Comedy Classics: It Happened One Night and Tootsie, with Jeeves and Wooster, New Trailers, & More | Video Reviews, May 1, 2015

redstarIt Happened One Night. b/w. 105+ min. Frank Capra. DVD ISBN 9781604658880; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604658873.

redstarTootsie. color. 116+ min. Sydney Pollack. DVD ISBN 9781604658927; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604658910.

ea. vol: Criterion Collection, 2014. 2-disc DVD $29.95; 1-disc Blu-ray $39.95. F

tootsie5415Two comedy classics produced almost a half-century apart represent the best of their respective eras. One of the prolific Capra’s (It’s a Wonderful Life) most popular films, Night (1934) remains an enduring rom-com from long before the term was coined. Clark Gable delivers his usual roguish charm as a fired newspaperman who inevitably falls for an infamous runaway socialite ­(Claudette Colbert) while pursuing a story about her. That rare Oscar winner for picture, actor, actress, director, and screenplay, this is a delight. In Tootsie (1982), an out-of-work actor (Dustin Hoffman) known for being “difficult” secretly cross-dresses in order to land a soap-opera part. What turns out to be a good career move seriously complicates his love life in Pollack’s (Out of Africa) comic masterwork. VERDICT Replete with making-of features, cast and critic interviews, and other extras, these newly restored ­reissues cement each film’s status in the comedy pantheon. Add as new, or replace existing copies. [See Trailers, LJ 10/1/14.]—Jeff T. Dick, Davenport, IA

redstarJeeves and Wooster: The Complete Collection. 8 discs. color. 20+ hrs. Robert Young & others, Granada TV for ITV, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621722601. $59.99. SDH subtitles. F

jeevesandwooster5415What, ho, Wodehouse fans! The award-winning tales about the kind but dim-­witted Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie) and his discreet yet brilliant valet Jeeves (Stephen Fry) are once again available in a smartly packaged and reasonably priced set, which contains all 23 laugh-out-loud episodes of the series that originally aired in the United States in the early 1990s on Masterpiece ­Theatre. From its debut, Jeeves and Wooster consistently delivered top-notch writing from scripts impeccably adapted from P.G. Wodehouse’s stories, superb performances from both the principal and secondary actors, and sterling production values in both the costumes and settings. The only nit that some viewers might find to pick is that the current incarnation of this series lacks a printed episode guide, which means you can’t really tell which episode is on which disc without uploading into your player. ­Verdict Practically perfect in every way, Jeeves and Wooster will delight old fans of the series and Wodehouse’s novels as well as charm new viewers who enjoy witty, lighthearted British period comedy.—John Charles, ­Scottsdale P.L., AZ


LJ’s 2013 Video Reviewer of the Year, Joan Greenberg, on some recent shows.

Death Comes to Pemberley. color. 3 hrs. Daniel Percival, Origin Pictures, Masterpiece, for BBC , dist. by PBS, 2014. DVD UPC 841887022279. $24.99; Blu-ray UPC 841887022286. $29.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV

deathcomestopemberly25415Veteran writer P.D. James built on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice for her 2011 mystery Death Comes to Pemberley. This television adaptation brings together a cast of ­familiar British actors in a stylish production. It is six years after aristocratic Darcy (Matthew Rhys) has married Elizabeth (Anna Maxwell Martin), now comfortable in her role as mistress of Pemberley, a beautiful country home. Darcy’s sister, Georgiana (Eleanor Tomlinson), resides with them and is being courted by two suitors. The happiness of Pemberley is shattered by a suspicious death nearby involving Elizabeth’s brother-in-law George Wickham (Matthew Goode), with whom Darcy has had a long and troubled relationship. But is Wickham capable of murder? Darcy and Elizabeth try to unravel the plot. Verdict Life and justice in 19th-century England are played out against the complicated relationships of the characters. The inquest and court scenes are priceless. Fans of both British costume drama and British mysteries will enjoy this production.—Joan Greenberg, Warminster, PA

The Paradise: Season Two. 3 discs. color. 464 min. David Drury & Kenny Glenaan , BBC Worldwide, 2014. DVD UPC 883929447725. $39.98; Blu-ray UPC 883929447718. $44.98. SDH subtitles. F/TV

It’s one year after the end of the first season of this series based on Émile Zola’s 1883 novel Au Bonheur des Dames. John Moray (Emun Elliott) returns to the British department store the Paradise after being banished to Paris. Former love interest Katherine Glendenning (Elaine Cassidy) now owns the store and is married to the enigmatic Tom Weston (Ben Daniels), who wants control of both Katherine and the Paradise. John and Denise (Joanna Vanderham), the shopgirl with aspirations, strive to find new ways to promote the department store (a new concept in 1870s England) and take back their beloved enterprise. Most of the usual characters return, including the creepy Jonas (David Hayman), whose actual Paradise job is a puzzle. Disappointment, betrayal, romance, and deceit dominate the plotlines, but the series closes on a hopeful note. Verdict The second season drags a bit as the characters work out their assorted personal crises, but once again the costumes and sets are spectacular. Libraries that purchased the first set will want this to complete the story. [See Trailers, LJ 10/1/14.]—Joan Greenberg, Warminster, PA

Vera: Set 4. 4 discs. color. 370+ min. Thaddeus O’Sullivan & others, ITV Studios , dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621722892. $59.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV

veraset4542015Based on the novels of Ann Cleeves, this new set builds on the same theme as previous stories, that the past, with its grievances and long-held resentments, influences the present. Vera Stanhope (perfectly played by Brenda Blethyn) is with the Northumberland police and seems to draw all of the complicated crimes, whether it’s the stabbing of a senior citizen aboard a train or the un­explained drowning of a business­man. She can be snappish with her colleagues, including her sergeant, Joe Ashworth (David Leon), who in these episodes is dealing with his own personal problems. Vera’s first-rate mind and the ability to make connections, a very useful trait for a detective chief inspector, make up for her disheveled appearance and rather bizarre wardrobe choices. ­Verdict These four new feature-length dramas will hold viewers’ attention right up to the last scene. Recommended for all public libraries where British crime drama is popular.—Joan Greenberg, Warminster, PA

Trailers: what’s coming on dvd/blu-ray

The Bridge. b/w. 103+ min. In German w/English subtitles. Bernhard Wicki, dist. by Criterion Collection. Jun. 2015. DVD ISBN 9781681430126. $29.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781681430118. $39.95. DRAMA

Young German men go to war.17765415

Dark Victory. b/w. 106+ min. Edmund Goulding, dist. by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Jun. 2015. DVD UPC 012569675377. $19.97; Blu-ray UPC 883929447602. $19.98. DRAMA

A “visionary” role for Bette Davis.

The Fisher King. 2 discs. color. 138+ min. Terry Gilliam, dist. by Criterion Collection. Jun. 2015. DVD ISBN 9781681430088. $29.95; 1-disc Blu-ray ISBN 978168143007X. $39.95. DRAMA

“Brilliant” performances from Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams.

Five Easy Pieces. color. 98+ min. Bob Rafelson, dist. by Criterion Collection. Jul. 2015. DVD ISBN 978168143010X. $29.95; 1-disc Blu-ray ISBN 9781681430096. $39.95. DRAMA

A new look at diner food.

The Pope of Greenwich Village/Desperate Hours. 2 discs. color. 226+ min. Stuart Rosenberg/ Michael Cimino, dist. by Cinedigm. Jun. 2015. Blu-ray UPC 826663157857. $24.97. DRAMA

A very young Mickey Rourke.

Serena. color. NA min. Susanne Bier, dist. by Magnolia. Jun. 2015. DVD UPC 876964008525. $26.98; Blu-ray UPC . 876964008532. $29.98. Rated: R. DRAMA

Bradley Cooper & Jennifer ­Lawrence in 1920s North Carolina.

1776. color. 141+ min. Peter H. Hunt, dist. by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Jun. 2015. UV + 4K-mastered Blu-Ray UPC 043396459670. $19.99. Rated: G. MUSICAL

Songs of the Founding Fathers.

Virtuosity. color. 105+ min. Brett Leonard, dist. by Paramount Home Entertainment. Jul. 2015. Blu-ray UPC 883929458103. $14.98. Rated: R. SF

Denzel vs. a virtual reality bad guy (Russell Crowe).—Bette-Lee Fox

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The Trip to Italy. color. 106+ min. Michael Winterbottom, Revolution Films/Baby Cow/Small Man, dist. by IFC Films, 2014. DVD UPC 030306939995. $24.98; Blu-Ray UPC 030306193892. $29.98. F


The Flowering of the Crone: Leonora Carrington…Another Reality. color. 58 min. Ally Acker, Reel Women Media, 2014. DVD $349; streaming $150; 3-yr. streaming $350. Public performance. art-GENERAL

When Comedy Went to School. color & b/w. 77 min. Ron Frank & Mevlut Akkaya, Catskill Films, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; 2014. DVD UPC 720229916271. $24.95. Closed-captioned. HUMOR

BEATZ: Divergencies & Contradictions of Electronic Music. color. 72 min. Eduardo De La Calle, Analog Solutions, dist. by Janson Media c/o 2014. DVD UPC 646032058192. $19.95. MUSIC

Unorthodox. color. 89 min. Anna Wexler, Filmakers Library, 2014. $199; acad. libs. $295; streaming $295. Public performance. REL

Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful. color. 58 min. In English & Japanese w/English subtitles. Yuriko Gamo Romer, Flying Carp Prods., dist. by Passion River, 2015. DVD UPC 724101247095. home use $49.95; $89; acad. libs. $259. Public performance. SPORTS/WOMEN’S STUDIES


All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State. color. 82 min. Keith Patterson & Phillip Schopper, dist. by Cinema Guild, 2014. DVD ISBN 9780781515016. $99.95; acad. libs. $350. Public performance. BIOG/POLITICS

The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Notes on the Life of Nat Hentoff. color & b/w. 86+ min. David L. Lewis, Wishing Well Prods., dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; 2015. DVD UPC 720229916332. $27.95. SDH subtitles. BIOG/COMM

A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times. color. 75/57 min. Samantha Grant, A Fragile Trust, dist. by Bullfrog Films, 800-543-3764; 2014. DVD ISBN 9781941545157. $295 (Rental: $95). Public performance; SDH subtitles. COMM

Lost for Life. color. 74+ min. Joshua Rofé, Ted Leonsis Prod., Snagfilms, www.­, dist. by iTunes. 2014. standard $5.99; high-def $7.99. CRIMINOLOGY

Every Three Seconds: It’s Time. color. 100+ min. Daniel Karslake, Every Three Seconds, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; 2014. DVD UPC 720229916257. $24.95. SDH subtitles. SOC SCI

Freeload. color. 65 min. Daniel Skaggs, Highway Goat, dist. by MVDvisual, 2014. DVD UPC 760137651291. $16.95. SOC SCI

There’s No Place Like Utopia. color. 150 min. Joel Gilbert, Highway 61 Entertainment, dist. by MVDvisual, 2014. DVD UPC 760137663393. $14.95. Soc SCI


Mondovino: The Ultimate Series About Wine and Wine Culture. 4 discs. color. 550 min. In English, French, Italian, Portuguese, & Spanish w/English subtitles. Jonathan Nossiter, KimStim, dist. by Icarus Films, 2015. DVD UPC 698452207438. $340. Public performance. BEVERAGES

Build an Heirloom Garden Shed with Justin Fink. color. 40 min. with digital plans. Fine Homebuilding, Taunton, dist. by AV Café, 2014. DVD ISBN 9781627107488. $19.95. GARDENING/DIY

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