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New on Disc: 'The Comancheros' Blu-ray, 'Night Flight' and more …

6 Jun, 2011 By: Mike Clark


The Comancheros (Blu-ray)

Fox, Western, $34.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin, Lee Marvin.
1961.
John Wayne’s second notably relaxed outing in as many years for 20th Century Fox placed him early in the final chapter of his Western career — the one where he got a lot of fun out of intimidating a tenderfoot. Fox has given this easy-to-take escapism more than a half-hearted Blu-ray treatment, but there are times when it looks a little on the muddy side. But make no mistake: Fox deserves credit for taking the high road by issuing The Comancheros in high-def.
Extras: The single best thing Fox has done with this release is to revive the great pieced-together commentary with co-star Stuart Whitman, Wayne’s actor son Patrick (who takes an Indian arrow in the back here) and two actors who play heavies: Nehemiah Persoff and Michael Ansara. Originally assembled for the 1994 laserdisc release, it was left off the standard Comancheros DVD. Other bonuses include, but are not limited to, a historical backgrounder about the title traders to Indians (who apparently weren’t always as reprehensible as the bad breed of merchants here) and one on Wayne’s two tenures at the studio, separated by about 30 years.
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Night Flight

Street 6/7
Warner, Drama, $19.98 DVD, NR.
Stars John Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Clark Gable, Myrna Loy.
1933.
The movie isn’t very distinguished but is somewhat more fun to watch than I recalled — which proves again that you can never underestimate what a good print can bring to the table. I like Barrymore’s performance as a boss man who’s so demanding that he fines pilots for being a few minutes late in arriving despite flying over mountains in rain storms without even cover in the cockpit. Playing a pilot who runs into perilous weather is Clark Gable, and he gets a lot more out of next to no dialogue than poor Helen Hayes does as his wife. The movie is obviously a strong curiosity but nothing much more than that.
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Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno

Flicker Alley, Documentary, $39.95 DVD, NR.
2010.
We live in an era when nearly every film classic of note comes equipped with a “look-back” featurette or more in its DVD or Blu-ray bonus section. Yet every once in a while a documentary about the movie industry qualifies as a standout, though usually they’re about movies that actually got made. Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno is definitely special for sure with its almost foolproof central hook: the story of an important filmmaker who, from all indications, underwent some kind of mysterious crack-up while working on what might have ended up being either a cinematic fiasco of major proportions or the movie of his career.
Extras: Affable co-director Serge Bromberg spins an incredible anecdote involving Clouzot’s widow that illustrates how close this documentary came to not being made.
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Fate Is the Hunter

Available from www.screenarchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Glenn Ford, Rod Taylor, Nancy Kwan, Suzanne Pleshette.
1964.
Fate’s barebones story has to do with an investigator (Glenn Ford) determining what caused a passenger plane to crash when there didn’t seem to be any reasons for it to do so — other than perhaps a guy at the controls (Rod Taylor) who was known to have a taste for revelry. The transfer is very good on Twilight Time’s latest trek into the 20th Century Fox library.
Extras: Program notes by Julie Kirgo and an isolated audio track for Jerry Goldsmith’s musical score.
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