DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: ON GOLDEN POND (Shout! Factory)
Director Mark Rydell’s 1981 adaptation of Ernest Thompson’s play is corny, sentimental and maudlin “” and every bit of it works, thanks in large, loving part to the only screen pairing of Hollywood legends Henry Fonda, who won an overdue Oscar as Best Actor in his final feature, and Katharine Hepburn, who won her record-setting fourth Oscar as Best Actress.
Norman and Ethel Thayer (Fonda and Hepburn) as visiting their lakeside cottage in Maine for perhaps the last time, as Norman’s health is fading. They are visited by daughter Chelsea (Henry’s real-life daughter Jane, who also produced), her new beau Bill (Dabney Coleman) and Bill’s typically rebellious soon Billy (Doug McKeon).
While Chelsea and Bill embark on a holiday of their own, a resentful Billy is left with Norman and Ethel. But, of course, this will be a summer of realization and reconciliation. Obvious it might be, but On Golden Pond is truly golden.
Thompson also took home an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and the film received nominations for Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound and, the big one, Best Picture.
The collector’s edition Blu-ray ($24.97 retail) includes audio commentary, retrospective featurettes and original trailer. Rated PG.
1 CHANCE 2 DANCE (Monarch Home Entertainment): A bland, corny melodrama with Lexi Giovagnoli as a teenager trying to adjust to a new school and achieve her goal of becoming a dancer after a cross-country move. Troma Films founder Lloyd Kaufman plays the dance-contest emcee!
“CAVALCADE THEATER” (Alpha Home Entertainment): A DVD compilation ($7.98 retail) of four episodes from the ’50s anthology series “DuPont Cavalcade Theater” (guess who sponsored it?), which aired first on NBC then CBS. Guest stars include real-life couple Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys.
COMMANDO CODY VS. THE MOON MENACE (Alpha Home Entertainment): George Wallace dons the rocket-powered jet-pack as the titular hero in this 1952 feature derived from the 12-part Republic Pictures serial Radar Men of the Moon, battling alien beings (including longtime B-Western heavy Roy Barcroft) and Earthbound baddies (including a pre-Lone Ranger Clayton Moore) bent on conquering Earth. Who can save us now? The miniatures are dated but impressive. Campy fun for nostalgia buffs, trimmed to a tight 60 minutes.
“DORA’S MERMAID ADVENTURES COLLECTION” (Nickelodeon/Paramount): The title tells all in this two-DVD gift set ($22.98 retail) of selected episodes from the long-running, award-winning animated Nickelodeon children’s series: Dora Saves the Mermaids and Dora’s Rescue in Mermaid Kingdom plus bonus music videos.
“FORGOTTEN FUNNYMEN: MARITAL MIX-UPS” (Alpha Home Entertainment): Wedded bliss goes amiss in this DVD collection ($7.98 retail) of four silent comedy shorts, including His Wooden Wedding and Innocent Husbands (both 1925), both starring Charley Chase and directed by future Oscar winner Leo McCarey; and Hold My Baby! (1925) and Meet this Missus (1924) with Glenn Tryon.
“GREAT TELEVISION SERIES OF THE 1950S” (Alpha Home Entertainment): A DVD compilation ($7.98 retail) of four episodes from vintage ’50s TV series’ including the anthology “Telephone Time.” Guest stars include Thomas Mitchell, Reginald Denny and a young Joel Grey.
THE IDENTICAL (Cinedigm): Newcomer Blake Rayne plays a dual role in this faithbased, PG-rated rock ‘n’ roll parable as twins separated at birth during the Depression, one of whom becomes a superstar and the other a minister’s son torn between religion and his own dream of stardom. Any resemblance to Elvis Presley is (ahem) coincidental. Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano, Brian Geraghty and Chris Mulkey round out the cast. The DVD retails for $19.96; the Blu-ray for $24.95.
LUCKY IN LOVE (Cinedigm): Jessica Szohr learns to be careful what she wishes for when everything starts going her way on April Fool’s Day in this Hallmark Channel comedy. The DVD retails for $14.93.
“MYTHBUSTERS”: 10TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION (Cinedigm): A 10-DVD selection ($99.99 retail) of 50 episodes from the award-winning Discovery Channel documentary series hosted by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who along with team members Grant Imahara, Kari Byron and Tory Belleci investigate myths, urban legends and other unexplained phenomena.
THE PRIDE OF ST. LOUIS (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Dan Dailey stars as real-life pitcher “Dizzy” Dean in this well-rendered 1952 sports drama detailing the star’s life and career, with Joanne Dru as his wife and young Richard Crenna as younger brother Paul (“Daffy”). Adapted from Guy Trosper’s story by Herman Mankiewicz, this earned an Oscar nomination for Best Motion Picture Story. Part of the studio’s Fox Cinema Archives series.
SARUMBA (Alpha Home Entertainment): Dancer Doris Dowling and sailor Tommy Wonder form a new professional (and romantic) attachment that becomes an immediate success on the nightclub circuit “” until wealthy Michael Whalen enters the picture. Filmed on location in Cuba, the island’s steamy and seamy ambiance is well-captured in this lightweight 1950 melodrama.
“SGT. BILKO/THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW”: THE COMPLETE SERIES (Shout! Factory): The title tells all in this 20-DVD collection ($129.99 retail) of all 142 episodes from the entire run (1955-59) of the classic CBS comedy series created by Nat Hiken, showcasing Phil Silvers in his signature role as the ever-scheming Master Sgt. Ernest P. Bilko, backed by Paul Ford (as Col. Hall), Allan Melvin, Harvey Lembeck, Maurice Gosfield, Herbie Faye and Joe E. Ross (“Ooh! Ooh!”). The series won three consecutive Emmy Awards as Best Comedy Series and for Best Comedy Writing (1955- 58), with Silvers winning Best Actor the inaugural season.
“SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: THE PILOT, A MINI-MOVIE & THE SQUARESHORTS” (Nickelodeon/Paramount): The title tells all in this DVD compilation ($9.98 retail) from the long-running, award-win ning, animated Nickelodeon comedy series. Nickelodeon/Paramount has also released Spongebob Squarepants Triple Feature: 10 Happiest Moments, Heroes of Bikini Bottom and Legends of Bikini Bottom on DVD ($19.99 retail).
WANTED BY THE POLICE (Alpha Home Entertainment): Clean-cut teenager Frankie Darro gets mixed up with a gang of car thieves in this simple-minded but fastmoving 1938 programmer.
“WELCOME BACK, KOTTER”: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (Shout! Factory): Class is back in session for Gabe Kaplan and his Sweathogs (John Travolta, Ron Palillo, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Robert Hegyes), in all 23 episodes from the 1976-77 season of the award-winning ABC situation comedy, now available on DVD ($29.93 retail).
WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (AFFIRM Films/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Jim Caviezel plays real-life football coach Bob Ladouceur of the De La Salle High School Spartans, who won an unprecedented 151 straight victories over a 12-year period then faced unexpected hardships when the streak ended, in this PG-rated, inspirational adaptation of Neil Hayes’ 2003 non-fiction best-seller, co-starring Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis, Alexander Ludwig and Clancy Brown. The DVD retails for $30.99; the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $40.99.
WINGS: SKY FORCE HEROES (Lions Gate): If the first Wings (2012) seemed a bit like Disney’s Planes (2013), this animated, PG-rated follow-up arrives the same time as Disney’s sequel. Josh Duhamel, Hilary Duff, Jesse McCartney, Rob Schneider and Tom Skerritt encore their voice-over roles from the first film. The DVD retails for $14.98. !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. ‘© 2014, Mark Burger.