Bits BD Review – Bill takes a look at Universal's new Spartacus: Restored Edition http://t.co/Ms7prL0nTE
NEW FROM THE WARNER ARCHIVE COLLECTION
Hit The Deck (1955) – Warner Archive’s latest Blu-ray release is this late-era MGM musical with Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, Ann Miller and many more. I believe this is Variation #2,892 on the “Sailors On Shore Leave” musical plot.
The Cars: Heartbeat City (1984) – Here’s the week’s biggest and most pleasant surprise, for my money. The Cars’ long out-of-print “Video Album” of their classic ’84 LP finally makes the jump from VHS to DVD. Ric Ocasek, Benjamin Orr and the band perform “You Might Think”, “Drive” and more in music videos directed by such folks as Timothy Hutton and Andy Warhol. Perfect programming for your next MTV Flashback Weekend. What, you do have those, don’t you?
Bret Maverick: The Complete Series (1981) – James Garner returned to his second most iconic character (or maybe his most iconic, if you’re older than I am) in this short-lived NBC series. Westerns weren’t exactly at the height of their popularity in 1981, so it isn’t a huge surprise that this didn’t catch on. But it’s reportedly pretty entertaining and worth a look for Garner fans, a group that should include just about everybody.
Irene (1940) – Playboy Ray Milland romances shopgirl Anna Neagle in this adaptation of the popular Broadway musical that includes an extended sequence in living Technicolor.
Smartest Girl In Town/She’s Got Everything (1936-37) – Ann Sothern and Gene Raymond take the spotlight in the first of two double feature discs this week. In Smartest Girl In Town, Ann’s a model on the prowl for a rich husband. Gene fits the bill but Ann mistakenly thinks he’s broke, so won’t give him the time of day. In the second feature, she’s an heiress who inherits her father’s mountain of debts and IOUs.
The Mayor Of 444th Street/Radio Stars On Parade (1942-45) – A double feature of Music and The Mob movies. In Mayor, George Murphy is a booking agent in trouble with tough guy Richard Barthelmess. Radio features the comedy stylings of Brown & Carney as they struggle to keep their agency afloat.
Broadway Bill (1934) – The first of four Paramount titles coming back into print from Warner Archive this week. Frank Capra directs Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy in this comedy about a man who married for money who risks everything on a racehorse.
Detective Story (1951) – Kirk Douglas stars in this noir-ish adaptation of the play depicting a day in the life of New York’s 21st Precinct.
Islands In The Stream (1977) – A pretty good adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s book about a sculptor who lives on an isolated island visited by his three young sons. Not a great movie but George C. Scott’s performance makes it worth checking out.
Falling In Love (1984) – Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep star in this Brief Encounter-like romance. A surprisingly pedestrian and forgettable movie considering the stars and the fact that this was one of the few films directed by the underrated Ulu Grosbard.
NEW FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX CINEMA ARCHIVES
Star Dust (1940) – Another early Hollywood you-oughtta-be-in-pictures yarn with Linda Darnell as a young starlet signed to an exclusive contract by talent scout Roland Young.
Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955) – A heartwarming piece of Americana with Jennifer Jones as a small town schoolteacher reflecting on the students whose lives she touched over the years.
Decline And Fall…Of A Birdwatcher (1968) – Robin Phillips stars in this adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s satirical novel. This tries, a little too hard, to be like the 1965 movie version of Waugh’s The Loved One.
- Adam Jahnke