That’s pretty much the only word we can use to describe this week’s DVD and Blu-ray new releases. There’s a stunning amount of Hollywood heavy hitters that are now available, and if these weren’t exciting enough, other offerings include recent theatrical faves, British sci-fi thrillers, and so much more. Gaze upon these titles with wonder, as there’s never been a better time to have a home video library!
Originally slotted as one of M-G-M’s “B” pictures, this screwball comedy/murder mystery was boosted to box-office smash by the natural elegance and charm of its leads, William Powell and Myrna Loy, as Nick and Nora Charles. Nick is a carousing retired detective whose latest case puts him on the trail of a missing “thin man,” Nora is his wealthy heiress wife, and Asta is their terrier pooch. W.S. Van Dyke directs from Dashiell Hammett’s novel; with Maureen O’Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, and Edward Ellis.
Four Oscars went to director Elia Kazan’s adaptation of playwright Tennessee Williams’ sordid 1947 play of lust and madness in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Marlon Brando launched a revolution in screen acting with his raw portrayal of brutish salesman Stanley Kowalski, who clashes with his wife’s sister Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh), a neurotic and delicate Southern belle haunted by her checkered past, who comes to live with them. With Kim Hunter, Karl Malden.
Unemployed journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) gets a new gig when he’s hired as a speechwriter for Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), U.S. Secretary of State, presidential candidate…and Fred’s onetime babysitter and unrequited crush. Despite their vast differences, they begin to hit it off and start dating. But will the less-than-sophisticated Fred prove to be too big a liability to Charlotte’s campaign? Raunchy romantic comedy also stars O’Shea Jackson, Jr., June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk
Crime novelist Bob Crane (Preston Foster) and socialite Carolyn Martin (Whitney Bourne) were each suspected by Commissioner Theron (Samuel S. Hinds) of being the infamous jewel thief dubbed “the Gentleman”–so he baited a trap at his estate with fabulous diamonds, and tendered them weekend invites. While Crane’s the culprit, she’s a safecracker as well…and there’s soon jostling for the loot as well as romantic attention. Donald Meek, Cecil Kellaway, Paul Guilfoyle, Arthur Lake also star.
Facing professional suspension for his recklessness, auto racer Bill Foster (Dick Purcell) of course had to get into a fender-bender with a bus…and transport company honcho Jerry Neeley (Beverly Roberts) is putting it all on him. To thumb his nose, he takes a driving job with her biggest competitor–but she may be his only out once he gets wise to his new employer’s dicey safety practices. Crisp programmer co-stars Gloria Blondell, Donald Briggs, Charley Foy, William Hopper.
Quatermass and the Pit (AKA Five Million Years to Earth)
Made nine years after the British TV version, this suspenseful and thought-provoking sci-fi tale stars Andrew Keir as Professor Quatermass, who goes to work when a long-dormant extraterrestrial craft is found buried in a London construction site and suddenly starts emitting powerful alien telekinetic energy that threatens to tear the city apart. James Donald, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover also star.
Mind-controlling alien organisms land in England and take over military personnel and top government leaders in the second entry in the British sci-fi series. Now, it’s up to the intrepid Professor Bernard Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) to find a way to put an end to the evil extraterrestrials’ sinister scheme of conquest and save the Earth. With Sidney James, John Longden, Bryan Forbes, William Franklyn, Vera Day. AKA: “Enemy from Space.”
Set in 1830, this eerie blend of horror and eroticism tells of female bloodsucker Carmilla Karnstein (Yutte Stensgaard), who is brought back to life and enrolls in a girls’ school as a new student named Mircalla. It’s not long before the fanged femme fatale is feeding on her comely classmates while being pursued by a teacher (Michael Johnson) who’s become obsessed with her. Suzannah Leigh, Barbara Jefford, and Ralph Bates co-star in this Hammer chiller, a sequel to “The Vampire Lovers.”
Classic Hammer shocker, set in a 19th-century Cornish village where a couple arrives to investigate the strange death of the husband’s brother. What they find is a series of killings whose victims appear to have been bitten by a snake and a chilling curse from the Asian jungle that turns one young woman into a savage, scaly horror. Jacqueline Pearce, Noel Willman star.
A leopard that’s part of a publicity stunt for a nightclub singer escapes and is naturally blamed for a series of bloody maulings on the New Mexico landscape. But is the wild cat actually the culprit or is it merely being used to cover the tracks of the real–and very human–killer? Based on the novel “Black Alibi” by Cornell Woolrich, this shocking whodunit from producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur stars Dennis O’Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell.
Roger Corman (as Henry Neill) directs this thriller starring Vic Morrow as Harry Black, a pilot who gets mixed up in all sorts of danger when the man who chartered his plane for a flight to Istanbul is suddenly murdered upon arrival. Harry finds himself pursued by a mysterious, beautiful woman (Suzanne Pleshette) and a powerful gangster (Victor Buono), both of whom seem to think he’s in possession of valuable counterfeiting plates. With Cesar Romero, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Ansara. AKA: “How to Make It,” “What’s in It for Harry?”
Based on a true story, this drama from director Taylor Hackford (“Ray”) follows Grace (Helen Mirren) and Charlie (Joe Pesci) as they open Nevada’s first legal brothel. As they attempt to make their business a success, their relationship is thrown into turmoil when Grace falls for a heavyweight boxer managed by her spouse–resulting in tragedy. With Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Gina Gershon, Bai Ling.
San Francisco marketing guru Scott Russell (Michael Ealy) wanted to present wife Annie (Meagan Good) with the house of her dreams…and they thought they’d found it when eccentric widower Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid) listed his mansion in Napa Valley. However, the ink wasn’t dry on the deed before Charlie showed he wasn’t as ready to move on as he claimed–and his odd lurking would snowball into a full-blown campaign of terror. Unnerving suspenser co-stars Joseph Sikora, Alvina August.
While investigating a knifing, Copenhagen cop Christian (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) sees the collar go horribly wrong…and his partner mortally wounded by the suspect, Libyan national Imran (Eriq Ebouaney). His vengeful pursuit gets complicated, as he discovers Imran’s true agenda…and that of a cynical CIA agent (Guy Pearce) running interference for the killer. Thriller from Brian De Palma also stars Carice van Houten, Søren Malling, Paprika Steen, Mohammed Azaay.
The town of Uglyville is where dolls go when they have a less-than-perfect appearance. Moxy (voiced by Kelly Clarkson) is one such doll. When she leads a group of fellow outcast toys into a world where dolls are put through grueling tests to prove their worth, can Moxy and her friends demonstrate that being just like everybody else isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Based on the plush toy line, this computer-animated movie with a timeless message also features the voices of Janelle Monáe, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton.