Chris Hicks: Commenters get snarky but emailers get answers

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 3:59 p.m. MDT

Colin Firth portrays King George VI in "The King's Speech."

The Weinstein Company

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Comments can be mean and sometimes downright nasty, but emails are generally nicer, at least the emails I get.

Online comments also tend to become discussions between commenters, which quickly go off message — and often go off the rails — as arguments escalate about things that have nothing to do with the story that initiated the discussion.

But the emails I receive are generally DVD or movie-related questions, so, thinking that some of those queries might be pertinent to others, here are a few I’ve received in recent weeks, each consisting of combined emails from several readers:

Question: A PG-13 version that toned down the language of “The King’s Speech” had a brief theatrical run but I can’t find it on DVD? Will that version ever be released?

Answer: It would have been easy to include the toned-down version on the same disc as the R-rated version, giving viewers the option of which they prefer to watch. But only the R-rated version was given a DVD release and I suspect that’s the way it will remain. Which is too bad. When you consider how many PG-13 movies are released with rougher versions on the same disc — unrated versions that would certainly be rated R if they had been submitted to the ratings board — it might have been an interesting groundbreaker to release the softer version as a choice.

Question: How can I find the cheaper DVD sets of “The Carol Burnett Show”?

Answer: The six-disc set that sells for about $39 is in a lot of stores that carry DVDs. But the cheaper two-disc and single-disc sets may have to be purchased online. You can call the stores you frequent and ask which sets they have on hand, or simply go to Amazon.com or another online store.

Question: I’d like to rent some of the older movies that have been released on DVD by Warner Archive and other MOD outlets, and I’ve looked for them on Netflix and at Redbox kiosks. Are they available for rent?

Answer: As with any DVD that can be purchased and made available as a rental, it’s up to the vendor to decide what to buy and post. It may be that they just don’t feel that 30- to 70-year-old secondary titles will be sought after by a big enough audience to bother with. The primary expectation of manufacture-on-demand sites is that their DVDs will be purchased by film buffs for private collections.

Question: A few months ago in your article you said “Poldark” and “It Takes a Thief” were on DVD. Where can they be purchased?

Answer: These programs are indeed on DVD but local retail stores are not stocking a wide array of TV titles these days, and what they concentrate on are recent seasons of current shows. But “Poldark” and “It Takes a Thief” can be purchased at Amazon.com and other online stores.

Question: Will “Cabaret” be coming to Blu-ray anytime soon?

Answer: The Liza Minnelli Oscar-winning musical was scheduled for a Sept. 9 Blu-ray release but that has been postponed indefinitely, another addition to the growing list of titles fans would like to see receive Blu-ray upgrades.

Question: You wrote that a Blu-ray box set titled “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” would be released Sept. 25. So where is it?

Answer: That set, which collects 14 of Hitchcock’s best movies, including “Vertigo,” “Rear Window,” “Psycho” and “North By Northwest,” has been pushed back to Oct. 30, due to a technical glitch discovered by customers who received early preview sets. Hey, better to have it arrive late than with problems.

Question: In your list of favorite newspaper movies you failed to mention my favorites: “Roman Holiday” (1953), starring Gregory Peck as an American reporter in Europe who helps a princess elude the flashbulbs and begins to fall for her, with Oscar-winning Audrey Hepburn in her first starring role. And “True Crime” (1999), a thriller with Clint Eastwood as a burned-out newspaperman trying to beat the clock when he discovers that a convicted murderer who is about to be executed didn’t do it.

Answer: Fair enough. “Roman Holiday” is a classic that I neglected to include. And “True Crime” is an enjoyable, if formulaic, suspense film bolstered by the performances of Eastwood, James Woods, Denis Leary and especially Isaiah Washington as the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Consider both added to the list.

E-MAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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