From the Big Screen:
“The Hundred-Foot Journey,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “As Above, So Below” and “Cantinflas.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Highlights:
“American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered” (2014) Narrated by Stanley Tucci, the film — which airs day and date on PBS channels — explores Crosby’s life and legend with unprecedented access to his archives, including never-before-seen footage, and reveals a man far more complex than his public persona. Thirty-seven years after his death, Crosby remains the most recorded performer in history with nearly 400 hit singles, an achievement no one — not Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley or The Beatles — has come close to matching. A brilliant entrepreneur, Crosby played an important role in the development of the postwar recording industry. As one of Hollywood’s most popular actors, he won the Oscar for 1944’s “Going My Way” and starred in the iconic “Road” films with Bob Hope. American Masters received unprecedented access to the entertainer’s personal and professional archives, including never-before-seen home movies, Dictabelt recordings, photos and more. The film features new interviews with all surviving members of Crosby’s immediate family: wife Kathryn, daughter Mary and sons Harry and Nathaniel. The film reveals Crosby’s struggles with his first wife, Dixie Lee, and their sons Gary, Dennis, Phillip and Lindsay. Mary addresses accusations of abuse first published in Gary’s 1983 memoir, which tarnished their father’s legacy. Gary speaks candidly about both his and his mother’s alcoholism as well as his difficulties with his father in a never-before-seen 1987 interview. Other new interviews include singers Tony Bennett and Michael Feinstein, record producer Ken Barnes, biographer Gary Giddins, and writers Buz Kohan and Larry Grossman, who both share the story behind Crosby’s Christmas special duet with David Bowie. A must see for anyone interested in music, pop culture and American history.
This 4K remastering of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) for its Blu-ray debut celebrates the film’s 75th anniversary. Jean Arthur, James Stewart and Claude Rains star in Frank Capra’s award-winning 1939 classic about an idealistic, small town senator who heads to Washington and suddenly finds himself single-handedly battling ruthless politicians out to destroy him. When Capra decided to film the novel “The Gentleman From Montana”, he ran into an obstacle: Director Rouben Mamoulian owned the rights to the story. Unwilling to sell, Mamoulian eventually traded the material to Columbia on the condition that he be allowed to direct “Golden Boy.” As Capra began working on the film, it was suggested that Gary Copper, the star of “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” take the lead. Capra selected Jimmy Stewart instead and the film solidified Stewart’s movie career, garnering him his first Academy Award nomination. Receiving a total of eleven 1939 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director), and winning one (Best Motion Picture Story), “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is considered one of Capra’s, Stewart’s and Columbia’s finest films. It also marked the end of an era: It was Capra’s final film for the studio. Presented in Digibook packaging with rare photos and a new essay by film historian Jeremy Arnold. A beautiful job. From Sony.
The 10-disc “Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection Blu-Ray” ($199.99 SRP) includes eight Kubrick classics as well as the newly-produced documentary “Kubrick Remembered,” which captures intimate moments in Kubrick’s very personal life, two new-to-Blu-ray documentaries: “Stanley Kubrick In Focus” and “Once Upon a Time … A Clockwork Orange,” plus two additional documentaries: “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures,” and O’ Lucky Malcolm! Also included will be a new 78-page hardcover photo book using film archive photographs. Films in the collection are “Lolita” (1962), “Dr. Strangelove” (1964), “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), “Barry Lyndon” (1975), “The Shining” (1980), “Full Metal Jacket” (1987) and “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999). “Kubrick Remembered” offers a new look into the Kubrick archives, with special appearances by the director’s wife, Christiane Kubrick, as well as never-seen footage of Kubrick’s works, his house and his film production facilities. “Stanley Kubrick In Focus” presents such directors as Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone, William Friedkin and Martin Scorsese relating how Kubrick’s directorial style influenced them. From Warner.