by Mark Burger



This affectionate but action-packed 1973 ode to the classic Western was directed by Tonino Valerii and produced by Sergio Leone (who reportedly did some directing, too). It’s also a fond farewell to the spaghetti Westerns that Leone pioneered — and which proliferated in his wake.Henry Fonda, himself an embodiment of the classic American Western, enjoys one of his last leading roles as Jack Beauregard, a legendary gunslinger ready to hang up his holster — if it weren’t for the mischievous upstart known as “Nobody” (Terence Hill), who keeps getting them both into trouble. Fonda and Hill (best known for his Trinity spaghetti-Western spoofs) make an appealing duo, with Fonda’s gravitas neatly balanced by Hill’s puckish charm.A buoyant Ennio Morricone score accentuates the lightheartedness of the proceedings, with Jack and Nobody drawn into a climactic battle with the notorious outlaw gang, “The Wild Bunch.” In-jokes abound (obviously), and a cast of Western familiars includes RG Armstrong, Steve Kanaly and Geoffrey Lewis. The new 40 th -anniversary edition Blu-ray retails for $24.98. Rated PG.

ACROSS THE BRIDGE (VCI Entertainment): Ruined tycoon Rod Steiger flees to Mexico after assuming the identity of a man he’s murdered in this unconventional 1957 psychological thriller based on a Graham Greene story. Steiger’s typically forceful turn is an intense study in mounting paranoia. He and director Ken Annakin regarded this as a personal favorite.

“THE BEST OF JACK HANNA” (Image/ Madacy Entertainment): A self-explanatory DVD boxed set ($29.98 retail) of 30 episodes each from the long-running, award-winning syndicated nature series’ “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” and “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures.”

“THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW”: CHRISTMAS WITH CAROL (StarVista Entertainment): A DVD compilation ($12.95 retail) of yuletide episodes from the long-running, award-winning CBS variety series, featuring guest stars Alan Alda, Sid Caesar, Helen Reddy and the much-missed Jonathan Winters.

COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (Nasser Group North): Real-life siblings Carly and Britt McKillip play sisters whose lengthy enmity comes to an end during an eventful holiday reunion in this yuletide drama, originally titled simply Home for Christmas. The DVD retails for $14.99.

“THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW”: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (Image Entertainment): The Blu-ray bow ($59.98 retail) of all 31 episodes from the 1965-’66 (and final) season of the beloved CBS sitcom created by Carl Reiner, starring Dick Van Dyke as TV comedy writer Rob Petrie, with Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie and Reiner himself. Emmy wins: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Van Dyke), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Moore) and Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, with additional nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Amsterdam), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Marie) and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy (Jerry Paris, who also appeared).

“FARSCAPE”: 15TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Cinedigm): The title tells all in this mammoth collection of all 88 episodes from the entire four-season run (1999- 2003) of the award-winning Sci-Fi Channel series following the galactic adventures of John Crichton (Ben Browder). The regular cast includes Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Lani John Tupu and Jonathan Hardy. Lots of special features for fans including interviews, audio commentaries, documentaries and more. The DVD boxed set retails for $129.95, the Blu-ray boxed set for $149.95.

FRED WON’T MOVE OUT (Virgil Films): Elliott Gould (he’s Fred) and Judith Roberts star in writer/director Richard Ledes’ bittersweet comedy/drama as an aging couple confronted by the possibility of moving out of the house they’ve shared for 50 years.

GIBSONBURG (Monarch Home Entertainment): Based on a true story, this well-meaning but mawkish baseball saga follows an Ohio high school whose team was the only one to win a championship with a losing record. Producer Bob Mahaffey adapted his book and co-directed with Jon Kimble. This spends too much time away from the baseball diamond.

HITCHED FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Gaiam Videndi Entertainment): He’s Catholic (Joey Lawrence), she’s Jewish (Emily Hampshire), they pretend to be engaged to fool their families during the holidays… guess what happens next? The DVD retails for $14.93.

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: A GOLDEN CHRISTMAS 3 (Mar Vista Entertainment/ Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment): As in the first two films, golden retrievers figure prominently in bringing free-spirited Shantel VanSanten and Naval veteran Rob Mayes together for the holidays in this family-friendly romantic comedy that premiered on ION. The DVD retails for $14.93.

NOSFERATU (Kino Classics): A deluxe, two-disc restored edition of FW Murnau’s ground-breaking silent 1922 chiller based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with the unforgettable Max Schreck as the bloodthirsty “Count Orlock.” Character names were changed to avoid litigation, but Stoker’s widow sued anyway and all prints were ordered destroyed. Thankfully, Nosferatu survived — and has endured as one of the preeminent horror classics of its time, and all time. The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $39.95. Both contain extensive special features.

“PETTICOAT JUNCTION”: THE OF- FICIAL THIRD SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount): A five-DVD collection ($19.96 retail) of all 34 episodes from the 1965-’66 season of the long-running CBS sitcom about the antics at the family-run Shady Rest Hotel in Hooterville (a stone’s throw from “Green Acres”). The regular cast includes Edgar Buchanan (as crusty but lovable Uncle Joe), Bea Benaderet and Linda Kaye Henning, daughter of series creator Paul Henning.

QUICKSILVER (Image Entertainment): This 1986 PG-rated bike-messenger melodrama starring Kevin Bacon was a boxoffice bust in theaters, but became a hit on video and cable. Now, screenwriter Tom Donnelly’s directorial debut is available on DVD ($9.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.97 retail). In support: Jami Gertz, Laurence Fishburne, Paul Rodriguez and Louie Anderson.

SAHARA (Timeless Media Group): Auto heiress Brooke Shields disguises herself as a man to race the family’s new car in a 1927 road rally across the Sahara desert in this clunky, old-hat 1983 adventure directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. An early (and failed) attempt by producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus of Cannon Films to enter the big leagues, this was barely released and essentially obliterated Shields’ box-office standing. The wasted cast includes John Rhys-Davies (typecast as a snarling Arab villain), John Mills, Horst Buchholz, Lambert Wilson, Cliff Potts, Perry Lang and Steve Forrest. Brooke’s mom Teri was the executive producer. Ennio Morricone’s score is atypically weak. So’s everything else, for that matter. Rated PG. !

MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2013, Mark Burger.