From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Best Bets:
After a dry month of DVDs and Blu-rays, the Hollywood studios and independents are greeting February with an onslaught of interesting releases: First off are releases from Criterion and Arrow:
For his feature debut, 24-year-old Louis Malle brought together a mesmerizing performance by Jeanne Moreau, evocative cinematography by Henri Decaë, and a now legendary jazz score by Miles Davis. Taking place over the course of one restless Paris night, Malle’s richly atmospheric crime thriller “Elevator to the Gallows” (1958) stars Moreau and Maurice Ronet as star-crossed lovers whose plan to murder her husband (his boss) goes awry, setting off a chain of events that seals their fate. A career touchstone for its director and female star, Elevator to the Gallows was an astonishing beginning to Malle’s eclectic body of work, and it established Moreau as one of the most captivating actors to ever grace the screen. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include an interview from 2005 with Moreau; archival interviews with Moreau, Malle, actor Maurice Ronet, and original soundtrack session pianist René Urtreger; footage of Miles Davis and Malle from the soundtrack recording session; program from 2005 about the score featuring jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and critic Gary Giddins; and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Terrence Rafferty, an interview with Malle, and a tribute by film producer Vincent Malle. From The Criterion Collection … In 1964, Henri-Georges Clouzot, the acclaimed director of thriller masterpieces “Les Diaboliques” and “Wages of Fear,” began work on his most ambitious film yet. Set in a beautiful lake side resort in the Auvergne region of France, “L’Enfer (Inferno)” was to be a sun-scorched elucidation on the dark depths of jealousy starring Romy Schneider as the harassed wife of a controlling hotel manager (Serge Reggiani). However, despite huge expectations, major studio backing and an unlimited budget, after three weeks the production collapsed under the weight of arguments, technical complications and illness. In the compelling, award-winning documentary “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno” (2009), Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea present Inferno’s incredible expressionistic original rushes, screen tests, and on-location footage, while also reconstructing Clouzot’s original vision, and shedding light on the ill-fated endeavor through interviews, dramatizations of unfilmed scenes, and Clouzot’s own notes. On Blu-ray with original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Extras include “Lucy Mazdon on Henri-Georges Clouzot”: The French cinema expert and academic talks at length about the films of Clouzot and the troubled production of “Inferno”; “They Saw Inferno,” a featurette including unseen material, providing further insight into the production of “Inferno”; filmed introduction by Serge Bromberg; interview with Serge Bromberg; stills gallery; original trailer; reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil. From Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment.
From TV to DVD:
“Duckman: The Complete Series” (1994-97): He’s crude. He’s rude. He’s lewd. Yes, he’s the total dick: Duckman (Jason Alexander), the slovenly, smart-mouthed, private eye ladies don’t like and men don’t want to be like. Together with Cornfed, his portly, porcine partner in crime-solving, this defective detective amazingly manages to solve crimes and be a single parent to his hilariously dysfunctional sons at the same time. Now, every irreverent episode from all four outrageous seasons of this Emmy-nominated series is available in this collection. You have been warned. Ten-disc set from Paramount … “The Guardian: The Complete Series” (2001-04) is an 18-disc set with all 67 episodes. Simon Baker (“The Mentalist”) stars as Nick Fallin, a handsome hotshot attorney busted on a drug charge and ordered to perform 1500 hours of community service. Just when Nick thought he had lost everything, he finds a true calling to help the less fortunate. However, making a difference isn’t always easy. Nick is caught between his father (Dabney Coleman), the founder of Pittsburgh’s legendary law firm Fallin & Associates, and Alvin Masterson (Alan Rosenberg), who runs the firm where Nick follows his passion as a child advocate lawyer. To help him through, Nick leans on his girlfriend Lulu (Wendy Moniz) and his friend and colleague Jake (Raphael Sbarge). From Paramount … “Homeland – The Complete Sixth Season” (2017) features all 12 episodes. Now living in New York City, Carrie (Claire Danes) gets swept up in the aftereffects of the U.S. presidential election as she struggles to deal with an injury-ravaged Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) and an increasingly suspicious Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). When the president-elect battles the CIA during her transition to power, Carrie finds herself caught in the crossfire. In four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray sets. From Fox … “The Jackie Gleason Show in Color” Everything about Jackie Gleason was big: his huge talent, his outsized personality, and his expansive waist line. Even bigger was “The Jackie Gleason Show,” his successful TV Variety show, taped in color from beautiful Miami Beach from 1966 to 1970. “The Jackie Gleason Show” had been broadcast live and later taped in New York City since 1952, but in 1964, Gleason wanted to be based where he could play golf all year round. Hank Meyer, a longtime South Florida publicist, knew just the spot and convinced Jackie to bring his show to Miami Beach, the sun and fun capital of the world. However, back in the ’60s, it was a novel undertaking to broadcast from Miami Beach, and more than a hundred families relocated to stay with the show. Plus, there was barely any production infrastructure in South Florida, which all had to be created by Jackie and his team. However, it all paid off and the revamped show was a huge success. Gleason was everyone’s working-class hero, and his smash-hit show delivered an hour of non-stop entertainment every single week. Enthralled home audiences were treated to entertainment of the highest order — singing, dancing, hilarious comedy and Jackie at his very best as Ralph Kramden and on stage with all his famous friends — Milton Berle, Red Buttons, George Carlin, Nipsey Russell, Phil Silvers and more — and all in brilliant color. This single disc release features four never-before-released, remastered episodes of the show — including three unreleased Honeymooners sketches — all unseen for more than 50 years since the master tapes had resided in a vault in South Florida … until now. From Time Life.