Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

June 08, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 2

[Warner] $60

This set includes three new to video - Marked Woman (1937), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941) and Old Acquaintance (1943) and spiffed-up versions of previously released Jezebel (1938) and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). Rounding out the disc is the documentary Stardust: The Bette Davis Story.

Marked Woman is a hard-hitting melodrama loosely based on the life of gangster Lucky Luciano, who was imprisoned after prostitutes who worked in one of his brothels informed on him. Humphrey Bogart also stars. The DVD includes a documentary and two vintage cartoons.

Davis won her second best-actress Oscar for the drama Jezebel (her first was for Dangerous). She plays a bright, flirtatious and willful Southern belle in the antebellum South. This edition features a new digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements, a retrospective, a musical short with Jimmy Dorsey, a cartoon and astute commentary from historian Jeannine Basinger.

In the rollicking comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner, Davis fits nicely as a member of the ensemble of the hit based on the Broadway smash by George Kaufman and Moss Hart. Monty Woolley repeats his stage triumph as an obnoxious critic who turns a Midwestern family's life upside down when a leg injury forces him to stay at their house. Davis plays his efficient assistant. Extras include a vintage Joe McDoakes comedy short and a cartoon.

Davis teamed up with her The Old Maid co-star - and rival - Miriam Hopkins for the slick Old Acquaintance. The DVD features a look at the Warner Bros. "women's pictures"; a vintage short, "Stars on Horseback"; and a cartoon. The film's director, the now-99-year-old Vincent Sherman, and author Boze Hadleigh supply commentary.

One of the most entertaining of the extras on the two-disc set of the delicious diva horror film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a short clip from a 1962 episode of The Andy Williams Show that features Davis singing a rock song called "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" Bonuses also feature a delightfully catty new retrospective on stars Davis and Joan Crawford, a vintage featurette and funny commentary from transvestite performers Charles Busch and John "Lypsinka" Epperson.

John Wayne - An American Icon Collection

[Universal] $27

This collection pales in comparison to Warner Home Video's coming John Wayne-John Ford Film Collection, but at least it features two of the Duke's camp classics produced by Howard Hughes: The Conqueror (1956) and Jet Pilot (1957). Rounding out the two-disc set is the good-natured 1940 comedy Seven Sinners with Marlene Dietrich, 1941's underwhelming The Shepherd of the Hills, which was Wayne's first film in Technicolor, and the 1942 potboiler Pittsburgh, which also stars Dietrich and Randolph Scott.

Winter Soldier

[New Yorker] $25

Emotionally overwhelming 1972 documentary that chronicled what happened when the Vietnam Veterans Against the War - which included John Kerry - met in a Detroit hotel on Jan. 31, 1971, to document the war crimes they either witnessed or participated in. Extras include a reunion of the filmmakers and two 1971 shorts that also deal with the Winter Soldier investigation.

Oh! Calcutta!

[New Video] $27

The X-rated 1972 movie version of the long-running - and scandalous - erotic Broadway musical revue that featured a cast in various stages of undress. Calcutta has not withstood the test of time. Bill Macy, who was best known as the husband in Maude, stars.

Date Movie - Unrated Version

[Fox] $30

Poorly reviewed spoof of such films as Meet the Fockers and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Alyson Hannigan and Adam Campbell star. The DVD is overstuffed with extras including audition tapes; an optional laugh track; deleted, extended and alternate scenes; a Fox Movie Channel featurette; and "The Quickie," which offers a six-minute version of the film. The three commentary tracks include one with several of the performers, who are far funnier than the movie, and an "anti-commentary" track with critics Scott Foundas, who hated the film, and Bob Strauss, who gave it a thumbs up.

The Doris Day Special

[MPI] $15

A nostalgic 1971 CBS music-variety show that aired as The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special. Day sings a variety of her hits as well as songs such as the Beatles' "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da." Perry Como is her guest, and her frequent movie co-star, Rock Hudson, pops up in a cameo. Extras include an interview with the producer and extended scenes and outtakes.

Coming Tuesday

The Pink Panther, 16 Blocks, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The World's Fastest Indian, Aquamarine, Green Street Hooligans, A Good Woman, The Sisters, End of the Spear and Neil Young: Heart of Gold.

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