THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE
1986, 84 min, USA, Dir: Nelson Shin

The hit animated television series (and action figure toy line) makes its first leap to the big screen! In the year 2005, Optimus Prime and his heroic Autobots struggle to defend their home planet Cybertron from the voracious Unicron (Orson Welles, in his final role) and defeat the evil Decepticons and their ruthless leader, Megatron. The all-star cast giving voice to these battling ’bots includes Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Eric Idle, Scatman Crothers and Casey Kasem. Released between the series’ second and third seasons, THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE killed off several major characters and featured a heavy-metal soundtrack and anime style that gave it a slightly darker tone than the TV program - but it’s still intergalactic fun for kids of all ages.


KING OF KINGS
1961, Warner Bros., 168 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Director Nicholas Ray and epic producer Samuel Bronston seemed an odd couple, but the pair made this reverent, straightforward portrait of the life of Christ work on its own terms. Filled with moving performances by Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, a potent, often mysterious messiah, and Robert Ryan as John the Baptist, with support from Siobhan McKenna, Rip Torn, Royal Dano, Harry Guardino, Viveca Lindfors and others. Meticulous and spectacular production design augments the realism, while Orson Welles’ narration adds storybook charm. Originally played at the Egyptian Theatre!


JOURNEY INTO FEAR
1943, RKO [Warner Bros.], 68 min, USA, Dir: Orson Welles, Norman Foster

Orson Welles reunited his Mercury Theatre colleagues for this shadowy and stylish adaptation of Eric Ambler’s tale of wartime intrigue. Joseph Cotten - who wrote the screenplay - plays an engineer pursued by a murderous Nazi agent, for reasons unknown, throughout the Near East. Drastically cut prior to release (with new scenes shot by Foster) the film remains a uniquely Wellesian exercise in cinematic style, dripping with atmosphere and outfitted with an array of colorful characters, including delicious Dolores Del Rio as a femme fatale chanteuse. “Welles and Del Rio together! As Terror Man vs. Leopard Woman! It’s menace melodrama thrilled with mighty mystery and suspense… See it!” Not on DVD!


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