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Classic Coming Attractions by Barrie Maxwell

Barrie Maxwell - Main Page

Classic Release Announcements

As the list of new announcements has grown long and I've been slow to get my latest reviews completely written up, I've decided to divide the latest Classic Coming Attractions column in half with the announcements portion appearing today and the reviews part hopefully in about a week's time.

There's lots of news from Fox, MGM, Universal, and Warner Bros. particularly this time out with assorted minor bits of news from most of the other major players (the main exception being Sony which seems to have fallen into a black hole as far as classics are concerned). The Classic Release Database has been updated as usual and sources for this edition include studio press releases and websites, personal contacts, internet newsgroups, online retailers, and DVD news sites (The Digital Bits, Davis DVD, the Home Theater Forum, the Nostalgia League Forum, DVD Times, TVShowsonDVD, and inthebalcony.com among others). So, on with the announcements.

As reported at The Nostalgia League Forum, AC Comics will release the Republic serial The Mysterious Doctor Satan on June 7th.

According to tvshowsondvd.com, BCI has picked up the rights to the Steve McQueen western TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive and will continue with the second and subsequent series. New Line had released the first season a couple of years ago. The second season is apparently anticipated in late May or June this year.

Criterion has just announced the second entry in its Eclipse line, The Documentaries of Louis Malle. The six-disc set will street on April 24th and will include Vive le tour (1963), Humain, trop humain (1972), Place de la République (1972), Phantom India (1969), Calcutta (1969), God's Country (1985) and And the Pursuit of Happiness (1987). Meanwhile, the company's May lineup has also been revealed. It includes Army of Shadows (1969, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville) on May 15th, Sansho the Bailiff (1954, directed by Kenji Mizoguchi) on May 22nd, and a new two-disc release of The Third Man (1949, directed by Carol Reed) also on May 22nd. All offer the usual collection of fine Criterion supplements including audio commentaries and video interviews.The Third Man will have the 2005 90-minute documentary on the making-of the film entitled Shadowing The Third Man.

Available now on pressed DVDs through the Eddie Cantor Appreciation Society (eddiecantor.com) are two silent features starring Cantor. Kid Boots (1926) also co-stars Clara Bow and Billie Dove and its disc includes several Cantor shorts and a photo gallery. Special Delivery (1927, directed by Roscoe "Fatty " Arbuckle) co-stars William Powell and Jobyna Ralston and its disc also includes several Cantor shorts and a photo gallery.

Details have been released on Fox's The Ernest Hemingway Film Collection, coming on March 6th. The five-disc set, already known to include the feature films Adventures of a Young Man (with Paul Newman), A Farewell To Arms (Rock Hudson), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (Gregory Peck), The Sun Also Rises (Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn) and Under My Skin (John Garfield), will offer newly restored transfers (anamorphic where applicable), restoration comparisons, trailers, and still galleries. Adventures of a Young Man also includes a commentary by film historians Patricia King Hanson and Frank Thompson; A Farewell To Arms includes three "Fox Movietone News" segments; The Snows of Kilimanjaro features commentary with Hanson and Thompson, Conversations with Director Henry King and Writer Casey Robinson, "The Snows of Zanuck: The Making of Kilimanjaro" featurette (with commentary by producer David Brown, screenwriter Peter Viertel and film historian Scott McIsaac on the history of the film and studio legend Darryl F. Zanuck); The Sun Also Rises includes "Hemingway on Film" and "The Old Men and The Bulls: The Making of The Sun Also Rises" featurettes; and Under My Skin includes "Racing with Fate: John Garfield Under My Skin" featurette with commentary by John Garfield biographer Robert Nott, Professor Steven J. Ross and screenwriter Peter Viertel. The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Sun Also Rises will also be available separately. Fox has also confirmed its Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Boxset for release on May 1st. As previously mentioned, it will include The Black Rose, Captain from Castile, Prince of Foxes, and Son of Fury. In addition, the set will now include Blood and Sand (previously expected as a separate release in early April). Supplements will include a mix of audio commentaries, background featurettes, newsreel footage, photo galleries, and trailers. All five titles will also be available separately. On May 22nd, Fox will release three musicals: Can-Can (1960, with Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine), On the Riviera (1951, with Danny Kaye and Gene Tierney), and Pigskin Parade (1936, with Judy Garland in her feature debut).

Grapevine Video has added its usual monthly slate of films to its catalogue. For January, there are four silent releases - By the Law [the Russian Po Zakonu] (1926), Captain January (1924, with Baby Peggy), White Gold (1927, with Jetta Goudal), Wild Horse Mesa (1925, with Jack Holt) - and three sound ones - Ace Drummond (1936 serial), 1942 double bill of Black Dragons and Hitler-Dead or Alive, and a double bill of performances from the Apollo Theater, Rhythm and Blues Revue (1955) plus Basin Street Revue (1956).

Just in time for opening day of the baseball season, Kino will be releasing a two-disc set on April 3rd called Reel Baseball: Baseball Films from the Silent Era (1899-1926). It will contain two feature films (The Busher [1919, with Charles Ray, Colleen Moore and John Gilbert] and Headin' Home [1920, featuring Babe Ruth]) and 11 shorts.

The Chinese silent film Romance of the Western Chamber (1927) will be released by Koch Entertainment and Cinema Epoch on March 13th. It will feature an original score by composer Toshiyuki Hiraoka.

Lionsgate is releasing a seven-title Jean Renoir collection on April 24th. The films are: La Fille de l'eau (1925), Nana (1926), La Marseillaise (1938), Sur un air de Charleston (1927), La Petite marchande d'allumettes (1928), Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier (1959), and Le Caporal épinglé (1962). All the titles are to be newly remastered and a featurette with Martin Scorsese, Alain Resnais and others is included. On May 8th, Lionsgate makes its first foray into the classic Republic catalogue that it licensed back from Paramount. It will offer six John Wayne double features: Dakota/In Old California, Dark Command/Lady Takes a Chance, Fighting Seabees/Wake of the Red Witch, Flame of Barbary Coast/Santa Fe Stampede, Sands of Iwo Jima/Flying Tigers, and Westward Ho/The Fighting Kentuckian. These are all titles previously released by Artisan (now part of Lionsgate). I'll hopefully be proven wrong, but why do I suspect these will sport the same old tired transfers we got the first time around? Maybe it's because the cover art looks suspiciously familiar?

Looser Than Loose Publishing (looserthanloose.com), a company that specializes in early film, has two new releases shipping the week of February 10-17th. A Stan Laurel Reference Library: Volume Two - 1918-1922 will include Frauds and Frenzies (the last of the three Semon Vitagraphs), The Lucky Dog (presented in a more complete form than can be found in most commercially available copies), A Weak-End Party (just the first reel, all that remains of this title), and The Handy Man (version taken from digitally remastered video). In addition to the films there are special audio files including Stan Laurel letters read by film historian Glenn Mitchell and series DVD author Dave Stevenson. There are also some Laurel and Hardy radio recordings (in full DVD fidelity) of the familiar classics: "Mr Slater's Poultry Market" and "The Wedding Sketch". Kid Gangs and Juvenile Stars is a two-disc set containing various material representing work by the likes of Our Gang, The McDougal Alley Kids, Big Boy, the gang from Hey Fellas, Arthur Trimble as Buster Brown, Mickey "Himself" McGuire (Mickey Rooney), and a handful of others.

MGM (all releases through Fox) has set four titles for release on April 24th. They include Frank Borzage's China Doll (1958, with Victor Mature), Andre de Toth's Play Dirty (1968, with Michael Caine), Roger Corman's Von Richthofen and Brown (1971, with John Philip Law), and Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us (1974, with Keith Carradine). The latter will include audio commentary by Altman. Then on May 22nd, MGM reopens the Samuel Goldwyn floodgates finally with a four-disc Gary Cooper Gift Set that will include The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926), The Cowboy and the Lady (1938), The Real Glory (1939), and Vera Cruz (1954). It seems strange that The Westerner (1940) would not be part of such a set (instead of Vera Cruz, which is not a Goldwyn picture), but maybe it's coming soon on its own. Other Cooper films (made for Samuel Goldwyn) coming on the same date are The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938), Ball of Fire (1941), Casanova Brown (1944), and The Wedding Night (1935). MGM also returns to the western on May 22nd with six separate releases: Adiós Sabata (1971, with Yul Brynner), Gun the Man Down (1956, with James Arness), Gun Fight (1961, with James Brown), The Hills Run Red (1966, with Dan Duryea), Return of Sabata (1971, with Lee Van Cleef), and Sabata (1969, with Lee Van Cleef). The three Sabata films are the same ones that MGM previously released in a box set when it was functioning under the Sony distribution label. MGM will also repackage four of its previous releases as the Peter Sellers Gift Set (The Pink Panther, Casino Royale, The Party, and What's New Pussycat?). Similarly the War Gift Set repackages Run Silent Run Deep, The Great Escape, The Battle of Britain, and A Bridge Too Far, although it's not clear whether the latter three are the older single disc releases or the newer two-disc SEs.

Paramount will have Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief: Special Collector's Edition (1955) on May 8th although it's unconfirmed as yet how this may differ from the previous release of the title. Reportedly, there will be an improved transfer, audio commentary, documentary, and theatrical trailer. A couple of the studio's forthcoming TV releases (The Streets of San Francisco, The Untouchables) have had their release dates delayed from April 3rd to April 10th. Other Paramount plans include the May 29th release of Rawhide: Season Two, Volume 1 and a box set of the entire eight seasons of The Andy Griffith Show. June 5th will bring Mission: Impossible - Season Two (all 25 episodes, with Peter Graves appearing for the first time as Jim Phelps), Hogan's Heroes: Season Six (24 episodes, the final season), and the Martin & Lewis Collection: Volume 2, which will include Living It Up, You're Never Too Young, Artists and Models, Pardners and Hollywood or Bust.

Passport Video will release a five-disc set entitled The Ultimate Roy Rogers Collection: King of the Cowboys on April 10th. There will be 25 features included in the set: Wall Street Cowboy (1939), The Arizona Kid (1939), Days of Jesse James (1939), The Ranger and the Lady (1940), West of the Badlands (1940), Young Bill Hickok (1940), Young Buffalo Bill (1940), Bad Man of Deadwood (1941), Robin Hood of the Pecos (1941), Sheriff of Tombstone (1941), Red River Valley (1941), Heart of the Golden West (1942), King of the Cowboys (1943), Silver Spurs (1943), The Yellow Rose of Texas (1944), Home in Oklahoma (1946), My Pal Trigger (1946), Roll On Texas Moon (1946), Apache Rose (1947), The Bells of San Angelo (1947), Springtime in the Sierras (1947), The Gay Ranchero (1948), Grand Canyon Trail (1948), The Far Frontier (1948), and Under California Skies (1948). Unfortunately, the Roy Rogers films have never been accorded the same care as the Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy ones for example, so image quality has always been a problem. I don't imagine that will be any different with this new set. Also available on April 10th will be another five-disc set, Mystery & Murder - 25 Killer Crime Classics. There are a few of the usual suspects in the set, but also a lot of lesser-known titles: The Crooked Circle (1932), A Shriek in the Night (1933), The Sphinx (1933), The Phantom Broadcast (1933), Tomorrow at Seven (1933), Mystery Liner (1934), The Lady in Scarlet (1935), Murder at Glen Athol (1936), The Mandarin Mystery (1936), House of Secrets (1936), Juggernaut (1937), The Shadow Strikes (1937), Bulldog Drummond's Revenge (1937), The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939), Nancy Drew Reporter (1939), Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939), Phantom of Chinatown (1940), Murder by Invitation (1941), Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942), Eyes in the Night (1942), Lady of Burlesque (1943), The Black Raven (1943), The Red House (1947), Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947), and Who Killed Doc Robbin? (1948). Both of these sets retail for $20 and given online discounts may well be worth a flier. May 8th brings another 25-film collection entitled Girls Gone Bad - The Delinquent Dames Collection. Films range from Party Girl (1930) up to Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965).

Shout! Factory will have the four-disc set The Best of the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for release on May 1st. It will contain 24 of the show's best episodes plus a good range of supplementary material (featurette on Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, a documentary on son Ricky Nelson's singing career, early radio show episodes, and vintage home movies) as a result of the cooperation of the Nelson estate in the set's preparation.

Sony Music is planning on releasing Ironside: Season 1 on April 24th. At this time there are no other details about the packaging of this popular Raymond Burr series that began in 1967and lasted for eight seasons.

Universal comes out swinging on May 1st with anamorphic transfers of three previously-released Eastwood films in Clint Eastwood: Western Icon Collection. The titles are High Plains Drifter (1973), Joe Kidd (1972), and Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970). Then on May 8th, we'll get Classic Western Round-Up: Volume 1 and Volume 2. Each contains four films spread over two discs. Volume 1 will have Canyon Passage (1946, with Dana Andrews), Kansas Raiders (1950, with Audie Murphy), The Lawless Breed (1952, with Rock Hudson) and The Texas Rangers (1936, with Fred MacMurray). Volume 2 will have California (1946, with Barbara Stanwyck), The Cimarron Kid (1951, with Audie Murphy), The Man from the Alamo (1953, with Glenn Ford), and The Texans (1938, with Randolph Scott). On the same date, Universal will also offer the Pirates of the Golden Age Movie Collection, again four films on two discs including Against All Flags (1952, with Errol Flynn), Buccaneer's Girl (1950, with Yvonne De Carlo), Double Crossbones (1951, with Donald O'Connor), and Yankee Buccaneer (1952, with Jeff Chandler). Supplements on all the above titles will be restricted to theatrical trailers (except California which will have nothing). On May 22nd, Universal's second wave of Cinema Classics will appear. Once again, there will be four titles each accompanied by a trailer and an introduction by TCM's Robert Osborne. The films are: No Man of Her Own (1932, with Clark Gable and Carole Lombard), Scarface (1932, with Paul Muni - the disc will also include an alternate ending), So Proudly We Hail! (1943, with Claudette Colbert), and Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered (1947, with Gary Cooper). On June 12th, Universal will release James Stewart: Screen Legend Collection and John Wayne: Screen Legend Collection. The Stewart set will contain three discs and include Next Time We Love (1936), You Gotta Stay Happy (1949), Thunder Bay (1953), The Glenn Miller Story (1954), and Shenandoah (1965). The first three are new to DVD while the others were previously available as individual releases. The Wayne set, also three discs, will contain five previously available titles: Reap the Wild Wind (1942), The Spoilers (1942), The War Wagon (1967), Hellfighters (1968), and Rooster Cogburn (1975). The latter three will all at least have new anamorphic widescreen transfers. That's nice, but it would have been much more interesting to get a set of the half-dozen programmers Wayne made for Universal in 1936-1937, none of which have ever made it to home video. Also in a recent interview, animation expert Jerry Beck is quoted as indicating that Universal will bring out a collection of some 75 golden age cartoons this coming July. It will include the first 45 Woody Woodpecker cartoons, four Woody Woodpeckers that Tex Avery did in the 1950s, some 1930s Oswald and Pooch the Pup, and some 1940s Swing Symphony cartoons.

VCI's April line-up includes the next three double feature volumes in its Forgotten Noir series, all coming on the 24th. The titles are: Forgotten Noir - Volume 4: The Man from Cairo (1953, with George Raft)/Mask of the Dragon (1951); Forgotten Noir - Volume 5: FBI Girl (1951, with Raymond Burr)/Tough Assignment (1949); and Forgotten Noir - Volume 6: I'll Get You (1952, with George Raft)/Fingerprints Don't Lie (1951). The three volumes will also be offered all together in the Forgotten Noir Collector's Set Volume Two.

Warner Bros. has announced F Troop: Season Two (also the final season) for release on May 29th. It will contain all 31 episodes plus two new featurettes. Readers should be aware that on April 24th, Warners will release the first wave of what will be a number of sets packaging its previously-released classic titles together. The collections in this first wave are the Classic Romances (Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Doctor Zhivago); Classic Family Films (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Goonies, Wizard of Oz); Classic Dramas (The Maltese Falcon, Citizen Kane, Ben Hur); Classic Musicals (My Fair Lady, Singin' in the Rain, Gigi); and Classic American Musicals (The Music Man, Meet Me in St. Louis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). As far as I understand, the versions being made available are the latest Warner releases of each title, but shorn of most of the extras that may have come with them on any two- or multi-disc release. These collections have not been added to the classic release data base. On May 29th, Warner Bros. issues the first in a series of joint releases with Turner Classic Movies - TCM Spotlight: The Katharine Hepburn Collection. Further collections under this joint banner, which will feature a broad group of classic films from various eras, are planned in the coming year. The Hepburn collection includes Morning Glory (1933, Hepburn's first Oscar for Best Actress), Sylvia Scarlett (1936, first teaming with Cary Grant), Dragon Seed (1944, with Walter Huston), Without Love (1945, third Tracy/Hepburn teaming), Undercurrent (1946, melodrama with Robert Taylor), and The Corn Is Green (1978, last of ten teamings with director George Cukor). The usual shorts and cartoons will be included as supplements. All titles will also be available individually. Warners then kicks off June with the release of the World War II Collection: Volume 2 on June 5th. Included are: Air Force (1943, with John Garfield), Command Decision (1948, with Clark Gable), Hell to Eternity (1960, with Jeffrey Hunter), The Hill (1965, with Sean Connery), 36 Hours (1964, with James Garner), and Thirty Seconds over Tokyo (1944, with Spencer Tracy). There will be the usual mix of shorts, cartoons, vintage featurettes, and trailers as supplements. Each title will also be available separately. Then in a bit of a surprise, we'll get The Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection on June 12th. It will contain, on two discs, the four Nancy Drew mysteries from 1938-1939, all starring Bonita Granville and directed by William Clemens: Nancy Drew, Detective; Nancy Drew, Reporter; Nancy Drew, Troubleshooter; and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.

In High Definition classic news, Paramount has announced that the digitally-remastered Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One will be released on the HD-DVD/DVD Combo format in the fourth quarter 2007. No other specific details are available (including any news about a Blu-ray release). Meanwhile the anticipated May releases (all Blu-ray) of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid from Fox and Battle Of Britain, A Bridge Too Far, and The Graduate from MGM are now set for the 8th.

That's it for now. I'll return soon with those latest reviews.

Barrie Maxwell
barriemaxwell@thedigitalbits.com


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