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The Burt Lancaster Signature Collection


Flame and the Arrow (1950)   Jim Thorpe - All American (1951)    South Sea Woman (1953)

His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)       Executive Action (1973)

 

Burton Stephen Lancaster entered acting unenthusiastically but his athletic physique, distinctive voice and laugh, often playing larger-than-life characters made him - as David Thomson states "Brave, vigorous, handsome, and an actor of great range, Lancaster never yielded in his immaculate splendor, proud to be a movie actor. He was one of the great stars. Perhaps the last." The most inward of actors--director Luchino Visconti called him "the most perfectly mysterious man I ever met"--Lancaster spurned press attention.


Initially dismissed as hunky without substance in the late 1950s Lancaster would take on challenging roles and abandon his "Mr Muscles and Teeth" image to be regarded as one of the best actors of his generation. In most of his roles, whether in drama, circus, crime, comedy, western or other genres, the self-taught actor was a box-office success and he evolved into a solid and versatile performer. Warner brings his collection together with five films featuring the legendary star - seeing their debut on DVD.


Titles

 

 


 

The Flame and the Arrow
This tongue-in-cheek Burt Lancaster swashbuckler was made in 1950, two years before the better-known The Crimson Pirate. Though the action is less stylized, it's just as entertaining, and director Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past) provides some of his most beautifully lit and layered images, photographed in Technicolor by Ernest Haller. The film is hardly ever spoken of--even among Tourneur cultists--but by rights it should be an action classic.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE.

Jim Thorpe - All American  
Lancaster plays the title character, a Native American athlete whose Olympic triumph goes sour when he switches to baseball, is stripped of his gold and hits the bottle. It's based, pretty faithfully, on a true story - any deviation from the truth is probably down to Thorpe himself, who acted as an adviser on the film. He and Curtiz don't skimp on the tragedy - we see the deserving athlete humiliated on a technicality, lose his girlfriend (Thaxter) and his self-respect, and wind up forgotten by everyone except his old football coach, 'Pop' Warner (Bickford).

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

South Sea Woman
This may sound a little silly, but "South Sea Woman," which came to the Paramount yesterday, is a rip-snorting glorification of two United States Marines. The two are a couple of buckos who happen to go A. W. O. L. and indulge in a bit of private island-hopping in the Pacific in the early days of World War II. And the only substantial intrusion of a woman in their affairs is made by Virginia Mayo as a stranded show-girl, who goes along for the ride.

Excerpt from Bosley Crowther at the NY Times located HERE

 

His Majesty O'Keefe
"His Majesty O'Keefe," though loosely patterned on the highly adventurous career of a real South Sea islands freebooter, is straight motion-picture make-believe, as lush as a hula-hula romance and as wild as a Mack Sennett farce. And although it was filmed for the most part on the Fijian island of Viti Levu, with natives of that and other regions taking part in its gaudy rituals, its anthropological derivations are as varied as those of the United Nations.

Excerpt from Bosley Crowther at the NY Times located HERE

Executive Action
A compelling dramatic hypothesis constructed by Dalton Trumbo from the conspiracy theories advanced by persistent Kennedy assassination investigator Mark Lane, in turn based on evidence the Warren Commission refused to hear. Fudged slightly towards tidy fictional coherence by an unwillingness to acknowledge the very discrepancies that Lane had earlier illustrated with Emile de Antonio in the documentary RJudgement, but a plausible enough attempt to weld the 'political thriller' style of Costa-Gavras on to Hollywood. Producer Edward Lewis, nine years later, was responsible for setting up Costa-Gavras' Hollywood debut with Missing.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1955 - 1960

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner (5-disc) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Time: Respectively 1:28:12 + 1:45:20 + 1:38:15 + 1:30:06 + 1:30:42
Bitrate: 

The Flame and the Arrow

Bitrate:

Jim Thorpe - All American

Bitrate:

South Sea Woman

Bitrate:


His Majesty O'Keefe

Bitrate:

Executive Action

Audio English (2.0 stereo)
Subtitles English, English (CC), French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33:1 but Executive Action in 1.85 anamorphic

 

Edition Details:

  • Joe McDoakes short and a cartoon on each of the first 4 discs

  • Lancaster trailer Gallery on all 5 discs

  • Vintage Featurette on Executive Action - November 22nd, 1963 - In Search of An Answer


DVD Release Date: October 23rd, 2007

5 Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: various 

 

Comments:

The 5 main features of this boxset are housed in individual Keep Cases (see image above) and they are also sold separately. Four of the DVDs are single-layered (Jim Thorpe - All American is dual-layered) - coded for Regions 1 thru 4 in the NTSC standard. All are in their original aspect ratios and are progressively transferred.  Generally they look very consistent - quite acceptable transfer-wise. Audio is in 2.0 stereo with no option for DUBs. Each support the audio with optional English, English close captioned and French subtitles.

I don't have much more to say than from what you can see in the screen captures. South Sea Woman has some weak moments and Jim Thorpe has quite a lot of light scratches and speckles. Contrast is better-than-average if unremarkable and colors (in the three color films) seems quite strong but we have no information on how accurate they are to original theatrical. I don't see heavy digital manipulation although artifacts exist to varying degrees.  

 

Overall I would say that I am happy with the transfers but I'm sure if it was warranted they could look substantially better (all in dual-layers with better compression or hi-def - he dreams). I think the screen caps give accurate representations of the DVD image appearances.

Supplements are not very appealing - the first 4 films have an unrelated Joe McDoakes short each (about 7-10 minutes) along with a cartoon (both interlaced) and Lancaster trailer gallery. Executive Action has a 10 minute vintage Featurette entitled - November 22nd, 1963 - In Search of An Answer which I liked.

I enjoyed the films in this boxset more than many reviews I've read... especially Tourneur's The Flame and the Arrow, I LOVED the hard-hitting Jim Thorpe (no punches pulled in this one - WOW) and was fascinated by Executive Action (really interesting from a historical standpoint). As for the others - Virginia Mayo is always nice to ogle but it was all star power in South Sea Woman and His Majesty O'Keefe was kinda cute albeit standard fare.

Okay, so I say Flame, Jim Thorpe and Executive Action are VERY worthy so it makes sense to but the boxset as opposed to individually if you agree.    

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


Supplements:


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

The Flame and the Arrow


Stars Burt Lancaster, Virginia Mayo, Robert Douglas, Aline MacMahon and Frank Allenby


http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/Tourneur.htm


Theatrical Release Date: July 9th, 1950

 

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Jim Thorpe - All American


Stars Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Steve Cochran and Phyllis Thaxter


Directors: Michael Kurtiz


Theatrical Release Date: August 24th, 1951

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

South Sea Woman

 

Stars Burt Lancaster, Virginia Mayo, Chuck Connors and Barry Kelley

 


Directors: Arthur Lubin


Theatrical Release Date: June 3rd, 1953

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 His Majesty O'Keefe!

 

Stars Burt Lancaster, Joan Rice, André Morell, Abraham Sofaer, Archie Savage and Benson Fong 

 
Directors: Byron haskin


Theatrical Release Date: January 16th, 1954

 

 

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 


Executive Action

 


Stars Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer and Gilbert Green


Directors: David Miller


Theatrical Release Date: November 7th, 1973

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC




 

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