- SKU: 14249262
- Release Date: 02/15/2005
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Ratings & Reviews
- Digitally mastered
- Interactive menus
- Chapter selections
- Digitally enhanced audio 5.1
Normally, an actor or actress in a foreign-language film was not the ideal candidate for an Academy Award, inasmuch as his or her English-language "performance" was often dubbed in by an anonymous third party. Such was not the case of Sophia Loren in Two Women (La Ciociara), who did her own English dubbing. Adapted by director Vittorio de Sica and Cesare Zavattini from the novel by Alberto Moravia, Two Women is the semi-neorealist account of widow Cesira (Loren) and her teenaged daughter, Rosetta (Eleanora Brown), as they struggle to survive in war-ravaged Italy. A conventional romantic triangle between mother, daughter, and Michele (Jean-Paul Belmondo), is barely under way when the war rears its ugly head once more. Seeking shelter in a bombed-out church, Cesira and Rosetta are attacked and raped -- a horrifying sequence, capped by a freeze-frame close-up of Rosetta, her face a taut mask of terror (this image was enough to prompt a virulent "anti-smut" editorial in The Saturday Evening Post). Once they've recovered from this appalling experience, mother and daughter are offered a ride back to Rome by friendly truck driver Florindo (Renato Salvatori). Though Cesira had hoped to keep her daughter from compromising herself as a means of survival, she is crushed to discover that Rosetta has given herself to the truck driver in exchange for a pair of stockings. When Cesira and Rosetta finally reconcile, it is a grievous occasion, mourning the death of their mutual love, Michele. A last-minute replacement for Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren brought hitherto untapped depths of emotion to her performance in Two Women; she later stated that she was utilizing "sensory recall," dredging up memories of her own wartime experiences. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
High School Caesar
When insecure rich-type Stevens (John Ashley) decides to impress his fellow students, he does so by establishing a crime empire to take command of his high school. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
Mickey Rooney, with his kid roles and musicals behind him, went for a major change of image in this harrowing film noir. He gives what many consider to be the best performance of his career as Danny Brady, a well-meaning grease monkey whose life is destroyed in less than a week. Danny finds himself short of cash when he's supposed to take out Vera (Jeanne Cagney), a waitress whom he's just met who works at a hash-house. He borrows 20 dollars from the cash register, planning on paying it back with 20 dollars that a buddy owes him the next day, but the friend doesn't turn up. To get the 20 dollars, he buys a 100-dollar watch on a payment plan and then hocks it for the 20 dollars, but a detective picks up on the purchase and threatens to have him jailed if he doesn't pay the full 100 dollars immediately; desperate to raise the money, he robs a drunken bar patron of his bill-fold. His money problems seemingly behind him, Danny takes Vera out with the extra cash, but gets into a fight with her former boss, Nick (Peter Lorre), who picks up a clue that Danny did the robbery. Nick pressures Danny to provide him with a new car (a hard-to-get commodity in 1950) from the garage where he works, in return for keeping quiet. Danny steals the car and turns it over to Nick, but he and Vera decide to get even by robbing Nick's safe that night -- now they've got 3,600 dollars, which they split. But Danny's boss, Mackey, tells him he knows who stole the car, and wants either the car back or the full value, or he'll turn Danny in to the police. Vera has already blown her share on a mink coat, and he goes back to Mackey with what he has, 1,800 dollars. Mackey takes it and proceeds to call the police. Danny attacks him and leaves him for dead. Danny goes on the run, convinced he's wanted for Mackey's murder. Danny runs into Helen (Barbara Bates), a nice girl that he was dating and then dumped, and they end up fleeing together, hijacking a car and holding an innocent man at gunpoint. Impending tragedy seems to loom up even larger when they cross paths with police officers on a manhunt. Realizing that Helen has been good to him, he ends up on the run alone, with a gun in hand, as the law closes in. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
This 1948 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina was produced in England by Alexander Korda, and released in the US by 20th Century-Fox. Vivien Leigh plays the title role, a 19th-century Russian gentlewoman married to Czarist official Ralph Richardson. Though her marriage is not intolerable, Anna is swept off her feet by dashing young military officer Vronsky, played by Kieron Moore. The ensuing scandal ruins Anna's status in society. Anna Karenina had previously been filmed twice in Hollywood, with both versions starring Greta Garbo. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
As You Like It
This film version of the famed Shakespearean comedy features Laurence Olivier as Orlando and Elisabeth Bergner as Rosalind. As the story goes, Rosalind, smitten by Orlando and not able to get his attention, disguises herself as a boy to more easily remain in Orlando's vicinity. Eventually Orlando grows to like his new friend and Rosalind is stuck playing a boy with a boy with whom she'd rather be a girl. Confusing? Maybe only Shakespeare could come up with the idea, but director Paul Czinner does a fine job executing the concept. ~ Phillip Erlewine, Rovi
Rod Serling's incisive "gray flannel suit" TV drama created such a sensation when Kraft Television Theatre first aired it live on January 11, 1955 that, in an unprecedented move, it was repeated four weeks later, on February 9, again live. Richard Kiley starred as Fred Staples, a bright young man from Cincinnati brought into the executive pool at a top New York firm by ruthless CEO Ramsey (Everett Sloane). Staples doesn't know it at first, but he was recruited as the potential replacement for Andy Sloane (Ed Begley), an ailing exec whom Ramsey is easing out in a most unsubtle fashion. Staples takes a liking to Sloane and despises Ramsey's tactics; the question is: does he despise them enough to throw away the biggest opportunity in his life? Director Fielder Cook, who helmed both TV versions of Patterns, also did the same for the 1956 film version. While Everett Sloane and Ed Begley were carried over from TV, the more "bankable" Van Heflin replaced Kiley as Staples. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
In The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, relationships formed in childhood lead to murder and obsessive love. The wealthy Martha Ivers (Barbara Stanwyck) is the prime mover of the small Pennsylvania town of Iverston. Martha lives in a huge mansion with her DA husband, Walter O'Neil (Kirk Douglas), an alcoholic weakling. No one knows just why Martha and Walter tolerate one another....but Sam Masterson (Van Heflin), an Iverstown boy who returns to town, may just have a clue. At least that's what Martha thinks when Sam asks Walter to intervene in the case of Toni Marachek (Lizabeth Scott), who has been unjustly imprisoned. It seems that, as a young boy, Sam was in the vicinity when Martha's rich aunt (Judith Anderson) met with her untimely demise. What does Sam know? And what dark, horrible secret binds Martha and Walter together? Directed by Lewis Milestone, and based on John Patrick's Oscar-nominated original story, Love Lies Bleeding, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers creates in Martha a unique and interesting, driven, obsessed, and spoiled character, but one not without sympathy. Barbara Stanwyck is outstanding as Martha, with her predatory smile and sharp, manicured nails. Kirk Douglas is surprisingly convincing as a lost, sad, weak man, who loves his wife, but is unable to gain her respect. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers eventually lapsed into public domain and became a ubiquitous presence on cable television. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
In this crime drama, a courageous high-schooler goes undercover and joins a teen-age gang so he can get revenge upon his father. When his cover is blown, his life is endangered. Fortunately, the second-in-command has a change of heart and tries to help the young man. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
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