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New on Disc: 'Gate of Hell' and more …

29 Apr, 2013 By: Mike Clark

Gate of Hell

Criterion, Drama, $19.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
Stars Kazuo Hasegawa, Machiko Kyô, Isao Yamagata.
A lively 12th-century rouser even without the lush pigments, Gate of Hell took the foreign-language Oscar, its New York Film Critics Circle counterpart, plus the Grand Prix at Cannes for director Teinosuke Kinugasa. Set against a foiled palace coup against the reigning lord, this tight 89-minute epic deals with a samurai (Kazuo Hasegawa) who really pushes it when the surviving ruler asks him what kind of official thank-you he’d like for having broken with his own brother to support the established order. He asks for the hand of a woman who is already married to another samurai. Confused and possibly a tad flattered by all this, the wife (Machiko Kyo) remains faithful, though we sense almost instantly that no good can come of this situation.
Kohei Sugiyama’s cinematography is routinely mentioned as one of the wave-makers in worldwide color cinematography of the ’40s and ’50s. His work didn’t rate an Oscar nomination, but the costumes by Sanzo Wada did take the top award.
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Hello, Dolly! (Blu-ray)

Fox, Musical, $24.99 Blu-ray, ‘G.’
Stars Barbra Streisand, Walter
Matthau, Michael Crawford.
The Blu-ray of 20th Century Fox’s one-time studio-buster is resplendent enough to rate a “don’t-miss-this” nudge if you’re prejudiced toward the material, which did, after all, serve one of the most successful stage musicals of all time. 
Extras: Director Gene Kelly’s widow, Patricia Ward Kelly, is the centerpiece of a featurette built around remembrances of her husband’s labors on the project.
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