With the countdown to the holiday season tick tocking away, the hits are arriving on Blu-ray and DVD at a rapid pace. Here’s an overview of what exciting new releases are now available!
Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection (80th Anniversary Edition)
Hey Abbott! Fifteen-disc set includes “One Night in the Tropics,” “Buck Privates,” “In the Navy,” “Hold That Ghost!,” “Keep ‘Em Flying,” “Ride ‘Em Cowboy,” “Pardon My Sarong,” “Who Done It?,” “It Ain’t Hay,” “Hit the Ice,” “In Society,” “Here Come the Co-Eds,” “The Naughty Nineties,” “Little Giant,” “The Time of Their Lives,” “Buck Privates Come Home,” “The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap,” “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” “Mexican Hayride,” “Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff,” “Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion,” “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man,” “Comin’ Round the Mountain,” “Lost in Alaska,” “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars,” “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops,” and “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy,” with a disc featuring the documentaries “The World of Abbott and Costello” (1964), “Abbott and Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld” (1994), and “Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters” (2000).
In Thatcher-era England, Pakistani-British teen Javed (Viveik Kalra) was chafing under working-class life, racial tensions, and a father (Kulvinder Ghir) who sneered at his literary ambitions. After a school buddy (Aaron Phagura) turned him on to the music of Bruce Springsteen, though, he developed the confidence and courage to follow his dreams. Exhilarating coming-of-age tale–based on Sarfraz Manzoor’s book “Greetings from Bury Park” and packed with Boss standards–also stars Hayley Atwell.
Everyone’s favorite explorer makes the jump to her teen years–and live action–in this family hit, as Dora (Isabela Moner) gets shunted by her folks (Eva Longoria, Michael Peña) to the very treacherous terrain of L.A. high school. Brought back to Peru with cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) in tow, will she still be thankful with the perilous jungle quest that awaits? With Eugenio Derbez, Temuera Morrison, Q’orianka Kilcher, and Benicio Del Toro and Danny Trejo as the voices of Swiper and Boots.
Charming animated rendition of the Charles Dickens holiday tale about a courageous cricket named Crocket (voiced by Roddy McDowall) who’s looking to change the misfortunes of a put-upon toymaker (Danny Thomas) and his blind daughter (Marlo Thomas) as he comes to spend the season with them. Rankin/Bass favorite also features the voices of Hans Conried, Ed Ames, Abbe Lane.
Generation-past Hollywood diva Sally Ross (Lauren Bacall) was understandably nervous as she was kicking off a comeback with her Broadway musical debut. Unfortunately, she’s got more to worry about than the critics, as an obsessed admirer (Michael Biehn) responds to her blow-offs by systematically slaying her inner circle, and saving her for last. Stylish suspenser co-stars James Garner, Maureen Stapleton, Hector Elizondo.
When ruthless albeit fading film producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) looks to mount a comeback project, backer Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) faces a dicey pitch with three needed collaborators–actress Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), and scripter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell)–whom Shields had badly burned professionally and personally. Vincente Minnelli’s barbed look at the Golden Age of Hollywood also features Gloria Grahame, Gilbert Roland.
When World War II broke out, John Yossarian (Christopher Abbott) sought bombardier duty–in the hopes the war would end before his training. Instead, he wound up in Italy, looking for any out from the mission requirements his clueless COs kept extending. Acclaimed Hulu take on Joseph Heller’s classic combat satire from co-star/co-director/co-producer George Clooney also stars Kyle Chandler, Hugh Laurie, Daniel David Stewart, Kevin J. O’Connor, Lewis Pullman, Rafi Gavron, Austin Stowell.
Farewell, Friend (aka Honor Among Thieves)
Former mercenary Franz Propp (Charles Bronson) and doctor Dino Barran (Alain Delon), whom Propp served with in the French Foreign Legion, become reluctant partners in a safe-cracking job in this taut thriller. But while Barran is breaking in to return stolen bonds, Propp is there to take the cash in the safe for himself. And when they get locked in the vault together, they must rely on each other if they hope to make it out alive. With Brigitte Fossey, Olga Georges-Picot. AKA: “Honor Among Thieves.”
Deadline (3 DVD Collector’s Edition)
Airing in syndication over 1959-1961, this gripping anthology series with host, narrator, and occasional star Paul Stewart dramatized the stories behind some of history’s most explosive newspaper headlines, including how the men and women behind the by-lines got to the truth. Performers include Peter Falk, Diane Ladd, Robert Lansing, George Maharis, Malachi Throne, William Conrad, Simon Oakland, Mary Rydell, many others. 39 episodes are featured in this three-disc set.
One of the earliest and most powerful gangster films ever made, courtesy of producer Howard Hughes, director Howard Hawks, and co-writer Ben Hecht. Paul Muni became a star with his portrayal of bloodthirsty mobster Tony Carmonte (modeled after “Scarface” Al Capone). With Ann Dvorak, Boris Karloff, Osgood Perkins (father of Anthony), and coin-flipper George Raft.
A rarely afforded glimpse into the private life of Chuck Berry is one of the highlights of this acclaimed rockumentary, which climaxes with Chuck’s 60th birthday concert in St. Louis and a guest list that includes Eric Clapton, Julian Lennon, Keith Richards, and Linda Ronstadt. Also featured are rare archival footage and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, and other rock icons.
There are reasons why the (literally) visceral impact of “Alien” continues to resonate four decades after its release, and this revelatory examination of the horror/sci-fi staple’s creation from documentarian Alexandre Philippe (“The People vs. George Lucas”) looks at the inspirations of screenwriter Dan O’Bannon through the perspectives of film and art critics, and how Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger brought them before the camera; plus insights from Veronica Cartwright, Tom Skerritt, more.
Betty Blue (Criterion Collection)
French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Beineix creates a compelling, erotic drama about 19-year-old Betty (Béatrice Dalle), an impulsive, hot-tempered young woman who moves into the home and life of a seaside resort’s caretaker, aspiring writer Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade)…and begins destroying both. Gérard Darmon, Jacques Mathou co-star; based on a novel by Philippe Djian.
Cold War (Criterion Collection)
Poland, the late ‘40s: While spearheading a state-sponsored survey into folk music forms, composer Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) was taken with the ability and the beauty of rural vocal student Zula (Joanna Kulig). The ensuing 15 years would find them on each side of the Iron Curtain, and see their raw mutual attraction sorely tested by growing gulfs between their art, and more fatefully, their politics. Acclaimed effort from Pawel Pawlikowski (“Ida”) also stars Borys Szyc.
Aaron Spelling’s successful mix of jiggles and thrills featured a trio of shapely detectives getting in and out of all sorts of dangerous scrapes while solving crimes for Charlie, their unseen boss. Over the course of the series’s five-season run on ABC, “angels” were portrayed by Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, and Tanya Roberts; with David Doyle and John Forsythe as the voice of Charlie. All 115 episodes of the series are included in this 20-disc set.
Little Old New York (Restored Edition)
When her impoverished family sailed from early-19th-century Ireland to America in order to claim an inheritance left to her sickly brother–and he died en route–Patricia O’Day (Marion Davies) donned man-drag to assume his identity. The pose gets even more perilous with a challenge from frustrated heir Larry Delavan (Harrison Ford)…whom she starts falling for. Engaging farce that was one of Davies’ most popular vehicles co-stars J.M. Kerrigan, Harry Watson, Jr., Louis Wolheim.
The Hollywood big time may have eluded veteran thespian Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas), but at least he’s got reverence–if not much recompense–from the students at his L.A. acting studio. New recognition of his own mortality, though, finds Sandy exercising to do better by his circle, including daughter/school administrator Mindy (Sarah Baker) and just-widowed agent/best friend Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin). Chuck Lorre’s sunset-years sitcom also stars Nancy Travis, Lisa Edelstein. All eight episodes from the first season are included in this set.