Monday, May 7, 2007

Some odds (and ends) of recent ...

We're back from vacation with bits about a few things that have come across our desk and are now available.

Godzilla Raids Again and Mothra vs. Godzilla (Classic Media): Following up on Gojira / Godzilla Deluxe Collector's Edition (Gojira/Godzilla [1954] / Godzilla, King of the Monsters [1956]), one of the most interesting reissues of last year, Classic Media has released these two followups consisting of the very first Godzilla sequel and Godzilla's battle with Mothra. The latter has been on DVD in the U.S. before, but not the first one to our knowledge. As did "Gojira," the new reissues improve on the previous version with both the Japanese and American versions of the film on a single DVD. The Japanese versions are much more serious (interesting aspect for a monster film) than the U.S. versions, which highlighted the destruction rather than the story. The prints look great, too. Classic Media's next reissues are Invasion of Astro-Monster and Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster in June.
McHale's Navy - Season One (Shout Factory): Forget the lame-brained (as Capt. Binghampton would have called it) and forgettable feature film starring Tom Arnold. THIS is the real "McHale's Navy." And in looking back, at least this viewer sees that Joe Flynn (Binghampton) was really more of the core of the show than the crew was. One of our favorite series. Glad to see it on DVD finally.
Mutiny on the Bounty (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Warner Bros.): Don't know how this one snuck past us last year when it came out. The two-disc Special Edition features a bunch of featurettes, including an alternate prologue and epilogue not used in theatres. Next to the Laughton version, this one is almost a laugher at times, but I saw this in the theater when it was released and was stunned by the power on the screen. It's a good film, despite its faults.
The Three Stooges - Meet the Baron/The Gold Raiders (Warner Bros.): Two rarely seen but basically unspectacular vintage films distinguished, if you wanna call it that, by the appearances of the Three Stooges (with Curly in "Meet the Baron" and Shemp in "The Gold Raiders"). Save your money for what Stooges fans hope will someday be the complete Columbia shorts collection. These are OK if you must, but not essential, even to a Stooge fan like me. (Also available in Classic Comedy Teams Collection (Abbott & Costello in Hollywood / Air Raid Wardens / Gold Raiders / Lost in a Harem / Meet the Baron / Nothing but Trouble), a box set with other similarly rare films by Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello for just a few dollars more. A better deal.)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season One (Universal): This one's been out a while, but it's a great set. Hitchcock's sparkling intros to each show are preserved, plus Season 1 has a bonus profile of the director. Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season Two is also available.
The Natural (Director's Cut) (Tri-Star): One of our favorite baseball films has been reissued in a Director's Cut with an intro by the director and 15 minutes of new footage. A great film just got even better.

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