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1. The Sound of Music (Single Disc
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2. The Haunting
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3. The Day the Earth Stood Still
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4. West Side Story (Full Screen Edition)
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5. The Sound of Music (Single Disc
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6. West Side Story (Special Edition
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7. The Sand Pebbles
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8. Run Silent, Run Deep
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9. The Andromeda Strain
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10. The Sound of Music (Double Digipack)
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11. Audrey Rose
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12. The Sound of Music (Five Star
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13. I Want to Live!
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14. Star!
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15. The Desert Rats
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16. Helen of Troy
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17. West Side Story
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18. The Set-Up
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19. Odds Against Tomorrow
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20. The Hindenburg

1. The Sound of Music (Single Disc Full Screen Edition)
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000067J1P
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 181
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (337)

5-0 out of 5 stars The happiest sound in its best version yet!
Reviled by some, beloved by many, consistently referred to as the most popular movie musical ever made, THE SOUND OF MUSIC more than fulfills the promise of its beautiful visuals and expert song numbers on home video via DVD. This edition tops the 1995 laserdisc by allowing the sparkling, exemplary design of its 70mm. Todd-AO frame to be exhibited with increased sharpness and resolution. The 4.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is powerful and clean, but since this film was originally mixed for six-track magnetic stereo, it's curious why the effort wasn't made by Fox to split the surrounds! Nonethless, the film sounds terrific. The extra features make this package a bargain at the price. Full length commentary by director Bob Wise, with the musical numbers presented sans vocals, is a great touch. And the two documentaries are beautifully presented; full of facts and bits of arcane information that any fan will truly enjoy. A great movie, and a great DVD rendition. More like this, PLEASE!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!! One of the Best Musicals Ever Made!!!
First of all, I'd like to confess that I've probably watched this movie more than one hundred times in my lifetime.

"The Sound of Music" is such a popular movie that people can't enough of making fun of it, which is understandable: I mean, a nun, seven children, songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Austrian landscape. In reality, most of these people probably haven't sat down and watched this movie, because it is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

Julie Andrews is absolutely magical as Maria. When she runs on the mountaintop and starts singing the famous lyrics "The hills are alive...," it sends chills down my spine to this day. Christopher Plummer cuts a good figure as the captain but gave a rather stiff performance: he doesn't bring anything extra to the role. Eleanor Parker, as the Baroness, was wasted--a role like that was far beneath her talents. But the children were all wonderful, especially Charmian Carr who was charming as Liesl.

This movie is ultrasentimental and proud of it. But I'll stick with this rather than some of those one-dimensional slasher flicks which are in fashion these days. It has a plausible story, some of the world's most remembered songs, and the glorious Austrian and Swiss Alps in the background. Overall, I can't say anything other than I loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hills Are Alive...Now and Forever
No matter how many times you've seen this 1965 musicalization of the 1959 stage classic, it's still a joy to behold. For me, there are many reasons. On location filming in Saltzburg heightens the story's magnitude. The casting of Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp was a coup for both 20th Century Fox and director Robert Wise. She's magnificent and ever so professional. Back then, this was only her third Hollywood movie. But she's a pro from start to finish. Everything she does it fraught with such emotion and conviction, you'd swear she was Maria Von Trapp. Opening up the stage play with several new scenes, sub plots, songs, characters and dialogue also benefits what could have been a very sticky situation. Finally, there's the DVD itself. This is the widescreen version that was shown back in theaters when the film first opened. It includes the intermission and the Act II opening music. With no formatting for television, you get to see everything in all it's technicolor glory. On video, half the Von Trapp children didn't fit on the televsion screen. Musical numbers lost there scope as did scenes where you had 13 characters in one room and only saw 7 on the screen. I highly recommend this DVD. But wait, there's more. The 87-minute documentary is awesome. So are segments showing scenes that were cut and up dates on how the kids look today.

3-0 out of 5 stars Incredible movie, must see, but don't buy the one disc
First off. Think you have seen the Sound of Music? Well you haven't. I thought I had, many times. Of course it was always around Xmas with the commerical breaks. But that is a much edited version. There are small but significant cuts everywhere in that version. So this is a great thing to have. My 3 stars relates directly to the lack of extras on the one disc. The movie is 5+ stars, but the lack of extras warrants the 3 stars.

So this is a must buy. Also the commentary is very good here. But given the price for this on Amazon, just buy the 2 set version. I got the one disc version at a very good price so it is not a bad buy. But for $6 more, why not enjoy the double DVD? This is a must get for any movie fan, and if you are not into the extras, by all means buy this one. This movie, like all of Rogers and Hammerstein's work is emotional without ever being fake or sentimental. It is full of sentiment and completely honest sentiment at that, but never sentimentality. It totally puts to SHAME almost every director and producer and writer working in Hollywood today. Complete and total shame and disgrace. Nothing coming out of Hollywood today can hold a candle to this. Entire director's careers with academy awards can't even begin to even compare to just this one movie. So get some version, especially if you have young ones. Sit them down, and let them experience what a real movie can be.

5-0 out of 5 stars This has been a great thing to share with my daughter.
I grew up with this video and watched it on TV every year. The songs have always stuck in my head. I even did the Sound of Music Tour when I was in Austria. But now I've got my daughter introduced to this beautiful music. This and the Wizard of Oz are her favorites.

I bought the easy piano scores for her to play the songs on the piano, and singing lessons on CD "Voice Lessons TO GO", by Vaccarino (They're great and a lot cheaper than private voice lessons!) for her, (even though I use them when she's at school). So she is confident to sing along while she plays her Edelweis and Do a Dear. We love it. ... Read more


2. The Haunting
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $19.98
our price: $15.98
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Asin: B00009NHB6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2667
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Description

A group is introduced to the supernatural through a 90-year old New England haunted house. Be prepared for hair-raising results in this classic horror film! ... Read more

Reviews (274)

3-0 out of 5 stars I've eaten casseroles scarier than this
Refreshing as it is to see a horror film rely more on the power of suggestion than on buckets of blood, "The Haunting," Robert Wise's 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel, never really becomes as frightening as it clearly wants to be. Occasionally tense and mildly spooky but more often talky, overly melodramatic, and just downright silly, this is one of those films that would benefit a great deal if its characters would just shut up once in a while.

Or at least stop thinking, so we wouldn't be forced to listen to their irritating voice-overs. Granted, there's only one character erring in that direction, but unfortunately, it's Eleanor Lance (Julie Harris), a whiny, disturbed, introverted old maid who's got some serious bats in the belfry--she's feeling (what else?) guilt over the recent "natural" death of the sick old mother she's nursed for the past eight years. Eleanor, of course, proves to be the most susceptible to the eerie but invisible apparitions of Hill House, an abandoned old estate where she and three other guests (well-played by Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom, and Russ Tamblyn) are embarking on a search for the supernatural.

Harris does the best she can, but watching her wander about like Alice in Wonderland on crack, murmuring awful dialogue like "The house wants me, the house is alive," is more likely to evoke laughs than chills. There's also a protracted early scene in which Harris is driving toward her unfortunate destination, plagued by anxiety, fear, and that ever-present voice-over, that is a complete rip-off of the same scene Janet Leigh did in "Psycho" (and I apologize for even mentioning the name of that superior film in this review).

The idea behind all this prolonged psychobabble, of course, is that "The Haunting" can be considered as either a genuine ghost story or simply a story of a woman's deteriorating psyche, and that the ambiguities of the human mind are ultimately far more frightening than the sight of actual spooks. It's an excellent idea, but there's also such a thing as being too vague; in fact, the scariest moment in the entire film occurs when it finally decides to actually SHOW us something scary, rather than anesthetize us with obtrusive close-ups and creaky music. (Humphrey Searle's score blares so incessantly it could turn you off to soundtracks altogether.) Certainly, an excess of gore isn't the recipe for a successful horror movie, but if there's one thing that "The Haunting" demonstrates, it's that an excess of anything else is hardly an improvement.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wise choice for the Occult!
Call it horror or a supernatural thriller, "The Haunting" (1963) ruled out the pitfalls that made others of the genre seem pretentious. On first sight you are treated to a mansion set in an evil aura with baroque décor and looming statues. Doctor Markway (Richard Johnson) presides over the investigation, supplying us with an excellent catalog of phenomena to fuel our apprehension. Eleanor Lance (Julie Harris) is the hysterical spinster whose emotional fears become bound with ours. Then there is the wild soundtrack. Humphrey Searle composed a creepy score with a strong arrangement of brass and strings, creating an abstract and crazy effect to attack the senses. A perfect plot, script, narrative and good casting builds the horror through the viewer's own imagination. The best example of a movie to triumph over gore, intense violence and CGI. More evidence that "black and white" is not an obsolete format but an underused film technique. Robert Wise is a versatile director who showed a genuine skill in fright. You will not find "The Haunting" in any shallow top ten list with other famous horror films. You will find it taking refuge in your personal list of what you fear. A movie with a formula to survive repeated viewing and perpetual quality on DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the scarest 60's films in the world.
Most people see the remake and won't bother with this one, but this film is really truely pure horror unlike the remake, one of the scarest films ever made, it also tells a classic story of a repressed women and a house that makes her lose her mind, the film is so much more than all of that though, it has all the events timed perfectly as it keeps bulding more and more untill the frightning conclution, If you're a true horror fan give this one a shot, you'll love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A chilling movie about an evil house
HIll House has been standing empty for almost 90 years. Whipsers of strange phenomena have kept would-be ocupants away for a long time; not even the owners will live their. That is, until Dr. John Markway assembles a small team to invesitgate the supposed supernatural events of the house. He invites Theodora, a psychic who lives a very different lifestyle; Eleanor, a sheltered young woman who recently lost her canterkaerous mother and has had experienece with poltergeist phenomena; and Luke Sanderson, soon to inherit Hill House and acting as the family's representative. Together, they begin to study the house, it's history and architecture. Or, has the house chosen one of the team for its own purposes?

Horror film director Robert Wise does a magnificent job with this adaptation of the Shirley Jackson novel. Very few visual effects are used, instead relying on lighting (the one scene with the wallpaper in Eleanor's room is eerie), atmosphere, sound and the viewers own fear to create a creepingly chilling film. They make the viewer feel like actors in the movie instead of bystanders. All the actors give fine performances: Clair Bloom as Theo, Russ Tamblyn as Luke, and Richard Johnson as Dr. Markway. But, Julie Harris' performance of Eleanor makes the film. Her almost childlike confusion, fear and determination to stay the course keep you enrapt in the film.

It's very refreshing to see a horror film that doesn't rely so much on expensive special effects to get the chills across, instead using acting, lighting and story to convey terror and fright. This is a classic horror film that still delivers to this day.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but lacks the depth of the novel
I probably would have liked this movie a lot better if I hadn't read Shirley Jackson's brilliant book first. The Haunting is a decent haunted house film, not terrible by any means, but it is an inadequate adaptation. Maybe a more faithful adaptation of the book would have been impossible, since the novel depends so much on psychological suggestion and an unreliable (and possibly deranged) protagonist. That sort of subtlety is more difficult to express on film: there is the truth of what the camera is seeing, that is all. Ambiguity of perception cannot be easily communicated on film.

The most crucial change (to me, anyway), and one that makes me wonder if the screenwriters really read Jackson's book at all, is that Theo is made into a stereotypical "predatory lesbian" character. Eleanor's relationship with Theodora is more layered and complex in the novel, and her conflicts with Theo have a lot to do with her increasingly fragile mental state. In the book, /Eleanor/ pursues Theo. Theodora's rejection of Eleanor (directly or indirectly) leads to the outcome of the story. The "manifestations" in the house are more about Eleanor's essential loneliness and need for belonging than ghosts. The filmmakers of The Haunting definitely grasp this (unlike the filmmakers of the completely awful remake), but removed from its context, Eleanor's sense of rejection in the film is hard to understand. I suppose the filmmakers transferred Eleanor's romantic interest to the doctor rather than Theodora due to the controversial nature of homosexuality, but by doing this, the context of Eleanor's breakdown is removed, and movie Eleanor is a lot harder to relate to.

I'd suggest that you read the book *and* watch the movie, to give yourself some basis for comparison. Ordinarily I don't think it matters if movies are not faithful to the books they were adapted from, but in this case I think it significantly alters the essential meaning of the story (and The Haunting of Hill House is more than simple genre horror, no matter what anyone might say.) ... Read more


3. The Day the Earth Stood Still
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.98
our price: $11.24
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Asin: B00005JKFR
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 754
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (228)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Stood" Still Stands Tall
1951's The Day The Earth Stood Still is a classic in every sense of the word and then some. When a spaceship lands in Washinton D.C. its alien passenger (Michael Rennie) refuses to reveal his purpose for landing on Earth. As the world leaders and their armies debate what to do next, ordinary citizens let fear and paranoia take hold. The key to the alien being's mission to earth rests with a mother Helen (Patrcia Neal) and her son Bobby (Billy Gray). Soon the boy and his mother have the fate of the planet Earth in their hands.

Directed by Robert Wise, the movie, fully restored for the DVD release, has drama, good special effects (for its time) and plenty of social commentary (that's still relevant in today's world). The film is pure magic. Even though, the last time I saw it was some 12 years ago in film school, I think its still one of the best films that I ever "had" to watch.

I have to commend FOX, for the way the film is given the deluxe treatment on DVD. The extras are just superb. The commentary with Wise and (fellow "TREK film") director Nicholas Meyer is a real treat. It's very well done and informative. There's also a "meaty" 70 minute retrospective documentary, archival newsreel footage, a restoration comparison, no less than 5 photo galleries, the shooting script, and the vintage theatrical trailer. To have this many extras on a DVD of an older film is a rare thing. Those fans of the film will be delighted with this disc. And to anyone not familiar with the movie--now's the time. Highly Recommended

5-0 out of 5 stars 20th Century Fox brings this remastered Scifi Classic to DVD
It is 1950 and Hollywood takes an original idea combines it with the genius' of Studio CEO Darryl F. Zanuck, Producer - Julian Blaustein, Director - Robert Wise, ScreenPlay - Edmund H. North, the eerie futuristc Music, a spaceman, a giant robot & the words "KLAATU BARADA NIKTO" and 50+ years later we have the timeless scifi classic, "THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL". Now digitally remastered and on this outstanding DVD.

This outstanding movie is presented with better clarity and sound than the original 1951 film release. This incredible movie now can be enjoyed over & over again without ever losing picture quality.

This 2 sided DVD Full Frame Format (4:3 tv / 1.33:1 aspect ratio - before WideScreen) Black/White as the movie and audio commentary with Robert Wise & Nicolas Meyer on SIDE A and a 70 minute "Making the Earth Stood Still" documentary, Movietone newsreel 1951, Restoration comparison footage, 5 still galleries, shooting script & trailer.

Summary: This movie has an outstanding cast with newcomer Michael Rennie as Klaatu the peaceful (human)alien who visits paranoid earth circa 1951. First stop Washington D.C. Greeted with violence and skepticism, escapes and goes into hiding. He befriends a mother (Patricia Neal) & her son (Billy Gray - also her real son) at a boarding house as he covertly studies the humans behaviors disguised as a businessman. He trys to get the world leaders to reach a world wide peace but they resist his ideas. They are given a sign of his powers by stopping all machinery worldwide, thus "THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL". The ending is perfect and the audiences loved this film.

Even today the special effects stand the test of time and the story is so profound and sheer genius. Hollywood delivered a classic scifi film for all time. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is a Hallmark film. This is scifi at its best & now this DVD can be added to your home movie library. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great classic sci-fi film
I remember how intreguied I was the first time I saw, "The Day the Earth Stood Still and still am no matter how many times I see it. It's oneof those few movies you can absolutely never tire of seeing. This is one of my all time favorite sci- fi films and would recommend it to anyone. Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal are great in it really wonderful actors that give excellent perfomrances in this film. The setting in Washinton D.C is perfect for unidentified flying objects like a spaceship to land. The Robert is like a star in the film too. Each moment of the film is suspensful entertaining and keeps you guessing what will happen next. There's not a dull moment in the entire film. It's sci-fi at its best. This DVD adition has great extra footage like a documentary very well done and interesting and a trailer and plenty of other things too. Overall it's an exciting film for all ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still standing still after all these years
Where does one begin with such a classic film. The Day the Earth Stood Still is the definition of classic. Above average for its genre, the movie still hold its own even today.

Robert Wise did a masterful job directing the picture. Given the fact that he was directing a new and somewhat unknown lead actor in Michael Rennie, Wise did a superb job. Could anyone else have played Clatu other than Rennie?

The premise of the story, a visitation from another planetary system to warn us off our reckless advancement into the nuclear age is very timely even in 2004. Clatu, the alien traveler, needs to discuss the ramifications of our behavior with every nation on Earth but learns that such a meeting is impossible given the petty international squabbling and mistrust of the day. Clatu escapes his captivity in the hospital and moves around disguised as a Maj. Carpenter. He meets Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and her son Bobby (Bill Gray) and learns about many of our human foibles. Also involved is Hugh Marlow's character, Helen Bensons male companion. Sam Jaffe is wonderful as Prof. Barnhardt.

Eventually, Clatu is shot (a second time) and killed. Gort, the robot, with the intervention of Helen revives Clatu and in a final climatic scene Clatu delivers his message. This is a marvelous film even after 53 years.

The DVD is also well worth the small investment. I purchased my copy at a discount store for $5.50....I should be arrested. I agree with an earlier reviewer that the number of extras devoted to this old film is remarkable.

If you get the chance grab this DVD. Even after all these years the movie is fresh and certainly timely. Also, a final observation. Given the paranoia in most modern movies dealing with aliens, The Day the Earth Stood Still is another perspective on the topic of alien visitations. Its amazing how perverted the whole genre has become. This is certainly a reflection of society as a whole.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Klaatu barada nikto"
There are a handful of 1950's sci-fi movies that have a big reputation - "When Worlds Collide", "The Thing From Another World", "Forbidden Planet", and "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Unfortunately, the first two are really lame in today's world, and only "The Day The Earth Stood Still" really stands up (except for the robot).

Although it has a little of the hokiness inherent to all movies of the 1950's, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" actually has a good meaningful story. The typically-round flying saucer lands in a baseball field in Washington DC. A normal-looking man (Michael Rennie) emerges, offering a small gift. As usual, the military shoots first and asks questions later. A large robot (to be known as "Gort") emerges and stands guard near the ship. In the hospital, the man requests a meeting of all the heads of world government to share an important message. He is told that a meeting of all nations is impossible under the current state of international tension. After recovering a day in the hospital (and self-healing) the man, named "Klaatu", escapes and assumes the identity of Mr. Carpenter (another patient whose clothes he takes). After renting a room in a boarding-house (run by 'Aunt Bea' from the "Andy Griffith Show"), he befriends a young boy ('Bud' from "Father Knows Best"), and later his mother (Patricia Neal).

Klaatu explains his mission on Earth - to bring about the end of nuclear-arms proliferation - to an Einstein-like mathematician, who agrees to help. The mathematician suggests convincing industry and world leaders to meet to hear the message by having Klaatu perform a show of strength. This is the event behind the movie title when Klaatu stops everything that relies on electricity to operate (though sparing hospitals, in-flight airplanes, etc.)

Klaatu confides his plan to Patricia Neal, who helps him. Later, when they are being chased, Klaatu gives the robot-command codewords to Patricia Neal as a safeguard in the event of Klaatu's capture. As is somewhat predictable, the army again shoots first and asks questions later, so Patricia Neal does indeed need to issue commands to the robot, who might otherwise destroy the world.

The robot recovers the dead body of Klaatu from a jail cell and returns him to the spaceship where he undergoes a sort of resurrection. Klaatu is able to give his anti-aggression message to mankind.

The movie was directed by Robert Wise, who went on to "Run Silent, Run Deep", "West Side Story", "The Sound of Music" and "The Andromeda Strain". Score by Bernard Hermann, famous from a long list of Alfred Hitchcock movies, but also for "Citizen Kane" and "The Magnificent Ambersons" prior to "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

The reasonably-priced DVD has the restored black-and-white full-screen movie; a good "making of" documentary; a commentary with director Robert wise and Nicholas Meyer; some "Movie-Tone News" clips from 1951 having to do with a peace treaty, the Korean war, a beauty contest, and an honorary promotional award given to Klaatu (but a different actor in the suit); a restoration comparison; still gallery including the script; and some other goodies.

Highly recommended. Klaatu's message is still valid. ... Read more


4. West Side Story (Full Screen Edition)
Director: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
list price: $14.95
our price: $11.21
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Asin: B0000AM6IY
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 557
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (195)

5-0 out of 5 stars Here Come THE JETS!
WEST SIDE STORY remains unique...to the point of astounding...in status among most accomplished classics in cinema history. Legendary director Robert Wise[whose eclectic mastery of film ranges from "lost" mythology epic, HELEN OF TROY to sci-fi milestones-THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and STAR TREK:The Movie]perfectly renders a film of passion;tragedy;humor and ultimate celebration of youthful humanity. Leonard Bernstein's score is peerless Americana: classic ART and popular entertainment.Jerome Robbins'choreography is electrifying;Steven Sondheim's "libretto lyrics" are ensconded in popular music immortality.

West Side Story's ensemble cast is likewise peerless.
Natalie Wood is superb as American JULIET, Maria. Richard Beymer's Tony/Romeo charcterization wonderfuly combines heroic "tough guy" with star-crossed lover. George Chakris(Bernardo)and Russ Tamblyn (Riff)jive; fight and dance their rival gangs into legend. My favorite is Rita Moreno.Her performance as earth mother/eternal woman figure, ANITA is remarkable. Her ferocious sexual brio;lioness-Queen humor("if you can fight in/for AMERICA!");home girl insouciance, and passionate GRACE are archetypal.WEST SIDE STORY thematically equals--if not surpasses--its SHAKESPEAREAN progenitor.It is America's SOUND OF MUSIC.The ten Academy Awards could be justly re-awarded.

[When I learned "my" homies back in Massachusetts'Pelham Regional High School...citadel/incubator of so-called 5-college professoriate and University of Mass'PC satrapy centered in Amherst...BANNED WEST SIDE STORY as Racist(this year the school is featuring VAGINA MONOLOGUES)I wondered: "WHERE ARE THE JETS when you need them?"]...

Certainly WSS was never conceived--as Mel Gibsons's THE PASSION OF CHRIST--to stir Culture War and rally believers. WEST SIDE STORY is,"unsimply",American film making at its finest and cinema art of world class caliber. It is movie ICON,which,as The JETS challenge, remains at-the-ready: "to beat every last f.....'gang on the whole f.....'street!"(10 Stars)

5-0 out of 5 stars powerful,realistic , the finest musical drama I have seen
This ia a very intense, fast moving story in which many of the scenes easily could have happened in real life in New York at that time.

The quality of the music and lyrics blends beautifully with the action, and the choreographed dances are breathtaking.The actors fit their parts to such perfection that I could not imagine anyone else than Natalie Wood playing Maria, or George Chakiris as Bernardo, and on and on for the rest of the Jets and Sharks. My favorite musicals are those from 1950-1970 and of all the great ones like Oklahoma, South Pacific, and the Sound of Music, West Side Story impresses me as the most exciting dramatic musical of all time. It is hard to find a boring moment in this movie. When I think about this movie, the ballet numbers, choreography, and excitement stand out the most in my mind. For a fast moving drama this is a classic against which to compare other musical drama. Who would have thought that a mere conflict between two gangs could have been portrayed into such a dynamic movie. The producers certainly succeeded in bringing up to date the Romeo and Juliet saga. The romance and tragedy of Tony and Maria will always be indelibly impressed in my mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent adaptation of Romeo & Juliet!
Robert Wise made his masterpiece with this film mixing the essential spirit of the shakesperian mood , recreating it in the modern times as a racial conflict.
Wise mixed the drama with a credible plot . The coreography is towering and the music ( Oh what kind of inspiration was in the mind of Leonard Bernstein , acquire buy also the soundtrack; Maria became a classic ), Rita Moreno won a deserved Academy Award and this became a personal triumph for Natalie Wood one of the most beautiful faces ever seen in the cinema story .
The sequence fights between the bunchs is perfect articulated , there is a fine balance between drama and music.
Enjoyable film and of course for all a generation of teenagers in that age , who actaully are grandparents , still remember with nosthalgie that unforgettable jewel picture .

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Musical
West Side Story is one of my favorite musicals. The music and the choreography is incredible. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer make a perfect Maria and Tony. Now that it is on the 2 Disc Special Limited Edition, it is even better. You can have the original intermission music if you wish and there is a great documentary called West Side Memories which shows how this amazing musical was made. Along with the special edition you get a book that contains the original screenplay, a timeline of the show from when the idea was first thought of and to when it came to the screen, a pamphlet you could of bought in the theaters when it first opened in 1961, and newspaper clippings of what critics thought of the show. Even if you didn't get the special edition this show is still worth owning. The songs are incredible. My favorites are "Maria", "America", and "I Feel So Pretty" which a ninety minute instrumental version is used for the intermission.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best movie Ever
This movie is a must anyone who loves musicals, it's a total classic. If you thought you knew a lot about the movie, think again, because with all the extra fetures will provide you with more knowledge that you than think about.

The movie has definatley got some of the best dance seguences ever made for a musical. ... Read more


5. The Sound of Music (Single Disc Widescreen Edition)
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000067J1Q
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 387
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (337)

5-0 out of 5 stars The happiest sound in its best version yet!
Reviled by some, beloved by many, consistently referred to as the most popular movie musical ever made, THE SOUND OF MUSIC more than fulfills the promise of its beautiful visuals and expert song numbers on home video via DVD. This edition tops the 1995 laserdisc by allowing the sparkling, exemplary design of its 70mm. Todd-AO frame to be exhibited with increased sharpness and resolution. The 4.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is powerful and clean, but since this film was originally mixed for six-track magnetic stereo, it's curious why the effort wasn't made by Fox to split the surrounds! Nonethless, the film sounds terrific. The extra features make this package a bargain at the price. Full length commentary by director Bob Wise, with the musical numbers presented sans vocals, is a great touch. And the two documentaries are beautifully presented; full of facts and bits of arcane information that any fan will truly enjoy. A great movie, and a great DVD rendition. More like this, PLEASE!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!! One of the Best Musicals Ever Made!!!
First of all, I'd like to confess that I've probably watched this movie more than one hundred times in my lifetime.

"The Sound of Music" is such a popular movie that people can't enough of making fun of it, which is understandable: I mean, a nun, seven children, songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Austrian landscape. In reality, most of these people probably haven't sat down and watched this movie, because it is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

Julie Andrews is absolutely magical as Maria. When she runs on the mountaintop and starts singing the famous lyrics "The hills are alive...," it sends chills down my spine to this day. Christopher Plummer cuts a good figure as the captain but gave a rather stiff performance: he doesn't bring anything extra to the role. Eleanor Parker, as the Baroness, was wasted--a role like that was far beneath her talents. But the children were all wonderful, especially Charmian Carr who was charming as Liesl.

This movie is ultrasentimental and proud of it. But I'll stick with this rather than some of those one-dimensional slasher flicks which are in fashion these days. It has a plausible story, some of the world's most remembered songs, and the glorious Austrian and Swiss Alps in the background. Overall, I can't say anything other than I loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hills Are Alive...Now and Forever
No matter how many times you've seen this 1965 musicalization of the 1959 stage classic, it's still a joy to behold. For me, there are many reasons. On location filming in Saltzburg heightens the story's magnitude. The casting of Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp was a coup for both 20th Century Fox and director Robert Wise. She's magnificent and ever so professional. Back then, this was only her third Hollywood movie. But she's a pro from start to finish. Everything she does it fraught with such emotion and conviction, you'd swear she was Maria Von Trapp. Opening up the stage play with several new scenes, sub plots, songs, characters and dialogue also benefits what could have been a very sticky situation. Finally, there's the DVD itself. This is the widescreen version that was shown back in theaters when the film first opened. It includes the intermission and the Act II opening music. With no formatting for television, you get to see everything in all it's technicolor glory. On video, half the Von Trapp children didn't fit on the televsion screen. Musical numbers lost there scope as did scenes where you had 13 characters in one room and only saw 7 on the screen. I highly recommend this DVD. But wait, there's more. The 87-minute documentary is awesome. So are segments showing scenes that were cut and up dates on how the kids look today.

3-0 out of 5 stars Incredible movie, must see, but don't buy the one disc
First off. Think you have seen the Sound of Music? Well you haven't. I thought I had, many times. Of course it was always around Xmas with the commerical breaks. But that is a much edited version. There are small but significant cuts everywhere in that version. So this is a great thing to have. My 3 stars relates directly to the lack of extras on the one disc. The movie is 5+ stars, but the lack of extras warrants the 3 stars.

So this is a must buy. Also the commentary is very good here. But given the price for this on Amazon, just buy the 2 set version. I got the one disc version at a very good price so it is not a bad buy. But for $6 more, why not enjoy the double DVD? This is a must get for any movie fan, and if you are not into the extras, by all means buy this one. This movie, like all of Rogers and Hammerstein's work is emotional without ever being fake or sentimental. It is full of sentiment and completely honest sentiment at that, but never sentimentality. It totally puts to SHAME almost every director and producer and writer working in Hollywood today. Complete and total shame and disgrace. Nothing coming out of Hollywood today can hold a candle to this. Entire director's careers with academy awards can't even begin to even compare to just this one movie. So get some version, especially if you have young ones. Sit them down, and let them experience what a real movie can be.

5-0 out of 5 stars This has been a great thing to share with my daughter.
I grew up with this video and watched it on TV every year. The songs have always stuck in my head. I even did the Sound of Music Tour when I was in Austria. But now I've got my daughter introduced to this beautiful music. This and the Wizard of Oz are her favorites.

I bought the easy piano scores for her to play the songs on the piano, and singing lessons on CD "Voice Lessons TO GO", by Vaccarino (They're great and a lot cheaper than private voice lessons!) for her, (even though I use them when she's at school). So she is confident to sing along while she plays her Edelweis and Do a Dear. We love it. ... Read more


6. West Side Story (Special Edition DVD Collector's Set)
Director: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
list price: $29.98
our price: $22.49
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Asin: B00008972S
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 911
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (195)

5-0 out of 5 stars Here Come THE JETS!
WEST SIDE STORY remains unique...to the point of astounding...in status among most accomplished classics in cinema history. Legendary director Robert Wise[whose eclectic mastery of film ranges from "lost" mythology epic, HELEN OF TROY to sci-fi milestones-THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and STAR TREK:The Movie]perfectly renders a film of passion;tragedy;humor and ultimate celebration of youthful humanity. Leonard Bernstein's score is peerless Americana: classic ART and popular entertainment.Jerome Robbins'choreography is electrifying;Steven Sondheim's "libretto lyrics" are ensconded in popular music immortality.

West Side Story's ensemble cast is likewise peerless.
Natalie Wood is superb as American JULIET, Maria. Richard Beymer's Tony/Romeo charcterization wonderfuly combines heroic "tough guy" with star-crossed lover. George Chakris(Bernardo)and Russ Tamblyn (Riff)jive; fight and dance their rival gangs into legend. My favorite is Rita Moreno.Her performance as earth mother/eternal woman figure, ANITA is remarkable. Her ferocious sexual brio;lioness-Queen humor("if you can fight in/for AMERICA!");home girl insouciance, and passionate GRACE are archetypal.WEST SIDE STORY thematically equals--if not surpasses--its SHAKESPEAREAN progenitor.It is America's SOUND OF MUSIC.The ten Academy Awards could be justly re-awarded.

[When I learned "my" homies back in Massachusetts'Pelham Regional High School...citadel/incubator of so-called 5-college professoriate and University of Mass'PC satrapy centered in Amherst...BANNED WEST SIDE STORY as Racist(this year the school is featuring VAGINA MONOLOGUES)I wondered: "WHERE ARE THE JETS when you need them?"]...

Certainly WSS was never conceived--as Mel Gibsons's THE PASSION OF CHRIST--to stir Culture War and rally believers. WEST SIDE STORY is,"unsimply",American film making at its finest and cinema art of world class caliber. It is movie ICON,which,as The JETS challenge, remains at-the-ready: "to beat every last f.....'gang on the whole f.....'street!"(10 Stars)

5-0 out of 5 stars powerful,realistic , the finest musical drama I have seen
This ia a very intense, fast moving story in which many of the scenes easily could have happened in real life in New York at that time.

The quality of the music and lyrics blends beautifully with the action, and the choreographed dances are breathtaking.The actors fit their parts to such perfection that I could not imagine anyone else than Natalie Wood playing Maria, or George Chakiris as Bernardo, and on and on for the rest of the Jets and Sharks. My favorite musicals are those from 1950-1970 and of all the great ones like Oklahoma, South Pacific, and the Sound of Music, West Side Story impresses me as the most exciting dramatic musical of all time. It is hard to find a boring moment in this movie. When I think about this movie, the ballet numbers, choreography, and excitement stand out the most in my mind. For a fast moving drama this is a classic against which to compare other musical drama. Who would have thought that a mere conflict between two gangs could have been portrayed into such a dynamic movie. The producers certainly succeeded in bringing up to date the Romeo and Juliet saga. The romance and tragedy of Tony and Maria will always be indelibly impressed in my mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent adaptation of Romeo & Juliet!
Robert Wise made his masterpiece with this film mixing the essential spirit of the shakesperian mood , recreating it in the modern times as a racial conflict.
Wise mixed the drama with a credible plot . The coreography is towering and the music ( Oh what kind of inspiration was in the mind of Leonard Bernstein , acquire buy also the soundtrack; Maria became a classic ), Rita Moreno won a deserved Academy Award and this became a personal triumph for Natalie Wood one of the most beautiful faces ever seen in the cinema story .
The sequence fights between the bunchs is perfect articulated , there is a fine balance between drama and music.
Enjoyable film and of course for all a generation of teenagers in that age , who actaully are grandparents , still remember with nosthalgie that unforgettable jewel picture .

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Musical
West Side Story is one of my favorite musicals. The music and the choreography is incredible. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer make a perfect Maria and Tony. Now that it is on the 2 Disc Special Limited Edition, it is even better. You can have the original intermission music if you wish and there is a great documentary called West Side Memories which shows how this amazing musical was made. Along with the special edition you get a book that contains the original screenplay, a timeline of the show from when the idea was first thought of and to when it came to the screen, a pamphlet you could of bought in the theaters when it first opened in 1961, and newspaper clippings of what critics thought of the show. Even if you didn't get the special edition this show is still worth owning. The songs are incredible. My favorites are "Maria", "America", and "I Feel So Pretty" which a ninety minute instrumental version is used for the intermission.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best movie Ever
This movie is a must anyone who loves musicals, it's a total classic. If you thought you knew a lot about the movie, think again, because with all the extra fetures will provide you with more knowledge that you than think about.

The movie has definatley got some of the best dance seguences ever made for a musical. ... Read more


7. The Sand Pebbles
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.98
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Asin: B000059HAF
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2638
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

Following the success of The Sound of Music, directorRobert Wise chose to film Robert McKenna's prize-winning 1962 novel,The Sand Pebbles--an ambitious choice for a director at the peakof his career. Shot in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the film combineshistorical sweep and intimate human drama in several parallel stories,all revolving around U.S. Navy machinist's mate Jake Holman (SteveMcQueen). Holman is a skillful but fiercely independent sailor whojoins the "sand pebble" crew of the U.S.S. San Pablo, a Navy gunboatpatrolling the Yangtze River on the eve of the Chinese revolution in1926. The San Pablo's inexperienced captain (Richard Crenna)obsessively defends the Navy's mission--however unnecessary orunwanted--to protect American missionaries and businessmen, blind tothe more dangerous implications of American involvement with China'sopposing political factions.

Holman is a defiant voice of humanity in this clash between outmodedvalues and inevitable change; his final line of dialogue ("What thehell happened?") is a tragic summation of misguided policy, expressingthe film's criticism of the Vietnam War. Rather than preach, however,Wise lets McKenna's potent drama emerge from finely-drawnrelationships--between Holman and a young American teacher (19-year-oldCandice Bergen, in her second film); between Holman and the Chinese"coolie" (Mako) whose heartbreaking fate transcends all issues ofracial or political difference; and between crewmate "Frenchy" Burgoyne(Richard Attenborough) and the Chinese woman he's sworn to love andprotect at all costs. Combined with the film's colorful supportingcast, adventurous scope, and climactic battle scenes, these personaldynamics bring substance and spirit to a complex story of goodintentions gone awry. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars What happened....
I started to watch this movie a long time ago, and finally got the chance to finish it. I am glad that I did! This is a very good movie, and I would highly recommend watching it. It is three hours long, so be prepared!

The movie is set in the late 1920s in China. Revolution is in the air, and America is merely showing its presence with the San Pueblo (affectionately called the Sand Pebble by the sailors). Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) has just been transferred to the boat. All he wants is a position where the officers will let him do his job, which is working on the engine.

As the movie progresses, different characters will try to impose their way of thinking onto the picture. Revolution fits in no one's view. The captain (played by Richard Crenna) wants to do all for the flag. Everything should look great and fit his military view of things. Another sailor (played by Richard Attenborough) just wants to be with his love. All these characters are thwarted in their goal as China rolls towards revolution and casts out the foreign influence.

None of the characters can see this from his limited point of view. Things go from routine to chaos, and no one can explain with his personal world. Why did it suddenly happen this way? As Holman cries, "What the ... happened?"

I would highly recommend seeing this movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great treatment of America's Asia Experience
The Sand Pebbles is an extremely well made movie. The ensemble cast is exceptional but the standouts are Steve McQueen and RIchard Crenna.

McQueen is outstanding as a Machinest Mate who is devoted to his machinery and has extremely limited ability to interact with his fellow crewmembers. He is perceived as an outsider by the crew of the San Pablo and a potential troublemaker by the captain of the ship. At this time in Naval history, a good man could and would stay in a single ship for years at a strectch. One who moved frequently was considered to be a problem Sailor.

Richard Crenna is excellent as a commanding officer at the this distant end of America's Naval reach. His task is to keep his men motivated to the mission at hand which is to represent American power in Asia. At the same time knowing that the missionaries in the area dislike them and the businessmen tolerate them as a required evil.

Coupled with the smallest ship being the fartherst into China, is the local unrest as various warlords are establishing local control, Communist forces are making in attempt to influence events and student unrest boils up. Is it any wonder that the crew is confused as to what thier missions are. But rather than worry, they head for the local saloons and leave the bigger decisions to the officers.

This film tells the story of not just a single man, it tells the story of generations of men who served in China. Some came and stayed when their Navy careers were over. SOme came and never left and are buried there. Others came and left and have never forgotten their time there. They did their duty and that was all the America asked of them, or at least the diplomats. I'm sure that in the 20s, very few, if any, Americans ever realized that there were hundreds of US Sailors patrolling thousands of miles of rivers and coasts to preserve America's rights in China.

The Sand Pebbles is a comprehensive movie that shows the Asisatic Sailors at their best and worst. It should be a must see movie for anyone intersted in America and China and how our present relationship developed.

5-0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic of the time of Old China's awakening.
This film, along with The Great Escape, established Steve McQueen as a major star, but it is much more than a vehicle for McQueen. This is a wonderful story of the intersection between Western culture and Old China, in the period when China was seeking to emerge as a modern nation.

This is the story of one Jake Holman, a sailor in the American gunboat navy in China. The Navy's mission is to protect American/Western missionaries, businessmen, their lives and property. Holman serves on the USS San Pablo, known to her crew as the "Sand Pebble." Holman has a passion for engines, and sought to serve on the Sand Pebble on the notion that his engineering expertise would make him valuable and autonomous aboard. Instead, he learns that each American sailor has a Chinese servant who actually performs all of that sailor's routine duties. Holman is thus effectively prevented from performing his engineering role. Nor are the Chinese, untrained in engineering and acting by wrote, able to safely handle the ship's power plant. An undercurrent to the story is Holman's struggle to get control of the management of the ship's antiquated but essential engines.

Holman's struggles to establish his place on the ship take place against the panorama of a China seeking to throw off foreign domination and become a modern nation-state. This is the larger story, effectively presented in this excellent film.

This film is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the bestselling novel of the same name. The cinamatography is superb, and the DVD appears to be a pretty good transfer from the original film. Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Damn your flag, damn all flags!"
Steve McQueen is the classic American loner, as one observer puts it, "As long as he obeys orders the Navy takes care of him, its a life that appeals to a certain kind of man." It is not so much the Navy that appeals to McQueen's character, Jake Holman, as it is the solitude of the ships engine room, where he is the master and commander. Upon arrival on his new ship, the San Paulo, nicknamed the "Sand Pebble", Holman is in for a surprise. In keeping with the traditions of the 1920's South China Seas US Navy, locals have been brought aboard to do all the work, including in the engine room (South China Sea vets say all with this film is accurate save that key point, the engine room would have been off limits in most cases). The world is changing in many ways. Jake tries to keep his personal world from crashing by helping a fellow sailor who has fallen for a local girl, even though he should know better, and by trying to resist his own temptations to a fresh faced young missionary in the person of Candace Bergen. Richard Crenna is excellent as a prima donna Captain who sees Holman as a threat to his system even before he comes aboard. The political world is also in flux. With the Russian Civil War at an end, revolution is spreading to China as Communists and Nationalists both try to wrest China out of the grip of warlords and foreign powers. The acting by even the most bit players is believable in every nuance and there are simply too many stand-out performances to mention, from Simon Oakland's bullying ship-board nemisis to McQueen to Larry Gates as a frustratingly idealistic missionary. From Action to Romance this movie hits the bullseye every time.

This is simply a classic of movie-making regardless of genre, era, or actors. It is top-notch in every respect. Thank goodness for wide-screen DVD, the ONLY way to watch this film. Nowhere is the non wide-screen, "pan and scan" technique more strongly indicted than in "The Sand Pebbles", I've sat through numerous viewings in that format where characters engaged in conversations can't even be seen! Widescreen DVD is the only way to go on this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Utterly Serious and Genuine
Steve McQueen, in one of his best performances, plays Jake Holman, an independent, outspoken, and proudly misfitting sailor with great engineering skills, who is assigned to the American Navy gunboat San Pablo, patrolling the Yangtzee River on the eve of the Chinese revolution. The Communists actively oppose the American presence, and Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalists give a cold welcome, at best. All parties are fighting for power. Meanwhile, Holman falls in love with a young teacher, played in a surprisingly low-key way by Candice Bergen. Holman runs against the grain of the hierarchy amongst the Chinese laborers and trains a young man, played by Mako, as an assistant. Holman also butts heads with his inexperienced, spit-and-polish, by-the-book captain, played superbly by Richard Crenna.

This is an anti-war movie that does not shout at you. With its intertwining plots, repeated tragedies, and epic scope, it leaves you wondering why America was there, what was the goal, and what was the effect. This is a quietly intense, slow-paced drama loaded with meaning. It is not for the impatient viewer, nor for the faint-of-heart. It is worth owning and watching closely. ... Read more


8. Run Silent, Run Deep
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.95
our price: $11.96
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Asin: 0792841670
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3241
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A movie's lasting value can often be measured by its influence in theyears anddecades following its original release, and on that basis Run Silent, Run Deepis certainly a classic of sorts. It remains one of the seminal World War II submarinepictures, and its intelligent script and tautly executed action are clearly echoed in suchlater submarine dramas as Das Boot and especially Crimson Tide,which borrows liberally from this 1958 film.

In one of his best and final roles (he appeared in only four films after this), Clark Gable plays a submarine captain without a command, having been saddledwith a desk job after his previous ship was destroyed due to his overzealous pursuitof the enemy in dangerous Japanese waters. He finally gets another boat--this timewith a vigilant first officer (Burt Lancaster), who stands poised to assume command ifGable puts his crew in unnecessary danger. The tension and mutual respect betweenthese two principled men is superbly written and directed (Robert Wise was just twoyears away from his triumph with West Side Story), and the crucial inclusionof a strong supporting cast (including Jack Warden and Don Rickles) enhances themovie's compelling authenticity. Based on a novel by former submarine commanderEdward L. Beach, Run Silent, Run Deep is rousing entertainment with theadded benefit of paying honorable tribute to the men who navigated through the mostfrightening and claustrophobic channels of the Pacific theater. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stay away from the Bungo Straits!
One of the best submarine movies ever made with superb performances by Gable and Lancaster, who star as commander and executive officer, respectively. Their characters developed well against each other in the movie, which contained plenty of realistic action.

Captain Richardson (Gable), wanting to redeem himself for losing his submarine in the Bungo Straits off Japan the previous year, is successful in getting out from behind the desk and back in command of a sub, whose crew has already accepted Lancaster as their new skipper, with the previous captain being transferred to another station. However, Richardson is given command of the submarine, and the tension mounts as the power struggle continues, amidst constant diving drills and grumbling among the crew, who fear that they will be labeled "the best drill cowards in the Navy."

Richardson is out to prove his theory that he can take out an Akakaze destroyer with a bow shot. This type of destroyer had sunk his sub the previous year, but it is also discovered that Japanese submarines are also lurking in the area and have picked off several unsuspecting American subs.

A classic war movie, and a classic submarine movie. The only one that I would consider better is "The Boat."

5-0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful and complex
A superior war film, and one of the prototypical submarine movies. Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable lock horns as the ranking officers on a WWII submarine slated for duty in the Pacific theater. Lancaster has been the ship's captain for years and has the respect of the crew, but he is abruptly displaced by Gable's Captain Richardson, a near-washout who is obsessed with breaking a Japanese blockade of a vital sea lane, after having lost his own ship there the year before. The personal tensions and resentments between the two officers are complicated by the grumblings of the crew, and by differences in naval tactics: Gable runs the crew ragged practicing for a dangerous new tactic that he's convinced will defeat the Japanese, and the sailors appeal to Lancaster for relief. A fascinating look at the frayed edges of military discipline, with a taut, well-directed script and good B&W cinematography. The shots of the exterior of the submarine are particularly nice: here's a film that lets us see how boatlike submarines actually are; you feel like you're actually up on deck, looking at every rivet and welding seam. If you go for this kind of movie, this one is hard to beat.

4-0 out of 5 stars - Don't say we didn't have a Captain! -
Commander Richardson (Clark Gable) survived his last assignment as a Captain on a submarine, which was sunk in the Pacific Ocean. A year later Commander Richardson works at a desk, in Pearl Harbor, but this is not what he is meant to do as he wants to be a Submarine Captain again. He sends in a request to return to Area 7, where he once was sunk, as the area has been deemed too cursed since four other subs have been sunk there throughout the last twelve months. Commander Richardson is assigned to a new submarine, however, it was supposed to be Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe's (Burt Lancaster) assignment as he has been on the sub for two years. Despite Lieutenant Bledsoe's dislike of the navy's decision he continues to work hard for Commander Richardson, who is running diving exercises repeatedly without telling anyone why. This causes apprehension among the men on the sub as they are to enter the most feared waters of the Pacific Ocean. Run Silent, Run Deep is an interesting war film that depicts the daily frictions between Captains and the rest of the men onboard subs during the World War II. Wise creates an authentic atmosphere onboard the submarine, despite some underwater shots that obviously were shot in a swimming pool. In the end, Run Silent, Run Deep offers a suspenseful and intriguing cinematic experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest submarine war film
This is the quintessential submarine movie, not to mention one of the great war movies of all time. It by far outclasses the other submarine movies like Torpedo Alley, Torpedo Run, and The Enemy Below (although with Kurt Jurgens and Robert Mitchum the latter is actually pretty good). And although still not in Run Silent, Run Deep's league, the more recent Das Boot is excellent too.

Gable and Lancaster are great as captain and commander and the supporting efforts from Jack Ward and Don Rickles also deserve mention. Don looks like he's only 25 here (although he's probably more like 30) and he still has no hair! (That's okay, Don, we still luv ya.) The movie builds the tension up to an almost unbearable climax as Gable proceeds to train his crew to perform the risky bow shot maneuver to take out the Akekazi destroyer, despite the scepticism of both Lancaster and the crew. The tension is made all the more palpable when their first attempt at destroying the Akekazi fails and the Akekazi drops depth charge after depth charge on Gable's ship. But Gable manages to just barely slip away. Then finally, in a suspenseful climactic scene, Gable successfully torpedoes the deadly sub-hunter with the infamous bow shot.

They don't make 'em like this anymore. Big Steve says go rent it and don't Bogart the popcorn.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent submarine movie
Run Silent, Run Deep is an excellent WWII submarine adventure with an excellent cast. It tells the story of a submarine who has received a new captain in place of one of their own officers. The new captain, Captain PJ Richardson, wants revenge on the Japanese destroyer who sunk his previous sub. The man he took the position away from, First Officer Bledsoe, instantly takes a dislike to him which causes obvious problems. The movie follows the efforts of the two men to counter each other as one seeks revenge and the other tries to save the lives of the crew.

Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster are both excellent as the battling officers aboard the sub. The movie boasts an excellent supporting cast that includes Jack Warden, Brad Dexter, Nick Cravat, and Don Rickles, all who do very good jobs with their roles. However, Gable, in a later role, and Lancaster steal many of the scenes they are in together. The DVD is well worth it with a booklet included and also widescreen and full screen options for viewing. This is a great movie for fans of WWII action flicks! It is often obvious how this movie influenced later submarine movies in the genre. Go and check out this movie! ... Read more


9. The Andromeda Strain
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.98
our price: $11.98
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Asin: B00008438U
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3433
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars Catch it.
Superlative science fiction from director Robert Wise and writer Michael Crichton. It doesn't hurt that Albert Whitlock, whose groundbreaking tech work on *The Birds* set new visual standards, supervised the special effects. Even less painful is the technical support the movie received from no less than Cal Tech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For those unhappy with the technology's "dated" look, the computers and robotics were cutting edge for 1970, and more importantly, were REAL. (And remember, F/X nuts: the story is NOT set in the future; it's supposed to take place in 1970.) In *The Andromeda Strain*, the hardware's sturdy reality contributes to the suspense generated by the rather scary plot. A satellite sent to collect any possible microscopic life forms does just that, returning to Earth via a tiny isolated burg in the New Mexico desert. But the "life" the satellite has retrieved turns out to be more than anyone, except maybe some nutty, high-placed Cold Warriors, bargained for. The organism wipes out the town, turning the blood of its victims into a granulated dust that trickles out when their skin is cut by space-suited investigators. What follows is a complicated operation involving 3 top scientists and 1 M.D. who try to identify and neutralize the microscopic menace. Their lab, called Wildfire, is located in southern Nevada thousands of feet under an isolated agricultural building in the middle of the desert. (It's very Area 51-ish.) The laboratory set has to be one of the most complicated ever built in Hollywood. It's as if a top military insider drew up the blueprints. And the science is probably impeccable. This is all the result of director Wise wanting to GET IT RIGHT even more than wanting to merely entertain. This goes for his characters and casting, too: Wise casts character-actors as the scientists, eschewing glamor for believability. Someone called Kate Reid, playing the middle-age, overweight, grouchy epileptic, steals the show, such as it is. The grand result of all the incessant attention to detail is that *The Andromeda Strain* will hold up forever as one of the greatest -- or should that be one of the ONLY? -- hard-science fiction movies ever made. It's a real science geek's dream: those who think "sci-fi" is another term for "light sabers" are encouraged to look elsewhere. [The DVD, by the dreaded Image Entertainment, looks OK. The print hasn't been restored, but at least it's in the correct aspect ratio. The product is copyrighted 1997 -- therefore, zero extras. Maybe with future reissues Universal will scare up some commentary or a Making-Of with surviving members of the cast & crew. A Making-Of would be fascinating, in regards to this movie.]

5-0 out of 5 stars Decent adaptation from the book
Good absorbing story of a government project gone wrong.

Quick overview ... A capsule (code named 'scoop') returns to earth with a leathal new germ aboard which kills by soldifying the blood in the body. After the inital recovery disaster, a prearranged team of scientists are called together at a special underground laboratory to isolate and determine capabilities of the new germ. The ending I'll leave to you ... see the movie.

Fast paced story with a believable script. Well acted out although the lead was a little wooden. Basically, one could see this scenario as actually having happened at one time or another due to germ warfare research.

No music in this. Rather like "Forbidden Planet" the sound effects make up for that. Good blend of fact and fiction. This flim should keep you glued to the TV set.

This is a good movie for those that like science fiction. Too bad it's priced so high. I would hope for a re-release at a modern price. I have the VHS version and will wait until the DVD drops some to buy it.

*Highly Recommended*

~P~

4-0 out of 5 stars Potent Strain of Realism
When a man-made satellite crash-lands on Earth near a small desert town, the town residents are unaware that it carries a deadly virus from space and therefore take no precautions when handling the device. Within a frighteningly short period of time, all of the town's inhabitants are dead. All, that is, except for a crying baby and the town drunk. After being alerted to the situation, the U.S. government fears that the world's entire population may be in danger of extinction, so a crackerjack team of the nations top medical scientists is dispatched to a secret underground laboratory so that they can study the survivors and discover a cure or treatment for the alien virus before it's too late.

1971's THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN is one of the few science-fiction movies released in the immediate wake of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) that has successfully retained high status in the SF genre, and that's because it is also one of the few SF films from that era that actually takes the genre seriously and challenges the viewer's intellect. Based on the novel by Michael Crichton--one of the first movies based on a work by this now highly sought writer & director--scripter Nelson Gidding and director Robert Wise have crafted a stimulating film that is as much a scientific detective story as it is a sci-fi thriller. Audience members are kept on the edge of their seats as the scientists race against time to prevent the alien microorganism from destroying life on earth, yet viewers are also clued-in enough to stimulate their gray matter and keep them speculating right along with the film's characters. Yes, 30+ years of hindsight might make the special FX and the film's depiction of technology seem a bit dusty and dated, but Gidding's plotting and Wise's creative and innovative directing keep the excitement and the earnestness intact. To some viewers, the ending might seem a bit contrived, but overall THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN represents brilliant SF filmmaking.

The acting is pretty good, too, and Wise was ingenious in casting generally low-profile actors as the scientists, which contributes to making the characters seem true-to-life. One of the most brilliant examples of this is the casting of brash, average-looking Kate Reid as the gritty Dr. Ruth Leavitt. As is common practice in Hollywood, Wise could have chosen a sexy starlet (think Raquel Welch in 1966's FANTASTIC VOYAGE or, more recently, Rene Russo in 1995's OUTBREAK) in hopes of increasing the box-office draw. But Wise knows that in order to sell the plausibility of the plot, the characters must also feel genuine, and the wise (no pun intended) casting of non-glamour actors like Reid in this type of role more accurately reflects the real world and therefore enhances the film's overall sense of realism.

The DVD release of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN from Universal Studios belongs in the film collections of all serious science-fiction fans. Not only does it offer the film in anamorphic widescreen at its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1--which, by the way, allows viewers to awe over some of the brilliant multi-view compositions of certain shots that were aesthetically mutilated in pan-and-scan versions--but it also offers a fascinating and insightful feature commentary by director Wise and a featurette on writer Michael Crichton. Of course, there is the requisite theatrical trailer, too. And all this for a very reasonable retail price.

4-0 out of 5 stars FRIGHTENING WHAT IF MOVIE
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN was the first of Michael Crichton's novels to be successfully screened. It's a tense, suspenseful look at what happens when an unknown virus returns to earth via one of our satellites and quickly decimates the entire population (except 2--a baby and a drunk) of a small town. The movie's focus is on finding out what the virus is and how it can kill so expeditiously.
Robert Wise who gave us THE HAUNTING and THE SOUND OF MUSIC uses some split screen techniques which work well, and keeps the movie dark and suspenseful. Although it has become somewhat dated in its technologies, Wise elicits good performances from the cast, especially Kate Reid, David Wayne and Paula Kelly. Arthur Hill is a little to stiff for my liking, and James Olson overplays some of his scenes.
Still a worthwhile film, and one that will scare the pants off of you in light of where we've come with germ warfare.

1-0 out of 5 stars The crashing Bore from outer space
The Andromeda Strain is one of the worst films ever made. It is about a deadly Bacterium from the Andromeda Galaxy, which is spreading on earth. When you catch the disease your blood turns to sand, sounds cheap already, Huh.
Why the movie is so boring is because most of the time Scientists are in a labratory doing research for over two hours! The movie is about as scary as Barney. Do not buy or rent this movie. This movie is dangerous it just might bore you to death!!!!!!!!! ... Read more


10. The Sound of Music (Double Digipack)
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $26.98
our price: $20.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009V7OI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1250
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (337)

5-0 out of 5 stars The happiest sound in its best version yet!
Reviled by some, beloved by many, consistently referred to as the most popular movie musical ever made, THE SOUND OF MUSIC more than fulfills the promise of its beautiful visuals and expert song numbers on home video via DVD. This edition tops the 1995 laserdisc by allowing the sparkling, exemplary design of its 70mm. Todd-AO frame to be exhibited with increased sharpness and resolution. The 4.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is powerful and clean, but since this film was originally mixed for six-track magnetic stereo, it's curious why the effort wasn't made by Fox to split the surrounds! Nonethless, the film sounds terrific. The extra features make this package a bargain at the price. Full length commentary by director Bob Wise, with the musical numbers presented sans vocals, is a great touch. And the two documentaries are beautifully presented; full of facts and bits of arcane information that any fan will truly enjoy. A great movie, and a great DVD rendition. More like this, PLEASE!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!! One of the Best Musicals Ever Made!!!
First of all, I'd like to confess that I've probably watched this movie more than one hundred times in my lifetime.

"The Sound of Music" is such a popular movie that people can't enough of making fun of it, which is understandable: I mean, a nun, seven children, songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Austrian landscape. In reality, most of these people probably haven't sat down and watched this movie, because it is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

Julie Andrews is absolutely magical as Maria. When she runs on the mountaintop and starts singing the famous lyrics "The hills are alive...," it sends chills down my spine to this day. Christopher Plummer cuts a good figure as the captain but gave a rather stiff performance: he doesn't bring anything extra to the role. Eleanor Parker, as the Baroness, was wasted--a role like that was far beneath her talents. But the children were all wonderful, especially Charmian Carr who was charming as Liesl.

This movie is ultrasentimental and proud of it. But I'll stick with this rather than some of those one-dimensional slasher flicks which are in fashion these days. It has a plausible story, some of the world's most remembered songs, and the glorious Austrian and Swiss Alps in the background. Overall, I can't say anything other than I loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hills Are Alive...Now and Forever
No matter how many times you've seen this 1965 musicalization of the 1959 stage classic, it's still a joy to behold. For me, there are many reasons. On location filming in Saltzburg heightens the story's magnitude. The casting of Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp was a coup for both 20th Century Fox and director Robert Wise. She's magnificent and ever so professional. Back then, this was only her third Hollywood movie. But she's a pro from start to finish. Everything she does it fraught with such emotion and conviction, you'd swear she was Maria Von Trapp. Opening up the stage play with several new scenes, sub plots, songs, characters and dialogue also benefits what could have been a very sticky situation. Finally, there's the DVD itself. This is the widescreen version that was shown back in theaters when the film first opened. It includes the intermission and the Act II opening music. With no formatting for television, you get to see everything in all it's technicolor glory. On video, half the Von Trapp children didn't fit on the televsion screen. Musical numbers lost there scope as did scenes where you had 13 characters in one room and only saw 7 on the screen. I highly recommend this DVD. But wait, there's more. The 87-minute documentary is awesome. So are segments showing scenes that were cut and up dates on how the kids look today.

3-0 out of 5 stars Incredible movie, must see, but don't buy the one disc
First off. Think you have seen the Sound of Music? Well you haven't. I thought I had, many times. Of course it was always around Xmas with the commerical breaks. But that is a much edited version. There are small but significant cuts everywhere in that version. So this is a great thing to have. My 3 stars relates directly to the lack of extras on the one disc. The movie is 5+ stars, but the lack of extras warrants the 3 stars.

So this is a must buy. Also the commentary is very good here. But given the price for this on Amazon, just buy the 2 set version. I got the one disc version at a very good price so it is not a bad buy. But for $6 more, why not enjoy the double DVD? This is a must get for any movie fan, and if you are not into the extras, by all means buy this one. This movie, like all of Rogers and Hammerstein's work is emotional without ever being fake or sentimental. It is full of sentiment and completely honest sentiment at that, but never sentimentality. It totally puts to SHAME almost every director and producer and writer working in Hollywood today. Complete and total shame and disgrace. Nothing coming out of Hollywood today can hold a candle to this. Entire director's careers with academy awards can't even begin to even compare to just this one movie. So get some version, especially if you have young ones. Sit them down, and let them experience what a real movie can be.

5-0 out of 5 stars This has been a great thing to share with my daughter.
I grew up with this video and watched it on TV every year. The songs have always stuck in my head. I even did the Sound of Music Tour when I was in Austria. But now I've got my daughter introduced to this beautiful music. This and the Wizard of Oz are her favorites.

I bought the easy piano scores for her to play the songs on the piano, and singing lessons on CD "Voice Lessons TO GO", by Vaccarino (They're great and a lot cheaper than private voice lessons!) for her, (even though I use them when she's at school). So she is confident to sing along while she plays her Edelweis and Do a Dear. We love it. ... Read more


11. Audrey Rose
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005K3O0
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20682
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

3-0 out of 5 stars Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!
Okay now that my Brady colors have been revealed let me say Marsha Mason is the best part of this. I bought this b/c of the great Anthony Hopkins but honestly, in this picture he is upstaged. Marsha Masons performance even rivals the great performance of Ellen Burstyn in the Exorsist. Still, the movie has a few too many weak points to be great.

Most notably, the courtroom scenes. This case would be thrown out, no doubt about it. The jury would have no evidence they could examine out in the open and even having the scenes in the movie sorely undermines the credibility of the story.

The husband is decent, a bit overbearing, now lets discuss Ivy. She has the serious look of someone who should star in this type of movie. A real odd look that is beautiful and yet ... well, odd. But the sound direction is totally off. The dubbing used here for her "drop-outs" is so noticable. Just about every line she has has been obviously overdubbed, and poorly, it comes off as a strange "whine". Still, even with this Ivy/Audry has a sort of timeless quality about it.

Everything about the movie technically is good. The soundtrack has some spooky elements in it but never really approaches greatness. The dvd has a trailer (whoopie!) but nothing else which is a downer for anyone who owns Carrie. Still, it's the story I've always been drawn too when I think of Audrey Rose and the sort of ambiguous ending which I personally like, I think it's held up pretty well. If we could give 1/2 stars bump this to 3.5. Give me some interviews and a remastered soundtrack and this could be a 4 easily.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite a good little horror film
One of Anthony Hopkins first major films where he plays the grief stricken father of a child who was tragically killed in a car accident, burnt to death before she could be rescued. This is a slow moving film that follows Hopkins as he tries to convince Marsha Mason that her daughter Ivy is in fact the reincarnation of his child Audrey Rose. Despite some terrible reviews from critics, this is a chilling little film that tries to look at the concept of reincarnation intelligently whilst at same time maintaining its momentum as a horror story. There are some great moments such as the window episode when Ivy/Audrey Rose relives her attempt to get out of the burning car. I kept hearing "HOT HOT HOT" for days after watching the film, so all credit to then newcomer Susan Swift who played the reincarnated child Audrey Rose/Ivy. Hopkins and Mason are convincing as the respective parents of Audrey Rose/Ivy and though the film isn't a masterpiece of direction and cinematography it is still is a very good film. The final scene where Ivy/Audrey Rose is regressed back to her "first" death is both poignant and heart wrenching. Not bad for a film made in 1977 and certainly better than many of its critics have made out.

3-0 out of 5 stars things of soul also fails in cinema
I don't think this is an terrific film as commonly catalogued. It's a fable about reincarnation as believed in Hindu religion and not so badly conceived although contains a basic failure. Audrey Rose, a little girl eleven years old has disturbing nightmares that worsen progressively. Furthermore his parents are alarmed because a man are watching her. The explanation is this man had years ago a daughter killed in a car accident and he believes Audrey Rose is truly a undue premature reincarnation of her daughter and these is the origin of the strange crises Audrey suffers. Audrey isn't posessed by any devil, simply she expects a better life. Well I find one uses to think things from beyond the grave can't have these defects more own of carnal, human incapacity.

4-0 out of 5 stars BORN 1959....DIED 1964.....BORN 1964....
Audrey Rose. Who or what is Audrey Rose? Is it a demon? Is it a ghost? No. Audrey Rose a little girl. A little girl who died a tragic death and maybe living in another body of another girl......

Meet the Templetons. Janice and Bill. They live in a high-class New York apartment building with their 11-year-old daughter, Ivy. Suddenly, Ivy's personality has changed. She's not acting 11. But acting like a 5 year old. And she's been having a sleepwalking problem too. She'll get up (though, obviously sleeping) and run around her room screaming "Mommydaddymommydaddyhot!hot!hot!" and has even scorched her hands on some invisible hot fire.

Enter Elliot Hoover. A middle aged mysterious man who follows Janice and Ivy home from school every day. But he stays far behind them. Every day, Janice worries that the mysterious man is going to attack her.

One day, Elliot finally gets the chance to tell Janice and Bill something that has been bothering him. He believes that their daughter Ivy is a reincarnation of his dead child, Audrey Rose. You see, she was in the car that his wife was driving when it skidded off the road and into a ditch below where it caught on fire.He tells them that he moved into town around around the same time that Ivy has had her night fits. Suddenly, from the upstairs of their apartment, Ivy has another fit, screaming "Mommydaddymommydaddyhot!hot!hot!" The Templeton's are horrified to discover that the only way to calm her down is for Hoover to say "Audrey! Audrey Rose! It's daddy! It's daddy!" until she falls asleep peacefully. The Templeton's tell Hoover not to return to their apartment and to leave them alone.

After countless attemps to contact the Templeton's, Elliot kidnaps Ivy and is arrested. During a court battle, Ivy is taken away from her regular school and is brought to a Catholic Elementary where there will be no reports covering the possible "reincarnated girl". During that time, Ivy is upset because all the girls tease her after sneeking in a newspaper with Ivy on the front. During a special holiday event at the school, the children build a gigantic snowman and dance around it singing "Old man winter go away! Don't come back till Christmas day" Ivy is forced by Audrey Rose to walk into the fire and kill herself, but is stopped by a nun. Meanwhile, the trial is still going on and a witness who was in the car accident (the trial is now about reincarnation and if Elliot was right) said the last words she heard Audrey Rose say was "Mommydaddymommydaddyhot!hot!hot!".

Ivy is taken out of the school and Janice believes that Ivy is really Audrey Rose from the second she was born. Bill doesn't. Elliot is found "Innocent" and Janice agrees to Elliot's decision to put her under hypnosis to see what she can remember. It is done live on tv. Suddenly, Janice is startled when they go back in Ivy's memory to discover Audrey Rose yelling "Hot!Hot!Hot!Hot!Hot!Hot!Hot!Hot!Hot!" constantly. They try to take her off the hypnosis quickly, because if she doesn't snap out of it soon: she'll die.

RECCOMENDED TO FANS OF:
The Exorcist (1973)
The Omen (1976)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)

CAST

Marsha Mason......Janice Templeton
John Beck.............Bill Templeton
Anthony Hopkins..Elliot Hoover
Susan Swift..........Ivy Templeton

THE MOVIE 3/4

THE PICTURE QUALITY: 6/10: Some sparkles. It's presented in a matted 1.85:1 widescreen transfer.

THE AUDIO QUALITY: 6/10: Mono soundtrack. There is Spanish and French language tracks, both mono as well. Dolby Digital.

THE SPECIAL FEATURE: A teaser trailer. Too bad it wasn't a full trailer however, it uses only a few seconds of scenes from the movie. Runs about 19 seconds long.

SUBTITLES: French and Spanish.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Little Thriller About Reincarnation!
Audrey Rose is a good little thriller about reincarnation. it's not scary in a horror movie sort of way like The Excorcist or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre so if you are looking for a movie about demon possession or a movie with lots of blood, guts and decapitations than this aint your flick but if you like stories about reincarnation than this just may be the flick for you! Audrey Rose is more what I would call psychological Suspense and drama then horror and I enjoyed watching it and I thought the girl who played Ivy was really good. And it also stars Anthony Hopkins who is brilliant as Eliot Hoover and Marsha Mason also turns in a great performance as Ivy's mother Janice. ... Read more


12. The Sound of Music (Five Star Collection)
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00003CXCS
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3722
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (337)

5-0 out of 5 stars The happiest sound in its best version yet!
Reviled by some, beloved by many, consistently referred to as the most popular movie musical ever made, THE SOUND OF MUSIC more than fulfills the promise of its beautiful visuals and expert song numbers on home video via DVD. This edition tops the 1995 laserdisc by allowing the sparkling, exemplary design of its 70mm. Todd-AO frame to be exhibited with increased sharpness and resolution. The 4.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is powerful and clean, but since this film was originally mixed for six-track magnetic stereo, it's curious why the effort wasn't made by Fox to split the surrounds! Nonethless, the film sounds terrific. The extra features make this package a bargain at the price. Full length commentary by director Bob Wise, with the musical numbers presented sans vocals, is a great touch. And the two documentaries are beautifully presented; full of facts and bits of arcane information that any fan will truly enjoy. A great movie, and a great DVD rendition. More like this, PLEASE!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!! One of the Best Musicals Ever Made!!!
First of all, I'd like to confess that I've probably watched this movie more than one hundred times in my lifetime.

"The Sound of Music" is such a popular movie that people can't enough of making fun of it, which is understandable: I mean, a nun, seven children, songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Austrian landscape. In reality, most of these people probably haven't sat down and watched this movie, because it is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

Julie Andrews is absolutely magical as Maria. When she runs on the mountaintop and starts singing the famous lyrics "The hills are alive...," it sends chills down my spine to this day. Christopher Plummer cuts a good figure as the captain but gave a rather stiff performance: he doesn't bring anything extra to the role. Eleanor Parker, as the Baroness, was wasted--a role like that was far beneath her talents. But the children were all wonderful, especially Charmian Carr who was charming as Liesl.

This movie is ultrasentimental and proud of it. But I'll stick with this rather than some of those one-dimensional slasher flicks which are in fashion these days. It has a plausible story, some of the world's most remembered songs, and the glorious Austrian and Swiss Alps in the background. Overall, I can't say anything other than I loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hills Are Alive...Now and Forever
No matter how many times you've seen this 1965 musicalization of the 1959 stage classic, it's still a joy to behold. For me, there are many reasons. On location filming in Saltzburg heightens the story's magnitude. The casting of Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp was a coup for both 20th Century Fox and director Robert Wise. She's magnificent and ever so professional. Back then, this was only her third Hollywood movie. But she's a pro from start to finish. Everything she does it fraught with such emotion and conviction, you'd swear she was Maria Von Trapp. Opening up the stage play with several new scenes, sub plots, songs, characters and dialogue also benefits what could have been a very sticky situation. Finally, there's the DVD itself. This is the widescreen version that was shown back in theaters when the film first opened. It includes the intermission and the Act II opening music. With no formatting for television, you get to see everything in all it's technicolor glory. On video, half the Von Trapp children didn't fit on the televsion screen. Musical numbers lost there scope as did scenes where you had 13 characters in one room and only saw 7 on the screen. I highly recommend this DVD. But wait, there's more. The 87-minute documentary is awesome. So are segments showing scenes that were cut and up dates on how the kids look today.

3-0 out of 5 stars Incredible movie, must see, but don't buy the one disc
First off. Think you have seen the Sound of Music? Well you haven't. I thought I had, many times. Of course it was always around Xmas with the commerical breaks. But that is a much edited version. There are small but significant cuts everywhere in that version. So this is a great thing to have. My 3 stars relates directly to the lack of extras on the one disc. The movie is 5+ stars, but the lack of extras warrants the 3 stars.

So this is a must buy. Also the commentary is very good here. But given the price for this on Amazon, just buy the 2 set version. I got the one disc version at a very good price so it is not a bad buy. But for $6 more, why not enjoy the double DVD? This is a must get for any movie fan, and if you are not into the extras, by all means buy this one. This movie, like all of Rogers and Hammerstein's work is emotional without ever being fake or sentimental. It is full of sentiment and completely honest sentiment at that, but never sentimentality. It totally puts to SHAME almost every director and producer and writer working in Hollywood today. Complete and total shame and disgrace. Nothing coming out of Hollywood today can hold a candle to this. Entire director's careers with academy awards can't even begin to even compare to just this one movie. So get some version, especially if you have young ones. Sit them down, and let them experience what a real movie can be.

5-0 out of 5 stars This has been a great thing to share with my daughter.
I grew up with this video and watched it on TV every year. The songs have always stuck in my head. I even did the Sound of Music Tour when I was in Austria. But now I've got my daughter introduced to this beautiful music. This and the Wizard of Oz are her favorites.

I bought the easy piano scores for her to play the songs on the piano, and singing lessons on CD "Voice Lessons TO GO", by Vaccarino (They're great and a lot cheaper than private voice lessons!) for her, (even though I use them when she's at school). So she is confident to sing along while she plays her Edelweis and Do a Dear. We love it. ... Read more


13. I Want to Live!
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000062XEZ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 8713
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Susan Hayward won an Academy Award® for her performance in the compelling 1958 classic I Want to Live! Hayward plays Barbara Graham, a "good-time girl" with a heart of gold and absolutely no instincts about when to drop a bad association. After bouncing in and out of the prison system for a series of petty crimes, Graham suddenly finds herself framed for murder and facing the death penalty. Hayward is simply marvelous, giving a wrenching, complex performance without ever becoming maudlin. Director Robert Wise ratchets the tension up to a nearly unbearable level, making Barbara's moments of hope as agonizing as those of her despair. The film is based on the story of the real-life Barbara Graham, taken from her letters and interviews with reporter Ed Montgomery. Montgomery himself appears as a character, and the film is surprisingly evenhanded about condemning his own role in Graham's conviction. This is definitely a must-see for Hayward fans. --Ali Davis ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars fantastic drama, a tour-de-force by Hayward
I WANT TO LIVE is a stunning film starring the amazing Susan Hayward in her Oscar-winning triumph. Director Robert Wise (THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE SAND PEBBLES, STAR!) gives us an unforgettable film noir classic.

The film tells the true story of convicted murderess Barbara Graham (Susan Hayward - TAP ROOTS, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS) who was sentenced to the gas chamber for her part in the robbery and murder of an elderly lady. Professing her innocence right up to the end, Barbara is a sly, sardonic but always-likable woman who wins the heart of the audience. Hayward's tour-de-force performance as Graham is vastly rewarding. Her multi-faceted portrayal of Graham is truly amazing.

Highly recommended.

The DVD includes the trailer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent fare written to showcase the lovely Miss Hayward
Susan Hayward was one of the best actresses ever. I just love to watch her. The only real talent to come after her was Faye Dunaway. Anyway, "I Want to Live!" was Hollywood's scathing indictment of the death penalty and is the film for which Susan Hayward is best remembered. It is her Oscar-winning performance. Frankly, I liked her a lot better in "I'll Cry Tomorrow" "Smash Up: The Story of a Woman" and "With a Song in My Heart." I thought she was much better in those, but the Oscar had eluded her, so they wrote this screenplay full of plenty of dramatic scenes to get her the Oscar she rightfully deserved. It worked.

The dialog and plot are excellent and her scenes as the condemned woman hours from execution are still extremely powerful today. In some ways, Susan Hayward was at her very best, and with the perfect script, a rare combination. You still sit there rooting for her to get that stay of execution in the movie, the movie grabs you that much. I've watched this film about 10 times, she never gets the stay, but the situations are so real, you root for one every time.

The only thing that to me does not make this Miss Hayward's best role (apart from maybe a handful of scenes) is that Barbara Graham, the real-life death-row inmate portrayed here, was a low-budget, crude, herion addict who got along by using men, doing petty thefts and sometimes being a prostitute, and I don't mean the $100 an hour ones that come to your hotel room. We're talking low-class street woman. Miss Hayward is nothing of the kind, she doesn't have that look or manner. Though the prison and death penalty scenes and themes are excellently and realistically portrayed here, you feel like you're watching a wrongfully-convicted society woman, nun, or school teacher getting the gas chamber, not a two-bit street prostitute/heroine junkie/thief. I don't think this necessarily takes away from the movie much or how it grips you, but for this reason, I'm not sure I would rate this the best of Susan Hayward. The Oscar was righting previous wrongs, in my opinion.

I highly recommend this film, and if you like it, try some of Susan Hayward's other films. She was really outstanding!

5-0 out of 5 stars The film that changed my attitude!
I feel that many cold-blooded criminals that're in jail probably deserve the death penalty, but when we can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they actually did the crime, then it's time to admit a mistake & let the falsely accused go free! This is a prime example of criminal justice gone wrong. The heartbreaking true story of Barbara Graham, who was wrongfully executed for a grisly murder she didn't commit. I knew the story before watching this, yet up to the very end I kept on hoping that Barbara, brilliantly played by Susan Hayward, would be granted another trial to prove her innocence. The tension is almost as unbearable for the viewer as it is for poor Barbara as she counts the hours & finally minutes before her execution. I'll admit, early in the movie it's difficult to sympathize with someone so amoral, but by the time she's pleading for her life we all feel terrible about her situation. I haven't seen many of Susan Hayward's movies, but her performance in this (which won her an oscar) is equal to anything Bette Davis or Joan Crawford ever did (& that's saying a lot!). If you're looking for a great Susan Hayward film, you've found it! This powerful film convinced me that the death penalty is not the best way to deal out justice. Consider Charles Manson: Now of course he deserves to die, but don't you also think he deserves to rot in jail the rest of his life? Whatever your current opinion about the death penalty, I gurantee this movie will make you think twice!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hayward Masterpiece!
Maybe I'm a bit partial, being an avid Susan Hayward fan, but "I Want to Live!" must rank as the perfect example of how to meld great story and super talent. Susan rightfully deserved her Oscar for her portrayal of Barbara Graham, a woman convicted and executed for a murder she denied to the end. All the key element of sophisticated film making come together to make this a treasure. They don't make them like this any more.

4-0 out of 5 stars I WANT AN OSCAR!...
A memorable film from the 50's based allegedly on the true story of a woman named Barbara Graham who went to the gas chamber for a murder she swore she didn't commit. As played by Susan Hayward (who won an Oscar), Graham is a party girl and sometime thief/prostitute involved with some very shady small time crooks. An old woman is robbed and killed in the process and the crooks let Graham take the rap. Graham is also the mother of a small child---an angle played up in the press as she waves her son's toy tiger at the cameras. What sticks in your mind, though, are the scenes where she's back and forth from her death row cell to the gas chamber as she waits anxiously for a stay from the governor. These scenes are nerve-racking and make me cry when I watch this movie. Hayward is vivid and believable in these scenes as she is throughout the movie. I recommend this film for people who like watching stellar performances in off-beat films. A fine b&w case study of crime, psychodrama and powerful acting. Don't pass this one up. ... Read more


14. Star!
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001FR54I
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 7634
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (47)

3-0 out of 5 stars Top Julie,Average Movie
Noel Coward said of this movie,"It will undoubtedly be a marvelous commercial film,and Julie Andrews and Danny will
be wonderful;so will all those nostalgic,unforgettable songs.
But it won't bear the slightest possible resemblance to the
Gertie we knew".Coward,who was one of Gertrude Lawrence's best
friends and wrote some of Daniel Massey's(who played him)dialogue,was so right!"STAR!" is two films in one.First,it's
basically nothing more than a routine Hollywood musical biogrpahy,full of more fiction than fact.Robert Wise,Saul
Chaplin, and Twentieth Century-Fox spent far too much money on
the sumptuous sets and costumes(which do look beautiful in
Ernest Laszlo's gorgeous Technicolor photography).They should
have spent it on William Fairchild's banal script.And who said
it had to be three hours?Wise and editor William Reynolds should
have cut it by at least one hour.
But secondly, "STAR!" is also a Julie Andrews star vehicle, and
on that level it works.Vocally and dramatically,this is one of
Julie's best performances.Although she was wrong for the part
due to differences in voice and personality, Julie is winning
and winsome here.And she's never looked better on film!And,oh,
that soundtrack!Gershwin,Porter,Weill,and the others have rarely
been perfromed so well(magnificent work by arranger/conductor
Lennie Hayton and his crew!).
All in all,though, this is just a typical big-budget 1960s musical-entertaining for an evening,but nothing more.Not the
horror most critics and fans called it,but not a classic,either.
For a much better musical bio,try Doris Day's "Love Me Or Leave
Me".

5-0 out of 5 stars This "Star" definitely shines!
Julie Andrews received most of the blame for the critical and financial failure of this film. Critics were not kind to her because she sought to drop her so-called "wholesome" image with her performance of Gertrude Lawrence. Actually the problem, if there is one, is the script. With its integration of newsreel footage, both real and re-enacted, and the behind-the-scenes story of the star who was once the toast of the Broadway and London stages, the film takes on a rather disjointed look. But the technique is an original, innovative and generally successful one. The musical numbers are exceptional with "Berlington Bertie...", "Limehouse Blues" and the finale, "Jenny" among the highlights. Daniel Massey as Noel Coward nearly steals the show. But above all there is Julie! She is magnificent! Surely no one else could have taken on the enviable but difficult task of portraying Lawrence in a massive production like this one. Her work is on a par with MARY POPPINS, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, HAWAII, VICTOR/VICTORIA and DUET FOR ONE! The close-mindedness of the critics and audiences at the time of STAR!'s release does not diminish the fact that the acting, singing and dancing of Andrews is a monumental achievement and elevates the film to near greatness! If you can see this film in a letterboxed, surround sound edition or better still in a widescreen movie theatre it is even better. The truncated version that is the most widely seen runs around 120 minutes and should be avoided. Try and catch the 175 minute version. You will not be sorry!

1-0 out of 5 stars Missing STAR!
I own the VHS version of STAR! and the Laser Disc too. Both are compete versions of the film. Now I purchased the DVD of STAR! and find it pales to both the VHS and Laser Disc. What happened to the intermission title and Enter-act music? We are talking about a minute and a half of music. The DVD even talks about the intermission music and how to control the presentation of the second act. This is totally unexceptable. I think I will return this DVD and get my money back. I'll stick to the beautiful complete version on Laser Disc.

4-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST ANDREWS
Wow what a film.... But as a biography is falls short on information about Gertie. However; as a Julie Andrews-extravaganza it is pure GOLD! Her timing and talent is beyond Poppins, Maria Von Trapp and Victor/Victoria:-))))

5-0 out of 5 stars COULDN'T MAKE UP THEIR MINDS........
This Lavish, Spectacular, and ultimately hollow version of Gertie's life says very little about everybody, exceot it shows that the gal had drive, passion, oooodles of talent [Gertie said something about herself "I know not to bump into the furniture and don't sing tooo well, but I do try"]... and that's basically what we get here. [It somewhat smatters of that lavish Shirley Maclaine/Gene Kelly musical, you know which one - she's always marrying the wrong man - Kelly directed, with Paul Newman, Dean Martin, etc.]

JULIE ANDREWS is exquisitely gowned and coiffed ... and surrounded by a stellar cast Daniel Massey as the wry Noel Coward [old time chum of Gertie's ~ we never delve into his life - which would have been an interesting counterpoint to Gertie's - slightly predatorial, but UTTERLY, UTTERLY charming]

The movie is sandwiched between old sepia [recreated] newsreel footage] so we constantly jump from small scarchy period screen to widescreen and TODD-AO constantly ~ This version is new to me - I originally saw the shortened, cropped version - and unless I blinked -the length does defy concentration I believe that PARIESSIENNE PIERROT is excised from this version ... this one contains the eleborate, East Indian "Patella Tune" - too technical - not an inch of fun.

BUT JULIE does look spectacular - of special note is the final scene from 'LADY IN THE DARK' - that problem musical. An odd recording of this original with Gertie is around, strangely only "My Ship" and "Jennie" remain on this disc - the rest is just dialogue between Gertie and the psychiatrist ......

No, it is a fine DVD to own, but Gertie deserves just something else - perhaps starting with THE KING AND I [her final Broadway show ~ and her rather dramatic passing away during the run] and working back INCLUDING Noel's PRIVATE LIFE????? ... Read more


15. The Desert Rats
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000063US0
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 8056
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Poor production values
Richard Burton turns in a very strong performance, as usual, but the low-budget production values in this picture take it down a couple of notches. There is nothing even approaching original German equipment. In fact, the uniforms and equipment would have been unacceptable poor in a TV episode of the "Rat Patrol" made 15 years later. The whole point of Afrika Korps desert warfare is that the uniforms and equipment have to be cool looking.

Frankly, this is not a film you'd ever need to see twice, much less own on DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a good WWII Movie
This is a very good WWII movie set in North Africa. Richard Burton is very good in his role. It seems that he put a lot more depth into his characters in his earlier pictures as you can see here. As for Mason, he is one of a handful of actors that are always good no matter what role they play. Robert Wise also demonstrates why he is such a gifted director turning in a film with both a good story and character development. This is a notch above many other war movies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Widescreen or Full Format?
It's a fine film and certainly a good one for those of us who like exciting war films. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Mason's Rommel is every bit as good as his Rommel in the earlier superb Desert Fox. But, you should know the information on the back of the case has conflicting information about the film's DVD format. In the orange box listing features it clearly notes it's Full Frame at 1.33:1. But in the small white print at the bottom it says Widescreen Version. The 1.33:1 (full screen) is the same as The Desert Fox and many other BW films of the same general time. Considering the action and character exchanges fit nicely into the full screen format, my guess is that the film was filmed in this format and the widescreen note is a typo on the case.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent war drama, with timely elements
Richard Burton stars in this excellent war drama, directed by Robert Wise. James Mason reprises his role as Rommel, from "The Desert Fox."
I have to admit, I watched this in the hopes that I might gain some additional insight into the desert fighting in Iraq.
And I did. Even though this is a 50-year old movie, the desert scenes...the horrible reality of a "war in a desert"...gives this film another subtext for the viewer, and makes it all the more gripping.
Yes, there are the standard war-movie subplots, but for the most part, there's a lot of uncommonly good elements to this movie. The Aussie aspect, the procedural details to the raids and attacks. It's constantly involving...
Consider this a safe bet for war film fans, and an equally safe bet for those who simply enjoy a good story well told.

3-0 out of 5 stars Desert Heroes
If you enjoy WWII movies you certainly want to catch this one with Richard Burton and James Mason. The cast, sets, and music are great. It is true classic WWII movie. Even if you aren't a war movie fan if you enjoy documentaries about the war you will enjoy this well told story of the battle for Tobruk. I was never a big fan of Burton's but I think he did a good job in this movie and "Where Eagles Dare". ... Read more


16. Helen of Troy
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $19.97
our price: $17.97
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Asin: B0001AVZNA
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 14831
Average Customer Review: 3.95 out of 5 stars
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Description

Homer's Illiad surges to the screen in Helen Of Troy, from the '50s heyday of big-screen spectaculars. Robert Wise (Westside Story, The Sound Of Music) directs this lavish epic capturing some 30,000 people on screen at a then huge cost of $6 million. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

3-0 out of 5 stars 50's style splashy, superficial treatment of the Iliad
Having seen Troy, the blockbuster from the Hollywood "Pitt of horror," I also aver that other efforts to tell the story of the Iliad have met with limited success. Take the case of Helen Of Troy, the 1955 movie with Rossana Podesta and an all-star British cast. Despite its near two-hour length, it's all splashy pageantry with no substance, with all sorts of liberties taken with Homer's tale.

In this version, Paris, en route to Sparta on a peace mission with his cousin Aeneas, is swept overboard, and rescued from Menelaus's soldiers by Helen. Menelaus is portrayed as a portly bearded unloving tyrant, similar in Troy, but he nevertheless rallies Agamemnon, Nestor, Diomedes, Achilles, and Ulysses (he's not called Odysseus here) when Paris and Helen flee and sets sail for Troy.

Naturally, Paris is condemned by nearly every Trojan for bringing the Greeks to their doorstep. Helen of course still cherishes him, as does his brother Polydorus, someone all too eager to spill some Spartan blood. Priam's wife Hecuba is the only other one to show sympathy for Helen.

Another contrast between this and Troy is that the latter spends too much time on certain aspects, whereas Helen Of Troy only brushes the surface. The conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles over Briseis played a huge part in Troy. Here, Briseis is not even mentioned by name, but Achilles refuses to fight per the Iliad.

So what does work? The costumes on both sides, the actual ships with oars and the sight of marching Greek phalanxes, and the city of Troy itself is of good 50's quality. And the grief on Andromache's face is visible on her face, as she realizes that Hector is about to be killed--pretty good for the 50's.

However, anachronistic errors include the medieval wooden towers the Greeks use to scale the walls of Troy and the battering ram. The funniest are the leopard or jaguar skins worn by Achilles and at one point Hector. Achilles, king of the jungle... yeah right! And the statue of Athena is so grotesque that I wondered if I was looking at Medusa, or worse yet, Kali.

As for the performers, Harry Andrews was an interesting choice as Hector. Ronald Lewis shines as Aeneas, as does as Nora Swinburne as Hecuba and Robert Brown as Polydorus. But Janette Scott as Cassandra is my favourite, a slip of a girl maddened by the gift of foresight, yet doomed not to be believed. And Jacques Sernas's wooden blonde, blue-eyed Paris was clearly meant for the women at the time. He does bring shame to Troy, but he's more of a fighter here than Orlando Bloom's version, as he bests Ajax in Sparta. However, Stanley Baker's Achilles leaves much to be desired. Brigitte Bardot has a small part as Andraste, Helen's cute personal slave, before she became a blonde temptress in the 60's and much worse later.

Movies in the 1950's only took a superficial cliched approach to novels or classics, with a sheer disregard for accuracy (Paris kills Patroculus here, not Hector), and that is Helen Of Troy's Achilles heel. At the sight of the Greek ships massing along the Aegean, Priam says the phrase of "the face that launched a thousand ships." I'd probably launch a few row boats after this Helen, but not a thousand ships. Later, it is Helen who seeing the wooden horse wheeled in, steals Laocoon's line: "Timeo danaos et dona ferente." Or in English per the movie, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts." A not bad, though dated effort, especially for those used to hoards of digital armies and gory violence.

4-0 out of 5 stars Helen of Hollywood's Troy
This is my favorite movie version of the story of Helen of Troy. It's more melodramatic and theatrical than the recent cable TV miniseries, but it is faster paced and has a grandeur and fascination with Greek mythology lacking in that version. At least Cassandra is Kassandra in this film - she's endowed with the gift of prophecy, yet no one believes her until it's too late. Then again, many other mythological details are sacrificed for simplicity's sake.

In the role of Helen, Rossana Podesta is radiantly beautiful. She indeed has the face that could launch a thousand ships. And the Paris of Jacques Sernas is nearly as beautiful as his beloved. Their passion is believable, if a tad overblown. The rest of cast is good too, especially the Priam of Sir Cedric Hardwick, Achilles of Stanley Baker and Odysseus of Torin Thatcher. Although the Trojan War occured during Mycenaean times, most of the set designs and costumes appear to use Classical Greece as the model, and to very good effect, for it gives the movie a nobility lacking in the more recent version. It's all pure Hollywood and many liberties have been taken. The spectacular scenery, great matte work and action sequences nevertheless make for a very entertaining movie. So where's the DVD?

4-0 out of 5 stars Better Than OK
First of all, anyone who depends upon films to understand history (especially ancient history) is on a fool's errand. Moreover, both of Homer's epic poems possess a scope and depth which simply cannot be accommodated within a film with a running time of less than 15-20 hours. That said, this is a generally entertaining presentation of the basic plot: Prince Paris of Troy (Jacques Sernas) visits Sparta, falls in love with Queen Helen (Rosanna Podesta) and she with him, they return together to Troy, her outraged husband Menelaus (Nial MacGinnis) organizes an army and follows them, lays siege to the city, and eventually Troy is occupied and then obliterated.

Most of the film's tension (such as it is) involves Achilles (Stanley Baker) and his adversarial relationships with Menelaus and Agamemnon (Robert Douglas) and then with Prince Hector (Harry Andrews) whom he slays in hand-to-hand combat. This is an above average spectacle, comparable with predecessors Samson and Delilah (1949) and Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954). By no means a great film, nonetheless Helen of Troy (as directed by Robert Wise) offers generally solid acting throughout its cast and several memorable battle scenes without benefit of digital technologies when filmed in 1955. Yes, that's Brigitte Bardot as Andraste and Eduardo Ciannelli as Andros. And yes, I enjoyed seeing this film again, motivated to do so after seeing Wolfgang Petersen's Troy. The inclusion of various gods and goddesses in the earlier film now seems silly but the absence of a "superstar" such as Brad Pitt in one of its lead roles is (at least for me) refreshing.

4-0 out of 5 stars back to the fifties
This movie typically dates from an era, when the many local movie theatres were visited regularly for their newest issues. An era when television could not compete yet, also an era when society wasn't as hectic and demanding as it is today.

So just sit back, relax, and take your time to watch 'Helen of Troy'. Enjoy its 'overture' for instance, a fine piece of film-music to get you in the right mood. The concert lasts about five minutes, without occurring any change in the picture on your screen.

Once this movie is on its way, its shots are fine. Its characters are played well, too, although in some heroic style not fashionable anymore.
Further there isn't much to tell. The fifties show a clear trend for pompous movies lending their plot from ancient Greek or Roman history. The enjoyable 'Helen of Troy' is just one of them.

P.s.: what about Brigitte Bardot? Her tiny role as a slave-girl in a pompous Greek-history setting does not suit her talents very well. Brigitte makes the best of it, though, occasionally succeeding in letting her famous image shine through.

4-0 out of 5 stars Long before there was "Troy," there was "Helen of Troy"
After watching the current big budget film "Troy" and complaining bitterly about what the screenplay did to Homer, Euripides, and other ancient writers it seemed time to finally check out the 1956 Hollywood version of "Helen of Troy," which stared Rossana Podestà in the title role and Jack Sernas as Paris. Podestà was an Italian sex siren her had to learn her lines by rote in English and who was picked over established stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Rhonda Fleming, Ava Gardner and Yvonne DeCarlo for the part of Helen. Of course, it is hard to say she is the most beautiful woman in the film let alone the world since Brigitte Bardot is playing Andraste.

The script by Hugh Gray, N. Richard Nash, and John Twist, does a good job of including the goddesses Aphrodite and Athena without having them literally appear. The idea of the pact among the princes of Greece to decide who would win Helen's hand and the promise to defend anyone who violated the pact is ignored. Helen's father, the king of Sparta, just married her off to Menelaus (Niall MacGinnis), who, along with his brother, Agamemnon (Robert Douglas), is interested in attacking Troy to take its riches. The kings of Greece have gathered in Sparta to plan the attack when Paris comes along, falls in love with Helen, and steals her away to Troy.

Once there, nobody is happy to see this development. King Praimus (Cedric Hardwicke) and Hector (Harry Andrews) are upset over the fact the Greeks are going to come to attack Troy and the priestess Kassandra (Janette Scott) is crying gloom and doom, but, of course, nobody is listening to her. The people even come to throw things at Paris and his woman but he sways them with a short speech. Of course, nothing is going to stop the Greeks, because Helen is just an excuse for conquering the rich city that controls the Dardanelles (the importance of which is explained in the prologue), and we are treated to the spectacle of 30,000 men fighting it out on the plains of Troy in glorious Warnercolor.

In terms of Homer's "Iliad," the wrath of Achilles (Stanley Baker) has to do with the fact that he flat out does not like Agamemnon, which is made clear the first time we see them together in Sparta. At some point he starts pouting in his tent. The death of Patroclus (Terence Longdon) still sets into motion the chain of deaths that defined the end of the Trojan War, but the context is different and reinforces the idea that the Trojans are the good guys. The extension of that is that our young lovers deserve to live happily ever after. But will the screenplay violate the classical story that far? Wily Odysseus (Torin Thatcher) comes up with the stratagem of a rather impressive looking Trojan Horse and the end game of the ten year war is played out.

Like "Troy," this version also avoids the worst part of "The Trojan Women" by Euripides, allowing Andromache (Patricia Marmont) to flee with Aeneas (Ronald Lewis) instead of having her endure her baby boy being tossed off the walls of Troy (which reminds me: for future reference, finish looting a city before you start burning it). But once again Hollywood proves that when it comes to adapting Homer and the rest of the story of the Trojan War they always think they can improve on the original. Yet despite the spectacle there are no transcendent moments in this film, let along the dramatic highpoints of the epic poem by Homer.

The battle sequences are certainly spectacular and much better than the individual combat sequences, so it is hard not to favor the marching formations of the thousands of extras with their spears and shields over the CGI tens of thousands we saw in "Troy." Director Robert Wise gives the action a sense of classical splendor while Max Steiner's rousing score standing out a lot more than the dialogue. There is an interesting feel to that dialogue and the performance of actors, most of whom are British and classically trained. They are not doing Shakespeare, but they give the drama a certain weight. There is no real passion between Helen and Paris, but at least he has the virtue this time around of being a real prince of Troy, capable of going toe to toe with Ajax (Maxwell Reed).

The DVD contains the original trailer, with its hyperbolic titles, and a trio of black & white featurettes by Gig Young for some sort of 1950s television movie show in which he promotes "Helen of Troy." Ultimately this is a respectable version of the classical story and if it is not great at least it does not have any of those transcendantly bad moments found in so many of the European sandal-and-spear spectacles. ... Read more


17. West Side Story
Director: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6305132984
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 14410
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

The winner of 10 Academy Awards, this 1961 musical by choreographer Jerome Robbins and director Robert Wise (The Sound of Music) remains irresistible. Based on a smash Broadway play updating Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the 1950s era of juvenile delinquency, the film stars Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers from different neighborhoods--and ethnicities. The film's real selling points, however, are the highly charged and inventive song-and-dance numbers, the passionate ballads, the moody sets, colorful support from Rita Moreno, and the sheer accomplishment of Hollywood talent and technology producing a film so stirring. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim wrote the score. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (195)

5-0 out of 5 stars Here Come THE JETS!
WEST SIDE STORY remains unique...to the point of astounding...in status among most accomplished classics in cinema history. Legendary director Robert Wise[whose eclectic mastery of film ranges from "lost" mythology epic, HELEN OF TROY to sci-fi milestones-THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and STAR TREK:The Movie]perfectly renders a film of passion;tragedy;humor and ultimate celebration of youthful humanity. Leonard Bernstein's score is peerless Americana: classic ART and popular entertainment.Jerome Robbins'choreography is electrifying;Steven Sondheim's "libretto lyrics" are ensconded in popular music immortality.

West Side Story's ensemble cast is likewise peerless.
Natalie Wood is superb as American JULIET, Maria. Richard Beymer's Tony/Romeo charcterization wonderfuly combines heroic "tough guy" with star-crossed lover. George Chakris(Bernardo)and Russ Tamblyn (Riff)jive; fight and dance their rival gangs into legend. My favorite is Rita Moreno.Her performance as earth mother/eternal woman figure, ANITA is remarkable. Her ferocious sexual brio;lioness-Queen humor("if you can fight in/for AMERICA!");home girl insouciance, and passionate GRACE are archetypal.WEST SIDE STORY thematically equals--if not surpasses--its SHAKESPEAREAN progenitor.It is America's SOUND OF MUSIC.The ten Academy Awards could be justly re-awarded.

[When I learned "my" homies back in Massachusetts'Pelham Regional High School...citadel/incubator of so-called 5-college professoriate and University of Mass'PC satrapy centered in Amherst...BANNED WEST SIDE STORY as Racist(this year the school is featuring VAGINA MONOLOGUES)I wondered: "WHERE ARE THE JETS when you need them?"]...

Certainly WSS was never conceived--as Mel Gibsons's THE PASSION OF CHRIST--to stir Culture War and rally believers. WEST SIDE STORY is,"unsimply",American film making at its finest and cinema art of world class caliber. It is movie ICON,which,as The JETS challenge, remains at-the-ready: "to beat every last f.....'gang on the whole f.....'street!"(10 Stars)

5-0 out of 5 stars powerful,realistic , the finest musical drama I have seen
This ia a very intense, fast moving story in which many of the scenes easily could have happened in real life in New York at that time.

The quality of the music and lyrics blends beautifully with the action, and the choreographed dances are breathtaking.The actors fit their parts to such perfection that I could not imagine anyone else than Natalie Wood playing Maria, or George Chakiris as Bernardo, and on and on for the rest of the Jets and Sharks. My favorite musicals are those from 1950-1970 and of all the great ones like Oklahoma, South Pacific, and the Sound of Music, West Side Story impresses me as the most exciting dramatic musical of all time. It is hard to find a boring moment in this movie. When I think about this movie, the ballet numbers, choreography, and excitement stand out the most in my mind. For a fast moving drama this is a classic against which to compare other musical drama. Who would have thought that a mere conflict between two gangs could have been portrayed into such a dynamic movie. The producers certainly succeeded in bringing up to date the Romeo and Juliet saga. The romance and tragedy of Tony and Maria will always be indelibly impressed in my mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent adaptation of Romeo & Juliet!
Robert Wise made his masterpiece with this film mixing the essential spirit of the shakesperian mood , recreating it in the modern times as a racial conflict.
Wise mixed the drama with a credible plot . The coreography is towering and the music ( Oh what kind of inspiration was in the mind of Leonard Bernstein , acquire buy also the soundtrack; Maria became a classic ), Rita Moreno won a deserved Academy Award and this became a personal triumph for Natalie Wood one of the most beautiful faces ever seen in the cinema story .
The sequence fights between the bunchs is perfect articulated , there is a fine balance between drama and music.
Enjoyable film and of course for all a generation of teenagers in that age , who actaully are grandparents , still remember with nosthalgie that unforgettable jewel picture .

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Musical
West Side Story is one of my favorite musicals. The music and the choreography is incredible. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer make a perfect Maria and Tony. Now that it is on the 2 Disc Special Limited Edition, it is even better. You can have the original intermission music if you wish and there is a great documentary called West Side Memories which shows how this amazing musical was made. Along with the special edition you get a book that contains the original screenplay, a timeline of the show from when the idea was first thought of and to when it came to the screen, a pamphlet you could of bought in the theaters when it first opened in 1961, and newspaper clippings of what critics thought of the show. Even if you didn't get the special edition this show is still worth owning. The songs are incredible. My favorites are "Maria", "America", and "I Feel So Pretty" which a ninety minute instrumental version is used for the intermission.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best movie Ever
This movie is a must anyone who loves musicals, it's a total classic. If you thought you knew a lot about the movie, think again, because with all the extra fetures will provide you with more knowledge that you than think about.

The movie has definatley got some of the best dance seguences ever made for a musical. ... Read more


18. The Set-Up
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $19.97
our price: $17.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000244EZ6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 14673
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This riveting, gut-punching boxing picture plays out in something close to "real time." We are locked in with an over-the-hill pug (Robert Ryan) as he arrives at an arena for a match against a younger opponent. What he doesn't know yet is that his crooked manager has agreed to throw the fight for some gangsters--so Ryan has more than one battle on his hands as each bruising round goes by. At a lean, mean 72 minutes, The Set-Up manages to load the essential film noir themes into one potent package, excitingly delivered with no breathing room. Director Robert Wise would go on to make such mega-productions as The Sound of Music, which only makes you appreciate his economy here. And the movie's a fine showcase for tall, craggy Robert Ryan, one of the great under-sung actors in American movies, who was a boxer himself before becoming an actor. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps American cinema's most underrated film
Simply put this is a masterpiece. Presumably the belated praise "The Set-Up" is owed will come its way with this new DVD release. Director Robert Wise has some very good films to his credit but this is tour de force. The camera work and editing are unparalleled. The film's myriad minor characters are magically revealed by short (but never choppy) camera shots.
"The Set-Up" is the story of an aging boxer hoping that one last fight can turn around his career and thus his life. Shady gamblers and corrupt fight handlers have other ideas. The setting is the fictional Paradise City, a grimy, cynical fast-paced and totally unsentimental city. Much of the action takes place in the boxing arena featuring some of the best fight sequences ever shot. But a scene in a bar is memorable as are shots following the boxer's unhappy girlfriend.
The movie is shot in real time, only 72 minutes, but what a 72 minutes it is. Never has so much of a story been told in so short a time.
Adding to the value of this DVD is the accompanying commentary provided by Wise and Martin Scorsese. Scorsese is not only one of the great directors of all time but is also wonderful in the burgeoning field of DVD film commentary. He has forgotten more about film than most of us will ever know. His speaking style is not just insightful but engaging. Just listen to him explain "The Set-Up"s stylized realism.
But watch "The Set-Up" first without the commentary, then enjoy and appreciate it even more with it.
A great film lover's film.

5-0 out of 5 stars Next stop, "Paradise City"!
This is one of the best boxing films of all time & has some truly intense fight scenes that would impress any Raging Bull fan! It is also a terrific film noir with two of the genre's underappreciated icons: Robert Ryan & Audrey Totter. Robert Wise's skillful direction, especially of the lengthy fight scene is flawless. Robert Ryan stars as an over-the-hill boxer who's been on a losing streak & who desperately wants to win a match so that he & his wife (Audrey Totter) will have more money. But it's much more than that. He also wants to regain his pride & self-respect. His manager has made a deal with the opposing fighter's team that Ryan will take a dive in the 3rd round. There's just one problem: Ryan doesn't know about the "set-up". What happens next is one of the most realistic boxing scenes in the history of cinema! You see the bloodthirsty & crazed fans screaming as Ryan tries to survive against a much younger fighter who's overly confident because of the "fix". As the fight progresses Ryan's opponent realizes that Ryan has no plans of taking a dive & things get ugly. The camerawork during the fight is incredible: I felt like I was in the ring & found myself flinching as Ryan took some hard punches. Don't worry, I won't spoil the ending! The dvd has a superb picture quality & an interesting commentary by director Robert Wise & Martin Scorsese. Although the film is only 72 minutes I think it's truly a great masterpiece, & I also recommend these: Body & Soul, Champion, & Raging Bull.

5-0 out of 5 stars SUPERB FILM NOIR FROM ROBERT WISE IS A GREAT DVD!
Long before television's "24", Robert Wise gave us this 1949 film-noir classic, set in "real-time" against a boxing milieu.

An exceptional performance from Robert Ryan, with great support from a seasoned troupe of film favorites, THE SET-UP will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The DVD looks marvelous, the best I have ever seen of this film. It captures the essence of the RKO-noir look, and is genuinely film-like. Don't be swayed by these neophytes who negate a video transfer because it has "age-related artifacts". What hooey! Not every film has to undergo a million dollar digitization to look as good as it did when it was new, and THE SET-UP has surely never looked better!

An added treat are insightful commentary thoughts from the film's director Mr. Wise, and another legendary director who seems to like the movie. Some guy named Marty Scorsese. :)

Grab it!

3-0 out of 5 stars GET SET-UP FOR A CLASSIC FILM NOIR
Robert Wise's "The Set-Up" is a taut and exciting 71 minute masterpiece that pulls no punches when it comes to exposing the seedy underworld racket of professional boxing. All the essentials are present for one of the undisputed champions of film noir. A travesty that in recent years this film has not gotten the press or accolades that it so rightfully deserves. The sadly forgotten Robert Ryan stars as Stoker, a once optimistic, once handsome pugilist who falls prey to two unscrupulous fight promoters who make a deal with an underworld kingpin to throw the fight. The wrinkle: nobody tells Ryan that he's got to lose, hence he's driven to win. Ryan, still lean and muscled, was himself a boxer before he became an actor and the intensity in his performance is certainly delving on prior experience in the ring. The film unfolds in 'real time' meaning that the action takes place in approximately the same amount of time it would take for the real event to take place. This tough, gritty little masterpiece offers a superb performance by Robert Ryan as the doublecrossed fighter. The stellar supporting cast includes Audrey Totter, George Tobias and Alan Baxter; names that unfortunately mean little to anyone outside of the die-hard film buff. All give compelling performances, genuinely fraught with a sense of immediacy, excitement but ultimate disillusionment. Rarely do boxing movies derive such riveting, gut-punching exhilaration from any action taking place beyond ringside.

Unfortunately, "The Set-Up" is the poorest looking transfer of the bunch in Warner's box set. It's not awful but it is below average. The gray scale is balanced with but blacks are neither as deep or as solid as they should be. Neither are whites very clean. There's a considerable amount of film grain and a lot of age related artifacts for a visual presentation that is below par for DVD and in desperate need of some digital wizardry. The audio is mono but nicely balanced. The more intent listener will notice slight pops and some hiss but nothing that will distract. Robert Wise and Martin Scorsese tag team on the audio commentary which is very compelling. This disc is recommended for film only, not quality of transfer.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Perfect "Set-Up"
Two unscrupulous fight promoters make a deal with an underworld kingpin: their aging client, who's had a run of bad luck in the ring, will throw an upcoming match with the gangster's young protege. There's just one problem ... they don't bother to tell the veteran boxer about the fix, because they plan to keep his share of the pay-off. Needless to say, all hell breaks loose, both in and out of the ring. It's a taut, suspenseful plot and to add to the excitement, the movie takes place in real time: 71 minutes in these characters' lives, unfolding in 71 minutes of screen time.

This tough, gritty little masterpiece offers a superb performance by Robert Ryan as the doublecrossed fighter. Lean, muscled, with a world-weary look on his once-handsome face, Ryan's physical perfection in the role is matched by the economy of his acting style. He's surrounded by an excellent supporting cast; every role, including the various spectators in the arena, is beautifully played. Tightly directed by Robert Wise, "The Set-Up" is a gem, and a perfect example of the film noir genre. ... Read more


19. Odds Against Tomorrow
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
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Asin: B0000CNY4M
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 13117
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars TAKING THE ODDS.....
Excellent, hardbitten crime drama brilliantly directed by Robert Wise about three men planning a bank robbery. Ex-cop Burke (Ed Begley) recruits bitter, aging racist Earl Slater (Robert Ryan) and urban jazz muscian/singer Johnny Ingram (Harry Belafonte) for the big heist. The money will change and better all of their lives for different reasons. Ingram especially, as he's indebted to a brutal gangster with his gambling debts. Burke is hopelessly enthusiastic but Slater and Ingram are skeptical and don't trust each other because of Slater's blatant racism towards Ingram. As the tension of the planning of the robbery mounts, so does the antagonism between the two men. That such ignorance should exist between people who have the same goal is intelligently played out with a realistic script. Belafonte, Ryan and Begley give convincing performances as do Shelley Winters, Gloria Grahame and Kim Hamilton as the women in Slater's and Ingram's lives. Haunting b&w photography expresses the bleak and depressing world of the men and the individual anxieties experienced by each. A smoky jazz club, stark city streets, cramped apartments, the stares of strangers---all contribute to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film. The tense, moody jazz score underlies the tense feeling that something is going to go horribly wrong. When it does, the brewing hatred between Slater and Ingram finally and (literally) explodes. Don't miss this exciting film if you like good, gritty adult noir crime dramas. The DVD is a good print and you can't beat the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Seminal "film noir," the last of the cycle.
Odds Against Tomorrow is arguably the final entry in the "film noir" genre, filmed in exquisite shades of gray and black that underscore its truly dark tale of bigotry and class alienation.
Ryan scores again in his corrosive portrait of a loser from the South strapped with Dust Bowl angst, able abetted by director Robert Wise. Wise, lest we forget, directed Ryan ten years earlier in The Set-up, another classic entry that is now compared with Raging Bull as the best film about boxing.
Ryan allied himself with Wise because the two shared the same ethical belief systems: both were avowed Liberals, and both were committed to making films that not only had a message but which also bore a distinct artistic imprint: from cinematographer John Alton's subtle exploration of black and white film to his daring use of infrared film in the film's opening minutes; to Abraham Polonsky's stark screenplay of desperate people living on the edge, Odds Against Tomorrow achieves its goals in a grim, humorless expose that indicts greed and prejudice. Holding the film firmly in his grasp, Ryan proves again that his acting skills traverse the origins of his psychopathy in a spine-chilling tour de force. Reprising his disturbing portrayal of the cagey, Jew-hating bigot in Crossfire, his role as the loser Earl Slater in Odds Against Tomorrow allows for more complexity to explain his motivations.
Besides Ryan, "noir" stalwarts Ed Begley and Gloria Grahame elevate the film considerably. Grahame, as many "noir" aficianados are aware, was also featured in Crossfire, achieving fame as one of filmdom's "noir" females, duplicitous, alienated and jaded. Ed Begley turns in another realistic portrait as the disgraced ex-cop with an axe to grind, while Harry Belafonte's down-on-his-luck gambler emerges as a man afflicted with a gambling addiction that covers up his deep insecurities. Viewers should also take note that the film is chock full of secondary players, including a very young Cicely Tyson and Wayne Rogers, along with character actors, Will Kuluva, Lew Gallo, Richard Bright (possibly the first depiction of homosexuality in the cinema), and William Zuckert. The score by the Modern Jazz Quartet is aptly spare, underscoring the grim tale. Finally, observant viewers may notice that the nightclub bouncer who lends Belafonte a pistol in a smoky Harlem nightclub bares a striking resemblance to James Earl Jones (in fact it is his brother, Robert Earl Jones). Kudos to all involved in this "noir" masterpiece.

4-0 out of 5 stars Feels like a triple-length "Twilight Zone" episode
Prior reviews of this movie (see below) cover its style and substance very well, so I won't attempt to duplicate their efforts. I will only add that while this is a fine film, it moves excruciatingly slowly by today's standards. So if you're expecting fast-paced action, this isn't the movie for you. The pacing and style -- and even the "twist" ending -- reminded me of the old "Twilight Zone," which was produced in the same era. It's not too far off the mark to think of this as a triple-length TZ episode! Worth noting, however, is the great moody soundtrack featuring the Modern Jazz Quartet. If you can find this on CD, buy it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Robert Wise's Invisible Oscar
Director Robert Wise is probably most identified with his two Oscar winning musicals, West Side Story and The Sound of Music. Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow, a 1959 film produced at the end of the noir cycle should have earned him his first Oscar, but that year Ben Hur's eleven Academy Awards left little in the wake of cinematic honors. Odds Against Tomorrow may have been slighted by the Academy and the box office, but it unassumingly remains as one of the first films to address racism towards blacks in American society. Wise's casting of African American Harry Belafonte as Johnny Ingram and Robert Ryan as the bigot Earl Slater revealed the racial tensions that marked the social undercurrent of the 1950's. Odds Against Tomorrow may have been an emblematic precursor to the racial violence that exploded into the consciousness of mainstream America during the 1960's. The film's plot is structured around a planned bank hiest involving a retired police detective (Ed Begley), a gambling, jazz musician (Belafonte) and a psychotic loner (Ryan). The three protagonists are drawn together by the lure of money; each thinking that a big score will erase the haunting failures of their past. Unlike other noir films in which lust, greed, or deception caused a downward spiral for the protagonist, our trio's well devised plan unravels from within. Earl's seething malevolence and resentment towards Johnny causes the caper to disintegrate. James Coburn deservedly won an Oscar for his role as an alcoholic, abusive father in Affliction; Ryan's portrayal of an emotionally unstable, violent, racist is equally noteworthy. Noir critics cite the Richard Widmark characterizations of Tommy Udo and Alec Stiles as the most devious, psychotic criminals to shock film audiences; but it is Ryan armed only with a cold stare and a few callous words who could really bring burning hatred to a violent boil. In Odds Against Tomorrow, Ryan's scenes in the tavern, elevator, and gas station, are but a few glimpses into the mind of an unstable, dangerous man. Shelly Winters is cast as the insecure loner who desperately smothers Earl with love that is not returned. Gloria Grahame appears as the strange apartment neighbor who inexplicably is drawn to the abusive Earl. Director Wise craftfully places characters in scenes that drip with realism. The mob boss, the homosexual henchman, the bartender, the black elevator operator, and Jonny's estranged wife create a multi-dimensional atmosphere that does not distract from the central flow of events. Wise's camera work is exceptional as he allows viewers quick images of hallways, city streets, and concrete highrises. The opening shot of a fire hydrant on a desolate street corner which is suddenly invaded by wind swept newspaper is chilling. Wise is also not adverse to draw his camera away from city settings where noir scenery could easily be captured. Instead he mixes urban concrete and smokey club interiors with panned shots of open highways and cold Novemember landscapes dotted with leafless trees. Wise also contrasts the concepts of day and night into the picture's climax. Not constrained within the limits of shadows, darkness, and night, which characterize most noir films, Wise utilizes the impending nightfall as a scenic metaphor. Odds Against Tomorrow is one of the greatest noir pictures ever made. It may have been the last exemplar of screen noir in American film making.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robert Wise's "Invisible" Oscar
Director Robert Wise is probably most identified with his two Oscar winning musicals West Side Story and The Sound of Music. Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow, a 1959 film produced at the end of the noir cycle, should have earned him his first Oscar. Unfortunately that year, Ben Hur's unprecedented eleven Academy Awards left little in the wake of cinematic honors. Odds Against Tomorrow may have been slighted by the Academy and the box office, but it unassumingly remains as one of the first films to address racism towards blacks in American society. Wise's casting of African American Harry Belafonte as jazz musician Johnny Ingram and Robert Ryan as the bigot Earl Slater revealed the racial tensions that marked the social undercurrent of the 1950's. Odds Against Tomorrow may have been an emblematic precursor to the racial violence that exploded into the consciousness of mainstream America during the 1960's. The film's plot is structured around a planned bank hiest involving a retired police officer Dave Burke (Ed Begley), a gambling night club singer,Johnny and a psychotic loner Earl. The three protagonists are drawn together for the lure of money; each thinking that a lucrative monetary score will dissolve their personal demons. Unlike other noir films their well devised plan unravels from within. Earl's seething malevolence and resentment towards Johnny causes the caper to disintegrate. James Coburn deservedly won an Oscar for his role as an alcoholic, abusive father in Affliction; Ryan's portrayal of an emotionally unstable, violent racist is equally noteworthy. Noir critics often cite Richard Widmark's screen roles as Tommy Udo and Alec Stiles as the most paranoid psychotics to shock American morality, but it is Ryan who with only a cold silent stare or a few callous words could bring buried hatred to a bubling boil. In Odds Against Tomorrow, Ryan's scenes in the tavern, elevator, and gas station deliver convincing glimpses into the tormented mind of a dangerous man. Shelly Winters is cast as the insecure loner who desperately smothers Earl with love that is not returned. Gloria Grahame appears as the strange apartment neighbor who inexplicably is drawn to the abusive Earl. Wise craftfully places characters in scenes that drip with realism. The mob boss, the homosexual henchman, the bartender, the black elevator operator, and Johnny's estranged wife, create a multi-dimensional atmosphere that does not distract from the flow of events. Wise's extraordinary camera work allows viewers quick angle frames of hallways, city streets, highways, and city complexes. An opening shot of a desolate city street corner, marked only by a fire hydrant that is suddenly invaded by windswept newspaper is chilling. Wise is not adverse to draw his camera away from city settings where noir scenery could easily be captured. Instead he mixes urban concrete and smokey club interiors with panned shots of cold November landscapes and highways dotted with leafless trees. Wise also incorporates the contrast of day and night into the climax of the picture. Not constrained within the limits of shadows, darkness, and night which characterize most noir films; Wise utilizes the impending nightfall as a scenic metaphor for the doomed hiest. Odds Against Tomorrow is one of the greatest noir pictures ever made. It may have well been the last true noir film. ... Read more


20. The Hindenburg
Director: Robert Wise
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783229372
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 15656
Average Customer Review: 3.74 out of 5 stars
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"One gasbag meets another" is how critic Pauline Kael described the "flatulent seriousness" that director Robert Wise brought to this 1975 thriller about the ill-fated German zeppelin which exploded while landing in New Jersey in 1937. The great air disaster is speculatively depicted here as an act of sabotage, and the airship's trans-Atlantic journey gives the saboteur's plot plenty of time to unfold while the story introduces a variety of characters aboard for the luxurious flight. While the anti-Nazi message is delivered loud and clear, Anne Bancroft and George C. Scott lead an illustrious cast in what amounts to a pre-World War II episode of The Love Blimp, only there's not much romance and precious little suspense. It's all rather flatly intriguing, but aviation buffs will certainly appreciate the meticulous attention to period detail, and the film won special achievement Oscars for its impressive sound and visual effects. Worth a look, if you're a student of this particular chapter of history, and the movie earns some credit for having at least the kernel of a good idea. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (19)

3-0 out of 5 stars Gripping Final Moments
This fictionalized account of the real life disaster takes a while to get going, but does deliver some good scenes in the final third of the film. George C. Scott is a Nazi colonel sent aboard the Hindenburg due to threats made about its voyage. He is joined by a cast of familiar actors, including Anne Bancroft as a bitter German countess. As was typical with disaster films of the Seventies, there are several small stories involving the various passengers, but none of them are particularly interesting. I found the set up scenes for the bombing plotline confusing to follow. The film's strength is the terrific set pieces for the Hindenburg and its final thirty minutes. The actual explosion doesn't feature the level of special effects we're used to seeing, but since it combines real footage of the disaster, it made a strong impact on me. By no means a great film, The Hindenburg is salvaged by its final moments and by the audience's knowledge that it really did happen, although perhaps not for the reasons presented in the movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent disaster movie, NOT a disastrous movie!
Critics simply didnt favour this film, main points of contention being the soap-opera style acting, variable special effects, and an overdrawn and therefore anticlimactic conclusion. Certainly there is some truth in the first of these criticisms, and its puzzling why Robert Wise allowed or even encouraged it. Yet I do not feel the film sinks as a result, notably due to George C. Scotts rock solid (as usual) performance. There are a handful of actors who carry a film, or seem incapable of giving a below- par performance, Mr. Scott falls into both these categories. This is not to say he is the only reason for watching, far from it. The music score is impressive, the Oscar-winning special effects fine and probably deserving of this acolade, and the tragic finale harrowing, moving, and therefore very effective. Not a classic, but severely underrated, this film only just fails to hit my Top Twenty all-time favourite movies.

2-0 out of 5 stars It's a disaster all right
I know this isn't considered a "great" or even "good" film, but because of my intense interest in the real disaster I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for it. The crash at Lakehurst New Jersey in 1937 ended the era of lighter-than-air travel. Not having seen the film in many years, I decided to rent it when it appeared on DVD.

Sad to say, the movie is even worse than I remembered. I'm a big fan of director Robert Wise, special effects guru Albert Whitlock, actor George C. Scott and many of the other people who worked on the picture, but this is a cookbook recipe of How Not To Make A Movie. The tone is far too serious and portentious. Typical of '70s soap opera-y disaster flicks, there are too many characters with too many problems that really aren't problems at all (or at least, not interesting ones). There are many red herrings, and after a while, like with the boy who cried wolf, we stop paying attention. Hacking away a few of these "subplots" would have made the film leaner and more interesting. (You could leave all of Burgess Meredith and Rene Auberjonois' scenes in the cutting room.) In films like these, the supporting actors tend to be either up-and-coming or fading fast, and most of those here are the latter. Anne Bancroft is underused as the Countess--they can't seem to decide whether to give Ritter a love interest or not. Roy Thinnes is as plausible as a Gestapo agent as Brad Pitt is as a friend of the Dali Lama. And it seems to me they tried to give William Atherton a "devilish" quality that falls flat, probably because Atherton, for all his good looks, has all the charisma of buttered bread. The American officials at Lakehurst and Washington are straight from Central Casting--gruff-but-lovable lugs who just want to see the "flying gas kettle" land safely. (Did the film have to mention one more time that the ship was filled with deadly and explosive hydrogen? Did anyone going into the theater *not* already know that?) About the only mildly interesting supporting cast members are the German captains--Richard Dysart as Earnst Lehman and Charles Durning as Max Pruss have a few mildly memorable moments. Also slightly amusing is Robert Clary as a flaky German acrobat, in part because there was indeed such a character on board the real ship, who was initially the prime suspect in the disaster. (He was quickly cleared.)

Which brings us to George Patton--err, I mean George C. Scott. He seems to be thinking about his golf game most of the time--his performance is phoned in, as were many of his performances after Patton. But what bothers me more is the real spine of the story really doesn't emerge till the move is about 75 percent over. I think the film would have been better if they'd junked most of the silly passenger subplots and concentrated on Ritter being torn between service to and love for his country and the fact that the Nazis are becoming big-time pains in the shorts. As it is, we've long figured out what's going to happen by the time Ritter does, if we're still awake. And by then, it seems neither he nor we care. Oh, and did I mention they make waaaay too much of the Kathie Rauch letter?

As for the visuals, they are very good for 1975 (The takeoff is particularly effective), though in retrospect one can see obvious mattework and multiple exposures. Notice how whenever there's a process shot at Lakehurst or Frankfurt, we see moving figures in the lower part of the screen and the matte paintings in the upper half, but the two sections never cross--the screen is literally cut in two. Today people and vehicles would freely mingle with objects that aren't really there, such as airships, but that was a lot harder back then. As for those who complain that they chickened out by switching to real footage of the crash in the last moments, recreating something that complex would have been impossible in 1975 (they briefly considered it) as well as incredibly costly and dangerous, and I'm not convinced it could even be done today.

Some other positives are David Shire's score--beautiful and faintly nostalgic in the airship sections, a bit heavy-handed in the "Nazi" sections. Costumes and sets are very impressive and as far as I can tell accurate down to the last detail. The landing sequence is interesting just to watch how a crew really landed an 800-foot Zep. (If you've been to Friedrichshafen recently and taken a ride on board the new Zeppelin NTs, you'll know how differently these craft handle today.)

If the visuals are well-done, the presentation is not. This has to be the worst transfer to DVD I've ever seen--was this the best copy Universal had in their vaults, or did they just not look very hard? The picture is scratched and grainy; contrasts are bad, and colors are faded--everyone is a little green in the gills. (Or do the actors just look vaguely ill from being trapped in this turkey?) But there's more. The sound is poorly mixed--the voices are too low, the airship roar too loud. Then at the end the volume of everything suddenly gets very very loud. And despite this being presented in widescreen, and despite my having a widescreen TV, the edges of the credits are slightly cropped.

There are virtually no extras, not even a trailer. Just a few slates that you can click through containing background info on the production. Given the technical award the film justly won, you'd think they'd include a gallery of production stills at the very least. But it would seem Universal is not too proud or fond of this movie. And it's hard to blame them. Much like the event it portrayed, the picture was a disaster that helped bring about the end of an era--in this case, the era of big-budget, glossy disaster epics. So at least the destruction of the Hindenburg served some good!

4-0 out of 5 stars Excational use of Matte Paintings.
Most of the special effects in this movie were models and matte paintings done by Albert Witlock, who was an oscar winning artists of paintings and whose work appears (sometimes uncredited) in various movies. Hindenburg was I think his best work. Before CGI, there were matte paintings, and many of them were very good, just like this picture was..

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor DVD quality, dull film with occasional moments
First things first: The picture quality on this DVD is horrendous. Although presented in widescreen, the film print is swimming in scratches and dust. The image is often grainy and ugly, with poor contrast, especially during scenes taking place at night. I really expected better from a major DVD releaser like Universal. Anyone who remembers seeing this in a theater back in 1975 will feel very disappointed with this disc.

As for the film itself, it is another entry in the mid-70s disaster film sweepstakes, although it tries to present itself as more a "whodunit" or espionage mystery; imagine "Murder on the Orient Express" if the trail derailed massively at the finale. George C. Scott, gruff as usual, plays the German Colonel working to determine who onboard the legendary Zeppelin crossing the Atlantic might have a reason for sabotaging the ship. There are plenty of suspects, most of them famous or semi-famous actors (Anne Bancroft, Burgess Meredith, Rene Aberjonois, Charles Durning, William Atherton). Who has the best reason for wanting the Hindenburg to go boom?

This is a fanciful version of the events leading up to the disaster -- the actual reasons for the event have never been determined -- and I have to credit director Robert Wise for maintaining reasonable suspense in a story whose ending is well-known (the DVD cover itself shows you what happens). But, sadly, "The Hindenburg" is mostly hot air: dull, artificial, and a lot of talk going nowhere, and too typical of the formerly great director Wise ("The Day the Earth Stood Still," "The Haunting," "The Sound of Music") in the later phase of his career. Many great characters actors onboard get nothing to do. Burgess Meredith is especially criminally underused. Scott and Bancroft have very little chemistry in their vague relationship, and TV actor Roy Thinnes as the Gestapo agent is laughably bad. The only interesting scene before the big finale is an exciting sequence involving the repair of a damaged fin. David Shire's excellent score really excels here. But otherwise the film is just killing time until the long-anticipated climax.

And the climax is an incredible let-down, using a special effects cheat that will infuriate a lot of viewers. The effects in the film are excellent up to this point (marred, unfortunately, by the rotten DVD quality), but for the main event, the film cops out on us in a big way, relying on archival footage instead of new effects. A few of the character stories are never wrapped up either, leaving the viewer with an enormously unsatisfied feeling.

"The Hindenburg" really should only be seen by history nuts and disaster film completists, and they'll be unhappy with poor DVD quality. The casual viewer will be better off with "The Towering Inferno" or "The Poseidon Adventure." (Geez, I just recommended an Irwin Allen film over a Robert Wise film!) ... Read more


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