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Classic Coming Attractions by Barrie Maxwell

Barrie Maxwell - Main Page

Classic Release Announcements

This latest column is once again restricted to the most recent new announcements while I get my reviewing act together. There's the usual plethora of news here from Warner Bros., but nearly everyone else gets in on the act at least in a small way. As usual, the Classic Release Database has been updated and sources for this edition of the column include studio press releases and websites, personal contacts, Internet newsgroups, online retailers, and DVD news sites (The Digital Bits, the Home Theater Forum, DVD Times, and TVShowsonDVD among others). So, on with the news.

A&E plans to release a box set on May 29th of various entries in its Biography series entitled Biography: Legends of the Silver Screen. The players featured are Shirley Temple, Clint Eastwood, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Redford, Betty Boop (?), and Paul Newman.

Alpha continues with its monthly releases of various B movies, serials, and TV episode compilations. I'm no longer taking the time to transcribe all the titles into the database; however, those interested can find the details at the Alpha site (oldies.com). April 24th and May 29th are the next two major Alpha release dates.

Anchor Bay finally got around to releasing The Hellbenders (1967, with Joseph Cotten) on March 13th with no publicity at all that I could see.

Cinema Epoch (distributed by Koch Entertainment) will be adding other titles to its already-released Romance of the Western Chamber (1927) as part of the company's Chinese Film Classics Collection. Coming on May 8th are Spring in a Small Town (1948), Song at Midnight (1937), and three double feature discs - Crossroads (1937)/Daybreak (1933), Street Angel (1937)/Twin Sisters (1933), and The Big Road/Queen of Sports (both 1934).

The June Criterion releases include Claude Berri's The Two of Us (1967), coming on the 12th. Extras include a number of interviews, the 1962 Berri short Le poulet, and the theatrical trailer. If... (1968, Lindsay Anderson) has been confirmed for June 19th as a two-disc set. Audio commentary by film historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell highlights the extras. A double bill of Chris Marker's La jetée and Sans soleil (1963) is slated for June 26th. All June releases sport restored high definition transfers as usual.

Wave seven of Disney's Walt Disney Treasures series will arrive in stores on December 11th. You'll get Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, The Chronological Donald: Volume 3, and Disneyland: Stories, Secrets and Magic, each an individually numbered, limited edition 2-disc set, complete with a certificate of authenticity and a collectible lithograph! As always, each of the sets will be hosted by Leonard Maltin. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit will feature a series of silent animated shorts staring the beloved (and rarely-seen) character, made from 1926 to 1927 (thus predating Mickey Mouse), that only recently returned to the Disney label. The shorts will be restored and feature a brand-new musical score recorded just for this DVD release. The Chronological Donald: Volume 3 features Donald in a series of also rarely-seen animated solo shorts dating from 1947 to 1950. Then, Disneyland: Stories, Secrets and Magic is a comprehensive documentary look at the Happiest Place on Earth, featuring archival footage (including Walt's own words), along with new interviews and footage that take you behind the scenes at the park.

Flicker Alley is now targeting the summer of this year for its DVD releases of three Rudolph Valentino films: Stolen Moments (1920), The Young Rajah (1922), and Moran of the Lady Letty (1922). The DVD collection is being prepared in conjunction with the work of Valentino author and historian Tracy Ryan Terhune.

Fox will have Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season 3, Volume 1 for release on June 19th. A new version of the 1961 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea feature film is set to appear two weeks previously (dubbed the Global Warming Edition - give me a break!). Also on June 5th, there will be a new SE of 1966's Fantastic Voyage. Both of the latter titles will offer audio commentary and an extensive collection of new supplements. The studio's plans for July begin with the Joan Collins: Superstar Collection, a five-disc set slated for release on July 10th. One may quibble with the "Superstar" bit, particularly considering Collins' relative contribution to some of the films in question, but the individual titles all have interest whether due to the other players or the CinemaScope presentation: Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys (1958, with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward), Sea Wife (1957, with Richard Burton), The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955, with Ray Milland and Farley Granger), Seven Thieves (1960, with Edward G. Robinson and Rod Steiger), and Stopover Tokyo (1957, with Robert Wagner). July 24th will see the release of Land of the Giants: The Complete Series. It's a nine-disc set containing the entire 52 episodes from the years 1968-1970.

Goldhil has delayed Daniel Boone: Season 3 from April 10th to the 24th while also announcing Daniel Boone: Season 4 for a June 19th release.

Grapevine Video's (grapevinevideo.com) March/April plans include four silent releases, three sound features, and one sound serial. The silents are: Skinner's Dress Suit (1926, with Reginald Denny), The Informer (1929, with Lars Hanson), a Clara Bow 1925 double feature of Free to Love and My Lady of Whims, and Biograph Productions (1898-1905, ten short films). The sound releases are Private Snuffy Smith (1942, with Bud Duncan), a 1936 double feature of The Bridge of Sighs and Missing Girls, and the 1931 serial The Mystery Trooper (with Buzz Barton).

Image's July releases include one more Gene Autry western - Twilight on the Rio Grande (1947) on July 3rd.

Koch International will be releasing a five-disc set entitled The Cecil B. DeMille Classics Collection on June 12th. It will contain 16 DeMille features (The Squaw Man [1914], The Virginian [1914], Carmen [1915], The Cheat [1915], Joan the Woman [1916], The Romance of the Redwoods [1917], The Little American [1917], Old Wives for New [1918], The Whispering Chorus [1918], Don't Change Your Husband [1918], Male and Female [1919], Why Change Your Wife? [1920], The Affairs of Anatol [1921], Manslaughter [1922], The Road to Yesterday [1925], and The Volga Boatman [1926]) and the bonus 1921 feature Miss Lulu Bett, directed by DeMille's brother William. The suggested retail price is $20, which works out to less than $1.25 a title. Buyer beware, but if the transfers are good, it may mean that they have just been appropriated from existing Image (and other) releases.

Looser Than Loose has two new releases now available. Sennett: Volume 2 offers four silents and one talkie spanning some eighteen years of output. All of these titles have been newly remastered from 16mm prints while film scores have been created from period music recordings (newly restored using an improved digital process). The shorts are: Shot in the Excitement (1914, with Alice Howell and Al St. John), Love in Armor (1915, with Charley Chase and Mae Busch), The Waiters' Ball (1916, with Roscoe Arbuckle and Al St. John), Smith's Visitor (1926, with Ray McKee and Ruth Hiatt), and The Candid Camera (1932, with Franklin Pangborn). Selected RKO Shorts is a two-disc set containing six RKO two-reel early sound shorts: Quiet Please (1933, with Edgar Kennedy), Cracked Shots (1934, with Tom Kennedy), Fixing a Stew (1934, with Leon Errol), A Quiet Fourth (1935, with Betty Grable), Melody in May (1936, with Ruth Etting), and The Undie World (1934, with June Brewster).

MGM will finally release the two-disc versions of the Sergio Leone westerns that Region 2 has had for quite some time already. Coming on June 5th are: A Fistful of Dollars: Collector's Edition, For a Few Dollars More: Collector's Edition, and Duck You Sucker: Collector's Edition (aka A Fistful of Dynamite). Also available then will be The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Collector's Edition (presumably the same version as already available, but with new packaging) and the Sergio Leone Anthology Box Set (all four titles). MGM is expected to release The Rat Patrol: The Complete Second Season on June 12th.

Paramount has added its previously-delayed Mahogany (1975, with Diana Ross) DVD to its May 1st release line-up. The only supplement will be a photo gallery. Perry Mason: Season 2, Volume 1 is scheduled for a June 19th release. According to tvshowsondvd.com, the success of the Gunsmoke sets released has resulted in season sets now being planned. The 20-year run of the series had been a factor in the initial decision to do best-of sets. July 17th is the date for Gunsmoke: Season One (39 half-hour episodes). The same site also suggests that The Fugitive: Season 1, Volume 1 may be in stores on August 14th.

Sony has delayed its new Collector's Editions of The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia indefinitely. They were previously set for a May 8th release. The Collector's Editions of The Caine Mutiny and The Guns of Navarone are still scheduled for release on that date, however.

Universal plans to release a Doris Day and Rock Hudson Comedy Collection on July 24th. It will include Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Send Me No Flowers all in anamorphic widescreen. The titles all come from the 1959-1964 period. The studio has also confirmed that it will bring out The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection on July 24th too. Contained on three discs will be 75 cartoons including the first 45 Woody Woodpecker cartoons-presented in original release order-from Knock Knock (1940) to The Great Who-Dood-It (1952); the first five Chilly Willy cartoons (which includes two Tex Avery classics); and five selected Andy Panda cartoons. There will also be a selection of other items such Swing Symphonies, Oswald Rabbit, wartime cartoons (like Pigeon Patrol and Pass the Biscuits Mirandy), and miscellaneous Walter Lantz Cartunes (like Hysterical High Spots in American History, Pooch the Pup in King Klunk, Peterkin in Scrambled Eggs, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B and the Tex Avery masterpieces, Crazy Mixed Up Pup and SHH-H-H-H-H). Bonus material will include six "Behind-the-Scenes with Walter Lantz" segments from the 1957 Woody Woodpecker Show and the rarely seen Halloween TV special Spook-a-Nanny.

VCI has confirmed its previously-anticipated May release of the serials Scouts to the Rescue and The Royal Mounted Rides Again for the 29th of the month. On the same day, the company is also releasing an updated disc of the film The Moon and Sixpence (1943, with George Sanders). This release will feature two versions of the film: the original theatrical version with tinted and full colour scenes as well as a black and white version.

Angels in the Outfield (1951, with Paul Douglas), previously an Amazon exclusive, gets wide release from Warner Bros. on May 1st. On May 8th, Warners will be releasing the recent Naomi Watts/Edward Norton version of The Painted Veil, but classic fans will be most interested in one of its supplementary features - the complete 1934 version with Greta Garbo. Details have now surfaced for Warner Bros.' May 15th release of Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection. It will include the following 24 remastered and unedited cartoons: Dumb-Hounded, The Shooting of Dan McGoo, Wild and Woolfy, Northwest Hounded Police, Señor Droopy, Wags to Riches, Out-Foxed, The Chump Champ, Daredevil Droopy, Droopy's Good Deed, Droopy's "Double Trouble", Caballero Droopy, The Three Little Pups, Drag-a-Long Droopy, Homesteader Droopy, Dixieland Droopy, Deputy Droopy, Millionaire Droopy, Grin and Share It, Blackboard Jumble, One Droopy Knight, Sheep Wrecked, Mutts about Racing, and Droopy Leprechaun. (The last seven were all originally made in CinemaScope and will be presented in anamorphic widescreen.) Extras on the set will include the Droopy and Friends: A Laugh Back documentary and the Doggone Gags montage. It appears that as part of its May 22nd John Wayne commemorative release program, the studio will repackage the six early B westerns that Wayne made for Warners (Somewhere in Sonora, Man from Monterey, etc.). Enthusiasts will remember that these were made available as two triple-feature discs last autumn. They will now appear as six separate discs priced at $10 apiece. On June 26th, Warners plans to release four volumes in a new Cult Camp Classics line. Cult Camp Classics: Volume 1 - Sci Fi Thrillers contains Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1958, with Allison Hayes), The Giant Behemoth (1959, with Gene Evans) and Queen of Outer Space (1958, with Zsa Zsa Gabor); Cult Camp Classics: Volume 2 - Women in Peril contains The Big Cube (1969, with Lana Turner), Caged (1950, with Eleanor Parker), and Trog (1970, with Joan Crawford); Cult Camp Classics: Volume 3 - Terrorized Travelers contains Hot Rods to Hell (1967, with Dana Andrews), Skyjacked (1972, with Charlton Heston), and Zero Hour! (1957, with Dana Andrews); and Cult Camp Classics: Volume 4 - Historical Epics contains The Colossus of Rhodes (1960, with Rory Calhoun), The Prodigal (1955, with Lana Turner), and Land of the Pharaohs (1955, with Jack Hawkins). Each title will also be available separately.

July is shaping up to be a real musicals month for Warners. On July 17th, we'll get TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, a set containing five films - Bathing Beauty (1944), Easy to Wed (1946), On an Island with You (1948), Neptune's Daughter (1949), and Dangerous When Wet (1953). The films will be available only in a collectible digi-pak set. Each title gets its own disc and special features will include TCM host Robert Osborne's recent "Private Screenings" interview with Esther (featured on the Bathing Beauty DVD), vintage shorts, two musical number outtakes, classic cartoons, and trailers. On July 24th, Warners will offer Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory: Volume Two. The seven-disc set (titles also available separately) will include: The Pirate, That's Dancing, Words and Music, a two-disc double feature of Mario Lanza's That Midnight Kiss and The Toast of New Orleans, and a two-disc double feature of Fred Astaire's Royal Wedding and The Belle of New York. Each feature film has been meticulously restored and remastered from its original elements and complemented with new featurettes, commentaries, rare outtake musical numbers, radio interviews, audio only bonus outtakes and vintage cartoons. Classic Popeye cartoons finally make their appearance from Warners on July 31st. The release is a four-disc set entitled Popeye the Sailor: Volume One (1933-1938). According to animation authority Jerry Beck, this set will be comparable in content to Warners' annual Looney Tunes Golden Collections. It will have the first 60 Fleischer Popeye cartoons in release order, all restored from the original negatives and containing the original Paramount titles. There will be over five hours of bonus materials including quite a few audio commentaries. A second volume containing the rest of the Fleischer cartoons is expected later in 2007.

In High Definition news, Warner Bros. has scheduled Battle of the Bulge (1965, with Henry Fonda) for release in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray on May 8th. Then on June 5th, both Rio Bravo (1959) and The Cowboys (1972) are coming out on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Each will include the same extensive set of supplements provided on the new standard DVD special editions appearing a couple of weeks earlier.

Well, that's all for now. I expect to return soon with some classic reviews.

Barrie Maxwell
barriemaxwell@thedigitalbits.com


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