Chris Hicks: Disney’s ‘Peter Pan’ and Barbra Streisand’s ‘Star Is Born’ get Blu-ray upgrades
“Top Gun: Limited 3D Edition” (Paramount/Blu-ray 3D, 1986. PG, two discs, $39.99; Vlu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and digital versions; audio commentary, featurettes, music videos, ad spots). This one has been on Blu-ray before, but this 3D version is new. And with its video game-style action sequences, this film is a perfect complement to the format. Despite its huge popularity the film’s story and characters are not really all that compelling. But it’s fun to see all the supporting players who went on to bigger things: Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards, along with veteran character actors Tom Skerritt and Michael Ironside.
“The Great Gildersleeve Movie Collection” (Warner Archive, 1942-44, b/w, not rated, two discs, $29.95, five movies). Harold Peary was pompous, befuddled Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a popular character on the “Fibber McGee & Molly” radio show, for two years before spinning off his own series. And Peary also played him in support of other radio stars in five films before the character rose to top billing for four movies of his own: “The Great Gildersleeve,” “Gildersleeve on Broadway,” “Gildersleeve’s Bad Day” and “Gildersleeve’s Ghost.” All are just OK B-movies aimed at fans of the radio show, but an enjoyable bonus is the inclusion of one of those early films, “Seven Days’ Leave,” a musical comedy with Peary’s Gildersleeve supporting Victor Mature and Lucille Ball. (Available at www.WarnerArchive.com)
“Tip on a Dead Jockey” (Warner Archive, 1957, b/w, not rated, $18.95, trailer). In the final decade of his career, Robert Taylor stars as a former World War II/Korean War pilot now paralyzed by a fear of flying related to guilt over sending young flyers to their deaths in two wars. When he divorces his wife without explanation, she travels to Madrid to find him drinking, gambling and getting mixed up with smugglers. No classic but an entertaining, introspective look at characters nearly undone by bad choices.
“Bagdad Café” (Shout!, 1987, PG, $9.99). Quirky comedy has hefty German star Marianne Sagebrecht showing up at the title café in a small town in the middle of the Nevada desert where she settles into a motel and eventually gets a job in the diner, under the suspicious eye of the owner (CCH Pounder). As the film progresses Sagebrecht wins over an array of kooks who pass through and becomes the unlikely muse for a painter, a retired Hollywood set designer played by a surprisingly low-key Jack Palance. More funny peculiar than funny ha-ha, but will appeal to those who can get into its offbeat rhythms.
“Gunfighters of Abilene” (MGM Limited Edition Collection, 1960, b/w, $17.95, trailer). B-western starring Buster Crabbe toward the end of his movie career is a routine, by-the-numbers programmer. Crabbe stars as a gunslinger looking to get revenge on his brother’s killers. (Available at www.WarnerArchive.com)
“Babar: The Movie” (eOne, 1989, G, $14.98). This big-screen Babar animated feature includes forgettable songs while strangely cribbing from several live-action films for its story, including “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Dumbo.” Would have done better sticking to its original source material. Strictly for small fry.
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