Summer is officially here, and along with the season the home video hits are heating up. This week, there’s an abundance of huge hits from the golden age of Hollywood taking the spotlight alongside of more recent offerings. Here’s a look at what DVDs and Blu-rays are now available!
House of Wax (3D)(1953)
Timeless horror favorite stars Vincent Price as Henry Jarrod, the operator of a wax museum in 1850s Baltimore who is crippled after being caught in a fire set by his greedy partner for the insurance money. With help from his mute aide (Charles Bronson, billed as Charles Buchinsky), a vengeful Jarrod opens a new venue…one whose subjects look a little too realistic. Phyllis Kirk, Frank Lovejoy and Carolyn Jones also star. 88 min. Also includes the bonus feature “Mystery of the Wax Museum” (1933).
Strike Up the Band (1940)
Teens Jimmy Connors (Mickey Rooney) and Mary Holden (Judy Garland) lift their school’s spirits when they update its stodgy orchestra into a swing band, but can they raise enough cash for the kids to hit the road and compete in front of Paul Whiteman (as himself)? Second scintillating Garland-Rooney musical co-stars June Preisser, William Tracy, Larry Nunn; Busby Berkeley directs. Score includes “Our Love Affair,” “Nobody,” “Nell of New Rochelle,” and the title tune.
Based on a true story, this powerful drama focuses on South Carolina Ku Klux Klan member Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund) and his desire to leave the hate group. His racist ideas challenged due to his relationship with a single mother (Andrea Riseborough), Burden’s protection from the Klan’s retribution comes unexpectedly from David Kennedy (Forest Whitaker), an African-American Baptist reverend. With Tom Wilkinson, Tess Harper, Usher Raymond.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Criterion Collection)(2019)
In the late 18th century, painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) came to Brittany, commissioned to render–covertly–a wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), unhappily betrothed in a chattel marriage. Posing as a hired companion, the conflicted artist ultimately let the pretense slip…and Héloïse would return her candor by forming an intense and forbidden bond. Writer/director Céline Sciamma’s acclaimed opus also stars Valeria Golino, Luàna Bajrami.
Murder by Decree (1979)
The streets of Victorian London run red with the blood of murdered women, and only one man can catch Jack the Ripper and end his reign of terror: Sherlock Holmes. But is the sleuth ready for where the clues in the case may lead? Christopher Plummer and James Mason star as Holmes and Watson in this stylish whodunit; with Genevieve Bujold, Donald Sutherland, and John Gielgud.
Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) is a rising young New York City District Attorney and the successful daughter of a powerful family. When her father (Patrick Warburton) suddenly dies, he leaves her a set of keys to an unknown bomb shelter on their estate. There she discovers a secret buried so deep that not even her mother (Connie Nielsen) knows about it. Entrapped in a web of lies and manipulation, what she uncovers may rip apart the fabric of her family dynasty and threaten her life and all those around her.
And Then We Danced (2019)
For young dancer Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani), maintaining his hard-won slot with the National Georgian Ensemble took all the effort and mental energy he had to give. Staying on point would become harder still, with the arrival of the charismatic and talented Irakli (Bachi Valishvili)–and their rivalry for a featured role would be complicated by a mutual attraction that could threaten both their careers. Acclaimed social portrait also stars Ana Javakishvili, Kakha Gogidze.
Decades before he was dusting Wayne Manor, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) was an ex-SAS officer club bouncing in London while trying to start his own security firm. He wound up on the radar of an anarchist secret society–and resolved to take them down with the help of moneyed CIA operative Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge). Adventurous look at the early days of Batman’s butler from Epix co-stars Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Emma Paetz, Ryan Fletcher, Paloma Faith, and Jason Flemyng. All 10 episodes from the debut season are featured in a three-disc set.
Tokyo Olympiad (Criterion Collection)(1965)
Director Kon Ichikawa’s documentary look at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, from the opening and closing ceremonies to track and field, swimming and gymnastic events, was acclaimed for the filmmaker’s artistic presentation of the skill and spirit of the competitors, which transcended traditional sports documentaries of the era.
A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (2019)
Brutal British/Belgian crime thriller follows (Sarah Bolger), a mother-of-two whose determination to find out who’s responsible for her husband’s recent, mysterious murder sends her down a violent path when a lowlife criminal (Andrew Simpson) who thinks her flat is a great place to hide some stolen drugs puts her on the wrong side of one of Northern Ireland’s most vicious crime bosses (Edward Hogg). With Jane Brennan, Caolan Byrne.
The Mad Fox (1962)
In medieval Japan, a court astrologer’s prediction of national disaster was thanked with the slaying of his entire family, leaving his apprentice Yasuna (Hashizô Ôkawa)–who had loved his mentor’s daughter Sakaki (Michiko Saga)–to flee into the wild. Is the woman (Saga) he encounters there really Sakaki’s long-lost sister…or an otherworldly entity? Director Tomo Uchida’s colorful, kabuki-informed expressionist fantasy-drama also stars Ryûnosuke Tsukigata. AKA: “Love, Thy Name Be Sorrow.”
Hans Christian Andersen (1952)
Danny Kaye stars as the Danish cobbler-turned-storyteller extraordinaire in a fanciful family favorite, loosely based on Andersen’s life. Lavish sets and ballet sequences and a Frank Loesser score that includes “Inchworm,” “Thumbelina,” and “The Ugly Duckling” add to this timeless fantasy. Co-stars Farley Granger, Zizi Jeanmaire, Joey Walsh; directed by Charles Vidor.
The Spider (1958)
A giant arachnid is found in the desert (darn those pesky A-bomb tests!) and starts terrorizing a nearby town in this horror/sci-fi tale from “B”-horror legend Bert I. Gordon. Can two high school kids, their science teacher, and the local sheriff stop the eight-legged monster before it’s too late? Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, Gene Roth, Eugene Persson star. AKA: “Earth vs the Spider.”
The Last Valley (1971)
Famed author James Clavell scripted and directed this historical adventure set in 17th-century Central Europe, when the continent was embroiled in the Thirty Years’ War. Wanderer Vogel (Omar Sharif), a former teacher who lost his family in the conflict, seeks refuge in a village hidden in a remote valley. The peace is soon shattered, though, by the arrival of an army captain (Michael Caine) and his men. With Florinda Bolkan, Nigel Davenport, Per Oscarsson.
In the tradition of “The Wind and the Lion” comes this lavish adventure based on James Michener’s best-selling novel. Michael Sarrazin is an American diplomat assigned to locate a senator’s daughter (Jennifer O’Neill), who has run away from an Iranian officer in order to be with a Bedouin rebel (Anthony Quinn). Also starring in the sweeping epic are Christopher Lee and Joseph Cotten.
Click here for an overview of all of this week’s new releases.