Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

November 03, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Titanic

[Paramount] $30

After a steerage-class maiden voyage on DVD, the 1997 Oscar-winning blockbuster Titanic sets sail with a seaworthy "special collector's edition." The three-disc set contains enough extras to fill the time on a trans-Atlantic voyage -- or a cross-country car trip. Three commentary tracks are devoted to informative director James Cameron, an equally entertaining segment with several members of the crew -- including executive producer Jon Landau -- and cast (including stars Bill Paxton and Gloria Stuart), and historic perspective from production advisers Don Lynch and Ken Marschall.

Dedicated buffs can delve into 30 mini-documentaries while watching the film or separately. There is also the original scripted ending, which involves Paxton, Suzy Amis and Stuart, which was jettisoned early into the test-screening process. The third disc includes 29 deleted scenes, including a love scene in the boiler room with stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio and a lengthy chase sequence involving the lovers and co-star David Warner that preview audiences gave thumbs down.

Also on the third disc are several documentaries and featurettes, including clips of Cameron's first trip in 1995 to the location of the real Titanic, a very funny behind-the-scenes film shot by the crew, as well as examinations of the then-cutting edge visual and special effects.

Wages of Fear

[Criterion] $40

Henri-Georges Clouzot's nail-biting 1953 French thriller set in South America about four down-on-their-luck men transporting highly volatile nitroglycerin by truck over perilously rough roads to an oil fire about 300 miles away. A rugged Yves Montand, Charles Vanel and Vera Clouzot star. William Friedkin remade this in 1977 as Sorcerer. Extras on the two-disc set include a lively new interview with the film's assistant director, Michel Romanoff, an archival interview with Montand and a new interview with Clouzot biographer Marc Godin.

Le Samourai

[Criterion] $30

Jean-Pierre Melville directed this near-perfect 1967 French crime thriller starring Alain Delon as a coolly efficient hit man. Extras include new interviews with Melville historians Rui Nogueira and Ginette Vincendeau and fascinating archival interviews with Melville and Delon.

Bewitched

[Sony] $29

Comedy based on the 1964-72 ABC sitcom about a witch who marries a mortal stars Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. In commentary, director and co-writer Nora Ephron admits (perhaps tellingly, considering the result) she was more of a fan of The Mary Tyler Moore Show than Bewitched.

Rize

[Lions Gate] $28

David LaChappelle's energetic documentary chronicling the Los Angeles movements of clowning and krumping -- unique styles of hip-hop dancing. Includes interviews with LaChappelle and his dancers.

My Friend Irma

[Paramount] $15

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made their film debuts -- and are the best reason to watch -- in this 1949 comedy based on a popular radio series. Marie Windsor and Diana Lynn co-star. Also on the disc is the 1950 sequel, My Friend Irma Goes West.

Detective Story

[Paramount] $15

William Wyler directed this hard-hitting, beautifully acted 1951 adaptation of Sidney Kingsley's Broadway hit. Kirk Douglas is remarkable as a tough-nosed, moralistic police detective who is accused of roughing up a shady doctor. Eleanor Parker received an Oscar nomination as Douglas' wife, who harbors a dark secret connected to the doctor.

Hart to Hart: The Complete First Season

[Sony] $50

Romantic detective series, which aired on ABC 1979-84, was created by Sidney Sheldon and starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as wealthy, chic sleuths Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. The DVD includes a new retrospective and self-deprecating commentary with the stars and writer/director/producer Tom Mankiewicz on the two-hour pilot.

Left Behind: The World at War

[Sony] $25

The third installment in the popular Christian-theme apocalyptic dramas based on the Left Behind series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. This time, the Antichrist (Gordon Currie), now the head of the world government, taints freshly published Bibles with biological weapons. Lou Gossett Jr. plays the U.S. president. Extra features include a "making of" documentary, a surprisingly funny gag reel and enjoyable commentary with Currie and producers Nicholas Tabarrok and Andrew van Heerden.

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