DVD Review “Mitchell (1975)”

Actors: Joe Don Baker, Martin Balsam, John Saxon, Linda Evans, Morgan Paull
Directors: Andrew V. Mclaglen
Studio: Warner Archive Collection
DVD Release Date: July 23, 2013
Run Time: 97 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I came across “Mitchell” like I am sure many people have through “Mystery Science Theater 3000”. I absolutely loved that episode of the show and it introduced me to the actor Joe Don Baker and his great roles for film’s like the “Walking Tall” series. I know it pokes fun at the movie “Mitchell” but it also gave me an appreciation for the film as well. I am able to quote various lines from it and it always makes for a fun time watching it with friends. Even without the funny commentary track from “MST3K”, “Mitchell” is still a very entertaining film.  It may not be perfect but it is fun and action packed.

Official Premise: Told to lay off a case involving an attorney who shot an intruder in his home, headstrong police detective Mitchell ignores the order — and proceeds to get tangled up in an investigation that connects the lawyer (John Saxon), the head of an import racket (Martin Balsam) and a scheme to unload a million-dollar cache of stolen heroin. Joe Don Baker, who made a name for himself as club-wielding sheriff Buford Pusser in the drive-in classic Walking Tall and whose later credits include a notable role in 2013’s Mud, plays the title role in an action film that’s gained a following among connoisseurs of guilty pleasures. At the center of all the action, of course, is Mitchell, giving as good as he gets in pell-mell sequences involving shootings, brawls, car chases, suicidal dune buggy jousts and a rappel from a police helicopter onto the racketeer’s speeding getaway boat. Linda Evans and Merlin Olsen are also in the cast.

The film previously was only available on DVD as part the “Mystery Science Theater 3000”, so it is great that Warner Archive is giving this film some solo love and diving people a chance to enjoy it outside of the spoof series.  I personally look forward to sharing this with my friends and enjoying it for numerous repeat viewings over the years.  The DVD transfer itself looks good, I am not sure if Warner Archive has done any more restoration but I was used to watching it on a crappy TV bootleg copy. I would have loved to see this get the Blu-ray treatment especially since Warner Archive has been getting into that market recently. In terms of special features, there is nothing additional included on this DVD release.

Interview with Beverly Mitchell

Beverly Mitchell is co-starring in the new film “Infected” along side Vinnie Jones and Danny Glover.  She is known best for her role in the TV series “7th Heaven” and also appeared in films like “Saw II”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Beverly about her new film and also her other work.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character, Isabelle, in “Infected”?
Beverly Mitchell: We like to call her the “ugly duckling.” She’s the girl who was friends with all the guys. She was very awkward growing up but now she’s grown into a beautiful girl. She still has a lot of the insecurities she had in high school. She’s super-sweet, but she’s also sarcastic and fun. She doesn’t have a filter and she says what’s on her mind. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body but she doesn’t always do the right thing. She has an unspoken love for Travis. They’re definitely the two most flirtatious…they definitely have something going on that neither one will recognize. What I love about it is that it’s like going back to when you were a child and if the little boy likes someone he goes up and hits them. It’s kind of like that between Travis and Izzy. She is so much fun to play because it’s so real and you can totally relate to it. It was fun for me to play this character because I typically play the nice girl. I’m always the goody two shoes. So it was kind of fun to play the girl that gets in trouble and puts her foot in her mouth. And a little more on the sexier side because she’s still trying to overcome the fact that she never felt pretty. It’s was really fun. I loved it.

MG: You are currently in production, tell us about the shoot so far?
BM: The film is about a group of friends that go to help out Dean’s grandma who is getting infected. There is a company that is developing an anti-virus so they can make money. And it turns out, lo and behold, that we all start getting involved and, one by one, we start getting infected. The film is about whether the group can overcome the virus and if they can survive and take down the huge pharmaceutical company that is trying to make money by making people sick.

MG: How is it working with Vinnie Jones, Danny Glover and director Jason Dudek?
BM: It was so much fun. Jason is such a fantastic director. He’s so involved and has every beat clearly choreographed in his head. As an actor you trust absolutely everything that he brings…he doesn’t miss anything. He was so supportive and so understand…just a perfect “actors” director. I’ve seen a little bit of the footage (the film is currently in post-production) and it looks amazing. It is going to be one fantastic film. I’m so excited about it. It’s one of those films where I was excited to go to work every day. 16 hour days. YEAH! And I’ll do it all over again tomorrow! And that doesn’t happen very often. It was a great set. Every actor brought his “A” game every day. And then you have a phenomenal director who continues to remind you why we do this. It was really exciting. I just love that.

MG: Sticking with sci-fi/horror genre, tell us about working on “Pennhurst,” directed by Michael Rooker?
BM: “Pennhurst” was quite an experience because we actually shot at the actual Pennhurst in Pennsylvania. It’s….well I don’t know if you’d call it haunted or what…but there is definitely something going on at Pennhurst. And while we were shooting there we saw all of it! It was crazy. We were there for eleven days. Batteries kept dying…cell phones went wacky…cameras began taking random photos on their own. Everything that they say happened there, which made the filming experience more interesting…just to be able to shoot on the actual location of Pennhurst. To see the beauty of the buildings and learn what Pennhurst is all about. For the audience it’s going to be interesting. And creepy. And scary. (laughs)

MG: How is it working on a show like “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and how does it compare to when you worked on “7th Heaven”?
BM: Obviously the subject matter is much different then what we dealt with on “7th Heaven.” We talk a lot about sex on “Teenager” and a lot of other stuff we never talked about on “7th Heaven.” But what’s fantastic about “Secret Life” is that a good portion of our crew also worked on “7th Heaven.” So it’s like going home because it’s the crew that I grew up with. We just had our 15th Anniversary of when “7th Heaven” started, which is crazy to me. It doesn’t feel like it’s been 15 years. It’s so fantastic to go to work with everyone. The cast on “Secret Life” is fantastic. They’re so talented. They’re so much fun. They’re so welcoming every time I come back. Brenda Hampton (creator of both “7th Heaven” and “The Secret Life of an American Teenager”) is such a genius. I owe so much to her. She’s always been so supportive. She started this all out for me with “7th Heaven” and I can’t thank her enough.

MG: While you were working on “7th Heaven” you did “Saw II.” How hard was it to work on two completely different projects almost simultaneously?
BM: Believe it or not, I’m really not a horror film fan. I can’t stand horror movies because they scare the crap out of me. I am not good at watching anything horror. I totally freak out. I’m the girl who has to watch the movie during the middle of the day in daylight and then have to watch a comedy immediately after. It took me seven times before I finally got through watching the first “Saw” film. But part of me was really excited. You can’t describe it. And you certainly can’t compare “7th Heaven” to “Saw II.” But I was really excited. And I had no idea it would become the franchise it is today…what are they on, “Saw 17” by now? (laughs) But it was a lot of fun. Working up in Toronto was amazing. I love actually making horror films but I don’t love watching them. And I have a new found respect for the art of blood. “Saw II” was where I got my first lesson in blood and I loved the fact that I was able to tell them “throw more blood on me…make me look worse.” (laughs) It was so much fun. It’s fun to be able to do something that’s completely different then what you’re used to. That’s why I like to take roles that pull me in different directions and scare me. “Saw II” was definitely the thing that scared me most. I didn’t know if I could scream. I knew I could yell but I didn’t know if I could scream because I never really had the need to. So when I got to Toronto I thought, “I hope I got this.” And apparently I’ve got some good lungs on me because it worked out just fine.

MG: Besides acting, you’re also a country singer. Are you still recording?
BM: Actually, I’m not. I’m not doing anything currently. The whole country music thing was something I wanted to do my whole life. We were wrapping up “7th Heaven” and I talked to Brenda about it and she said, “just go…go to Nashville and do it.” Which is so not like me because I’m an Aquarius and I always have a plan. So I started writing. I met with producers and we did the album. It was such an experience. I equal it to being naked in front of everybody and just showing your soul and everything you have to the world. That’s what music is for me. Acting is very different because you get to hide behind other characters and you get to immerse yourself into them. But music is very much about who you are and what story you’re trying to tell. It was just a great experience allowing me to be me and to tell the story I wanted to tell. I absolutely loved it. I’m not doing it now because everything right now is going in a different direction. I’ve been doing a lot of writing. And I’m actually currently signed on to produce a Broadway play. It’s going to be off the chart…so fantastic and so much fun. It’s going to be like nothing anybody has seen before. So my time has been taken away from music. But that’s alright. I know that whatever I’m supposed to be doing I’m doing right now. And writing and creating and getting into the producing side is where I believe that my life is taking me. And I’ll always act. That’s like breathing and you can’t take that away from me.

MG: What is the name of the play?
BM: It is called “The Fabulous Lives of Hollywood Whores.” (laughs) Isn’t that fantastic?

Interview with Silas Weir Mitchell

Silas Weir Mitchell is playing Monroe in the new show “Grimm” on NBC. His character is similar to the “big bad wolf” from the Grimm world. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Silas about his role and what we can expect from season one.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the show “Grimm” playing Monroe?
Silas Weir Mitchell: I had previously worked with Jim Kouf who is one of the creators of the show. He and I had hit it off and we have a great working relationship. They called me in and it was a good fit.

MG: What has been your greatest challenge playing the role?
SWM: The best part for me has been the inner conflict that the character has. He is a reformed criminal and I have to fight against my criminal urges. My character is really trying hard not morph as he is all done with those things.

MG: What has it been like working with the CG and make-up effects?
SWM:  I haven’t had to wear the prosthetics that much. It takes so long to get everything on that they have come up with a way to use both CG and make-up. They have a system that works really well. A lot of the time I just have markers glued to face for the computers to read.

MG: How has it been working with David Giuntoli?
SWM: We have had a great time working together. We are very lucky here as we have fun and everyone gets along. David is perfectly cast for this role. He has charm and a sort of haunting quality which is perfect for his character of Nick. Our relationship in the story is very unique and almost like a chess match. David and I really enjoy that.

MG: What can we expect from the first season?
SWM: In the first few episodes, the writers are definitely hitting the fairy tales that we know. The writers are changing them though. They are using the original stories as a foundation. The episodes are sort of jumping off points as opposed to a re-telling. There is a mythological quality to what is going on without using the humanity.

MG: How does this show compare to your other work?
SWM: It’s different for me as I have been in on this show from the start. I came in on the ground floor. Every other series I have worked on I have come in later in the process. When I did “Prison Break”, I originally was only supposed to do a couple episodes but it worked out to where I was around for awhile. I didn’t come in knowing I was going to be in every episode. With “Grimm” it’s been great knowing that I have steady work. There is also just so much to chew on as the character is very rich.


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