Twilight Time: ‘HELL AND HIGH WATER’ and ‘DRUNKEN MASTER’ spill quality into June’s home entertainment

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Preston Barta // Features Editor

Last month’s Twilight Time releases — available today exclusively through TwilightTimeMovies.com and ScreenArchives.com — showcase some of the restoration company’s best yet.

HELL AND HIGH WATER (1954)
Not rated, 103 minutes.
Director: Samuel Fuller
Cast: Richard WidmarkBella Darvi and Victor Francen

Not to be confused with last year’s HELL OR HIGH WATER, this 1954 Cold War-set film is arguably the most intense and visually stunning of the bunch. Many CinemaScope-shot movies of the 1950s — while epic in, well, scope — don’t quite match up entirely. Many of the frames are different color grades and are distracting. But HELL AND HIGH WATER looks as radiant as its submarine-involved story thrills.

Grade: B+

Extras: Isolated music track, Richard Widmark: Strength of Characters, and original theatrical trailers

THE QUIET AMERICAN (1958)
Not rated, 122 minutes.
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Cast: Audie MurphyMichael Redgrave and Giorgia Moll

Before the Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser-starring remake in 2002, there was the 1958 original film about a young naive American worker (Audie Murphy) and an older English journalist (Michael Redgrave) bumping heads over politics and a beautiful young Vietnamese woman (Giorgia Moll). The Graham Green adaption provided viewers with an early look of the Vietnam War on film. Watching it today is even more compelling, because it doesn’t exactly paint America in the brightest colors.

Grade: B

Extras: Isolate music track with some effects and original theatrical trailer

THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN (1969)
Rated R, 117 minutes.
Director: John Guillermin
Cast: George SegalRobert Vaughn and Ben Gazzara

George Segal (THE GOLDBERGS) stars in a 1969 war action-drama that centers on a hopeless battle between German and Allied forces in the last days of WWII. This is perhaps the best war movie you’ve never heard about, exhibiting a gritty story with notable performances that show up its contemporary genre films.

Grade: B+

Extras: Isolated music track and original theatrical trailer

THE VALACHI PAPERS (1972)
Rated PG, 125 minutes.
Director: Terence Young
Cast: Charles BronsonLino Ventura and Jill Ireland

Twilight Time continues its trend of restoring Charles Bronson movies with this 1972 true story of Mafia informant Joseph Valachi. THE VALACHI PAPERS arrived at bad time, when The Godfather reigned supreme. Now that it’s been 45 years, today is a good time as any to witness this exciting crime film.

Grade: B-

Extras: Partial isolated music track

SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW / DRUNKEN MASTER (1978)
Rated PG, 96 minutes / Rated PG-13, 111 minutes.
Director: Woo-Ping Yuen
Cast: Jackie ChanSiu Tin Yuen and Jang Lee Hwang

Jackie Chan has undoubtedly made a massive impact on culture. His impressive martial arts skills and stunts changed the way we make movies. So why not revisit the movies that helped put him on the map: 1978’s SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW and DRUNKEN MASTER. Both titles feature Chan’s developing style and comedy talent at its peak. It’s an absolute joy.

Grade: B+

Extras: Isolated music tracks and DRUNKEN MASTER audio commentary with film historians Ric Meyers and Jeff Yang

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.