Flick Clique: September 30 – October 1
House of Boys (2009). This ’80s-period gay drama was one of the discs from the screener pool that I recently reviewed for DVD Talk (the writeup was just posted today, in fact). While the film had its moments, mostly it was long and inconsistent. See for yourself at the site (linked below).
The Painted Hills (1951). By the time you read this, it’ll be my 44th birthday (mercy me!). The celebration actually began a week ago when I shared a delicious Asian buffet with my family. We had a lot of nice talk and great sushi, but the main thing I wanted to bring up here is that (thanks to my brother and sister-in-law) I was gifted with the Nifty Fifties DVD box from my Amazon wish list. This is yet another Mill Creek packaging of a ton of public domain films. Now, I know these sets are notorious for their iffy quality, but I enjoy them for the opportunity to see a lot of lesser-known older films – b-mysteries, b-musicals, b-melodramas, they’re all here. At the very least, they’re interesting. Plus, even if you figure in their dodgy quality, they’re still a great deal. MGM’s Tecnicolor Lassie adventure The Painted Hills was the first film I caught off this one. This pretty but dull family adventure has our gender-confused collie hero transplanted to the mountainous regions of Gold Rush-era California (the dog, Pal, who played Lassie in the ’50s, actually plays a dog named Shep here – got that straight?). It’s got a nice turn by Paul Kelly and his immobile grey wig as a miner who owns Shep. When he dies at the hands of a chiseling fellow miner (Bruce Cowling), it’s up to Shep and an intrepid little boy (Gary Gray) to prove that his death was no accident. Rather forgettable overall, but the photography and scenery were both pleasant. The DVD itself suffered from compression issues, however. Unlike earlier Mill Creek sets I own (like Comedy Kings and Mystery Classics), the twelve discs in this set are not double-sided. That means that many of the discs have several hours of video pressed on one side of a DVD, which makes the picture even more pixelated. Honestly, I don’t know what possessed Mill Creek to do that (did their customers demand it?), but it will make me think twice about getting their stuff in the future. In the meantime, whenever I come across a Nifty Fifties film duplicated on another set, I will make sure to watch the slightly nicer editions pressed on the double-sided discs.
DVD Talk reviews:
Funkytown (2010) – Recommended
House of Boys (2009) – Rent It