Top DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Week of 4-22-12

We’ve got another week of film favorites on deck for you! This time around, you’ll be treated to new releases including the likes of Gene Raymond, Fess Parker, Robert Montgomery, Ingrid Bergman, Robert Duvall, and many more. There’s also recent theatrical hits and TV favorites for you to check out. Here we go!

Hooray for Love

The clumsy efforts of a wannabe Broadway producer (Gene Raymond) to make time with a pretty radio singer (Ann Sothern) don’t go unnoticed by her con-man dad (Thurston Hall), who soon has the impressionable impresario mortgaging his ancestral home to pay for a show. Sprightly musical spotlights performances by Bill Robinson, Fats Waller, Jeni Le Gon, Maria Gambarelli; Dorothy Fields-Jimmy McHugh score includes “I’m Livin’ in a Great Big Way,” “You’re an Angel,” and the title tune.

Tarzan: The First Season, Part One

This fondly remembered series take on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ jungle lord aired on NBC from 1966-68 and starred Ron Ely as an articulate, truer-to-text Lord Greystoke. Freshly returned from civilization, Tarzan kept the veldt safe from poachers and other menaces with the aid of wild child Jai (Manuel Padilla, Jr.) and, of course, Cheetah the chimp. The first 15 episodes of the debut season–including “Eyes Of The Lion,” “A Life For A Life,” “The Prodigal Puma,” “Pearls Of Tanga,” and “The Ultimate Duel”–are featured in a four-disc set.

Tarzan: The First Season, Part Two

The final 16 episodes of the debut season–including “The Fire People,” “Cap’n Jai,” “Basil Of The Bulge,” “To Steal The Rising Sun,” and “Man Killer”–are featured in a four-disc set.

The Jayhawkers!

1850s Kansas Territory, torn apart by violence over the issue of slavery, is the setting for this sweeping frontier drama. Fess Parker plays a settler and prison escapee who agrees to infiltrate a band of raiders whose leader (Jeff Chandler) was responsible for the death of Parker’s wife. Nicole Maurey, Henry Silva co-star.

The Organizer

Controversial and highly praised political drama stars Marcello Mastroianni as a professor who has fled Genoa and lands in Turin, where he witnesses the horrible conditions encountered by textile workers. While he dodges would-be assassins, Mastroianni organizes the laborers into forming a union. With Annie Girardot, Bernard Blier.

The Wicker Tree

Writer/director Robin Hardy‘s long-anticipated reimagining of his 1973 cult film “The Wicker Man” finds two Texas missionaries (Brittania Nicol, Henry Garrett) invited to preach to the residents of an isolated village in Scotland. Only too late do they realize they have been drawn inside a pagan community whose charismatic leader (Graham McTavish) has dark designs on them involving a bizarre ritual. Based on Hardy’s novel “Cowboys for Christ”; Honeysuckle Weeks, Clive Russell, and Christopher Lee co-star.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Superlative BBC spy miniseries from John Le Carre’s novel stars Alec Guinness as George Smiley, a retired agent for the British Secret Intelligence Service, called back into service to find an agency mole working for the Russians. With no access to special files and having to depend on old contacts, Smiley feverishly tries to pin down the person responsible for the deaths of fellow SIS agents. With Ian Bannen, Ian Richardson, and Joss Ackland.

Titanic

Produced to mark the 100th anniversary of the sea disaster that shocked the world, this lavish British mini-series mixes real and fictitious characters and uses impressive effects to follow the “unsinkable” luxury liner Titanic and her passengers and crew on the ship’s ill-fated transatlantic maiden voyage. The ensemble cast includesDavid Calder, Toby Jones, Linda Kash, James Wilby.

I Was a Spy

Based on a true story, this British wartime espionage tale stars Madeleine Carroll as Marthe Cnockaert, a Belgian nurse treating German soldiers who works with an undercover agent (Herbert Marshall) to pass military information to the Allies during World War I. Conrad Veidt plays the German commandant who is drawn to Cnockaert, only to have her arrested when she is discovered; with Edmund Gwenn,Gerald du Maurier.

Is There Life on Mars?

Did NASA’s robot explorers finally locate life on the red planet? In this exciting program from “Nova,” viewers will rediscover the saga of Spirit and Opportunity, the two probes that roved the surface of Mars for over four years. In addition, the discoveries of the third probe, Phoenix, are shared–including the information gleaned from its obtaining an ice sample, where traces of life might be more readily found.

Adventures of Power

Against his father’s wishes, small-town misfit Power (Ari Gold) leaves home to pursue his lifelong dream: to become the greatest air-drummer in the world. With only a little cash, some breakfast cereal, and his imaginary drumsticks, the young dreamer embarks on a cross-country trip to New Jersey, where he hopes to join an elite underground air-drumming crew. Jane Lynch, Adrian Grenier, Michael McKean co-star in this hilarious offbeat comedy.

Badge 373

Based on the real-life exploits of New York City detective Eddie Egan (the inspiration for “The French Connection”), this explosive drama stars Robert Duvall as a no-nonsense Big Apple cop. Wrongly kicked off the force after a suspect’s death, Duvall takes the law into his own hands to bring down a Puerto Rican crime syndicate. With Verna Bloom, Henry Darrow, and Egan.

Birdsong

Author Sebastian Faulks’ riveting novel set during World War I comes to the small screen, chronicling the epic love story between a British army officer (Eddie Redmayne) and the young woman (Clemence Poesy) he meets while staying with a family in France. The narrative shifts back and forth in time between their passionate romance and the time, years later, when the soldier takes to the trenches haunted by their time together. Matthew Goode, Thomas Turgoose also star.

Car 54: Where Are You?: The Complete Second Season

All 30 episodes from season two–including “Hail To The Chief,” “Toody And Muldoon Sing Along With Mitch,” “The White Elephant,” “See You At The Bar Mitzvah,” and the series finale “The Curse Of The Snitkins”–are featured in a four-disc set. 13 hrs. total.

Celebrity Bowling: Bowling for Laughs

The way they bowled people over with yuks through sitcoms and stand-up, a 7-10 split should be no big thing for the comic competitors in these two episodes, including Gabe Kaplan, Charles Nelson Reilly, Norm Crosby, Shelley Berman, and Pat Harrington.

Cinema Verite

Diane Lane and Tim Robbins star as Pat and Bill Loud, the Santa Barbara couple who allowed their lives, and the lives of their five children, to be documented in the 1973 PBS reality series “An American Family.” This gripping true life drama goes behind the scenes of the show’s production and depicts how the Louds dealt with the stress of having their family’s problems filmed for the entire country to see. James Gandolfini, Kathleen Quinlan, Thomas Dekker also star.

Contraband

Former smuggler Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is drawn back into a life of crime when he must help his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry Jones) pay the $700,000 he owes to a ruthless mob boss (Giovanni Ribisi). As Farraday plans to move some counterfeit cash out of Panama, he tasks an old friend (Ben Foster) with protecting his wife (Kate Beckinsale) and kids. But an unexpected betrayal could put them all in grave danger. J.K. Simmons co-stars in this thrilling remake of an Icelandic actioner.

Dark Tide

In this compelling thriller, Halle Berry stars as Kate, a shark expert whose business falters after a diver under her command is attacked by one of the ferocious fish. Stuck with mounting debt following the accident, she is given a second chance when her old flame arranges for her to assist a multimillionaire on a dangerous shark dive. But will Kate’s expedition sink or swim? With Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown.

Daughter of Deceit

After learning of his wife’s adultery, a casino manager disowns the young daughter he believes to be the product of the affair and spends 20 years steeped in bitterness. Upon learning that she is truly his, he embarks on a frantic search to find her and make amends. Remarkable mix of melodrama and comedy from Luis Bunuel stars Fernando Soler, Alicia Caro,Fernando Soto,Ruben Rojo.

Hit!

A federal agent whose daughter died from a drug overdose is stymied by the government in his attempts to crack the foreign-based operation responsible, so he assembles his own vigilante team to bring the crime ring down. Thrilling action tale stars Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, Gwen Welles, Sid Melton.

Lassiter

Tom Selleck shines as Nick Lassiter, a sophisticated American ladies’ man and cat burglar plying his trade in late 1930s England. When his latest caper lands him in police custody, Lassiter is offered his freedom in exchange for stealing a fortune in Nazi diamonds from the German embassy in London. Jane Seymour, Lauren Hutton, and Bob Hoskins co-star in this stylish thriller.

National Geographic: Ultimate Nature Collection, Vol. 2

This thrilling collection of National Geographic nature documentaries includes “Giant Bears Of Kodiak Island” (1992), which examines how development of the island may affect the mammoth Alaskan carnivores; “Superpride” (2008), the study of over 3,000 lions in the Serengeti; “The Rise Of Black Wolf” (2011), a look at the oldest (and most rebellious) wolf in Yellowstone; and “Return Of The Clouded Leopards” (2011), an account of the moving rehabilitation of two orphaned cubs. Ten-disc set also includes “Eden At The End Of The World,” “Climbing Redwood Giants,” “Great White Odyssey,” “Rhino Rescue,” “American Serengeti,” and “Big Sur.”

Return

Powerful drama boasts a masterful performance from Linda Cardellini as a soldier returned to her Ohio rust-belt home from her Middle East deployment, who finds herself in a struggle to reconnect with her family and former routines. Different perspective on reacclimating GIs co-stars Michael Shannon, John Slattery, Talia Balsam.

Panama Hattie

Ann Sothern is the sassy saloon keeper whose Central American bar is a haven for fighting sailors, romancing couples, and sinister spies in this filming of the Cole Porter Broadway musical. Dan Dailey, Red Skelton, Virginia O’Brien, Lena Horne also star; songs include “It Was Just One of Those Things,” “I’ve Still Got My Health,” “The Son of a Gun Who Picks on Uncle Sam.”

Poirot: Series 4

All three feature-length fourth-season mysteries–”The ABC Murders,” “Death In The Clouds,” and “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe”–are presented in a three-disc set.

Pony Express

Rousing western adventure about the founding of the Pony Express stars Charlton Heston as Buffalo Bill Cody and Forrest Tucker as Wild Bill Hickok, who battle the weather, California secessionists, and marauding Sioux Indians to get the mail-delivery service off and running. Rhonda Fleming and Jan Sterling also star.

Joan of Paris

Rousing thriller of the French Resistance stars Michele Morgan as a Parisian barmaid who may have to sacrifice all when she elects to aid a quintet of downed flyers in evading the Gestapo and returning behind Allied lines. Powerful war story, lensed in 1941 and released post-Pearl Harbor, also stars Paul Henreid, Thomas Mitchell, Laird Cregar, and Alan Ladd.

The Buccaneer

Cecil B. DeMille‘s historical-based swashbuckler stars Fredric March in the title role of French pirate captain Jean Lafitte, who comes to the aid of general Andrew Jackson (Hugh Sothern) in defending the city of New Orleans from British invaders during the War of 1812. Margot Grahame, Franciska Gaal, Walter Brennan also star.

Rage in Heaven

Having fled a Parisian mental hospital, a British steel mill heir (Robert Montgomery) returns home and successfully hides the truth about his incarceration, going so far as to woo and win his mother’s beautiful new secretary (Ingrid Bergman). However, his facade slowly begins to crack, and his delusional resentment of his supportive best friend (George Sanders) build towards tragedy. Suspenseful story co-stars Lucile Watson, Oskar Homolka, Aubrey Mather.

For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.

Here’s a look at last week’s DVD & Blu-ray releases.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713983697 Gordon S. Jackson

    Just wondering if anyone knows what is happening with all of those wonderful fifties Fox titles, “From Hell to Texas”, “A Hatful of Rain”, “The Wayward Bus”, “The Sound and the Furty” and 1962s “Gigot.” that a number of us keep requesting.  We live in hope that they will surface in North American as pristine, widescreen dvds (except for “Gigot” which I do not think was filmed in widescreen.)  If anyone knows, please advise.  Many thanks.

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  • Bernard Seto

    Fox must be the WORST studio in releasing old classic films made in the 50s and 60s on DVD format
    there are movies starring Tyrone Power, Betty Grable, Susan Hayward, Pat Boone, Deborah Kerr,
    Horst Buchholz, Ingrid Bergman… all CLASS A productions that were box office hits in their
    theatrical release and had never seen the light of day since the advent of home video (VHS format yet)
    I always wonder is it because there are no knowleageable people around to advise them what to release or is it the video rights are not available ? I am talking about titles like “Marriage-Go-Around”,
    “Untamed”, “The Visit”, “Beloved Infidel”, “April Love”, “Bernadine”, “A Certain Smile”,”Nine Hours to Rama”, “King of Khyber Rifles”, “A Hatful of Rain”, “Rapture”, “Sons and Lovers” “All Hands on Deck”,
    “Lady in Ermine”…etc etc.

  • Stratfordr1

    Hello when are they going to release ADA with Susan Hayward & Dean Martin. With the elections coming up this would be very topical i should think!

  • Chris

    I know it’s not a cinematic classic, but what about a release of Rosalind Russell’s “Oh Dad, Poor Dad…”?  I remember seeing it at the drive-in as a child and finding it funny.  Would like to see why.

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