At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Jun 21st, 2017 •

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DVD review by Roy Frumkes

“FROM NOON TILL THREE” is a sweet little confection…starring Charles Bronson?? The parts just don’t mesh in our minds. But it’s true; the DEATH WISH vengeance-machine must have been looking for a respite from all the violence, and when this script passed through his hands…with a juicy part for his wife…a unique concoction was born.

Jill Ireland is an uptight widow inhabiting an isolated several-story mansion in the absolute middle of nowhere in the American West (a sight not unlike that in GIANT). Bronson is part of an outlaw quintet whose horse goes lame and, struck by the lady of the manse, he contrives to wait out the robbery in the widow’s mansion. With nothing to do for three hours, he works on breaking down her defenses and…well, maybe I shouldn’t give any more away. It seems like it shouldn’t work, but it gains complexity as it rolls on, and by the time it’s all over, you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time. You feel like you’ve seen an industry oddity whose like seldom comes one’s way in this cookie-cutter biz.

Bronson effortlessly pulls off his light persona. His wife’s voice irritated me, and though they did 18 films together, I don’t remember having heard her voice before, so I can’t say if it’s an affectation here or the real Jill Ireland. She’s mighty pretty in a harsh kind of way, and much of the third act falls on her shoulders, which she proves able to carry.

The DVD quality is excellent. It is possible, given the odd nature of the film, that the negative didn’t see much use. Production Design by Robert Clatworthy (SHIP OF FOOLS, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER and, as art director, PSYCHO, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN) is captivating. So nice seeing Elmer Bernstein in front of the camera, playing a songwriter in one scene.

Lucien Ballard (RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, THE WILD BUNCH, ELVIS: THAT’S THE WAY IT IS) tends to over-light the film, both indoors and out. Perhaps this was a decision made to keep the tone light, but I suspect it would have worked better if there was a slight ominous tone in the shadows. After all this was a fairy tale on some level, and fairy tales can have a worrisome quality and still be charming.

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