There’s a stunning amount of classics that are making their home video debuts this week. So sit back, relax and plan a movie night with this alphabetical overview of what greats are now available.
|Decision Before Dawn (1951)||Ambush At Cimarron Pass (1958)|
Love Is A Racket (1932)
For all his cynical edge, NYC gossip columnist Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. had a soft spot when it came to aspiring Broadway ingenue Frances Dee. However, when the blackmail that calculating mobster Lyle Talbot tries to run on her ends with deadly consequences, will the scandal hound help participate in a cover-up? Snappy pre-Code melodrama co-stars Ann Dvorak, Lee Tracy; William Wellman directs. AKA: “Such Things Happen.”
3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman (Criterion Collection)
Desperate to escape the confines of a POW camp, a Czech woman (Ingrid Bergman) accepts the marriage proposal of a recently freed Italian soldier (Mario Vitale). In returning to his squalid fishing village of “Stromboli” (1950), she finds that she may have merely swapped one prison for another. Anguished over the abrupt suicide of her teenage son, a haughty society woman (Bergman) looks for solace in devoting herself to Rome’s impoverished, in “Europe ’51″ (1952). Alexander Knox, Giulietta Masina co-star. An elitist British couple (Bergman, George Sanders) make a “Journey To Italy” (1954) to prep their recently inherited villa for sale, and find themselves questioning the foundations of their relationship. Maria Mauban, Leslie Daniels co-star. Both the Italian- and English-language edits of “Stromboli” and “Europe ’51″ are included.
Ambush At Cimarron Pass (Remastered Edition) (1958)
Attacked by Apache warriors while escorting a prisoner charged with selling rifles to the Indians, a band of Cavalry soldiers must form an uneasy alliance with some ex-Confederate cattlemen who were similarly ambushed. Tensions run high within the two groups–especially between veteran Army sergeant Scott Brady and Georgia-born cowboy Clint Eastwood (in an early co-starring role). Thrilling frontier drama also stars Margia Dean, Frank Gerstle.
Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Vol. 2 (Remastered Edition)
The ’30s queen of the cartoon screen made her debut (as a dog!) in “Dizzy Dishes” (1930), one of 12 Fleischer Studios animated shorts featured in this collection. Also included are “Bimbo’s Initiation” (1931), “Boop-Oop-a-Doop” (1932), “Betty Boop’s Museum” (1932), “Betty Boop’s Prize Show” (1934), and more.
Whether or not you’re old enough to recall when theaters ran “Coming Attractions” after the main feature (hence the name “trailers”), you’re sure to enjoy this collection of vintage previews for such Hollywood favorites as “All About Eve,” “Viva Zapata!,” “The Petrified Forest,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Captain Blood,” “Waterloo Bridge,” “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,” and 19 more.
Decision Before Dawn (1951)
Lt. Rennick (Richard Basehart) is given a questionable assignment from commanding officer Col. Devlin (Gary Merrill): use German POWs to infiltrate the Third Reich. In charge of training the new agents is a newly minted officer from the German ranks, code-named Happy (Oskar Werner). Though everyone concerned doubts the spies will remain loyal to the Allied cause, the desperate need for leverage to win World War II pushes the operation ahead. Hildegard Knef, O.E. Hasse also star.
Farewell To Yesterday (1950)
Effective feature-length documentary, culled from the Fox Movietone newsreel archives, looks back at World War II from the prevailing forces in the 1930s that inexorably pushed the European powers into conflict, to the most harrowing battles and repercussions, to a call for enduring global vigilance to ensure they’d never be repeated.
Legendary film song-and-dance star Gene Kelly brought his terpsichorean talents to the small screen in this installment of the performing arts series “Omnibus.” Demonstrating his impeccable footwork, Kelly is also joined by such sports notables as Mickey Mantle, Johnny Unitas, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Bob Cousy to show that there’s nothing unmanly about dancing.
Guest Wife (Remastered Edition) (1945)
The planned second honeymoon for Claudette Colbert and banker hubby Dick Foran hits a snag when Foran’s best friend, foreign correspondent Don Ameche, asks to “borrow” Colbert for a trip to New York so she can pose as his wife and impress his boss.When Foran agrees, an angry Colbert decides to make him jealous by pretending to fall for the worldly Ameche, in this lively romantic romp.
Towards the end of World War I, two German soldiers are captured and put to work in Russia’s eastern wilderness. After months of exile, they set out to escape but are separated. One of the men makes it back home and begins a romance with his colleague’s wife, a romance tested when the husband finally returns. Exemplary silent melodrama from Germany’s UFA studio stars Gustav Frohlich, Lars Hanson, Dita Parlo.
Tucked away for decades halfway around the world, many of the rare U.S. and British silent films featured in this collection were, until recently, considered lost. Included are “The Chinese Fan,” an episode of the 1914 Edison serial “Dolly Of The Dailies”; director/star Mabel Normand’s Keystone short “Won In A Cupboard” (1914); “Andy’s Stump Speech” (1924), based on the popular comic strip “The Gumps”; three reels from Alfred Hitchcock’s oldest surviving work as writer/assistant director, “The White Shadow” (1924); John Ford’s show-biz comedy “Upstream” (1927); the Technicolor South Seas short “The Love Charm” (1928); and more.
Set during the Korean War, “Tank Battalion” (1958) chronicles the trials and tribulations of the close-knit crew of a tank operating behind enemy lines. When the tank breaks down, one of the men must risk his life to find the necessary parts. Don Kelly, Edward G. Robinson, Jr., Leslie Parrish, Frank Gorshin star. Then, a group of Filipino guerrillas helps stranded American refugees defend themselves against Japanese forces, in the World War II adventure “Lost Battalion” (1962). Leopoldo Salcedo, Diane Jergens star. Next, in World War II, an American demolition squad is sent into Italy, tasked with destroying an abandoned U.S. headquarters in order to prevent important information from falling into enemy hands. “Hell Raiders” (1968) stars John Agar, Richard Webb, Joan Huntington. Also includes “Shout At The Devil.”
Parachute Jumper (1933)
In Depression-era NYC, one-time hotshot Marine pilot Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. finally gets to leave the ranks of the unemployed…when he signs on as a bodyguard for gangster Leo Carrillo. When the new boss gets wind of his flying skills, he’s pushed into making some suspect cargo flights in and out of Canada. Can he ditch before it’s too late? Drama co-stars Bette Davis (who’d famously slam the film at every opportunity), Frank McHugh, Claire Dodd.
Sex Kittens Go To College (Widescreen Version) (1960)
Deadlocked in trying to find the ideal new head for their science department, a university turns to an “electronic brain” to select the perfect hire. No one’s prepared when the job goes to multi-degreed, part-time exotic dancer Mamie Van Doren! Drive-in staple from Albert Zugsmith co-stars Tuesday Weld, Mijanou Bardot, Vampira, Jackie Coogan, John Carradine, and Conway Twitty as himself.
Shack Out On 101 (Remastered Edition) (1955)
An isolated roadside cafe serves as a center for romance, blackmail, and Communist espionage, as a waitress suspects one of her customers–a scientist from a nearby nuclear lab–is selling secrets to a Red spy ring. Offbeat Cold War suspenser with a cult reputation stars Frank Lovejoy, Terry Moore, Lee Marvin, and Keenan Wynn.
Tam Lin (Remastered Edition) (1970)
Ava Gardner plays a stylish, supernatural seductress who throws decadent parties to find younger lovers, then uses witchcraft to ensnare them and keep herself eternally beautiful. Based on a Scottish folk tale, this offbeat chiller (the sole directorial effort of Roddy McDowall) also stars Ian McShane, Stephanie Beacham, Cyril Cusack, and Joanna Lumley. AKA: “The Devil’s Widow.”
All 26 episodes from the second and final season are featured in a six-disc set.
The Americano (Remastered Edition) (1955)
Texas cattleman Glenn Ford heads way south of the Rio Grande, delivering a trio of prize bulls to a Brazilian rancher. Once there, Ford finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly South American range war between his buyer’s murderer and a lovely lady rancher. Director William Castle’s offbeat western also stars Cesar Romero, Frank Lovejoy, Ursula Thiess, Abbe Lane.
The Big Combo (Widescreen Version) (1955)
This downbeat “noir” thriller raised a few eyebrows due to its violence and controversial themes. Cornel Wilde plays a dedicated cop–out to bring down crime boss Richard Conte–who gets involved with icy blonde Jean Wallace, Conte’s mistress. Wilde must immerse himself in the Mafia underworld and deal with hit men and seedy informants to take Conte down. Brian Donlevy, Lee Van Cleef, and Earl Holliman co-star.
The Border Sheriff (1926)
There’s lots of action and drama in this exciting silent oater, with Jack Hoxie playing a tough Arizona sheriff who journeys to San Francisco to track down smugglers. After helping a rancher deal with Chinatown thugs, Hoxie uncovers that some of the rancher’s own workers are involved in the goings-on. Gilbert Holmes, Olive Hasbrouck also star.
Who better than Dino to host a roast? Spun off from “The Dean Martin Show,” this 1973-84 roast series saw Martin holding court with a panel of famous friends and colleagues, each stepping up to the podium to offer a good-natured ribbing to the guest of honor. These zinger-packed shows featured appearances by Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Howard Cosell, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Don Rickles, and many, many others. Six-disc set includes 12 complete programs; roastees include Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, and Martin himself!
Nobody hosts a roast like Dino! Join Dean Martin and a panel of his famous friends as they fete celebrity guests of honor with one zinger after another. This “best of” compilation of the 1973-84 series spun off from “The Dean Martin Show” includes footage of humorous tributes to Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and others; roasters include Foster Brooks, George Burns, Redd Foxx, Janet Leigh, Tony Randall, Mickey Rooney, Orson Welles, and many, many others.
All 24 episodes of the second season–including “Hot Air Hero,” “Track of the Cougar,” “Woman in the Wilderness,” “The Quest,” and “The World’s Greatest Bounty Hunter”–are featured in a four-disc set.
Elisabeth Bergner plays the title role in producer Alexander Korda’s lavish biodrama that follows Catherine’s stormy marriage to crazed Czar Peter III and how, following his assassination, she ascended to the throne and helped make 18th-century Russia a world power. With Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Flora Robson. AKA: “Catherine The Great.”
The White Outlaw (1925)
It’s not a two-legged outlaw that Jack Hoxie is looking for in this silent frontier tale, but his horse Scout, who was driven off and joined up with a herd of wild stallions. Can Jack find his equine pal before the real bad guys destroy the untamed steeds? With Marceline Day, William Welsh, and Buck the dog.
The Working Man (1933)
Miffed when he overhears his cocky nephew (Hardie Albright) assert that he could better guide the family shoe manufacturing concern, an annoyed CEO (George Arliss) storms off on vacation. A chance encounter with a late rival’s frivolous kids (Bette Davis, Theodore Newton)–who have no idea who he is and have let their father’s business fall apart–leads Arliss to wheedle his way into running their operations and impart lessons to all three young people, in this charming farce.
Please see our list of New DVD Releases from last week