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New on Disc: 2011 World Series Film and more …

12 Dec, 2011 By: Mike Clark

2011 Official World Series Film
St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series Collector’s Edition

A&E, Sports, World Series Film $29.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray; Collector’s Edition $79.95 eight-DVD set, NR.
The St. Louis Cardinals (with, of course, a major assist from the Texas Rangers) sparked one of the cream entries in postseason MLB contests from the past quarter century. The Cards beat the heavily favored Phillies in the prelim National League Division Series despite the fact that teams more than 10 games out in late August aren’t even supposed to be in the NLDS. And then the Cards advanced to a six-game NLCS victory over the Milwaukee Brewers — an ascension made possible, lest we forget, by pitcher Chris Carpenter’s 1-0 shutout over the Phillies in the NLDS deciding game 5, which is about what it takes when you’re facing the latter’s Roy Halladay in a money game. That Cards-Phils clincher is included as one of the bonuses on the World Series 2011 Fall Classic DVD and Blu-ray whose documentary portion is narrated by St. Louis native Jon Hamm. Like past MLB wrap-ups of any October action that has just transpired, it stands to rise or falls on the quality of the Series in question. The full evidence of how good this one was (20-hour running times have a way of making a case) is set forth in The St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series Collector’s Edition — the annual Series boxed which is naturally bathed this year in Cardinals red. The boxed set proves that this was a Series to be savored.
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Meet Me in St. Louis (Blu-ray)

Street 12/13
Warner, Musical, $35.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Tom Drake, Lucille Bremer.
This long-awaited Blu-ray version of Vincent Minnelli’s own career-maker is a kind of color alternative to what Warner did earlier this year with black-an-white on its release of Citizen Kane — employing a kind of “artful grain” that shows up if you’re fairly close to the screen but contributes marked detail if you move just a few inches back. This is how neighborly 1903-04 should have looked for anyone not totally hooked by the ultra-urban experience. 
Extras: The release rates the same cardboard book-like packaging that Warner reserves for its most prestigious Blu-ray releases, and also included is a short CD of the Hugh Martin-Ralph Blane staples (“Have Yourself a Marry Little Christmas,” “The Trolley Song,” “The Boy Next Door”) the movie produced. The other extras recycle a lot of what was on the deluxe 2004 standard DVD version.
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Lafayette Escadrille

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Tab Hunter, Etchika Choreau, David Janssen, Clint Eastwood.
The story here deals with a spoiled high school jock (Tab Hunter) whose father is something of a swaggering lout. After a serious brush with the law, the aggressively blond Hunter starts thinking about the French Foreign Legion — but instead ends up as a volunteer flyboy in France before America’s belated entry into World War I. Director William A. Wellman is said to have called his big-screen swan song the worst movie of his four-and-a-half-decade career. Thanks to uncommonly specific WWI subject matter plus ahead-of-its-time casting, this pronouncement is something of a negative stretch — though, this said, it’s true that a picture into which Wellman put so much of himself was severely compromised and artistically bludgeoned by the studio.
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