From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
“The Naked Prey” (1965): Glamorous leading man turned idiosyncratic auteur Cornel Wilde created in the 1960s and ’70s a handful of gritty, violent explorations of the nature of man, none more memorable than “The Naked Prey.” In the early 19th century, after an ivory-hunting safari offends a group of South African hunters, the colonialists are captured and hideously tortured. A lone marksman (Wilde) is released, without clothes or weapons, to be hunted for sport, and he begins a harrowing journey through savanna and jungle back to a primitive state. Distinguished by vivid widescreen camera work and unflinchingly ferocious action sequences, “The Naked Prey” is both a propulsive, stripped-to-the-bone narrative and a meditation on the concept of civilization. On Blu-ray Disc, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection … “The Spiral Staircase” (1945), directed by Robert Siodmak and starring Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Rhonda Fleming, Elsa Lanchester and Kent Smith, is one of the all-time great Hollywood chillers. A murderer is targeting disabled young women in a New England town, and Helen (McGuire), a mute servant in a Gothic mansion, is terrified she’s next. Mrs. Warren (Barrymore), the invalid, bullying mistress of the house, warns Helen to leave at once, rather than rely on her weak son and stepson for protection. But even as Helen is packing her things, she suspects she may be too late and the murderer is closer than she ever imagined. Newly remastered in 4K. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … “Confessions of a Young American Housewife / Sin in the Suburbs / Warm Nights Hot Pleasures”: A pioneer of sexploitation cinema, American film director and screenwriter Joseph W. Sarno’s (1921-2010) prolific career spans the evolution of the genre. “One of the true pioneers of celluloid erotica,” he was also dubbed the “Chekov of soft-core” by The Village Voice. Film Movement Classics has partnered with Film Media and Something Weird to debut three new Sarno classics, remastered in HD and on Blu-ray for the very first time with the third installment in the Joseph W. Sarno Retrospect Series. Sarno first explored the dark side of the American dream in his 1964 drama “Sin in the Suburbs”; 10 years later, his return to this theme resulted in one of the most critically and commercially successful films of his career, “Confessions of a Young American Housewife” (1974). Presented with these two major works is Sarno’s immediate follow-up to “Sin in the Suburbs”, “Warm Nights Hot Pleasures” (1964). Read more here. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Movement.
From TV to Disc:
“The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fifth Season” (1966-67)is a four-disc set with all 30 episodes, digitally remastered. Starring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer Jr., Raymond Bailey and Nancy Kulp (“The Love Boat”). The Clampett family, the Beverly Hillbillies, are the ultimate fish-out-of-water. After unexpectedly striking rich in oil, the newfound millionaires move from their backwoods mountain cabin to the upscale neighborhood of Beverly Hills. Despite their culture shock, the hilarious Clampett family tries their best to fit in among their affluent neighbors by living a lavish lifestyle while still retaining their mountain-grown values and essential decency. Two of the season’s best stories have Jed being targeted for blackmail by a pair of slick con artists, played by Leon Ames and Gayle Hunnicutt, and one in which Granny forces a trained gorilla (actually a costumed stunt man) to take over the chores at the Clampett estate. The fifth season includes special appearances from John Wayne, Gloria Swanson, Robert Strauss and Ted Cassidy. On DVD from CBS/Paramount … “The Love Boat: Season Four – Volumes One and Two” (1980-81) consist of two four-disc sets with all 28 episodes. The anthology series follows crew members aboard the Pacific Princess Cruise Ship, including Captain Stubing (Gavin MacLeod), Doc (Bernie Kopell), Gopher (Fred Grandy), Isaac the Bartender (Ted Lange) and Cruise Director Julie McCoy (Lauren Tewes). Guest stars from the fourth season include Debbie Reynolds, Tom Hanks, David Cassidy, Ted Knight, Rue McClanahan, Connie Stevens, Zsa Zsa Gabor and many more. On DVD from CBS/Paramount … In the cult TV classic “The Night Stalker (Special Edition)” (1972), starring Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland, Ralph Meeker, Claude Akins, Charles McGraw, Kent Smith, Elisha Cook Jr., Stanley Adams, Barry Atwater and Larry Linville, an investigative journalist takes a stab at the supernatural. This unforgettable first entry in the “Night Stalker” series introduced the world to the quirky reporter with a penchant for the paranormal and became one of the top-rated TV movies of all time. Investigating a series of Las Vegas murders, Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) discovers that each victim has been bitten in the neck and drained of blood. Though Kolchak’s outlandish theory about the murders gets him nowhere with the police, his initiative to apprehend the killer himself gets him into hot water … with a modern-day vampire. New 4K restoration. On DVD, Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … Supernatural phenomena, baffling murders and offbeat humor mark the second “Night Stalker” offering, “The Night Strangler (Special Edition)” (1973), with a great cast and suspense so palpable, it’ll feel like a presence right there in the room with you. Surfacing in Seattle, Kolchak (McGavin) uncovers another maddening mystery: Every 21 years — for the past century — a serial killer commits a spree of murders, drains his victims’ blood and then quietly disappears. But Kolchak is onto this monster and is about to discover a shocking underground lair … an army of rotting corpses … and the ageless madman behind it all. New 4K restoration. Stars Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Scott Brady, Jo Ann Pflug, John Carradine, Margaret Hamilton, Wally Cox, Al Lewis. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. By the way, McGavin springboarded from these TV movies into “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” TV series, which ran for 20 episodes from 1974–1975 … “The Originals: The Fifth and Final Season” (2018) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes. The final season of The Originals begins seven years after the core members of the Mikaelson family – Klaus, Elijah, Rebekah and Kol – each absorb a quarter of the Hollow’s dark energy and flee New Orleans to keep their beloved city and young Hope safe. In the interim, Vincent and Josh preside over the Big Easy almost devoid of conflict, while Hayley and Freya watch Hope grow into a teenager, eventually opting to send her to the Salvatore School so that Caroline can keep an eye on her. With Marcel following Rebekah out of town and Elijah stripped of his memory, the danger seems to be contained. … Until a sudden tragedy forces the siblings to return home. From Warner … “Saved By the Bell: The Complete Collection” (1989-1993) is a 16-disc set. Set in the fictional town of Palisades, California and in the hallways of Bayside High, the breezy adventures of Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his friends — Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), Jessie Myrtle Spano (Elizabeth Berkley), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), and Samuel “Screech” Powers (Dustin Diamond) — were a cultural touchstone for a generation of teens, changing teen programming forever and launching the careers of its break-out stars. Now, home audiences can relive the laughter, lessons, and love all over again with this loaded set containing more than 46 incredible hours of Bayside bliss, including every episode from “Saved By the Bell,” every episode from 1988’s “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” which became “Saved By the Bell: The Junior High Years,” “Saved By the Bell: The College Years” and the two feature-length TV movies that followed. From Shout! Factory … “Vikings Season 5 Part 1” (2017-18) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes. Season Five begins with Ivar the Boneless asserting his leadership over the Great Heathen Army, while Lagertha reigns as Queen of Kattegat. Ivar’s murder of his brother Sigurd sets the stage for vicious battles to come as Ragnar’s sons plot their next moves after avenging their father’s death. Bjorn follows his destiny into the Mediterranean Sea and Floki, who is suffering from the loss of his wife Helga, takes to the seas submitting himself to the will of the Gods. This season is full of startling alliances and unbelievable betrayals as the Vikings fight to rule the world. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Fox.