Jerry Lewis directed, stared in, and co-wrote (with Bill Richmond) this parody of the classic “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” tale that was selected for the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2004. The four-disc set includes film Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film along with DVDs of two other well-known Lewis comedies, “Cinderfella” and “The Errand Boy.” The set was created with personal input from Lewis, who helped compile entertaining extra content. Highlights include a new featurette, “Jerry Lewis: No Apologies,” an intimate look at “The King of Comedy”; a 48-page book of the film’s original story boards; a 44-page book of excerpts from Lewis’ cutting script with personal notes; a recreated “Being a Person” book, made up of drawings and quotes inspired/written by Lewis and drawn by his personal illustrator. (250 copies of this book were originally made and distributed to members of the cast and crew of “The Nutty Professor” after Lewis heard of general conflicts among them); a “Directors Letter” specially written by Lewis to present the new collection; and a CD collection, “Phoney Phone Calls, 1959-1972,” with private prank calls secretly recorded by Lewis during those years (years before the Jerky Boys were harassing unwitting shop clerks, housewives and businessmen, Lewis perfected the art, as these recordings show. Released in 2001 on the Sin-Drome label). <strong>Other extras:</strong> Commentary by Lewis and Steve Lawrence; “The Nutty Professor: Perfecting The Formula” behind-the-scenes footage; “Jerry Lewis at Work”; “Jerry at Movieland Wax Museum,” with commentary by son Chris Lewis; deleted scenes; Jerry and Stella promos; bloopers; screen tests; outtakes; original mono track; trailers. $54.99 from Warner Home Video.
WARNER ARCHIVE KEEPS ROLLIN’ ALONG!
SHOW BOAT (1936) James Whale’s extremely faithful adaptation of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein musical sensation makes its DVD debut at last! Based on a Edna Ferber novel, Show Boat denotes the romantic misadventures of a central star-crossed pair of river boat performers (Irene Dunne and Allan Jones) and the lives of the river show boat folk on both sides of the racial divide. With Hammerstein enlisted as scripter as well as the stage show’s orchestrator and conductor (Robert Russell Bennett and Victor Baravalle), not to mention a star-studded cast of vets of various stage incarnations (Paul Robeson, Helen Morgan, Charles Winninger, Sammy White, Francis X. Mahoney, Irene Dunne, Allan Jones), Show Boat is as close as you can come to a 1932 ticket to the Great White Way. Out of home video circulation for years, this boat comes to port at last in a sparkling new edition. Newly Remastered Shop Exclusive! Initial quantities of this release will be traditionally replicated (pressed) in anticipation of high consumer demand.
CAGNEY COMBO with a Side of Bogey
WINNER TAKE ALL (1932) Cagney delivers up a double-fisted performance in this pugilistic drama about a palooka that falls hard for the wrong kinda society dame. Roy Del Ruth directs Cagney as “Knockout” Jimmy Kane, a boxer with a killer fist but a physique in need of fixing. Thanks to the generosity of NYC fight fans, Jimmy gets an extended stay at a New Mexican sanitarium where he woos good girl widowed mom Peggy (Marian Nixon). Jimmy’s laudable love life goes south as soon as he heads back north back and into the arms of Joan (Virginia Bruce), a society debutante bad apple. The idiosyncratic Jimmy Kane allows Cagney to dive deep into his character actor skill set, making for a truly street savvy mix of high drama and lowbrow laughs. Also stars Guy Kibbee and Clarence Muse. Newly Remastered
HERE COMES THE NAVY (1934) Cagney stars as a pugnacious civilian riveter that enlists in the Navy to get back at the seaman who stole his girl (Pat O’Brien). But the hard-headed working man has a lot to learn about what it means to be a serviceman, and even more to learn about the sister (Gloria Stuart) of his nemesis and commanding officer. By the time the cadet’s head starts getting straight, he’s already gained a rep for not ebbing jake with his fellow swabbies, except for his pal Droopy (Frank McHugh). This patriotic peacetime picture knows when to cleave to comedy, veer into action and steer into heart-on-the-sleeve sincerity. Of poignant interest are the films two vehicular stars – the dirigible Macon and the battleship Arizona, both tragically lost (the Arizona horrifically at Pearl Harbor) after the film’s release. Lloyd Bacon directs. Newly Remastered
THE OKLAHOMA KID (1939) Jimmy Cagney goes west, Warner Bros. style in this one-of-a-kind oater that pits Cagney’s Kid against Bogey’s Whip for the soul of the newly minted city of Tulsa, OK. The Kid is no six-gun saint – when we first encounter him he’s robbing robbers (led by Bogart’s Whip McCord) and giving to himself. But when Whip McCord pulls a “sooner” con on the newly arrived settlers and embeds himself as Tulsa’s saint of sin, the righteous John Kincaid stand up to him. It’s a stand that has the power to pull the free-wheeling, fast drawing Kid back to town. Every inch a proper oater, this Western romp has a sly bit a Warner Bros. social justice streaked into the doings, with three political philosophies driving the action. Not to mention a Bogart on-the-cusp of superstardom relishing the chance to play as sneering a villain as ever trod the west. Directed by Lloyd Bacon. Newly Remastered
THE MAN ON TV
THE FBI: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON (1971-72) As the 70s came into its own, the intrepid agents of the FBI saw the Cold War and the Culture War cool down, but the domestic war on crime start to come to a boil. Whether its suburban salesmen roiling with self-loathing who plan the perfect crime (Bradford Dillman) and don¹t care who they cross in the process (an ice-cold Clu Gulager), crushed lumber merchants with a fail-proof kidnap cache (John Colicos), or syndicate-raised hit-men with the heart of an angel (Martin Sheen, redeemed by Meg Foster), the intrepid professionals of the bureau, Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Special Agent Colby (William Reynolds) and Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) have the savvy and the science to bring them all to heel. Among the dupes and deceivers found in this 6-Disc, 26-Episode collection are the famed and the-soon-to-be including Lindsay Wagner, Mark Hamill, Dabney Coleman, Stefanie Powers and Vic Tayback. Initial quantities of this release will be traditionally replicated (pressed) in anticipation of high consumer demand.
Despite its impressive boxoffice take (past the $250 million mark in the U.S.) and its technical wizardry, Alfonso Cuaron’s tale of a medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) on her first shuttle mission who is stranded alone in the emptiness of space after her ship is destroyed is really a slight piece of work. Yes, the special effects are breathtaking — and the 3D stupendous (I can’t remember the last time I dodged objects coming off the screen — must have been during “It Came From Outer Space”) and I certainly feared for Bullock’s life as she tried to figure out a way to return to the Earth. But there’s no depth here, no greater backdrop for the characters, no context, no morals to be made, no social issues to be explored (subtexts that are the hallmark of all great science fiction). It’s “All Is Lost” set in outer space, a gripping, exciting, scary and nerve shattering tale. But it’s still a video game for the big screen: Fun while it lasts … but afterwards, there’s nothing to take home. If “Gravity” had appeared in print before it made it’s way to the big screen, it would have appeared as a short story — there’s not enough substance here to sustain anything more. Co-stars George Clooney as a doomed astronaut. Extras: “Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space” (narrated by Ed Harris), “Aningaaq” short film by Jonas Cuaron (“Gravity’s” co-writer), “Gravity Mission Control,” shot breakdowns, “Gravity: Silent Space Version,” “Sandra’s Surprise!” Vitals: Director: Alfonso Cuaron. Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris (voice). 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 91 min., Drama, Box office gross: $251.486 million, Warner.
I’m not quite sure whether director Alexander Payne is laughing with or at the characters in his critically acclaimed film about the perambulations of Woody Grant, a booze-addled old man, and his estranged son, as they travel from Montana to Nebraska to claim the “fortune” the senior citizen thinks he “won” as per a Publishers Clearing House-type sweepstakes letter. Along the way they stop off at Woody’s home town, Hawthorne, Nebraska, where he meets up with relatives, friends and enemies, and settles some old scores. The film is riddled with unlikable characters (from lead Bruce Dern on down to most of the supporting actors), silly sequences and implausible situations. Shot in black and white (for no apparent reason other than to show how monochromatic the lives of these middle-Americans are), the film co-stars Will Forte as Woody’s son, June Squibb as Woody’s long-suffering wife, and Stacy Keach as a grudge from the past. Blu-ray Extras: “The Making of Nebraska” six-part featurette: “The Script,” “Cast and Characters,” “Locations,” “Shooting in Black and White,” “Working with Alexander,” “A Film Family.” Vitals: Director: Alexander Payne. Stars: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk, Rance Howard, Mary Louise Wilson, Tim Driscoll, Kevin Kunkel, Angela McEwan, Devin Ratray. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 115 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $9.861 million, Paramount.
You should know by now that I’m no big fan of comic book heroes ported to the big screen (exceptions: The Dark Knight and The Avengers) and this second Thor big-screen adventure gave me endless headaches as I tried to figure out what was going on. Yes, I watched the first Thor but, without any comic book cheat sheets in front of me, I got lost and confused right off the bat — it took far too long to understand the deal with the Dark World and Malekith and the Aeather. But even after that light bulb went off over my head, I had other issues with the film. To wit: 1) What’s with Natalie Portman? Her acting here is pretty wooden — we understand there were creative issues between Portman and the filmmakers and, because of her contract, she reluctantly took part in the production. But still, when all is said and done, she’s not love interest material — she has no sex appeal. But Chris Hemsworth, on the other hand … 2) This film gives elves a bad name. 3) There’s drop-dead obnoxious “comedy relief” with Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård; how could the talented Swedish actor stoop so low as to run around in his underwear? 4) And please, what’s with Algrim/Kurse? In the end, of course, it’s all about Thor saving the universe from the vengeful Malekith who returns to plunge everything back into darkness — and about the battle scenes and fights. Oh well. Extras: Extended and deleted scenes; gag reel; exclusive look at “Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier”; “A Brothers’ Journey: Thor & Loki”; “Scoring Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World With Brian Tyler”; commentary with director Alan Taylor, producer Kevin Feige, actor Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau; more. Vitals: Director: Alan Taylor. Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Alice Krige. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 111 min., Action-Adventure, Box office gross: $200.766 million, Disney.
With the 70s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), returns to the news desk. After losing his job to his wife and co-anchor, Ron reassembles the news team and squares off against a new rival while taking New York’s first 24-hour news channel by storm. Will the world’s greatest anchorman be crushed beneath the weight of his own ego (and his salon-quality hair)? Blu-ray extras: Commentary by Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd & David Koechner; “Behind-the-Scenes: Newsroom” (inside the making of the film); gag reel, parts 1 & 2; “Line-O-Rama, Parts 1 & 2” (non-stop alternate lines from the film); “Welcome to the Dolphin Show” (Ron Burgundy takes on the crowd); “Catfight” (Christina Applegate vs. Meagan Good with hilarious one-liners): “News-O-Rama” (Ron and the News Team bring you the headlines); “Kench-O-Rama” (mashup of Kench Allenby’s most Australian moments); cast table read; four behind-the-scenes featurettes (“Anchorman 2: The Musical,” “RV” (dissecting the RV tumble), “Baxter & Doby” (the lovable animals of “Anchorman 2”), “News Fight” (inside the biggest, baddest all-star celebrity brawl); deleted scenes; extended & alternate Scenes; previsualizations: RV, Shark Attack and News Fight sequences; auditions featuring Meagan Good, Dylan Baker and Amy Poehler; “Benefit for 826LA: Spoiler Alert” (a special tribute to “Anchorman 2”); trailers. Vitals: Director: Adam McKay. Stars: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Meagan Good, James Marsden, Kristen Wiig, Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear, Josh Lawson, Dylan Baker, Fred Willard. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $124.411 million, Paramount.
Remake of James Thurber’s classic story about a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. Ben Stiller plays a modern Walter Mitty, a timid magazine photo manager who lives life vicariously through his daydreams. When an important negative goes missing, his job — along with that of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) — are threatened, and Walter takes action in the real world by embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. Extras: Behind the scenes featurettes “The Look of Life,” “The Music of Walter Mitty,” “Sights and Sounds of Production: Skateboarding Through Iceland”; gallery of reference photography. Blu-ray adds deleted scenes; extended and alternate scenes; additional featurettes “The History of Walter Mitty”; “That’s A Shark,” “Icelandic Adventure,” “Nordic Casting,” “Titles of Walter Mitty,” “Sights and Sounds of Production: Ted-Walter Flight”; “Stay Alive” music video by Jose Gonzalez; theatrical trailer. Also included is a special gift with purchase redeemable until August 31, 2014: a Shutterfly 20-page 8×8 hard cover photo book valued at $29.99. Consumers will be able to redeem their photo book by entering a unique promo code at checkout on Shutterfly.com. Vitals: Director: Ben Stiller. Stars: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 114 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $56.887 million, Fox.
From the Big Screen:
“Gravity,” “Nebraska” and “Thor: The Dark World.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
The highlight(s) of the week: Three films from The Criterion Collection, all in Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Dual Format Editions loaded with extras (and booklets) in sumptuous packaging:
“King of the Hill” (1993): There’s not a Steven Soderbergh film that doesn’t engage and this is no exception, a gem hidden away for too many years. This was Soderbergh’s first Hollywood studio production (his independent debut, “sex, lies, and videotape,” had won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival a few years earlier) and it’s a growing-up story set in St. Louis during the Depression that follows the daily struggles of a resourceful and imaginative adolescent (Jesse Bradford) who, after his tubercular mother is sent to a sanatorium, must survive on his own in a run-down hotel during his salesman father’s long business trips. The camerawork is exquisite, at once reminding one of the lingering, colorful shots of a Terrence Malick and the frightening moving close-ups of an Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick. It’s an exquisite period piece adapted from the memoir by the novelist A. E. Hotchner. New high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by Soderbergh and supervising sound editor and rerecording mixer Larry Blake, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
“Tess” (1979): After a half-dozen mystery and horror films, in 1978 Roman Polanski turned to Thomas hardy’s 1891 classic “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” to film his first love story. The multiple-Oscar-winning film is a meticulously crafted and directed period piece, at times intimate and at times a sweeping interpretation of Hardy’s moral tale, a criticism of the sexual and class mores of 19th century England. Tess, a strong-willed peasant girl (Nastassja Kinski, in a gorgeous breakthrough) is sent by her father to the estate of some local aristocrats to capitalize on a rumor that their families are from the same line. This act seals Tess’ face, thrusting her into a world where she’s buffeted around by chance and the vicissitudes of life in a dreary world where the only hope for salvation is to marry an aristocrat. Tess indeed falls in love — and marries, but the universe does not smile upon her. Polanski’s camera details the drudgery of lower class existence in the villages and towns of a newly industrialized England. A beautiful film — if a tad long (almost three hours). In a new 4K digital restoration, supervised by Polanski, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
“Breathless” (1960): There was before “Breathless,” and there was after “Breathless.” And we can never have enough of “Breathless.” Criterion has bought us another edition of the seminal film, Jean-Luc Godard’s jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, “Breathless” helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same. Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
From TV to DVD:
“Above Suspicion, Set 3” (2009) is a younger, sassier successor to “Prime Suspect.” Based on the bestselling novel “Silent Scream” by Lynda La Plante (“Prime Suspect”), this three-part drama delves into the shallow world of stardom and the harsh realities of deception. When the brutal murder of a famous young actress brings DI Anna Travis (Kelly Reilly) face-to-face with her old boss, DCS James Langton (Ciaran Hinds), the two must find a killer and deal with their own relationship. An invigorating and exciting crime mystery from Acorn Media … “Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season” (2011-12) consists of all 26 episodes, packed in a custom, collectible BMO die-cut slipcase. In a two-disc DVD set, $26.95; single-disc Blu-ray, $32.07. From Cartoon Network/Warner … “Braquo: Season 1” (2009) and “Braquo: Season 2” (2011) each feature eight episodes of the internationally acclaimed, hard-hitting thriller about a squad of Paris cops who exist in the blurred boundaries at the edge of the law, using violence and intimidation to get the job done, $39.95 each set from MHz Home Entertainment … “Crimes of Passion” (2013 — Sweden) is based on the classic crime novels by Maria Lang and features Ola Rapace (“Skyfall,” Swedish “Wallander”) in a collection of stylish “whodunnits” set in postwar Sweden that follow the exploits of the brainy and beautiful literature student Puck; wherever she goes, mystery and murder are never far behind. In three-disc set with six episodes, $39.95 from MHz Home Entertainment … “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: Season 1” (2012-13) is a single-disc with 14 episodes of the TLC series about six-year-old pageant star Alana, aka Honey Boo Boo, who takes viewers into her home with her family, stay-at-home mom June, chalk-mining dad Sugar Bear, and sisters Pumpkin, Chubbs and Chickadee. $29.93 from Cinedigm … Co-created by Steven Bochco (“Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue”), the Emmy Award-winning “L.A. Law: Season One” (1986-86) takes us inside the law firm of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak. There, a team of ambitious and competitive attorneys must face the conflicts between their personal desires, their obligations as lawyers, and their principles as human beings. A portrayal of the law and its litigators that was both realistic and irreverent, “L.A. Law” became a favorite of critics and audiences alike during its eight-year run on NBC from 1986 to 1994. $29.93 from Shout! Factory … Agatha Christie’s masterful storytelling gets a soupçon of French flair in “Les Petits Meurtres D’Agatha Christie, Set 1” (2008-12)a series of sexy, witty mysteries. In a four-disc set with seven mysteries from Acorn Media … “Mama’s Family: The Complete Third Season” (2013): In the world of prime-time television, success often begets success by way of the spin-off. “The Carol Burnett Show” lasted 11 seasons on CBS, thanks in part to the recurring comedy sketches that attracted a large, loyal viewership. “The Family” remained a favorite because fans related to the Harpers’ constant squabbling about the mundane. As the irascible Mama Harper, Vicki Lawrence was wondrously transformed into a full-tilt senior citizen, and it wasn’t a matter of if, but when, she would get her own TV series, “Mama’s Family” debuted in 1983 on NBC, lasting two seasons before going into syndication for another four years. In a four-disc set with 25 episodes, $29.95 from StarVista/Time Life … “The Middle: The Complete Fourth Season” (2012-13) is a three-disc set with 23 episodes, $44.98 from Warner … “Spiral Season 3” (2010) is a four-disc set with 12 episodes of the gritty French police thriller that follows criminal investigations in Paris from all the different points of view, $49.95 from MHz Home Entertainment … “Under Capricorn” (1982) is based on the popular novel by Helen Simpson and filmed on location in Australia; the saga set in 1831 follows young Irishman Charles Adare who arrives in New South Wales, Australia, eager to make his fortune — and make it fast. But what he finds are greed, jealousy, insanity and secret passions. Stars Peter Cousens, John Hallam, Lisa Harrow. In a two-disc set from Acorn Media.
Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (Robert De Niro) and Henry “Razor” Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) are two local Pittsburgh fighters whose fierce rivalry put them in the national spotlight. Each had scored a victory against the other during their heyday, but in 1983, on the eve of their decisive third match, Razor suddenly announced his retirement, refusing to explain why but effectively delivering a knock-out punch to both their careers. Thirty years later, boxing promoter Dante Slate Jr., seeing big dollar signs, makes them an offer they can’t refuse: to re-enter the ring and settle the score once and for all. But they may not have to wait that long: on their first encounter in decades, their long-festering feud erupts into an unintentionally hilarious melee that instantly goes viral. The sudden social media frenzy transforms their local grudge match into a must-see HBO event. Now, if they can just survive the training, they may actually live to fight again. Extras: Deleted scenes. Blu-ray adds “The Bull & The Stallion,” “In the Ring With Kevin Hart,” “Ringside With Tyson & Holyfield,” “Blow for Blow With Larry Holmes,” “Kevin Hart Unedited,” alternate opening, alternate endings with an introduction by Peter Segal. Vitals: Director: Peter Segal. Stars: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 113 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $29.342 million, Warner.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort, a young Long Island, New York penny stockbroker hungry for a life of non-stop thrills in a world where corruption is king and more is never enough. He eventually served 36 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street, in the corporate banking world, all aided by mob infiltration. Based on an outrageous true story of American excess, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” by Jordan Belfort. Blu-ray extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette. Vitals: Director: Martin Scorsese. Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbie, Jon Favreau, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 179 min., Drama, Box office gross: $107.884 million, Paramount.