BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
With that joyous announcement, one of the campiest flicks to ever hit the 1970s leaps off the screen and into the hearts and minds of cinephiles everywhere. Let’s get something straight first. Doc Savage is completely ridiculous. Full of knowing winks to the camera, sparkling eyes that flirt, and one aside after another, the action adventure yarn is unlike any you’ve seen. It is also a hell of a lot of fun., making a perfect treat for Warner Bros Archives to unload in high-definition.
The fatally simplistic tale of the man of bronze and the five friends who ride into each and every lighthearted adventure alongside him was once the stuff of dime store rags. The pulp is still there in this its first and (so far) only screen version. This film leapt off the book and onto the screen thanks to the efforts of Warner Bros and producer George Pal, whose pioneering efforts in bringing science fiction beauties to the silver screen are virtually unmatched.
Ron Ely, otherwise known for his swinging vine action in NBC’s Tarzan series, plays the iconic blonde figure of towering strength. The film starts with the music of John Phillips Sousa blasting in the background as Savage arrives to his Fortress of Solitude. Sousa’s music never quits, mind you. It’s the driving soundtrack. After several tough outings, Savage has arrived through the ice and snow seeking a place to concentrate, unwind, and do great things with his mind.
With narration provided by Paul “The Man of a Thousand Voices” Frees, we learn very quickly that this tale is best served with a lot of cheese. There’s no swallowing it otherwise. Savage learns of his father’s passing. He figures he was killed and returns to the big city, assembling his team of do-gooders: Paul Gleason as Major Thomas J. "Long Tom" Roberts, William Lucking as Colonel John "Renny" Renwick, Michael Miller as Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett "Monk" Mayfair, Eldon Quick as Professor William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn, and Darrell Zwerling as Brigadier General Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks.
A skyscraper assassination attempt by a buckskinned native American really good at scaling buildings, complete with a fake green snake tattoo, confirms Savage’s belief that his daddy was assassinated. What follows is a hilarious campy adventure that sees Savage and his crew turning down smoke, drink, and one fine-ass woman after another due to their belief in truth, justice, and all things American. They are 100% committed to the search for the murderer.
Directed by Around the World in 80 Days’ Michael Anderson, Doc Savage is a rollercoaster of a b-grade flick. It’s a spirited romp, for sure. The women are honey-dipped in sexuality – even though this adventure is strictly G-rated – and the men are blissfully unaware of their insults and, well, damn near everything else. Dopey, poorly-acted, and self-aware, Doc Savage wasn’t exactly strong enough to handle the box office demands during the time of its initial run and was easily buried by Spielberg’s Jaws. It was later resurrected to do battle on laserdisc against Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg struck again. While limited in its value, the movie is harmless b-grade entertainment that, on rainy November days, is sure to entertain even the stingiest of watchers.
Besides, if the Sousa music doesn’t get you cheering little else about Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze will.
MPAA Rating: G.
Runtime: 100 mins
Director: Michael Anderson
Writer: Joe Morheim
Cast: Ron Ely, Paul Gleason, William Lucking
Genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy
Tagline: The Man of Bronze
Memorable Movie Quote: "An absolute absence of ambulation."
Theatrical Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 1975
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 1, 2016
Synopsis: Doc and the Amazing Five battle Captain Seas and "the green death" for control of a fabulous resource.
Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray - November 1, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Region A
Issued on blu-ray courtesy of Warner Archive, the 1080p transfer is a decent one. Nothing has been remastered, of course, and there’s been no restoration of the source material, but the film has been preserved fairly well. Colors are strong. Flesh tones are well saturated. Special effects – because there are animated glowing green snakes in the film – are rendered with nice fuzzy textures. Due to the age of the film, there are some noticeable set flaws and puppet effects. That’s all part of the charm, though. The sound – rendered here in a strong lossless 2.0 audio track – is front-loaded and carries the dialogue, the Sousa score, and the effects nicely.
Be happy it’s in high-definition and get on with your bad self. There’s a Theatrical Trailer and that’s it.
- Original Theatrical Trailer