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DVD NEWS BRIEFS: Rhino Bows ‘Swope’; ‘Proof of Life’ DVD; ‘Jungle Girl’ Found; Kino’s ‘Richard III’

12 Apr, 2001 By: Ralph Tribbey

Rhino Bows ‘Swope’

Before there was a Robert Downey Jr. making headlines, there were the cutting-edge filmmaking efforts of his father, Robert Downey Sr., who has become something of a legend in his own right. Debuting on DVD May 22 (prebook May 1) from Rhino Home Video is his most famous, and certainly most controversial, work, Putney Swope.

Dubbed the “truth and soul” movie, Swope takes swipes at Madison Avenue, drugs, race relations and sexual mores, with wit and wisdom well ahead of its time. The DVD features a newly prepared interview with Downey and is priced at $19.95.

‘Proof of Life’ DVD

Proof of Life, the film best known for the heat generated between co-stars Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe offscreen, arrives day-and-date June 19.

The film, which posted a domestic box office gross of $35.6 million, arrives on DVD at $24.98, presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio (2.35:1) and features a 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. DVD bonuses include director Taylor Hackford commentary, a making-of documentary and the film’s trailer.

‘Jungle Girl’ Found

The arrival of DVD, and its superior video and audio capabilities, has prompted a number of home video content suppliers to dig deep for the best raw material available. The latest to take such action is VCI Home Video for its release of the classic 15-chapter serial “Jungle Girl.”

Originally slated for a December 2000 release, Jungle Girl, based on a novel of the same name from “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burrough and regarded as one of Republic Pictures’ best serials, was delayed to get the best source material possible. The DVD now streets June 26 (prebook June 1) at $29.99.

According to VCI president Robert Blair: “We delayed this one because we were able to locate a 35mm fine grain at the British Film Museum. It took a while to go through all the red tape and actually get the film transferred, but I can tell you it was worth the wait. It looks gorgeous.”

Kino’s ‘Richard III’

Kino on Video on June 26 (prebook May 22) will release the 1912 silent feature Richard III, starring Frederick Warde, at $29.95. Regarded as the earliest surviving American feature-length film, the elements were carefully preserved by Oregon film collector William Buffum until he donated the material to the American Film Institute in 1995.

Debuting June 19 (prebook May 15) is the 1922 silent feature version of Othello, starring the legendary Emil Jannings, at $29.95 on DVD. The DVD includes the complete film, as well as four short subjects, including D.W. Griffith’s 1908 11-minute short subject rendition of The Taming of the Shrew.

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