COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

Judy Garland

Judy Garland


By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“A Star Is Born” (Deluxe Edition) (Not Rated) — Directed by George Cukor, featuring songs by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin, 1954’s “A Star Is Born” starring Judy Garland and James Mason finally gets the DVD release it deserves. Garland plays aspiring singer Esther Blodgett. Mason is Norman Maine, an alcoholic actor whose career is fading. After Esther saves him from an embarrassing moment at a Hollywood function, Maine tries repeatedly to convince her to consider a career in film. She finally accepts, changes her name to Vicki Lester and takes a part in a musical, which skyrockets her to fame. But her newfound celebrity and his alcoholism are a dangerous and volatile mix that leads the couple to a tragic incident.

This deluxe edition spans three discs, with two discs packed to the brim with special features, including alternate takes, effects reels, newsreel footage, the 1954 TV special of the film’s premiere and tons of other goodies too numerous to mention. The movie itself is a restored 176-minute version and includes all the footage edited out following the premiere and believed lost. Using the restored negative, it was scanned at a 6k rate — the highest resolution any film has been scanned to date — for the Blu-Ray release.

“Stones in Exile” (Not Rated) — Nearly 40 years ago, during the summer of 1971, the Rolling Stones fled England for the south of France to avoid England’s 93 percent income tax. They’d sacked their manager who’d brought them to the brink of financial disaster, were moving to a new label and Keith Richards was ripped to the gizzards on heroin, so why not record a new album, right?

And that’s what they did. The band slapped together a makeshift recording studio in Keith’s basement, and between orgies of sex and drugs, laid down the basic guts of what would become “Exile on Main Street,” arguably one of their greatest albums.

To tell the story of “Exile,” director Stephen Kijak drew from vintage news reports, photos, film footage of an unreleased documentary made at the time, plus interviews with the band and other celebs. The result is an enjoyable and entertaining look at a “creative process” that should’ve resulted in crushing disaster, but instead yielded a masterpiece of classic rock ’n’ roll.

TV SERIES
“Entourage” The Complete Sixth Season
“Avatar The Last Airbender” The Complete Book 1
“Afro Samurai” The Complete Murder Sessions
“Ah My Goddess” Season 2 Box Set
“Checkmate” The Complete Series
“Riverworld”
“Tom & Jerry” Deluxe Anniversary Collection
“Hung” The Complete First Season
“Lone Wolf & Cub” Part 2

© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.

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