Sony has added 12 titles to its Sony Pictures Choice Collection manufacture-on-demand program for December, ranging from the rarely seen 1931 “The Avenger” to old standbys such as 1957’s “Pal Joey” (long out-of-print) starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak, to the Charles Bronson fight-actioner “Hard Times” (1975). Here’s the complete list:
The Belle of Broadway (1926)
Madame Adele (Edith Yorke, City Girl) was once considered the toast of the Paris theatre, until her jealous husband accused her of cheating, left her and took away her baby a loss that she’s never gotten over. Now an older woman, Adele struggles to find work, but when an ingénue, Marie Duval (Betty Compson, The Docks of New York), enters her life, Adele has the idea to make Marie the new Madame Adele and have her appear in Paris in her most famous play, Du Barry. Marie becomes a sensation, but problems arise when Adele’s old suitors and a young man with a connection to Adele’s past start wooing Marie. This charming 1926 silent film has been restored from an original tinted print, and is available for the first time on DVD with an original score composed by Christopher Caliendo.
The Avenger (1931)
His brother killed and his family farm destroyed, Joaquin Murietta (Buck Jones, The Gunman from Bodie) seeks revenge on those who did him wrong. Looking to get the three ruthless prospectors who ruined his life, Murietta disguises himself as The Black Shadow, a bandit who raids the evildoers’ stagecoaches. But the local sheriff wants to catch The Black Shadow before Murietta gets his ultimate revenge.
Pirates of Tripoli (1955)
Princess Karjan (Patricia Medina, Confidential Report) has lost her kingdom to the ruthless Malek (John Miljan, The Ghost Walks), barely escaping from her palace. She considers surrendering, but instead hires the famous pirate Edri-Al-Gadrian’s (Paul Henreid, Casablanca) to help her regain the throne. Malek destroys Edri-Al-Gadrian’s ships, but Karjan comes up with a plan to steal the royal jewels to buy new ships to continue the attack. Filled with sword fighting and romance, PIRATES OF TRIPOLI is a rousing, swashbuckling adventure.
Pal Joey (1957)
Based on the hit Rodgers and Hart musical of the same name, PAL JOEY follows Joey Evans (Frank Sinatra, From Here to Eternity), a charming nightclub singer who is very popular with the chorus girls in his show. Joey has a comfortable relationship with Vera (Rita Hayworth, Gilda), a former dancer who is now a rich widow. But when Linda (Kim Novak, Vertigo) enters his life, Joey suddenly has to choose between convenience and something far more substantial.
Help Me, Darling (1969, aka Help Me My Love)
Giovanni (Alberto Sordi, Il Diavolo) and Raffaella (Monica Vitti, Modesty Blaise) have been happily married for many years. However, when Raffaella admits her attraction to a neighbor (Silvano Tranquilli, Sunflower), Giovanni becomes jealous, spying on her and even using the couple’s 10-year-old son to keep an eye on her. As Giovanni grows more and more jealous, his once-liberal way of thinking dissipates and his domineering style causes stress in their relationship.
When Father Salvatore Anastasia (Alberto Sordi, Il Diavolo) comes to America, he is looking forward to meeting his family, including his brother, Albert (Richard Conte, The Godfather). What Father Salvatore doesn’t realize is that his brother is the head of the large crime syndicate Murder Inc., and despite Albert’s notorious reputation, Father Salvatore is unable to figure out the truth about his brother in this comedy based on the real events of the Anastasia family.
Hard Times (1975)
In the middle of the Great Depression, Chaney (Charles Bronson, Death Wish) is just looking to catch a break. When he meets Speed (James Coburn, The Magnificent Seven), a promoter of bare-knuckle street fighting, Chaney thinks with his fighting skill and Speed’s savvy, he might have a chance. But Speed has his own problems, and what seemed like a sure thing is not as simple. Directed by Walter Hill (48 Hrs.), and also starring Jill Ireland (The Mechanic, 1972) and Strother Martin (Cool Hand Luke), HARD TIMES is a gritty, compelling drama.
It is the middle of the Dark Ages, ages darker than anyone had ever expected. A horrendous monster casts a dreadful pall of fear over a once-happy land. The first solo directorial feature of visionary Terry Gilliam (Brazil, The Fisher King), JABBERWOCKY stars Michael Palin (TV’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”) as Dennis Cooper, a young villager who wants nothing of adventure. When his father passes, Dennis goes on a journey, leading him into a town where a dragon named Jabberwock is on a murderous spree. Can Dennis kill the dragon and save the kingdom?
TV on DVD
The Big C: The Complete Fourth Season
In the final season of this popular series, Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Laura Linney reprises her role as Cathy Jamison, who comes to a realization about her battle with skin cancer. Deciding to quit chemotherapy, Cathy finds peace and resolution with her husband (Oliver Platt, 2012), son (Gabriel Basso, The Kings of Summer) and even her estranged father (Brian Dennehy, First Blood). With four one-hour episodes, Cathy’s journey is filled with laughter, tears and poignancy a fitting farewell to this acclaimed series.
Salvage 1: Hard Water
The Jettison Scrap and Salvage Company succeeded in building a spaceship to collect all of the junk in space. Now, Harry (Andy Griffith, TV’s “The Andy Griffith Show”), Skip (Joel Higgins, TV’s “Silver Spoons”) and Melanie (Trish Stewart, TV’s “The Young and the Restless”) have a bold idea on Earth: to tow an iceberg to an island suffering through a drought. But a rival salvage company gets the job, and when they screw things up, the iceberg is left blocking important shipping lanes. Either the iceberg needs to be moved, or the US Navy will bomb it. Harry and the team have to come up with an answer quickly.
Passions (1984, TV Movie)
Businessman Richard Kennerly (Richard Crenna, First Blood) is married to Catherine (Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve), but also keeps a mistress, Nina (Lindsay Wagner, TV’s “The Bionic Woman,” 1976), on the side, with children from both women. When Richard dies, Catherine finds out about Nina and wants to use her legal standing to take away Nina’s home. But as the two battle with each other, they both find out more secrets about Richard, and that there was more than just the lone deception.
Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime
Elizabeth Taylor will forever be known as an icon of style, and her fascination with jewelry was legendary. The story of Taylor is told through her most valuable possessions and the auctions that fetched millions. A-list friends such as Joan Collins, Mickey Rooney and Liza Minnelli, as well as famous designers Gianni Bulgari and Cartier’s Pierre Rainero, discuss the superstar and her passion for her men and her jewelry.