• Cold Sweat (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: April 9th, 2019.
    Director: Terence Young
    Cast: Charles Bronson, Liv Ullmann, James Mason, Jill Ireland, Michel Constantin
    Year: 1970
    Purchase From Amazon

    Cold Sweat – Movie Review:

    The late, great Charles Bronson stars as a man named Joe Martin in this 1970 film directed by Terence Young. Martin is an American, a former military man enjoying the peace and quiet of rural France where he makes a simple living renting boats to tourists. He’s married to his lovely wife Fabienne (Liv Ullmann) and together they do their best to raise their daughter Michèle (Yannick de Lulle). Martin, however, has some dangerous skeletons in his closet.

    See, a decade before he decided to settle down, he was one of five men that escape from prison. He and his fellow inmates - Captain Ross (James Mason), Whitey (Michel Constantin), Fausto (Luigi Pistilli) and Katanga (Jean Topart) – where on the lam for quite a while and during that time, Katanga lost his cool and murdered a policeman. After this altercation, Joe split from the gang and took off in their car – and obviously, that left a bad taste in their mouths.

    Cut back to the present day and Joe’s four former pals have come back into his life. They kidnap Fabienne and Michèle to use as leverage, hoping to force him into cooperating in a smuggling scheme they want his help with. But Joe, he’s not one to take this type of thing lying down, and his military training is about to come in really handy.

    Based on the novel Ride The Nightmare by Richard Matheson, Cold Sweat is a tense thriller that makes great use of its French locations and its interesting cast to hold our attention. Young paces the picture very well, giving the right balance of character development scenes and action scenes to ensure that we’re engaged with the picture throughout. Highlighted by an impressive car chase scene (which the producers were savvy enough to use in the film’s theatrical marketing), the film boasts quality production values throughout. If the film doesn’t really break much in the way of new ground, as far as its plot is concerned, it does what it does quite well.

    As to the acting? Bronson is his typically reliable self and he does good work here. The strong, silent type role always suited him and that’s the case again with this picture. He doesn’t stretch dramatically, but he handles the material really well. Liv Ullmann, however, isn’t quite as impressive here. She’s a great actor but doesn’t seem to be giving her all with this one, she sleepwalks through it. James Mason is kind of the flipside to that coin, in that he overdoes it and chews a fair bit of scenery – but at least he’s fun to watch. As you’d probably expect, Bronson’s real world wife, Jill Ireland, shows up here as well, miscast as a hippie type. Thankfully, her part is small (she’s not very good in this picture). Supporting work from Constantin and the always enjoyable Pistilli, however, balances things out really nicely. That said, Bronson is the one that you’re hear to watch and he definitely delivers.

    Cold Sweat – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino Lorber brings Cold Sweat to Blu-ray on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85.1 widescreen. The transfer is decent, while leaving room for improvement suggesting that it may have come from an older, existing master but there doesn’t seem to be any confirmation of that anywhere. That said, detail certainly rises above what DVD could provide but doesn’t offer us a reference quality picture – it’s very good, however. Skin tones look nice, colors are fine and the image is generally quite clean, showing only small white specks here and there. No real complaints here and all in all, this is a more than decent looking picture.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono is solid. The track is very clean, free of any hiss or distortion and featuring properly balanced levels throughout. Dialogue remains easy to follow and understand from start to finish, gun shots and car engines have some decent power behind them and the score sounds very good. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

    The main extra on this release is a new audio commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson. They spend a good bit of time offering up insight into the production’s history and detailing the backgrounds of those involved in the film – Bronson and Ireland of course but also Ullman and Mason and director Young as well. Lots of info here about the sets, the crew members, the locations, the score, the car chase and more. Along the way they also offer up their thoughts on the quality of the film. It’s a solid track with a lot of good information contained inside.

    Additionally, the disc includes the film’s original theatrical trailer, an interesting car chase promo trailer and bonus trailers for Rider On The Rain, Mr. Majestyk, Breakheart Pass and The White Buffalo. Menus and chapter selection are also included and this release comes packaged with some neat reversible cover artwork.

    Cold Sweat – The Final Word:

    Cold Sweat is a prime slice of vintage Bronson, a top-notch, if slightly derivative, thriller that should be a better-known entry in his filmography than it is. Kino Lorber are to be commended for bringing this one to Blu-ray in a very nice presentation and with some decent extra features as well. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Cold Sweat Blu-ray screen caps!