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|The Good, the Bad and the Ugly [VHS]
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By far the most ambitious, unflinchingly graphic and stylistically influential western ever mounted, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is an engrossing actioner shot through with a volatile mix of myth and realism. Clint Eastwood returns as the "Man With No Name," this time teaming with two gunslingers (Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef) to pursue a cache of $200,000and letting no one, not even warring factions in a civil war, stand in their way. From sun-drenched panoramas to bold,hard close-ups, exceptional camera work captures the beauty and cruelty of the barren landscape andthe hardened characters who stride unwaveringly through it. Forging a vibrant and yet detached style of action that had not been seen before, and has never been matched since, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly shatters the western mold in true Clint Eastwood style.
Clint Eastwood (the Man with No Name) is good, Lee Van Cleef (Angel Eyes Sentenza) is bad, and Eli Wallach (Tuco Benedito Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez) is ugly in the final chapter of Sergio Leone's trilogy of spaghetti westerns (the first two were A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More). In this sweeping film, the characters form treacherous alliances in a ruthless quest for Confederate gold. Leone is sometimes underrated as a director, but the excellent resolution on this digital video disc should enhance appreciation of his considerable photographic talent and gorgeous widescreen compositions. Ennio Morricone's jokey score is justifiably famous.
|Spanish Civil War [VHS]
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Brand: Granada Video
This is a documentary about the Spanish Civil War.
|The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century [VHS]
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As this landmark series demonstrates, the cataclysmic effects of World War I last to this day. "The war to end all wars" has influenced the Atomic Age and the Cold War, and is now shaping the conflicts in Bosnia and the Middle East. Period film footage and eyewitness accounts powerfully dramatize the horrors of trench warfare and the chaos of political revolution. History comes alive as The Great War reveals how World War I influenced the rise of communism, witnessed the first use of weapons of mass destruction, and provided a fertile aftermath for the rise of Nazism. Through perspectives from all sides of the war, the series shows how violent events early in this century still cast a dark shadow on life today. Titles include: "Explosion & Stalemate," "Total War & Slaughter," "Mutiny & Collapse," and "Hatred and Hunger & War Without End."
|Thunder Road [VHS]
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Robert Mitchum Actioneer
|1815 The Battle of Waterloo [VHS]
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Former Rental in Very Good Condition. VHS Tape!!
|When the Whales Came [VHS]
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It has been 70 years since the people of Samson Island preyed upon a school of Narwhal Whales, only to be destroyed by a mysterious curse. If the last survivor is to be spared, it will be up to two trusting children to learn his ancient secrets. In 1844, residents of the British isle of Samson suddenly evacuate -- never to return -- allegedly due to an unexplained curse. Seventy years afterward, on the nearby island of Bryher, a pair of children, Max and Gracie, play along the shore. They meet the enigmatic "Birdman," whom the people in their town have warned them to avoid, and befriend him. Later, a "narwhal," or a tusked whale, beaches itself on the sands of Bryher. According to the Birdman, this event means the curse that struck Samson will soon destroy Bryher... unless the people can somehow save the whale.
|She Wore a Yellow Ribbon [VHS]
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The second installment of John Ford's famous cavalry trilogy (which also includes Fort Apache and Rio Grande), this meditative Western continues the director's fascination with history's obliteration of the past. It features one of John Wayne's more sensitive performances as Capt. Nathan Brittles, a stern yet sentimental war horse who has difficulty preparing for his impending military retirement. All things considered, he refuses to leave before fulfilling his obligation to the local Indian tribe. It's a film about honor and duty as well as loneliness and mortality. And Oscar-winner Winton C. Hoch beautifully photographs it in Remington-like Technicolor tones (you've never seen such stunning cloud-covered skies). The combination of melancholy and farce (Victor McLaglen makes a perfect court jester) evokes comparisons to Shakespeare. Best of all, the scene in which Wayne fights back tears when receiving a gold watch from his troops is unforgettably bittersweet. If you view the whole trilogy, it actually makes sense to save this for last. --Bill Desowitz
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One of the greatest screen biographies ever produced, this monumental film runs nearly three hours, won seven Academy Awards, and gave George C. Scott the greatest role of his career. It was released in 1970 when protest against the Vietnam War still raged at home and abroad, and many critics and moviegoers struggled to reconcile current events with the movie's glorification of Gen. George S. Patton as a crazy-brave genius of World War II.
How could a movie so huge in scope and so fascinated by its subject be considered an anti-war film? The simple truth is that it's not--Patton is less about World War II than about the rise and fall of a man whose life was literally defined by war, and who felt lost and lonely without the grand-scale pursuit of an enemy. George C. Scott embodies his role so fully, so convincingly, that we can't help but be drawn to and fascinated by Patton as a man who is simultaneously bound for hell and glory. The film's opening monologue alone is a masterful display of acting and character analysis, and everything that follows is sheer brilliance on the part of Scott and director Franklin J. Schaffner.
Filmed on an epic scale at literally dozens of European locations, Patton does not embrace war as a noble pursuit, nor does it deny the reality of war as a breeding ground for heroes. Through the awesome achievement of Scott's performance and the film's grand ambition, Patton shows all the complexities of a man who accepted his role in life and (like Scott) played it to the hilt. --Jeff Shannon
|The Hill [VHS]
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|Sands of Iwo Jima (Color Version) [VHS]
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The legendary gung-ho WWII combat film, stars John Wayne as the battle-hardened Sgt. Stryker, a role that would, perhaps more than any other, come to define the actor's iconography. As he begins to hammer an ethnically diverse group of recruits into combat-ready shape, they learn of his notorious toughness, and of the mystery surrounding his demotion. Stryker finds that Pete Conway (John Agar) the son of his late commanding officer, hated his father and hates Stryker for his likeness to the man. After Stryker and his unit have been fighting on Tarawa Atoll, Cpl. Al Thomas (Forrest Tucker) neglects his post, resulting in the death of one man and the wounding of another. While the squad listens to the moans of Bass (James Brown) the wounded man, Stryker, following orders to entrench, refuses to let anyone help him. Bass is rescued, and when he sees Stryker in Hawaii, tells him about Thomas' screw-up. Stryker and Thomas get into a fight which is stopped by a major, but Thomas accepts the blame, knowing Stryker's career could be destroyed, and begs his forgiveness for his dereliction of duty. The unit is ready to move on to its toughest challenge: Iwo Jima. Like nearly all films made during the period, it's hardly a paradigm of realism, but within its limits it remains a very well-made film, certainly one of Dwan's best. Wayne is perfect in the role which earned him his first Academy Award nomination and took his career to a new level.
John Wayne's old studio home, Republic, made this 1949 drama about the heroic capture of an important island in the Pacific by marines in World War II. Director Allan Dwan (Brewster's Millions), a pioneering filmmaker from the silent days of cinema who easily crossed over into sound, handles the action sequences like a consummate pro, while Wayne works hard as the tough sergeant molding new recruits into fighters. John Agar plays a contentious surrogate son to Wayne, though the relationship is hardly the stuff of Red River. --Tom Keogh
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