Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

August 03, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Final Destination 3

[New Line] $30

This two-disc special edition of the third in the horror-film franchise gives viewers the option of watching the theatrical release or the "Choose Their Fate" version, where you can click on icons to control the characters' fates. The film isn't very good, so the "Fate" option is an innovative way to have fun. Rounding out the disc are a "making of" documentary; a creepy animated short, "It's All Around You"; a look at the "Dead Teenager Movie" and breezy commentary from filmmakers James Wong and Glen Morgan and cinematographer Robert McLachlan.

Playboy After Dark

[Morada Vision] $40

When Playboy magazine was five years old in 1959, publisher Hugh Hefner kicked off his first national TV series, Playboy's Penthouse, which was produced in Chicago and ran for two seasons. By 1969, the magazine's circulation was at 5.5 million and Hefner had moved his base of operations from the Windy City to Los Angeles. Once again he entered the TV business with Playboy After Dark, a 26-week syndicated series.

This infinitely enjoyable three-disc set features two episodes from the Penthouse series and four from Playboy After Dark.

The Penthouse series was set in a bachelor pad where Hef would invite viewers to join the Playmates and such guest stars as Cy Coleman (who wrote the theme song), Lenny Bruce, Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald.

After Dark followed the same format, but the $350,000 bachelor pad was built on a CBS soundstage. This time around, Hefner was accompanied by his girlfriend du jour, Barbi Benton, and together they boogied to the music of Joe Cocker and even played Simon Says.

Guests here include Davis, Linda Ronstadt, Sid Caesar, Dick Shawn, Mort Sahl, Louis Nye and Ike and Tina Turner. The set includes an interview with the 80-year-old Hefner in trademark loungewear.

Wanda

[Parlour Pictures] $25

Actress Barbara Loden (After the Fall) became the first woman since Ida Lupino to direct an American feature film with this acclaimed 1971 drama. Loden also wrote and stars in this downbeat tale of a young woman who, after abandoning her husband and children, drifts from man to man. When she hooks up with a small-time crook (Michael Higgins), they embark on a crime spree.

Rawhide

The Complete First Season

[Paramount] $50

After appearing in small roles in "B" pictures at Universal, Clint Eastwood got his first big break in this 1959-66 CBS western series.

Set in the 1870s, the series revolves around a band of drovers herding cattle along the Sedalia Trail. Eric Fleming played the lantern-jawed trail boss Gil Favor, Eastwood was the young Rowdy Yates, Sheb Wooley was the trail hand Pete Nolan and Paul Brinegar was the irascible cook, Wishbone. The seven-disc set includes all 23 episodes from the premiere season as well as production notes.

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