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New on Disc: 'Man-Trap' and more …

1 Oct, 2012 By: Mike Clark


Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Stella Stevens.
Well, it’s called Man-Trap and features Stella Stevens at a special time in her career (first starring role, in fact). The title’s meaning can be presumably extended to embrace the perilous limits of male buddy-dom nurtured by mutual combat experience as one talks the other into getting involved in a heist that involves ripping off a Central American dictator in a cheeky airport ambush rationalized by its perpetrators as a half-patriotic scheme. But no, Stevens is the indisputable trap the story is selling in the only picture ever directed solo by actor Edmond O’Brien — the kind of tawdry enterprise (from a John D. MacDonald novel) where you play up the sexual angle because it’s your own production company’s dough invested in the enterprise.
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The Crowd Roars

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $18.95 DVD-R, NR.
Stars James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak.
In part because Howard Hawks’ early non-film résumé included racecar driving, this pre-FDR mix of “wheels” and (sometimes) hooch has the makings of a prototypically crackling melodrama directed by the auteur Pantheon heavyweight. Instead, as it now stands, it’s only a “might-have-been” with a few crackling scenes because the original 85-minute running time was long ago shorn to 70. As a result, characters who hardly know each other in one scene seem to be chummy in the next, and fleeting intros segue into amorous affection in a blink. This is an endeavor where we have to have to fill in some blanks, though lead James Cagney was explosive in this early part of his career.
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