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Film review: Eastwood's 4th 'Rawhide' season gallops onto DVD

Published: Monday, June 13 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

The fourth season of Clint Eastwood's vintage TV series leads these shows that have arrived on DVD this week.

"Rawhide: The Fourth Season, Volume 1" (CBS/Paramount, 1961-62, b/w, four discs, $42.99). It's been nearly three years since "Season 3, Vol. 2" came out, but, hey, better late than never. Eric Fleming is top dog in this series about old-west cattle drives and the variety of characters the cowpokes meet along the way. But Eastwood, as his second-in-command, has plenty of opportunities to shine, preparing for the bigger stardom that was just around the corner.

These episodes from the first half of the fourth season hold their own, with solid writing, exciting stories and interesting guest stars, to include Barbara Stanwyck, who makes the most of her character, an arrogant, foolish, self-absorbed captain's wife at a fort where Fleming hopes to resupply.

Other guests in this set include George Kennedy, Darren McGavin, Burgess Meredith, Ed Wynn, Shelley Berman, Ralph Bellamy and Billy Barty.

Extras: full frame, 15 episodes, trailers, commercials

"Hawthorne: The Complete Second Season" (Sony, 2010, three discs, $29.95). Jada Pinkett Smith is the chief nursing officer at a Virginia hospital in this cable series that deals with controversial issues, as when she tries to save a death-row inmate and a heroine-addicted mother.

Extras: widescreen, 10 episodes, featurettes

"Robin of Sherwood: Set 1" (Acorn/Blu-ray, four discs, $79.99). This darker-than-expected take on Robin Hood was lavishly produced on location, which looks great in Blu-ray, and Michael Praed is fine in the lead, albeit with a less-than-merry band of men.

Extras: full frame, 13 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes, music-only tracks, photo galleries, outtakes; PDF materials

"New Tricks" (Acorn, 2007, three discs, $39.99). This police procedural focuses on a British Metro cold-case unit, with a team of aging former detectives joining the superintendent in charge (Amanda Redman). Amusing, off-kilter stories will please fans of the genre.

Extras: widescreen, eight episodes

"Hell in the Pacific: Prisoners of the Japanese" (Timeless, 2011, b/w and color, two discs, $19.98). This 16-chapter, 2½-hour documentary chronicles the plight of American soldiers captured by the Japanese during World War II, with firsthand accounts and archival footage.

Extras: full frame, 16 episodes, deleted scenes

"The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Volume Six" (ABC Family, 2011, three discs, $34.99). Episodes from the first half of Season 3 about sex-obsessed teens now heading toward the altar.

Extras: widescreen

"Madeline and Her Friends" (Shout! Kids, 2011, $12.99). More animated adventures with the little girl from the best-selling children's books.

Extras: full frame, six episodes

"BraveStarr: Complete Series" (Mill Creek, 1987-89, seven discs, $29.98). Animated space-age western has Marshal BraveStarr taming the planet of New Texas with his trusty shape-shifting techno horse.

Extras: full frame, 65 episodes, audio commentary, featurettes

EMAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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