Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD

Burnt Offerings for August 6, 2014

August 06, 2014 - 11:17 am   |   By 

Welcome back to your weekly look at the world of hand-tossed artisan DVDs, baked fresh for your enjoyment. This week, Warner Archive reintroduces us to comedian Joe E. Brown and the Sony Choice Collection unleashes its August lineup. Let’s take a look and if anything strikes your fancy, please click on one of the banners below to get that disc out of your dreams and into your cart. It helps support The Bits and we thank you for it. [Read on here...]

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NEW FROM THE WARNER ARCHIVE COLLECTION

Broadminded (1931) – Ain’t no road trip like a pre-Code road trip. Rich playboy William Collier Jr. heads to California with dimbulb cousin Joe E. Brown, chasing skirts and running afoul of Bela Lugosi. Thelma Todd also makes an appearance and the screenplay is by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, so this is probably worth checking out for fans of 1930s comedies.

Local Boy Makes Good (1931) – Joe’s a milquetoast botany student in this one who reluctantly transforms into a track star to impress a girl (Dorothy Lee).

You Said A Mouthful (1932) – This time, Joe’s mistaken for a champion swimmer after he invents an “unsinkable” swimsuit. Ginger Rogers is on hand to lend some class to the proceedings. If you’re interested in vintage location filming (like I am), this is a chance to see Catalina Island circa 1932.

Elmer, The Great (1933) – And now, Joe’s a baseball player (which he actually was in real life…he turned down a spot with the Yankees to go into vaudeville). This is one of Joe’s best and most popular vehicles, so this is probably the one to try.

A Very Honorable Guy (1934) – Joe racks up a tidy sum in gambling debt to a gangster known as The Brain (Alan Dinehart), so to pick up some quick cash he sells his body to science.

Almost Human: The Complete Series (2013) – Two new cult TV shows hit DVD this week, starting with this sci-fi action series from J.H. Wyman of Fringe fame. Thirteen episodes on 3 discs including a few special features like a gag reel, deleted scenes and last year’s Comic-Con panel.

Golden Boy: The Complete Series (2013) – Theo James stars as a rising young star in the NYPD in this cop drama with flash-forwards to James as the police commissioner he eventually becomes. I admit I don’t pay as much attention to TV as I ought to but was this promoted at all anywhere? I’d never heard of this show before.

 

NEW FROM THE SONY PICTURES CHOICE COLLECTION

East of Fifth Avenue (1933) – Pre-Code drama that revolves around a boarding house where various down-and-out men and women converge.

Café Hostess (1940) – Ann Dvorak plays the title role, looking to leave behind the world of booze, cheap dates and despair.

The Big Boss (1941) – Otto Kruger stars in this generically-titled gangster picture whose poster promises “drama with the shock of a lightning bolt in every scene!” Not to oversell it or anything.

El Bombero Atomico (1952) – The Choice Collection continues with the work of Mexican superstar Cantinflas. In this one, he’s a firefighter who runs afoul of gangsters after he adopts his little goddaughter.

Abajo El Telón (1955) – Also known as Drop The Curtain. This time, Cantinflas witnesses a jewel robbery and is wrongfully accused of being the thief.

The Tiger Makes Out (1967) – Eli Wallach kidnaps housewife Anne Jackson to prove a point about the decline of western civilization or something. Arthur Hiller directs and the supporting cast includes such familiar faces as Charles Nelson Reilly, Frances Sternhagen and, in his feature film debut, Dustin Hoffman.

 

NEW FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX CINEMA ARCHIVES

Champagne Charlie (1936) – Paul Cavanagh is the title character, a playboy gambler who decides to marry rich Helen Wood for her money.

Gateway (1938) – Don Ameche falls in love with Irish immigrant Arleen Whelan, only to be separated from her when she’s detained at Ellis Island. A mix of social drama and romance with John Carradine and Harry Carey Sr. in supporting roles.

- Adam Jahnke

 

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