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WHV Press Release: Directors' Showcase: Take Three

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 17 2007 - 03:46 AM

Directors’ Showcase: Take Three

Personal Best,
Tell Me a Riddle,
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,

The Ritz

All for the First Time on DVD on January 8

Burbank, Calif. September 17, 2007 – On January 8, Warner Home Video (WHV) will introduce a third group of films honoring directorial greats with first-time DVD releases of Personal Best, Tell Me a Riddle, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Payday and The Ritz. Featured directors include Robert Towne, Lee Grant, Robert Ellis Miller, Daryl Duke and Richard Lester. The films have all-new transfers and select titles include bonus features such as commentaries and additional scenes. Each title will sell individually for $19.97 SRP.

Personal Best (1982)
Based on the original novel from Robert Daly, Personal Best is the directorial debut of Chinatown Oscar® winner Robert Towne. Film stars world-class athletes including Olympians Donnelly, Jodi Anderson and Kenny Moore. Track star, Tory and hurdler, Chris meet at the 1976 Olympic trials and begin a lesbian affair. Tory then talks her coach, Terry into to allowing Chris to train with her under his guidance. Eventually, Terry convinces Chris to train for the pentathlon, creating a rivalry between the two women, leading to the demise of their affair.

Tell Me a Riddle (1980)
Tell Me a Riddle is a tender story of rediscovering love – and the extraordinary teaming of three Academy Award®-winners: Melvyn Douglas, Lila Kedrova and Lee Grant in a memorable debut as director. Maybe a trip to San Francisco will bring change. Perhaps the couple’s granddaughter (Brooke Adams) can help them rekindle a spirit of openness and hope. In this film of Tillie Olsen’s award-winning novella, it’s all in the graceful, thoughtful telling.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
Based on the novel by Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter stars Alan Arkin as John Singer, who is deaf. Singer moves from a small town in order to be close to his institutionalized deaf and mentally impaired friend Antonapoulos (Chuck McCann). Singer rents a room with a family whose father, Mr. Kelly (Biff McGuire), is unable to earn a living due to a serious injury. His teen-aged daughter Mick (Sondra Locke, in her film debut) is at first resentful of Singer's presence, but he ingratiates himself by introducing her to classical music (which he can "feel," if not hear). Singer likewise tries to brighten the lives of such unfortunates as alcoholic Blount (Stacy Keach Jr., also making his first film appearance), dying black doctor Copeland (Percy Rodriguez), and Copeland's poverty-stricken daughter (Cicely Tyson). The Heart is a Lonely Hunter earned $5.9 million in box-office gross and Arkin’s performance earned him an OscarÒ nomination and New York Film Critics award for Best Actor in 1968.

If John Singer could, he’d tell you about his inner world of beauty and dignity. But the card he holds must speak for him. “I am a deaf-mute. I read lips and understand what is said to me. Please do not shout.” In the performance that earned him an OscarÒ nomination and New York Film Critics Award as 1968’s Best Actor, future Academy AwardÒ winner* Alan Arkin is Singer in this film of Carson McCullers’ acclaimed first novel. When he moves to a sleepy Southern town to be near his hospitalized friend (Chuck McCann), a brain-damaged man-child, Singer’s silent kindness draws to him others broken in body and spirit. Playing some of those others in a prime ensemble are Cicely Tyson, Percy Rodriguez, Stacy Keach and fellow OscarÒ nominee** Sondra Locke.

Payday (1972)
Rip Torn stars as Maury Dann, a mid-level country singer on a tour through the south. The road is Maury's playground, and he liberally indulges in drugs, alcohol, and sexual relations with the willing women he finds along the way. But when the angry boyfriend of a woman with whom he's had a liason with spots Maury in a restaurant, suddenly he has a bigger problem than just making sure that he gets paid. Torn turns in a strong performance as the unscrupulous performer and does a fine job singing the Shel Silverstein-penned country tunes. Payday, directed by 1974 National Society of Film Critics Award Ò winner Daryl Duke, stands as a lost gem of early 1970's American cinema.

DVD Special Features
· Commentary by Director Daryl Duke & Producer Saul Zaentz.
· Widescreen “Matted” format
· Subtitles: English and French

The Ritz
Rates are low, décor is rococo art deco and the clientele is…convivial. As a Cleveland sanitation company owner reasons, this New York all-male bathhouse is ideal for hiding from his murderous brother-in-law. But what this new arrival and his fellow patrons gets is an exercise in manic mayhem from director Richard Lester, bringing Terrence McNally’s hit Broadway farce to spicy screen life. Adding spice are five cast members of the stage original: Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, F. Murray Abraham, Paul B. Price and especially Rita Moreno as clueless Googie Gomez, the role for which she captured a TonyÒ Award. Kaye Ballard and Treat Wiliams add to the tasty guest list. Check into The Ritz. You’ve got roomfuls of laughter to check out.

DVD Special Features:
· Vintage Featurette You’re an Actor, Jack Weston
· Theatrical Trailer
· Subtitles: English & Français (Main Feature. Bonus Material/Trailer May Not Be Subtitled.).

Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted September 17 2007 - 08:10 AM

It's a massive relief to finally hear that The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is on the way. Beautiful, harrowing film. I would have loved to have had an Arkin interview or commentary - what a brilliant performance.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   John Gilmore

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Posted September 17 2007 - 09:56 AM

Wow, you could've knocked me over with a feather....

The Ritz is officially announced for DVD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can finally retire my old LD.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Jon Hertzberg

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Posted September 17 2007 - 12:57 PM

I'm delighted to hear that Payday will be released after all--and with commentary from late director Daryl Duke.

I am most excited, however, to hear that Personal Best has been announced. This has long been one of my most-wanted titles and, slowly, but surely, WB is crossing these off my list. I hope that there will be some some sort of commentary from writer/director Robert Towne (either in the form of a commentary track or featurette). The film was nearly shelved due to an actors strike and, later, Towne was locked out of the editing room by producer David Geffen. Despite all this turmoil, it is a fine film with great performances from stars Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn, and real-life Olympic athlete Patrice Donnelly. Hemingway is marvelous here in her first role following Manhattan.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Jon Hertzberg

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Posted September 29 2007 - 06:57 AM

Personal Best
Heart is a Lonely Hunter

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Jon Hertzberg

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Posted September 29 2007 - 07:03 AM

double post