March 24, 2020: This Week on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD
Having just won three Academy Awards (including Best Cinematography for legendary DP Roger Deakins), Sam Mendes epic World War I story comes home as 1917 arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD. Offering pristine sound and picture quality, the single shot epic is the perfect release for showing off your home theater system. In addition to several behind the scenes featurettes, 1917 comes home with a pair of commentaries, one with Deakins and another with Mendes.
Arriving on DVD only is writer and director Chinonye Chukwu’s emotional drama Clemency. Alfre Woodard headlines as Bernadine Williams, a prison warden who is forced to reevaluate herself after meeting with another person set to be executed.
Rounding out the week’s recent big screen releases is The Grudge, a sequel to the popular horror franchise that began with the 2002 Japanese horror film Ju-On: The Grudge. The new chapter, directed by Nicolas Pesce, comes home with deleted and extended scenes and a trio of behind the scenes featurettes.
Even if you’re not leaving the house, you can still celebrate April Fool’s Day in style, thanks to Shout! Factory’s Scream Factory label. Released in 1986 in the middle of the slasher craze, the Fred Walton film follows nine college students who are invited to a luxurious island mansion, only to become the victims of a prank-inspired killer. The collector’s edition release includes new interviews with the horror film’s cast and crew.
Also arriving from Scream Factory this week is the 1973 telefilm adaptation of Mary Shelley’s iconic horror novel, Frankenstein: The True Story. Offering an uncut version of the film that runs over three hours, the release offers new interviews and a feature length commentary track with filmmaker and film historian Sam Irvin.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, director Todd Holland’s gaming adventure The Wizard receives a two-disc collector’s edition as part of the Shout! Select line. When three teen runaways (Luke Edwards, Jenny Lewis and Fred Savage) make their way to California to participate in an epic video game championship, they have to dodge a number of pursuers in order to make their dreams come true. Boasting a new 4K transfer, The Wizard makes its HD debut with new interviews, a behind the scenes documentary, never before released deleted scenes and an audio commentary track with Holland.
A trio of titles join the Kino Lorber Studio Classics line this week and represents an adaptation of a classic mystery novel. Look for the 1957 take Mickey Spillane, My Gun is Quick, the 1972 Agatha Christie adaptation Endless Night, and 1965’s Return from the Ashes, based on the book by Hubert Monteilhet.
Three catalogue titles are arriving on blu-ray for the first time this week as part of Sony’s MOD (Manufactured on Demand) program. King Kong‘s Fay Wray headlines the 1937 mystery Murder in Greenwich Village, starring as an heiress on the run for a murder she didn’t commit. Then, the gospel of Saint Matthew comes to life musically in director David Greene’s 1973 Godspell. Finally, arriving on the heels of the recent Greta Gerwig adaptation, director Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women finally comes to blu-ray.
John M. Stahl’s 1945 drama Leave Her To Heaven is the latest addition to the Criterion Collection. Gene Tierney headlines the technicolor classic as an unusual femme fatale. Her Ellen is, initially, the perfect woman for Cornel Wilde’s Richard Harland. After he marries her, though, he begins to discover that Ellen is capable of some truly chilling actions in order to retain her control over him.
Also arriving from Criterion this week is a blu-ray upgrade of Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1957 The Cranes Are Flying. A classic of Soviet cinema, the World War II story took home the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival. It makes its blu-ray debut with a new 2K digital restoration.
Warner Archive turns their attention this week to director William Wyler’s 1936 Sinclair Lewis adaptation, Dodsworth. Walter Huston headlines as the titular Dodsworth, a self made millionaire whose life is forever changed on a trip to Europe with his wife (Ruth Chatterton). When she leaves him for another man, Dodsworth embarks on his own journey of self discovery alongside a widower named Edith (Mary Astor), for whom he soon develops romantic feelings.
From Arrow Video, the week brings writer and director Philip Ridley’s 1995 psychological thriller, The Passion of Darkly Noon. Brendan Fraser, Ashely Judd and Viggo Mortensen headline the story of Darkly (Fraser), a young man raised by a religious cult who escapes and is taken in by a couple that redefines his entire world view. The film makes its HD debut with a host of special features, including new interviews and a full length commentary track with Ridley.
The BBC continues to bring the classic adventures of Doctor Who to Blu-ray with the third season of the show’s Sylvester McCoy years. Overall, the show’s 26th season, the set includes the final four story arcs of the original Doctor Who run. Although the show itself was not shot in high definition, these blu-ray sets nevertheless offer the best possible picture quality and retain all of the special features from the individual episode releases on DVD.