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New on Disc: 'Stagecoach' and more …

24 May, 2010 By: Mike Clark


Street 5/25
Criterion, Western, $39.95 DVD or Blu-ray, NR.
Stars John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell.
John Ford’s landmark Western is about as bedrock as you can get when it comes to American cinema. The print here — struck from best-existing 1942 materials, which tells you everything you have to know — is the best of the movie I’ve ever seen, though with more scratches than anyone is used to seeing in a Criterion Hollywood release. That’s the way it is: We all know the horror stories about the what-me-worry attitude the industry took toward preservation way back when.
Extras: Criterion has gone all out on the extras here, starting with a rather rigidly delivered but undeniably organized no-fat commentary by top movie Western historian Jim Kitses. You get the sense that Criterion, knowing the inevitable shortcomings of the utilized print, did everything else possible to succeed in making this one of the DVD/Blu-ray releases of the year.
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Doctor Zhivago: 45th Anniversary Edition

Warner, Drama, $24.98 two-DVD set, $35.99 Blu-ray, ‘PG-13’ for mature themes.
Stars Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger, Alec Guinness, Ralph Richardson, Tom Courtenay.
David Lean’s blockbuster adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s novel became the No. 1 date movie of its era, and Warner’s gorgeous new Blu-ray almost makes it seem like a first-time viewing.
Extras: Extensive carryovers from previous releases, though a new 40-minute featurette has several filmmakers rhapsodizing on what Zhivago meant to them.
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Rogues of Sherwood Forest

Sony Pictures, Adventure, $14.94 DVD, NR.
Stars John Derek, George Macready, Diana Lynn, Alan Hale Sr.
Cashing in on the new Robin Hood is a DVD quartet of ‘B’ movies that along with Rogues includes The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946), Prince of Thieves (1948) and Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960). This movie about Robin Hood’s son is minor, yet looks as if it cost four times more than it must have, so splendid is the Technicolor that hits us in the face with its reds.
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Roads to Memphis (American Experience)

PBS, Documentary, $24.99 DVD, NR.
Perhaps not as classy as other “Experience” presentations, this documentary at least provides context for the fateful (and fatal) convergence of Martin Luther King Jr. and his assassin, James Earl Ray, in 1968.
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Available now via WBShop.com’s Warner Archive.
Warner, Comedy, $19.95 DVD, ‘R.’
Stars Peter Falk, Emily Lloyd, Dianne Wiest, Jerry Lewis.
No more — or less — than keenly cast goombah fluff that barely got a national release at the time, this reasonably cute trifle didn’t just predate “The Sopranos” by a full decade in its portrayal of hoods at home. It also opened before Warner, almost exactly a year later, unveiled Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas to instant classic status. Cookie may be one of Warner’s DVD-R titles geared to on-demand requests, but there’s nothing wrong with its 1.85:1 presentation.
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