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New on Disc: 'Beauty and the Beast' Blu-ray and more …

11 Oct, 2010 By: Mike Clark

Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition

Disney, Animated, $39.99 Blu-ray combo pack, ‘G.’
Voices of Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden-Stiers.
Not even 20 years old, Beauty and the Beast predictably pops off the screen via a fresh remastering, with audio that makes the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman score resonate better than ever. I re-ran the Belle-Beast dancing scene four times, and majestic is the only word. Though this release includes an alternate longer version with an extra musical number, the original theatrical version has perfect rhythmic balance in terms of song placement and in the way the tunes advance a story with many live-wire supporting characters.
Extras: It’s startling to hear in Beyond Beauty — a backgrounder documentary that’s probably the standout of many bonus extras here — that there was a time during the conception when this version of the tale wasn’t even going to be a musical. There’s wall-to-wall historical illumination packed into the set’s two discs.
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Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

HBO, Documentary, $19.98 DVD, NR.
Narrated by Liev Schreiber.
How did the former L.A. Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson and former Boston Celtic Larry Bird get to be friends after years of antagonism — dating back when they played in the NCAA’s 1979 National Championship Game, respectively representing Michigan State and Indiana State? Well, it took years, and there’s even been a book about it: When the Game Was Ours, co-written by the principals with veteran sportswriter Jackie MacMullan, who is also interviewed extensively in this documentary, which is one of the best ever made on sports. This is a totally consuming mix of clips and interview subjects that include lots of reflection by the principals themselves — plus writers, other players and coaches, if not family members.
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Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough

Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, ‘R.’
Stars Kirk Douglas, Deborah Raffin, Alexis Smith, David Janssen.
Let’s all go to the Hamptons and take Kirk Douglas along. This would at least seem to be a sub-theme of this Panavision twist on the “Daddy’s Little Girl” syndrome — a follow-up to the comparably campy movie versions of Susann’s Valley of the Dolls and The Love Machine released nine months after the author’s 1974 death. In the process, it finds an atypical (though not career-unique) milieu for its male lead.
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The Animal World

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Documentary, $19.95 DVD, NR.
In producer-writer-director Irwin Allen’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning The Sea Around Us (1952), two dino behemoths proceed to chomp big bloody chunks out of each other’s necks before both topple over a cliff into some rapids. If any screen example better crystallizes the differences between being a ’50s kid and being one 30 years later, it does not immediately come to mind. There’s some occasional majesty here, and the creature combat or pursuit footage is, per usual, foolproof up to a point: ant vs. termite, octopus vs. moray eel, tiger-antelope, birds-insects, kangaroo rat-gila monster — and, lest we forget, man trying to maintain his supposed superiority over all of them.
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