Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD

Burnt Offerings For June 25: Paramount Rising

June 25, 2013 - 9:13 am   |   By 

This week, the Warner Archive Collection brings a number of terrific Paramount titles back into print. None of these are new to DVD but there are some gems here, so if you missed them, now you can pick them up without breaking the bank.

More importantly, to the best of my knowledge these are the first Paramount titles to come out under the Warner Archive label. The possibility of diving deeper into the catalog and releasing some long-awaited Paramount-owned Most Wanted picks is a tantalizing one indeed. Keep your fingers crossed.

WARNER ARCHIVE – NEW THIS WEEK

Anything Goes (1956) – Bing Crosby and Donald O’Connor team up for this musical with Cole Porter songs but no other resemblance to the 1936 movie which also starred Crosby.

Back To The Beach (1987) – Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello reunited for this 80s neo-beach picture and they brought along a surf shack full of cameos including Pee-wee Herman.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) – Franco Zeffirelli’s dramatization of the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Brotherhood (1968) – Kirk Douglas stars in this pre-Godfather Mafia movie, directed by Martin Ritt, as a mob boss butting heads with his less-traditional younger brother, played by Alex Cord.

The Family Jewels (1965) – Jerry Lewis, perhaps inspired by Kind Hearts & Coronets, plays seven potential guardians to a young heiress. Nirvana for Jerry’s fans, sheer torture for his detractors.

Gung Ho (1986) – Michael Keaton was still considered only a comedic actor when he starred in this culture clash comedy for director Ron Howard. He plays an executive for an American auto manufacturer dealing with the company’s new Japanese owners.

Hello Down There (1968) – Here’s an odd one. Scientist Tony Randall brings his entire family to live in a prototype underwater home he invented. This has one of the most unlikely casts in movie history, including Janet Leigh, Roddy McDowall, Jim Backus and Richard Dreyfuss. It’s directed by Creature From The Black Lagoon helmer Jack Arnold with underwater sequences directed by the Creature himself, Ricou Browning. You’ve gotta love the 60s.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973) – The titular bird longs for a deeper meaning to his boring seagull life, set to the music of Neil Diamond. I really hated this movie when I was a kid, by the way.

Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy (1996) – Canada’s sketch comedy geniuses made a rocky transition to the big screen with their first, and most likely only, feature film. The Kids had a horrible time making it and it doesn’t entirely work but it’s better than its reputation. The movie’s best moments more than outweigh its duds.

Lifeguard (1976) – Sam Elliott stars as a professional L.A. lifeguard whose high school reunion sparks a midlife crisis that leads him to consider getting a “real” job.

The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek (1944) – One of my favorite Preston Sturges movies and one of my favorite comedies of all time, period. Betty Hutton stars as Trudy Kockenlocker, who wakes up after a wild party with some departing troops to find herself pregnant and with no idea who the father is. Eddie Bracken is the nebbish who does the right thing and stands up for her. Absolutely hilarious from start to finish.

The Molly Maguires (1970) – Sean Connery is in top form as the leader of an underground group of Irish coalminers in Pennsylvania fighting their exploitative bosses. Richard Harris costars as the Pinkerton detective sent to infiltrate the group.

The Naked Jungle (1954) – Charlton Heston has two big problems on his jungle plantation. The first is his strong-willed new wife, Eleanor Parker. The second is the legion of ants that threatens to destroy his entire outfit. This is actually slightly less ridiculous than it sounds and features some fun special effects.

The White Dawn (1974) – Philip Kaufman directs this exciting, underrated adventure about three whalers (Warren Oates, Timothy Bottoms and Louis Gossett, Jr.) who become stranded in the Arctic and are rescued by a tribe of Eskimos.

Medical Center: The Complete Third Season (1971-72) – This week’s TVD offering is the long-running Chad Everett medical drama. This season includes such special guest stars as Michael Douglas, Leslie Nielsen and Vera Miles.

COMING SOON

Sony has announced a slate of new releases to their MOD lineup. On 8/6, look for The Barrendero, Conserje En Condominio, Harriet Craig (1950), Babies for Sale, The Whole Truth, Brave Warrior, Don Quijote Cabalga de Nuevo and Franklin & Bash: The Complete Second Season. These will be followed on 9/2 by Walk on the Wild Side, Have Rocket, Will Travel, Homicidal, The Family Secret, 13 Frightened Girls, Rockin’ in the Rockies, The Werewolf (1956), Vampire Bats and Happy Endings: The Complete Third Season. I’ll take a closer look at each title when they’re available.

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW

It’s mutiny on the high seas with James Mason, Dorothy Dandridge and Broderick Crawford in The Decks Ran Red!

- Dr. Adam Jahnke

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