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Classic Coming Attractions by Barrie Maxwell

Barrie Maxwell - Main Page

The Latest Classic Release Announcements

Well, it's been a busy summer and I'm somewhat behind on reviewing the latest classic releases, so for this outing, I'll restrict myself to dealing with the latest announcements. Most of the major players have chimed in with some good release news for the fall, so let's get to it. The classic release database has not been updated the reflect the following news at this time. I'll try to do that within the next week or so.

Criterion goes to Japan in October and returns with four Japanese titles for release on the 4th. They are Kihachi Okamoto's Kill! (1968), Masaki Kobayashi's Samurai Rebellion (1967), Masahiro Shinoda's Samurai Spy (1965), and Hideo Gosha's Sword of the Beast (1965). Each will be available separately or as part of the box set Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics. Also coming on October 18th is Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai (1967) along with the previously anticipated Wages of Fear (1952) by Henri-Georges Clouzot. November 8th brings Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1959) with audio commentary by film scholar James Quandt and Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu in a 2-disc edition that includes audio commentary, new interviews, and a two and a half hour documentary on Mizoguchi. The often-requested Tales of Hoffman is set for November 22nd. It will include audio commentary by Martin Scorsese and Bruce Eder. Louis Malle's Murmur of the Heart (1971) and Lacombe Lucien (1974) are planned for early 2006.

Disney's fifth wave of Walt Disney Treasures is set for December 6th and will present, as previously expected, four two-disc releases: The Chronological Donald Volume Two: 1942-1946, Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts: 1920s-1960s, Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes, and The Adventures of Spin & Marty - The Mickey Mouse Club. Extras on Chronological Donald will include a chat with the current voice of Donald, a complete episode of A Day In The Life of Donald Duck, an Art and Animation of Carl Barks featurette, a rarely-seen vintage WWII short starring Donald, a timeline of the Walt Disney Studios during the World War II years 1941-1945, and still galleries. The Disney Rarities disc will include audio commentary for A Symposium on Popular Songs by composer Richard Sherman, Alice's Cartoon World in which Leonard Maltin discusses Disney's historic "Alice" shorts with Virginia Davis who played the original Alice when she was 4-years old, a timeline of Walt's silent era, a rarely seen short supporting the Community Chest, and still galleries. Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox will include an interview with Robert Loggia (star of Elfego Baca), a Tales of Courage and Adventure featurette and a stills gallery. Lastly, the Adventures of Spin and Marty DVD will include the complete episode of the Mickey Mouse Club that first introduced the series, Tim Considine's original screen test, Return to the Triple R where Tim Considine and David Stollery give an exclusive interview and tour the location that was the original "Triple R Ranch" filming site, and a Back in the Saddle with Harry Carey Jr. feature where the actor reminisces with Leonard Maltin.

Fox's final batch of Studio Classics for 2005 will appear on November 1st. Orchestra Wives (1942), the only unexpected title in the group, will come with audio commentary by Fayard Nicholas and Anne Rutherford. The Rains Came (1939) will have commentary by film historians Anthony Slide and Robert Birchard, while Two for the Road (1967) features audio commentary by director Stanley Donen. The two-disc anniversary editions of State Fair (1945) - 60th, Oklahoma! (1955) - 50th, and The Sound of Music (1965) - 40th, will all arrive on November 15th. The main supplement on State Fair will be the 1962 remake (2.35:1 anamorphic) that will appear on the second disc along with audio commentary by Pat Boone. Oklahoma! will include both CinemaScope (2.55:1 anamorphic) and Todd-AO versions (2.20:1 anamorphic), each with audio commentary (by Ted Chapin and Hugh Fordin on the former, and Shirley Jones and Nick Redman on the latter). The Sound of Music will offer a 2.20:1 anamorphic transfer and two commentaries (by Robert Wise and by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer). Finally, November 22nd will see the release of three more Shirley Temple films with both black and white and colourized versions on each disc. The titles are: Baby Take a Bow (1934), Bright Eyes (1934), and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938). Finally, Fox's last wave of Film Noir for 2005 will arrive on December 6th. The titles are The Dark Corner (1946), Kiss of Death (1947), and Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950). All will have audio commentary, that on the latter by noir aficionado Eddie Muller who by the way (according to his website) has also recorded commentaries for No Way Out, Fallen Angel, The Brasher Doubloon, and The House on Telegraph Hill - so those titles should be on the way from Fox in 2006.

The previously rumoured The Man with the Golden Arm: 50th Anniversary Special Edition will be released by Hart Sharp Video on October 18th. The 1955 film was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Frank Sinatra. The disc is announced as having a newly restored transfer with audio commentary by film historian Ken Barnes (of the UK's Laureate DVD) and several other features including a 45-minute interview with composer Elmer Bernstein. The transfer will be full screen as originally shot and have a newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 track as well as the original mono. On the same date, Hart Sharp will also release Charlie Chaplin: The Forgotten Years, an hour-long documentary focusing on Chaplin's life during 1952-1977.

On October 4th, Image will release Edgar G. Ulmer: The King of the Bs which makes a number of All-Day Entertainment's previous Ulmer releases available in a three-disc set. Included are The Strange Woman, Bluebeard, Moon over Harlem, Strange Illusion, Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, and extensive extras. On October 18th, the fourth season of the definitive Twilight Zone collection will appear. Then on the 25th, we'll get two Gene Autry westerns (Guns and Guitars, and The Singing Cowboy) and a double bill of two Cecil B. DeMille silent films (Don't Change Your Husband and The Golden Chance). Two further DeMille double bills are set for November 29th (Why Change Your Wife?/Miss Lulu Bett) and December 27th (Old Wives for New/The Whispering Chorus). These DeMille releases have been anticipated for some time now, so it's good to get confirmation. On November 1st, Image will offer the second set of Tales of Tomorrow: Season One (a 1951 TV series) and on the 8th, a box set George Pal: Flights of Fancy is scheduled for release. It will include The Puppetoon Movie, The Great Rupert, and the documentary Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal.

New Line has announced details of its Harold Lloyd releases, set for November 15th. The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection will be a three-volume, seven-disc DVD box set that will include 28 feature films and shorts, and a disc of bonus material (Harold Lloyd's home movies, star tributes, photo galleries, and new interviews and featurettes). Each of the three volumes (2 discs each) will also be sold separately; the bonus material disc will only be available in the box set. Volume 1 will contain the features Safety Last! (1923), Why Worry? (1923), Girl Shy (1924), The Cat's Paw (1934), and The Milky Way (1936) along with the shorts An Eastern Westerner (1920), Ask Father (1919), and From Hand to Mouth (1919). Volume 2 will contain the features Grandma's Boy (1922), Dr. Jack (1922), The Freshman (1925), Kid Brother (1927), and Feet First (1930) along with the shorts Bumping Into Broadway (1919), Billy Blazes, Esq. (1919), High and Dizzy (1920), and Now or Never (1921). Volume 3 will contain the features Hot Water (1924), For Heaven's Sake (1926), Speedy (1928), and Movie Crazy (1932) along with the shorts Never Weaken (1921), Haunted Spooks (1920), I Do (1921), Among Those Present (1921), A Sailor-Made Man (1921), Get Out and Get Under (1920), Number Please? (1920). Audio commentary will be included on Safety Last!, The Freshman, Speedy, Haunted Spooks, and Kid Brother.

Paramount will be re-releasing ten of its Jerry Lewis titles on October 25th as Jerry Lewis: "The Legendary Jerry" Collection at an attractive combined price of $60. The titles are The Bellboy, Cinderfella, The Delicate Delinquent, The Disorderly Orderly, The Errand Boy, The Family Jewels, The Ladies Man, The Nutty Professor, The Patsy and The Stooge. This is apparently timed to coincide with the previously-announced release of the My Friend Irma double bill. Meanwhile, Ace in the Hole, previously planned for an October release, has been delayed with no new timing announced. A special edition of Lady Sings the Blues (1972, with Diana Ross) will appear on November 8th. The fourth season of The Andy Griffith Show is set for November 22nd.

Sony has apparently shifted the official release of the extended cut of Major Dundee again, this time to September 20th. The company also has two World War II 60th Anniversary Box Sets planned for October 25th. Each simply packages three previously-released war films along with a History Channel documentary. The first collection consists of The Bridge on the River Kwai, From Here to Eternity, The Guns of Navarone, and the documentary Weapons at War: The Fighting Leathernecks of WWII while the second comprises Anzio, The Caine Mutiny, Das Boot, and the documentary Dead Men's Secrets: The Secrets of Sea Wolves. A Steve McQueen Box Set is planned for November 1st and will include the previously released The War Lover (1962) and Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965).

Sony's MGM division will have the 1946 The Spiral Staircase (with Dorothy McGuire) out on October 4th. It was previously available from Anchor Bay. October 25th brings two two-disc special editions. The Battle of Britain: Collector's Edition offers an anamorphic transfer from a new high definition master, commentary with director Guy Hamilton, new and vintage making-of documentaries, cast and crew interviews, the original William Walton theatrical score, and an eight-page booklet outlining the history of this landmark battle. A Bridge Too Far: Collector's Edition offers an all-new anamorphic transfer from high definition, an audio commentary with writer William Goldman, a subtitled trivia track, an interview with director Richard Attenborough, The History Channel original documentary A Bridge Too Far: Heroes From the Sky, and a four-page booklet. The Missouri Breaks (1976) and The Fugitive Kind (1959), both with Marlon Brando, are planned for a November 8th release.

Sony Music Video offers five gangster films on October 18th: Let 'Em Have It (1935, with Richard Arlen), Anthony Mann's T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948), I Mobster (1958, with Steve Cochran), and Pretty Boy Floyd (1960, with John Ericson).

Universal has made an official announcement of its forthcoming Bela Lugosi Collection and fans will be delighted to know that all the stops have been pulled out for supplementary content. We're getting the original theatrical trailers for Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Invisible Ray and Black Friday … period! Universal has officially announced the DVD release of Leave It to Beaver: The Complete First Season for November 29th. The 3-disc set will arrive in two versions: a regular edition and the same DVD included in a Limited Edition Gift Set that comes packaged in a lunch box and includes a Cleaver family photo album.

Warner Bros. has set November 22nd as the date for its long-awaited release of King Kong (1933) on DVD. The title will be available in three different packagings - a two-disc special edition; a two-disc collector's edition in a collectable tin and including a 20-page reproduction of the original souvenir program, postcard reproductions of the original one sheets, and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of a vintage 27-by-41-inch movie poster; and finally a four-disc collector's box set which includes the two-disc King Kong DVD along with The Son of Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949). The latter two discs will also be available separately as will another film from the makers of King Kong - The Last Days of Pompeii (1935, with Preston Foster). In other news, Raintree County (1957, with Elizabeth Taylor) looks likely to be a 2007 release in honour of its 50th anniversary.

Be back soon.

Barrie Maxwell

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