The present meets the past in this week’s Blu-ray and DVD new releases, with several titles from the Warner Archive Collection taking center stage. Also noteworthy are some mind-bending new releases — including a stunner from Matthew McConaughey — and vintage fare that will have you celebrating. Take a look:
Dissolute Florida charter boat skipper Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) was frittering his livelihood away when his sultry ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) reentered his life with a multi-million-dollar business proposal. All he had to do was take her loaded and monstrous new spouse (Jason Clarke)–who regularly abused Dylan’s son (Rafael Sayegh)–on a fishing run…and make sure he didn’t come back. Modern noir with an end you won’t see coming co-stars Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong.
“Get Happy” with this classic M-G-M musical starring Judy Garland as Jane Falbury, a farm owner who allows her aspiring actress sister’s theatrical troupe to stage a musical in her barn in exchange for their helping hands. But when sis takes off for Broadway, Jane steps in and learns about showbiz from leading man Joe D. Ross (Gene Kelly). Songs include “You, Wonderful You” (featuring Kelly’s legendary “newspaper dance”) and “Heavenly Music.” With Eddie Bracken, Phil Silvers. AKA: “If You Feel Like Singing.”
On a liner crossing the Caspian Sea, young army officer Michael Petroff (Lawrence Tibbett) fell into a shipboard romance with noble Tanya Strogoff (Grace Moore)…but when the powerful politician (Adolphe Menjou) she’s betrothed to gets wind of the affair, a fateful change in orders will follow. M-G-M’s first (and freely adapted) take on the Sigmund Romberg-Oscar Hammerstein II operetta co-stars Roland Young, Emily Fitzroy; score includes “Lover, Come Back to Me,” “Stout Hearted Men.”
As their liner steamed through the Panama Canal to California, rich roué Pete (Charles Ruggles) was trying to keep best pal Alan (Phil Harris) out of the marriage-minded clutches of ex Elsa (Greta Nissen). However, he steered Alan right into fresh romance with passenger Laurie (Helen Mack)…and he’ll have his own problems explaining the half-clad ladies in his stateroom to the wife! Cheeky pre-Code musical’s score includes “This Is the Hour,” “Isn’t This a Night for Love.” Look fast for Betty Grable.
Shipbuilder Sam Griggs (Frank Morgan) succumbed to a heart attack soon after sinking the family fortune into a dicey investment scheme proffered by fair-weather friend Tom Carter (Cecil Kellaway). As the ghost of his father Ben (Keenan Wynn) shows up to shepherd him to the afterlife, Sam begs Ben’s help in spectrally short-circuiting Tom’s efforts to stiff his survivors. Flavorful fantasy-comedy co-stars Gladys Cooper, Audrey Totter, Richard Quine, Marshall Thompson, Leon Ames.
Hard-working shopkeeper Murray Carter (Preston Foster) didn’t mind providing for his widowed mother Anna (May Robson). He very much minded that she in turn supported his shiftless siblings, wannabe actor Dick (William Bakewell) and budding anarchist Lewis (James Bush). What happens when she gives up the nest egg that was going to stave off foreclosure on his store? Family melodrama co-stars Florine McKinney, Suzanne Kaaren, Leon Ames, Samuel S. Hinds; Charles Vidor directs.
The researchers who thought that the Arizona desert would give them sufficient isolation for their experiments with growth hormones have a second think coming, when their travails turn a simple arachnid into a hundred-foot-tall monstrosity. Memorable sci-fi staple of the ’50s stars John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Caroll, Nestor Paiva; yes, that’s a young Clint Eastwood behind that pilot’s oxygen mask.
Stranded for weeks when his plane went down over the Arctic Circle, Overgård (Mads Mikkelsen) maintained spirit and sanity through rigid routine aimed at survival and potential escape. After a copter responding to his SOS crashes–leaving one sole rescuer (María Thelma Smáradóttir) alive but comatose–he’s left no choice but to lash her to a sled and set out across the unforgiving tundra in search of their salvation, in this spare and stunning man-versus-nature opus from Iceland.
Think pink with that star of screens both big and small, the Pink Panther, with an animated potpourri of crazy capers in which the felicitous feline always gets the upper paw. First created by DePatie-Freleng for the opening title sequence of the 1964 film comedy, the colorful cat slinked on to Saturday morning TV in 1969. This set includes “Mystic Pink,” “The Pink of Arabee,” “The Pink Pro,” “Pink Piper,” “Pinky Doodle,” “Sherlock Pink,” “Rocky Pink,” “Therapeutic Pink,” “Pink Pictures,” “Pink Arcade,” “Pink Lemonade,” “Pink Trumpet,” “Dietetic Pink,” “Sprinkle Me Pink,” “Pink U.F.O.,” “Pink Lightning,” “Cat and the Pinkstalk,” “Pink Daddy,” “Pink S.W.A.T.,” “Pink and Shovel,” “Yankee Doodle Pink,” “Pet Pink Pebbles,” and “The Pink of Bagdad.”
This electrifying made-for-TV version of Tennessee Williams’ heralded 1947 stage drama stars Jessica Lange as Blanche DuBois, the unstable Southern belle whose relationship with brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski (Alec Baldwin) leads to emotional fireworks. Diane Lane co-stars as Stanley’s passive wife, Stella; with John Goodman and Frederick Coffin.
Police Story/Police Story 2 (Criterion Collection)
“Police Story,” the debut entry in the hit action series, stars Jackie Chan (who also directed) as Hong Kong cop Chan Ka Kui, trying to convince a secretary (Brigitte Lin) to testify against her crime lord boss. Chan finds himself framed for murder and wanted by the cops as the action escalates, climaxing in an unbelievable shopping mall battle. Maggie Cheung co-stars. Then, demoted to patrolman status after his antics in the first film, lawman Chan must defuse a gang of bomb-happy extortionists’ plans to blow up downtown Hong Kong-even as he and his girlfriend (Maggie Cheung) are targeted for revenge by a criminal kingpin (Bill Tung)–in the explosive “Police Story 2.”
My Brilliant Career (Criterion Collection)
Judy Davis is outstanding as 19th-century Australian farm daughter Sybylla Melvyn, whose fierce independent streak and discontent with the societal norms of her time bring her to a choice between her desire to become a writer and the opportunity to settle down with wealthy would-be suitor Harry Beecham (Sam Neill). Wendy Hughes, Robert Grubb, Max Cullen co-star in director Gillian Armstrong’s romantic filming of the Miles Franklin novel.
Charming con man E.L. “Tenspeed” Turner (Ben Vereen) needed a legitimate enterprise to meet his parole requirements, and to that end, he formed an improbable partnership in an L.A. detective agency with buttoned-down, film noir-loving accountant Lionel “Brown Shoe” Whitney (Jeff Goldblum). Two-part pilot episode for Stephen J. Cannell’s short-lived ABC action-comedy co-stars Jayne Meadows, Robert Webber, Richard Romanus, Larry Manetti.
Eerie chiller centers on a young boy (Eric Foster), who, after being sent to live with his grandparents, seems to be the only witness to a series of bizarre incidents including the discovery of a dead body and a sighting of a ghostly knife-wielding woman who may hold the answers to his mother’s mysterious death. Kim Valentine, Len Lesser, and scream queen Brinke Stevens co-star.
The sociopathic schemes of Gallic pulp fiction’s malicious master of disguise received a lighter treatment in these Bondesque actioners that starred Jean Marais as both Fantômas and his implacable nemesis, journalist Jerome Fandor; Louis de Funès as Surete inspector Juve; and Mylène Demongeot as Fandor’s lady Hélène. In “Fantômas” (1964), the arch-villain repays Fandor’s meddling by kidnapping him and framing him for heinous deeds. “Fantômas Unchained” (1964) finds Fantômas abducting prominent scientists to build him a world-beating arsenal. Lastly, it’s “Fantômas vs. Scotland Yard” (1967), as the mastermind decides it’s time to tax the U.K.’s rich–and kill them if they reject his extortion.
Sixteen Candles (35th Anniversary Limited Edition)
Classic John Hughes comedy stars Molly Ringwald as Sam Baker, an awkward teen whose world is thrown into turmoil when her family forgets her 16th birthday. Along the way, Sam contends with her sister’s impending nuptials, the unwanted advances of a geeky schoolmate (Anthony Michael Hall), sharing her house with a foreign exchange student, all while she tries to win the heart of her dream man. With Paul Dooley, Michael Schoeffling, Gedde Watanabe.
For an overview of all of this week’s new releases, click here.