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New on Disc: 'Serpico' and more …

27 Jan, 2014 By: Mike Clark

Serpico (Blu-ray)

Warner/Paramount, Drama, $19.98 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for.
Stars Al Pacino.
The more pronounced Al Pacino’s hair, including the facial kind, becomes over a 130-minute running time, the more his Frank Serpico retreats into himself as the kind of maverick loner who just won’t “go along.” It’s the kind of visual correlative the older Sidney Lumet movies didn’t always have but would in the better works from his later career — a period which to me pretty well began with this still popular screen version of Peter Maas’ bestseller about undercover sleuthing against New York City police corruption. With actors, Lumet had few peers, and you can see it with Pacino right here. I seem to recall the theatrical rendering of Serpico looking somewhat washed-out or muddy, but matters have improved with tweaking in the home entertainment era, and this is the best I can recall the movie ever looking.
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The Black Swan (Blu-ray)

Fox, Adventure, $24.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Tyrone Power, Maureen O’Hara, George Sanders, Thomas Mitchell, Laird Cregar.
The story has nothing to do with Natalie Portman’s plain old Black Swan, but instead deals with the pillaging of Jamaican villages roundabout 1674. The great Laird Cregar plays the real-life English Capt. Henry Morgan, who in this rendering has just been made the new Jamaican governor. Tyrone Power plays a pirate who gets into a testy relationship with the daughter of the former governor, played by Maureen O’Hara. The color is really the thing here, and the movie wouldn’t be much without it. Carried over from the DVD is the joint commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer and Ms. O’Hara herself, who talks of dining with Cregar just before his death.
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