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New on Disc: 'LennonNYC,' and more …

22 Nov, 2010 By: Mike Clark


Street 12/7
A&E, Documentary, $24.95 DVD, NR.
Concurrently running on PBS as part of the incessantly invaluable “American Masters” series, the story of LennonNYC begins in 1971 when Lennon and wife Yoko Ono discovered they could live peacefully in Greenwich Village without being subjected to all the Beatlemaniacs who prevented them from taking casual strolls on London streets. Cooperating Ono is ubiquitous, seen in recent interviews that must have been painful even 30 years after Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman. Musician colleagues and critics share recollections, not all of them pretty. Generally, the tone is more benign with a slightly melancholy tinge, making an extremely persuasive case that Lennon came to be far more comfortable at home with his wife and young son than he was with celebrity. Director Michael Epstein mines what is obviously a substantial archive of still photos and audio tracks from recording sessions.
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Mutiny on the Bounty (Blu-ray)

Warner, Adventure, $34.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone.
The Oscar-winning first and better version of MGM’s Bounty extravaganzas is the only movie for which its three top-billed stars all received lead actor Oscar nominations — and now it’s the first black-and-white release from deep in the MGM archives that Warner Home Video has issued on Blu-ray. In general, I’ve always thought that vintage Warner Bros. titles have a visual snap that their MGM counterparts never had, so the result is slightly subordinate to Warner’s Blu-ray releases of, say, its own Casablanca or The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. But make no mistake: Watching Bounty here is like watching it for the very first time. Aside from an infrequently grainy shot here and there (a product, I’m sure, of the source material, not some slip-up), it really looks super on screen, and the soundtrack has more heft than I ever would have expected.
Extras: Bounty comes packaged in the same cardboard booklet that Warner reserves for its most important catalog releases, though the bonus extras are fairly paltry.
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Monte Walsh

Paramount/CBS, Western, $19.99 DVD, NR.
Stars Lee Marvin, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Palance, Mitch Ryan, Jim Davis, Michael Conrad.
The first screen version of Shane author Jack Schaefer’s source novel (there was also a 2003 Tom Selleck TV movie) is quite a throw-up-your-hands jumble. And yet, now as then, the movie sparks rooting interest that’s only fitfully rewarded despite some appealing elements here and there — especially to those who’ll watch an ‘A’-budget Western at the drop of a cowboy hat. The movie’s best reviews justifiably went to the remarkably restrained Jack Palance for what must have been the least threatening or prickly performance in his career. Certainly, it’s an interesting counterpoint to Shane, which contains Palance’s most famously malevolent work.
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Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Stewart Granger, George Sanders, Joan Greenwood, Alan Napier, Viveca Lindfors, Jon Whiteley.
As one of the few color and even fewer widescreen movies that Fritz Lang directed in his 41-year career, this undeservedly obscure (in America) yarn about a lad who falls in with 18th-century pirates points up the disconnect in critical sensibilities from country to country. As a child’s-eye-view of British coastal cutthroats, exotic women, saloon living, underground hideouts and personal loneliness, the result is naggingly affecting thanks in part to Miklos Rozsa’s score and an apposite turn by child co-lead Jon Whiteley.
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