SHORTS! (Blu-ray Reviews Done Quickly) Vol. 5: The Kino Lorber Edition (Untamed Heart, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, and Trilogy of Terror)

Studio: Kino Lorber
Release Date: February 12th, 1993 (theatrical) / March 5th, 2019 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 102 mins
Region Code: A
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: No
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Marisa Tomei, Christian Slater, and Rosie Perez,
Written by Tom Sierchio
Directed by Tony Bill
Rating: PG-13 (some strong language and violence, and for sensuality)

When I was younger, when Untamed Heart was released in theaters (and later VHS and Laserdisc), I watched the film quite a few times. I found the story of two young people who fall in love to be something that I liked. I was a big fan of both Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei and found both of them very appealing so seeing them in a film together was really cool. In fact, this was the film that made me fall in love with Tomei. I had seen her in My Cousin Vinny a year earlier, and while I think she is just amazing in that film, it was Untamed Heart that sealed the deal for me. She is just so loveable here and I am sure that most males who actually sat down and watched this would agree. People nowadays, in the MeToo era, find this film more than creepy and I have to say that they are not getting the point of the film. I am not going to go into here, but the film is more metaphor than realistic, although some very real things happen in the film. I will say this: I love Untamed Heart. I think the cast is perfect, the direction just right, and the writing is above most romantic films. This is a film that both males and females can like without having to sacrifice some preconceived notion of what is and isn’t manly. I watched the film a week ago and I still haven’t been able to shake it.

Kino Lorber has brought the film to blu-ray and the results are good. The picture quality isn’t the best as the transfer was taken from a very dated master, but it is still very much watchable. The sound is also good. This is mostly dialogue and the track does that well. The special features package is light, but I liked what we were given. Outside of the film’s trailer and some trailers for other films, the only feature for this film is a commentary track by the film’s director, Tony Bill. Moderated by filmmaker Douglas Hosdale, the track is well worth the listen. Bill talks about his take on the film and some stories from the shoot.

Special Features:

Commentary by director Tony Bill, moderated by filmmaker Douglas Hosdale
Untamed Heart trailer (2m 3s, SD)
Paradise trailer (1m 3s, SD, 1.33:1)
Stella trailer (38s, SD, 1.33:1)
Unsung Heroes trailer (2m 41s, SD, 1.33:1)
Mad Love trailer (2m 17s, SD, 1.33:1)

Studio: Kino Lorber
Release Date: October 2nd, 1974 (theatrical) / July 5th, 2016 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 104 mins
Region Code: A
Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: No
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Tony Roberts, and Jerry Stiller
Written by Peter Stone
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Rating: R (language and some strong violence)

Most people, when they hear this film’s title, will think of the Tony Scott directed remake with Denzel Washington and John Travolta. While that film is pretty good in its own right, it is this film that is so much better. The same plot for both films, but the films have a different focus, of sorts. Both films revolve around a train being taken hostage, along with the passengers, but here the thieves are more controlled (for the most part) and there is a lot of procedural (the mayor deciding on what to do, the counting of the money, etc. The remake was a lot flashier. Here we have Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw leading the way and they do great. The score, by David Shire, is one of the best out there and really fits the film extremely well. Also, any talk about the film wouldn’t be complete without talking about the last shot of the film. Without ruining a nearly fifity-year-old film, this shot is done without any violence or action. It is simple but wraps the film up in the most logical way possible.

The blu-ray, from Kino Lorber, is really good. The picture and sound quality are just so good with the picture looking great. The film’s score sounds so good here and everything just fits so well. The special features package is well worth the time. We get a very well done commentary track, three interviews with various cast and crew, and a Trailers From Hell segment. I was very surprised by the quality of the features here.

Special Features:

Commentary by actor Pat Healy and film historian Jim Healy
Interview with actor Hector Elizondo (12m 1s, HD)
Interview with composer David Shire (9m 6s, HD)
Interview with editor Gerald Greenberg
Trailers from Hell with Josh Olson
Still Gallery (2m 19s, HD)
Theatrical Trailer (2m 32s, HD)

Studio: Kino Lorber
Release Date: March 4th, 1975 (television debut) / October 16th, 2018 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 72 mins
Region Code: A (locked)
Picture: 1080p (1.33:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen, George Gaynes, Jim Storm, and Gregory Harrison
Written by William F. Norton, based on a story by Richard Matheson
Directed by Dan Curtis
Rating: Not Rated (horror violence)

I am just going to come out and say it: I really do not like this film. When I was younger, many family members warned me about watching this film. They would say that it was the scariest film ever made and would always talk about the story with the doll. Now, while the story with the doll does feature some very creepy things, its the other two stories that drag this film down. The first story is about a college student who blackmails his teacher. This is a story that has been told a hundred times and there really isn’t anything scary about it. The second story is about two sisters who want to do the other in. Again, there is nothing scary about this story and it just slogs along. The last story, the one with the doll, is pretty decent, but still has something missing. This story is the only thing that comes the closest to being called scary. The film is a highlight for Karen Allen, who stars in all three stories, and she is really good here. It is a shame that the film doesn’t even come closer to matching what she brings to each story. In the end, this is just a waste of time. Watch the doll story and skip the rest.

Kino Lorber has done another great job with this blu-ray. The film has never looked or sounded better. The features package is a mixture of old and new. We get two commentary tracks, one with film historian Richard Harland Smith and the other with actress Karen Black and writer William F. Nolan. Both tracks are worth the listen with the second track being a bit more accessible. We also get interviews with some of those involved with the film. All in all, this is a fun edition to go through even if the film isn’t very good.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
Audio Commentary by Karen Black and writer William F. Nolan
Notes on Terror with Bob Cobert (8m 38s, HD)
Richard Matheson: Terror Scribe (10m 59s, SD, 1.33:1)
Three Colors of Black featurette (16m 52s, SD, 1.33:1)
Burnt Offerings trailer (2m 29s, SD)

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