Blu-ray Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for some Blu-rays to purchase? Here are six to consider.

It Happened One Night (The Criterion Collection)
Frank Capra’s 1934 landmark screwball comedy with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert was the first to do the Oscar sweep (best picture, best actor, best actress, best director, and best screenplay for Robert Riskin). The Depression-era road picture struck a nerve and the opposites attract dynamic is still going strong today. The new 4K digital restoration looks great and the disc includes a new digital transfer of Capra’s debut short from 1921: Fultah Fisher’s Boarding House.

My Darling Clementine (The Criterion Collection)
John Ford’s 1946 masterful retelling of the O.K. Corral shoot-out is the perfect embodiment of “print the legend” and a timely post-war noirish Western. Deceptively effortless but marked by death and unrequited love. Henry Fonda takes the Lincoln myth to a new level with Wyatt Earp and Victor Mature is poignant as Doc Holliday. Joe MacDonald’s somber cinematography makes Monument Valley the perfect Tombstone.  A stunning-looking new 4K digital restoration of the theatrical release version and high-def presentation of the longer prerelease version. Includes Bandit’s Wager, a 1916 silent western short co-starring Ford and directed by brother, Francis Ford.

The Gang’s All Here (The Masters of Cinema)
Busby Berkeley’s 1943 Fox musical is available in the UK only through Eureka, and it’s a Technicolor extravaganza that’s worthy of its cult reputation. “The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat” opening with Carmen Miranda is a visual mind-blower, beginning with a remarkable tracking shot and a clever reality vs. artifice tease. With Alice Faye, Edward Everett Horton, Eugene Pallette, Charlotte Greenwood, and Benny Goodman. A gorgeous high-def transfer is accompanied by  a deleted scene and the doc Busby Berkeley: A Journey with a Star.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Warner Archive Collection)
Albert Lewin’s 1945 adaptation of the classic Oscar Wilde cautionary tale of placid beauty and makes the best of George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, and Angela Lansbury. The pristine Blu-ray (complete with Technicolor portrait insert)  shows off the black-and-white chiaroscuro of cinematographer Harry Stradling.  Commentary by Lansbury and film historian Steve Haberman; Oscar-winning 1945 MGM short Stairway to Light; Oscar-winning 1945 MGM cartoon Quiet Please! Manufactured on demand and can be ordered at the website.

Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume Three (Warner Home Ent.)

The latest Looney Tunes set showcases 50 all-time favorite cartoon shorts, which have been digitally remastered. Disc one includes the Oscar-winning short Knighty Knight Bugs along with two nominated shorts, Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt and Pigs in a Polka. Disc two offers the Oscar-winning Birds Anonymous as well as the nominated Swooner CroonerLife with FeathersSandy ClawsMouse and GardenWalky Talky HawkyRhapsody in RivetsHigh Note, and Nelly’s Folly. Includes the all-new doc, That’s All Folks! Tales from Termite Terrace, plus a 12-page booklet with rare images compiled by Jerry Beck of Animation Scoop at Indiewire.

Ornette: Made in America (Milestone)

The restoration and reissue of Shirley Clarke’s invaluable doc about jazz great Ornette Coleman from 1986 shines on Blu-ray. She followed Coleman and his young son Denardo from the late ’60s to a homecoming tribute in his hometown of Fort Worth in 1983 that featured a gala concert of his seminal “Skies of America” alongside performances with his Prime Time band. Clark employed innovative techniques that closely parallel Coleman’s signature improvisational style. Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive, Milestone and NT Audio Video Film Labs. Sound restoration by Audio Mechanics. Restorationist: Ross Lipman.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Blu-ray, Home Entertainment, Movies, Music, Oscar, Shorts, Tech, Trailers

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