Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture
Johnny Depp stars as Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," now on Blu-ray.

Leading off these vintage movies on DVD is a collection of some of America's earliest motion pictures.

"Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938" (National Film Preservation Foundation/Sony/Image, three discs, $59.98). This new set of westerns on DVD has just been released — but it's not what you think. These 40 flicks were filmed in the western region of the United States during a 40-year span that began at the dawn of cinema.

The set is made up of mostly shorts, with a few features; mostly black and white, with a couple in early two-strip color; mostly silent (with appropriate music) and a few sound films; and mostly documentaries and travelogues, though there are also narratives (dramas and comedies — one with Clara Bow!), newsreels, industrial pictures, home movies and even government films.

But all of it, front to back, is fascinating, entertaining and, if you promise not to let the word chase you away, "educational." This is more than a box of movies, it's a box of history (especially if you listen to the audio commentaries or read the book that's included).

This one is an absolute delight, especially to those of us living in the west.

Extras: full frame, 40 films, audio commentaries; 110-page booklet

NOTE: The Warner Archive titles that follow are available online at

"The Super Cops" (Warner Archive, 1974, PG, $19.95). This action comedy about a pair of rookie cops is fast and funny — and believe it or not, based on the real-life exploits of a pair of '70s NYPD rookies who became known as "Batman and Robin." David Selby and scene-stealing Ron Leibman star, and the real-life cops are shown in a brief news clip at the beginning, and have roles as extras in the film

Extras: widescreen, trailer

"Hysteria" (Warner Archive, 1965, b/w, $19.95). This amnesia thriller has a Hitchcock feel with a twisty story headed for a twisted ending. Character actor Robert Webber stars as the forgetful accident victim, an American in London who is either hallucinating or being framed for murder. Snappy little B-movie from England's Hammer Studios, though the protracted conclusion deflates things a bit.

Extras: widescreen, trailer

"Pee-wee's Big Adventure" (Warner/Blu-ray, 1985, PG, $19.98).

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (Warner/Blu-ray, 2005, PG, $19..98). These two family fantasies from filmmaker Tim Burton receive Blu-ray upgrades this week, and hi-def really shows off the colorful sets and costumes. "Adventure" is hilarious, the perfect blend of director (Burton) and star (Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman) in a live-action Looney Tune. "Factory" is enjoyable, though Johnny Depp's bizarre Willy Wonka may have you yearning for Gene Wilder.

Extras: widescreen, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, trailers

"Space Jam" (Warner/Blu-ray, 1996, PG, $19.98). Michael Jordan finds himself in an elaborate Looney Tunes world where he must help Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and friends fend off space invaders with a basketball game. Fun for kids and adults.

Extras: widescreen, audio commentary, featurette, music videos, trailers

"Grandview, U.S.A." (Paramount/CBS, 1984; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; $19.99). So-so comedy-drama of small-town Americana gives Jamie Lee Curtis top billing but focuses on high schooler C. Thomas Howell and his coming of age, and his eventual affair with older Curtis, operator of a demolition derby frowned upon by the city fathers. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Jason Leigh co-star, and watch for John Cusack and Joan Cusack.

Extras: widescreen

"Sweet Hostage" (Warner Archive, 1975, $19.95). TV movie with young Martin Sheen as an escaped mental patient who picks up illiterate teen Linda Blair and then holds her hostage. As they warm to each other, he helps her grow up. "The Collector" meets "Pygmalion" but given a boost by sincere performances.

Extras: full frame

"The Phantom of Hollywood" (Warner Archive, 1974, $19.95). A "phantom" has managed to live undetected for years in a once-prosperous movie studio and he's not happy that its being torn down in this TV flick. Pretty bad but film buffs may enjoy seeing the MGM sets on display during a period when the studio was dismantling its assets. (Especially the mini-documentary at the front juxtaposing dilapidated sets with their glory days in old movies.)

Extras: full frame