Robert Tanitch reviews the latest DVDs
THE NAKED PREY (Eureka). Cornel Wilde produced, directed and acted in his best film. Six African warriors pursue a white safari guide. Wilde, athletic, 52 years old, naked, but for a loin cloth, impressive of physique and well-endowed, outruns, outfights, and outwits the natives. (He looks remarkably fit, considering he was sick during the shoot.) Shot on location, the film, released in 1966, looks good pictorially and feels authentic. There is plenty footage of wild life killing wild life. Interestingly, a baboon, which is attacked by a cheetah, attacks the cheetah. The savagery and torture committed by the natives in the opening sequence are horrific. A man is roasted alive on a spit.
SLOW WEST (Lionsgate). In 1870 a 16-year-old Scot travels to America to find his lost love. He is naively trusting and his chances of survival in the Wild West would seem highly unlikely. He meets an outlaw and bounty hunter who befriends and chaperones him on his picaresque journey. John Maclean directs this slow quirky western (shot in scenic New Zealand). The body count is high and there is, at the end of the film, a useful recount in montage of all those who have died. Young Kodi Smit-McPhee amazingly and undeservedly gets star billing over Michael Fassbender.
JURASSIC WORLD (Signature). The franchise continues. Is it really 14 years since the first Jurassic Park? The island has been turned into a theme park, a playground for hybrid dinosaurs who have been genetically engineered and modified with DNA from T-Rex. Indominus Rex, much larger, more intelligent and more dangerous, is on the rampage, pursued by humans (led by Chris Patt on a motorbike) and velociraptors racing by his side The 3D images are, inevitably, more impressive than the actors. There are the thrills for the inner child in cinemagoers but that may not be enough for many
LOVE IS ALL (BFI) begins with a man and a woman kissing in a train in a tunnel in 1899 and ends with two men getting married in 2014. In between Kim Longinotto explores couples courting in a collage of footage, and records prejudice, class, gender and racism. A landlady won’t let her female lodger bring a black man into the house. High spots include a wedding in the East End on 1925 and a clip from a silent film version of Stanley Houghton’sHindle Wakes in 1927.
SMASH AND GRAB (Network) is a very poor British comedy crime thriller produced by Jack Buchanan in 1937. It’s particularly disappointing if you are hoping Buchanan and Elsie Randolph are going to be in the mood to sing and dance. The actors had been together in West End musicals since the early 1920s and were hugely popular. Sadly, they don’t sing and dance opt instead to do something along the lines of William Powell and Myrna Loy as amateur detectives did in the Thin Man series, but they don’t have the wit or style of the Americans.