CineSavant Column

Saturday December 10, 2022



We’ve got yet another bit of informative insight from advisor “B”, who must have checked out my review of the Warner Archive Collection’s Mister Roberts Blu-ray. Of such observations are the finest film criticism made:


Dear Glenn: Nearly two years ago, you wrote a review of Mister Roberts. In the piece, you posed a question…

“As a gift to readers that may actually know nothing of the movie, I’ve not mentioned a major non-human character in the film, that plays a part in the last scene and is the subject of Ensign Pulver’s highly quotable final dialogue line:

“Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinkin’ palm tree overboard! Now what’s all this crud about no movie tonight?”

My only question is this: in the original play what word did Pulver shout at the the Captain in place of crud?”

I can now answer that.

Here’s how the Thomas Heggen book ends.


And here’s how the Heggen / Joshua Logan play ends.


I would guess that Logan may have said to Heggen that the play needed a stronger curtain line than in the book to further define Pulver’s character. So they concocted this final line and added it as a kicker… — B.


That’s news. In both book and play the Captain coddles a whole row of palm trees, giving Mr. Roberts and Ensign Pulver more stage business to do when they destroy them. Maybe the orchestra in the pit Mickey-Moused some music accents for the plants going over, one by one . . .



Kino Lorber’s January releases got announced a couple of days back, and the lineup has some good Blu-rays, like The David Jannsen Warning Shot which I reviewed as an import a few weeks ago. There’s also the Lee Marvin picture Sergeant Ryker, which I’ve never seen. I edited TV spots for the third Chuck Norris Missing in Action film, and don’t want to go near that series again . . .

Kino is releasing two separate 4K Ultra HD titles in January. We just got their 4K of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which we might have to revisit again, even though it feels like I review it every year or so.

The two January 4Ks are the Charles Bronson movie Death Wish, which I want to reassess — it can’t be as pernicious as I remember it. The second offering is a real favorite, Peter Collinson’s original The Italian Job. I saw it new in 1969, and then at a late night screening at the TCM Fest about ten years ago … where it looked sensational. It’s a great candidate for straight-to-4K treatment!

Also on tap are Blu-rays of Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai and Peter Newbrook’s The Asphyx (which now seems less pleasant — who wants to see Jane Lapotaire suffer so?)  I’ll have to see if they’re substantially improved — The Asphyx is said to be a new remaster.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson