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Classic Coming Attractions by Barrie Maxwell

Barrie Maxwell - Main Page

The Latest Classic Release Announcements

Note that the Classic Release Database has been updated as usual (zipped Word .doc).

A rather busy summer schedule and season-inducing lethargy strike your faithful columnist so that this edition of the column will jump straight into the release announcements without the usual essay on some aspect of the classic film field. I promise to return to the old ways next time. As for the coming releases, Warners (as usual) and Universal have both been busy so I'll start with them and then cover the rest alphabetically. The classic release database has been updated accordingly.

Warner Bros. has confirmed that it will release The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection, on September 7th. The set will include 7 new titles (Dial M for Murder, Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion, The Wrong Man, Stage Fright, I Confess and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) each of which will also be available separately. The set will also include a 2-disc Strangers on a Train: Special Edition and the previously released North by Northwest: Special Edition. All will feature documentaries and other extras. On October 12th, Warner Bros. will release a 4-disc That's Entertainment!: Complete Collection. The films will be remastered and the set will include more than 5 hours of extras, mainly on a fourth disc of bonus materials called That's Entertainment: Treasures From the Vault. Among the items to look for on the bonus disc are the new The Masters of the Musical documentary, several never-before-seen deleted musical numbers, and footage from the original premiere of That's Entertainment! in Beverly Hills. On the same date we'll get a two-disc Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Special Edition. The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original mono audio, plus additional supplements. For October 19th, expect a 2-disc Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection, The Premiere Volume. The set will include 40 classic restored and remastered shorts, along with audio commentary by Jerry Beck (on The Zoot Cat, Kitty Foiled and Heavenly Puss), the Behind the Tunes: The MGM Orchestra documentary, the How Bill and Joe Met Tom & Jerry documentary and 2 film excerpts (Jerry Dances with Gene Kelly from Anchors Aweigh and Tom and Jerry Swim with Esther Williams from Dangerous When Wet).

In other Warner news, The Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume Two is expected out in mid-autumn. It will be a four-disc set containing 60 cartoons from 1936-1938. The focus will be on Bugs Bunny, The Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote, and Sylvester/Tweety. There's still no indication from Warners on the rumoured Errol Flynn box set. Titles believed to be included are Captain Blood, Dodge City, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk, and They Died with Their Boots On. Dive Bomber was also expected, but its inclusion in the joint TCM/WB vote on classics to be released next year would appear to preclude that possibility. Release was expected this fall, but may slip into early in the new year. The TCM vote, by the way, involves a list of 20 classic films from which anyone may vote for their favourite five during the month of July. The top favourites will be announced in August and receive their DVD release in January 2005. Go to the TCM site for the film list and voting details. There are fresh rumours about a Gone with the Wind: 65th Anniversary Special Edition that's in the works at Warner Bros. The title had been planned as at least a 2-disc special edition and it has undergone the "ultra restoration" process at the studio. The rumoured release would now be a four-disc set, implying appreciable supplementary content. A November 5th release has apparently been set for Germany, but nothing definite for North America as yet. Finally, there are indications that Warners may be getting closer to releasing the Bowery Boys films in a series of sets. There are no details at present and we should not expect anything imminently.

Universal has confirmed a number of rumours floating around during the past three or four months. On October 19th, there'll be a second wave of their Monsters Legacy Collections. Look for the following 2-disc sets: The Mummy: The Legacy Collection, The Invisible Man: The Legacy Collection and Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Legacy Collection. The Mummy set will include The Mummy (1932), The Mummy's Curse, The Mummy's Ghost, The Mummy's Hand and The Mummy's Tomb. The Invisible Man set will include The Invisible Man, Invisible Agent, The Invisible Man Returns, The Invisible Man's Revenge and The Invisible Woman. Finally, the Creature set will include Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Creature Walks Among Us and Revenge of the Creature. These will accompany the release of a three-disc Van Helsing: Ultimate Collector's Edition that will include the original Frankenstein, Dracula, and Wolf Man films on its third disc. November 9th will see two long-time requests start to be addressed with the release of The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection (includes The Bank Dick, International House, It's a Gift, My Little Chickadee and You Can't Cheat an Honest Man) and The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection (includes Animal Crackers, The Cocoanuts, Duck Soup, Horse Feathers and Monkey Business). The Marx Brothers set will also include a sixth disc of supplements (details not available as yet). Then on December 7th, Universal will give us Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels (1930, with Ben Lyon and Jean Harlow). It reportedly includes the Technicolor sequences. Surprises never cease! Universal has also been busy on the TV front with complete first season sets of Night Gallery and The Munsters due on August 24th and the first season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents planned for later in the fall.

A&E has a couple of TV series offerings of interest planned. In conjunction with The History Channel, the acclaimed 1974 series The World at War will be released on DVD on August 24th. The 11-disc set will include all 26 episodes of this documentary look at WWII, in the original full frame video with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Extras will include over 12 hours of bonus materials, such as a number of documentaries (Secretary to Hitler, The Two Deaths of Adolf Hitler, Warrior, Hitler's Germany: 1932-1939, Hitler's Germany: 1939-1945, The Final Solution and From War to Peace), a 30th anniversary feature-length retrospective film, biographies, a timeline, galleries of photos from the Imperial War Museum collection and more. This edition is expected to be much more in-depth (in terms of extras) than HBO's previous DVD release, which was issued in 2001 as a 5-disc set. Also on August 24th, but this time in association with New Video, A&E will give us the three-disc Benny Hill: The Naughty Years - Complete & Unadulterated, Volume 1. It will include all 11 hour-long episodes from 1969-1971, including 3 rare shows in B&W, plus extras.

Alpha has another 78 titles planned for release spread over the next three months (July 27th, August 31st, September 28th). The titles cover the typical range of genres (mainly mystery, western, horror) with the usual number of rarities involved. I have not taken the time to include all the titles in the database at this time. Click here to see the list at the Alpha website.

Columbia continues to parcel out a few classic releases each month, although one hopes the recent fiasco of Castle Keep's full frame transfer won't be repeated. August 10th brings two Three Stooges collections: Stooged and Confoosed and Goofs on the Loose, both guaranteed to annoy Stooges enthusiasts. This time there are only four shorts on each disc and each is offered in the original black and white and in a new colorized version. Some of the shorts are even ones that have previously appeared on other Columbia Stooges DVD collections. Then on August 24th, Lilith (Warren Beatty), and Lord Jim (Peter O'Toole) arrive, both supposedly with anamorphic widescreen transfers. September 7th brings some early Rita Hayworth in the form of 1940's Music in My Heart. Then on September 14th, we get the first appearance of the Durango Kid on DVD in 1948's Blazing Across the Pecos (Charles Starrett). Finally, there will be a 35th anniversary edition of Easy Rider on September 28th. Details yet to be announced.

Criterion has three releases planned for September. On the 7th, they will be offering Great Adaptations - a set of four previous releases (The Most Dangerous Game, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Lord of the Flies). On the 21st comes The Battle of Algiers (1965) in a three-disc edition that includes a new high definition transfer of the film and seven documentaries. On the same date, Criterion also release John Cassavetes: Five Films (Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night). Criterion's eight-disc box set also features a wide range of supplemental materials, including new video interviews with collaborators Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, Seymour Cassel, Leila Goldoni, Lynn Carlin, and Al Ruban; a 17-minute alternate opening to Faces; a 108-minute re-edit of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, never before presented on home video; audio commentary on A Woman Under the Influence by sound recordist and composer Bo Harwood and camera operator Mike Ferris; multiple stills galleries; a booklet featuring new essays on Cassavetes and the films; and more.

Fox has been fairly quiet of late, other than its regular monthly studio classics releases. September 7th will bring The Alligator People (1959) and The Boston Strangler (1968). Both will be presented anamorphically encoded and feature trailers. The October 5th release of The Three Faces of Eve will have a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo remix, new audio commentary by Aubrey Solomon, a Fox Movietone Newsreel, and a theatrical trailer gallery. Look for Lost in Space: The Second Season, Part One sometime in September or November, with Part Two following early in 2005.

Image Entertainment will have two offerings from their so-called Hal Roach Studios Collection on August 3rd - the ubiquitous Republic serials Zorro Rides Again (1937) and Zorro's Black Whip (1944). September 7th will bring More Treasures from American Film Archives. Like the first Treasures from the American Film Archives produced by the National Film Preservation Foundation, More Treasures takes as its starting point the preservation work of America's film archives. It covers the years from 1894 through 1931and includes 50 films followed by six previews for lost features and serials. On September 14th, there'll be two more entries in the Gene Autry Collection, both from 1951 - Silver Canyon and Whirlwind. Then on the 21st, expect Carl-Theodor Dreyer's The Parson's Widow (1920). The disc originates with David Shepard's Film Preservation Associates. Included on it are two shorts - They Caught the Ferry (1948) and Thorvaldsen (1949). . All three Dreyer films are digitally mastered from 35mm archive prints. The Parson's Widow is speed-corrected and tinted, with new music compiled by Neal Kurz from the works of Edvard Grieg.

Kino indicates that its previously announced Slapstick Symposium release of various Charley Chase, Harold Lloyd and Laurel and Hardy films has been delayed from July 20th to August 3rd. The 1943 German films Titanic and Munchausen are still due out on July 20th. Fritz Lang's Spies and The Woman in the Moon are set for a November release at present.

The official release announcement of Laughsmith's Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle set has been delayed further due to the acquisition of new source material for one of the shorts (Love, 1919).

Over at MGM, the David Lean Collection expected in early September has now been delayed indefinitely with no reason given. On October 19th, MGM will release Alexander the Great (1956, Richard Burton), Charly (1968, Cliff Robertson), and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1972) - respectively widescreen anamorphic, full frame (?), and widescreen non anamorphic. On the same date, we'll also get a collection of David O. Selznick productions: The Garden of Allah, I'll Be Seeing You, Intermezzo, Made for Each Other, Portrait of Jenny, Ruby Gentry, Since You Went Away, and The Young In Heart. All will be full frame as originally released theatrically.

MPI will have The Cisco Kid Collection Three on July 27th. The four-disc set will contain 20 half-hour episodes.

Music Video Distributors will release more entries in its Swing Era DVD series on August 3rd. Of principal interest to classic film fans is Duke Ellington in Hollywood: Swing Era which will highlight different films starring the great Duke Ellington and his orchestra: Black and Tan (1929), Symphony in Black (1935 - featuring the famous sequence with Billie Holiday), plus assorted different musical sequences from other motion pictures, including the three scenes starring Mae West in the 1934 movie Belle of the Nineties. Other releases on the same day will be Count Basie - Swing Era, Benny Goodman - Swing Era, and George Shearing - Swing Era.

Paramount has indefinitely postponed Danger: Diabolik which was to have come out on July 13th - reportedly to add new supplementary material. The DVD release of Star Trek: The Original Series - The Complete First Season is set for August 21st. The 8-disc set will include all 29 episodes of the show's first year in broadcast order (full frame video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio). Extras on the first season will include the The Birth of a Timeless Legacy featurette (on how the show began), the Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner featurette (an interview with the actor who played Kirk on how the show has affected his life), the To Boldly Go... featurette (a discussion with cast and crew members on key episodes of the season), the Reflections on Spock featurette (a similar interview with actor Leonard Nimoy on how the role has influenced him), the Sci-Fi Visionaries featurette (on some of the famous Sci-Fi writers that have contributed to the series), original preview trailers for each episode and a photo 'log' (gallery). All these extras are contained on the 8th disc. In addition, the episodes Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Menagerie, Part I, The Menagerie, Part II and The Conscience of the King will all feature text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda. Season Two's release is planned for November 2nd, and Season Three for December 7th.

Respond2 Entertainment is preparing a three-disc set on the This Is Your Life TV show. It will include 18 original episodes and will be officially released in March 2005 although a direct marketing TV campaign will apparently make it available in limited fashion as early as this fall. Some of the shows to be included are those done with Laurel and Hardy, Bette Davis, Roy Rogers, Dick Clark, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, and Vincent Price.

As mentioned in my previous column, the Roan Group line is being substantially reactivated by Troma. June 29th releases included John Wayne: The Early Years Collection (Blue Steel, The Lucky Texan, West of the Divide, Hell Town, and Paradise Canyon), Suddenly (1954, Frank Sinatra), and two double bills - Tarzan the Fearless (1933) with Tarzan's Revenge (1938), and They Made Me a Criminal (1939) with Lady Gangster (1942). For July 27th expect Colorado Sundown (1952, Rex Allen) and Zorro Rides Again (1937, serial). August 31st will bring Tight Spot (1956, with Ginger Rogers).

Shout! Factory will release Here's Lucy: The Best Loved Episodes from the Hit TV Series on August 17th. The four-disc set will feature 24 episodes hand-picked by Lucie and Desi Arnaz Jr. Extras will include commentary tracks (with Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr. and Carol Burnett on their favorite episodes), never-before-seen bloopers, rehearsal footage, a sketch from a Jack Benny television special (with Lucy, Jack, and Johnny Carson), a sketch from an Ann-Margret television special (with Lucy and Ann-Margret), audience warm-up with Lucy's husband and show executive producer Gary Morton, a classic Pepsodent commercial with commentary, original CBS network promos, the Here's Lucy syndication sales tape and footage from a benefit dinner in which Lucie and Desi Jr. play their parents in an I Love Lucy sketch.

Sony Music will release Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends: Complete Season 2 on August 31st.

VCI will release the complete 26-episode series of 1963's Fractured Flickers on August 31st. It will be a three-disc set.

Finally, I have a brief Region 2 note concerning Charlie Chan in London (1934, Warner Oland). It will supposedly be released by Orbit Media on July 19th.

I'll be back again soon. In the meantime, enjoy the summer.

Barrie Maxwell
barriemaxwell@thedigitalbits.com


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