The John Frankenheimer Collection
A few years back, BMW teamed up with David Fincher to create a series of short films for the Internet to spotlight the automaker's cars.
High-profile film directors were given the opportunity to work with Clive Owen as the series driver and a $1 million production budget in the service of punchy action-oriented storytelling with sleek cars in the lead. John Frankenheimer's installment, Ambush
, the first online release, leapt out the gate and set the standard that stylists like John Woo, Guy Ritchie and Joe Carnahan were hard-pressed to maintain. Frankenheimer, as the aging master, was a skilled technician, able to infuse substance into the most stylistic exercise, as can be seen in this four-disc set from the MGM vaults. The first two films here, The Young Savages
and The Train
, feature Burt Lancaster, an Oscar winner who matches up perfectly with his hard-driving, no-frills director, whether it's navigating the halls of justice in pursuit of a young blind boy's killers or saving rare art treasures from the Nazis near the end of World War II. With The Manchurian Candidate
, which features Oscar nominee Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra, Frankenheimer assembled a classic thriller that upstages a recent remake by refusing to twist itself up into too many knots. Finally, the post-Cold War espionage of Ronin
thematically spotlights first-class warriors seeking to navigate the new world order, much like directors in this brave new world. Frankenheimer proves that a sure hand on the helm is all that matters. Grade: B+