Been Down So Long: Across 110th Street (1972)

There must be a sense of relief when the artifice is finally stripped away from something long hidden from public view by all the ornamentation originally intended to make it more presentable, more appetizing to the average American, more palatable to the shriveling taste buds of polite society.  When you’ve been stifled under a lacquer of whitewash and someone finally wipes it away, the air must be invigorating; the light, blinding.  When Across 110th Street  was released in New York City exactly forty years ago today, December 19th, 1972, it must have seemed like a world undiscovered by moviegoers until that moment.  I wasn’t old enough to appreciate the importance of the event or record the attitudes of those people in Peoria the studios were always so concerned with but looking back now, I can’t think of another movie from that period that changed the rules more.  Across 110th Street, directed by Barry Shear, who would spend the rest of his career working in television, is the most underrated film of 1972, maybe the whole decade.  But it comes with a price.

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The road to exposing the underbelly of American life in the movies was and is a long one, looped in an endless circle with occasional detours down more dangerous side roads.  Those detours sometimes amount to something, finding paths as divergent as I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) and The Black Legion (1937).  Of course, Noir always did that kind of thing best and movies like They Live by Night (1948) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955) did it better than most.  But sometime in the forties, with movies like Crossfire (1947) and Home of the Brave (1949), race in America also got the reflexive treatment by Hollywood and by the time the sixties rolled around, Sidney Poitier was the film industry’s unofficial spokesman for racial understanding.  In the Heat of the Night, in which white cop Gillespie (Rod Steiger) teams up with black cop Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), even won Best Picture in 1967 for showing an understanding and trust form between the two while also presenting a fairly good procedural.  And in 1971, The French Connection showed the gritty, urban side of New York cops and drug runners from Europe.   It won Best Picture, too.  Around the same time, movies like Shaft and Sweet Sweetback’s Badass Song put black actors in prominent roles that portrayed the hard and brutal conditions of life on the street from both ends, as a cop and a fugitive.  The term applied to both was Blaxploitation but all that really meant was that someone was finally making movies for a black urban audience without much studio support and thus, lower budgets.  And then all of them; the social dramas of the thirties, the noirs and race-issue dramas of the forties and fifties, the racial understanding movies of the sixties and the gritty crime and blaxploitation dramas of the early seventies; came together into one terrifying and brutal mix of pure and complete desperation and misery called Across 110th Street.  Hollywood ran away from it as fast as it could.

The movie begins with two men, Jim Harris (Paul Benjamin) and Joe Logart (Ed Bernard), pulling off a heist disguised as cops.  They break into a counting session with five gangsters, three black and two white, tallying up the rackets money for that day (some $300,000).   They take the money but nothing goes as planned and Harris ends up killing all five men.    In a movie filled with remarkable plot details, the first and foremost is that Harris is never viewed unsympathetically.   He’s also not condoned.  Across 110th Street has little time nor desire to hammer home social messages in treacly Stanley Kramer fashion, rather, it seems content to simply tell the story and allow the brutality of life that pervades every character in the movie to be the price paid for their sins.

Jim and Joe escape with the help of getaway driver Henry Jackson (Antonio Fargas, the actor most associated with the blaxploitation era) but not before killing two cops.  The first people on their trail is the Italian mob because the stolen money belonged to them.   Nick D’Salvio (Anthony Franciosa) is the muscle man in charge of tracking them down.  On the other end of the spectrum, the police show up to investigate with Captain Matelli (Anthony Quinn) as their muscle man.   Matelli is quickly outraged to discover that the newcomer to the precinct, Lieutenant Pope (Yaphet Kotto), is in charge of the investigation.   The two must work together to find the hold-up men before the mob finds them first.

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And that’s where the story takes off if this is every Hollywood movie made before Across 110th Street and most made after.   Most movies of the period, and even now, would be content with that dull, bland “we’ve got to look past our differences to find the killer” plot device that thinks it’s a substitution for writing real characters.  But here’s where Across 110th Street stands out:  It doesn’t give a damn if they ever see past their differences.  Sometimes you work with people you hate.  That’s life.  You still got to get the job done.  And getting the job done means trudging through some of the grimiest, dirtiest, filthiest places imaginable.  It means going to see men like Doc Johnson (Richard Ward), a black gangster in Harlem who works with the Italian mob and tells Pope to his face that his partner, Matelli, is a racist scumbag and oh, by the way, we’ve been paying him off for years.  And when that happens, there is no emotional payoff.  There is no moment where Pope sits down in a coffee shop with Matelli and asks him when he lost his faith or says, angry and defeated, “I trusted you!”  Nope.  They just leave but not before Matelli beats up Johnson’s bodyguard because he’s upset that he got so completely humiliated in front of Pope.  Then they keep looking for the hold-up men.

Those men, meanwhile, are laying low, hoping for an opportunity to get out alive.  Paul Benjamin plays Jim Harris with such a sense of true despair that the audience understands why he feels nothing can ever make his life better.  In a movie filled with great performances, this is the best of the lot.  A few years back I wrote a piece on Paul Benjamin elsewhere, extolling his virtues as an actor and lamenting that he was never a big name in the movies.  I’ve been tooting his horn for years because, really, he’s one of the best actors the movies have.

There are other great performances, too.  Yaphet Kotto is exemplary as Lieutenant Pope, refusing to work outside the system to get the job done but an utter realist who knows that it means working with a lot of people who don’t share his values and having the strength to stomach that.  Anthony Quinn is as good as he has ever been in a movie, period.  His Captain Matelli would have Popeye Doyle telling him to lighten up.  He’s tired, angry and hateful of the life he’s made for himself.  But he keeps going because, really, what the hell else is he going to do?  Richard Ward has some of the best scenes in the movie, as when he gives a mouthful to mob enforcer Anthony Franciosa, also excellent.   And everyone else in the cast turns in believable, forceful performances.  No one in this movie phones in a single second of dialogue.

And the ending is extraordinary.  Not because there’s a twist ending or a grand revelation.  Extraordinary because it doesn’t back down.  It doesn’t give in during the final moments and give us uplift or redemption or lessons learned.   In fact, its closing shot may be sincere or a mockery of racial harmony sentiment in Hollywood.  In this movie, it could go either way.  And it ends the way most things like this probably end, with a lot of people dead and a lot of spirits crushed.

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But if I’ve made it sound like a depressing movie, it’s not.  I mean, it is in that the subject matter is depressing and the characters are, I admit, essentially hopeless, but as a movie, it’s exhilarating.  Exhilarating because the plot drives forward with a relentless power.  Exhilarating because it abandons “police procedural” for life behind the scenes.   And mainly, exhilarating because it uses the cinema as a form of visual assault, a way of forcing upon the viewer, without flinching, a side of the world rarely seen.  It should be celebrated and revered.  But when I said Hollywood ran from it as fast as they could I didn’t mean that facetiously.   After Across 110th Street, there would be crime films and blaxploitation films but never anything else quite like it.  Even Popeye Doyle got another movie and a chance to find the criminals that evaded him the first time.   Sweet Sweetback got to cross that river and promise he’d be back.   But Pope and Matelli, Harris and Logart and everyone else, get no such second act.   The spirit can only take so much when it’s put under pressure and Across 110th Street is a hell of a tester.

0 Response Been Down So Long: Across 110th Street (1972)
Posted By Tom S : December 19, 2012 10:14 am

Oh man, how do you talk about this movie without bringing up the the astonishingly awesome theme song?

Posted By Tom S : December 19, 2012 10:14 am

Oh man, how do you talk about this movie without bringing up the the astonishingly awesome theme song?

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 10:15 am

Tom, I know the song so well (have it, of course) that it’s kind of a letdown to hear the movie version over the credits. Nonetheless, a shout out to Bobby Womack and some great music by J.J. Johnson.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 10:15 am

Tom, I know the song so well (have it, of course) that it’s kind of a letdown to hear the movie version over the credits. Nonetheless, a shout out to Bobby Womack and some great music by J.J. Johnson.

Posted By Jenni : December 19, 2012 10:20 am

Okay, you got me heading to netflix streaming, to hope that this movie is listed. Sounds like the kind of movie my husband would be willing to watch with me, as the “treacly” preaching and/or deep discussions by characters in movies cause him to lose interest. Despite Hollywood running away from this movie, it still garnered a great cast; I mostly remember Antonio Fargas from his turn as Huggy Bear on the tv show Starsky and Hutch. Btw, who directed this movie, being able to keep the plot powering on ahead and not getting bogged down in characters having philosophical discussions?

Posted By Jenni : December 19, 2012 10:20 am

Okay, you got me heading to netflix streaming, to hope that this movie is listed. Sounds like the kind of movie my husband would be willing to watch with me, as the “treacly” preaching and/or deep discussions by characters in movies cause him to lose interest. Despite Hollywood running away from this movie, it still garnered a great cast; I mostly remember Antonio Fargas from his turn as Huggy Bear on the tv show Starsky and Hutch. Btw, who directed this movie, being able to keep the plot powering on ahead and not getting bogged down in characters having philosophical discussions?

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 10:22 am

Jenni, you can see his credits from swac’s comment but interestingly enough, he directed multiple episodes of Starsky and Hutch with Antonio Fargas. I don’t know if he was instrumental in getting Fargas cast in the show but I like to think so.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 10:22 am

Jenni, you can see his credits from swac’s comment but interestingly enough, he directed multiple episodes of Starsky and Hutch with Antonio Fargas. I don’t know if he was instrumental in getting Fargas cast in the show but I like to think so.

Posted By swac44 : December 19, 2012 10:24 am

I knew about this movies for years because I had its amazing soundtrack (songs by Bobby Womack, score by jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson), first on vinyl and later on CD. When I finally got to see a copy on home video, I was not disappointed, this may be the best film of the ’70s black action genre, but it probably shouldn’t be pigeonholed as such, as it’s more like a modern update of films like Naked City with amazing urban location shooting (noirsploitation?).

I actually got to interview Yaphet Kotto when he was shooting a movie here years ago, and I mentioned this film to him, which I hadn’t yet seen because it wasn’t available at the time, and it seemed to be a favourite of his, and an important role in his career before becoming a household name in Live and Let Die.

And I guess this is a minor thing, but Shaft wasn’t a cop per se, but in fact “a black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks.” Can you dig it?

Posted By swac44 : December 19, 2012 10:24 am

I knew about this movies for years because I had its amazing soundtrack (songs by Bobby Womack, score by jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson), first on vinyl and later on CD. When I finally got to see a copy on home video, I was not disappointed, this may be the best film of the ’70s black action genre, but it probably shouldn’t be pigeonholed as such, as it’s more like a modern update of films like Naked City with amazing urban location shooting (noirsploitation?).

I actually got to interview Yaphet Kotto when he was shooting a movie here years ago, and I mentioned this film to him, which I hadn’t yet seen because it wasn’t available at the time, and it seemed to be a favourite of his, and an important role in his career before becoming a household name in Live and Let Die.

And I guess this is a minor thing, but Shaft wasn’t a cop per se, but in fact “a black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks.” Can you dig it?

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 10:25 am

I actually got to interview Yaphet Kotto when he was shooting a movie here years ago, and I mentioned this film to him, which I hadn’t yet seen because it wasn’t available at the time, and it seemed to be a favourite of his, and an important role in his career before becoming a household name in Live and Let Die.

Stephen, the amount of people you have interviewed is quite impressive. I’d love to talk with Yaphet Kotto. What a great actor and this movie really is one of his best performances. He only explodes once, briefly, with Matelli and the rest of the time has seething quietude about him that is compelling.

And I guess this is a minor thing, but Shaft wasn’t a cop per se, but in fact “a black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks.” Can you dig it?

Yeah, I can dig it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 10:25 am

I actually got to interview Yaphet Kotto when he was shooting a movie here years ago, and I mentioned this film to him, which I hadn’t yet seen because it wasn’t available at the time, and it seemed to be a favourite of his, and an important role in his career before becoming a household name in Live and Let Die.

Stephen, the amount of people you have interviewed is quite impressive. I’d love to talk with Yaphet Kotto. What a great actor and this movie really is one of his best performances. He only explodes once, briefly, with Matelli and the rest of the time has seething quietude about him that is compelling.

And I guess this is a minor thing, but Shaft wasn’t a cop per se, but in fact “a black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks.” Can you dig it?

Yeah, I can dig it.

Posted By swac44 : December 19, 2012 10:30 am

Director Barry Shear was primarily a TV guy, his only other theatrical titles that I recognize are Wild in the Streets (rock star Christopher Jones becomes president, anyone over 30 gets put into camps, including a tripped-out Shelly Winters) and The Todd Killings, although I’m sure 1967′s The Karate Killers might be a fun watch on some level.

But his TV career was quite amazing, from 1950 to 1980 (and from Ernie Kovacs to Police Woman).
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0790395/

Posted By swac44 : December 19, 2012 10:30 am

Director Barry Shear was primarily a TV guy, his only other theatrical titles that I recognize are Wild in the Streets (rock star Christopher Jones becomes president, anyone over 30 gets put into camps, including a tripped-out Shelly Winters) and The Todd Killings, although I’m sure 1967′s The Karate Killers might be a fun watch on some level.

But his TV career was quite amazing, from 1950 to 1980 (and from Ernie Kovacs to Police Woman).
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0790395/

Posted By Vanwall : December 19, 2012 12:28 pm

It’s a technically important film as well, with hand-held camera advances. Which in turn added to the reality it tramped through. It was extremely violent for its time, I thought; Franciosa is scary good on that end. Benjamin was really the key performance, though, his world-weary crook amped up to almost heroic proportions, and in this film, everyone was tainted. It was a claustrophic film, too, that increased the tension – the stairwell scene at the end was almost Kalatozov-ian in its immediacy. Nice to see it getting its due.

Posted By Vanwall : December 19, 2012 12:28 pm

It’s a technically important film as well, with hand-held camera advances. Which in turn added to the reality it tramped through. It was extremely violent for its time, I thought; Franciosa is scary good on that end. Benjamin was really the key performance, though, his world-weary crook amped up to almost heroic proportions, and in this film, everyone was tainted. It was a claustrophic film, too, that increased the tension – the stairwell scene at the end was almost Kalatozov-ian in its immediacy. Nice to see it getting its due.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 12:30 pm

Vanwall, I was reading up on that before I wrote it up and it was able to use advances in the technology to get on set sound as well so a lot of redubbing for outside scenes wasn’t necessary. It’s amazing but so much of the gritty, dirty look and feel from this movie only existed thanks to state of the art technology.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 12:30 pm

Vanwall, I was reading up on that before I wrote it up and it was able to use advances in the technology to get on set sound as well so a lot of redubbing for outside scenes wasn’t necessary. It’s amazing but so much of the gritty, dirty look and feel from this movie only existed thanks to state of the art technology.

Posted By SergioM : December 19, 2012 1:06 pm

I remember going with my father to see the film when it came out and it scared me to death having me thinking it was the most violent film I had ever seen in my life (up to that time) That one horrifying sequence when Franciosa beating up Fargas in the bar unne3vered my for the longest time Since then I’ve watched the film several times times and love it to death. (of course i have the DVD of it) I agree that it’s one of great films of the 1970′s which is more and more looking to me like the greatest period of filmmaking ever

Posted By SergioM : December 19, 2012 1:06 pm

I remember going with my father to see the film when it came out and it scared me to death having me thinking it was the most violent film I had ever seen in my life (up to that time) That one horrifying sequence when Franciosa beating up Fargas in the bar unne3vered my for the longest time Since then I’ve watched the film several times times and love it to death. (of course i have the DVD of it) I agree that it’s one of great films of the 1970′s which is more and more looking to me like the greatest period of filmmaking ever

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 1:10 pm

Sergio, the scene with Franciosa brutalizing Fargas makes me wonder how much Scorsese and Tarantino were influenced by it. The glass in the face alone is directly referenced in goodfellas. The scene has a relentless feeling of hopelessness. Fargas is just beaten and beaten and no one dares intervene. Then, the hooker who was so friendly with him brings out his clothes and hands them off with a smile to the thugs watching. Chilling.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 1:10 pm

Sergio, the scene with Franciosa brutalizing Fargas makes me wonder how much Scorsese and Tarantino were influenced by it. The glass in the face alone is directly referenced in goodfellas. The scene has a relentless feeling of hopelessness. Fargas is just beaten and beaten and no one dares intervene. Then, the hooker who was so friendly with him brings out his clothes and hands them off with a smile to the thugs watching. Chilling.

Posted By Doug : December 19, 2012 1:29 pm

Thank you, Greg. Part of why I love coming to Morlocks is to be educated on film-here is another movie that I have never heard of which has obviously had quite an effect on you and others.
Sampling the soundtrack on iTunes right now-it sounds great-I will be looking for the movie.

Posted By Doug : December 19, 2012 1:29 pm

Thank you, Greg. Part of why I love coming to Morlocks is to be educated on film-here is another movie that I have never heard of which has obviously had quite an effect on you and others.
Sampling the soundtrack on iTunes right now-it sounds great-I will be looking for the movie.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 3:41 pm

Doug, it really is an important film and gives a raw exposure to the buddy cop movie that the genre has never seen again. I hope you like it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 3:41 pm

Doug, it really is an important film and gives a raw exposure to the buddy cop movie that the genre has never seen again. I hope you like it.

Posted By SergioM : December 19, 2012 3:57 pm

GREG: You’re absolutely right. 110th St has influenced so many movies. But because it’s not well known other filmmakers can get away with what they do in their movies as being original. Would really love to see a blu-ray of the film, but United Artists/MGM’s DVD treatmeant of their catalog titles is abymsmal. Maybe one day Criterion might do it. If they have Michael Mann’s Thief coming out next year on blu-ray, why not 110th St?

Posted By SergioM : December 19, 2012 3:57 pm

GREG: You’re absolutely right. 110th St has influenced so many movies. But because it’s not well known other filmmakers can get away with what they do in their movies as being original. Would really love to see a blu-ray of the film, but United Artists/MGM’s DVD treatmeant of their catalog titles is abymsmal. Maybe one day Criterion might do it. If they have Michael Mann’s Thief coming out next year on blu-ray, why not 110th St?

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 4:05 pm

It’s been long neglected by the studios and major DVD houses and it needs to be recognized more for how much it did. I’d love to see a full Criterion release with commentaries from the actors still with us before they leave us, too. Kotto and Benjamin could do a commentary that I would gladly listen to.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 19, 2012 4:05 pm

It’s been long neglected by the studios and major DVD houses and it needs to be recognized more for how much it did. I’d love to see a full Criterion release with commentaries from the actors still with us before they leave us, too. Kotto and Benjamin could do a commentary that I would gladly listen to.

Posted By Fred Blosser : December 19, 2012 10:13 pm

Shear’s 1973 western THE DEADLY TRACKERS doesn’t get a lot of respect from critics, but it has that same compelling nihilistic edge as ACROSS 110th STREET and the same spot-on casting of good actors in strong roles, including two who effectively play against type: Rod Taylor as a cold-blooded psychopath and Al Lettieri as an honest lawman. The “Ivanlandia” blog tipped me off to THE TODD KILLINGS (available from Warner Archives) earlier this year. http://ivanlandia1.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-blame-society-or-skipper-todd-died.html You definitely don’t want to line up any of those three Shear movies in a double or triple feature if you’re already feeling down.

Posted By Fred Blosser : December 19, 2012 10:13 pm

Shear’s 1973 western THE DEADLY TRACKERS doesn’t get a lot of respect from critics, but it has that same compelling nihilistic edge as ACROSS 110th STREET and the same spot-on casting of good actors in strong roles, including two who effectively play against type: Rod Taylor as a cold-blooded psychopath and Al Lettieri as an honest lawman. The “Ivanlandia” blog tipped me off to THE TODD KILLINGS (available from Warner Archives) earlier this year. http://ivanlandia1.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-blame-society-or-skipper-todd-died.html You definitely don’t want to line up any of those three Shear movies in a double or triple feature if you’re already feeling down.

Posted By SergioM : December 19, 2012 10:28 pm

Trackers get no respect because Sam Fuller originally was directing the film until he got fired off the picture. So there’s always this attitude that Tracker was the great masterpiece in he making until Fuller got canned and this Shear guy was brought him in to replace him

Posted By SergioM : December 19, 2012 10:28 pm

Trackers get no respect because Sam Fuller originally was directing the film until he got fired off the picture. So there’s always this attitude that Tracker was the great masterpiece in he making until Fuller got canned and this Shear guy was brought him in to replace him

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 20, 2012 9:30 am

I’ve never seen The Deadly Trackers or The Todd Killings but I’d like to see them both. Especially if someone cast Lettieri as an honest cop. Hell, he’s so ingrained in my mind as Sollozzo I can’t picture him as anything else. For that alone I’d like to give it a look.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 20, 2012 9:30 am

I’ve never seen The Deadly Trackers or The Todd Killings but I’d like to see them both. Especially if someone cast Lettieri as an honest cop. Hell, he’s so ingrained in my mind as Sollozzo I can’t picture him as anything else. For that alone I’d like to give it a look.

Posted By Sergio : December 20, 2012 9:38 am

Trackers is available on a two film Warner’s DVD along with Man in the Wilderness – that “Richard Harris surviving in the wilderness after being attacked by a bear” movie (which is not bad by the way) I read once what happened on Trackers was that Harris and Sam Fuller didn’t get along at all and since Harris was a big star back then and Fuller was considered a barely remembered B movie director making his first major studio films in years, guess who had to leave?

Posted By Sergio : December 20, 2012 9:38 am

Trackers is available on a two film Warner’s DVD along with Man in the Wilderness – that “Richard Harris surviving in the wilderness after being attacked by a bear” movie (which is not bad by the way) I read once what happened on Trackers was that Harris and Sam Fuller didn’t get along at all and since Harris was a big star back then and Fuller was considered a barely remembered B movie director making his first major studio films in years, guess who had to leave?

Posted By Everett Jones : December 20, 2012 1:40 pm

I don’t know what significance this might have (probably none), but I recall reading that this was one of Elvis’ favorite movies. DIRTY HARRY was another, so it would appear the man’s viewing tastes ran in a somewhat different direction than his own screen career. The full list was posted here( http://mubi.com/lists/elvis-presleys-favorite-films), by the Morlocks’ own Cinebeats.

Posted By Everett Jones : December 20, 2012 1:40 pm

I don’t know what significance this might have (probably none), but I recall reading that this was one of Elvis’ favorite movies. DIRTY HARRY was another, so it would appear the man’s viewing tastes ran in a somewhat different direction than his own screen career. The full list was posted here( http://mubi.com/lists/elvis-presleys-favorite-films), by the Morlocks’ own Cinebeats.

Posted By Ivan : December 22, 2012 12:15 pm

Love this movie! (Although, the end chase is disconcerting if you’re familiar with the NYC skyline: the final chase was filmed mostly downtown)

Fred, thanks for the Ivanlandia/Todd Killings shout-out! (Please visit my newer site: http://lernerinternational.blogspot.com/)
–Ivan

Posted By Ivan : December 22, 2012 12:15 pm

Love this movie! (Although, the end chase is disconcerting if you’re familiar with the NYC skyline: the final chase was filmed mostly downtown)

Fred, thanks for the Ivanlandia/Todd Killings shout-out! (Please visit my newer site: http://lernerinternational.blogspot.com/)
–Ivan

Posted By SergioM : December 25, 2012 10:12 am

Greg – Getting back to across 110th St on Criterion it may not be that far fetched. The label has a history of releasing older United Artists titles, that were originally released on the MGM DVD label in really sub-par, crummy looking versions, in beautuifully restored blu-ray editions. Paths of Glory, The Killing, Sunday Bloody Sunday and just last month Heavens’s Gate. I have all those on Criterion blu-ray and they’re spectacular looking. And as I’ve mentioned before Thief is definitely coming out next year and so is Fellini’s Satyricon also on Criterion. And if were a betting man I will say that there could be plans for The Black Stallion. It’s an older UA title that is the WORST looking DVD I’ve ever seen on the old MGM label. And this is a film in which visuals are everything. I saw part of the fim in HD on TCM recently and it knocked my eyes out. Just gorgeous. Since there is a HD remaster I’m guessing that it’s on Criterion’s future list.

Posted By SergioM : December 25, 2012 10:12 am

Greg – Getting back to across 110th St on Criterion it may not be that far fetched. The label has a history of releasing older United Artists titles, that were originally released on the MGM DVD label in really sub-par, crummy looking versions, in beautuifully restored blu-ray editions. Paths of Glory, The Killing, Sunday Bloody Sunday and just last month Heavens’s Gate. I have all those on Criterion blu-ray and they’re spectacular looking. And as I’ve mentioned before Thief is definitely coming out next year and so is Fellini’s Satyricon also on Criterion. And if were a betting man I will say that there could be plans for The Black Stallion. It’s an older UA title that is the WORST looking DVD I’ve ever seen on the old MGM label. And this is a film in which visuals are everything. I saw part of the fim in HD on TCM recently and it knocked my eyes out. Just gorgeous. Since there is a HD remaster I’m guessing that it’s on Criterion’s future list.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 25, 2012 2:40 pm

I have The Black Stallion on DVD (which I wrote up here last year, along with Never Cry Wolf) and I have to agree: The DVD looks awful. It’s a beautiful film and I hope it gets the deluxe treatment soon.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 25, 2012 2:40 pm

I have The Black Stallion on DVD (which I wrote up here last year, along with Never Cry Wolf) and I have to agree: The DVD looks awful. It’s a beautiful film and I hope it gets the deluxe treatment soon.

Posted By Sergio : December 25, 2012 2:46 pm

On that note someone I know a few months ago saw the brand new restored 70 MM print of Ryan’s Daughter and told me it looked “astounding” which no doubt means it’s coming out on blu-ray on Waners Home Video next year. Not Lean’s greatest film to be sure, but to se it on blu-ray should be worthwhile

Posted By Sergio : December 25, 2012 2:46 pm

On that note someone I know a few months ago saw the brand new restored 70 MM print of Ryan’s Daughter and told me it looked “astounding” which no doubt means it’s coming out on blu-ray on Waners Home Video next year. Not Lean’s greatest film to be sure, but to se it on blu-ray should be worthwhile

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 26, 2012 9:10 am

I’ll give it another look even though I’m not really a fan of it at all. Still, it looks great. All the misty seaside visuals really appeal to me.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : December 26, 2012 9:10 am

I’ll give it another look even though I’m not really a fan of it at all. Still, it looks great. All the misty seaside visuals really appeal to me.

Posted By Sergio : December 26, 2012 9:19 am

Who is a fan? Definitely a film of many faults but with some pleasures.

Posted By Sergio : December 26, 2012 9:19 am

Who is a fan? Definitely a film of many faults but with some pleasures.

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