From the Big Screen:
“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Jimmy’s Hall” and “We Are Your Friends.” For more information on other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Highlights:
“In Cold Blood,” Truman Capote’s best seller, a breakthrough narrative account of real-life crime and punishment, became an equally chilling film in the hands of writer-director Richard Brooks in 1967. Cast for their unsettling resemblances to the killers they played, Robert Blake and Scott Wilson gave authentic, unshowy performances as Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, who in 1959 murdered a family of four in Kansas during a botched robbery. Brooks brought a detached, documentary-like starkness to this uncompromising view of an American tragedy and its aftermath; at the same time, stylistically “In Cold Blood” is a filmmaking master class, with clinically precise editing, chiaroscuro black-and-white cinematography by the great Conrad L. Hall and a menacing jazz score by Quincy Jones. The disturbing and harrowing film — which still haunts my memory these many decades since I first saw it on the big screen — arrives in new DVD and Blu-ray editions with a new 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection … “Requiescant” (1967), directed by Carlo Lizzani (“Wake Up and Kill,” “The Hills Run Red”), is one of finest Spaghetti Westerns from the Golden Age of post-Neo-realism Italian cinema. As with most of its ilk, “Requiescant” — Latin for “Rest in Peace” — is a revenge melodrama, but Lizzani throws in for good measure a soupcon of politics, ethics, religion, misogyny, and battles for freedom and justice. Lou Castel plays a young man who was raised to be a pacifist by a travelling preacher after his family was massacred by a group of Confederate misfits bent on enslaving Texas’ Mexican population. When his step-sister runs away, he follows her to the heart of evil in San Antonio, where he discovers that he has a natural talent for gunfighting, which in turn leads him to a bloody and unexpected confrontation with his past. While Castel is naif-killer, Mark Damon is terrific as a suave, sadistic and psychopathic aristocratic villain, Franco Citti is truly nasty as his henchman, and the great Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini males a rare acting turn as a stoic revolutionary priest. In a new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, with optional English and Italian soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono audio. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
From TV to DVD:
In “Christmas Mix” (2014), starring Haylie Duff, Tilky Jones, Maureen McCormick and Jim O’Heir, a cynical radio host is banished to Idylwild, Colorado, where his on-air spats with a hopeless romantic, and their antagonistic relationship, sparks the interest of the whole town. From Monarch Home Entertainment … “McHale’s Navy: The Complete Series” (1962-66) is a 21-disc set with all 138 episodes, $169.99 from Shout! Factory … “The Rebel: Season Two” (1960-61) is a six-disc set featuring all 40 episodes from “The Rebel’s” second and final season, $34.99. The series chronicled the adventures of former Confederate soldier Johnny Yuma (Nick Adams). Haunted by his experiences in the Civil War, the young and intense Yuma wanders the West in search of causes to champion, wrongs to be righted … and his own inner peace. With a revolver and a double-barreled shotgun at the ready, Yuma is more than a match for anyone who crosses his path. From Shout! Factory … “Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Final Season” (1958-59) Five-disc set with all 36 episodes from the classic fourth and final season. One of the quintessential classics of television’s golden age, this Emmy-winning comedy is filled to the brim with laughs, brought to you by comic genius Phil Silvers in his signature role as Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko. Bilko and his lovable platoon find themselves in for a change in Season 4 when they transfer to California’s Camp Fremont. Of course, Bilko’s crazy schemes will continue — but will Colonel Hall (Paul Ford) have the last laugh? Featuring cameo appearances by some of Hollywood’s biggest superstars, including Dean Martin and Lucille Ball. From Shout! Factory.