Company: Twilight Time
The reason why I'm doing a double review instead of the two as single reviews because I first saw these back in 1995 as a double feature. There was a war movie marathon at the local theater and these two played back to back and so I thought it would be fitting to display them together. Twilight Time Blu-ray has released both on a special edition Blu-ray of 3000 units produced. Both of these films have never looked any better. Never sounded any better. There both crisp in imagery, clear in sound. One vibrant in black-and-white beauty and the other vibrant in color.
Both are truly classic films that should be seen and respected by this modern generation of film lovers. It surprises me that neither of these have had a Blu-ray release until now. Twilight Time did a lovely job in mastering new outlets for both of these films. Both films dealing with a pivotal moment in time and in history of World War II and Nazi Germany.
Both feature films have iconic actors in both of them. Each one displayed with an ensemble cast of excellence and mastery in performing.
First we will speak of The Young Lions
Plot: Product Description: A World War II epic, The Young Lions (1958), based on the Irwin Shaw best-seller, interweaves the stories of three soldiers: an apolitical German (Marlon Brando) caught up in a conflict he doesn’t understand, a Jewish American (Montgomery Clift) forced to suffer anti-Semitism from his fellow servicemen, and a sophisticated coward (Dean Martin) forced into war against his will.
My Review and Thoughts:
I mean what can be said describing the cast in this film other than brilliant. The ever flawless Marlon Brando. Brando gives one of his greatest performances in cinema. In The Night of the Generals, Peter O'Toole's plays a sadistic, ruthless Nazi who has been changed by the horrors of war to be a madman. In The Young Lions, Brando plays the Nazi that tries to be good and is against some of the horrors taking place, but as the war moves forward, his attitude, and emotional reality slowly unravels and changes. His character is a prime example of building a character in cinema to be remembered. Brando executes this with mastery, and what was his dynamic art of creating flawless characterizations of fictional individuals, simply put, bringing them to life as believable.
This also stars the total music, and acting guru of the original Rat Pack, Dean Martin. Two amazing and iconic performers, Lee Van Cleef and Maximillian Schell, if those three don't pull you in then the one and only, sexy, handsome, and passionate actor Montgomery Clift should seal the deal. I should not have to say anymore. It's so hard to believe Clift died at the young age of 45. This performance as the American Jew, love struck and drafted into the war, is one of Clift's defining career performances. His character is picked on and made fun of and ridiculed. In this sense it shows you hatred and bigotry for the Jews was not just Nazi Germany, but many people including Americans.
Now this also stars some stunningly gorgeous, true ladies of cinema, Barbara Rush, Hope Lange and May Britt. Three amazing leading ladies. Sexy and true goddesses of cinema.
This film also has many small parts and cameo appearances. One such is L.Q. Jones in an uncredited role. He was a true legend in the world of cinema starring in many films by the iconic legend Director, the one and only Sam Peckinpah. Jones was stable in the bad guy and character actor role. He seemed to own the 70’s and 80’s appearing in countless films. He also was a writer and producer for many films. His most notable acting role is in the film and classic masterpiece, The Wild Bunch (1969). He also directed and adapted the screen play for the cult film, A Boy and his Dog (1975). He was one of those actors you might not know his name but you know his face and that is the reality he holds. He also was responsible for the 1971 low budget horror film, Brotherhood of Satan, which was written, produced and yes starring him.
The Young Lions is directed by Edward Dmytryk. Another master director probably most famous for Film Noirs of the 40's. He was a skilled director that brought many amazing pieces of cinema to the public. He also directed the Oscar nominated 1954's The Caine Mutiny.
He worked with Marlon Brando several times. Sadly he was one of the directors that was blacklisted in Hollywood during the asinine McCarthy era Red Scare, where he was sent to jail. The Young Lions is one of his defining achievements of cinema.
This is based on the 1948 novel by Irwin Shaw. Shaw was a powerful writer. His talent is grand and if you’re a reader I highly recommend you look up his work and read his amazing prose.
There's a frightening shot in The Young Lions, where Brando is walking in the bombed out city, debris everywhere. A small child, on crutches with only one leg struggling to maneuver over the debris, this moment gives a stunning and disturbing and emotional moment of cinema history.
The Young Lions is filled with great special effects and war time violence through costumes and sets. The whole film is a moving piece of war time cinema.
I know I say this often and it seems I am repeating myself but I have to give accolades where it is deserved and this is another prime example of how to treat a film. Twilight Time gave it an excellent transfer and sound on a new fresh Blu-ray outlet. A great product of sound and video.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
Isolated Score Track. Like so many of the releases by Twilight Time you get this fantastic experience of just listening to the music by itself. This I found amazing because it’s by a wonderful musician that truly gave a gift to this film. Hugo Friedhofer was a true master and spectacular music god that left the world of cinema with such memorable scores. All one has to do is look at his career and understand the master that he was. The Young Lions is one of those powerful scores that will always stand the test of time.
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman. This special feature is like a true orgy of excellence. Three powerful film historians that know there stuff and ain’t afraid to show it. An excellent audio commentary.
Original Theatrical Trailer
You also get the wonderful Film Booklet by Julia Kirgo which I always state is utterly fantastic to read.
Next up The Night of the Generals.
Plot: Product Description: Anatole Litvak directs and Sam Spiegel produces The Night of the Generals (1967), an unusual World War II crime thriller about a Nazi investigation into the murder of a prostitute. Major Grau (Omar Sharif) finds himself focusing on three suspects: the Generals Tanz (Peter O’Toole), Kahlenberg (Donald Pleasence) and Seydlitz-Gabler (Charles Gray) – all three of whom, it seems, are also involved in a plot to kill Hitler.
My Review and Thoughts:
I think the one that stands out the most is the one and only true cinematic genius, the dynamic Peter O'Toole needs no write up. His performance as Tanz is something to remember and never forget. In this he is a neat freak, and his attitude and persona and facial expressions are something cinematic. Omar Sharif as Grau is extremely powerful. The ever gifted Donald Pleasence creates a striking persona as Kahlenberge. Charles Gray as Gabler is utterly flawless. The stunningly gorgeous Joanna Pettet as the main female lead. Tom Courtenay as Hartman. Courtenay has always been one of my favorite actors. Courtenay's defining achievement was in the 1963 Billy Liar. The Night of the Generals is weaved with total acting excellence that stands out above and beyond so many other films. A cinematic collection of classic performers.
There is a powerful scene in this where they are forcing out and rounding up the people from the buildings and Peter O'Toole is standing erect in his car as the flames are burning the buildings down, and they're blowing up others with tank fire. Peter just stands there, erect, posture like a brick wall and his emotionless features is truly haunting. Peter's character is creepy, mysterious and filled with insanity. A truly emotional reality.
Directed by another amazing film creator, Director, producer and writer Anatole Litvak. Responsible for some great cinema, including 1940’s All This, and Heaven Too, 1948’s The Snake Pit, 1951’s Decision before Dawn, 1956’s Anastasia, and many others. The Night of the Generals has all the flare of masterly direction, that he was known for.
This, like The Young Lions is another prime example of clarity in sound and video. That is something I find so fascinating with the Twilight Time Blu-ray’s. Not only are the disc themselves worthy to own, but it’s the quality put into them that makes me giddy and happy and utterly in amazement at the products. These two blu-ray’s, The Night of the Generals and The Young Lions are both must own products for any lover of cinema.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
Isolated Score Track. Another treat. This is by another music master Maurice Jarre. This like The Young Lions is another high quality extra feature. I really love when Twilight Time is able to add this feature for the simple fact, music is important in film. It drives the reality of the film. It brings out the emotions and changing of the situations. Plus I am a huge music fan. Equally huge is my love for movie soundtracks. So Twilight Time gives me the best of both worlds.
Original Theatrical Trailers
Yet again you get the wonderful booklet by Julia Kirgo. I find these little booklets a wonderful thing to collect and reread every time I watch the film. Great information as always.
Two powerful, classic films. One a black and white and the other a color. Both equally important pieces of war cinema, of cinema period. Both filled with dynamic casts and special effects. Both told in the time period of one of the worst times in history. Both bleeding reality with fiction to bring forth the historical moments of World War 2.
The Night of the Generals gives off an experience of War mixed with the emotional insanity and depravity of the Nazi mind. Peter O’Toole’s performance is something that only legendary status can accomplish. He owned that movie like he owned so many other films. He was the true masterly art of performance.
Both The Night of the Generals and The Young Lions are captured on film with directing excellence in the classic film form. The Night of the Generals had lavish costumes, sets, explosions, fire, guns and vibrant color clarity. The Young Lions was a deep character driven emotional film, captured in Black and White and yet it to was so vibrant in its experience. It didn’t need color to give the rich toned reality of its situations.
Twilight Time did a fantastic job bringing both of these classic powerhouses of cinema. A new wonderful transfer on Blu-ray. Audio and Video, fresh and new for a modern generation to experience. Both these films, on these limited edition Blu-ray's are highly recommended.
Make sure you head over to www.screenarchives.com to buy all the wonderful Twilight Time Blu-rays. The main page that gives you these beautiful releases on top quality Special Editions.
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