Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

August 17, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Jayne Mansfield Collection

[Fox] $50

Fox's Jayne Mansfield Collection features three comedies -- The Girl Can't Help It, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw -- that the blond bombshell made in the 1950s.

Born in 1933, Mansfield was married at 16 and a mother at 17. Blessed with a reported 163 IQ and an hourglass figure, she came to Hollywood in the early '50s and landed small roles in Pete Kelly's Blues, Illegal and The Burglar. After she scored a big hit on Broadway in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? 20th Century Fox brought her back to Hollywood. Initially her career prospered, but producers cast her more for her looks, and Mansfield became known as a poor man's Marilyn Monroe.

The mother of five -- actress Mariska Hargitay is her fourth child -- Mansfield was just 34 when she died in an auto accident in 1967 en route to New Orleans for a talk show.

The Girl Can't Help It, released in 1956, showcases Mansfield's ample talents as a comedian. Tom Ewell stars as a boozy press agent hired by a once powerful gangster (Edmond O'Brien) to make his girlfriend (Mansfield) a star in just six weeks.

Written and directed by former animator Frank Tashlin, this colorful comedy features performances by Little Richard, the Platters and Julie London, among others. Extras include an A&E Biography on Mansfield and commentary from film historian Toby Miller.

Tashlin also directed the 1957 film version of George Axelrod's stage hit Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Tashlin, who wrote the adaptation, relocated the play's action from Hollywood to the New York advertising world. Tony Randall plays a minor player at an advertising agency who'll lose his job unless he can come up with the perfect campaign for the company's main client, Stay-Put lipstick.

When Hollywood's biggest sex symbol (Mansfield) comes to New York as a publicity stunt, Randall's Rockwell Hunter asks whether she will become the lipstick's spokeswoman. Extras include a newsreel with Mansfield and commentary from film professor Dana Polan, who discusses the historical and sociological aspects of the film with regards to 1950s culture.

The tired western comedy The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, released in 1959, finds Mansfield playing a small town's no-nonsense saloon owner who befriends a British gun salesman (Kenneth More).

Inside Man

[Universal] $30

Taking in $88.5 million at the box office, this taut caper film is director Spike Lee's most commercially successful project. Denzel Washington, collaborating with Lee for the fourth time, plays a New York detective in a game of cat-and-mouse with a bank robber (Clive Owen, who spends most of the film with his face covered).

Jodie Foster and Christopher Plummer also star. Extras include breezy behind-the-scenes documentary, a laid-back chat between Lee and Washington, and mellow commentary from the director, as well as deleted scenes.

Brick

[Universal] $30

Rian Johnson's inventive contemporary film noir murder mystery set in a high school stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a boy investigating the death of his girlfriend.

The digital edition includes numerous extended scenes with commentary from first-time feature director Johnson, a look at the casting for the film and enlightening and funny commentary.

Prison Break: Season 1

[Fox] $60

With the second-season premiere just days away, Fox is releasing the first year of the popular television serial drama about a young engineer determined to help his brother (Dominic Purcell) escape from death row for a crime he didn't commit.

The six-disc set includes several audio commentaries, additional scenes and entertaining documentaries.

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