Merian C. Cooper Reviews

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Chang

Review The two features on this Blu-ray publication honor the extraordinary lives of filmmaking team Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack as their distant, difficult and dangerous productions evolved from pure documentary (Grass), through semi-documentary (Chang) and semi-fiction (The Four Feathers), to their fictional apogee in King Kong (1933). The Most Dangerous Game (1932, 63 min.) is a superb pre-Code action-adventure film. Based upon a famous short story by Richard Connell, it follows big game hunter, Bob Rainsford, (Joel McCrea), as he becomes quarry for another, the opulently deranged Count Zaroff (floridly played by Leslie Banks). Utilizing some of the amazing sets made for King Kong, the film is sometimes thought of as a place-holder to keep key cast and crew available during Kong s lengthy animation schedule. This included actors Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson and Steve Clemento, as well as editor Archie Marshek, composer Max Steiner, sound effects expert Murray Spivak, illustrators Mario Larrinaga and Byron Crabbe, and optical effects wizards Vernon Walker and Linwood Dunn. The strong story and theme, excellent production values, vigorous action and fast pacing make The Most Dangerous Game an exciting and more than satisfying entertainment after eighty years. Both picture and sound are scrupulously restored in high definition by Lobster Films from the original 35mm studio fine grain master positive, and there is a full-length optional audio essay by Rick Jewell, Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and author of RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born (University of California Press, 2012). GOW (1931, 61 min.) is not only a true curiosity but also in many ways a key influence on later Cooper and Schoedsack productions including King Kong. The footage in Gow was produced by Edward A. Salisbury, a wealthy British adventurer, who in 1920 set sail in an 80-ton yacht equipped with a motion picture laboratory to, in his words, catch and hold for history a photo record of the fast-disappearing races of the South Seas Islands. Cooper and Schoedsack were among the cameramen on this two-year expedition that documented genuine head-hunters and cannibals along its route. The material was originally released as four separate films in the silent era and was consolidated as the film Gow, The Headhunter for an illustrated lecture by expedition member William Peck. Peck recorded his own cringe-inducing commentary in 1931. Gow was reissued as an exploitation film into the 1950s under the title Cannibal Island, but it was made with a serious purpose. True to Salisbury s intent, it indeed documents vanished cultures and is brilliantly illuminated here with an exclusive audio essay by Matthew Spriggs, Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University and author of The Island Melanesians. Gow is mastered for this edition in high definition from the original 35mm fine grain master positive BONUS FEATURES: In addition to the two full-length audio essays, this set also features a booklet containing notes by Merian C. Cooper as quoted in David O. Selznick's Hollywood by Ronald Haver; an essay by Emerson College professor, Eric Schaefer, author of Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! : A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959; and a slideshow with audio excerpts from an original interview with Merian C. Cooper conducted by film historian Kevin Brownlow.
Grass

Review ASIN: 6302420512 Product Name: Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (Silent) [VHS] Binding: VHStape Manufacturer: Milestone Video
Seven Wonders of the World

Review Katharine Hepburn portrayed everything from queens to a Chinese peasant in her splendid career, but her most unusual role may just be Trigger Hicks in Spitfire. The elegant, cultured Hepburn plays an ornery, rock-chuckin' mountain gal who finds God - and a knack for faith healing - in a pack of stolen Bible cards. But when she exercises her self-declared miraculous powers on a sick baby, the local folks figure Trigger is a force of supernatural evil. Two fine leading men, Robert Young and Ralph Bellamy, lend skilled support in a picture that's Hepburn's all the way: "After the story of Spitfire is forgotten, memories of Miss Hepburn's performance will remain" (The Times (London)).

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Most Dangerous Game / Gow the Headhunter [Blu-ray]

Review The two features on this Blu-ray publication honor the extraordinary lives of filmmaking team Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack as their distant, difficult and dangerous productions evolved from pure documentary (Grass), through semi-documentary (Chang) and semi-fiction (The Four Feathers), to their fictional apogee in King Kong (1933). The Most Dangerous Game (1932, 63 min.) is a superb pre-Code action-adventure film. Based upon a famous short story by Richard Connell, it follows big game hunter, Bob Rainsford, (Joel McCrea), as he becomes quarry for another, the opulently deranged Count Zaroff (floridly played by Leslie Banks). Utilizing some of the amazing sets made for King Kong, the film is sometimes thought of as a place-holder to keep key cast and crew available during Kong s lengthy animation schedule. This included actors Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson and Steve Clemento, as well as editor Archie Marshek, composer Max Steiner, sound effects expert Murray Spivak, illustrators Mario Larrinaga and Byron Crabbe, and optical effects wizards Vernon Walker and Linwood Dunn. The strong story and theme, excellent production values, vigorous action and fast pacing make The Most Dangerous Game an exciting and more than satisfying entertainment after eighty years. Both picture and sound are scrupulously restored in high definition by Lobster Films from the original 35mm studio fine grain master positive, and there is a full-length optional audio essay by Rick Jewell, Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and author of RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born (University of California Press, 2012). GOW (1931, 61 min.) is not only a true curiosity but also in many ways a key influence on later Cooper and Schoedsack productions including King Kong. The footage in Gow was produced by Edward A. Salisbury, a wealthy British adventurer, who in 1920 set sail in an 80-ton yacht equipped with a motion picture laboratory to, in his words, catch and hold for history a photo record of the fast-disappearing races of the South Seas Islands. Cooper and Schoedsack were among the cameramen on this two-year expedition that documented genuine head-hunters and cannibals along its route. The material was originally released as four separate films in the silent era and was consolidated as the film Gow, The Headhunter for an illustrated lecture by expedition member William Peck. Peck recorded his own cringe-inducing commentary in 1931. Gow was reissued as an exploitation film into the 1950s under the title Cannibal Island, but it was made with a serious purpose. True to Salisbury s intent, it indeed documents vanished cultures and is brilliantly illuminated here with an exclusive audio essay by Matthew Spriggs, Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University and author of The Island Melanesians. Gow is mastered for this edition in high definition from the original 35mm fine grain master positive BONUS FEATURES: In addition to the two full-length audio essays, this set also features a booklet containing notes by Merian C. Cooper as quoted in David O. Selznick's Hollywood by Ronald Haver; an essay by Emerson College professor, Eric Schaefer, author of Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! : A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959; and a slideshow with audio excerpts from an original interview with Merian C. Cooper conducted by film historian Kevin Brownlow.
The Mummy: Complete Legacy Collection [Blu-ray]

Review ASIN: 6302420512 Product Name: Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (Silent) [VHS] Binding: VHStape Manufacturer: Milestone Video
The Vampire Bat - Special Edition (The Film Detective Restored Version) [Blu-ray]

Review Katharine Hepburn portrayed everything from queens to a Chinese peasant in her splendid career, but her most unusual role may just be Trigger Hicks in Spitfire. The elegant, cultured Hepburn plays an ornery, rock-chuckin' mountain gal who finds God - and a knack for faith healing - in a pack of stolen Bible cards. But when she exercises her self-declared miraculous powers on a sick baby, the local folks figure Trigger is a force of supernatural evil. Two fine leading men, Robert Young and Ralph Bellamy, lend skilled support in a picture that's Hepburn's all the way: "After the story of Spitfire is forgotten, memories of Miss Hepburn's performance will remain" (The Times (London)).

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.



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