Sunday, September 13, 2009

New To DVD: The Bermuda Depths (1978) & Just The Way You Are (1984)

Thank god for Warner Brothers! Recently Warner Brothers Home Video decided to make available obscure gems from their catalog for the first on DVD on their website. The films are from the 40's up through the 80's, genres of all kind. They are releasing more on a frequent basis. This is very exciting. A got a chance to watch a couple of favorites recently, and I am impressed with the quality and packaging. Warner Brothers is basically making these as they are being ordered to save on production costs, and the DVDs are nicely transferred and have full artwork with a synopsis. There's a warning on the back that the DVD might not be able to play back on a computer, but real film fans should be watching their DVDs on a monitor or through projection, dontcha think? THE BERMUDA DEPTHS is one of my favorite films. There's nothing quite like it. Produced by Arthur Rankin & Jules Bass (the masterminds behind The Rudolph, Frosty and Mad Monster Party animations) This Television movie provokes an atmosphere completely all it's own. I get lulled into it's world for it's 90 or so minutes and I don't want to leave. Leigh McCloskey (Just One Of The Guys) stars as a possibly troubled young man who's been rambling through his life because of unresolved issues. He returns to the Oceanside where he grew up and once had a perfect day with a young girl named Jenny. She comes back into his life once again, and now as adults they find love among other things. Highlights include a giant sea turtle and Carl Weathers in white short shorts. Connie Sellecca is the babe in question, also on hand is Burl Ives as the wacky scientist who was a friend of his father (who had died mysteriously when he was a child) This uniformly good cast along with the genius of Rankin & Bass and unique direction by Tsugunobu Kotani elevate this Television Movie into another realm entirely. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE is an odd duck of a movie. Directed by Edouard Molinaro (La Cage Aux Folles) The movie was retitled by the studio to cash in on the popular song of the time (not featured at all in the film) but actually ends up being fairly appropriate for it's story. Kristy McNichol turns in a very nuanced performance as a disabled young concert flutist who finds herself time and time again the object of either rejection and pity from men (One of which is Revenge Of The Nerd's Robert Carradine)... She decides one day to take an offer to go on a European tour with an orchestra. While in Europe she hatches a plan to get a cast on her leg and then take to the french alps to pretend the problem with her leg was a skiing injury. In essence, she'll be like everyone else. In France McNichol gets into a series of misadventures with different men and perhaps she'll find love with one of them who'll care about her, well, just the way she is. JUST never lays on the sentiment and is a total showcase for McNichol's talent. The picture never really caught fire at the box office, and sadly McNichol's film career hit a speed bump after it's release. She later landed a role on the long-running Empty Nest before retiring. Hopefully new audiences will discover her performances in roles as this and the one in Little Darlings. She was pretty great.

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