolor and CinemaScope not in black and white. (Fox, the owners of CinemaScope, didn't allow black and white releases in the process in 1955) ... Read more


5. In Old Arizona
Director: Irving Cummings, Raoul Walsh
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6. High Sierra
Director: Raoul Walsh
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Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Description

Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino star in this tragic study of an American gangster whose hard-boiled persona finds itself at war with his compassionate side--a side that will ultimately be his downfall. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bogart and Lupino at their best
In HIGH SIERRA Humphrey Bogart plays professional criminal Roy Earle who is pardoned from prison because of the influence of a crime boss named Big Mac. Bogart is paid advance money to report to Big Mac in California. Mac is planning to use him to lead a small gang in pulling off a jewelry robbery at a swank resort hotel.

En route to California Bogart helps a distressed family he meets at the scene of a minor traffic accident. He is attracted to the granddaughter who is played by Joan Leslie. She has a deformed foot which Bogart arranges to have fixed by a surgeon in California. When he arrives at the hideout he finds two cheap crooks and a dance hall girl waiting for him. One of the hotel employees is also involved in the robbery scheme.

The suspense builds rapidly from this point on as we await the outcome of both the holdup and also the romances which are developing simultaneously between Bogart and the two women.

Ida Lupino gives a stellar performance as the former dance hall girl whose love for Bogart isn't really appreciated until it may be too late.

Bogart and Lupino are at their best in this film. A Strong supporting cast includes Arthur Kennedy, Alan Curtis, Henry Hull, Henry Travis, Jerome Cowan and Cornell Wilde. There is also a small dog in the cast who will win your admiration and break your heart. Raoul Walsh is known for his direction of many other fine movies including ROARING TWENTIES and THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Peaks of High Sierra Attract Clashing Personalities
HIGH SIERRA is a gangster film, but it is also much more than that. Prior to HIGH SIERRA'S release in 1941, star Humphrey Bogart, who plays Roy 'Mad Dog' Earle, had played a host of snarling hoodlums, most of whom were one-dimensional, but in Bogart's hands, he still managed to infuse each with a level of complexity that only he could deliver. But it took his Roy Earle role to finally establish what has since been copied many times by future cinema criminals, the man on the run who, despite his willingness to kill, still maintains a Hemingwayesque code of conduct that allows him to function as the moral center of the film.

Roy Earle is a life-long criminal, one who has spent years in prison, seeing up close the results of what happens to inmates who lack self-discipline and a moral code of conduct. For him, crime is not an end, nor are the ill-gotten gains. For him crime is the only response to a life that has denied him any other avenue. For life to have any meaning, he must adhere to a rigid code of conduct that is as every bit as moral (at least to him) as that which drives the very policemen who seek to apprehend him. Those who know him immediately recognize that in Earle, beats the heart and soul of a near-extinct species, one who is paradoxically a fearlessly moral gunman who will risk his own life for a cause or for a trusted friend. When Earle is released from prison, he is talking to a seriously ill cohort, Mac, who is planning one more high profile crime before he dies. Mac, who bemoans the lack of old style gangsters with class, tells Earle, "You know Roy, it is good to even talk to a guy like you." Mac has hired a pair of inexperienced thugs to help Earle, but Earle sees that they do not have what it takes to succeed in a life of crime. He expects them to screw up, and when they do, he shows no remorse at their demise. There are two subplots that suggest that Earle's code of conduct, while admirable in the larger sense, can sometimes cause him intense emotional pain when he feels betrayed by one whom he has allowed himself to grow close to. Ida Lupino is Marie, a female counterpart to Earle. She has had a rough adolescence, but sees in him her soulmate. She could be good for Roy, if only he would let her. Joan Leslie is Velma, a twenty-year old seemingly innocent girl-child, who represents everything that Roy thinks would elevate him from thug to respectability. Velma has a club-foot but is young and pretty, so Roy lends her the money for an operation. She repays him in a manner that surely ranks with the very worst sort of cinematic ingrates. It is painful to watch Velma show her true colors and see the crushing result on a man who thought that nothing could hurt him like that.

And in the background lie the high Sierras, a vast set of peaks that act as metaphorical magnets, attracting the interplay between decent but misguided types like Roy and Marie and the truly inhuman types like Velma and Roy's hapless colleagues. The clashing between Roy and the police is not just the literal gunplay between the forces of law and order and those of crime, but, in the film's final scenes of Roy at bay, suggest that a style of life and a code of conduct have been judged and found wanting. HIGH SIERRA is an unforgettable classic that makes us remember that morality and decency can be found even in the most unlikely of settings.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bogart Breakout
This was the first of the George Raft reject parts that transformed Humphrey Bogart from James Cagney's second banana into...Bogart. The next two were "The Maltese Falcon" and "Casablanca". In "High Sierra" Bogart plays a sociopath bank heister who still has a shred of humanity left, something like Frankenstein's monster but not as bulky. The character originally was stitched together from a number of Public Enemies by novelist W. R. Burnett. Bogart's performance is completely un-maudlin and genuine and like all his best work continues to last as the modern touchstone of American film acting. Another great directing job by Raoul Walsh as well, a man who could handle about anything the studio threw his way.

5-0 out of 5 stars "I wouldn't give you two cents for a dame without a temper."
High Sierra (1941) is considered by most to be Humphrey Bogart's first real, breakout role, playing a part that wasn't initially offered to him. Bogart, the fifth member of Warner Brothers famous 'Murderers Row', came into the role of Roy 'Mad Dog' Earle only after fellow 'Row' members Paul Muni and George Raft didn't accept the part, one disagreeing on the script and subsequent changes, and the other being talked out of taking the part by Bogart, respectively. Bogart, who hadn't quite reached the level of big name star by this point, as evident to second billing to costar Ida Lupino, wanted the role badly, as he knew the character of Earle was something he could really sink his teeth into, and showcase his talent to the world.

As I said, Bogart plays Roy 'Mad Dog' Earle, a convicted bank robber serving a lengthy prison term, a life sentence, if I'm not mistaken, who has just been released. We soon find that Roy's early release isn't due to parole for good behavior, but strings pulled by his old boss, Big Mac (Donald MacBride). Seems Big Mac has a score in California that he wants Roy in on, so Roy leaves the Midwest to make the connection.

Along the way, Roy has a chance meeting with Pa Goodhue (Henry Travers), a farmer who lost his farm, and is now traveling west with his wife and his clubfooted granddaughter Velma (Joan Leslie), who we will see again later.

On reaching the Sierra mountains, Roy meets with the other members of the criminal enterprise Big Mac has arranged, two younger, hot-tempered men, Babe and Red, who have a have a female companion, Marie, played by Ida Lupino. Roy objects to having a woman around, as it's just an unnecessary complication. Marie manages to get Roy to change his mind, as she despises the thought of having to return to her previous career of dancing in a two-bit hall with men for a quarter a dance. Soon Roy learns of the score, and things seem easy enough, but even the simplest plans can go awry.

Directed by actor/writer/director/producer Raoul Walsh, High Sierra is a rich, tense noir crime drama based on a novel by W.R. Burnett and adapted for the screen by Burnett and legendary director/actor/writer/producer John Huston. Bogart really adds depth to his character of Roy, presenting the duality of a seemingly cold-blooded killer who has a soft side. That certainly doesn't mean he's soft, especially when someone gets in the way of his plans. Presented is a character who knows his time is past, and is looking to make his way out, and having thoughts of a future that will never be...and then settling for less than he hoped for, not realizing that maybe that was even too much to hope for...the supporting cast was wonderful, but I found the sort of pseudo comic relief of the character Algernon, a black worker at the fishing camp Roy and his small gang hole up before the score, played by Willie Best, a bit awkward. At the time, it was probably more acceptable, but the stereotyping may chaff contemporary audiences. A minor point, but one I hope wouldn't sour potential viewers from seeking out this film. I just try to understand it for what it was and is, a form of ignorance that has, hopefully, long since past. Best to acknowledge it happened and move on. What I found really interesting was how the noir concept was flawlessly transplanted from dark city streets to the majestic Sierra mountains on the Neveda /California border. Another thing I really loved was the snappy exchanges and use of gangster colloquialisms. The dialogue zings along, just adding a real element of fun to the movie, despite the drama nature of the material.

The picture quality here is beautiful, and the audio sounds wonderful. I was also pleased to see an excellent featurette called "Curtains for Roy Earle", which talks about how Bogart got the role in the movie, his minor skirmish with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and the film in general. Also included is a theatrical trailer for the film. If you're a fan of Humphrey Bogart, High Sierra is a must see film. If you like good movies in general, you won't be disappointed here. While the role of Roy 'Mad Dog' Earle may not be the one most remember Bogart for, it certainly confirmed his status as an actor in every sense of the word, and served well to showcase his talent and made him a star. Another film soon to follow, The Maltese Falcon (1941) took the star and made him a legend.

Cookieman108

5-0 out of 5 stars The convergence of old ways and newly found self...
The callous Roy Earl (Humphrey Bogart), a skilled robber, is pardoned and released back into society from being locked up in a prison. Once outside Roy goes back to his old ways as an old friend is planning a new heist. However, age has caught up with Roy as he realizes that most of his friends have passed away and that most people in his trade are very young. This leads Roy to gently reaching out to a handicapped woman with whom he can empathize with and relate to, and helping her out of a battered situation. In addition, Roy forms a strong emotional bond with a dog, Pard, that seeks Roy's affectionate care. The question is if Roy can balance his old lifestyle with his newly discovered self as he is about to carry out a criminal plan. High Sierra is a terrific cinematic experience as it offers both suspense and human connections in a tragic story in which Bogart gives an outstanding performance. ... Read more


7. White Heat
Director: Raoul Walsh
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8. Distant Drums
Director: Raoul Walsh
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Asin: B0001US6EG
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11571
Average Customer Review: 3.11 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars why have to tell lie?
well i bought it at the mall store. it said it has closed captioned on it back then i started to on my dvd on tv and didn't apear at all just blank. you know that i am deaf guy i can't hear at all. you got that. huh just let me know here my e-mail address is cecilo57@webtv.net.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Ol' Coop and his Swamp Fox
For Gary Cooper fans, this is an above average flick. It's not in the same class as The Westerner or Sgt York, but it has plenty of suspense and action. It also has one of the hottest leading ladies I've ever seen! Apparently some hotshot must have married her (Mari Aldon) and cut short her career because this seems to be her only lead role. As for Coop, he's in fine shape-ok, a little past his prime, but still handsome and tough. His entrance scene is a great shot showing what a Golden Age movie star ought to look like.

After attacking and destroying the Seminole Indians arms cache (Florida circa 1840) most of the movie concerns the small band of soldiers led by Cooper being chased through the Everglades by some seriously fearsome Seminoles. In a way, it's a chase movie, and the retreating group is in a situation of convincing danger. Therein lies the heroic nature of a Gary Cooper character in his adventure films: he is a formidable opponent, but he can be killed. He is not the superhuman as Clint Eastwood often is, or even John Wayne. You get the feeling that he may not make it to the end of the movie. However, he is the kind of man you would put your faith in and follow just about anywhere. Coop seems to be enjoying himself in the film and looks like he's doing many of his own stunts. The climactic and imaginative underwater knife duel is well done and caps the tension of the story. I have to admit, the movie started a bit slow for me, but I continued watching and was pleasantly rewarded. For a younger Gary Cooper, and more violent film, I would recommend The Real Glory, but this is a harder to find movie than Distant Drum. One bit of criticism is, as usual, with the quality of the print. It's not terrible, but it is faded somewhat. I give it four stars because of the action and suspense, Cooper's lively performance, and Miss Aldon is HOT!

1-0 out of 5 stars Hollywood Screws the Native Americans - Again
This Movie (like all Hollywood Movies involving Native Americans) is a JOKE! How can one not see the terrible stereotyping of the Native Americans? Oh yeah I guess stupid and senseless people dont see the racist stereotyping.

As a Seminole/Creek Native American (yes - born and raised on the Seminole Reservation) I can attest that the only thing the film got right was some of the Seminole Regalia (clothing). And even then it got the feathers, face paint, and weapons wrong.

And there was no such thing as the "Indian Princess" in our Tribe much less any other tribe. The only "Indian Princesses" are the ones today that are part of the White Man's Beauty Pagents - which have sadly taken hold in the Native American Culture.

The Seminoles did not ask the White Man to push him into Florida and did not ask the White Man to try and control him either. And as far as rescuing the Women or even the Slaves - what another joke. Documented History from so called "captives" have proven that Slaves avoided the White Man and any concept of rescue and stayed with the Seminoles and became part of the Tribe. History also documents that many White so called "captives" chose to stay with the Seminoles and refused "rescue." And this is not made up - check the stories of so called "captives" themselves as many have been told and even published.

But I did give it one star. At least it took place in Seminole Country and some of the Clothing for the Seminoles is correct. Everything else is a joke and bad history.

1-0 out of 5 stars One of the worst films I've ever seen
This is maybe the worst film I've ever seen. The indians are evil beasts who,among other horrible things, throw some soldiers into a basin with crocodiles in.
Gary Cooper and his soldiers are innocent people who are just trying to defence themselves: Is that a realistic story?
I was disappointed of Cooper, I'd never thought he would be starring in such a film.
I'd never recommend that picture to anybody

5-0 out of 5 stars "Distant Drums" - an eastern Western
In a previous review, dgraeter seems to have covered most of the bases and I agree wholeheartedly. I loved "Distant Drums" as a kid and it's just as good today, remaining a fine actioner set in a lush and novel setting - Florida pre-Civil War and pre-tourist! Having lived not 30 miles from location filming, I appreciate the scenery, birds, etc. even more today than as a child.

Cooper is fine as Quincy Wyatt, quiet yet exuding strength and purpose. The rest of the cast is admirable in a shoot that must have been trying under the best of conditions.

As far as supporting actors go, check out Sheb Wooley as Private Jessup in his first appearance with Gary Cooper. His next would be in "High Noon" as Ben Miller.

Action, adventure, plot, Seminoles, ladies in distress, heroism, alligators, tropical birds, underwater photography (I read somewhere that a special underwater camera was developed just to film the fight scene between Cooper and the Seminole chief)...if there's anything more to ask from a movie, I'm stumped.

Check out "Distant Drums." You won't regret it! ... Read more


9. Pursued
Director: Raoul Walsh
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10. The Enforcer
Director: Raoul Walsh, Bretaigne Windust
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Asin: B0000EYUDY
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Sales Rank: 11406
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Humphrey Bogart stars as a crusading district attorney working against the clock to prosecute a mob boss in this suspenseful picture that should appeal to crime completists and fans of the iconic actor.Based on actual court cases, the plot unfolds largely in flashback as Bogart reviews his case against vicious racketeer Everett Sloane, who has killed off anyone that has threatened to testify against him. Capably directed by Bretaigne Windust (with uncredited help from Raoul Walsh, who shot most of the film's most suspenseful moments, including the nail-biting conclusion), The Enforcer's standard law vs. the mob plotline benefits greatly from its unusual structure, as well as Bogart's solid presence and a terrific supporting cast, which includes an early turn by Zero Mostel. The opening narration is provided by Estes Kefauver, who was chairing a Senate investigation into organized crime at the time of the picture's release. --Paul Gaita ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bogart at his best.
Stark sets, simple dialogue and a straight-forward plot help Bogart dominate this crime film. Every gesture, from his face to his hands, and the way he walks, and every word he says, makes an even bigger impression against this minimalistic backdrop.

The sets at the start are immensely black with long shadows in the dead of night. But as the film progresses and light is let in, through city and through country, things open up. It's a gritty world of immigrants and the unfortunate fear of people with names like Mendoza and Olga.

The character actors do memorable things with their lines and there is a more than effective use of flashbacks in the plot.

The music of a Romantic European orchestra, all heavy with strings and blaring brass, once again adds to a Bogart movie.

This may all seem rather tame and simple-minded to viewers raised on more recent crime films. But I find these old black-and-white pictures by Bogie and Cagney to be perfect in their own way.

Their "unrealistic realism" is less cluttered, more like art, but not pretentiously so. And they show an understanding of human nature, especially violence and the allure of the gun, which later films lack.

More than anything, this film has the greatest screen presence of them all, the dominating force that was Humphrey Bogart.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good crime thriller
This is a decent thriller circa 1950 with Bogart in the role of DA for the jurisdiction. Well acted with a decent script it delivers. With language such as "hit" and "contract" now commonplace in the action/thriller genre it's a little odd to hear them used as if they were new term (and they were then).

The story centers around the breaking of a crime syndicate whose work consists of murder for hire. Much of it is told in flashback with few flagging moments. This isn't Bogart's best, but you won't be disappointed. This is a water-down version of a real life event based in the mid-40's in NY City. Another film, Murder, Inc with Peter Falk is a grittier tale of the same incident.

Look for Zero Mostel in a supporting role and for the work of Raoul Walsh who has several uncredited directing scenes.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Huge Bogart Fan...couldn't watch the whole thing.
The plot drags. Bogart is magnetic, but seems bored, and the film tries to milk his presence instead of working the plotline or magnifying the other characters.

I actually turned it off, and I love to watch Bogart films.

Don't bother, unless you have to watch them all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amusing crime story
This obviously is not Bogart's most famous or memorable film, but it is an entertaining film noir that holds your interest from start to finish. They don't make 'em like this no more. The plot involves Bogart as a D.A., whose star witness in bringing the head of a murder racket to justice dies before the trial. In a lengthy flashback, Bogart retraces the case from the beginning, looking for some bit of testimony that might help him nail the killer before he goes scot free. Bogart is good as his usual tough-guy self, and it's fun to watch the erie black-and-white cinematography. While it's nothing to write home about, it is a good cheap thriller, much better than many of the big-budget ones that have come out since then. ... Read more


11. The Big Trail
Director: Louis R. Loeffler, Raoul Walsh
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Asin: B00008MTXR
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 7072
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars Corny acting but dazzling visuals
This film is definitely worth watching for the scenery alone. The dialogue and acting are enjoyable once you get used to their archaic style (Tyrone Power Sr.'s performance must have been the inspiration for Popeye's nemesis, Bluto). It's too bad the film wasn't the big hit it set out to be, for that failure not only consigned John Wayne to a decade of tacky "B" Westerns, it also sent the lovely Marguerite Churchill back to Broadway, robbing us of the pleasure of viewing her in any other films.

Tip: If you have a choice, get the square-screen presentation. Its scenes were framed for the square screens that were then the rule in most theaters, and then reframed and reshot in the special widescreen format available in only a few prestige theaters. As a result, the square-screen version is original to the film and includes all the action involved in any given scene. It does not crop out anything or anyone, as "pan and scan" video versions of most widescreen productions do. And in at least one scene --- the finale in which Wayne and Churchill are reunited at the foot of a giant Sequoia --- the square-screen version offers a more satisfying visual composition than the widescreen version does.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Big Trail : The edited version
I don't know why Fox Video cut close to twenty minutes off this film for DVD. Most VCR prints of this movie run a 125min long. Plus it's only shown in full screen format. This was one of the first widescreen movies ever filmed. I'm surprised they didn't release it in it's widescreen format. Although with all this missing from the dvd the Big Trail is still a great movie to watch. This was John Wayne's first starring role as the lead character and he gives it his best. Wayne plays a scout leading settlers to there new homeland. On his Journey Wayne tries to win the heart of a young woman who wants nothing to do with him at first. But that changes when he goes on the search for the men that killed a friend of his. A great movie that deserved a better DVD. In the furture I would like to see The Big Trail in it's original widescreen format with restored footage. I heard that the film was up to 154min long. It would be great to get to see that cut of the movie if it still exsits.

3-0 out of 5 stars Where is the "Fox Grandeur" Widescreen Version?
This is a film that really deserves to be seen in its widescreen glory. This is truly an epic film. However, I feel compelled to point out that the version that is available on this DVD is not, in fact, a "cropped" version of the film. The movie was actually filmed in three different versions. The first two, featuring the original cast, were the widescreen "Fox Grandeur" version and the version available here, shot in the Academy Standard ratio, which allowed the vast majority of cash-strapped theaters (they couldn't afford the special equipment for widescreen projection) to exhibit the film. The scenes in this version were blocked appropriately for a standard film of this era. The third version, shot concurrently, was a German edition using German actors in medium and close shots and footage of John Wayne and company in the long shots.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Big Rip Off!
The release of this film does not rate even a one. I cannot believe after waiting all these years for this film to be released in widescreen and on DVD. The studio releases a cut version that's been formated. WHAT THE HELL!! The only people who would really be interested in seeing this film are film buffs who only want to see there films unformated. Have the home video people not learned there lessons yet with the Willy Wonka incident. WE WANT WIDESCREEN NOW!! The public demands it. Stop wasting our time and yours.

4-0 out of 5 stars You keep fighting - that's life!
The Big trail tells the epic story of a wagon train of pioneers and pilgrims going into the west to find a fertile valley in Oregon, and their trials and tribulations getting there. The party encounter Indians, bad weather and hunger, while a couple of treacherous renegades are being hunted by a trapper (John Wayne) for murdering his friend in cold blood.

This seminal western proves two things: Director Raoul Walsh knew exactly where to put his camera, and - John Wayne was a STAR from the word GO. Incredibly, this film flopped and Wayne was relegated to run-of-the-mill cowboy movies for 9 years, until re-discovered by John Ford. Wayne's delivery and acting is flawless in the Big trail, he nearly puts the other actors to shame with his easy swagger and grace. He was also incredibly handsome, looking like a Californian surfer crossed with a Versace model in this. The hard-bitten look of his later westerns is not visible (well, he was 23!)

As for the rest: If you consider the mileage on the Big trail, it stands up very well. It's entertaining for a movie this old, and the easy humor is very attractive. There is a plot; you've seen it before, but probably in films made much later. In some ways, it follows in the steps of the Covered wagon, (1923). The scenes where the pioneers cross the river and the mountain plateau are excitingly edited; it looks like Walsh put his extras in real physical danger! There are also beautiful natural wonders and vistas in this movie, originally filmed in a 70mm process called Grandeur. (my disc was full-screen, I guess the widescreen version is lost).

The dialogue is sometimes memorable: A great line delivered by Wayne to rouse the spirits of the party stuck in my memory: "YOU KEEP FIGHTING -THAT'S LIFE! YOU STOP FIGHTING - THAT'S DEATH!" Old Abe Lincoln couldn't have said it better...

On the down side: The love story is not well developed, (Wayne's character would never have settled down with this girl!) and Tyrone Power sr. as Flack overacts to the nth degree. Ian Keith (mr. Thorpe) is a cardboard villain. The ending is a bit wet, but on the whole not too bad.

You can safely buy if you find the Fox budget DVD of the Big trail. The mono sound is good, the picture-quality reasonable. No extras here, but I didn't miss them. I've got my American history books. ... Read more


12. Dark Command
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.48
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Asin: 0782011195
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 12332
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Historically dubious but vigorously entertaining, Dark Command is the best of John Wayne's many movies for Republic (not counting Wayne's lovely producing debut Angel and the Badman and those two John Ford films). Set in "Bleeding Kansas" just before and during the Civil War, it highlights the romantic triangle of amiable but unschooled Texan Wayne, banker's daughter Claire Trevor, and schoolmaster Walter Pidgeon--just long enough for the earnest pedagogue to become embittered, turn into bushwhacker William Quantrill (here Cantrell), and start wreaking havoc in the Border States. This was Republic's first star vehicle for Wayne, following his breakthrough in Stagecoach (away from Republic), and it's an uncharacteristically impressive production: good writers working from a W.R. Burnett novel, Raoul Walsh brought in to direct, music by Victor Young, and strong costars and supporting cast (Marjorie Main, Porter Hall, Raymond Walburn--and Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes!). Wayne himself is delightful. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting and rare John Wayne movie
This Civil War era movie was very interesting as it tried to follow a generalized campaign of the very infamous Captain Quantrell, the Confederate leader of raiding party's into the North. This was not one of John Wayne's best pictures but it ranks up there as being rare and informative. A must see for true John Wayne fans. ... Read more


13. The Roaring Twenties
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $19.97
our price: $14.98
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Asin: B0006HBV32
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11768
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars All the Way Up, and All the Way Down
That's the symbolism at the end of "The Roaring Twenties", my all-time favorite James Cagney movie. What a joy to watch Cagney as he plays Eddie Bartlett, a doughboy who can't get a job after WWI, and who stumbles into the racketeering world by accident. It's a world about tuxedo clad toughs who pack heaters and gats, and speakeasies raided by cops on the make, two-timing ingenues and shady ladies with hearts of gold. And ultimately, a world set right by truth, justice, and the repeal of Prohibition. Supporting Cagney's gangster protagonist is a wonderful ensemble cast. Gladys George has been around the block, but gets stuck on Eddie; Priscilla Lane is the baby face that Eddie's ga-ga about, who sings "Melancholy Baby", "It Had to Be You" and other great songs of the period; Frank McHugh is Eddie's sidekick from the trenches to the big time; and Humphrey Bogart is the rat fink who chisels and kills with very little effort or remorse. "The Roaring Twenties" is a great movie about a good boy who fell in with the wrong crowd, expertly put over by that prince of the gangster movies, James Cagney. Take it out for a little ride back to your VCR.

4-0 out of 5 stars Big Shots
The Roaring Twenties came at the end of the gangster cycle of movies in the Thirties, and it's a fitting end. The film takes sort of a documentary approach to the era of Prohibition, from its beginning to its finish after fourteen years. At the same time, it chronicles the rise and fall of a gangster played by James Cagney, who becomes a big shot, only to lose it all. Cagney is, as usual, riveting in his role, with some great scenes at the end of the movie. Priscilla Lane is the idealized love of his life who can never return his love because of her dislike for his lifestyle. Gladys George is excellent as Panama Smith, a speakeasy hostess who really is Cagney's soulmate, even though he doesn't realize it. Humphrey Bogart has another one of the bad guy gangster roles that he had a lot of in the Thirties. The movie is well directed and moves along quickly, and although it doesn't really offer anything new to the gangster film genre, it does give the viewer a good overall look at the era, with a finale that is truly memorable. It's worth seeing.

5-0 out of 5 stars How about a DVD???
I caught this most poignant of gangster films on TV a few weeks ago, and I was so moved by James Cagney's performance...it is a cryng shame that only a handful of his movies have been released on DVD. Please, Warner Brothers, how about giving this gem a shot at the big-time?

5-0 out of 5 stars we won't honor them on Veterans Day
This Movie is about three World WarI veterans who come back forgotten. One becomes a lawyer, the two others Gangsters. This movie stars James Cagney as Eddie Bartlett, and Humphrey Bogart as some guy named George. It takes place in April, 1918,7 monthes before the World WarI armistace. In the beginning it shows Bogart in a foxhole, and then Cagney jumps in. Cagney lights 2 cigars for both of them and then another main character(Lloyd)jumps in. After the war Eddie is forgotten. He lives with his friend Danny Green, (Frank McHugh) and he can't seem to find a job. Then Danny lets him drive his taxi cab at night. One night Eddie takes a bag to a bar. He does not know what it is but it really is liquor. The police find it and throw him in jail. A woman named Panama, who he met in the bar where the cops got him, bails him out of jail. After that Eddie changes from a taxi driver to a boot legger. Later in the movie he meets up with George. At first they are buddies, then George plots to get Eddie killed, but Eddie kills him. Then when Eddie is running down the street he is shot. Panama is there. When a cop asks her what his job was she said: "HE USED TO BE A BIG SHOT"

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Final Scene
THE ROARING TWENTIES is a gangster film about life in New York City during the Prohibition years after World War I. James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart star as two former army buddies who turn to crime during lean times. A strong supporting cast includes Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Frank McHugh and Paul Kelly.

The climatic scene is perhaps one of the most famous ones directed by Raoul Walsh. He also directed THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON and HIGH SIERRA. ... Read more


14. The Thief of Bagdad
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $29.99
our price: $26.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00000FE8Y
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 27401
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best silent fantasy picture made in the U.S.
At the time of its release, Thief of Bagdad, was the most expensive and most elaborate film created. It involved enormous sets and special effects which would be rivaled for years. The story has it all: action, adventure, love, and friendship. And it tells it all on a grand scale which can still be impressive 70+ years later.

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., plays the Thief in an extremely sensual (though, not overtly sexual) way. He is very physically agile and innovative as he meanders through the streets of Bagdad using his wits to take what he wants with a minimum of effort.

The set designs for the film were done by William Cameron Menzies (sp?) and appear almost as pen and ink drawings in the black and white film. They make you feel as if you have entered a story book telling you of the Thief and his love for the Princess.

This DVD version has a nice organ accompaniment. It would be nicer to have the version which was released on LD with a full symphony performing Rimsky-Korsokov's Arabian Nights music. The music, tinting and introduction by Fairbanks' son made that the *definitive* version of the film for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thief of Bagdad (Deluxe Edition) from Kino
Douglas Fairbanks' "The Thief of Bagdad" is in the public domain, so it's no surprise that there are many DVD and VHS versions of this film available, from bargain basement tapes with no music taken from battered source prints, to high-quality editions with fine music and extras. (Many of the reviews given here are for different editions, so if they complain about the video transfer, missing scenes, or the musical score, keep in mind that such comments don't apply to all editions.)

The Kino "Deluxe Edition" is digitally mastered from a 35mm archive negative, with 19 minutes of rare outtakes and special effects footage as extras. The film is tinted throughout -- a color effect that was used on its initial release, and which adds greatly to the fantastic nature of the story and its immense sets.

The new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (a quintet that specializes in reviving music used during the silent film era) is based loosely on the original "cue sheet" for the film by James Bradford. This means that you'll be hearing some of the music recommended for the film on its first release (although the music would have been different in each theater--silent film music was left up to the music director at each movie house). The music features many "oriental" pieces written for the silent film theater by forgotten "photoplay music" composers such as Gaston Borch and Irenee Berge, as well as pieces by classical composers like Rimsky-Korsakov who explored oriental themes. A written commentary and cue list of the music used is on the DVD as an extra, and can also be found at Mont Alto's web site, www.mont-alto.com.

A different high-quality edition from Image Entertainment features an organ score by Gaylord Carter, who was a talented theater organist, and that's also a good choice. Be wary of other editions -- it's an amazing film, and the extra money spent for a quality visual and audio treat is well worth it. The difference in run-time between the Kino and Image editions of the film is mostly explained by a different film transfer rate.

4-0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT FAIRBANKS CLASSIC
first, hats off to Kino for releasing all these great, old Daouglas Fairbanks Sr. Classics on DVD. They have done a fantastic job and the Thief of Baghdad shows agains why Fairbanks was the master of the Swashbuckler.As the thief of Baghdad, his movements are dance-like -- nothing like the athletics he performed in most of his other films. In this Arabian take, the thief ignores the holy teachings and sneaks into the palace of the Caliph (Brandon Hurst). All thoughts of robbery slip away, however, when he sees the beautiful princess (Julianne Johnston). Princes have come from many faraway lands to win the princess' hand (and it's amusing to watch her face growing ever more alarmed at their arrival, because each one is uglier than the last). The thief disguises himself as a prince and the princess falls in love with him. After having a pang of conscience the thief confesses all to the Holy Man (Charles Belcher), who sends him to find a magic chest. He braves many obstacles to get it, and when he returns he discovers that the Mongol Prince (So-Jin) has taken over the city. Using the chest, the reformed thief creates armies of men out of nothingness and recaptures the city. He then uses the cloak of invisibility to spirit the princess away on a magic carpet. Fairbanks stole some of the special effects for his film from Fritz Lang's Der Mude Tod, which he had purchased for American distribution.

Thief of Baghdad, with its look of unrealistic beauty (courtesy of art director William Cameron Menzies), was not fully appreciated in its day. Because of its huge cost ($2 million -- a real fortune in those days), it made little money.

A true Silent Classic!

3-0 out of 5 stars It's Cut?
Some one here says this DVD has a cut down version of the film. I was going to say, if you have never seen it, it's one of the Classics of the Silent era and Fairbanks. One thing I might add that will completly change the way you percieve this film... Think Gene Kelly. Don't think about Fairbanks as an Actor, think about him as a Dancer and suddenly this film becomes a whole other kind of experiance. I'd hate to see any footage missing from this Master Work of one of the Silent Eras greatest stars. If this version is indeed cut down, go look for the complete version, and one that isn't running at Sound Speed too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not bad for an older movie
I am not going to give a long lecture cause if you haven't seen it yet well then you don't know what your missing. ... It is very well paced not lagging to much, like some movies do. With a great story line and filled with action, good characters and the fight for good verses evil this movie is a must see. ... Read more


15. Esther and the King
Director: Raoul Walsh, Mario Bava
list price: $4.95
our price: $4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004WGC6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20212
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16. The Thief of Bagdad (Deluxe Edition)
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $29.95
our price: $26.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00014NF6G
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20556
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best silent fantasy picture made in the U.S.
At the time of its release, Thief of Bagdad, was the most expensive and most elaborate film created. It involved enormous sets and special effects which would be rivaled for years. The story has it all: action, adventure, love, and friendship. And it tells it all on a grand scale which can still be impressive 70+ years later.

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., plays the Thief in an extremely sensual (though, not overtly sexual) way. He is very physically agile and innovative as he meanders through the streets of Bagdad using his wits to take what he wants with a minimum of effort.

The set designs for the film were done by William Cameron Menzies (sp?) and appear almost as pen and ink drawings in the black and white film. They make you feel as if you have entered a story book telling you of the Thief and his love for the Princess.

This DVD version has a nice organ accompaniment. It would be nicer to have the version which was released on LD with a full symphony performing Rimsky-Korsokov's Arabian Nights music. The music, tinting and introduction by Fairbanks' son made that the *definitive* version of the film for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thief of Bagdad (Deluxe Edition) from Kino
Douglas Fairbanks' "The Thief of Bagdad" is in the public domain, so it's no surprise that there are many DVD and VHS versions of this film available, from bargain basement tapes with no music taken from battered source prints, to high-quality editions with fine music and extras. (Many of the reviews given here are for different editions, so if they complain about the video transfer, missing scenes, or the musical score, keep in mind that such comments don't apply to all editions.)

The Kino "Deluxe Edition" is digitally mastered from a 35mm archive negative, with 19 minutes of rare outtakes and special effects footage as extras. The film is tinted throughout -- a color effect that was used on its initial release, and which adds greatly to the fantastic nature of the story and its immense sets.

The new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (a quintet that specializes in reviving music used during the silent film era) is based loosely on the original "cue sheet" for the film by James Bradford. This means that you'll be hearing some of the music recommended for the film on its first release (although the music would have been different in each theater--silent film music was left up to the music director at each movie house). The music features many "oriental" pieces written for the silent film theater by forgotten "photoplay music" composers such as Gaston Borch and Irenee Berge, as well as pieces by classical composers like Rimsky-Korsakov who explored oriental themes. A written commentary and cue list of the music used is on the DVD as an extra, and can also be found at Mont Alto's web site, www.mont-alto.com.

A different high-quality edition from Image Entertainment features an organ score by Gaylord Carter, who was a talented theater organist, and that's also a good choice. Be wary of other editions -- it's an amazing film, and the extra money spent for a quality visual and audio treat is well worth it. The difference in run-time between the Kino and Image editions of the film is mostly explained by a different film transfer rate.

4-0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT FAIRBANKS CLASSIC
first, hats off to Kino for releasing all these great, old Daouglas Fairbanks Sr. Classics on DVD. They have done a fantastic job and the Thief of Baghdad shows agains why Fairbanks was the master of the Swashbuckler.As the thief of Baghdad, his movements are dance-like -- nothing like the athletics he performed in most of his other films. In this Arabian take, the thief ignores the holy teachings and sneaks into the palace of the Caliph (Brandon Hurst). All thoughts of robbery slip away, however, when he sees the beautiful princess (Julianne Johnston). Princes have come from many faraway lands to win the princess' hand (and it's amusing to watch her face growing ever more alarmed at their arrival, because each one is uglier than the last). The thief disguises himself as a prince and the princess falls in love with him. After having a pang of conscience the thief confesses all to the Holy Man (Charles Belcher), who sends him to find a magic chest. He braves many obstacles to get it, and when he returns he discovers that the Mongol Prince (So-Jin) has taken over the city. Using the chest, the reformed thief creates armies of men out of nothingness and recaptures the city. He then uses the cloak of invisibility to spirit the princess away on a magic carpet. Fairbanks stole some of the special effects for his film from Fritz Lang's Der Mude Tod, which he had purchased for American distribution.

Thief of Baghdad, with its look of unrealistic beauty (courtesy of art director William Cameron Menzies), was not fully appreciated in its day. Because of its huge cost ($2 million -- a real fortune in those days), it made little money.

A true Silent Classic!

3-0 out of 5 stars It's Cut?
Some one here says this DVD has a cut down version of the film. I was going to say, if you have never seen it, it's one of the Classics of the Silent era and Fairbanks. One thing I might add that will completly change the way you percieve this film... Think Gene Kelly. Don't think about Fairbanks as an Actor, think about him as a Dancer and suddenly this film becomes a whole other kind of experiance. I'd hate to see any footage missing from this Master Work of one of the Silent Eras greatest stars. If this version is indeed cut down, go look for the complete version, and one that isn't running at Sound Speed too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not bad for an older movie
I am not going to give a long lecture cause if you haven't seen it yet well then you don't know what your missing. ... It is very well paced not lagging to much, like some movies do. With a great story line and filled with action, good characters and the fight for good verses evil this movie is a must see. ... Read more


17. They Drive by Night
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $19.98
our price: $17.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000B1OGF
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 7553
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

By turns hard-nosed and ribald, They Drive by Night smashes through a vintage Warner Bros. yarn about truck drivers, the Depression, and one duplicitous dame. The opening reels are a forceful look at the dangerous lives of independent truckers (George Raft and Humphrey Bogart as brothers--Bogie in the supporting role, though he would soon eclipse Raft in Hollywood), battling the system and the economy. The final section veers into a less exciting murder frame-up, but Ida Lupino is so delicious as the Black Widow, it works. The robust humor of director Raoul Walsh dominates the film, with some truly hilarious double entendres aimed at outfoxing the censors. At the center of many such one-liners is Ann Sheridan, as a waitress who slings more than hash. It's close to being a classic, and the road sequences are as vital as those in The Grapes of Wrath, made the same year. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars A diverging story brought together under crime...
The Fabrini brothers, Joe (George Raft) and Paul (Humphrey Bogart), are truck drivers that struggle to make it on their own as a loan shark is on their heels trying to repossess their truck . It all seems futile as Joe and Paul's competition is full of bigger companies that do not care about the smaller companies as it is a dog eat dog world. This forces the Fabrini brothers to work long hours often without adequate sleep. One night after a rough day Joe and Paul pick up a hitchhiker, Cassie Hartley (Ann Sheridan), and together the three of them witness a truck accident where some friends die as they fell asleep behind the wheel. This is a wake up call for the brothers as they have different priorities in their lives, and it brings them in different directions. They Drive By Night is an interesting film with multiple themes, which offers a good cinematic experience

5-0 out of 5 stars "The doors made me do it! The doors made me do it!"
This awesome classic starts out as a drama about the hard lives of truckers but ends up being a sort of film noir! Ann Sheridan was perfectly cast as a sassy independant woman, & I loved seeing George Raft & Humphrey Bogart playing brothers! And of course let's not forget Ida Lupino, one of the best (& craziest) femme fatales of all time! Also there's Alan Hale, who adds a whole lot of humor to the mix! I won't go into the plot b/c other reviews have fully explained the plot, but I will say that you definitely need to add this gem to your dvd collection! Be aware that the real star of the film is George Raft, despite the misleading cover art, which tries to cash in on Bogey's fame. This wasn't disappointing to me at all, though. I thought George Raft was cool! I highly recommend this to fans of great classics.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Gem!
They Drive by Night was so much fun to discover! Anyone who likes old movies will enjoy seeing this one. With Bogie as George Raft's little brother, working together as truckers, and the wonderfully wicked Ida Lupino married to the blissfully ignorant Alan Hale, this movie was a joy to watch from start to finish.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dynamic Lupino!
When I first watched this movie, I was only mildly interested in the first part which shows how hard life is for two trucker brothers (Raft and Bogart). Only when Ida Lupino is introduced as the off-kilter, man-killing Lana Carlson did I really sit up and take notice. She continued to steal all her scenes as she degenerates into madness after killing her buffoon of a husband for the cold Raft character. Her gradual breakdown is something to see and electrified audiences in l940. When she begins to shriek on the witness stand: "The doors made me do it!", you freeze in amazement at her powerful acting. Her "mad" scene was phenomenal. A note: compare her portrayal of the man-crazed heroine to the way Bette Davis portrayed her in the original, the l934 "Bordertown". Davis always bragged that the quiet way she went crazy on the stand was the right way but after seeing how Lupino did it, you'll think that Davis was wrong. Sorry, Bette, but Lupino did it a l00 times better and a hell of a lot more powerful. Lana Carlson--one mixed-up, crazy dame from Warner Brother's golden days--thanks to the genius of Ida Lupino!

4-0 out of 5 stars Watch Lupino Go
They Drive By Night has a lot going for it. It's directed by Raoul Walsh, who knew how to make a tough guy movie, yet give it some heart. It has two of the screen's great tough guys, George Raft and Humphrey Bogart. It also has two of the screen's best tough guy girlfriends, Ann Sheridan and Ida Lupino. And it has some really great dialogue that time has not dated. It's the story of two truckers who are brothers, and it looks at the difficulties facing truckers (sleeplessness that can lead to accidents, suppliers that don't pay up, etc). Bogart and Raft are good as the brothers, although Raft doesn't have much of a range as an actor. Raft hooks up with Sheridan, a woman who can hold her own with any trucker. Sheridan plays her with just the right mix of outward toughness, but decency and tenderness, too. Unfortunately, Lupino wants Raft, and she won't be denied what she wants. Lupino gives the performance that you'll remember from this film. She becomes more intense with every scene, and by her last scene, she reaches a level that is amazing to behold. With Lupino's performance and the great dialogue, They Drive By Night is a Warner Brothers' film that should be seen. ... Read more


18. The Thief of Bagdad
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $7.98
our price: $7.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008G8WY
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 27958
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best silent fantasy picture made in the U.S.
At the time of its release, Thief of Bagdad, was the most expensive and most elaborate film created. It involved enormous sets and special effects which would be rivaled for years. The story has it all: action, adventure, love, and friendship. And it tells it all on a grand scale which can still be impressive 70+ years later.

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., plays the Thief in an extremely sensual (though, not overtly sexual) way. He is very physically agile and innovative as he meanders through the streets of Bagdad using his wits to take what he wants with a minimum of effort.

The set designs for the film were done by William Cameron Menzies (sp?) and appear almost as pen and ink drawings in the black and white film. They make you feel as if you have entered a story book telling you of the Thief and his love for the Princess.

This DVD version has a nice organ accompaniment. It would be nicer to have the version which was released on LD with a full symphony performing Rimsky-Korsokov's Arabian Nights music. The music, tinting and introduction by Fairbanks' son made that the *definitive* version of the film for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thief of Bagdad (Deluxe Edition) from Kino
Douglas Fairbanks' "The Thief of Bagdad" is in the public domain, so it's no surprise that there are many DVD and VHS versions of this film available, from bargain basement tapes with no music taken from battered source prints, to high-quality editions with fine music and extras. (Many of the reviews given here are for different editions, so if they complain about the video transfer, missing scenes, or the musical score, keep in mind that such comments don't apply to all editions.)

The Kino "Deluxe Edition" is digitally mastered from a 35mm archive negative, with 19 minutes of rare outtakes and special effects footage as extras. The film is tinted throughout -- a color effect that was used on its initial release, and which adds greatly to the fantastic nature of the story and its immense sets.

The new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (a quintet that specializes in reviving music used during the silent film era) is based loosely on the original "cue sheet" for the film by James Bradford. This means that you'll be hearing some of the music recommended for the film on its first release (although the music would have been different in each theater--silent film music was left up to the music director at each movie house). The music features many "oriental" pieces written for the silent film theater by forgotten "photoplay music" composers such as Gaston Borch and Irenee Berge, as well as pieces by classical composers like Rimsky-Korsakov who explored oriental themes. A written commentary and cue list of the music used is on the DVD as an extra, and can also be found at Mont Alto's web site, www.mont-alto.com.

A different high-quality edition from Image Entertainment features an organ score by Gaylord Carter, who was a talented theater organist, and that's also a good choice. Be wary of other editions -- it's an amazing film, and the extra money spent for a quality visual and audio treat is well worth it. The difference in run-time between the Kino and Image editions of the film is mostly explained by a different film transfer rate.

4-0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT FAIRBANKS CLASSIC
first, hats off to Kino for releasing all these great, old Daouglas Fairbanks Sr. Classics on DVD. They have done a fantastic job and the Thief of Baghdad shows agains why Fairbanks was the master of the Swashbuckler.As the thief of Baghdad, his movements are dance-like -- nothing like the athletics he performed in most of his other films. In this Arabian take, the thief ignores the holy teachings and sneaks into the palace of the Caliph (Brandon Hurst). All thoughts of robbery slip away, however, when he sees the beautiful princess (Julianne Johnston). Princes have come from many faraway lands to win the princess' hand (and it's amusing to watch her face growing ever more alarmed at their arrival, because each one is uglier than the last). The thief disguises himself as a prince and the princess falls in love with him. After having a pang of conscience the thief confesses all to the Holy Man (Charles Belcher), who sends him to find a magic chest. He braves many obstacles to get it, and when he returns he discovers that the Mongol Prince (So-Jin) has taken over the city. Using the chest, the reformed thief creates armies of men out of nothingness and recaptures the city. He then uses the cloak of invisibility to spirit the princess away on a magic carpet. Fairbanks stole some of the special effects for his film from Fritz Lang's Der Mude Tod, which he had purchased for American distribution.

Thief of Baghdad, with its look of unrealistic beauty (courtesy of art director William Cameron Menzies), was not fully appreciated in its day. Because of its huge cost ($2 million -- a real fortune in those days), it made little money.

A true Silent Classic!

3-0 out of 5 stars It's Cut?
Some one here says this DVD has a cut down version of the film. I was going to say, if you have never seen it, it's one of the Classics of the Silent era and Fairbanks. One thing I might add that will completly change the way you percieve this film... Think Gene Kelly. Don't think about Fairbanks as an Actor, think about him as a Dancer and suddenly this film becomes a whole other kind of experiance. I'd hate to see any footage missing from this Master Work of one of the Silent Eras greatest stars. If this version is indeed cut down, go look for the complete version, and one that isn't running at Sound Speed too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not bad for an older movie
I am not going to give a long lecture cause if you haven't seen it yet well then you don't know what your missing. ... It is very well paced not lagging to much, like some movies do. With a great story line and filled with action, good characters and the fight for good verses evil this movie is a must see. ... Read more


19. Sadie Thompson
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $29.95
our price: $26.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000056N7V
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 28519
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The restored silent film version of Maugham's classic story
This 1928 silent film directed by Raoul Walsh was the first film version of Somerset Maugham's classic novella about a San Francisco prostitute and a moralistic missionary on the South Sea island of Pago-Pago. Gloria Swanson plays the sultry Sadie Thompson and Lionel Barrymore is the religious fanatic Alfred Davidson. Walsh, who also plays Tim the Marine Sergeant, did the screenplay, which was adopted from John Colton's play "Rain," based on Maugham's story; what is important is that the controversial story is not compromised in the making of this film.

"Sadie Thompson" certainly qualifies as a landmark silent film, but for many years the last scenes were missing from the only existing print. In this video the ending has been carefully restored by Dennis Doros using still photographs and new title cards to at least give us a sense of the original conclusion. Swanson was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the title character, but Barrymore's performance is a bit hammy. The film also features art direction by William Cameron Menzies and was filmed on Catalina Island. Still, the overall effect is quiet enthralling in this film that surely must have helped inspired the Hays Code. I still prefer the 1932 version of "Rain" with Joan Crawford and Walter Huston, but this silent versin is still first-rate.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent film
"Sadie Thompson" is a brillant film that reflects one of gloria swanson's finest moments. Gloria Swanson portrays a woman of easy virtue, and for that time period, it was a very controversial film. Gloria Swanson's superb acting and clean viewing, for that type of story line, makes this movie a time piece of excellence. There is some strong language seen through her lip movements, but only if you look very closely. Overall it comes across very strongly and passionately with its drama of bodily movements which makes this type of film a masterpiece. Inspite of the distorted damage to the film from throughout the years, Sadie Thompson was restored enough to please the eye and the added orchestra sound makes this film a pleasure to have. I strongly recommend this film.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gloria's greatest role.
This movie is stunning! I'm new to silent movies and recently "discovered" Gloria's silent films on DVD having only known her as the tragic star in the 1950 movie Sunset Boulevard - but I believe she gives the performance of her career in this film. I love her as Sadie. The movie is incredibly atmospheric and filled with ravishing close ups of Gloria. Her scenes are very well played - genuinely touching and funny and wonderfully sexy. Gloria really lives this part and you'll find yourself rooting for her character throughout. She also produced this movie and apparently really had to fight to get it made - the story was considered very daring in its day. The restoration by KINO is fine though some scenes show bad damage (never longer than a few seconds at a time and such moments are few and far between)and though the dramatic ending is marred by the use of film stills (the final scenes of the sole print are apparently lost forever) it can't diminish the overall power and impact of the movie. Everything else about the film is just too good - the sets, acting, camerawork are all superb - the story dated but still packing a real dramatic punch. Silent movie fans should lap this up - it's a real treat.

5-0 out of 5 stars An engrossing adult silent film
Here is the film that the Catholic church tried to stop - and which was financed by Joseph Kennedy for his then mistress Gloria Swanson. This is a very well made, well acted drama about a prostitute, a cleric, and an army sargent (played by the director Raul Walsh). Not to be missed. AN excellent rpint, also, without any scratches.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tarnished Classic
Much like the "restored" version of Swanson's Queen Kelly this release is a mixed blessing. On the one hand it is breath-taking to see the beauty and range Gloria Swanson had - yet, as the last reel of the film is missing it's tragic that the dramatic climax of the film is lost.

That said, the restoration as excellent - the reconstruction of the climax works well, and beyond that Kino have also added the last reel of the 1932 remake RAIN and the shooting script.

This, along with essays and stills, as well as other clips and excerpts makes this a must have DVD for any serious silent film lover.

Sad that Swanson's talent in silent films has been somewhat eclipsed by her - admittedly great - performance as the tragic diva in Sunset Boulevard. This is a rare and welcome chance to see a magnificent star at the height of her powers. ... Read more


20. Regeneration
Director: Raoul Walsh
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005QBYZ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 14694
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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New York gangs have rarely been as realistically depicted as in this vivid, grungy 1915 melodrama. Aside from its status as one of the earliest gangster pictures, Regeneration is the first feature in the long directorial career of Raoul Walsh (White Heat), whose marvelously energetic and manly adventures brightened Hollywood's Golden Age. The plot is a stock tale of a hood (Rockliffe Fellowes, who has a true mug's face) reformed by a social worker (Anna Q. Nilsson, a silent star with some resemblance to Leelee Sobieski), but Walsh got the grime of the slums into the very grain of the photography. He once explained, "I went down around the waterfront and around the docks and into the saloons and got all kinds of gangster types, people with terrible faces, hiding in doorways." You can almost smell the beer slopping out of the pail when the hero (as a boy) brings home his cruel stepfather's alcoholic sustenance from the tavern. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Two Important Films of 1915
I was very pleasantly surprised by both "Regeneration" and "Young Romance" on this DVD. Firstly, I was expecting more of a gangster movie in "Regeneration" as the introductions said, but found it to have a much deeper, spiritual meaning overall, making it far less sinister than I had imagined. The main theme of the story is based on the idea that many gangsters are only the result of an unhappy childhood in a rough neighbourhood, and when given a chance, they can become decent, respectable citizens. The film begins by showing the sad child in miserable surroundings which lead him to become the leader of gangsters. Everything looks very realistic, including characters - some of which were apaprently real-life slum dwellers - adding to the atmosphere of the drama. The hopelessness and heaviness of it all dramatically change when a woman from the upper classes devotes herself to helping the slum dwellers, and whose kind deeds transform the gangster leader (who, as we see before already, isn't really all that bad to begin with anyway). Not only is it a bitter-sweet story with a hopeful message, but for a 1915 feature film, it is very well made, and there are only a few short segments of film are damaged beyond repair or restoration.

"Young Romance" was written by William C. de Mille, older brother of the more famous Cecil, and whose films have all but been lost, it seems. This is probably a real shame if this film is anything to go by, because the story is clever, yet nice and charming. It is a light-hearted story about two young people with the same dream of being wealthy upper-class socialites just for one week, and their consequent misadventures and resulting romance. It moves along at a pleasant, happy pace and is easy to follow, and I enjoyed it immensely. It has a lovely musical score by Robert Israel, and the picture quality is very good throughout. It is only about an hour long but leaves you feeling good and satisfied, mainly perhaps due to the excellent photography and editing which, along with "Regeneration", I'd say are exceptionally good for 1915, and therefore well worth adding to a silent film collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars an overlooked masterwork
Rockcliff Fellows was the finest actor of his generation, and nothing shows this better than this overlooked classic by Raoul Walsh. This movie has a primitive emotional power and honesty that overshadows today's movies, whose only distinguishing characteristics are their loud, whooshing sound effects.

3-0 out of 5 stars primitive but very interesting
it has already been noted that this movie is like the recent Gangs Of New York, only apparently real gang members make up much of the cast. their faces are incredible. you can't imagine a bunch of actors looking like that. this is the main selling point of the movie and what makes it worthwhile to watch. the movie itself is very much in the silent melodramatic tradition, which can be wearying at times. also worthy because it was the first movie by raoul walsh, who went on to make movies like White Heat over 30 years later. Sort of for specialized tastes, but well worth watching.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible Film Experience!
I have raved about this really astounding movie to all my film buff buddies. When I first saw it a year ago, it was one of the great movie-going experiences in my life. The male star, Rockliffe Fellowes, is so dynamic and masterful, that it's a tragedy his career never went anywhere. You'll be amazed at how much he resembles and acts like Marlon Brando. Even though his co-star is the beautiful Anna Q. Nillson, you can't keep your eyes off Rockliffe who is so charismatic in his performance I'm surprised there weren't mob scenes because he is so ...sexy and magnetic. I urge my younger film buffs to watch this movie and see what incredible work was being done nearly l00 years ago in the American cinema. This movie belongs in the library of any serious movie buff. It's also fascinating as a piece of visual Americana since it was filmed on location NY"s Bowery and actual inhabitants were used, giving this work an amazing sense of realism. Don't miss this one! Especially now that it's on DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two fine films from 1915
The two films on this DVD are both well worth seeing. They show how quickly film- making had developed by 1915. Both films are sophisticated and tell their stories with flair and invention. Regeneration is one of the early films of Raoul Walsh, a truly great director, who would go on to make such classic films as The Thief of Bagdad, The Roaring Twenties and High Sierra. Walsh clearly knew how to make a crime drama, which is not surprising for, with Regeneration, he virtually invented the gangster film. The story shows a young orphan boy growing up in New York tenements, brutalised by his environment and turning to a life of petty crime. The film provides us with a fascinating and authentic view of real life New York locations. Many of the extras were recruited from these tough streets and it shows. The faces of these people seem to be marked by the conditions of the life they lead and the slums in which they live. Even the star of the film, Rockliffe Fellowes, is not exactly handsome. He looks rough, someone not to be messed with, and plays his part very well with an understated method of acting which fits in with the character and the story. Anna Q Nilsson plays a beautiful society lady who falls for Fellowes and sets out to lead him away from his life of crime. She is convincing in a difficult role.

It would be grossly unfair to complain about the quality of the print of Regeneration as it is a miracle that it survives at all. It was found in1976 in a soon to be demolished building in Montana and is almost certainly the only surviving print of this important film. For most of its running time the colour-tinted print is very clear and sharp, but periodically, and thankfully briefly, the print shows some serious decomposition. That said, it is always possible to follow the action on the screen and the print damage does not distract from the enjoyment of the film. Philip Carli provides a good and appropriate piano score.

Young Romance is something of a revelation. I bought the DVD for Regeneration, but enjoyed this extra film almost as much. It is the story of two shop workers who separately and coincidentally decide to masquerade as rich people in a resort in Maine. Although they work in the same shop they don't know each other and of course they meet up in the posh Hotel and start to fall in love. The plot is a delight; with the farcical difficulties these people have trying to act out the role of the rich. This is especially the case when they try to order dinner and have difficulties with the menu. Edith Taliaferro shows her skill as a comedienne and is a pleasure to watch, while her co-star Tom Forman, although a bit wooden, is good at acting bemused. The colour-tinted print of Young Romance is first rate and shows hardly any damage. Robert Israel provides a nice score which really fits the style and period of the action. These two films are good examples of the quality of films that were made in 1915. It is a pity that so few films from this period are available today. ... Read more


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