Dvd Check


September 14, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

The Abbott and Costello Show

100th Anniversary Collection Season 1 Set

[Passport Entertainment] $40

Who's on DVD?

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The first season of the comedy legends' TV series, The Abbott and Costello Show, arrives in a fun, nostalgic "100th Anniversary Collection Season 1" set (Passport Entertainment, $40).

After working for years on radio - the duo's "Who's on First?" is one of the best-loved routines - and topping the box office for several years in the 1940s, the two turned to TV near the final years of their career.

Their series, which aired from 1952 to 1954, was not a critical success. But audiences loved their slapstick antics, puns and Costello's double takes, and the show has lived in repeats over the decades.

In the first season, Abbott and Costello played unemployed actors who lived in Sid Fields' rooming house and were always behind on the rent. Hillary Brooke played the blond bombshell across the hall who was romanced by Costello; Gordon Jones was Mike the Cop; and a pre-"Three Stooges" Joe Besser was the mean little kid, Stinky.

The set includes all 26 episodes from the first season; affectionate interviews with Costello's daughters Paddy and Chris; the recently restored 1948 short film, 10,000 Kids and a Cop, starring William Bendix, that promoted the Lou Costello Jr. Recreation Center in Boyle Heights; and a trove of color home movies of Costello (it's the 100th anniversary of his birth, FYI) and his family at home in the San Fernando Valley.

United 93

[Universal] $30

Paul Greengrass' (Bloody Sunday, The Bourne Supremacy) semi-documentary retelling of how the brave passengers and crew of the fourth plane that was hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, risked their lives so the plane wouldn't reach its target. The thought-provoking extras include a lengthy documentary chronicling the emotional meetings between the victims' families and the actors; biographies on the passengers and crew; and unsentimental but gripping commentary with Greengrass.


Deluxe Collector's Edition

[Classic Media] $22

This yummy two-disc set features both the 1954 Japanese version of the monster movie and the 1956 American version, Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

The Japanese film was produced nine years after the end of World War II. It's a serious, somber anti-nuclear cautionary tale - the 400-foot, fire-breathing prehistoric monster is awakened and goes on a rampage because of nuclear testing in the ocean.

When a U.S. company bought the rights to the film, they cast a pre-Perry Mason Raymond Burr as an international correspondent named Steve Martin who happens to be in Japan when Godzilla emerges. The American version, which was also released internationally, blends footage from the original with the new scenes.

The two-disc set includes featurettes on the Godzilla suit and the history of the production, plus trivia-filled audio commentary on both films with author Steve Ryfle and publisher Ed Godiziszewski.

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