Blu-ray slight return: Spy, Sailor, Astronaut

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Some incredible blu-rays released recently capture classic films and modern tropes.

Lewis Gilbert will forever be associated with James Bond films but his career contains gems of 1950s British cinema.

The Cohen Film Collection releases two of Gilbert’s early films that will appeal to aficionados of post-WWII action films as well as place him in the chronology of directors from that era. That would also include future Bond directors like Guy Hamilton and Terence Young.

The Sea Shall Not Have Them combines survival on a lifeboat with breakthrough performances from Dirk Bogarde, and as a perpetual villain Anton Differing. The 1954 film revolves around a North Sea rescue of British airmen after their plane ditches in late 1944.

Sure, there’s obvious rear projection behind the survivors floating at sea but the drama stills works in a big way. The action cuts between British military devoted to sea rescue of the downed aircraft men who are rapidly losing hope.

Lewis Gilbert films always have dynamic third acts, and you could probably draw a line from Albert R. N. (Royal Navy) to You Only Live Twice

Albert R. N. chronicles a POW escape from A German prison camp.

Albert is a dummy that has movable arms and legs. The prisoners march five-abreast past their captors for roll call. The dummy allows a single escape each time. The American character is called The Texan. 

The ending truly exceeds action standards from other similar films. Remember Stalag 17 came out the same year, and The Great Escape was still a decade away.

The OSS 117 spy character predated Bond by four years for the novel and five years for movies. There were eight French films with OSS 117 made between 1957 and 1971.

The series was rebooted in 2006 followed by a sequel in 2009. Jean Dujardin played the suave secret agent under the direction of Michel Hazanavicius. The same duo would win multiple Oscars® for 2011’s The Artist.

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies wasn’t so much of a spoof as a singular cross between the heightened realism of 007 mixed with the mundane reality of John le Carré.

OSS 117: Lost in Rio played with the atmosphere and look of  1960s spy films.

Both films are part of the OSS 117 two-pack release from Music Box films subtitled The Pride of French Intelligence.

The Korean space adventure The Moon places an emphasis on the realistic depiction of a Moon mission in the year 2029. 

Of the three astronauts one comes from the military, the other two call him Space SEAL.

Space SEAL’s father was on a previous doomed mission.

One thing after another goes wrong and soon the whole Earth unites for rescue attempts.

Only there’s opposition from NASA regarding their own expedition in the area. The lunar lander has a drone that detaches and broadcasts live footage of the landing.

Rousing adventure accentuated with a great score merge with flashbacks that provide character backstory.

The Moon released by Well Go Entertainment is available February 27 on Digital and Blu-ray.

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