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New on Disc: 'The Psycho Legacy' and more …

18 Oct, 2010 By: Mike Clark

The Psycho Legacy

Street 10/19
Shout! Factory/Vivendi, Documentary, $19.93 DVD, NR.
There’s a pretty fair time to be had with writer-director Robert V. Galluzzo’s comprehensive documentary, which goes way beyond the original Psycho and its influence (monumental) to deal with the franchise’s other components (II, III and IV), which never get all that much airtime.
Extras: There’s footage here — both in the documentary and the DVD’s bountiful extras — of actor Anthony Perkins at some festival or museum Q&A session being cheerful and funny about his Norman Bates legacy, which had in many ways killed his career for anything beyond goofball roles. Other extras include a tour of the exteriors of the motel set and another one in the home of a collector who has an entire Psycho room in his house.
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The Thin Red Line

Criterion, Drama, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for realistic war violence and language.
Stars Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, James Caviezel, Woody Harrelson.
Rhapsodically photographed by John Toll and given one of Criterion’s most bang-up color masterings ever, Terrence Malick’s take on James Jones’ 1962 Guadalcanal novel couldn’t care less about conventionality — concentrating almost exclusively on the physical and the uncommonly contemplative. With the obvious exception of Apocalypse Now, this may be the most sensual war movie ever. One gets a unique POV sense of how physically difficult it must be to take a hill grass-blade by grass-blade when you have no idea what’s on the other side (and when you get to the top you’re still not likely to know).
Extras: There is no way the notoriously reclusive Malick was going to be interviewed here, but the extras give all kinds of insights to his working methods. The commentary is by producer Grant Hill, production designer Jack Fisk and cinematographer Toll. Other extras focus on the actors and composer Hans Zimmer. And even-headed daughter Kaylie Jones offers about 17 minutes of insights about what her father taught her about war. With a vintage James Jones essay on “phony war films” and an opening intro by critic David Sterritt, this is a first-rate package all the way. One of Criterion’s best, in fact. 
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Hand in Hand

Sony Pictures, Drama, $14.94 DVD, NR.
Stars Kathleen Byron, Finlay Currie, Arnold Diamond, Philip Needs, Loretta Parry.
Anybody who followed movies more than causally in the ’60s may at least recall the title of this unpretentious black-and-white sleeper from Britain. It got superb reviews and even made some 10-best lists. The movie sports a veneer of tolerance right from the get-go, with a Catholic boy and Jewish girl striking up a friendship at school before other people try to split them up.
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Jimmy the Gent

Available via WBshop.com's Warner Archive
Warner, Comedy, $24.95 DVD, NR.
Stars James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins.
For a comedy, there’s a remarkable mortality rate in the opening montage: plane crashes, boating accidents and (in a capper that can’t help but draw a laugh after the other accidents we’ve just seen), two locomotives doing a head-on into each other. The result is dead people — or dead people without heirs — and it is Cagney’s business to come up with phony ones to inherit the victims’ fortunes (for a cut, of course).
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