From the Big Screen:
“Maggie” and “Woman in Gold.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Best Bets:
The DVD highlight this week is The Criterion Collection’s release (in one set) of two versions of “The Killers,” Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale. The first was adapted by noir stylist Robert Siodmak (“Criss Cross”) in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and helped launch the careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; the second was directed by Don Siegel (“Dirty Harry”) in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson and John Cassavetes, that was intended for television but deemed too violent for home audiences and was released theatrically instead. In both films, hit men knock off a victim who doesn’t resist them. In the 1946 version, an insurance investigator (Edmond O’Brien) tries to find out why. The second film is told from the point of view of the two hitmen, who attempt to unravel the mystery behind why the victim “just stood there and took it,” leading them to a million dollar robbery (co-stars Clu Gulager, Claude Akins and Ronald Reagan. The ending of this film is one of my all-time favorites as Marvin, mortally wounded, goes after double-crossing femme fatale Dickinson, and, preparing to kill her, utters one of the most existential closing lines in the history of film. The set features new high-definition digital restorations of both films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays. Extras include Andrei Tarkovsky’s short film adaptation of “The Killers,” made when he was a student in 1956; an interview from 2002 with writer Stuart M. Kaminsky about both films; a piece from 2002 in which actor Stacy Keach reads Hemingway’s short story; a Screen Director’s Playhouse radio adaptation from 1949 of the 1946 film, starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters; an interview from 2002 with actor Clu Gulager; an audio excerpt from director Siegel’s autobiography, “A Siegel Film,” read by actor and director Hampton Fancher; trailers; essays by novelist Jonathan Lethem and critic Geoffrey O’Brien.
From TV to DVD:
“Archie Bunker’s Place: Season 1” (1979-80) is a two-disc set with 24 episodes, $9.98 from Mill Creek Entertainment … “Barney Miller: The Final Season” (1981-82) is a three-disc set with 22 episodes. Acclaimed throughout its eight season run, Barney Miller remains a beloved sitcom for its quirky yet humanistic exploration of the lives and exploits of a police squad in New York’s Greenwich Village. A comedic peek into the world of the American Everyman starred Hal Linden, Ron Glass, Max Gail, James Gregory, Ron Carey and Steve Landesberg. From Shout! Factory … “Bitten: The Complete Second Season” (2014) is a three-disc set with all 10 unedited episodes, $39.98 from Entertainment One … “House of Cards: The Complete Third Season” (2015) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes. From Sony.