New DVD releases are highlighted by Don Murray and Eva Marie Saint in the 1957 sizzler A Hatful of Rain; the charming comedy, Dreamboat (1952) with Clifton Webb and Ginger Rogers; and Martin Ritt’s 1957 acclaimed ensemble drama No Down Payment.
|Dreamboat (1952)||The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956)||Here’s Lucy: Season Six (1973)|
A Hatful of Rain (1957)
Gritty tale of drug addiction looks at a Korean War vet (Don Murray) returned home with a heroin habit, and the anguish he wreaks upon his pregnant wife (Eva Marie Saint), his oblivious, still-proud father (Lloyd Nolan), and the resentful kid brother (Anthony Franciosa) grown weary of covering for him. Fred Zinnemann’s searing take on the Michael V. Gazzo play co-stars Henry Silva, William Hickey.
From Hell to Texas (1958)
Having figured in the accidental death of a ruthless cattle baron’s son, a young cowpoke (Don Murray) goes on the run from the vengeful family’s wrath. He finds shelter from a kindly rancher (Chill Wills)–and romance with his comely daughter (Diane Varsi)–but what will happen when the cowboy’s past and pursuers catch up with him? Dennis Hopper, R.G. Armstrong, Jay C. Flippen co-star; Henry Hathaway directs.
Sprightly chronicle of the storied songwriting collaboration between Buddy De Sylva (Gordon MacRae), Ray Henderson (Dan Dailey), and Lew Brown (Ernest Borgnine) is bolstered by plenty of performances of favorites from the trio’s hummable oeuvre like “Good News,” “Sonny Boy,” “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” and the title tune. Sheree North, Tommy Noonan, Murvyn Vye co-star; Michael Curtiz directs.
The Jackpot (1950)
Overlooked little gem of a comedy starring James Stewart as an average small-town family man who thinks his dull life will improve when he wins a radio contest. What he gets is a house crammed with unwanted prizes, a live Shetland pony, a boss who’s tired of Stewart’s notoriety, and some unwanted attention from the IRS. With Barbara Hale, James Gleason, Natalie Wood.
While vacationing in the remote New Mexico desert, tycoon Robert Ryan fractures his leg. Spouse Rhonda Fleming and business partner William Lundigan tell him they’re driving off in search of help…but they’re having an affair, and they’ve got no plans of coming back. Ryan figures it out, but will he survive to exact revenge? Henry Hull, Carl Betz co-star. Not in 3D.
Battle Zone (1952)
With America’s entry into the Korean War, World War II vet John Hodiak re-ups with the Marines and gets assigned to a motion picture unit capturing combat footage. He gets reunited with brother-in-arms Stephen McNally, but what will develop when he learns of his pal’s engagement to the Red Cross nurse (Linda Christian) he left behind? Martin Milner, Jack Larson co-star.
No Down Payment (1957)
A young engineer (Jeffrey Hunter) and his spouse (Patricia Owens) looked forward into moving into a suburban development, but weren’t prepared for how the simmering problems of their new neighbors would ultimately impact their lives. Martin Ritt’s ensemble expose of postwar Americana co-stars Joanne Woodward, Tony Randall, Sheree North, Cameron Mitchell, Pat Hingle, Barbara Rush.
The Big Show (1961)
Repurposing of “House of Strangers” to (of all things) a circus setting follows a domineering show-family patriarch (Nehemiah Persoff) whose lifetime of underhanded dealings fosters resentment, misery, and a power struggle amongst his children. Effective drama co-stars Esther Williams, Cliff Robertson, Robert Vaughn, David Nelson, Margia Dean.
Respected college professor Clifton Webb was only too happy to let his days as a silent movie idol be buried in the past. His anonymity goes out the window, though, when former leading lady Ginger Rogers starts hosting TV revivals, and Webb’s only too willing to go to court to get his privacy back! Comic charmer co-stars Anne Francis, Elsa Lanchester, Jeffrey Hunter.
Richard Basehart takes on the title role in this riveting biography of the 20th century’s most infamous man. From the birth of the Nazi party to the last days in the bunker, this film was notable in attempting to offer psychosexual explanation for the Fuehrer’s destructive drives. Cordula Trantow, Maria Emo, Martin Kosleck, John Banner also star. AKA: “Women Of Nazi Germany.”
Madison Avenue (1962)
Grey-flannel drama stars Dana Andrews as a hotshot advertising executive kicked to the curb after losing a war of wills with his boss. Eager for revenge, Andrews signs on with a failing agency run by Eleanor Parker and builds it into a major player in the cutthroat ad world. With Jeanne Crain, Eddie Albert, Henry Daniell.
Operation Eichmann (1961)
Produced on the eve of Adolf Eichmann’s trial for war crimes, this riveting tale tracks the life of the notorious Nazi officer (Werner Klemperer) from his days as a prime engineer of the Holocaust, and through the dogged postwar efforts of Israeli intelligence to track him and finally bring him to justice. With Donald Buka, Barbara Turner, Ruta Lee, and Klemperer’s future “Hogan’s Heroes” co-star John Banner as Rudolf Hess.
Jackie Gleason provided plenty of pantomime and pathos (as well as the story and the score) to this underrated charmer, portraying a mute, put-upon Parisian janitor whose lonely existence changes when he opens his humble home to a prostitute (Katherine Kath) and bonds with her litle daughter (Diane Gardner). Jean Lefebvre, Jacques Marin, Albert Remy co-star; Gene Kelly directs.
Here’s Lucy: Season Six (1973)
All 24 episodes of the final season–including “Lucy and Danny Thomas,” “Lucy Gives Eddie Albert the Old Song and Dance,” “Lucy Is N.G. as an R.N.,” “Milton Berle Is the Life of the Party,” and “Lucy Fights the System”–are featured in a four-disc set.
Eight episodes–with guest stars Shirley Jones, Janet Leigh, The Osmond Brothers, Lynn Redgrave, Don Rickles, Flip Wilson, and others–are featured.
Wonder Woman (1974)
The first TV incarnation of DC Comics’ premier superheroine came in this freely adapted telefilm, as Amazon princess/government operative Diana Prince (Cathy Lee Crosby) races to stop a suave mastermind (Ricardo Montalban) poised to blow the cover of dozens of U.S. intelligence agents around the globe unless his multi-million-dollar blackmail demand is met. Kaz Garas, Andrew Prine, Anitra Ford co-star.