Thursday, April 28, 2022


This adventure serial tries to pass itself off as full of military action–in addition to the title, it's dedicated to the United States Marines, "vigilant guardians of our flag"—but though the two heroes are Marines, they might as well be private eyes or soldiers of fortune for all it matters to the plot. In China, Lt. Corby (Herman Brix, later known as Bruce Bennett) and Lt. Grayson (Lee Powell, both pictured at right) are sent to save some Americans stuck in Lingchuria during an attack by the Japanese. On the way, in the serial's most effective scene, they come across a fort filled with dead bodies (think the opening of Beau Geste or the 1994 miniseries of The Stand). Even the flies are dead. It would appear that everyone died of electrocution, but how? Soon they find out: massive fireballs come out of the sky, hitting the building and killing the Marines still inside. Back in the States, Grayson winds up charged with negligence in their deaths, but a similar attack occurs in San Diego at the laboratory of Dr. Warfield. Warfield escapes but Grayson's father is killed. Now the search for the villain who is using these electrified torpedoes known as Thunderbolts is personal… This 12-chapter serial is slightly better than average, mostly due to an interesting story and the changes of locale, from China to San Diego to Gehorda Island, out past Hawaii. The costumed villain, the Lightning (pictured below) is nothing special, but it has often been speculated that his costume may have inspired George Lucas in the creation of Darth Vader. There are way too many lurking background characters who might be the Lightning, and they're all too obviously red herrings, but when he is unmasked in the last chapter, it's a good reveal. 

It takes eleven chapters for someone to finally state the obvious: that with all the leaks of information, someone in the inner circle of good guys must be a bad guy. There's a variety of cliffhangers: a car chase on a cliff, a flaming torpedo headed for a dirigible, a building on fire, a shark in the ocean, and a locked room filling up with carbon monoxide. A few too many scenes consist obviously of stock footage or scenes from other Republic serials, including the flying Wing plane which is right out of a Dick Tracy serial. Two of the twelve chapters are mostly recaps, equivalent to TV series clip shows. Serials are no better than their heroes and these two are pretty good. Lee Powell (Grayson) and Herman Brix, later known as Bruce Bennett (Corby) are handsome and energetic, with Powell–who died in the war–more the focus than Brix. You may notice I haven’t mentioned a femme interest yet. That’s because Eleanor Stewart is terrible as Warfield's daughter; thankfully, she hasn't much to do, never becoming integral to the plot, and never striking sparks with either hero. Of the large supporting cast, only Perry Ivins stands out as a scientist named Crenshaw—he is so very creepy and suspicious, you know he can't possibly be a bad guy. He also, in a very deus ex machina move, comes up with a weapon in Chapter 11 to stop the Thunderbolts. A little shaggy around the edges but mostly good fun (and good fisticuffs). [DVD]

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


Hot-rodding buddies Jim (Steve Terrell) and Fred (John Ashley) are riding together down the city streets when they encounter hot-rodding Louise (Fay Spain). The boys race the girl for a while and Fred even jumps out of his car to stand up, straddling between the two cars. A motorcycle cop gives chase but they all manage to escape to a secret garage that the local kids maintain. Later, at Mama's Pizzeria, a friendly cop reminds the kids to race only on the dragstrip the city has provided and not on the streets. Louise, who is new to town, takes Jim and Fred to meet her parents. Jim, from a working-class background, impresses her dad with his car tinkering abilities, but Fred, a handsome rich kid, impresses mom because, well, he's handsome and rich. Louise winds up trading off between the two, pitting the buddies against each other as she tries to satisfy her need for speed. When Jim almost hits a woman with a baby carriage on a suburban street, he's shaken up, so Louise sidles up to Fred who is more willing to be reckless. Taunts and dares go back and forth between the boys until the big local race day where the winner will win a scholarship. The night before, Fred and his friend Rick steal Jim's car to see just how powerful it is, and while speeding, they hit and kill a pedestrian. Fred tries to arrange things so that blame will fall on Jim, but on the day of the race, Louise discovers what's going on. Will she be able to prove Jim's innocence, and will she want to?

This early hit for American International is enjoyable. This was certainly one of the movies that set the template for late 50s teen melodramas. It’s got it all: the teenage gang, the nice kid, the bad kid, the sexy gal, the hangout (at Mama’s Pizzeria, Mama and her husband provide some rather strained comic relief), and the general atmosphere of teenage angst. What's interesting here is that, though Fred is clearly a bad apple, juvenile delinquency and the generation gap are not issues: the kids are generally clean-cut and fun-loving and they get along well with cops and parents. Maybe too well: when Louise's dad sees her all dolled up for date night, he comments proudly, "That gal of mine knows how to bait a man trap!" Later when the kids have a petting party in the dark at Louise's house, her dad sneaks downstairs to turn all the lights back on, but the kids just turn them off again. 

The script and direction are par for the course, but the acting is a notch better than average. This was John Ashley's first movie; he went on to a busy career in teen flicks, playing bad guys and nice guys equally well. Later he was instrumental (both as actor and producer) in establishing the subgenre of cheap horror movies shot in the Philippines. Steve Terrell did a lot of TV through the mid-60s then gave it all up to become a Christian educator. Ashley is fairly aggressive with a cocky stance and in-your-face delivery; Terrell is generally passive—he has a tendency to walk hunched in like he's trying not to attract attention. But they have a palpable friendship chemistry here until the femme fatale ruins it. Fay Spain is fine as Louise, and remains mostly sympathetic despite her machinations. In addition to the comic relief of the pizzeria owners and the parents, there's Frank Gorshin as a goofy hot rodder (pictured above right between Ashley and Terrell). I loved Gorshin as TV's Riddler, but a little of him goes a long way and he wears out his welcome, though he does get one of the highlight scenes, dressed in funky drag and singing "Dragstrip Baby" in the pizzeria with Ashley in Elvis mode on guitar. It's fun to see a movie that was made before all the teen movies clichés were set in stone. [Amazon Prime]

Thursday, April 21, 2022


Sixteen-year-old Sylvie lives with her family in an old castle, and she is fascinated by the family legend of Alain, her grandmother's lover who died many years ago in a duel, but whose portrait dominates a room in the castle and whose ghost is said to haunt the place. When her father, the Baron, decides to sell the painting to a local art dealer for some much needed cash, he knows Sylvie will be distraught so he decides to hire an actor to play the ghost of Alain at a ball being held for Sylvie's birthday. Immediately, complications ensue. First, Sylvie discovers a secret passage in the wall where the painting was, and in exploring it, runs into Ramure, who was attempting to burgle the place and darts away through the passage. Sylvie, not knowing his intentions, finds him handsome and mysterious. Then the art dealer's son, Frederick, meets her briefly and becomes infatuated with her, returning to the house to try and arrange a meeting. When the art dealer's assistant nails the painting into a wooden box, he hears a tapping response from inside, and we see the ghost of Alain rise out of the box, along with the ghost of his beloved dog (who wasted away and died on Alain's grave). On the night of the party, Ramure and Frederick are both caught in the house and both claim to be actors hired to play the ghost, and when the real actor, an older fellow, shows up, the Baron is happy to have all three don ghost costumes. Finally, the real ghost shows up, slips on a sheet, and all hell breaks loose.

This is a charming supernatural romance with distinct tones of melancholy which do not take away from the generally comic air of the film. First things first, however: Odette Joyeux, who plays Sylvie, was over 30 when she made this, and though she is lovely and charming and doesn't quite look 30, she surely does not look 16, so in my mind, Sylvie was turning 21. The most famous member of the cast is Jacques Tati (the ghost) who would go on to become something of a French Charlie Chaplin, directing and acting in several comic masterpieces in the 1950s. Here, however, he speaks no dialogue and has little to do besides glide about transparently and walk through doors and walls. Acting-wise, for me, the movie belongs to the two competing suitors, Francois Périer as Ramure and Jean Desailly as Frederick. Both are quite appealing and I was genuinely uncertain which man, if either, Sylvie would wind up with. (Frankly, I think she makes the wrong decision.) The transparent effect of the ghost was done on set, with two identical sets built at right angles to each other, with glass in between which reflects Tati on the second set against the main set. It's quite effective, though occasionally you can see light bouncing off the glass. As directed by Claude Autant-Lara (who went on to become a controversial French politician in the 1980s), the whole thing has a lovely light fantasy element which would make this a nice pairing with something like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir or A Matter of Life and Death. Pictured are the suitors, Périer and Desailly. [DVD]

Monday, April 18, 2022


Two oil company geologists working on a Caribbean island are looking for a secret island in the middle of a swamp area that was rumored to have been used as a hiding place for pirate treasures. When they come across it, they're surprised to find it inhabited. The island's leader, Van den Berk (Roy Roberts), offers them rest, but instead has his associate Hartshorn take them off and shoot them. They become the latest in a string of men who have gone missing on the island over the past six months. The oil company calls in Smith (James Dunn), a private detective from Brooklyn (he calls himself a "flatfoot from Flatbush") who has a rather fast and loose way of operating that irritates the local police. In due time, he meets McCracken, the island’s governor; Gerald, McCracken’s son; Linda, the police commissioner's daughter, who is dating Gerald; Mrs. Gilbert, the manager of the hotel where Smith and his associate Gates are staying; and Marcel, the local doctor. It’s not long before people start getting menaced and/or killed, and eventually the action moves to the swamp where, in addition to the threat of Van den Berk, who has indeed found the pirate gold, there are alligators, snakes, and quicksand pits to contend with. 

This B-thriller is serviceable until the end when it actually gets fairly involving and exciting. I'm not a fan of James Dunn (though he did deserve his supporting actor Oscar for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) and he's a bit lackluster here—and the more he tries to enliven his character, the more artificial he seems—but I eventually got used to him. It's a B-film but it was made by Fox so it's generally a notch above the norm. The cast seems second-string; Sheila Ryan, a very busy B-actress in the 40s, is second-billed as Mrs. Gilbert, but she only has one short scene. Of some note are Reed Hadley (as Marcel), Edward Ryan (no relation to Sheila, as Gerald), and Daral Hudson (the rather handsome bad guy Hartshorn). Production values are good and the identity of the chief bad guy (Van den Berk is doing someone else's bidding) was a bit surprising, revealed during an old-fashioned suspect gathering scene at the end. The story is based on a novel which also was the basis for Mr. Moto on Danger Island. Recommended. Pictured are Ryan and Dunn. [YouTube]

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


Films made for TV aren't usually fodder for this blog (except for some from the Golden Age of the 1970s), but this one has strong interest for classic film fans and has just been released on DVD so is readily available for viewing. It was not presented live as many plays on TV were, but was shot on tape with individual sequences obviously recorded 'live' with no retakes, and so is an interesting look at what early TV drama was like. Based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham which had previously been made as a theatrical film in 1942, this is a thinly veiled version of the life of artist Paul Gaugin. Here, he is named Charles Strickland (Laurence Olivier), and the play presents him as an average, everyday stockbroker, seemingly happy in his life and with his wife Amy (Geraldine Fitzgerald) until suddenly he isn't. After Amy has defended him as a good husband, he drops the bombshell that he wants to leave her and go to Paris by himself. She is convinced he is having an affair, but when she follows him, she finds out that, at the age of 40, he wants to start a new life as a painter. In Paris, he is befriended by fellow artist Dirk (Hume Cronyn) and his wife Blanche (Jessica Tandy). When Strickland falls on hard times and is sick and starving, Dirk has him move in, a kindness which Strickland pays back by taking Blanche from him—though the incident is portrayed more as Blanche becoming obsessed with Strickland and him just allowing the betrayal to happen. Things end badly between the two, and with Strickland hating his "human desires" and claiming that love is a disease, he goes off to the South Seas to paint and do nothing else. His story ends in Tahiti where he paints to his heart's content, has a satisfactory relationship with a local woman, and eventually contracts leprosy and dies, having left instructions to have all his work burned.

The big draw at the time for this production was the presence of Olivier, generally considered then the greatest living actor. He won an Emmy for it, as did Robert Mulligan for directing. While Olivier is very good, I found the supporting cast more interesting. Tandy's portrayal of a woman who seems completely unmoored by her attraction to Strickland is understated and exceptionally good. In addition to those mentioned above, the cast includes Judith Anderson and Jean Marsh as two island women and Denholm Elliott and an author, the usual Maugham stand-in, who tells the story even though he's not present for most of it. Olivier has a couple of line flubs which are left in. The leprosy makeup by famous artist Dick Smith is excellent. It was shot and transmitted in color, even being used in a magazine advertising campaign by RCA for its color televisions. The print on this DVD came from a kinescope, having been filmed directly from a television set, and the color comes and goes, and the picture gets murky from time to time, but none of those things make it unwatchable. (However, the DVD company, Redemption Hill, does manage to get four typos on the cover, including 'Jessice' for Jessica and 'Cronin' for Cronyn). Interesting viewing for its acting and its relative novelty as an acclaimed television production from the past. Pictured are Cronyn and Olivier. [DVD]

Monday, April 11, 2022


Returning war veteran Vic Norman (Clark Gable) is trying to get a job in advertising, like he held before the war. Though down to his last fifty bucks, he knows he can't come off as desperate in interviews, but during an interview with Kimberly, the head of his own agency, Vic impulsively agrees to help out with a problem client, Evans (Sydney Greenstreet), who is trying to secure rich Manhattan socialites for an advertising campaign for his company's beauty soap. He gets Kay Dorrence (Deborah Kerr), a war widow, to participate, but at the photo shoot, she balks at appearing in a sexy negligee, so against Evans' wishes, Vic lets her wear an evening gown. At a meeting, Evans explains his philosophy that good ads should be irritatingly repetitive or shocking, but Vic wins him over by saying an ad for soap should stress cleanliness, not sexiness. Though Vic takes an immediate dislike to Evans, Vic takes a job with Kimberly, with Evans as his special client. Vic and Kay get close, though a misstep occurs when Vic invites Kay to spend a weekend with him at the Blue Penguin Inn. The inn used to be a nice resort but now it's a little sleazy, so Kay gets the wrong message about Vic's intentions and stands him up. But Vic has another woman who's interested in him, Jean (Ava Gardner), a lounge singer and old friend. Evans' next assignment for Vic is to go to California and get B-talent comic Buddy Hare (Keenan Wynn) to host a radio show. Vic finds Hare and his agent (Edward Arnold) obnoxious, and uses blackmail to get the agent to lowball Hare's salary. In the end, Vic doesn't like what he sees himself becoming and provides a memorable climax to the story in Evans' boardroom.

This movie doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. It's based on what is apparently a sharply satirical novel, but was toned down in the process of production and becomes a character study of Vic Norman with some lightly satirical jabs at advertising—think Mad Men without the 60s cultural enlightenment. But between the writing and Gable's lackluster performance, Vic just isn't that interesting. Gable and Kerr (pictured) work up some chemistry in their improbable class-conflicting romance, but as with Gable, her character is only sketchily drawn. With Ava Gardner sadly underused and Keenan Wynn a bit of an acquired taste, it's left to Sydney Greenstreet to give the movie a needed jolt every time he's on screen. His first scene is rightly notorious: to make his point about the impact of shock, Evans hawks out a huge gob of spit on the boardroom table in front of Vic and all of Evans' yes-men. Greenstreet makes Evans slimy and awful and quite memorable. Adolphe Menjou has a couple of nice scenes as an ad exec with a shameful secret. He also gets a good line, telling Gardner, "You shouldn’t get married; all that oomph ought to stay in circulation." It's filmed in that bland late-40s way that so many melodramas were, with Jack Conway displaying little directorial style. Certainly watchable, but not the classic satire it had the potential to be. [TCM]

Friday, April 08, 2022


Following THE DECAMERON and THE CANTERBURY TALES in his Trilogy of Life, Pier Paolo Pasolini jettisons the original overarching narrative of the storyteller Scheherazade and simply dramatizes a handful of the tales with a different framing story. At a slave market, a woman named Zummurrud (aka the Lady of the Moons) is being sold with the unusual caveat that she can choose her buyer. A blue-eyed ruffian named Barsum bids on her, but when she sees the handsome young Nur Ed Din, she gives him the money to buy her. After making love, she makes a small cloth tapestry and gives it to Nur Ed Din to sell, warning him not to sell it to a blue-eyed man. Of course, he sells it to Barsum who kidnaps Zummurrud, setting in motion Nur Ed Din's search for her. Disguised as a man, she winds up at a city in the desert where the king has just died, and their ritual is to crown the next man who arrives at their gate. She is made king, and at the end of the movie, Nur Ed Din is led by a magical lion to the city where Zummurrud recognizes him, has him brought to her and when she commands him to have sex with her, she reveals her identity. Happy ending for both.

But the bulk of the film is taken up with the telling of a number of tales and tales within tales all involving love or lust. None of the more familiar Thousand and One Nights stories (Sindbad, Aladdin, Ali Baba) are told—though forty thieves are mentioned in passing as gang rapists. One story involves a prince in disguise who discovers a woman being held underground by a demon who comes and goes as he pleases. After sex, the prince leaves but forgets his shoes. The demon arrives, searches for and finds the prince, and takes him back to the girl. When the prince refuses the demon's demand that he kill the girl, the demon chops her up in pieces and turns the prince into a monkey. (This segment features one of the few special effects in the movie, the demon and the prince flying through the air.) In another, a character named Aziz leaves his intended for a woman, Budur, he has only glanced at through a window. Eventually, they have sex (including with a phallus-shaped arrow) and he later winds up castrated. 

Most of these stories have sad or tragic endings. Whether that's a judgment on sex or love or infidelity or power, I don't know. One tale near the end, about Nur Ed Din coming upon three naked women in a pool and trying to guess what they call their vaginas, is basically an extended bawdy joke. There is much graphic nudity and simulated sex, and many of the performers are non-professionals, though with the exception of Nur Ed DIn (Franco Merli), Zummurrud (Ines Pelligrini), and the demon (Franco Citti), there's not much need for acting skill in the service in characterizations. I've read that because many of the Middle East locals wouldn't do nude scenes, most of the major roles were filled by Italian actors, and the film frames are filled with handsome and beautiful faces. The lovely exteriors were shot in Iran, Africa and Nepal, and there is generally a very realistic feeling of sand and heat and sweat throughout. Still interesting to watch. Pictured is Francesco Paolo Governale who plays a character named Prince Tagi. [Criterion]

Tuesday, April 05, 2022


The second of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Trilogy of Life films is based on Chaucer's classic collection of stories told by a group of pilgrims heading from London to Canterbury Cathedral. Though one might assume them to be religious stories, they aren't, though they deal in issues of morality. Pasolini was probably attracted to them for their cruder, sexier elements as in the other trilogy films. The director himself plays the poet Chaucer who arrives among the pilgrims, singing and wrestling in muck, with one selling indulgences "piping hot from Rome," as they set out for Canterbury. It is suggested everyone take turns along the way at telling comic stories to pass the time (someone observes that "between and jest and a joke, many a truth can be told") and we see Chaucer dutifully writing the tales down, but unlike in Chaucer's work, we don't see or know who is telling the tales. The first has the elderly Sir January deciding to marry a young woman; he sees May's bare ass in the marketplace and picks her. He proclaims loudly that he's worried that the force of his lovemaking will injure her (while one of his servants rolls his eyes), but as soon as she's married, she starts flirting with Damian, a young man who spreads his legs apart for her gazing delight and later masturbates to thoughts of her. January is struck blind, leaving May free to hook up with Damian, except that her husband insists she hold his hand everywhere they go. Out for a walk in the garden, Damian is hidden in a tree and May, under the pretense of picking berries, climbs up on January's back to enjoy some canoodling with her young man. A playful god watching the scene gives the old man back his sight, but a playful goddess gives May the words to explain away what he's seen. The next story has a summoner catch two men engaged in sex with young male prostitutes; one man pays the summoner a large sum to be freed but the other cannot and so is burned to death in the churchyard. The Devil, who is selling food to the onlooking crowd, follows the summoner as he tries to extort tax money out of a poor old woman, but with the Devil's help, the woman gets the best of the summoner, who winds up in Hell.

The rest of the tales mostly involve sex or toilet humor or both. In one story, a man attracted to someone else's wife holds onto his obvious erection as he prays to "soften all this is rigid." In another, the wife of Bath, whose husband is dying, is attracted to a young student, gives him a casual handjob, then immediately after the husband's funeral trots to another part of the church to marry the student. The famous Pardoner’s Tale, which may have inspired the moral lesson of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, features bandits who plot against each other leading to no good end for any of them. Two stories involve farting as a major plot point, and the grotesque finale, inspired visually by Bosch, shows the devil shitting dead corrupt holy men out of his ass. None of the trilogy films rely on nuanced acting, with non-pro actors filling many roles, but Hugh Griffith (familiar from Ben-Hur, Tom Jones and Oliver!) is fine as Sir January. Prolific Italian actress Laura Betti is the Wife of Bath, and Pasolini regulars Ninetto Davoli and Franco Citti are also present. Davoli, who was Pasolini's companion for a time, is at the center of one of the best tales, the misadventures of a happy Chaplinesque doofus who leads a couple of policemen into a Keystone Kop situation (complete with some sped-up action). The photography and set design are splendid, with many shots having a gorgeous painterly look (see photo above) The raunchiest but also maybe the most accessible of the trilogy films. [Criterion Channel]

Friday, April 01, 2022


Gay Catholic Marxist filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini made three films he called the Trilogy of Life, all based on famous collections of earthy morality tales from the past, the other two being THE CANTERBURY TALES and ARABIAN NIGHTS. In all three, the frame stories are more or less ignored (less so in CANTERBURY). In Boccaccio's original Decameron, ten people who have decamped from Florence to the countryside to escape the Black Death tell each other stories, some lewd, some allegorical. Here, several of the stories are told with no single frame or link. Instead, we are plunged into the world of (what I assume to be) 14th century Italy as we see a young man, Ciappelletto, murder someone and hide the body. Though we will come back to him later, the focus shifts to Andreuccio, a curly haired guy in tight pants who is visiting Naples. A beautiful woman sees him and tells him that she is his half-sister. She offers to put him up for the night, but when he has to use the bathroom, he is directed to a doorway which leads to a huge pit of excrement. The woman steals his money and he runs off into the night in his soiled nightclothes, and winds up involved with two thieves trying to steal jewels from the tomb of a recently deceased archbishop. Andreuccio climbs in the large stone tomb and tosses jewels out to the men but keeps a particularly valuable ring for himself. Suspecting what he's done, the two men close him up in the tomb and leave. How he gets out provides the climax of the story.

There are many more stories (mostly bawdy) told with more or less random links between them. Ciappelletto pops up later—on his deathbed, he scams a priest into declaring him a holy man despite being a thief, a rapist, and a homosexual. Pasolini himself shows up halfway through as an artist hired to paint a fresco in a church, and returns at the end having only done two of the three wall panels, declaring, "Why complete a work when it’s better just to dream it?" Which might be a good reason for adapting only about ten of the original 100 stories of the Decameron. The tale which is the most fun involves a young man who hears of a job opening as a gardener at a convent. He pretends to be a deaf-mute so his handsomeness won't put off the Mother Superior. He is hired, but he proves to be a source of temptation to the nuns (we see him up on a ladder with two nuns ogling his crotch) and soon the nuns are lining up waiting for his stud services. The upshot is too good to spoil here. There is also an interesting twist on a Romeo & Juliet story—a young maiden is in love, or at least lust, with a handsome man whom she thinks her parents won’t approve of. One warm summer night, she decides to sleep on an outdoor terrace to cool off, but it's actually so her young man can visit and spend the night. The next morning, the two are caught naked (she is holding his genitals, leading the father to say that she has caught a nightingale in her hand) but the outcome is happy rather than sad. A more tragic tale involves a woman whose brothers decapitate her lover; she then buries his head in a basil plant pot. 

There is nudity and simulated sex galore, including one shot of a tumescent penis, and the settings look appropriately grungy and muddy. The stories are a mixed bag, and things rather arbitrarily just grind to a halt, perhaps reflecting Pasolini's belief about unfinished art. The actors are used more for their faces and bodies than talent, but some of the more attractive cast members are Giuseppe Arrigio as Lorenzo (pictured above left, who winds up under the basil plant), Vincenzo Amato as the gardener, Ninetto Davoli as the thief caught in the tomb, and Francesco Gavazzi (at right) and Elisabetta Genovese as the terrace lovers. Franco Citti, who had a long career in Italian films and had a small role in two of the Godfather movies, plays Ciappelletto. Some viewers of the Trilogy of Life claim that the movies celebrate earthy humanity, which it does, but there is plenty of undeserved death and suffering too. I’ll review the others in the next few days; in general, I'd recommend these films more as interesting curiosities than must-see movies. This in a second-shot review; I reviewed it first in March 2007. [Criterion Channel]