“Ladies Of Leisure” (1930) stars Barbara Stanwyck as a gorgeous, gold-digging model who gets a wealthy aspiring artist interested, only to have his parents shun her. Ralph Graves, Lowell Sherman, Marie Prevost co-star. Joan Peers inherits her late father’s failing circus, and manager Joe Cook has an unending stream of schemes to keep the show afloat, in “Rain Or Shine” (1930). Louise Fazenda co-stars. Stanwyck is “The Miracle Woman” (1931), a parson’s daughter enlisted by a con artist to pose as an evangelist, becoming the country’s top faith healer. David Manners co-stars. “Forbidden” (1932) finds librarian Stanwyck falling into a shipboard romance with married, rising politician Adolphe Menjou, only to be squeezed for her secrets by muckraker Ralph Bellamy. American missionary Stanwyck sojourns to civil war-torn China to unite with her fiance, but finds herself carried off and courted by charming warlord Nils Asther, in “The Bitter Tea Of General Yen” (1933). Walter Connolly co-stars.
Craig Stevens starred as the unflappable, urbane private eye in this 1958-61 series that set the tone for subsequent detective shows. Action, beautiful women, and Henry Mancini’s unforgettable score punctuate creator Blake Edwards’ show, which co-starred Lola Albright and Herschel Bernardi.
Romance and intrigue abound as a love triangle develops on a rubber plantation in Southeast Asia. Clark Gable stars as the plantation manager who develops a casual relationship with a prostitute (Jean Harlow) on the run from Saigon police, then turns his attention to the young wife (Mary Astor) of one of the engineers who works for him. With Gene Raymond, Donald Crisp. Later remade as “Mogambo,” also starring Gable. Directed by Victor Fleming.
This sensitive comedy-drama from co-writer/director Nora Ephron stars Julie Kavner as a New York cosmetics clerk whose life changes radically after she becomes a popular comic. Problems arise after she devotes more time to her career than to her two daughters. Dan Aykroyd, Carrie Fisher, Samantha Mathis, and Gaby Hoffmann co-star.
Having spent the war years tending to displaced children in France, nuns Loretta Young and Celeste Holm journey to a small New England town with the mission of establishing a charity hospital. The determined sisters meet the skepticism of the locals with wit, charm, and faith in this endearing tale. Elsa Lanchester, Hugh Marlowe, Dooley Wilson, Thomas Gomez co-star.
Buttoned-down conservative James Stewart is dismayed by the leftist leanings acquired by daughter Sandra Dee as a college freshman, so he packs her off to Paris to study art. When her painted portrait makes the cover of a radical magazine, he’s on the first European flight, and endures many escapades in tracking her down. Adaptation of Henry and Phoebe Ephron’s stage comedy (inspired by their daughter Nora) co-stars Audrey Meadows, Robert Morley, John McGiver, Bob Denver.
Statesman. President. Vampire hunter? Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, this offbeat horror tale finds a young Abraham Lincoln training to become a vampire slayer after one of the bloodsuckers kills his mother. Throughout a political career that takes him to the White House, Abe continues his battle against the undead, eventually coming up against a vamp who means to turn the U.S. into a nation of fanged fiends. Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead star.
Pa Jones (Jed Prouty) finds himself star-struck when a football hero (Allan Lane) returns to town promoting oil well investments. When he sinks the family savings into a dry hole, however, Pa might be the one winding up under a dog pile. Fifth entry in the “Jones Family” series co-stars Spring Byington, Russell Gleason, Shirley Deane, Kenneth Howell.
Stanley Kubrick’s feature directing bow came with this once-thought-lost, little-seen indie that tracks the travails of a quartet of soldiers crash-landed deep within hostile territory. Their bid to make their way to safety is compromised by a local woman’s stumbling upon their presence, as well as their discovery of an enemy general’s nearby encampment. Grim allegory stars Paul Mazursky, Virginia Leith, Frank Silvera, Kenneth Harp, Stephen Coit.
A fabulously wealthy widow (Ingrid Bergman) makes a surprise return to the small, impoverished European town that she’d been run out of as a pregnant, unmarried teenager. She’s even willing to bail the community out of its present circumstances, and all she wants in return…is a bounty placed on the lover (Anthony Quinn) who seduced and abandoned her all those years ago. Distinctive drama from a popular German play co-stars Irina Demick, Valentina Cortese.
Desperate to find new performers to boost ratings on his radio show, a New York talent scout heads to Kentucky in search of fresh stars. Once there, he discovers the Ritz Brothers–who are posing as members of the Hatfield family–and takes them back with him to the Big Apple. Songs include “Moonshine Over Kentucky,” “Sing a Song of Harvest,” “Isn’t It Wonderful, Isn’t It Swell?,” and more. Tony Martin and Marjorie Weaver co-star. AKA: “Three Men And A Girl.”
All 24 episodes of season three–including “He Who Digs a Grave,” “Come Watch Me Die,” “A Well Remembered Terror,” “Where’s Jennifer?,” and “The Stalker”–are featured in a six-disc set.
Having accepted a contract on the life of a deposed Latin American dictator hiding on a Caribbean isle, a ruthless assassin (Gene Nelson) waylays a vacationing American couple (Brian Kelly, Fay Spain) and commandeers their boat for transportation. Can they escape with their lives, let alone stop him? Taut little actioner, co-written by Jack Nicholson, co-stars Miriam Colon, Art Bedard.
An obsessively reclusive painter (Monty Woolley), returning to Britain’s shores after 20 years, capitalizes on the recent passing of his loyal valet (Eric Blore) by assuming the servant’s name and identity. His problems are only just beginning when the valet’s pen pal/fiancee (Gracie Fields) meets him on arrival! Fun remake of “His Double Life” co-stars Laird Cregar, Una O’Connor, Alan Mowbray.
The 1956 union of Rosalie Profaci (Nancy McKeon) to Salvatore “Bill” Bonanno (Eric Roberts) was seen as the capstone of an alliance between two of New York’s prominent crime families. Their bid for a normal-as-could-be existence ended when Bill’s father Joe (Ben Gazzara) elevated him to consigliare, helping to spur the devastating turf wars of the ’60s. Miniseries adaptation of Rosalie Bonanno’s memoir also stars Alex Rocco, Tomas Milian.
All 13 episodes from the fourth season–including “Blind Spot,” “The Reprieve,” “Prisoner of Mesa Moon,” “Apache Blood,” and “Home Is the Brave”–are collected in a four-disc set.
Testosterone-fueled dramedy follows 30-year-old construction worker/male stripper Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) as he spends his nights entertaining ladies at a club run by driven businessman Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). After he takes young slacker Adam (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing, Mike finds his new friendship and career threatened when his protege gets mixed up with drugs. Joe Manganiello, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Cody Horn co-star; directed by Steven Soderbergh.
When a young American G.I. stationed in West Berlin is grabbed by the Soviets and spirited over the border, intelligence officer Gregory Peck must finesse the captors’ demands for the delivery of two former Nazis. Complicating matters is the arrival of the soldier’s father, connected power broker Broderick Crawford, who threatens to tank the negotiations. Engrossing Cold War tale co-stars Buddy Ebsen, Rita Gam.
Writer/director Sarah Polley’s bittersweet seriocomedy stars Michelle Williams as Margot, a young Toronto woman who is seemingly happily married to the affable Lou (Seth Rogen). But an undeniable attraction to a handsome and mysterious artist named Daniel (Luke Kirby) forces her to confront her growing dissatisfaction with her marriage. Will Margot find what she’s looking for with Daniel or is true contentment out of her grasp? Sarah Silverman co-stars.
All 16 episodes from season eight–including “Playing Dead,” “In Treatment,” “Salome in Manhattan,” “Major Case,” and “Revolution”–are featured in a four-disc set.
The sass is back! Mabel “Madea” Simmons (writer/director Tyler Perry) comes to the rescue as an investment banker (Eugene Levy) realizes he’s in deep trouble with the mob. Thanks to the assistance of a helpful district attorney (also Perry), the Wall Streeter and his entire family are sequestered down South with the entire Simmons clan–which leads to out-and-out wackiness in the inimitable Madea style. Denise Richards, Doris Roberts, John Amos, and Tom Arnold co-star.
The remaining 15 episodes from the seventh season–including “The Case of the Bountiful Beauty,” “The Case of the Arrogant Arsonist,” “The Case of the Simple Simon,” “The Case of the Drifting Dropout,” and “The Case of the Ugly Duckling”–are featured in a four-disc set.
This enchanting Disney Fairies CGI film follows fun-loving Tinker Bell as she travels into the mysterious Winter Woods. Once there, she encounters Periwinkle–a friendly frost fairy who possesses knowledge of a secret that will change the lives of Tinker Bell and her friends forever. With the voices of Mae Whitman, Lucy Hale, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone, Timothy Dalton, and Anjelica Huston.
All 22 episodes from the second season–including “Blax, Snake, Home,” “The Code War,” “Meet The Parrots,” “Cocktails & Dreams,” and “Kickball 2: The Kickening”–are featured in a three-disc set.
The good news is that young widow Loretta Young can turn to a family trust fund to cover daughter Betty Lynn’s college education. The bad news is that a trust proviso requires Young to enroll herself, as well, and that they’ll both wind up in a romantic rivalry over handsome professor Van Johnson. Comic charmer also stars Rudy Vallee, Robert Arthur.
Entertaining (if factually suspect) musical biodrama stars Don Ameche as songwriter Stephen Foster, tracking the Pennsylvania tunesmith’s short and turbulent life as he fell in love with the Old South and celebrated it in song. Al Jolson, Andrea Leeds, Chick Chandler, Felix Bressart co-star; Foster standards performed include “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Oh! Susanna,” “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.”
All 23 episodes from season three–including “Hit Man/The Swimmer,” “Tattoo: The Love God/Magnolia Blossoms,” “The Victim/The Mermaid,” “Jungle Man/Mary Ann and the Miss Sophisticate,” and “Eagleman/Children of Mentu”–are featured in a six-disc set.
When a ship is torpedoed by a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico, oil tanker skipper Edward G. Robinson trolls for possible survivors, and recovers mysterious beauty Lynn Bari. While he falls hard for her, his crew is skeptical…and when his own craft gets attacked, Robinson must safeguard her from their suspicions that she’s an enemy agent. Victor McLaglen, Marc Lawrence co-star.
In 1911, new widow Debbie Reynolds heads out to territorial Arizona to carve out a new life for herself and her kids. Swiftly growing fed up with the lack of law and order in the community, she resolves to clean up the town, and starts by taking the election for sheriff! Winsome comedy-western co-stars Andy Griffith, Steve Forrest, Thelma Ritter, Juliet Prowse.
Dodge Petersen’s (Steve Carell) wife has just left him–after learning that an asteroid will destroy all life on Earth in just three weeks. Hitting the road to track down an old girlfriend, Dodge is joined by his quirky British neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley), who wants to get to England to see her family. But along the way, Dodge and Penny form a strong bond that unexpectedly blossoms into something much more powerful. William Petersen, Adam Brody, and Martin Sheen co-star in this bittersweet comedy.
Fanciful musical biopic casts Mitzi Gaynor as Civil War-era stage star Lotta Crabtree, whose talent and charm sufficed to make a suitor of a determined Confederate spy (Dale Robertson). Period charmer co-stars Dennis Day, Una Merkel, Raymond Walburn; score includes “California Moon,” “Sunday Morning,” and the Oscar-nominated “Never.”
Humor was never medium nor rare whenever Ernie Kovacs graced the television screen–it was always well-done! This three-disc compilation of Kovacs programs adds to the riches delivered by the first collection with all-new material, including eight full episodes from his morning show; three complete “Take a Good Look” game shows; “The Lively Arts” interview; a 2011 American Cinematheque panel; and much more material featuring his most memorable characters.
Gritty pre-Code crime thriller stars Wallace Beery as a low-level crook who ascends to the top of a vast criminal empire that holds an entire city in its grasp–until six mysterious businessmen plot to take him down. Clark Gable and Johnny Mack Brown co-star as reporters who help dethrone Beery, and Jean Harlow is a waitress forced to choose between the man (Brown) she loves and her boss (Beery). With Lewis Stone, Marjorie Rambeau, Ralph Bellamy.
The repeal of Prohibition offers bootleg beer baron Edward G. Robinson a chance to leave his illegal past behind him and retire to a life of leisure among California’s social elite. Robinson soon learns that the horsey set can be just as greedy and devious as his old mob cronies in this crime comedy. Mary Astor, Helen Vinson also star.
Fun family fantasy-comedy concerns a young boy (George “Foghorn” Winslow) who comes upon what looks like a toy ray gun, but is actually an alien weapon that forces people to tell the truth! He sets out to save his orphanage, and understandably flummox some businessmen and politicians. Anne Francis, John Agar, Charles Coburn, Spring Byington co-star; Lenny Bruce (!) co-scripts.
Fleeing crook Clark Gable uses Jean Harlow’s apartment as a hideout, and the pair wind up falling in love. But his womanizing ways inspire Harlow to concoct an affair of her own, and Gable’s jealousy results in the “lover’s” death and Harlow’s being sent to jail for the crime! Glossy blend of romance and crime/prison drama also stars Stuart Erwin and Dorothy Burgess.
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Here’s a look at last week’s DVD and Blu-ray new releases.