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Posted October 1, 2010
Great cross-section, but troublesome packaging
This is not a "greatest hits" collection. It does not claim to be. Yet as an intriguing cross-section to demonstrate the diversity of Newman's career, it is highly successful. Certainly there are some greats here, in both excellent performances and blockbuster smash hits--The Long, Hot Summer; The Hustler; Exodus; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Hombre; The Towering Inferno. Others are missing, but probably to remind us that Newman brought his own touch to a great variety of films. To include The Sting, for example, would almost be a repeat of Butch Cassidy, and perhaps a less effective demonstration of Newman's partnership with Robert Redford. There are a few, then, that might be considered not worth mentioning, including the truly bizarre Quintet, or Newman's bit part in Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man; but through these other selections we get a broader sense of Newman's whole career. And it wouldn't be too hard to add a few on your own to create a more complete Newman collection. As it stands there are thirteen films with plenty of extras, and Newman shines in them all, whether he talks a lot or a little.
However, I have one great complaint about this collection, and it has nothing to do wih Newman or his films: it is the packaging. It is attractive to look at, blue like Newman's famous eyes, covered with various pictures and including a thoroughly illustrated book with descriptions of all the films. The box looks pretty on a shelf. Yet the individual DVDs fit loosely into pockets in the two fold-out cardstock folders, and there is nothing to secure them but pressure and friction, each of which can be damaging to the discs. I purchased this online, and several of the discs were sliding about in the box when I received it. Almost all of them have skipped slightly or even frozen completely on playback, both on a DVD player and on a computer. I will be visiting my local store to make an exchange, but I am concerned that even a replacement will present the same problems because of the package design. If it weren't for that, I'd say the collection is excellent for fans of Newman and fans of 1960s and 70s films in general. I just wish I didn't have to skip ten minutes in the middle of some to get to where the disc will play again!
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Posted December 19, 2009
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