Tuesday, February 07, 2006

the weekly 411

In this weekly edition of the media roundup - the pickings are bare - but in the words of Spencer Tracy "what's there is cherce." Let's take a quick look shall we-

The Cary Grant Box Set (Top Shelf Pick of the Week)
Alrighty - at least 4 of these 5 movies in the box set were previously available on DVD. The Awful Truth, Talk of the Town, Only Angels Have Wings, and His Girl Friday are all out there, but at least in the instance of His Girl Friday, too many of them are public domain, poor quality prints. And the others are not readily available at your local big box electronic store or even BN store. You could order them - but now you can find them all, in addition to Holiday (making its DVD debut) in one box set. All the films are musts for Cary Grant fans, but also for those enamoured of screwball comedies. In fact Grant was probably the best as far as the screwball comedy goes. And even though Bringing Up Baby is widely regarded as a classic example (and rightly so) I have to say His Girl Friday is perhaps my favorite. I've held off buying a copy of one my favorite films, in hopes that it would receive a fitting DVD treatment. Is this it? We'll see- if the print is quality and a few extras thrown in (Warners- you've spoiled me)- I'll be happy. Either way, the DVD appearance of Holiday is a welcome treat. Go out and snag your own set. Can another set for Jimmy Stewart be far behind?

Moonlighting Season 3
Speaking of His Girl Friday- Producer Glenn Gordon Caron brought back many elements of the screwball comedy- especially the rapid fire dialogue of Friday in the TV series Moonlighting. The box set of Seasons 1 & 2 was well done - it was interesting listening to Bruce Willis watching and commenting on an episode (apparently one hadn't seen since filming it) and just having the show on DVD was great- something for which fans have been clamoring. Season 3 was a shorter season, due to the increasing petulant and difficult off-set relationship between the show's stars, Bruce Willis and Cybil Shephard. But many consider season 3 to be the best. The Shakespeare episode? It's there. The It's a Wonderful Life Spoof? It's there. Also there- the multi-episode storyline featuring Mark Harmon which helped to fuel the end of the David - Maddie stand-off and bring them together.

Best of the Electric Company
Wow- talk about old school. If you were a kid in the 70s - you need no introduction. Just sound the call- "Hey you guys!" Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman appear here alongside Bill Cosby, live action Spiderman, Letterman, and Jennifer of the Jungle. You know what I'm talkin' about. Yeah- I see you buying the set. Don't feel guilty- just enjoy the trip down memory lane. Nothing wrong with that. Nice extras too, including interviews with the cast and then and now pictures.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Truly great animated features this past year could be found on the shelf called "Slim-Pickin's". Wallace and Gromit deserves a prominent place on that shelf... and now on yours. This visual delight is a wonderfully funny feature and the characters continue to endure and endear themselves to audiences. Cinerati is also reporting some great news for fans of the animators, Aardman Studios.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (45th Anniversary edition)
OK- this one has also been issued before, but if you don't own it, go ahead and pickup this edition. Great features. I have found that I have grown to like Audrey Hepburn films as I get a little older. I don't know why really- just do. Audrey tended to do some films with men who were sometimes twice her age as her suitors, not that there's anything wrong with that! I'm just saying! Don't believe me? Here's a few: Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck (not too much older), Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and Rex Harrison. Ingénue before Tautou. I'm just saying. And hey, any excuse for a Hepburn pic is a good one.

Television/ Turner Classic Movies:
In the not yet on DVD department
Feb.7th: George Washington Slept Here (7:30am est/4:30am pst). This great comedy stars Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan. It was available on VHS, but a DVD would be most welcome. As is the case with several 30s and 40s comedies- this one has a growing fanbase. It's not His Girl Friday- but Jack Benny is one of our greatest comedians and he shines in this feature.
This is "31 Days of Oscar" Month at TCM. So there are many great flicks on this month. Many of which are readily available on DVD. However, here a few you shouldn't miss.
On DVD- but make sure you don't miss it anyway department:
Feb 7th: Way Out West/The Music Box (1:30am est/11:30pm pst) Laurel and Hardy at their best.
Feb.9th: The Big Country (8pm est/5pm pst) Great western with Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons and Charlton Heston) AND North by Northwest (1:15am est/ 10:15pm pst) is a can't miss Hitchcock classic starring Cary Grant and the lovely Eva Marie Saint. NbyN is a Top Shelf classic.
Feb. 11th: Charade (7:30am est/4:30am pst) This Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn vehicle is a great thriller. One of Grant's last films. AND Shenandoah (6pm est/3pm pst) with James Stewart.
Feb 12th: The Sting (5:45 pm est/2:45pm pst) Con men Robert Redford and Paul Newman take on gangsters in 1920's Chicago. AND Quiz Show -This film, directed by Robert Redford and starring John Turturro, Rob Morrow, and Ralph Finnes, is one my favorite modern classics.
Feb 13th: Double Indemnity (3:30 pm est/ 12:30 pm pst) Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in a film noir classic. Sure it's on DVD in this week's Top Shelf pick Box Set - but you can't deny The Awful Truth (8pm est/5pm pst) with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Lastly Barbara Stanwyck wishes she hadn't picked up the phone in Sorry, Wrong Number (10pm est/7pm pst).

Well Shelfers, that's it for the roundup- if there is anything we may have missed, or if you have a recommendation of your own, please let us know in the comments section.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

I wouldn't cover the burning of Rome for you if they were just lighting it up!

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