From the Big Screen:
Two classics from the 1940s make their way to home entertainment shelves this week:
When a Los Angeles police officer is savagely gunned down, a city-wide manhunt ensues for his cunning and ruthless killer in “He Walked by Night” (1948), starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady and Jack Webb. But finding the murderer, chillingly played by Basehart in only his third film, proves difficult for Detective Marty Brennan (Brady) and his colleagues as Basehart’s Roy Morgan is always one step ahead of the law. Will modern police methods and sheer determination be enough to find the elusive cop-killer before he strikes again? Visually stunning, cinematographer John Alton’s brilliant use of light and shadows shine in this groundbreaking police procedural that paved the way for the TV series “Dragnet”; which itself spawned an entire sub-genre of television crime-dramas that are still popular to this day. Based on true events, “He Walked by Night” was directed by Alfred L. Werker, along with an uncredited Anthony Mann (who is believed to be responsible for the film’s most iconic scenes). Restored, with uncompressed mono soundtrack on the Blu-ray. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from ClassicFlix … With the furiously witty comedy of manners “The Philadelphia Story” (1940), Katharine Hepburn revitalized her career and cemented her status as the era’s most iconic leading lady — thanks in great part to her own shrewd orchestrations. While starring in the Philip Barry stage play “The Philadelphia Story,” Hepburn snapped up the screen rights, hand-picking her friend George Cukor to direct. The intoxicating screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart pits the formidable Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord (Hepburn, at her most luminous) against various romantic foils, chief among them her charismatic ex-husband (Cary Grant), who disrupts her imminent marriage by paying her family estate a visit, accompanied by a tabloid reporter on assignment to cover the wedding of the year (James Stewart, in his only Academy Award–winning performance). A fast-talking screwball comedy as well as a tale of regrets and reconciliation, this convergence of golden-age talent is one of the greatest American films of all time. On DVD and Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
From TV to DVD:
In “American Dad! Volume 12” (2017), the Smith family is in a flood of trouble aboard Stan’s modern-day ark, a time-traveling Steve tries to save his cool future self, Roger decides to quit all his personas, and everyone fights to survive the post-apocalyptic 200th episode.In a three-disc DVD set from Fox … “The Crown: Season One” (2016) is a four-disc set with 10 episodes. Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, Jared Harris, John Lithgow. The British Empire is in decline, the political world is in disarray, and a young woman takes the throne … a new era is dawning. Queen Elizabeth II is a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. The show explores the Queen’s private journey behind the public facade with daring frankness. Winner of three Emmy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Sony … In “Doctor Who: The Complete Tenth Series” (2017), the beloved series sees Peter Capaldi embark on his thrilling final chapter as the Twelfth Doctor as well as the first introduction of companion Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and the return of Matt Lucas as Nardole. Fantastic adventures await the team of heroes as they journey through space and time in this latest instalment of the globally-renowned drama. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from BBC Home Entertainment … “Family Guy Season 15” (2016-17) is a three-disc set with 20 episodes (16 are totally uncensored), in which viewers are taken way too far behind the scenes, Stewie and Brian run a bed-and-breakfast brothel, Peter gets into a sackful of trouble as a mall Santa, and the cast takes a novel approach to reenacting American literary classics. From Fox … “Poldark Season 3” (2017) is a three-disc set with all nine episodes that follows Ross Poldark, who returns home after the American Revolutionary War and rebuilds his life with a new business venture, making new enemies and finding a new love where he least expects it. Follows the latest thrilling exploits of Ross Poldark and his fiery partner, Demelza, starring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson as the intrepid eighteenth-century duo as they encounter new loves and new enemies. Also enlivening the new season are a mysterious plague of frogs, a thwarted famine, and Aunt Agatha’s eagerly anticipated one-hundredth birthday party, which has a catastrophic catch. But the most stirring action involves the French Revolution, which manages to ensnare one of the program’s main characters in its Reign of Terror, prompting Poldark’s most dangerous mission yet. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution … “The Red Skelton Hour In Color: Deluxe Collection” (1951-71) is a 22-disc set with 130 remastered episodes. Red Skelton, America’s Clown Prince, was a brilliant performer, a passionate patriot, and a master of simple, hilarious and classic comedy. Featuring over 65 hours of episodes from The Red Skelton Hour, many of which have been unseen for over 50 years. With a heart of pure gold, uproarious jokes and an unparalleled gift for physical comedy, Skelton kept TV audiences in stitches for 20 groundbreaking seasons on CBS-TV’s The Red Skelton Show. Each week, viewers were treated to his memorable lineup of inimitable characters including country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper, Sheriff Deadeye and lovable hobo Freddie the Freeloader, as well as the biggest movie and TV stars of the day who all clamored to appear on Red’s show including John Wayne, Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Milton Berle, Jackie Cooper, Tim Conway, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Simon and Garfunkel, Phyllis Diller, Merv Griffin, Audrey Meadows, Mickey Rooney, Nipsey Russell, Robert Goulet, Audrey Meadows and many more. Included here are The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years (8 discs), The Red Skelton Hour: In Color (10 discs), The Complete 20th Season: In Color (3 discs), Red Skelton: The Farewell Specials (1 disc), a full-length biography and a collectible memory book. $199.99 from Time Life … The two-part miniseries “The Tower” (2012 — Germany) is a sweeping, monumental look at the decline of Communist East Germany in the 1980s as seen through the eyes of one privileged suburban family. Based on the acclaimed novel “The Tower: Tales from a Vanished Land,” which won the 2008 German Book Prize and was heralded by the German national weekly newspaper Die Zeit as “one of the most important books of European post-War literature,” the series casts its gaze on the Hoffman family of suburban Dresden. But even for the cultivated few living in the villas of Dresden’s noble suburbs, the growing cracks in their repressive police state’s façade begin to take their toll in 1982. Under pressure against increasingly tense climate and the secret police lurking around, the Hoffmann family make difficult choices with unsettling repercussions. As the 1980s come to a close and East Germany’s citizens publicly clamor for more freedom (arriving in the form of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989), the Hoffmann family must come to terms with the lives they’ve lived and have been forever changed. From Music Box Films … “Westworld: Season One” (2016) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes of the HBO series. Based on the film written by best-selling author Michael Crichton, “Westworld” is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and a reimagined past, the series explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged. Features a star-studded cast led by Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ben Barnes, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Clifton Collins, Jr., Luke Hemsworth, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Simon Quarterman, Rodrigo Santoro, Angela Sarafyan, Jimmi Simpson, Tessa Thompson and Shannon Woodward. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo-Pack (six discs), from Warner.