Thursday, February 08, 2007

going the right way

Strap in Ladies and Gents, this is the beginning of a great year for classic films out on DVD. And we start off with several excellent choices. Some have already made their debut on previous discs that weren’t exactly up to snuff. Hopefully they will now receive their due with excellent prints. Going my way? Well then, here we go…

Top Shelf Pick of the Week!
Universal Cinema Classics
All Quiet on the Western Front,
Arabian Nights, Going My Way, The Heiress.
Although this may be a double dip in the case of Going My Way, the very fact that the Universal catalog is releasing these important films, and at least providing a decent presentation gives one hope for the great classic film library Universal produced. In the past we’ve had mixed feelings about the Universal classics. Some titles like Double Indemnity, To Kill a Mockingbird and most of the classic horror monsters received the special edition treatment; and we couldn’t be happier. Then franchises like Abbott and Costello get a somewhat complete set and nice prints, but the compression and the presentation on double sided discs wasn’t anything to write home about. The affordable price made up for most of its shortcomings. Then some films were released on terrible bare bones discs, or, for some reason not at all.
These DVDs are also bare bones, save for an introduction by Robert Osbourne and the usual theatrical trailers. Perhaps if film fans show their support through their purchases, Universal will be more willing to dip further into its library and continue to bring us great films on excellent DVDs, and perhaps they will be may enrich their releases with contextual extras.

It appears that they have taken further steps towards treating their library with respect and perhaps they even understand that there is a market for the classics. It would seem to me that by judging the success that Warner Brothers has had with the wonderful discs and sets they have produced, Universal wants a piece of the pie. For what ever reason there may be, classic film fans should be encouraged. It seems that Universal is going the right way. Fans should also support Universal and add these great titles to their library. I mean if you don’t have Going My Way, well… what kind of film collection could you possibly have? You really can’t go wrong with any of these titles. Going My Way with Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald and The Heiress starring Olivia de Havilland are favorites.

The Alfred Hitchcock Box Set:
Speaking of encouraging releases, there seems to be a plethora of Hitchcock titles on DVD, but this set features some of his earliest works. While Hitch may have not been pleased later in life with some of the conventional aspects of these films, one can trace the early evolution of the filmmaker. Titles include: The Ring, The Manxman, Murder!, The Skin Game, and Rich and Strange.

Charmed Season 7
Mrs. Loophole and I have been watching the seasons from the beginning and have really enjoyed this show about 3 sisters who just happen to be witches. And not just any witches either; they are the Charmed Ones, witches defending the world, magic, and all that is good from evil and all kinds of baddies. The show ran a total of eight seasons so this season winds up several story arcs.

Here comes Mr. Jordan
If you’ve seen Heaven Can Wait, then you need to see the original: Here Comes Mr. Jordan. This films was long overdue to appear on DVD and its finally here. Starring Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains and Evelyn Keys. This is the story of Boxer Joe Pendleton who died 50 years too soon due to a heavenly mistake. In order to fix this oversight, the angelic bureaucrats provide Pendleton with the body of recently murdered millionaire, Bruce Farnsworth. The problem is that the millionaire wasn't exactly squeaky clean. Pendleton takes this chance to remake Farnsworth's life. If the story sounds familiar, it should. It's been redone and reworked several times. Do yourself a favor, see the original

Hellboy: Sword of Storms
I really enjoyed the Hellboy movie with Ron Perlman and have been looking forward to the promised sequel. While this isn't the sequel to the live action film, this will do great until that time. The continuing adventures, so to speak, in animated form. The film originally appeared last year on Cartoon Network. Thankfully they've pulled in most of the original actors to provided the voices to their characters. This story follows Hellboy and Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense as they investigate a Professor of Mythology who has mistakenly opened an ancient scroll which brings all sorts of uninvited guests to earth.

Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked Ladies are Men

Last year's new release, Barenaked Ladies are Me was only the first half of a two album set. This is the second disc of even more original Barenaked goodness. If you love the Ladies, then I am wasting my breath because you have already purchased the CD and have it on repeat on your player. If you don't know too much about them, then take my advice- take the plunge and try out some of the older albums. You'll really enjoy them and this new album even more.

What? No TCM again? Well since we are posting daily TCM 31 Days of Oscar posts, it seems redundant. So check those out daily and come back for even more Shelf madness.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

A golf course is nothing but a poolroom moved outdoors.

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