From the Big Screen:
“The Purge,” “The Hangover Part III,” “After Earth” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
At the top of the list this week is the great French director Rene Clair’s second American film, the fantasy romantic comedy “I Married a Witch” (1942). Here Veronica Lake casts a seductive spell as a charmingly vengeful sorceress in this supernatural screwball classic. Many centuries after cursing the male descendants of the Salem Puritan who sent her to the stake, this blonde bombshell with a broomstick finds herself drawn to one of them — a prospective governor (Fredric March) about to marry a spoiled socialite (Susan Hayward). This most delightful of the films the innovative French director made in Hollywood is a comic confection bursting with playful special effects and sparkling witticisms. In a new 2K digital restoration, on Blu-ray and DVD. Extras include an audio interview with Clair, the trailer, and a booklet featuring an essay by filmmaker Guy Maddin and a 1970 interview with Clair. From the Criterion Collection.
From Out of the Vaults:
“The Avengers — The Complete Emma Peel Megaset” (1965-1968) is a 16-disc set, including all three seasons and 51 episodes that featured Emma Peel’s (Diana Rigg) undercover roles, from her unforgettable debut in her famous leather cat suit, to her thrilling last spy adventure. Available on DVD for the first time in four years, the collection spans all of Peel’s time on the hit series with star Patrick Macnee. $49.98 from Lionsgate … The Star Wars trilogies are back, this time in combo Blu-ray/DVD sets: “Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV-VI” consists of the original “Star Wars” trilogy: “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” “Star Wars Trilogy Episodes I-III” consists of the “Star Wars” prequels: “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace”, “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.” Each set goes for $59.99 … “Night Train to Terror” (1985) makes its Blu-ray debut this week. It’s a trio of stories that takes place aboard a fast moving train bound for Hell, during which God and Satan decide the fates of three unfortunate mortals: Harry, a fiendish killer who keeps the horribly mutilated body parts of his countless victims in a diabolical torture chamber; Gretta, a young woman, obsessed with death, who takes part in an unspeakable ritual of Russian roulette; and Claire, a young woman and a Holocaust survivor who is terrorized by the son of Satan. Stars Cameron Mitchell, John Phillip Law, Merideth Haze and Richard Moll. From Vinegar Syndrome.
For Halloween Thrills:
Universal has “Chucky: The Complete Collection — Limited Edition” so you can set a play date with Chucky with all six movies together for the first time in a chilling collection: “Child’s Play,” “Child’s Play 2,” “Child’s Play 3,” “Bride of Chucky,” “Seed of Chucky” and “Curse of Chucky.” On Blu-ray and DVD.
“On the Riviera “ (1951), starring Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvet. Danny Kaye stars in dual performances in this musical farce about a womanizing French financier-aviator (Kaye) who, faced with a scheduling conflict, hires a nightclub performer (also Kaye) to temporarily impersonate him … and romance two beautiful women who both think he’s their lover. Released to celebrate Kaye’s centennial … “Fantastic Voyage” (1966), directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Stephen Boyd, Donald Pleasence, Raquel Welch, Edmond O’Brien, Arthur O’Connell and Arthur Kennedy … and “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” (1961), directed by Irwin Allen and starring Walter Pidgeon, Barbara Eden, Peter Lorre, Joan Fontaine, Robert Sterling, Michael Ansara, Frankie Avalon and Regis Toomey. All three from Fox.
Blu-ray Anniversary Editions:
Warner has released a 40th anniversary edition of what has to be one of the scariest movies of all time (due to great writing, directing, acting and verisimilitude): “The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Extended Director’s Cut” (1973), directed by William Friedkin and starring Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, Linda Blair and Mercedes McCambridge (as the voice of the devil). The set includes the extended director’s cut and the theatrical version. Extras include a new featurette, “Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist,” in which author Blatty returns to some of the locations that figure in the novel and film; “Talk of the Devil,” in which Blatty talks with Father Eugene Gallagher about the true story behind the exorcism; two commentaries by Friedkin; commentary by Blatty; introduction by Friedkin; 1998 BBC documentary “The Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist”; “Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist” set footage; “The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now”; “Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist,” with Friedkin and Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and featuring outtakes from the film; original ending; interviews; sketches and storyboards; radio spots; TV spots; and trailers … Universal has released “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life — 30th Anniversary Edition” (1983), starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Celebrate the 30th anniversary by re-living every side-splitting comedic moment, every outrageous vignette and every tasteless joke, as Monty Python commands your attention once again following their breakthrough “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “Life of Brian.” “The Meaning of Life” brought all the loyal Pythonites back together, sharing writing responsibilities as they returned to their much loved sketch show format, with Terry Jones directing and John Goldstone producing, the group bringing to life roles ranging from The Grim Reaper to the legendary Mr. Creosote. Segments included “The Miracle of Birth,” “Live Organ Transplants” and “The Autumn Years.” Extras include “The Meaning of Monty Python: 30th Anniversary Reunion,” in which the Pythons takes a funny, enlightening trip down memory lane. Thirty years after making “The Meaning of Life,” Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Jones and Palin reunite for a new hour-long conversation about the last movie they made together. From the beach in Jamaica where it was written to the hilarious ideas that didn’t make the cut, the Pythons provoke laughter and thought with a wide-ranging discussion about comedy, society, the universe and the biggest mystery of all: “why are fish funny?” And there’s a sing-along version of the film.