Monday, June 26, 2017

VCI Entertainment Sets Aug. 1 For The DVD Debut Of Hal Roach Forgotten Comedies

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
VCI Entertainment has added the three-film collection of restored comedy classics titled Hal Roach Forgotten Comedies to its Aug. 1 release slate.   Already in place on that date — and poised to make its DVD debut — is producer/director Hal Roach’s 1939 Down Under adventure, Captain Fury.

Included in the Hal Roach Forgotten Comedies collection are two films teaming Carole Landis and John Hubbard with Adolphe Menjou — of note, Landis also stars in VCI Entertainment Aug. 15 DVD and Blu-ray release of One Million B.C. — these are, Turnabout and Road Show.   And speaking of One Million B.C., Landis’ co-star, Victor Mature, made his film debut (a small part) in the other film included in this delightful film mix, The Housekeeper’s Daughter.

As to the individual films in the collection, you’d be hard pressed not to zero in on director Hal Roach’s 1940 film adaptation of Thorne “Topper” Smith’s 1931 novel, Turnabout.   This is an absolute delight!

The battling Willows — Sally and Tim Willows — get their comeuppance in spades when an ancient idol (given to them as a present) says enough is enough with the constant bickering and switches the two.   Tim (John Hubbard — also in One Million B.C., Road Show and The Housekeeper’s Daughter), a hard-driven advertising executive, awakes to find himself possessing the thoughts, feelings and sexuality of his pampered wife, Sally (Carole Landis), while she awakes to find the opposite.   Absolute chaos follows as the two try to carry on — he in her body and she in his!!!
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Oh, and there is a twist at the end that is worth the price of admission alone.
All three — Carole Landis, John Hubbard and Adolphe Menjou — return in the 1941 comedy release of director Hal Roach’s film adaptation of Eric Hatch’s novel, Road Show (Hatch also wrote the 1936 hit, My Man Godfrey — aka: “1101 Park Avenue”).   This is yet another comedy gem as Hubbard plays a wealthy playboy named Drogo Gaines, who discovers on his wedding day that Helen (Polly Ann Young), his bride-to-be, is nothing but a gold digger.   Through a series of unfortunate events Drogo ends up being committed to a nut house!

There he meets Colonel Carleton Carroway (Menjou) and the two escape, where they end up hiding out in a traveling circus run by a woman by the name of Penguin Moore (Landis) … she is in desperate financial straits, but Carroway and Gaines (in their own ways) are business savvy and soon things begin to look up.   In the meantime, Helen and the police are looking for Gaines, but he sees in Penguin the woman of his dreams (beautiful and down to earth).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyRoad Show is great fun, especially the bit with Carleton’s rich and eccentric nephew (played by Charles Butterworth), who like to sets fires so that he can put them out with his collection of fire engines!    Oh no, not Penguin’s circus!!!

Rounding out this trio of film delights from VCI Entertainment is director Hal Roach’s 1939 film release of The Housekeeper’s Daughter, which stars Joan Bennett, John Hubbard and Adolphe Menjou. 

Joan Bennett plays Hilda, a tough chick with a penchant for guns, who decides to give up her life of crime and heads off to visit her mother, who is the housekeeper for the Randalls (John Hyams and Leila McIntyre), whose son, Robert (Hubbard), has decided to embark upon a career as a reporter.   
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You’ve got to get that set-up in place quickly (one of those small world sort of things) so that the comedy can unfold.   Throw in a veteran crime reporter (Menjou), a well-meaning flower vendor (George E. Stone), a mobster named Floyd (Marc Lawrence) and a news photographer (William Gargan) and you have all the ingredients in place for a rookie reporter to get the scoop and win the girl (Hilda) in a breezy 80 minutes.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Writer/Director David Beaird's My Chauffeur Tops Vinegar Syndrome's July 25 Blu-ray And DVD Release Slate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Vinegar Syndrome announced its July 25 selections of new Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD film restorations this past week.   Topping the list is a new 2K restoration (35mm original camera negative) of writer/director David Beaird’s 1985 cult comedy, My Chauffeur.

It will be available as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Crown International Pictures was noted during the 1970s and 80s as a hot little independent with a knack for delivering commercially-produced action, sexploitation and horror flicks that served their intended audience well.   There was an edge to them.

With My Chauffeur you had to be expecting a dingy sexploitation comedy, but instead filmmaker David Beaird knocked it out of the park with a film that is both sweet and hilariously funny (comedy is so hard, but when you get it right, everyone knows it).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
At the core of his film is a ditz named Casey, played by Deborah Foreman, who is every bit a “Valley Girl” (oh wait, Deborah Foreman is THE “Valley Girl” from Martha Coolidge’s 1983 film of the same name, so the casting was perfect) and she is down on her luck (big time) as the film opens.  She gets by as a dishwasher in a cheesy restaurant … now that’s low.

One day she gets a hand-delivered letter that speaks of a job offer at Brentwood Limousine Ltd. as a chauffeur.   Chauffeur?   She figures, what does she have to lose, so she shows up and the manager, a guy simply known as McBride (played by Howard Hesseman), is dumb-founded at the thought of this ditz being offered a job … and she’s a girl (well, woman) to boot.   It’s all men at Brentwood.

But the owner, zillionaire Robert Witherspoon (E.G. Marshall), confirms that he indeed offered Casey the job and McBride reluctantly has to go along with it.   That’s your set up … a bolt out of the blue changes Casey’s life.   But why?

McBride wants her gone, so he gives her nothing but shit assignments — which is just an    And even that has an OMG twist.
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excuse by filmmaker David Beaird to write some really funny bits before we get to the payoff at the end of the film … the why of it.

As for the driving assignments, these include Catfight (Leland Crooke), a rock star with zero discipline, who has a pension for sex and drugs, and who has never made a concert date on time (just remember, there are “20,000 points” for a blue woman with a blue dog); a bit with Penn and Tiller (Arab sheik and con man … a wild party that might be an international incident) and the crème-de-la-crème, an assignment to chauffeur Battle Witherspoon (Sam J. Jones) around, Robert’s son.  

My Chauffeur is a keeper … for the comedy bits and Deborah Foreman inspired performance!

Bonus features include two separate commentary tracks, one featuring filmmaker David Beaird and Catfight, actor Leland Crooke (a regular in Beaird’s films from the period — The Party Animal, Pass the Ammo) and the second with production assistant Jeff Mckay … plus there is a featurette with the film’s star, Deborah Foreman, titled “License to Drive.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Also being released on July 25 as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack is adult filmmaker Henri Pachard’s 1984 shot-on-film gem, Matinee Idol.   It is getting a new 2K scan from the 35mm original camera negative.

This is an adult film within an adult film that features Jesie St. James, Kay Parker, Angel (making her screen debut), David F. Friedman and Herschel Savage.

Bonus nuggets include a vintage audio session with writer/actor/producer  David F. Friedman.
No release calendar is complete from Vinegar Syndrome without at least one new addition to the company’s popular “Peekarama” library of adult double and triple features on DVD.   On July 25 fans get not one, but two new “Peekarama” restorations!!!

Up first are two from filmmaker Shaun Costello — both are 2K restorations from 35mm archival elements.   Afternoon Delights (1980) is a series of bawdy tales set against the backdrop of “poker night,” where men relate their personal experiences with their ex-wives infidelity (each trying to top the other in the telling).   Vanessa Del Rio, Veronica Hart, Serena and Samantha Fox are among the cast members.

Teamed with Afternoon Delights is the 1978 film release of Slave of Pleasure, a detective mystery starring Roger Caine as McCord, a private eye hired to find Ellen Anselm (Roseanne Farrow), a missing wife … it turns out that Mr. Anselm’s (played by Costello) jealous girlfriend has had her kidnapped by a white slave ring!   

The other “Peekarama” DVD entry on July 25 from Vinegar Syndrome is a triple feature from filmmaker Ralph Ell — all from 1975.  These are: My Master My Love (with Darby Lloyd Raines), Teenage Masseuse and More (with Harry Reems).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Mill Creek Entertainment Tabs Sept. 15 For Both DVD And Blu-ray Sets Of Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment announced a long-lead date for the delivery of both Blu-ray and DVD sets (13 discs each) of Peter Berg’s television series adaptation of the H.G. Bissinger’s best-selling sports tell-all, “Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream,” which made its debut in the fall of 2006 as simply Friday Night Lights

All five seasons and 75 episodes will be available for fans to enjoy once again on Sept. 15 as either complete DVD or Blu-ray sets.   Emmy-winner Kyle Chandler (Manchester by the Sea, The Wolf of Wall Street, Zero Dark Thirty) stars as Eric Taylor, the coach of the Dillon Panthers, with Connie Britton (as Rayna in the Nashville television series) as his wife Tami (a guidance counselor at the same school) and Aimee Teegarden (Scream 4, Rings) as their teenage daughter, Julie.

In other product news from Mill Creek Entertainment, the Blu-ray and DVD release of actor/director Bobcat Goldthwait’s Shakes the Clown has been moved to Aug. 15 to allow the time for a newly-prepared commentary options featuring Bobcat Goldthwait, actress Julie Brown and fellow clown, Binky, Tom Kenny.

Cleopatra Music And Films Tabs Aug. 8 For The DVD Debut Of Diamond Cartel

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Cleopatra Music & Films, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will deliver 40-karat action on Aug. 8 with the DVD debut of director Salamat Mukhammed-Ali’s Diamond Cartel.

Things are set in motion when Mussa (Armand Assante) strikes a deal with the mysterious Hong Kong-based Mr. Lo to purchase the Star of the East, a magnificent uncut diamond, but that purchase does not go as planned.   Read that as an understatement.

It seems that Mussa has recruited a beauty named Aliya (Karlygash Mukhamedzhanova) to become an assassin, who is quite good at what she does (years of training, etc.).    It is on one of these assignments that she has to murder all of Mr. Lo’s errand boys, but among them is her childhood sweetheart, Ruslan (Aleksey Frandetti), whom she cannot bring herself to kill.   Instead, she reunites with her love and goes on the run!

Now it is kill or be killed as the young lovers must avoid Mussa, keep away from the vengeful Mr. Lo and find a way to freedom.   Blood flows — no, make that a lot of blood flows — as everyone is on the prowl for Aliya and Ruslan.

Of note, Diamond Cartel was Peter O’Toole’s final screen appearance, he has a small part in helping the young lovers escape.

Paramount Home Media Announces Scorpion • Code Black • Madam Secretary Complete Seasons For DVD Release During September 2017

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media was back this week with news about the release of three additional TV-on-DVD complete season series in September.

First up on Sept. 12 is Scorpion: Season 3, a six-disc collection showcasing all of the season’s action-laced episodes featuring computer whiz Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) and his crew of hi-tech cyber warriors.   

Bonus goodies included in the collection are a gag reel and four featurettes — “Unlikely Heroes: Scorpion Season 3,” “Mock Me Up,” “You’re Invited” and “Scorp Beats.”
The following week, Sept. 19, Paramount Home Media is back with Code Black: Season 2, a four-disc collection (16 episodes).

The City of Angels can be a deadly, violent and accident-prone place and all of that comes to the ER room at Angels Memorial Hospital, where Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden) does her best to keep up with the flow of patients (aka: casualties, victims, etc.) … Rob Lowe joined the team this season as a visiting battlefield physician who introduces new ER techniques to the overwhelmed staff (CCC — Combat Casualty Care).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyBonus goodies include a number of unspecified production featuettes, plus deleted and extended scenes.

Also heading to the home entertainment marketplace on Sept. 19 is the six-disc collection of Madam Secretary: Season 3 (all 23 episodes).

Téa Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord, the Secretary of State, with Keith Carradine her boss as President Conrad Dalton … not a week (episode) goes by without some major international incident to deal with (sounds familiar).

At this point bonus features include deleted scenes and an unspecified number of featurettes.

The Film Detective Preps Five New Film Restorations For Release On DVD This Coming July 4

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective will be celebrating Independence Day with five new film restorations that are destined for the DVD collectible market place … so let’s light that fuse and see what film fireworks will be on display on July 4!

The war in Europe had literally just ended in Europe when 20th Century-Fox released the light-hearted comedy Molly and Me, a pre-war themed story starring Gracie Fields (Holy Matrimony, Queen of Hearts) as a down-on-her-luck London stage actress who lands a fish-out-of-water housekeeping job.   The timing was perfect for the theatrical launch as audiences of the day were looking for something light and happy.

It’s not just any job that she’s conned her way into, but one as the housekeeper to a political bigwig by the name of John Graham (played by Monty Woolly) … not only does she have to keep the butler (played by Reginald Gardiner) — a fellow actor — from spilling the beans about her past, but she has to become a jack of all trades when she discovers that other members of the household are robbing Graham blind and they up and quit on her.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyShe has a good nature — in a sort of “the show must go on” kind of way — and is able to
work her magic in reconciling Graham with his son (played by Roddy McDowall) and also fending off an attempt by Graham’s duplicitous ex-wife (Doris Lloyd) to blackmail her boss.

Also heading to retail on July 4 from The Film Detective is director Please Murder Me!, an independently produced film noir entry from the spring of 1956.  The film came at the end of the post-war film noir cycle and was an indie, so it pretty much came and went … gone, but not forgotten.

The film starred a fellow by the name of Raymond Burr as Craig Carlson, a criminal attorney, who begins to have pangs of guilt when he discovers that his defense of Myra Leeds (played by Angela Lansbury) was so good that he actually got a murderer off.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
If that name, Raymond Burr, rings any bells it is because the next year (1957) he would start a ten-year run as the star of the Perry Mason television series (271 episodes) … he was attorney Craig Carlson first!

Please Murder Me! is told in flashback (much like Double Indemnity) as Carlson dictates the details of what he discovered about Leeds, but since she cannot be tried again for her husband’s murder, Carlson finds another way to sink her (a terrific twist at the end).

Rounding out the July 4 selections are Fisherman's Wharf (1939, directed by Bernard Vorhaus and starring Bobby Breen and Leo Carrillo), Niagara Falls (1941, romantic comedy with Marjorie Woodworth, Tom Brown, Slim Summerville and Zasu Pitts) and Outlaws of the Desert (1941, Hopalong Cassidy — William Boyd — leaves the wild west to buy horses in “Arabia”).

Icarus Films To Release On DVD The Distrib Films Presentation Of In The Shadow Of Women On Aug. 8

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Icarus Films distribution pack with Distrib Films continues to pay dividends for those enjoy French-language imports, but find them few and far between.

The latest to get a domestic DVD push is French filmmaker Philippe Garrel’s In the Shadow of Women.   It will be available on Aug. 8.

This tale of infidelity made its film debut at Cannes in May of 2015 and then moved into competition at various international festival — racking up awards and critical raves — before getting a modest domestic arthouse run in January of last year.   The ARR for that break is a long-in-the-tooth 571 days, ticket sales were a solid $50,291 … and then back to the festival circuit.

Unless you just happened to be in the right place at the right time, the chances of catching Garrel’s In the Shadow of Women were slim and done … that is until Icarus Films DVD announcement.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Filmed in black and white (and on location in Paris), we are introduced to Pierre (Stanislas Merhar — Almayer's Folly, Iris in Bloom, The Turn of Winter, etc.), a documentary filmmaker who is currently working on a film about the French Resistance during World War II.   His wife, Manon (played by Clotilde Courau — La Vie en Rose, Modern Love, Eva & Leon), acts as his production assistant.

While during research on his film, he ends up at the archives and there he meets Elisabeth (Lena Paugam — Sophie's Misfortunes) and the two immediately hit it off … he thinks nothing of having an affair with her.    He’s a filmmaker and she is young and available … c'est la vie!

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When the self-centered Pierre discovers that Manon is also having an affair, it is as if the earth has opened up and the apocalypse is upon us!   Or, rather the apocalypse is upon him — think: meltdown … how could she betray ME?!

Garrel spins his tale of love and loss that leads us to the third act and the pitiful Pierre having to come to grips with the double-standard that he has set up for himself.   Pauvre pauvre Pierre!

In the Shadow of Women is presented in French with English titles.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Director Jonathan Levine's Snatched Arrives In The Home Entertainment Marketplace On Aug. 8

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment will have something for home entertainment viewing during the dog days of August with the news this week that a three-SKU helping of director Jonathan Levine’s comedy Snatched, teaming Goldie Hawn with Amy Schumer as mother and daughter on the run from kidnappers in South America, will be hitting retail outlets on Aug. 8.

The ARR comes in at 88 days for this DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack presentation …  domestic box receipts currently stand at $45.4 million.

Bonus goodies for Snatched include commentary by director Jonathan Levine, deleted scenes and a gag reel.

Ruthless Films Teams With MVD Entertainment Group On Aug. 8 For The DVD Debut Of Dimension Z

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Ruthless Films, with sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be releasing the anthology horror tale, Dimension Z, on DVD this coming Aug. 8.

Six tales of the zombie apocalypse play out from six different filmmakers … writer/director Jarret Blinkhorn’s “They’re Closing In” segment features the alluring Susan T. Travers (The Mind’s Eye, Almost Human) as Jill, who is in conflict with her husband (played by Michael A. LoCicero), but they have to put their differences aside as something strange is moving in the darkness outside!  They are tired, the ammo is running low and things outside just keep coming … what can they do?

Sean Bridges stars as Burke Sawyer in director Rich Robinson’s “The Graveyard Feeder.”  Burke is the grave-keeper at the Juniper Falls Cemetery (filmed on location in Snow, North Carolina), who finds himself battling an unseen (underground) grave robber, who is devouring the buried corpses.

Other filmmakers delivering their unique visions of zombies on the prowl are Jesse H. Knight, Juan Jose Patrol and Ruben Rodriquez.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Criterion Collection Announces Its September 2017 DVD And Blu-ray Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection has set its September DVD and Blu-ray release calendar, which kicks off on Sept. 5 with a new 4K digital restoration of auteur filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 Best Picture-winner, Rebecca.

The film was nominated for 11 Oscars, including Best Director for Hitchcock, Best Actress for Joan Fontaine’s performance as the tormented second “Mrs. de Winter,” Laurence Olivier for Best Actor as her husband, Maxim, and Judith Anderson in the Best Supporting Actress category as the deranged Mrs. Danvers.

Bonus features include a vintage commentary track from film scholar Leonard J. Leff (author of “Hitchcock and Selznick: The Rich and Strange Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick in Hollywood”), newly-prepared video sessions with film critic and author Molly Haskell, film scholar Patricia White and f/x historian Craig Barron, screen tests, vintage television interviews with Hitchcock and more.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyNext up is the Sept. 12 DVD and Blu-ray presentations of documentary filmmaker Murray    The film was simply titled Festival (a new 2K restoration) and featured performances from the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Donovan, Judy Collins and the late Ronnie Gilbert.
Lerner’s 1967 Oscar-nominated “time capsule” of the Newport Folk Festival.

Bonus features include a new “reconstruction and remastering” of the soundtrack (approved by Lerner), the featurette titled “When We Played Newport” (a series of archived interviews), outtakes and the featurette titled “Editing Festival.”

Elsewhere on the September release calendar from The Criterion Collection are Blu-ray and DVD selections of director Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women (Sept. 16), David Lynch: The Art Life (Sept. 26) and a new 2K restoration of writer/director Michael Haneke 2001 film adaptation of Elfriede Jelinek 1983 novel, The Piano Teacher (also on Sept. 26).

Lionsgate Home Entertainment Sets The Home Entertainment Launch Of Director Ken Marino’s How to Be a Latin Lover For Aug. 15

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Lionsgate Home Entertainment will be bringing DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack SKUs of director Ken Marino’s How to Be a Latin Lover to market on Aug. 15.

The ARR for this multi-generational comedy of philandering, starring Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Kristen “The Cat Lady” Bell, Raquel Welch and Renée Taylor, works out to 109 days.   Ticket sales are currently at a respectable $32.1 million.

Bonus features include commentary from actor-turned-director Ken Marino (making his behind the camera feature film debut here), producer Ben Odell and editor John Daigle, deleted scenes a pair of featurettes — “Show Me Your Sexy! Learning How to Be a Latin Lover” and “A Little Help from My Friends.”