SUNSHINE(1973) Blu Ray

Sunshine_BD__21916.1540398344.500.750_750Sunshine(1973) [Signature Release]-Twilight Time  Blu Ray .Color .124 mins. Region Free.




Back in the 1970s, made for T.V. movies were big ratings getters.


Thanks to THE HOMECOMING: A CHRISTMAS STORY (WB/CBS ; December 1971)America was introduced to The Waltons , who soon garnered their own tv series. BRIAN’S SONG (ABC,1971)made a star out of James Caan and an earworm of a title theme that you couldn’t escape https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w26pW2Uz2-Y .   DUEL (Universal/ABC,1971). introduced the majority of Americans to a newcomer named STEVEN SPIELBERG.


Into this popular creative mix came SUNSHINE (Universal/CBS,1973).  The inspired by a true story tear jerker was directed by Joseph Sargent (many popular episodes of STAR TREK ,Paramount /Desilu/NBC,1966-1969;as well as the theatrical movie COLOSSUS:THE FORBIN PROJECT (Universal,1970)which ironically BEGAN as a T.V. film ) with skill, finesse ,and a light touch which never made the story heavy handed nor pushed the tears as many other post LOVE STORY (Paramount,1970)films did. The emotions were natural and the reactions from the audiences were thus even more powerful(not that it affected me. No I’m not crying . The air in here is just dry.).


Airing on CBS, it became at the time the most watched TV film in history.


Making it more noteworthy was that the soundtrack was written by balladeer John Denver. “Sunshine on My Shoulders”, from which the film takes its title, was John Denver’s first number one hit (it went unnoticed on the album “Poems Prayers & Promises” in 1971, but became a hit single in 1973).


The film had a sequel in 1977, A SUNSHINE CHRISTMAS (Universal, NBC) that had less of an impact, as well as a short lived tv series in 1975, so it is odd that with all of the films that get pretty consistent exposure on revival television channels that SUNSHINE has not been aired .


People have fond memories of the film and bootlegs have been very popular.


Now, Redwind Productions, who prior to this released the documentary TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: KA SHEN’s JOURNEY (2010,about actress Nancy Kwan) and the Blu Ray release/restoration of HOLIDAY IN SPAIN /SCENT OF MYSTERY, now have gone all out to make this forgotten gem look even better than it did when first broadcast. Twilight Time is handling the Blu Ray release.

heltonJacquelyn M. ‘Lyn” Helton


The original film elements were used and given a 4K DPX scan (1080p Hi Definition),and restored the film’s original aspect ratios (1.33.1). The mono sound has also been cleaned up with a 2.0 DTS-HD MA mix.  No multi-channel mixes, but none needed for this human tale, and the sound is hiss free, while the John Denver numbers are quite easy to listen to. To make it easier to find favorite bits of dialogue or music, one of the   features on this Blu Ray is special chapter stops to go right to your favorite bits.


There are also optional English SDH subtitles, that are quite easy to read and follow the action (that is, if you can read them through teary eyes. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Shut up.).


The result is a beautiful looking print that you can watch with your entire family, either to revisit it with those who experienced it, or watch with your younger family members.


Did I mention to keep tissues nearby (not for me, for you, I am not crying. It’s my allergies.)?


SUNSHINE was based upon the true life story of Jacquelyn M. ‘Lyn” Helton, who, at 18, after giving birth to her daughter Jennifer, was discovered to have bone cancer. She began to leave journals and audio tapes for her baby and her husband, Tom, with the goal of reminding them of how important they were, as well as inspiring people dealing with major illnesses.


Someone stole her tape recorder in 1971, which outraged people and after national coverage, she was gifted with a new recording device.



She died November 7,1971, with her story carried by national press.


Lawrence Schiller acquired the rights to her story, and thus two years and two days later (November 9,1973) her story was aired as SUNSHINE.


Names were changed for the tv story (opening credits say that it was “suggested by” Helton’s life) but it seems to follow the sad though inspiring tale (no I’m not crying. I think I have a cold starting. Stop it.).



Christina Raines , in her film debut, plays Kate Hayden. Kate is a young pregnant divorcee who falls in love with struggling musician Sam (Cliff DeYoung). Sam loves Kate so much that when the baby Jill is born, they both accept it as their own child. Kate finds out she has bone cancer, and the aggressive chemo she gets leaves her basically unable to go about her daily activities.


Frustrated, she decides she would rather live a short life as a functioning mother and wife than continue to be what she perceives as a burden. Kate continues to keep in touch with medical researchers as she begins to document her feelings and illnesses as she fights the terrible disease (I’m not crying. I think my eyes are tired. Shut up).



Someone steals her tape recorder, depressing her about the loss.


However, her story gets national attention, and her story inspires many to send gifts, including a new machine so she can continue journaling until…


(sniff… what? No! You are .Shut up.)


The film, while making the characters likeable, does not make them dull saints, and it deals with the stress of being the patient as well as its effect on those around them.



Ms. Raines has since retired from acting, but she now is a nurse who works with patients undergoing kidney dialysis. One wonders how much her role inspired her decision on this life choice. Before she stopped performing, she had a good career, appearing in films like THE SENTINEL (Universal,1977) and THE DUELLISTS(Paramount,1977).


Cliff DeYoung began as a musician who had performed with the likes of The Doors before became an actor, appearing in the original 1969 Broadway production of HAIR.  After four years in NYC, he returned to California , landing his role in SUNSHINE. He continues to be an active actor.


Also in the film are Meg Foster, Brenda Vaccaro, and Billy Mumy.


The screenplay was by Carol Sobieski, who also wrote the adaptations for ANNIE (Columbia ,1982) and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES(Universal,1991), the latter earning a posthumous Oscar nomination for the writer.


For the John Denver fans,

songs in the film are

“My Sweet Lady”, “Day Dreams” “Goodbye Again”, “Poems, Prayers & Promises”, all with words and music by Denver alone, and “Sunshine On My Shoulders”, ’Take Me Home, Country Roads, and ‘Winter” which are Denver in collaboration with others. ‘Put Your Hand In The Hand” by Gene MacLellan is also featured.


The film seems to have gotten some sort of theatrical release, though I could only find a movie poster for this.


As an extra on the disc, however, there is also an original theatrical trailer.


Another bonus is a small booklet that really adds nothing though it has some great photos of the film as well as an overseas and American poster.

Recommended for those who enjoy a superior family drama, and don’t mind a few tears (not that I’m crying, mind you. I just need to go wipe my eyes. I’ll be fine).


Kudos to Redwind/Twilight Time for their effort to bring this well-loved story back to an appreciative audience who remember it fondly as well as a new group of viewers.



(warning tissues NOT included).

Kevin G. Shinnick  



Blu Ray Contest THE HOUSE THAT NEVER DIES : RE AWAKENING(update12.10.18.contest over.winners contacted)

(update12.10.18.contest over.winners contacted.CONTRST IS NOW CLOSED.Congrats to TOM SHUMAKER  and RON OLIVER.   Oddly ,both picked BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) as their favorite Xmas Horror Film.  Other choices mentioned were GREMLINS, TALES FROM THE CRYPT (Xmas segment), SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT,BETTER WATCH OUT(our contest last year) ,and ELVES,among others. Thanks to WELL GO USA.  Tom & Ron’s Blu Rays will be sent asap.  Thank you all for taking part! -Kevin 




Enter for a chance to win one of two Region 1 Blu Ray copies (courtesy of Well Go USA ; http://www.wellgousa.com ) of THE HOUSE THAT NEVER DIES : RE AWAKENING .

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THE HOUSE THAT NEVER DIES REAWAKENING Stars Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Judge Dredd), Julian Cheung (The Grandmaster), Mei Ting (Blind Massage) and Gillian Chung (Ip Man: The Final Fight).  98 Min.Color. Original Language Mandarin.Dubbed Language : Cantonese  .  SUBTITLE LANGUAGE : ENGLISH



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In the heading put The House That Never Dies: Reawakening Contest . 

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SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST (Twilight Time Blu Ray) Hammer /Columbia 1960 Megascope. Color 80 mins. $29.95 Region Free.    https://www.twilighttimemovies.com/sword-of-sherwood-forest-blu-ray/


While Hammer Films was reigning supreme as the creators of high-quality horror cinema, they continued to make movies in other genres as well. In the 1950s, Hammer tried their hand at a story of Robin Hood.

The legendary hero had been the subject of motion pictures since 1908 with the British made ROBIN HOOD & HIS MERRY MEN (Clarendon). Sadly, the cast is not currently known.

ROBIN HOOD & HIS MERRY MEN (1908)robn 1908


American Eclair did a version simply called ROBIN HOOD that starred Robert Frazier,later to star in WHITE ZOMBIE (Halperin,1932)

robin hood 19121912 ,Friar Tuck officiates.

In 1913, a kinemacolor silent British film was shot in and around Nottingham called IN THE DAYS OF ROBIN HOOD, starring Harry Agar Lyons. That same year, Thanhouser in the U.S. made their own version, with William Russell in the title role, Maid Marian as portrayed by Gerda Holmes, and a sneering John Dillon as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

in the days of robin hood 1913 In The Days of Robin Hood (1913)

douglas                                                                                                                                                              The most famous of the silent Robin Hood pictures was the exciting ROBIN HOOD (U.A. ,1922), starring Douglas Fairbanks in a role he was born to play.

He was so definitive that no one dared try the part until W.B. in 1938 created their Technicolor masterpiece, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, starring Errol Flynn as Robin, Olivia DeHavilland as Marian, Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy, Claude Rains as Prince John, and a wealth of familiar character actors. The film is how most people see Robin today, a laughing cavalier with a huge caring heart, quick with his sword or arrows to disperse justice and right wrongs.flynnn gif


Columbia  waited ten years before attempting two films on the subject: BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST in Technicolor with Cornel Wilde as Robin’s son. Sam Katzman re- used the sets and costumes that same year in the cheaper Cinecolor process to create THE PRINCE OF THIEVES starring Jon Hall, inspired by an Alexandre Dumas novel.


Two years later Columbia went back to Sherwood, or at least the Corriganville Movie Ranch to create ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST.  This tale was about ANOTHER son of Robin Hood (insert Maid Marian jokes here) in the person of John Derek, as well as a return to Technicolor with costumes from the 1938 film as well as actor Alan Hale Senior .Hale had played Little John in 1922, 1938 and here in again in his final screen role.

children-in-battersea-park-watch-patrick-troughton-act-the-part-of-robin-hood1.jpgTelevision discovered the legends and put them to good use in 1953 for the BBC’s ROBIN HOOD, starring future Doctor Who Patrick Troughton. The show was broadcast live from a small television studio .


Hammer got into the tights and swordplay with THE MEN OF SHERWOOD FOREST (Hammer/Exclusive,1954, released by Astor in the U.S. in 1956) in Eastmancolor, their first color feature. American actor (and future director) Don Taylor worked on his British accent but seemed to have been instructed by director Val Guest that Robin laughs at everything. Seriously Robin, some of the things just weren’t that funny.  Still, the movie is an enjoyable romp and a warm up for what Hammer would soon follow with.

From 1955 to 1959 , ITV created 143 half hour black and white television episodes for THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, with a deal with Officials Films to distribute the film within the United States in syndication  .Richard Greene superbly played the hero of Sherwood , filming at the small Nettlefold Studios as well as locations that had standing medieval buildings ,as well as a great drawbridge  and castle exterior  constructed  and also made use of for THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT(ITV,1956-7).robin hood tvadrh7 1957greene-mcnally

20TH Century Fox gave us the DeLuxe Cinemascope SON OF ROBIN HOOD in 1959, which in fact was about Robin Hood’s DAUGHTER! It starred David Hedison and June Laverick.




Hammer returned to the shire, with a string of successes behind them since 1957’s CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Hammer/WB) and a guaranteed distribution deal with Columbia Pictures. At this point, Hammer was a smooth running machine able to put out high quality entertainment on a budget with superb production values and top-notch performers. One of their sterling entertainment’s was SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST.


Hammer went to it’s main go to director Terence Fisher (who had directed several episodes of the Richard Greene series) and its biggest star Peter Cushing to play a villain to let fans know that this was indeed a Hammer Film.  Richard Greene was the only performer from the popular series who was brought over.



 Ardmore Studios 

To show off their wide screen process MegaScope , Hammer went to Ireland and made use of the recently opened (1958) Ardmore Studios , as well as the green countryside surrounding in County Wicklow.   Cinematographer Ken Hodges was no stranger to period dramas, having manned the camera on ITC’s THE BUCCANEER (1956), THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT (1956-7), SWORD OF FREEDOM (1957-9) and of course ,13 episodes of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, all for television. He makes great use of the lush colors that the natural locations provided.


Music was provided by composer Alun Hoddinott, of which this was his first of only four film scores. His music was marked by a strong Celtic air, and he was later awarded a CBE. Works like this made him a perfect choice for the film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A–QSwlq-94    Composer Stanley Black wrote (uncredited) some of the ballads used within the film  .



Filming took place between May 23 through July 8,1960. The film was edited scored, given its ‘U’ certificate (suitable for all audiences) uncut and released on Boxing Day, December 26,1960 in the U.K., with an Irish and American release following in January ,1961.


After the titles, the film begins with a wounded fugitive (an uncredited Desmond Llewelyn, 3 years before FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE ,U.A. 1963, as Boothroyd, before being properly named ‘Q’ in GOLDFINGER the following year) toppling off his horse, shot in the back by an arrow*.

Two of Robin’s men find the man and start going through his belongings. Robin Hood (Richard Greene) shows up and finds that the pair are in error, and that the man is not dead.  Robin insists they bring him back to their camp where he can get treated.

They hear a sound and Robin draws his bow, telling whomever is hiding to come out. It is a quickly dressing Maid Marian (Sarah Branch who had appeared in Hammer’s 1959 HELL IS A CITY), who had been bathing au naturel but emerges with a very modern hair style, when she happened to catch sight of the man’s fall.  She thinks the trio are the culprits, but Robin shows that the arrow used is not one of theirs, but from a crossbow.


Marian tries to set up a meeting with the Sheriff (Peter Cushing, looking as always born into whatever period he finds the films set within), but Robin is suspicious of the Sheriff’s motives.  He was wise to be, as the Sheriff is up to his expected tricks, with one of Robin’s men killed in an attack                                    4039-18834

Robin, disguised, enters an archery contest and catches the eye of the Earl of Newark (Richard Pasco, later to appear in Hammer’s THE GORGON, Columbia ,1964).  Robin plays along and discovers a plot to murder Archbishop Hubert Walter (Jack Gwillim, THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB, Hammer/Columbia,1964)                   .Richard Pasco Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)


800px-Hubert_Walter_statue,_Canterbury_Cathedral_(cropped)By the way, there really was an Archbishop Hubert Walter, who had accompanied Richard 1st on the Crusades, helped raise the ransom for Richard when he was held captive in Germany, and as a reward was appointed Archbishop in 1193.

Back to the movie : The Earl has also a psychotic assistant in Lord Melton (a rising star, Oliver Reed, soon to top bill in several Hammer films before going on to international fame) who does something quite unexpected ¾ of the way into the film, which gets him chastised by the Earl, rather than the expected praise .                             Oliver Reed Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)

By the movie’s end, Robin, Marian, and the Merry Men emerge victorious, with the baddies all slain.                                                   Sword-of-Sherwood-Forest-Hammer-original-lobby-card

The production is first rate and moves at a rapid pace. Besides the performers already mentioned, there is also able support from Dennis Lotis (singer actor, known for CITY OF THE DEAD/HORROR HOTEL, Vulcan 1960. Lotis, at age 93, is still alive at the time of this writing ,living in Stiffkey in Norfolk England )as Alan A ‘Dale ; 6’ 4” Nigel Green(later to portray Hercules in JASON & THE ARGONAUTS, Columbia,1963)as Little John ,and  Irish born  actor Niall MacGinnis (forever to be remembered as Karswell  from the classic NIGHT(CURSE)OF THE DEMON, Columbia,1957) .


Hammer returned twice more to Sherwood, with 1967’s A CHALLENGE FOR ROBIN HOOD (7 Arts) as well as Hammer releasing WOLFSHEAD: THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD in 1973. SWORD OF SHERWOOD, however, is perhaps the best of all their tellings of the legend.


Columbia released their Robin Hood films (Bandit, Sword, Rogues) to DVD in 2010 in no frill versions. Now TWILIGHT TIME has once again licensed one of the Hammer/Columbia releases, and given the film a proper sprucing up for Blu Ray release.

images (1)

Limited as always to only 3,000 copies, the film is released in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which was the proper 4 perf 35mm aspect ratio of Megascope (some Hammer films used Hammerscope, which was basically the same process). Some Megascope films were shot in the regular Academy frame and then printed on 4 perf 35mm anamorphic ( -source : http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/glossary.htm ).

Title Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)

The 1080p HD is a beautiful transfer, which superb details and colors. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 also does justice to the original sound mix, with dialogue and effects tracks being noise and pop free.


Extras include

A separate isolated audio track of both Hoddinott’s score as well as sound effects.

Optional English subtitles which are clear, easy to read and follow the action and dialogue accurately.

The original theatrical trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rJQ5ZTc90M

There is the always welcome Julie Kirgo booklet enclosed as well as a reversible cover for the blu ray. One wishes that they had gone for a more dynamic cover, even if from one of the oversea releases.


Still the cover is an incredibly minor quibble on what is once again a wonderful release of an entertaining action adventure film.

With the recent release of the $100 million plus dud from LIONSGATE this year, may I suggest that you rush out and buy this Blu Ray to see how to tell the tale properly and on a sensible budget, when filmmakers did not rely on outlandish CGI, but had talented craftsman telling a well written story.




-Kevin G Shinnick



PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/pirates-of-blood-river-twilight-time-blu-ray/

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*-Hammer’s MEN OF SHERWOOD FOREST also began with a rider shot with an arrow to get the story going.