Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Kino Lorber Studio Classics - BUSTING and PRIME CUT on Blu-ray ""

Friday, September 18, 2015

Kino Lorber Studio Classics - BUSTING and PRIME CUT on Blu-ray

BUSTING (1974; Peter Hyams)
One of the truly sublime things about being a cinephile is finding an actor that you love and starting to dig back into their filmography to find their best work. In some rare cases, you'll find a run of great films that the actor worked on during a certain period. Sometimes this streak of greatness lasts two or three films, sometimes more. Then there are guys like Elliot Gould. Gould was "the man for his time and place" as Sam Elliott described so eloquently when speaking of "The Dude" in THE BIG LEBOWSKI. People talk about Steve McQueen being the "essence of cool", but for my money he just can't outdo Elliot Gould. Not for the number of stellar films and performances that Gould threw down throughout the 1970s. There's just too much good stuff there. If he had just made THE LONG GOODBYE and CALIFORNIA SPLIT he'd be a legend for me, but he also made M.A.S.H., NASHVILLE, LITTLE MURDERS, THE SILENT PARTNER, CAPRICORN ONE and more. More indeed. Lots that get lost too like HARRY AND WALTER GO TO NEW YORK and especially BUSTING. BUSTING is the one that has only seemingly recently gotten a bit more love and attention and deservedly so. I think we can all agree that buddy cop movies are a pretty fantastic. There are a lot of them though and some occasionally get left behind in the discussions of the best examples of the genre. BUSTING is right up there with RUNNING SCARED and LETHAL WEAPON as far as I'm concerned. It probably leans more into RUNNING SCARED territory in that these two cops (played by Elliot Gould and Robert Blake) tend to use some occasionally questionable techniques in the course of their police-ly duties. As with RUNNING SCARED and LETHAL WEAPON, it's really all about the chemistry between the partners. Good chemistry makes for comradery and good comedy in the mix with the usual cop stuff like shootouts and car chases. And speaking of chases, one of standout things about BUSTING is a great foot chase setpiece that finds our two vice cops pursuing some drug dealers to the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. Once there, things go into standoff mode with a lot of civilians in the mix until the chase continues some more. It's a very solid little sequence and gives the movie some of its distinct L.A. flavor. 
Special Features:
This disc has a couple of great features in two audio commentaries. The first is from director Peter Hyams and it's very good and informative. Even better though is the second track with Elliott Gould and film critic Kim Morgan. Gould should do commentaries on everything. Seriously. The man is a national treasure.
The BUSTING Blu-ray can be purchased here:

PRIME CUT (1972; Michael Ritchie)
This movie is one of those "hidden gems" that has only relatively recently started to get the attention it deserves. First off, it's from director Michael Ritchie (THE BAD NEWS BEARS) which has always amused me. Secondly, it stars Lee Marvin AND Gene Hackman so that alone should pique your interest. Hackman's character goes by Mary Ann, but he's a lot tougher than that monicker lets on. Mary Ann is a sadistic cattle baron who, with the help of his brother "Weenie",  grinds his foes into hot dog links for fun and mails them across the country. Oh and he also runs a sex slavery racket to boot. Enter Nick Devlin (Lee Marvin) who works as mob muscle out of Chicago. Nick is sent on a mission to collect on the money that Mary Ann has been skimming which is up to about half a million dollars. Nick arrives and let's Mary and know he better cough up the dough and he takes one of the girls (a young Sissy Spacek) that Mary Ann is selling off as human sex cattle as a small down payment.
Robert Dillon's (FRENCH CONNECTION II, 99 and 44/100% DEAD) script is filled with witty stuff for the criminals to say to taunt each other. Lee Marvin is surprisingly good at zinging people with verbal barbs, he has a great voice for understatement. The movie has this underlying sense of humor about it too that is neat. A few memorable scenes include an fancy dinner between Lee Marvin and Sissy Spacek and another where Mary Ann roughhouses on his brother whilst two bookkeepers look on. As with BADLANDS, Sissy plays a wonderful naive/childlike girl that takes a shine to Nick Devlin. Spacek was about 23 at the time of this movie and is as adorable as ever on top of giving a great performance.
The score is a lively, plucky jazzy one from the great Lalo Schifrin. It has some blue-grassy elements infused in it which makes for a fun mix. Also, Lalo has an amazing knack for taking lighthearted music and turning it dark when a movie takes a turn for the suspenseful. My favorite scene in the film is this cool pursuit through a flowing wheat field and the music gives it a nice bump. The best though is a climactic gunfight played across a field of sunflowers. Iconic stuff.
I wasn't able to do a side-by-side against the previously released German Blu-ray, but this may look a touch better than that disc transfer-wise.

The PRIME CUT Blu-ray can be purchased here:

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