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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

'The Pride and the Passion' BD: Historic Drama with Two Guys, a Girl, and a Gigantic Cannon

The Pride and The Passion - 887090125314
This penultimate entry in a quartet of reviews on August 16, 2016 Olive Films Blu-ray and DVD reviews awesomely validates the diversity that the review of the 2004 Macaulay Culkin Christian high school comedy "Saved!" and the post on the 1970 Liza Minnelli classic drama "Tell me that you love me, Junie Moon" highlight.

"Pride" is an epic 1957 film that looks and sounds great in Blu-ray. It is the second film by director Stanley Kramer, who goes on to produce and direct numerous classics that include "Judgment at Nuremberg" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." This epic set during the Peninsular War has British naval officer Anthony Trumbell traveling to Spain to collect a ginormous cannon for the purpose of the British using it against Napoleon.

The prim and proper Trumbell is unpleasantly surprised to see that Spanish rebel Miguel (surprisingly paid by a not-so-great Frank Sinatra) and his fellow rebels have filled the gap left by the absent general with whom Anthony was scheduled to meet. This group includes feisty Juana (nicely played by Sophia Loren), who is the very loyal woman of Miguel.

Trumbell resolves the "you throw me whip; I throw you idol" impasse they encounter by entering a bargain in which munitions expert Trumbull agrees to help Miguel and his troops transport the cannon in an arduous journey across Spain for use in an attack on a French stronghold in exchange for allowing Trumbull to take the cannon after that battle.

In the spirit of any great epics, our trio and their followers face numerous grand obstacles during their trip. These include evading one group of French soldiers only to find themselves as the cannon fodder in another attack. They further must transport the cannon over tough land and water, recruit help from the locals in every community through which they pass, etc. All this leads to the final grand battle involving what seems to be a literal cast of thousands.

The Trumbull-Miguel-Juana triangle provides plenty of additional drama. This extends beyond rivalry for the affections of Juana to clashing styles and values. Suffice to say that Miguel is not always the one who advocates for the best personal interests of his fellow Spaniards.

Those who know the talents of Grant and Loren know that he is well-cast as a stereotypical British military man and that a hot-blooded and tough peasant is well within the skill set of Loren. Having said that Jersey boy Sinatra, whose acting range is far narrower than that of his co-stars, is a very bold choice for Miguel. Suffice it to say this time, Sinatra shows that daring casting choices are not always the best.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Pride" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.