DVD collectibles released August 7:
Highlight of the week is the “TCM Spotlight: Myrna Loy/William Powell Collection,” featuring five MGM classics starring the sophisticated duo. William Powell re-teamed with Myrna Loy after the first “Thin Man” movie for “Evelyn Prentice” (1934), an expert thriller in which Powell plays a womanizing lawyer whose adulterous affair leads to blackmail, deceit, and murder. Una Merkel, Harvey Stephens, and Rosalind Russell, in her debut, also star. “Manhattan Melodrama” (1934) is a compelling crime drama starring Powell and Clark Gable as boyhood friends from the New York streets who grow up to follow different paths, one as a gangster, the other as a crusading D.A. Loy and Mickey Rooney co-star. “Double Wedding” (1937) is a frantic screwball story with Powell as a Bohemian painter and Loy as a workaholic dress shop owner who spar over Loy’s younger sister’s life choices. Edgar Kennedy co-stars. Stodgy businessman Powell is headed for divorce from wife Loy when a konk on the head reverts him back to his real persona of a slick con artist in “I Love You Again” (1940). And, in “Love Crazy” (1941), Powell and Loy are a married couple whose fourth wedding anniversary is not a happy affair, thanks to a series of events that occur after Loy’s gossipy mother visits. Bonus features include comedy shorts, cartoons, more. $49.92 from Warner.
A new film from the great French director Alain Resnais is always a treat: This week Genius Products will release his latest, “Private Fears in Public Places” (2007), starring Sabine Azema, Isabelle Carre, Laura Morante, Lambert Wilson, Andre Dussollier and Pierre Arditi in a warm-hearted story about six characters longing for love in wintry Paris. Based on a play by celebrated writer Alan Ayckbourn, Resnais’ film interweaves multiple stories into a beautifully realized and deeply affecting whole.
Home video celebrates the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death (August 16, 1977) with a host of releases: “Jailhouse Rock Deluxe Edition” (1957) and “Viva Las Vegas Deluxe Edition” (1964) are restored and digitally remastered editions, enhanced for widescreen televisions, with a soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 from original production elements, from Warner at $19.98 each … “Elvis: The Hollywood Collection” is a six-disc set with new-to-DVD “Charro,” “Girl Happy,” “Kissin’ Cousins,” “Stay Away,” “Joe,” “Tickle Me” and “Live a Little, Love a Little,” $49.92 the set or $12.97 each from Warner … “Lights! Camera! Elvis! Collection” is an eight-disc set with “King Creole,” “G.I. Blues,” “Blue Hawaii,” “Roustabout,” “Girls! Girls! Girls!” “Fun In Acapulco,” “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” and “Easy Come, Easy Go,” housed in a blue suede case, $76.99 the set or $12.00 each from Paramount … “This is Elvis 2-Disc Special Edition” (1981) is an intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait crafted by Andrew Solt; this is the first-ever home video release of the original, uncensored 1981 Theatrical version in a new digital transfer with soundtrack remastered in Dolby Surround 2.0, from Warner at $20.98 … “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is 2-Disc Special Edition” (1970) is a concert documentary that allows unrestricted access to Elvis Presley’s 1970 milestone four weeks of appearances at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, in a 16×9 digital transfer with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, $20.98 from Warner.
Here’s a cult film with a story line about Elvis Presley that was so outrageous that we didn’t believe it until we had the opportunity to catch it one night on TCM: “Bubba Ho-Tep” (2002) is a wild over-the-top horror spoof by director-writer Don (“Phantasm”) Coscarelli. Elvis (played by Bruce Campbell), now an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home, switched identities with an Elvis impersonator years before his “death”, then missed his chance to switch back. He teams up with Jack (Ossie Davis), a fellow nursing home resident who thinks that he is actually president John F. Kennedy, and the two valiant old codgers sally forth to battle an evil Egyptian entity who has chosen their long-term care facility as his happy hunting grounds. This “Hail to the King Edition” includes commentary by Coscarelli and Campbell, separate commentary by “The King” himself, Joe R. Lansdale reading from his own short story that was the basis for the film, deleted scenes, animated photo gallery and production featurettes; $22.98 from MGM.
Just in time for the theatrical release of “Invasion” comes the first remake of the original, Philip Kaufman’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers Collector’s Edition” (1978), starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy and Art Hindle, in a two-disc set with commentary by Kaufman, a “Re-Visitors From Outer Space or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod” featurette, “Practical Magic: The Special Effect Pod” featurette, “The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound Effects Pod” featurette, and “The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod” featurette, from MGM.
“Crime Story Special Edition” (1993 — Hong Kong) is one of Jackie Chan’s more serious outings; here he plays a cop assigned to protect a wealthy businessman; when the businessman is kidnapped, Chan must track down the culprits, who just may be in the police force. The Dragon Dynasty edition features commentary and bonus features … And, boomers, here’s to the memories: Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures/USTO will release “Hopalong Cassidy: The Complete Television Collection,” a 12-disc set with all 52 episodes of the 1952-54 series, and 10 feature films; $79.98.