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An Oscar-winning drama leads a bevy of vintage movies on DVD

Published: Monday, Sept. 16 2013 6:14 a.m. MDT

Poster art for the 1939 classic "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," newly reissued on DVD by the manufacture-on-demand website Warner Archive.

Warner Archive

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The great Oscar-winning drama “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” leads these vintage titles released on DVD and Blu-ray this week.

“Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (Warner Archive, 1939, b/w, $18.95). Now generally forgotten, Robert Donat was an excellent actor in his prime and he stars in two still cherished 1930s classics, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Thirty-Nine Steps” and this one, for which he won the best-actor Oscar as a beloved teacher in an English boys school over several decades. The film remains an engaging and engrossing drama, and it made a star of Greer Garson in her first movie. (Available at the Warner Archive website.)

“Targets” (Warner Archive, 1968, R for violence, $18.95, audio commentary and introduction by director Peter Bogdanovich). Before “The Last Picture Show,” “Paper Moon” and “What’s Up, Doc?,” Bogdanovich got this chiller as his first directing gig from B-movie entrepreneur Roger Corman. It’s loosely based on the Charles Whitman-University of Texas sniper shootings, with Boris Karloff as a horror actor appalled at the horrors of real life when a Los Angeles sniper starts taking out random victims. (Available at the Warner Archive website.)

“Lady in a Cage” (Warner Archive, 1964, b/w, $18.95). Harrowing home-invasion thriller has Olivia de Havilland as a widow stuck in her home elevator when there’s a power outage over a sweltering holiday weekend. Trapped, de Havilland finds herself at the mercy of a trio of delinquents (led by young James Caan) that barge in and take advantage of the situation. (Available at the Warner Archive website.)

“The Master of Ballantrae” (Warner Archive, 1953, $18.95, text biographies, photo gallery, trailers). Colorful, entertaining costume drama filmed on European locations and taken from the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Errol Flynn stars as a member of Scottish gentry who, through a series of misadventures, becomes a pirate. Well-staged action and well-cast actors give a lift to the otherwise routine proceedings. This was Flynn’s last picture for Warner Bros., after 20 years and 35 films. (Available at the Warner Archive website.)

“The Count of Monte Cristo”/“Man Friday” (Timeless/Blu-ray, 1975, PG, $24.97, two movies, DVD and Blu-ray versions). “The Count of Monte Cristo” has been filmed umpteen times dating back to the silent era, but this is a good one, a British-TV adaptation that aired domestically on NBC and stars Richard Chamberlain (earning him an Emmy nomination). Co-stars include Louis Jourdan, Tony Curtis and Kate Nelligan. The theatrical “Man Friday” is adapted from a play that reworked “Robinson Crusoe” with a strange 1970s civil-rights vibe. Peter O’Toole and Richard Roundtree star.

“Bomba, the Jungle Boy” (Warner Archive, 1952-55, b/w, three discs, $18.95, six movies). The final six films in the low-budget B-movie series about the adventures of a young boy raised in the jungle, starring Johnny Sheffield (who played Boy in the Johnny Weissmuller “Tarzan” series): “African Treasure,” “Bomba and the Jungle Girl,” “Safari Drums,” “The Golden Idol,” “Killer Leopard” and “Lord of the Jungle.” (Available at the Warner Archive website.)

“Taboo Tales” (Mill Creek, 1936-56, b/w, three discs, $9.98, 12 movies). This collection of antique exploitation cautionary tales includes the unintentionally hilarious “Reefer Madness,” “Gambling With Souls” and “She Shoulda’ Said ‘No’!” Also some that are so politically incorrect it’s hard to believe they were made.

“Dawn of the Immorals” (Mill Creek, 1947-62, b/w and color, three discs, $9.98, 12 movies). This collection of sword-and-sandal low-budget epics (if that’s not an oxymoron) includes such characters as Hercules, Atlas, and Damon and Pythias in the service of musclebound exploitation, along with such unexpected former stars as Alan Ladd and Rod Taylor.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com, Email: hicks@deseretnews.com

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