MICHAEL COLLINS (1996) on Blu-ray. We salute the 20th anniversary of Neil Jordan’s incendiary classic about the rise and tragic fall of one of the most significant figures of the 20th Century. Liam Neeson leads an astonishing all-star assemblage as the title character, the man who brought down an empire and secured liberty for Eire. The late, great Alan Rickman is riveting as Collins cohort Éamon de Valera, Aidan Quinn anchors the firebrands as Harry Boland while Stephen Rea is inside man Ned Broy. Michael Collins greets its double decade with a brand new transfer on a bold, brave Blu-ray disc. Also starring Julia Roberts. SPECIAL FEATURES: New! Commentary by Neil Jordan; Theatrical Trailer (HD); In Conversation with Neil Jordan; Deleted Scenes; The South Bank Show documentary with Neil Jordan; Interview and Actual Footage of Michael Collins.
More Marion Davies
THE FLORADORA GIRL (1930) Marion Davies dazzles as Daisy Dell, the last member of a sultry singing sextet to use her song and dance to land a wealthy gent. This particular siren however, is more good girl than a gold-digger of 1890, so when she finds a man (Lawrence Gray) it’s her heart and not her purse that’s full. Alas for Daisy, her beau’s of the landed gentry set and his mother is firmly set upon him staying among his kind. It may just take a two-strip Technicolor musical finale to set things right. Harry Beaumont directs.
NOT SO DUMB (1930) Marion Davies delights as sweet young Dulcy Parker, a ditzy dame that does right by always doing wrong. Intent on securing her fiancé’s financial future, Dulcy organizes a weekend party at her sunny California home that quickly descends into pre-code, pre-screwball territory thanks to the George Kaufman/Marc Connely’s source material. Director-to-be Elliot Nugent plays the increasingly exasperated fiancé, Franklin Pangborn plays a hyperbolic “scenarist” and screen-scribe David Ogden Stewart (Going Hollywood, Philadelphia Story) takes a rare turn in front of the camera as a tactile tycoon. The great King Vidor sews it all together as director.
PEG O’ MY HEART (1933)
Under Robert Z. Leonard’s direction Marion Davies discards her bold and brassy persona in favor of “Little Orphan” O’Connell. Spunky Irish lass Peg O’Connell must leave Eire and her dear fisherman father Pat (J. Farrell MacDonald) behind for an indentured life of sorts among the British blue-bloods if she is to inherit her mother’s £2,000,000 fortune. The plucky Peg had proved a Broadway smash for actress Laurette Taylor and Davies surprised all but perhaps Hearst himself with her ability to shed twenty years and successfully play an innocent teen, making Peg a small town cinema favorite.
Cutting Edge Cinema
A FINE PAIR (1968) Rock Hudson and Claudia Cardinale star in this swinging sixties caper of theft and sexual liberation. Gorgeous, exotic Esmeralda Marini (Cardinale) convinces ex-police detective Mike Harmon (Hudson) to travel to Austria to help her return a set of stolen jewels to the rightful owners. But by the time Harmon realizes that he has been duped into stealing the gems, he also discovers he has a taste for the high life, the beautiful Marini, and high-stakes theft. Score by Ennio Morricone, directed by Francesco Maselli.
BROTHERLY LOVE (1970) Peter O’Toole and Susannah York star as siblings enmeshed in twisted schemes and sick desires in this black comic attack on the predations of country parish British blue-bloods. When flighty aristocrat Hilary (York) abandons her hubby Douglas (Michael Craig), she cohabitates with her somewhat wacky sibling Pink (O’Toole) at the family country estate. But free-love seeking Hilary does not realize the depths of Pink’s not-so-brotherly affections, nor how far he will go to keep her single. James Kennaway (Tunes of Glory) penned the script from his stage play Country Dance and short story Household Ghosts. Directed by J. Lee Thompson.
MELINDA (1972) This seminal Blaxpoitation crime drama lent its funky cinema DNA to a slew of subsequent kick ass street flicks. It also introduced the world to the great Jim Kelly and the urban aspects of Kung Fu fighting. Calvin Lockhart stars as the too-pretty, easy-speaking DJ Frankie J. Parker whose whirlwind romance with the mysterious Melinda (Vonetta McGee) puts Frankie in the frame for murder. As Frankie tackles the out-of-town gangsters (Paul Stevens, Ross Hagen) the set-up, one sweet innocent (Rosalind Cash) gets swept into the serpent’s nest (literally). It’s a good thing Frankie has a martial-art street power squad on his rolodex… Directed by Hugh A. Robertson.