Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Blu-rays boost reputations of forgotten films

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | March 29th, 2017

A few big-name stars or even an all-star cast certainly do not guarantee that a movie will be top-notch entertainment, but are usually an effective way to attract viewers. Sometimes it might even be a warning that the story may have difficulties holding interest on its own or is otherwise just a routine example of its genre.

With most movies, it’s generally best if one watches without preconceived expectations, as overly-hyped films may easily be disappointing and overly-disparaged films might come off as minor classics or at least guilty favorites.

“Boy on a Dolphin” (1957) is the film that introduced young Italian superstar Sophia Loren to American audiences. The male leads were major stars Alan Ladd and Clifton Webb.

The film is a pleasant romantic archaeological adventure with Loren as a beautiful Greek sponge diver who discovers an ancient statue. She is torn between working with a rich but ruthless art collector (Webb) or a handsome and more ethical archaeologist (Ladd) to dispose of the artifact. Loren is wonderful in her role, and both Ladd and Webb give strong if predictable performances in their typical screen personas.

The lovely widescreen color cinematography by Milton Krasner is as much a star as the actors, as is the effective stereophonic recording of the Oscar-nominated score by Hugo Friedhofer.

Fans of the stars and anyone with at least a passing interest in ancient and/or modern Greece should find the film appealing, especially in Kino’s fine Blu-ray edition, which has excellent overall image quality and sharpness (although colors sometimes seem slightly yellowish) and quite impressive stereo surround sound (if the DTS-HD 2.0 track is played through a Pro-logic decoder). The only bonus features are a standard-definition trailer plus trailers to five other Sophia Loren films.

BOY ON A DOLPHIN on Blu-ray -- Movie: B / Video: A / Audio: A / Extras: D+

“What a Way to Go!” (1964) is a good example of a lavish Hollywood would-be blockbuster comedy.

Seen over a half-century later, it can be appreciated for its accomplishments (it earned well-deserved Oscar nominations for some spectacular color art direction and Edith Head’s often over-the-top costume designs), as well as its amazing all-star cast. On top of that are some unexpected Hollywood satire and dark comedy.

Shirley MacLaine gets involved in romantic relationships with Dick Van Dyke, Dean Martin, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, and Robert Cummings.

Her problem is that whenever she gets married, her husband soon works himself literally to death, leaving her an ever-wealthier widow. Fed up with all that money but thwarted personal fulfillment, she tries to give $200 million to the IRS on April 1st, and when they realize it’s not an April Fool’s joke she gets sent to psychiatrist Bob Cummings.

While it’s far from a perfect film, and tends to overdo the slapstick at times, “What a Way to Go!” is a great treat for any movie buff familiar with its stars. The script is by the creators of “Singin’ in the Rain” (and there are some obvious direct parodies of that film in the Gene Kelly sequence).

Director J. Lee Thompson, better-known for “The Guns of Navarone,” the original “Cape Fear,” and a couple of the original “Planet of the Apes” films, here does a decent job handling what looks more like a Blake Edwards comedy.

Kino’s Blu-ray has great picture quality spotlighting Leon Shamroy’s beautiful color widescreen cinematography, and the mono sound is fine. The only bonuses are a trailer and trailers to another Paul Newman film, another Robert Mitchum film, and another 1960s comedy.

WHAT A WAY TO GO! on Blu-ray -- Movie: A- / Video: A / Audio: A / Extras: D

Recently in:

FARGO – Water sizzles against scorched stones piled in a shallow pit center of Fargo’s only Indigenous sweat lodge. Faces gleam briefly before the glow fades, and the Native songs begin. Packed side by side, Anishinaabe, Spirit…

One of the most annoying things on the web is advertising that interrupts what you are doing. I’m talking about the pop-up ads, the videos that start playing as soon as your browser opens the page. You get the idea.Well, it seems…

Thursday, February 22, 7pmFront Street Taproom, 614 Main Ave, Fargo The jazz musician and independent songwriter, making music for 20 years and performing for 10. Interesting, arranges in a dynamic and unorthodox fashion. On tour,…

Editorial

Go ask ALICE

by Sabrina Hornung

I was 14 in 1999 when Columbine happened. I remember feeling the shock, horror, and overall sickness that comes with a national tragedy of that caliber.According to a February 15, 2018 article in The Washington Post by John Woodrow…

When will we learn to share wealth?Last week I wrote about how many predictions made by Aldous Huxley in his 1932 book "Brave New World" were beginning to come true in 2018.When I read the toll to travel on Interstate 66 in…

Although the temperatures were sub zero last Sunday, the crowd and competitors were certainly on fire at the Holiday Inn in Fargo for the 5th Annual Bartenders Battle.This event has become a highlight of the year for the service…

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Melissamartincounselor@live.com Emotional eating refers to a range of behaviors in which individuals eat for reasons other than physiological hunger; and eating is an attempt to self-soothe emotions.…

Music

​New Direction Fest 7

by Jack Stenerson

The New Direction had no shows booked in January 2012 so one of our co-founders, Charley Wang, decided to put together the First New Direction Fest out of complete necessity. He reached out to 18 local bands to play our little…

Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi, whose 1989 debut "My Twentieth Century" won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, achieved another career highlight recently with an Oscar nomination for her most recent feature. "On Body…

In my tenure at the High Plains Reader, I have devoted a lot of column inches to promoting the local music scene of the Red River Valley. However, I would be doing an injustice if I didn’t also bring your attention to another…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu Radical: Derived from the Latin radix, which literally means the root or base. In political terms it means penetrating beyond conventional explanations and getting at the root cause of a problem.In…