Tag Archives: Charles Dickens

Petrucelli Picks: 2018 Gift Guide to the Best DVD Box Sets of the Year

It was an era of monsters, madness and great movie-making. Dare you say the flicks have universal appeal?

Thirty of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces starring the most famous monsters of horror movie history come together on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

This is the best DVD Box Set of the Year.

Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances, the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes all Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the horror genre with imaginative and technically groundbreaking tales of terror in unforgettable films from the ’30s to late-’50s.

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. The collection showcases all the original films featuring the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starring some of the most legendary actors including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these films set the standard for a new horror genre and showcase why these landmark movies that defined the horror genre are regarded as some of the most unforgettable ever to be filmed.

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes a 48-page collectible book filled with behind-the-scenes stories and rare production photographs and is accompanied by an array of bonus features including behind-the-scenes documentaries, the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce, 13 expert feature commentaries, archival footage, production photographs, theatrical trailers and more. The perfect gift for any scary movie fan, the collection offers an opportunity to experience some of the most memorable horror films of our time.

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The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula’s Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1942), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), Invisible Agent (1942),Phantom of the Opera (1943), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944), The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D


Oh! We cried when we heard that tk was releasing this must-have collection of rarely-seen shorts made by two of filmdom’s most marevlous comedians. Restored from the original negatives, Thelma Todd & ZaSu Pitts: The Hal Roach Collection 1931-1933 (Kit Parker Films) features sexy, pre-code two-reel comedies showcasing Todd’s timeless beauty and impeccable comedic ability that wowed audiences during the Depression, tickling their funny bones as well.

The vivacious, talented and lovely Todd was Roach’s top female comedian, who in her short 29-year lifetime graced more than  100 films. This collection brings together all of the films from her collaboration with Pitts, a veteran character actress with wonderful comedy timing and delightful comedic gestures who proves a fine comic foil for the blonde beauty. These two-reel short comedies also feature the wonderful Hal Roach stock company of comedians: Billy Gilbert, James C. Morton, Charlie Hall, Anita Garvin, Bud Jamison, and others, as well as special collaborations with other top Hal Roach stars like Laurel and Hardy and Charley Chase.

More classic shorts can be found in ClassicFlix’s The Complete Hal Roach Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly Comedy Collection. For the first time on home video come all 21 of Hal Roach’s two-reelers starring the lovely Thelma Todd and the pugnacious Patsy Kelly.

These timeless shorts showcase the incredible comedic talents of an unsung duo who simply wanted to make audiences laugh—and succeeded.

Still more classic comedy can be found in Kit Parker Films’ Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31. Chase was a consistent box-office money and fun-maker for Roach during the silent and sound Eras.Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31

Volume One is the beginning of the first comprehensive collection of Chase’s Roach talkie comedies, culled from 1930-31, years in which many of his films featured Charley’s frequent leading lady the lovely and vivacious Thelma Todd.


The box set De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films showcases the actor on the big screen for the first time and highlights the beginnings of his wonderful relationship with the legendary director. De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films [Limited Edition Blu-ray]The collection includes three films from the iconic duo—The Wedding PartyGreetings and Hi, Mom!—all of which have been newly restored by Arrow Video. Bonus treasures include brand-new interviews, commentaries, trailers, artwork and writings. Don’t miss!


Missing your favorite pals from Bayside High? It’s alright, ’cause you’re Saved by the Bell. On October 2,  Shout! Factory invites TV aficionados to a very special class reunion with the 16-disc collector’s release of Saved by the Bell: The Complete Collection, a DVD set of the iconic and addictive ’90s Saturday morning sitcom.

Set in the fictional town of Palisades, California and in the hallways of Bayside High, the breezy adventures of Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his friends — Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), Jessie Myrtle Spano (Elizabeth Berkley), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), and Samuel “Screech” Powers (Dustin Diamond) — were a cultural touchstone for a generation of teens, changing teen programming forever and launching the careers of its break-out stars.
Now, home audiences can relive the laughter, lessons, and love all over again with this loaded set containing more than 46 incredible hours of Bayside bliss, including every episode from 1988’s Good Morning, Miss Bliss which became Saved By the Bell: The Junior High Years and the fan-favorite Saved by the Bell to Saved By the Bell: The College Years and the two feature-length TV movies that followed.
From 1989 to 1993, for a generation of TV viewers, Saved by the Bell was the show that perfectly echoed their lives in middle school and high school. Originally titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss with Hayley Mills in the title role, the first thirteen episodes of the series featured Zack, Screech, Lisa and Mr. Belding, and was based at John F. Kennedy Junior High in Indianapolis. Following its cancellation, NBC retooled the show as Saved by the Bell and the rest is history…and math, and science, and…

Across 86 glorious episodes, audiences followed the memorable experiences and adventures of Zack and the gang. And, following graduation, Zack, Kelly, Slater and Screech enrolled at California University where the successful franchise could matriculate with the prime-time sitcom, Saved by the Bell: The College Years. The series finally wrapped with two feature-length, prime time TV movies, Hawaiian Style, which brought the Bayside bunch to the Big Island for a wacky Waikiki adventure and Wedding in Las Vegas, which saw the on-again, off-again lovebirds Zack and Kelly make their relationship official on a day the gang will never forget.


Get ready for a laugh in the cult-classic comedy that has captured everyone’s hearts with The Big Lebowski 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment). Fans can relive the hilariously freewheeling plot of one of the most beloved films of all-time with the twisted crime-comedy starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro. This is the perfect gift for any fan and the exclusive set includes a collectible bag, bowling ball pencil holder, polishing cloth and sweater packaging offering an experience like no other.The Big Lebowski 20 Beauty Shot.jpg

With unforgettable scenes and outrageous humor, The Big Lebowski 20th Anniversary Edition showcases hours of bonus features including retrospective documentaries, an interactive map, an in-depth look at the phenomenon known as the Lebowski Fest taking audiences deeper than ever before into the upside down world of “The Dude.”


To celebrate the 100th birthday of television’s original genius, Shout factory has released an amazing collection of volumes of groundbreaking, rule-breaking, surreal and charmingly silly comedy of Ernie Kovacs. Included are more than 22 hours of decidedly offbeat entertainment from across his many television shows and specials, all of which showcase an utterly unique sensibility that has influenced such comedy institutions as Monty Python and SNL.Ernie Kovacs: The Centennial Edition
Featuring:
* Episodes From His Local And National Morning Shows
* Episodes From His NBC Prime-Time Show
* Kovacs On Music
* Five ABC TV Specials
* The Color Version of His Legendary Silent Show, Eugene
* His Award-Winning Commercials For Dutch Masters Cigars
* Short Films, Tributes, Rarities
* 18 Bonus Sketches Featuring Many Of His Most Beloved Characters
* 3 Complete Episodes of His Offbeat Game Show Take A Good Look
* A Pony For Chris: His Rare TV Pilot for Medicine Man Co-Starring Buster Keaton
* The Lively Arts, Featuring The Only Existing Filmed Solo Interview With Ernie Kovacs
* 2011 American Cinematheque Panel


Without Sid Caesar, comedy would have been a lot less funny.
In 1949, television was an infant technology. No one knew how long it would last . . . or whether it would last at all. A 27-year-old Broadway star, along with a team of writers and performers who would become legendary, including Imogene Coca, Nanette Fabray, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, and Woody Allen, revolutionized sketch comedy by telling stories rooted in the human condition. They redefined television sketch comedy, and paved the way for landmark comedy shows like Saturday Night Live.

Sid Caesar The Works is a comprehensive five-disc collection of the best work of Caesar and his teams, beginning with The Admiral Broadway Review, through Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour, and featuring many interviews and extras, including the 2014 Paley Center For Media Tribute with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Billy Crystal.


 

Clue for a great 2017 read: “Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes”

Want to start the New Year off with an exciting new chapter in your reading? It’s elementary dear readers.

In Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes (Bloomsbury, $27), acclaimed author Michael Sims traces Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s circuitous path to becoming the father of the modern mystery. Follow Doyle’s early days in Edinburgh surrounded by poverty and violence, through his escape to university to study medicine, his first several years of limited success in both medicine and writing, and finally, the emergence of the character of Sherlock Holmes, in Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet.

Sims deftly shows Holmes to be a product of Doyle’s varied adventures in his personal and professional life, as well as built out of the traditions of writers Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Émile Gaboriau and (one of our faves, and still so underrated!) Wilkie Collins—not just a skillful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind, reminiscent of Doyle’s esteemed teacher, Dr. Joseph Bell.

Sir Arthur . . . penning another Sherlock saga?

As a young medical student, Doyle studied under Dr. Bell, a veritable diagnostic genius and Doyle’s favorite professor. Bell could often identify a patient’s occupation, hometown, and ailments from the smallest details of dress, gait, and speech. Although Doyle was training to be a surgeon, he was impressed and inspired by Bell’s detective-like abilities, which laid the groundwork for Doyle’s creation of Holmes several years later. Filled with details that will surprise even the most knowledgeable Sherlockian, Arthur and Sherlock is a literary genesis story for detective fans everywhere.

Masterworks Broadway raises the curtain of three top-notch CDs

Once again, Masterworks Broadway has raised the curtain on a triumvirate of classic albums from the archives. Each CD is accompanied by new album pages and photos. Brava!

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Claudia McNeill rehearsing “Simply Heaven,” May 19, 1958

Starring Claudia McNeil and Melvin Stewart, Simply Heavenly was written by Harlem renaissance poet Langston Hughes based on his novel “Simple Takes a Wife and Other Simple Stories.” With music by David Martin, Simply Heavenly was originally produced for the Off-Broadway 85th Street Playhouse. The show transferred to Broadway’s Playhouse Theatre on August 20, 1957, when fire violations forced the closure of the original venue.  Hughes continually looked to the musical stage for success following the groundbreaking 1947 original production of Kurt Weill and Elmer Rice’s Street Scene for which he wrote lyrics. Set in Harlem of the ‘50s, Simply Heavenly follows Jess Simple as he tries to raise enough money for a divorce so he can marry his new love and eloquently captures the color, humor and poetry of that time and place.
McNeil had made her Broadway debut as a replacement cast member in the groundbreaking original Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. She would later originate the role of Lena Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun both on Broadway and in the feature film.

Based on Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic novella, A Christmas Carol was presented annually at New York City’s Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden from 1994 through 2003.

Over its nine years, A Christmas Carol featured a slew of notable actors as “Scrooge” including F. Murray Abraham, Tim Curry, Tony Randall, Roddy McDowall (in his final role), Frank Langella, Tony Roberts, Jim Dale and Roger Daltrey.

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The cast of “Spoon River Anthology”; Joyce Van Patten (left) and Betty Garrett (center) . . . their backs, at least!

Charles Aidman adapted and starred in Spoon River Anthology, a play with music based on Edgar Lee Masters’ renowned collection of short free-form poems. With music by Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn and Hal Lynch, Spoon River Anthology weaves the epitaphs of the residents of fictional small town Spoon River into a chilling history of turn-of-the century America. Also starring Betty Garrett, Joyce Van Patten and Robert Elston, the show opened at the Booth Theatre on September 29, 1963 and ran for 111 performances. This original Broadway cast recording of Spoon River Anthology is making its CD debut.