From the Big Screen:
“Chinese Puzzle,” “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Highlights:
In “My Darling Clementine” (1946), John Ford takes on the legend of the O.K. Corral shoot-out in a multilayered, exceptionally well-constructed Western, one of the director’s very best films. Henry Fonda cuts an iconic figure as Wyatt Earp, the sturdy lawman who sets about the task of shaping up the disorderly Arizona town of Tombstone, and Victor Mature gives the performance of his career as the boozy, tubercular gambler and gunman Doc Holliday. Though initially at cross-purposes, the pair ultimately team up to confront the violent Clanton gang. Affecting and stunningly photographed, “My Darling Clementine” is a story of the triumph of civilization over the Wild West from American cinema’s consummate mythmaker. On DVD and Blu-ray. New 4K digital restoration of the theatrical release version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Also includes a high-definition presentation of the 103-minute prerelease version of the film. From The Criterion Collection.
Paramount has the Blu-ray debut of “White Christmas” in a Diamond Anniversary Edition. The 1954 film starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, and featured the unforgettable music of Irving Berlin. Extras: include new special features such as five classic Christmas television show appearances by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, including a virtual duet between Crosby and Michael Buble; an optional sing-along subtitle track that accompanies the film’s most popular songs; new photo galleries; and a Christmas CD with 12 songs featuring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland, including eight never-before-released tracks. Additional previously released special features include commentary by Rosemary Clooney, backstage stories, featurettes on Crosby, Kaye and Clooney, and more.
Today is the street date for “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Black Maria Limited Edition,” which previously was only available for purchase at www.gorgon-video.com. Tobe Hooper’s (1974) horror-thriller gets a 40th anniversary makeover with an all-new 4K digital transfer and a newly created 7.1 surround sound mix (supervised by Hooper). The release marks the only transfer of the film to go back to the original 16mm A/B rolls, the actual film that rolled through the cameras. Fans of the film will recognize the unique packaging as a replica of the iconic “Black Maria” cattle truck that comes to Sally Hardesty’s rescue when she’s being pursued by Leatherface, a fitting nod to the legions of “TCSM” enthusiasts who were instrumental in keeping the film at the forefront of the genre for the past 40 years and a true collectible display piece. This four-disc DVD/Blu-ray combo pack will include such extras as a Leatherface apron, theatrical mini-poster, five audio options, feature commentaries with the filmmakers and cast, several making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, outtakes, bloopers, trailers and more. A Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo and single DVD and Blu-ray will also be available. From Dark Sky Films.
Roman Polanski never ceases to amaze with his vigor and experimentation. For “Venus in Fur” (2013 — France) — based on the play by David Ives which, in turn, is adpated from the book “Venus in Furs” by 19th century Austrian romantic writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (whose name gave rise to the term masochism) — the director chose Polanski look-alike Mathieu Amalric to star opposite his wife Emmanuelle Seigner. The play within a play is wry, witty, flamboyant, funny and frightening all at once — everything you would expect from Polanski. Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for his new play, writer-director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) is distraught that no one has what it takes to play the lead female character: a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Enter pushy, foul-mouthed actress Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner), a whirlwind of erratic — and, it turns out, erotic — energy. When Thomas reluctantly agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation: Not only is Vanda a perfect fit, but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively, learned her lines by heart and even bought her own props. As the extended “audition” builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession until the balance of power between director and actress shifts completely. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from MPI Home Video).
From TV to DVD:
“Dracula: Season One” (2013-14) consists of 10 episodes of the series that reimagines Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. Stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Kretschmann. In a three-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray set, from Universal … “Fargo Season 1″ (2014), with all 10 episodes, comes in a four-disc DVD or three-disc Blu-ray set, with an exclusive knit cap as a free gift, from Fox … “Murdoch Mysteries, Season 7”
(2014) is a five-disc set with 18 episodes of the award-winning Canadian mystery that follows Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) as he solves the most perplexing mysteries of Edwardian-era Toronto with scientific insight and revolutionary techniques. From Acorn Media … “Penny Dreadful – Season One” (2014) is a three-disc set with the first eight episodes of the series, a frightening psychosexual drama that weaves together classic horror origin stories into a gripping series, starring Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green, that completely reinvents literature’s most famous characters. Icons of terror such as Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and timeless figures from Dracula join a core of original characters in a dark and brutal quest to save a soul — even as they grapple with their own monstrous temptations. DVD: $42.99, Blu-ray Disc: $48.99, from Showtime Networks/CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … 2 Broke Girls: The Complete Third Season (2013-14) is a three-disc set with 24 episodes, $44.98. Season Three serves up sweet surprises for two of Brooklyn’s hottest waitresses, Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs), who continue to dish up sarcasm and smarts. They’ve got a new cupcake business at the diner’s back walk-up window, and Caroline and Max negotiate a work-study program at the Manhattan School of Pastry: Caroline works in the office so Max can study professional baking. Plus, love — and the aroma of freshly cooked tarts– is in the air. Caroline has the hots for the school’s hunky master baker, and Max falls head over sticky buns for the outrageous class clown. The girls still worry about money — but their friendship is worth a million bucks. From Warner.