Warner Bros. Home Entertainment was busy this past week with a flurry of new product announcements which includes Russell Crowe’s latest theatrical release (The Water Diviner), a new-to-DVD Bob Hope film comedy (director Jack Arnold’s 1964 comedy, A Global Affair), additional post-Labor Day TV series releases and last Christmas seasons animated television special, Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas. Busy indeed!
So let’s get right to it. International film star Russell Crowe returns to his native Australia for a self-directed (his first film as a director) story about the aftermath of the World War I Battle of Gallipoli (made famous theatrically by director Peter Weir’s 1981 film, Gallipoli, starring Mel Gibson).
Titled The Water Diviner, DVD and Blu-ray editions will be released by Warner Bros. on July 28. The ARR for that date comes in at 95 days … domestic box office results were $4.2 million).
Set in 1919, Crowe stars as Joshua Connor, an Outback farmer, whose life is full of absolute misery. His three sons served with the ANZAC forces at Gallipoli and all are believed to have been killed during the slaughter that took place there between April of 1915 and January of 1916. To make it in even more painful for Joshua his wife could not cope with the grief and killed herself.
With such a heavy heart he embarks upon a journey to Turkey to retrieve the bodies of his dead children and return them to Australia to be buried with their mother.
As with Peter Weir’s film, Crowe also offers a stinging rebuke to the Australian’s commanding British “masters” who callously flung wave after wave of ANZAC forces into impregnable Turkish lines. Once Joshua arrives in Istanbul he is met with nothing but resistance from the contemptuous British military command.
Indeed, his only help in his quest comes from an unlikely source and that would be Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko — Quantum of Solace, Oblivion), the widow of a Turkish soldier. She helps him get to the forbidden Gallipoli, where he is once again met with resistance, this time from Aussies encamped there (grave registry and clean up). They are, however, sympathetic … he is the only father who has made the journey to this deadly place.
At every turn his efforts are blocked by the very forces that his sons served so gallantly and the help he finds comes from his country’s former enemy, the Turks. In the end his quest will be fulfilled … and it comes with surprises.
Bonus features for The Water Diviner are limited to the Blu-ray SKU and include a pair of production featurettes — “The Making of The Water Diviner” and “The Battle of Gallipoli.”
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has once again gone to the film vaults and has come away with a trio of new-to-DVD movie releases for June 30. Chief among these is director Jack Arnold’s 1964 romantic comedy, A Global Affair, starring Bob Hope as Frank Larrimore, an employee of the United Nations who suddenly finds himself in charge of an abandoned baby! Michele Mercier, Rod Sterling and Yvonne De Carlo co-star.
Also unearthed for delivery to the DVD market place on June 30 are two directed by Henry Levin — Come Fly With Me (1963, starring Dolores Hart and Hugh O'Brian) and Honeymoon Hotel (1964, with Robert Goulet, Nancy Kwan, Jill St. John and Robert Morse).
On the TV series release front, Sept. 29 will see the five-disc DVD debut of Jane the Virgin: The Complete First Season, starring Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a twenty-something hotel worker who is accidently artificially inseminated during a routine doctor’s visit. If her life wasn’t complicated before … it certainly is now, especially since the donor is her boss (played by Justin Baldoni)!
Bonus goodies include two featurettes — “Jane the Virgin: Immaculate Creation” and “Getting to Know the Cast of Jane the Virgin” — plus deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Also available on Sept. 29 will be the three-disc DVD set of 100: The Complete Second Season.
The following week, Oct. 6, Reign: The Complete Second Season will be retail-ready as a five-disc DVD collection.
The 2014 animated Christmas-season short film, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, will be released as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Oct. 20.
And lastly — for this week — Oct. 6 will mark the Blu-ray debut of four newly re-mastered horror classics from Hammer Film Productions. These will only be available as part of the Horror Classics Collection, Volume 1.
Included in the mix are The Mummy (1959, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), Dracula has Risen from the Grave (1968, directed by Freddie Francis with Christopher Lee as Dracula), Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1970, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing) and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970, directed by Peter Sasdy and Christopher Lee returns as Dracula).