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Deseret News Archives
Charles Frank, left, James Garner and Jack Kelly in the comic Western "The New Maverick."

"The New Maverick" (Warner, 1978, $14.98). James Garner stars as Bret Maverick in this two-decades-later followup to the original comic Western series, and he's a hoot. Jack Kelly, as his brother Bart, also shows up briefly at the end.

This TV-movie was actually a pilot for a late-'70s series and introduces Charles Frank as a Maverick cousin, along with his real-life wife Susan Blanchard. Add Susan Sullivan as Poker Annie, with everyone becoming involved in a gun-selling scheme, and it makes for an enjoyable romp.

The series that followed, titled "Young Maverick," had only a brief stint before running out of gas, largely because, although Frank isn't bad, he's no James Garner.

As a side note, fans have long bemoaned the fact that "Maverick" has yet to be released on DVD, and this isn't much compensation. It's amusing in its own right, and Garner is great — but where's the original?

Extras: full frame

"If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" (MGM, 1969, G, $19.98). When I saw this film before ever going on a multicountry guided bus tour, it struck me as an amusing big-screen sitcom. Now that I've been on some tours, it resonates. Best of all, it stars Suzanne Pleshette, who is always a pleasure to watch, along with an array of seasoned character actors and a few guest stars.

Extras: widescreen

"The Night They Raided Minsky's" (MGM, 1968, PG-13, $19.98). This slapdash comedy is a salute to burlesque, with a slim storyline — about a dancing Amish woman (Britt Ekland) who inadvertently invents the striptease (there is some brief nudity at the end). But it's really just an excuse for a parade of amusing, albeit antiquated, stage bits, featuring Jason Robards, Norman Wisdom, Bert Lahr and, as Minsky, Elliott Gould. It's also marred a bit by experimental camera work and editing, which becomes distracting.

Extras: widescreen

"What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?" (MGM, 1966, $19.98). Blake Edwards directed this goofy, low-key World War II comedy about American troops taking a Sicilian village but running into myriad distractions. James Coburn stars, along with Harry Morgan (in a blustery role that foreshadows "M*A*S*H"), Carroll O'Connor — and Dick Shawn, who steals the show. Amusing but at nearly a full two hours, it's overlong by 30 minutes.

Extras: widescreen

"Tom Selleck Western Collection" (Warner, 1997-2002, three discs, $19.98). This set is comprised of three cable-TV movies starring Selleck that have been on DVD for quite awhile: "Crossfire Trail," "Last Stand at Sabre River" and "Monte Walsh." All three are fun, and Selleck has certainly earned the mantle of modern Western hero.

Extras: full frame/widescreen, text filmographies


E-mail: hicks@desnews.com