This September, revenge, reconciliation and reckonings for bad behavior earmark the four diverse Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray debuts from directors (John Boorman, John Ford and Charles Jarrott and Henry King) who injected their respective projects’ material with thematic commitment and heartfelt passion. While the considerable starpower on view, including Gregory Peck, Spencer Tracy, Samuel L. Jackson, radiates coolness and charisma, their powerful, multilayered characterizations allow exploration of the dark side of human character, where embedded decency can uncomfortably alternate with pragmatic ruthlessness. The quests for justice can be personal (Peck as an Old West rancher seeking his family’s killers, Marie-France Pisier as a calculating World War II-era beauty who employs sex, glamour and wealth to avenge her earlier treatment by heartless men) or political (South Africa’s roiling post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission Hearings of the mid-1990s attempting to bring their racially torn nation together, a New England machine politician’s twilight-era campaign to retain power as a champion of the working class against reactionary elites). The resulting films are all absorbing journeys worth taking, and Preorders are now open for the September 18 TT Blu-ray discs of The Bravados (1958), In My Country (2004), The Last Hurrah (1958) and The Other Side of Midnight (1977) at www.screenarchives.com and www.twilighttimemovies.com.
This week’s passing of cinematic giant Burt Reynolds occasioned massive appreciation of his extensive 60-year career as a dynamic and relatable leading man with an enormously endearing sense of self-deprecation, and if you were a cinephile living in New York in early August of 1972, two Reynolds projects new in theaters could provide you with a glimpse of both the athletic action icon to come and the wry comedian within. As directed by In My Country’s John Boorman, Deliverance catapulted Reynolds to stardom as the testosterone-oozing outdoorsman who leads a disastrous wilderness river trek with three questionably capable comrades (Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox); the terrifying film remains a spellbinding experience. A week later, he showed up in another ensemble effort to which he added, in a brief but hilarious funny final sequence, a twinkling cameo presence – with a timely thematic nod to his appearance months before in a widely publicized nude Cosmopolitancenterfold – as a brain’s Switchboard Chief in the What Happens During Ejaculation? segment of Woody Allen’s omnibus parody Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*but Were Afraid to Ask). Chewing gum and barking orders with the poker-faced authority of a military leader as his human host approached carnal climax, he utters such indelible lines as “All systems on the alert! We’re gonna try to ball her right there in the car!” and “Brain room to sexual organs: Proceed with erection!” Curiously, in latter-day interviews he seemed reticent about the tawdry milieu of his 25-years-later Oscar®-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning triumph as a blue moviemaker in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, but Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*but Were Afraid to Ask), on Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray, winningly shows he knew the territory well. September’s Preorder Period is dedicated to the irreplaceable, ever professional Mr. Reynolds.