BeautyAndTheBeast and Humphrey Bogart films lead big parade of Blu-ray titles.
ATIMELESS tale of love’s power, Beauty And The Beast, and a pair of Humphrey Bogart classics, The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, top this week’s impressive list of new Blu-ray releases.
Beauty And The Beast (Walt Disney, 1992), as to be expected from Disney, looks stunning on Blu-ray and sounds terrific. It became an instant classic at the time of its release and is the first of only two animated films ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (the second is Up).
The film tells the story of Belle (voice of Paige O’Hara) who lives in an 18th century French village with her inventor father. Belle enjoys reading books and expanding her mind, which is something her egotistical suitor Gaston can’t understand. That soon doesn’t matter because Belle has another figure come into her life.
Living in a distant castle, he is a prince who has been cast under a spell and turned into a horrible Beast. Only by finding true love can the Beast ever be transformed back into human form and it is Belle who finally makes that possible. Robby Benson supplies the voice of the Beast with unforgettable thunder.
It all unfolds in the wonderful Disney style that entertains both young and old alike. Much of the fun comes in watching the animated household objects prance around each with their own distinct personalities.
The movie was nominated for six Oscars and won two for Best Original Song ( Beauty And The Beast) and Best Original score. Includes standard DVD version. Highly recommended.
TheMalteseFalcon (Warner Brothers, 1941): The definitive screen version of Dashiell Hammett’s novel that made Humphrey Bogart a full-fledged star.
The shadowy film noir photography looks crisp on Blu-ray. Bogart plays detective Sam Spade, who becomes involved with a variety of characters after his partner is murdered.
A great cast includes Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook Jr and Ward Bond.
This was John Huston’s first directorial effort. Includes Warner Night At The Movies short subjects. Highly recommended.
TheTreasureOfTheSierraMadre (Warner Brothers, 1948): This Blu-ray demonstrates just how stunning blackand-white can look in high definition. Bogart and Tim Holt play down-on-theirluck drifters in Mexico who meet up with an old prospector (Walter Huston). The three decide to go into the hills to Warner Night At The Movies short subjects. Highly recommended.
Other Blu-ray releases
TheLastOfTheMohicans (20th Century Fox, 1992): A beautifully photographed and exciting version of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic frontier tale of the French and Indian War.
Daniel Day-Lewis shines as the great hunter Hawkeye. Offering support are Madeline Stowe, Wes Studi and Russell Means. Directed by Michael Mann. Recommended.
TheExorcist (Warner Brothers, 1973): This is the film that sent shivers up the spines of many movie fans when first released. Linda Blair plays the girl who is possessed by a demon.
Max von Sydow and Jason Miller play two priests who attempt to perform an exorcism on the girl, but not without some terrifying moments.
Also in the cast are Ellen Burstyn and Lee J. Cobb. Released in Blu-ray book format. Recommended. Baseball:TheTenthInning (Paramount, 2010): Ken Burns’ sequel to his spectacular 1993 documentary Baseball.
The two-part, four-hour effort covers the steroid scandals of the past 17 years but also focuses on the accomplishments of the
Ocean’s11:50thAnniversary (Warner Brothers, 1960): Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and friends attempt to pull off the heist of the century in Las Vegas.
Sinatra plays Danny Ocean, who gets his old Army buddies together to do the job. Also in the cast are Angie Dickinson, Joey Bishop, Cesar Romero and guests Red Skelton and George Raft. Great fun. Recommended.
RobocopTrilogy (MGM/UA, 1987-90-93): Peter Weller plays the cop who is murdered and then brought back to life by technology. He discovers he is part man, part machine and is haunted by memories of his past life. Still, that doesn’t stop him from going into action when the bad guys arrive. Weller returns for the second film and then Robert Burke takes over for the finale. Recommended for lovers of action.
PeanutsHolidayCollection (Warner Brothers): This includes A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It also includes standard DVD versions of each title. Highly recommended.
MadMax (MGM/UA, 1979): Mel Gibson stars in this saga set in Australia in a future torn by war and strife. Motorcycle gangs roam the land trying to elude what passes for a police force. Max Rockatansky (Gibson) is considered one of the best on the force and it his job to hunt down a lawbreaker known as the Nightrider. That makes for a memorable chase sequence.