Sunday, November 04, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Sangaree (1953) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl star in SANGAREE (1953), a colorful historical melodrama just released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

The Blu-ray includes remastered prints of both the 3D and 2D versions, with restoration of the 3D version by the 3D Film Archive. Be sure to check out the 3D Film Archive's page on the movie, which is filled with great photos and interesting bits of information.

SANGAREE, which was the first 3D feature filmed in Technicolor, looks absolutely stunning on Kino Lorber's Blu-ray. I watched the 2D version but hope to take a look at the 3D print soon.

The film depicts a post-Revolutionary War story with a lush "romance novel" feel; the screenplay by David Duncan and Frank L. Moss was based on a book by Frank Slaughter.

Lamas plays Dr. Carlos Morales, who is given charge of the Sangaree plantation by the dying General Victor Darby (Lester Matthews). The general's son, Dr. Roy Darby (Tom Drake), is fully in support of Carlos, but Roy's sister Nancy (Dahl) resents Carlos's intrusion and wants to run the estate herself. That said, sparks fly whenever Nancy and Carlos meet.

Carlos finds his hands full with Nancy's challenge to the will, pirates, a plague, and Roy's unhappy wife Martha (Patricia Medina), who keeps making a play for Carlos despite being married to a very nice man.

The wandering plot is slightly hard to follow at times, but that's my only complaint regarding what is otherwise an entertaining, splendidly restored film. This is a movie one could watch simply to enjoy how great it looks; Dahl's red hair and the costumes, which made me think of vividly colored Easter eggs, are gorgeous.

Lamas and Dahl would marry soon after making SANGAREE, and they certainly have a steamy chemistry in this which is fun to watch. Dr. Morales has a certain arrogance, tempered by his compassion as a doctor, and the fiery Nancy matches him every step.

It's rather interesting that this Paramount film has what I would think of as an MGM cast in Lamas, Dahl, and Drake; even Medina had stopped in at MGM briefly for the previous year's DESPERATE SEARCH (1952). Medina is good but her character is relatively underscripted, popping up for a handful of big scenes yet absent for much of the movie. Drake, on the other hand, comes off quite well as Carlos's loyal friend. Other than being in the same room at a party, he pretty much doesn't interact with Medina, who plays his wife, until her final scene, so we have little to go on regarding their relationship.

Otherwise than the feeling that some of Roy and Martha's story is missing, the film runs a well-paced 94 minutes. The print includes an Intermission card around the halfway point, as was common practice for 3D films.

SANGAREE was directed by Edward Ludwig. It was filmed by W. Wallace Kelley and Lionel Lindon.

The supporting cast includes John Sutton, Francis L. Sullivan, Charles Korvin, Willard Parker, and Sam McDaniel.

Blu-ray extras are the trailers for both the 2D and 3D releases, a restoration featurette, and a 1955 Lux Radio Theatre production with Dahl and Cesar Romero. I really enjoy Lux programs and was delighted it was included.

Kino Lorber has also released the 2D version of this film on DVD, accompanied by the 2D trailer, the restoration demo, and the radio show.

I very much enjoyed this eye-popping film; the images are still dancing in my head! Kudos to Kino Lorber for another terrific release of an underseen movie.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura, good review. They just don’t make movies like this anymore. Also, the stunning beauty of Arlene Dahl and the handsome Fernando Lamas didn’t hurt at the box office. Another winner from the Pine-Thomas production team. They knew what the public wanted for entertainment and gave it to them.

Another fun Pine-Thomas adventure movie is JIVARO(1954) starring Fernando Lamas, Rhonda Fleming, Brian Keith, Lon Cheney, Jr., Richard Denning, and Rita Moreno. If you like lost treasure movies set in the Amazon of South America, this a good one.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'm not a 3D maven, but Bob Furmanek and team at the 3D Film Archive are doing tremendous work in saving and restoring these films and deserve all the praise possible.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Walter, good news, JIVARO is on Kino's future release list! I believe it will be out in 2019. Glad to know you also liked this movie and that you enjoyed the review!

Rick, couldn't agree more about the 3D Film Archive. What great work both restoring the films and educating the public about them.

Best wishes,

12:01 AM  

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