Double Feature: Murphy’s Law (1986) – From Noon till Three (1976)
Company: Twilight Time
Murphy’s Law - Starring: Carrie Snodgress, Charles Bronson, Richard Romanus, Kathleen Wilhoite, Robert F. Lyons, Angel Tompkins
From Noon till Three - Starring: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Stan Haze, Damon Douglas, Anne Ramsey, Douglas Fowley
My Review and Thoughts:
My Rating: Murphy’s Law 3 out of 5
My Rating: From Noon till Three 4 out of 5
This is a wonderful double feature of two fantastic Blu-ray’s by the one and only company Twilight Time. A double feature of one of the coolest actors in cinema history, the one and only Charles Bronson. I was, like always super excited to hear the announcement of these two features. I am specifically more excited because of both of them being Charles Bronson films.
As I have stated many times in passed reviews, I am a huge Charles Bronson fan. My favorite will always be, the Death Wish saga. I own every one of his films on VHS, and DVD, and now many of his films are coming out, or have already came out on Blu-ray. Bronson came from a time of cinema when, Manly men owned the camera. The tough guy persona ruled, and operated a no holds bar attitude of dominance in film. There was a time when the male figure demonstrated a control of the character they were playing. Now days the white ghost teeth, slick hair, metrosexual, male figure becomes somewhat laughable in cinema, compared to the brutes of men in the 40’s, all the way to early 90’s cinema. What happened to the days of the sophisticated tough guys like, Richard Burton, Yul Brynner, James Cagney, James Coburn, Bronson, Eastwood, Hackman, Lee Marvin, Gary Cooper. How Hollywood has missed the mark in not creating the tough guy persona, just amazes me in all its stupidity. Don’t get me wrong there are still tough guys, but the style, and approach has changed. The original tough guys did not have to demand your attention, they already had your attention, and Charles Bronson was that style.
First up is Murphy’s Law.
What's so great about the film Murphy’s Law is Bronson, and the director had already worked on other films. In reality they would work on 6 total films together. They knew each other. This style of bond in cinema is great. The director knows the actor. The director knows what the actor is good at. The actor knows the director. The actor knows what the director wants. Murphy’s Law has that complete reality. You can see how the film flows, and comes together easily to display the plot, and the ability to solve it through Bronson’s persona. J. Lee Thompson was an important director that created so many wonderful tough guy films. They were more than just that basic tough guy style of film, because they had a unique substance to them, that gave a tight structured plot. Thompson used Bronson in the films, 1976’s St. Ives, 1977’s White Buffalo, 1980’s Caboblanco, and 10 to Midnight, Evil that Men Do.
Thompson was truly a gifted director that had an eye for spell binding pieces of cinema. He was an Academy Award nominated director. He mastered the action great that he was nominated for: 1961’s The Guns of Navarone. Thompson in his lifetime of directing was nominated for Bafta Awards, Golden Globes, Palme d’Or Cannes Film Festival, and many others. His talent shined. He mastered such greats like the one and only 1962’s Cape Fear.
One of my personal favorite guilty pleasures, 1972’s Conquest of the planet of the Apes. He also directed many lower budget; or films that has gone on to become cult following style cinema. 1981’s horror, Happy Birthday to Me, 1985’s King Solomon’s Mine, 1986’s Firewalker. He could direct Oscar worthy films, and he could direct Cheesy Drive-in Flare style of films. Murphy’s Law was not his last film with Bronson. They would go on to make later adventures, Death Wish 4, Messenger of Death, and lastly Kinjite Forbidden Secrets. Just a fantastic partnership that lasted many years, and gave great action packed films with a tough guy reality.
Murphy’s Law is about an LAPD cop Jack Murphy a.k.a. Charles Bronson. Jack happens to be framed for murder by a convict named Joan Freeman who he happened to put away in jail in the past. Freeman ends up killing Murphy’s ex-wife framing him for the murder. And also Freeman starts to kill anyone Murphy knows, framing him for the murders. Murphy is arrested, handcuffed to another prisoner Arabelle McGee. During the process they escape, stuck together. Jack alongside Arabelle, against her will, seek out to clear Jack’s name. Jack heads his own investigation and to hunt down, take down, the woman Joan Freeman who is causing all the torment in his life; as now he is hunted by his fellow police officers.
Carrie Snodgress who I have always felt was a true underrated actress stars as the haunting bad girl killer Joan Freeman. She gives an amazing performance as the villain. Snodgress died way to soon in real life. 58 years old is shocking and sad. I feel she should have been a household name, or given more roles in her career worthy of her nature of brilliant talent in performing. Her first starring role of the big screen was the 1970’s Rabbit, Run, which I thought was a great drama alongside James Caan. Being her first feature I think she aced it greatly. I think the one she stands out most for, is her Academy Award nominated performance in 1970’s Diary of a Mad Housewife. This film shows her brilliance and importance in the field of acting. I supposed it was her ultimate leaving the world of film after this great start she had, to be with her boyfriend and lover, rock legend Neil Young that caused a lot of her stardom to fade, and disappear. It would take 8 years before she came back, 8 long years that made people forget her, and that’s really sad, just because someone leaves for a while does not mean the brilliance of performing washes away. I feel Snodgress got a bum reality when it came to starring after her break, it was like she could never get the push again, although she did end up starring is some later memorable films, like Brian De Palma’s The Fury and also the wonderful 1994’s Blue Sky. She did a lot of television shows and movies. It just saddens me that her talent seemed to be overlooked in so many ways.
Next actress that needs mention is the wonderful Kathleen Wilhoite, who plays the character Arabelle McGee who is handcuffed to Charles Bronson’s character Jack Murphy. She to stands out to me for her unique reality in the world of cinema. Not only an actress, but director, writer, producer, and soundtrack, music department. Still acting strong today and as of this writing, has starred in over 120 performances on screen or TV. To me it’s her many small roles that stand out the most, because she was a stable in the 80’s and 90’s in such films like 86’s Witchboard, 87’s Angel Heart, 88’s Dream Demon, 89’s Road House, 90’s Bad Influence, 92’s Lorenzo’s Oil, 93’s Fire in the Sky, 97’s The Edge, among others. Now I will always remember her as Chloe Lewis on the long running medical drama TV series ER from 1994-2002. She was a stable in many TV series, appearances in many of the important one’s from Family Ties, The Jefferson’s, Cagney and Lacy, Fame, Twin Peaks, Quantum Leap, L.A. Law, Mad About You, and countless others. Something interesting to note is she also is not just an actress, but a genuine singing talent. Many don’t know but she was a backup singer to the music group The Carpenters. She gives a great performance as the foul mouthed convict chained to Bronson in Murphy’s Law. Both make a brilliant couple in this film. They both play off each other in a fantastic, and somewhat comical way.
Next up From Noon till Three:
The plot to this comedy western is your main character is Graham Dorsey a.k.a. Charles Bronson. He is part of a gang of Bank Robbers. Their goal is to rob a bank in a small town. Graham ends up having a nightmare before the robbery that he and the gang are going to be killed during the robbery. Now during the process of this ordeal, Graham’s horse fails and so he needs a new horse. They come upon a farm that is run by a widow named Amanda Starbuck a.k.a. Jill Ireland. Amanda lies to the gang that she does not have any horses; inside her thoughts she does not trust them. Graham goes to the barn to look, notices she lied, she has horses. But fearing his own nightmare, he goes along with the lie and tells his crew that he will stay here at the farm, while they go ahead with the robbery. Also what Graham wants is to have sex with Amanda. So to make a long story short, Amanda and Graham after much interaction make love, fall in love. But Grahams gang is captured, sent to hang. The towns people seek out Graham, Graham steals another’s identity. That person a dentist is mistaken for Graham and is shot dead. But to make matters worse the identity that Graham stole, ends up putting him in jail for a year because the Dentist was not a dentist and was con artist. All the while Amanda thinks Graham is dead. Now this reality, the love of Amanda and Graham ends becoming the basis of a growing legend, where Amanda writes a book about it. The book is a success, a stage play, a song and lots of money that make Amanda rich. Now as you would guess it’s a year later, and Graham wants to come back to Amanda. The movie is a mix of western style with romance and the overall mishap style comedy that brings the viewer into a realm of originality and satisfaction.
Directed by Frank D Gilroy. Sadly, we recently lost this film maker in 2015. He left the cinema world with many examples of films and TV. He not only was a film maker, but a writer and producer of films. He only directed 8 films. He wrote many more. I think the 2 that stand out is From Noon till Three, and 1985’s The Gig. I think what makes From Noon till Three stand out is it’s a different style of film. A very different style of film for Charles Bronson. It’s a comedy Western romance. Gilroy started writing for television in 1953 and continued to do so up until 1989. He wrote for Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, The Rifleman, Have Gun Will Travel. Best remembered by me as a child growing up on classic television re-runs, he was the creator of the long running crime action drama, Burke’s Law. He also wrote many other TV shows and TV movies. His name might not be known to most film lovers, but he still left a mark in the cinema world.
This stars besides Charles Bronson the very beautiful and sexy, stunning, talented Jill Ireland. Who just happened to be Charles Bronson’s real life wife. They married in 1968 and styed married until sadly Ireland’s, horrible sad death to the mass murderer Breast Cancer. She was only 54 years old. So young, so beautiful, so talented. Seeing her with Bronson in the many films they did together, you could see the natural, real and raw companionship. Amazingly she was honored and given the respect she deserved by having a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If you ever get a chance go and visit, pay your respect to this amazing performer. Now Jill was a stable in her husband’s films, 1970’s Violent City, 1970’s Cold Sweat, 1971’s Someone Behind the Door, 1972’s The Valachi Papers, 1972’s The Mechanic, 1973’s Chino, 1975’s Breakout, 1975’s Hardtimes, 1975’s Breakheart Pass, 1979’s Love and Bullets, 1982's Deathwish 2, 1987’s Assassination. So you can see there was a massive beauty in that the characters felt real on screen together making the films all the more stand out in characters. Sadly, Jill was diagnosed with breast Cancer in 1984 and fought the disease with a great fight, but the horror of cancer would return and ultimately cause her death. She is a priceless performer and always a true treat for any lover of cinema to see.
Here is a little trivia for you, she had two sons with her first husband actor David McCallum. Her son Paul McCallum is in five of Charles Bronson’s films, 1986’s Act of Vengeance, 1987’s Assassination, 1986’s Murphy’s Law, 1983’s 10 to Midnight, and 1982’s Death Wish 2. Her second son Valentine McCallum is the composer to three of Charles Bronson’s films, Murphy’s Law, Assassination and Death Wish 4.
Also I have to mention this stars one of my favorite female actresses that truly was a one of a kind performer that always owned, and displayed her characters in forceful wonder. She was a prime example of not your typical looking actress, and that is what made her all the dynamic in my viewpoint. I speak about actress Anne Ramsey. A true character actor that I love to talk about, and watch over and over again. The two films most remembered by me with her in them is the 80’s classic The Goonies as the character of Mama Fratelli. I will always owe childhood movie memories because of her performance in that film. She was priceless and the Golden Ticket of pure delight. The other film I feel she is most thought about is the comedy 1987’s Throw Momma from the Train, which is another one I absolutely cherish. She was such a wonderful character actor. From 1980’s Any Which Way You Can, 1984’s The Killers, 1986’s Deadly Friend, 1988’s Scrooged, and many others. I just had to mention her because she is so pivotal in many character roles that you remember her face, voice, attitude, emotions, and expression in her performances.
I also have to mention Douglas Fowley as the character of Buck Bowers in From Noon till Three. Fowley was a truly acting guru that left the cinema world with many wonderful characters. Performing in over 330 acting performances in both movie and TV. He was pivotal in my childhood because I grew up being babysitted by afternoon television and Saturday morning and Saturday matinees of westerns and gangster films; war films of the classic setting. Starring alongside such greats as Warner Oland, Peter Lore, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Roy Rogers, Van Johnson, Abbott and Costello, Robert Mitchum, Anthony Quinn, among many countless others. For all the old folk or those who love classic television he might be best known for the long running Western TV series The Legend of Wyatt Earp where he played Doc Holiday and other characters (1955-1961). Started acting in 1933 and continued to do so until 1982
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Both Murphy’s Law and From Noon till Three both look like new films. Both of them have never looked any better. The imagery is vibrant in color and texture. The audio is crisp, voices heard. Both audio and video come off as being worthy to mention. These two Blu-ray’s capture the high quality that Twilight Time does to these films. Each of the films stand out above and beyond what they were in the past on VHS, DVD or even Television, for these two Blu-ray's look and come across in video and sound as something new and fresh. Twilight Time did a fantastic job in capturing perfection.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
From Noon till Three:
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
My Rating: For Murphy’s Law 3 out of 5
Isolated Score Track: Interesting on this special feature is the two behind the music to the film are really not huge in the cinema world. Both of them have less than 10 credits between them. Valentine McCallum (Jill Ireland;s son) has composed for three Charles Bronson films. Not only Murphy’s Law, but also 1987 Assassination and 1987’s Death Wish 4. Marc Donahue has composed for 4 films. He sadly died very young. Both these music composer’s worked on Soundtracks and in the music departments. The music in Murphy’s Law has that classic composing stamp of the 80’s.
Audio Commentary with Actress Kathleen Wilhoite and Film Historian Nick Redman. Another fantastic listen. Really enjoyed hearing from Kathleen Wilhoite on the film and the experience. Plus, the wonderful film historian and guru of cinema knowledge Nick Redman. A fantastic commentary. I always love hearing from those involved in the film, having one of the actresses is always a huge plus for any special feature.
Original Theatrical Trailer
From Noon till Three:
My Rating: For From Noon till Three 1 out of 5
Isolated Score Track (with some effects): This is another example of a golden ticket for Twilight Time special features. I am a huge music lover, and something I love is music scores, and that is why I look forward to this special feature. The man behind the music score is a genius of talent Elmer Bernstein. Anyone who is a movie lover should know his tunes. From hundreds, upon hundreds of films and TV. He has given his talent. From the great movies like The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Ghostbusters, The Ten Commandments, The Man with the Golden Arm, The Great Escape, just to name a few. Over 50 years he supplied the beauty of ear candy. Also he was nominated for an amazing 14 Academy Awards. His music is still being used today on soundtracks. His legend lives on. Twilight Time honored this music master with this special feature, that is a must listen. He had many styles of music in composing, to Jazz, and so much more. A true mastery that shall never be forgotten. Sadly, he is no longer with us, but his music lives, and this special features showcases that.
Original Theatrical Trailer
Another fantastic experience by Twilight Time. Two important Charles Bronson films for and geared toward the fans of Charles Bronson. Twilight Time respected both of these films and gave the fans what they wanted, a high quality transfer, perfect audio and video. A few special features. Something I always tend to find myself saying over and over again is Twilight Time never lets me down. Each Blu-ray, each time, every month I become satisfied and thoroughly giddy like a child on Christmas morn when I behold the new Twilight Time release, because I know the quality and care that are put into these products. These transfers, bringing these films to High Definition for a modern generation. Also Twilight Time gives back for a generation of old lovers of the cinema a spectacular and worthy experience to praise. Both Murphy’s Law and From Noon till Three are highly recommended.
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