Sinatra x 2

Angela Lansbury as the quintessential controlling mother in John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Frank Sinatra, a star and celebrity, could also be an impressive actor when he cared to make the effort: two of his best performances from the 1960s, in John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Mark Robson’s Von Ryan’s Express (1965), reveal a willingness to play flawed characters and expose their weaknesses.

Miscellaneous notes: Severin Films

The ruined castle of Montségur dominates the spectacular landscape of southwestern France in Richard Stanley's The Otherworld (2013)

Severin Films recent Blu-ray special edition of Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman’s Jack the Ripper (1959) is ambitious but compromised; the atmospheric horror film is presented in three different versions, all of which have serious issues with the transfers (print damage in one case and incorrect aspect ratios in the other two). More satisfying, technically and creatively, is Severin’s Blu-ray edition of Richard Stanley’s typically idiosyncratic documentary The Otherworld (2013).

The early films of Sydney Pollack

Major Falconer (Burt Lancaster) and his men arrive at the Medieval castle in Sydney Pollack's Castle Keep (1969)

In his early work, Sydney Pollack explored various genres from a distinctly literary perspective before becoming a maker of prestige, middlebrow Hollywood entertainments; excellent Blu-ray presentations of his best features – Castle Keep (1969), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and Jeremiah Johnson – reveal a promise not entirely fulfilled in a long career.