DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: THE BOLD ONES: THE SENATOR – THE COMPLETE SERIES (Timeless Media Group)
“THE BOLD ONES: THE SENATOR” — THE COMPLETE SERIES (Timeless Media Group): From 1969-’73, NBC and Universal broadcast “The Bold Ones,” a rotating series of dramas (The New Doctors, The Lawyers, The Protectors), of which The Senator was both the most-acclaimed and shortest-lived, lasting only eight episodes during the 1970-’71 season.
Yet it earned 11 Emmy nominations and won five, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Hal Holbrook), Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series – and is widely hailed as one of the first network series’ to deal directly with American politics.
Indeed, many of the issues dramatized – including Civil Rights, environmental concerns, campus unrest and political corruption – are issues still being debated today. Holbrook’s Hays Stowe is a man of idealism, integrity and principle, yet he’s not infallible and sometimes resigned to working within a system that isn’t always fair or just. There are no simple answers, but raising the questions is sometimes important enough.
The DVD retails for $29.93 and includes an extensive new interview with Holbrook.
AMAZING SPACE (Film Chest Media Group): Acclaimed singer and musician Kristin Hoffmann offers “an audio/video meditation on the cosmos” by paying (and playing) homage to the Hubble space telescope on its 25th anniversary in this three-disc collector’s set (DVD/Blu-ray/CD), retailing for $24.98.
“BARNEY MILLER”: THE FINAL SEASON (Shout! Factory): A three-DVD collection ($24.97 retail) of all 22 episodes from the 1981-’82 season of the ABC comedy series with Hal Linden in the title role of New York’s 12th Precinct captain, backed by Max Gail, Ron Glass, Steve Landesberg, Ron Carey and James Gregory as the doors close forever. At long last, the series won the Emmy Award as Outstanding Comedy Series, with nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Linden), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (both Glass and Landesberg) and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.
“THE BEST OF THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW” (StarVista Entertainment/Time Life): The title tells all in this six-DVD selection ($59.95 retail) of highlights from the 23 seasons of the longest-running variety show in TV history, which aired 1948-’71 on CBS, including appearances by Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Barbra Streisand, Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Janis Joplin, Richard Pryor, The Smothers Brothers, The Doors (who were not invited back) and more. StarVista/Time Life has also released “The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show: Unforgettable Performances” ($12.95 retail), hosted by Carol Burnett, featuring many of the talents listed above.
“THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS: STINGERS AND ZINGERS” (StarVista Entertainment/Time Life): Dino’s on the dais for this DVD collection ($59.95 retail) of 24 full-length roasts aired on NBC in the ‘70s and ‘80s, with those in the hot seat including Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, Wilt Chamberlain, Carroll O’Connor, Danny Thomas, Evel Knievel, Truman Capote, Wilt Chamberlain, Ted Knight, Joe Namath, Leo Durocher, Valerie Harper, Michael Landon, William Conrad, Sen. Hubert Humphrey and Mr. T. StarVista/Time Life has also released “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Hall of Famers,” a DVD compilation ($12.95 retail) of roasts of Hank Aaron, Joe Garagiola and Evel Knievel.
THE FLYING DEUCES (VCI Entertainment): A digitally-remastered Blu-ray reis sue ($24.99 retail) of the 1939 Stan Laurel/ Oliver Hardy comedy in which they join the French Foreign Legion – with predictably zany results. Not the duo’s best, but some good laughs.
GIVE ME SHELTER (Virgil Films): Executive producer, actress and animal rights activist Katie Cleary teams with first-time filmmaker Kristin Rizzo for this documentary that raises awareness about important Jessica Lange and Jane Curtin (in her screen debut) headline this breezy, “Recession animal issues throughout the world, featuring interviews with celebrity animal-rights advocates Robert Davi, Alison Eastwood, Tippi Hedren, Charlotte Ross, Esai Morales and Michael Vartan. The DVD retails for $19.99.
THE GREEN PRINCE (Music Box Films Home Entertainment): Nadav Schirman’s award-winning, PG-13-rated documentary is based on the memoir Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a founding member of the Palestinian organization Hamas, who became an undercover informant for Israel’s Shin Bet security service. The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $34.95.
HOW TO BEAT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING (Olive Films): Susan Saint James, era” 1980 comedy as friends who plan to rob a “money ball” in their town’s shopping mall. Sitcom-level satire boosted by an appealing cast including Richard Benjamin, Dabney Coleman, Eddie Albert, Fred Willard, Cathryn Damon, Ronnie Schell and Curtin’s “Saturday Night Live” co-star Garrett Morris (in a brief but amusing cameo). Director Robert Scheerer’s last feature to date. The DVD retail for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95. Rated PG.
MAGICIAN: THE ASTONISHING LIFE AND WORK OF ORSON WELLES (Cohen Media Group): Chuck Workman’s PG-13-rated documentary traces the life and career of filmmaker Orson Welles (1915-’85), now available on DVD ($24.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.98 retail).
MCFARLAND, USA (Disney): Kevin Costner headlines this fact-based, PGrated sports drama as the compassionate coach of the cross-country running team at a predominantly Latino high school that won its state championship in 1987, available on DVD ($29.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($39.99 retail).
THE REWRITE (RLJ Entertainment/ Image Entertainment): Writer/director Marc Lawrence’s fourth pairing with Hugh Grant find the actor in good form as an Oscar-winning screenwriter in career free-fall whose decision to teach at Binghamton University in upstate New York proves eventful. A pleasant diversion, with some good digs at Hollywood and an appealing cast including Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote, J.K. Simmons, Chris Elliott and Allison Janney (as a faculty member who worships Jane Austen). Lawrence is a Binghamton grad.
THE ROAD TO HONG KONG (Olive Films): The seventh and last romp for Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, as a vaudeville duo swept up in Cold War spy-jinks, circa 1962. Series mainstay Dorothy Lamour is relegated to a brief appearance, with Joan Collins the romantic lead this time. Not as funny as previous entries, but a must for Bing-and-Bob buffs. Robert Morley, Felix Aylmer and Walter Gotell co-star, with cameos by Peter Sellers, David Niven, Jerry Colonna, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95. STRANGE MAGIC (Disney): Executive producer George Lucas penned the story for this PG-rated, animated fairy tale set in a magical, music-filled kingdom, featuring a star-studded voiceover cast including Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Kristen Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Peter Stormare and Alfred Molina. The DVD retails for $29.99.
“SUPERCAR”: THE COMPLETE SERIES (Timeless Media Group): A five-DVD collection ($34.93 retail) of all 39 episodes from the entire 1961-’62 run of the popular, British-made “Supermarionation” sci-fi/adventure series produced by Gerry Anderson, which centers around the titular vehicle, a futuristic marvel with all-terrain, aeronautical and nautical capabilities – piloted by heroic Mike Mercury (voiced by Graydon Gould).
TEEN BEACH 2 (Disney): It’s “same surf, new turf” for Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell and director/choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday in this Disney Channel sequel to the popular 2013 musical comedy Teen Beach Movie, available on DVD ($26.99 retail). !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2015, Mark Burger.