The Barefoot Contessa (1954) and The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
Company: Twilight Time
Barefoot Contessa: Starring: Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Edmond O'Brien, Ava Gardner, Valentina Cortese, Rossano Brazzi, Marius Goring
The Keys of the Kingdom: Starring: Gregory Peck, Roddy McDowall, Edmund Gwenn, Thomas Mitchell, Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price
My Review and Thoughts:
The reason I am doing a double feature write up review is because I first saw both back to back at a Classic Double Bill in Knoxville Tennessee when I was 11 years old. My Nanny, Judy, god rest her soul loved taking me to the films of her time, movies she loved. There was a theater, sadly no longer around that use to showcase classic films in a Double Bill setting every Saturday. One of those double bills was The Barefoot Contessa and The Keys of the Kingdom. Also, that day we saw Bambi followed by The Yearling. These Double Bills are a pivotal part of my childhood, and the growing love of the cinema bug that dug deep into my mind, soul and heart to love movies as much as I do.
Twilight Time chose two important pieces of cinema to bring out on Special Edition 3,000 Unit productions. To me both films are must own for any lover of cinema. Twilight Time did an amazing job in bringing both important pieces out. Both look and sound amazing. Truly fantastic High Definition transfer’s. They have never look any better. Twilight Time brought beauty to both Blu-ray’s.
First up is Barefoot Contessa:
Starring one of the greats of cinema who really needs no introduction or write up to know his mastery. If you’re a movie buff, a cinema lover then you know of the one and only Humphrey Bogart. Bogart was a masterpiece worthy performer. He graced so many wonderful pieces of cinematic mastery. From the classic Casablanca playing the unforgettable character Rick Blaine. The Maltese Falcon playing another unforgettable character of Samuel Spade. And my personal favorite The Big Sleep playing the one and only character Philip Marlowe. Bogart was mastery beyond words. Also, starring the beautiful, one of a kind, goddess of cinema who also needs no write up or introduction, Ava Gardener. She is and always will be the true definition of cinematic acting. Gardner was one of the grand actresses that left us with so many amazing performances, and she is one those performers that I always return to, and fall in love with all over again.
This also stars the one and only Edmond O'Brien the iconic Film actor who graced the cinema world throughout many genres of film. He was a true classic golden actor playing many parts from drama, action, western to Film Noir gangster. His two performances that will stand out the most is this one in Barefoot Contessa which was his Oscar winning performance, and the other is his Oscar nomination for his work in 1964's Seven Days in May. Many will remember him in 1969's masterpiece The Wild Bunch. I'll always personally remember him in the 1950's Film Noir D.O.A. as Frank and as Jim in 1946's The Killers which introduced us to the master actor Burt Lancaster. Edmond was a master at anything he did from TV to feature film from small to large parts, he gave it his all. His performances stand out above and beyond the art of acting.
I also must mention the amazing actress Valentina Cortese, who is a stunning, breathtaking masterly performer, and is someone I have always loved watching. Started acting in 1941 and did so until 1993. She was just one of those gifted souls who knew how to perform, capture her role, and execute it in a flawless manner. She was also featured in another Twilight Time Special Edition release Appassionata (1974).
Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. A master of cinema production or writing and of directing. All one should do is look at the amazing films he directed. The 1946 masterly film, Dragonwyck. Also, the mastery of 1949’s A Letter to Three Wives. From 1950’s All about Eve, to a huge favorite of mine 1953’s Julius Caesar. He directed 22 films, 22 films that stand out and are amazing to see in all their differences. What made him so unique is he also wrote many of his films. Also, writing for many other films that he did not direct, such as the screen adaption of the musical classic 1955’s Guys and Dolls. The Barefoot Contessa is one of those masterly films that he crafted with his excellence.
Next up The Keys of the Kingdom:
Another flawless gem in my book. Starring one of the amazing all-time greatest performers in cinema history. The amazing one of a kind Gregory Peck, a truly phenomenal performer, that needs no introduction. He was a key figure in cinema history. Peck is one of my all-time favorite performers that mastered so many cinematic moments. He is one that showcases what acting is about, or should be about. He has starred in some of my favorite films of all time. Roman Holiday (1953) The Guns of Navarone (1961) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Duel in the Sun (1946) The Yearling (1946) Moby Dick (1956) Cape Fear (1962) How the West was Won (1962) and the true favorite of mine the one and only horror film: The Omen (1976) and last but not least, the one I have to mention, which is an underrated gem, and one I watch often, a personal favorite, The Boys of Brazil (1978) . No matter what he acted in he owned his parts and created thought provoking characters.
Also, starring one of my Top 20 Actors of all time the one and only Roddy McDowall. He was the pivotal actor of my childhood. I grew up watching the Planet of the Apes series of films. I personally love him in all the ones he graced with his excellence in performance. McDowall was more than just a man in an ape suit. He was a true thespian. He mastered any role he captured with a quality that is both mind numbing and eye catching brilliance. Started performing in 1938 and worked unto his death in 1998. I was 9 years old when my Nanny took me to the Planet of the Apes marathon. Back to back complete film series on the big screen created a mastery in my mind. It gave a complete understanding of fandom and geekdom inside my mind. I was forever a fan, and no matter how many times I see them I love them. McDowell left the cinema world with so many pieces of film, with amazing characters and the character of young Francis Chisholm in The Keys of the Kingdom is amazing as always. So, young in this and yet so brilliant just seeing him. I had honestly forgot he was in this. One of my favorite roles is when he played the character of Arial in the 1960’s Shakespeare adaption The Tempest. From comedies like That Darn Cat (1965) The Cat from Outer Space (1978) to playing the character of bookworm on the 1960’s live action Batman Series. To several of my favorite horror films, 1967’s It! 1973’s The Legend of Hell House, and the one and only personal horror favorite, and in my Top 50 horror films of all time, 1985’s Fright Night. Also, starring in two of my childhood favorite Sci-Fi films, Disney’s The Black Hole (1979) and the Adaption of Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece, The Martian Chronicles, which was a mini-series in 1980, a true classic. No matter if he was in costume, or hidden in make-up, or just a side character, he was one of the greatest actors of all time.
This also stars one of the true masters of Horror, Vincent Price. Price, really needs no introduction to anyone calling themselves a movie lover. He also was the very definition of performance in no matter what role he played. From drama, to horror, he was the guru of cinema. Most fans flock to and collect his horror films, for they were a true trademark, of Price. Price was so much more than just a horror actor. Price was also a skilled thespian. Price was an actor that could hold the audience, and give them a sense of personal dread, and personal drama in the belief of his character.
Directed by a master of cinema that is sadly overlooked or forgotten about, or not given the present knowledge of his mastery that he deserves. Thankfully Twilight Time has honored this film guru with a lovely example of one of his important pieces of cinema, which is The Keys of the Kingdom. What makes Stahl stand out is he was a director that created many styles of film. Starting in the silent era and working all the way up to one year before his death in 1950. He directed 47 films. He not only directed but he was a producer and writer.
His first directing film was in 1914, which is just so amazing to think of film that far back.
The Keys of the Kingdom is about a young priest named Father Chisholm. He is sent to China to start a Catholic parish. Meanwhile a friend who is also a priest has more freedom and growth by working in a pro Christian area, while Chisholm is in a hostile area faced with poverty and disease, and anger toward the Christian faith. His is one of struggle. His faith is challenged. Over the years, he finds the struggle is more humbling and as time moves forward, he grows with the community, becoming one with them. A perfect drama, with an excellent array of direction, and performances that truly stand out.
Both look and sound amazing. A beautiful transfer to High Definition. An amazing accomplishment by Twilight Time in high quality products which they tend to always do. The transfers are always a treat to experience. Vibrant in imagery, crisp is sound.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.78:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 3.0 DTS-HD MA (Perspecta) / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1954 / Color
The Keys of the Kingdom:
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.33:1
AUDIO: English 2.0 DTS-HD MA / English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
1944 / B&W
My Rating: 3 out of 5
Barefoot Contessa Extras: Isolated Score Track: The music was created and flawlessly executed by music master Mario Nascimbene. He was one of the greatest soundtrack composers to ever grace Hollywood. One only must look at his vast career and his ultimate excellence in sound. He, in his wonderful career gave music to over 150 movies, which is unbelievable in the reality of this composer and Conductor. He also was honored on two other Twilight Time release’s Solomon and Sheba and Alexander the Great. The Keys to the Kingdom is no different than all his other masterpieces of ear listening, perfection. His music is the style that grabs you and sends you into the movie, and expresses the emotions, or reality taking place on screen. Simply put, his music comes to life as a living being.
What makes him so unique in my viewpoint is the many styles of films he was a part of. From high class, big budget studio wonders, all the way to lower forms of cinema. He mastered his music with a vast genus of films. From the wonderment of, 1957’s That Night, to 1958’s The Vikings, 1959’s Violent Summer, all the way to Hammer Films, One Million Years B.C., to the 1970 adventure fantasy, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. These few that I have mentioned, just showcases you his many adventures in music. He is one of the best Italian film composers and Orchestrator's of music to ever live. He, like the master Ennio Morricone, should always be honored and remembered. Twilight Time did a wonderful job in honoring this movie and his music.
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and David Del Valle. A wonderful listen always a true treat when experiencing a film with high end Film historians. Kirgo and Valle are amazing and know their stuff. I really enjoyed listening and being educated on the film.
Stills Gallery from the David Del Valle Archive
Original Theatrical Trailer
The Keys of the Kingdom:
Isolated Score Track: You have a multi-talented musician on the music in this film, composer of perfection, Alfred Newman. Alfred Newman was another pioneer of music. A composer and arranger and conductor of many, upon many pieces of music for film. The vast array of work under his belt can only show you his expertise at music, from, The Song of Bernadette, All About Eve, The Diary of Anne Frank, How the West Was Won, The Greatest Story Ever Told and many, many more credits to his name. What’s so different and amazing about Newman is, he only wrote music for film. This idea and concept showcases the beauty he had for film and that beauty always showed in the finished product. I must mention the success of his music was honored countless times, winning an impressive 9 Oscars and being nominated over 40 times.
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Kenneth Geist and Chris Mankiewicz. A wonderful high quality listen. Very informative. I really enjoyed listening to this commentary, I thought it captured much about the film and gave the listener a need or want to listen and finish it.
Original Theatrical Trailer
Yet again Twilight Time has created two masterly products, that should be owned and experienced and shared. These being only 3,000 Unit productions, hurry and get them. Classic film lovers look no further than these to Blu-ray’s executed flawlessly. Both are truly high quality products. Two great classic films starring amazing performers. Directed wonderfully. Both are perfection in audio and video. Two must see, must own beauties of the olden days of cinema. Twilight Time has taken two classic often forgotten about films, but now thankfully Twilight Time has brought these two gems to Blu-ray. Both are Highly Recommended by A Bucket of Corn. Do yourself a favor and buy these and experience a classic sense of perfected film making.
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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