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New on Disc: Blu-rays for 'Broadcast News' and 'An Affair to Remember'

14 Feb, 2011 By: Mike Clark

Broadcast News

Criterion, Comedy, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for language and some sexual content.
Stars Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Jack Nicholson.
James L. Brooks’ second feature as a director reverberates today in terms of the climactic mass layoffs at its story-central television network’s Washington, D.C., news bureau. The sharp dialogue has always resonated, and so has the ensemble acting, including a once thoroughly ambushing performance by lead Holly Hunter, for which no one was prepared. Broadcast News remains its era’s definitive work-versus-personal life screen treatment.
Extras: Joining Brooks on the commentary is editor Richard Marks, and the deleted scenes here contain one major revelation: a more romantic ending that is at least as good as the honest but perhaps emotionally unsatisfying one that ended up in the release version. It packs a wallop if you’ve just watched the movie, and the odd story behind its conception so pains its maker until this day that he hadn’t looked at the alternative scene again until now.
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An Affair to Remember (Blu-ray)

Fox, Romance, $34.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Cathleen Nesbitt, Richard Denning.
Along with a tandem release of All About Eve, this is the first time Fox Entertainment has delved into “deep catalog” for the issuing of a Blu-ray. I enjoyed this Blu-ray more than any rendering (of many) I’ve seen of Affair since I first caught it as a child during its original release. The film is quintessentially dapper Cary Grant, but what I never quite noticed until this Blu-ray edition — perhaps because her performance is so ladylike and refined — is the glamour treatment director Leo McCarey gave to co-star Deborah Kerr as well. The Blu-ray has an intensity you don’t get on the standard DVD or TV showings; in the same shot, Grant’s tanned skin tones complement redheaded Kerr’s pale ones, and even the process shots look pretty acceptable.
Extras: Along with cardboard packaging, it includes backgrounder text and glossy still photos printed on high-quality paper. Otherwise, this release basically transfers the 2007 standard DVD intact, which means there are also some wide-ranging bonus featurettes on the superstar leads, the filmmakers and the production.
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Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, ‘PG-13’ for mature thematic elements involving violence, drug and alcohol use, sexual content and nudity.
Stars Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Perkins, Laurence Harvey, Wayne Rogers, Pat Hingle, Moses Gunn, Don Gordon, Cloris Leachman.
When a superstar headlines a sturdy supporting cast in a 41-year-old political drama whose subject matter resonates loudly today, there’s probably a good reason if the movie is infrequently shown and remains generally obscure. WUSA feels like a direct off-shoot of the Democratic Convention riots from Chicago in 1968. Olive’s Panavision transfer is faithful to WUSA’s harsh grainy look, which was atypical of Paramount releases of the period. The movie reunited Paul Newman with director Stuart Rosenberg, who’d enjoyed his an undeniably great moment in the sun with 1967’s Cool Hand Luke.
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2 Weeks in Another Town

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton.
Vincente Minnelli’s dramatically stillborn but visually resplendent CinemaScope trash captures a time when old Hollywood was crumbling and some of its old directorial hands were struggling to find work abroad in what used to be called runaway productions.
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