Warner's Director's Showcase: Take Two in March '07

John Hodson

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From DVD Times :

Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of six films as part of their “Director’s Showcase” series on 27th March 2007. This second group of films is honoring the powers behind the camera with first-time DVD releases of Prince of the City (2-Disc Special Edition), Payday, Steelyard Blues, Straight Time, Tell Me a Riddle and Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Featured directors are Sidney Lumet, John Badham, Ulu Grosbard, Lee Grant, Daryl Duke and Alan Myerson. The films have all-new transfers and include bonus features such as commentaries, featurettes and vintage interviews. Each title will sell individually for $19.97 SRP.

Payday (1972)
Rip Torn (Men in Black, The Larry Sanders Show) sings his own songs and gives an indelible performance as Maury, a less-than-first-rank country singer whose fame rises in contrast to the depths to which his soul will sink in satisfying his hedonistic urges. He pushes his entourage to the limit and puts the women around him at odds with each other. With a skilled ensemble cast directed by Daryl Duke, Payday is “accurate and observant, one of those welcome movies made by people with genuine knowledge of their subject” (John Collis, Time Out Film Guide).

DVD Special Features:
Commentary by director Daryl Duke and producer Saul Zaentz
Theatrical trailer
Subtitles: English (feature film only)

Prince of the City (2-Disc Special Edition) (1981)
“The first thing a cop learns is that he can’t trust nobody but his partners,” detective Danny Ciello tells an assistant D.A. “I sleep with my wife but I live with my partners. I will never give them up.” From Robert Daley’s riveting book about New York City police corruption investigations, director/co-writer Sidney Lumet’s film portrays a squad that pays a terrible price when one in its ranks does just that. Treat Williams (as Ciello, inspired by real-life undercover narcotics cop Robert Leuci) leads a terrific ensemble cast which includes Jerry Orbach, Bob Balaban and Lindsay Crouse in a standout performance as Leuci’s wife. This gripping film, which features 130 locations and 126 speaking parts, won Lumet a New York Film Critics Best Director Award and an Oscar nomination (with Jay Presson Allen) for the screenplay.

DVD Special Features:
New featurette Prince of the City: The Real Story
Theatrical trailer
Languages: English & Français (dubbed in Quebec)
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Steelyard Blues (1972)
Klute collaborators Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland reunite in a more lighthearted vein for this funny, freewheeling fable from writer David S. Ward and producers Tony Bill and Michael and Julia Phillips, the team behind the same year’s Academy Award-winning* Best Picture The Sting. Alan Myerson directs Fonda as Iris, a good-natured hooker whose clientele includes a Who’s Who of City Hall. But she’s faithful to free-spirited parolee Jesse Veldini (Sutherland), who’s itching to resume his career as a demolition derby driver. Veldini’s return could ruin the reelection campaign of his ambitious DA brother (Howard Hesseman) – so steps are taken to make the ex-jailbird toe the line. Peter Boyle, John Savage and Garry Goodrow co-star.

DVD Special Features:
Vintage featurette Would You Believe? Peter Boyle!
Theatrical trailer
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Straight Time (1978)
After years behind bars, Max Dembo faces Straight Time. He hopes it will mean a new life, a job, a place to call home, perhaps even a girl of his own. Instead, it’s a one-way ticket to disaster. Dustin Hoffman plays Max, a freed con trapped by an indifferent criminal system and his self-destructive bent. Before and during production, Hoffman apprenticed himself to Edward Bunker, the ex-con whose book No Beast So Fierce inspired the movie. The resulting experience is intensely real and superbly acted by Hoffman and a terrific ensemble (Theresa Russell, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Busey, M. Emmet Walsh and Kathy Bates).

DVD Special Features:
Commentary by Dustin Hoffman and director Ulu Grosbard
Vintage featurette Straight Time: He Wrote It for Criminals
Theatrical trailer
Languages: English & Français
Subtitles: English, Français, Español, Português & Chinese (feature film only)

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. The romance in David (Douglas) and Eva’s (Kedrova) 47-year marriage has faded like the paint on their house. David wants to sell and move into a retirement home; Eva will hear none of it. If time heals all wounds, it must work fast because the memory-haunted Eva hasn’t much time. 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.

DVD Special Features:
Theatrical trailer
Languages: English & Français
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981)
In this searing screen version of the hit Broadway play by Brian Clark, Richard Dreyfuss plays gifted sculptor Ken Harrison -- a hospitalized quadriplegic, jousting with physicians, teasing nurses and striving to persuade hospital authorities and the justice system that he can’t be denied one of the few choices he has left. John Badham directs a compelling cast, including John Cassavetes, Christine Lahti and Bob Balaban.

DVD Special Features:
Commentary director John Badham and composer Arthur B. Rubinstein
Theatrical trailer
Subtitles: English (feature film only)
 

streeter

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Cool! I think I asked about WHOSE LIFE at the last Warner chat - looking forward to it.
Also great to hear that Dustin Hoffman did a commentary track for STRAIGHT TIME.
 

Jon Hertzberg

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Holy smokes! This is an amazing line-up...Straight Time has been one of my most-wanted titles since the beginning of DVD and to have a commentary with Hoffman and Grosbard is a wonderful bonus.

Prince of the City is also a title I've sought for some time. Looking forward to the featurette--would have liked to hear a commentary track from Lumet and star Treat Williams.

Also very excited about Payday--sadly director Daryl Duke recently passed away...
Star Rip Torn has certainly seen better days, but he is still up and around. It's too bad WB was not able to get him involved with the DVD.

I've not seen the other 3 titles, but I've been wanting to check out Steelyard Blues and would love to hear what Badham and Rubinstein have to say--always liked their work together on Blue Thunder and Wargames.
 

Jay E

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I am so excited to hear that Prince of the City and Straight Time are being released!!!!!!!!!

Don't know why Prince of the City is being listed as an SE if it only has one featurette.
 

Russell G

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I'm looking forward to Straight time and Prince in the city as well. Too bad these aren't being bundled together. I'm curious to see the other films, but I'm not blind buying them seperately
 

Gordon McMurphy

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If Badham is involved with the release of Whose Life Is It Anyway?, then don't be surprised if it is in black and white. Apparently, it was simultaneously shot in bw and color (both in 2.35:1) but only the color version has ever saw the light of day. Perhaps the negatives of the bw version were never cut or completed, but even if that is so, I wouldn't put it past Badham desaturating the color version, either completely or to substantial degree, as he did with Dracula. Funnily enough, I was searching for info on this film and the bw version yesterday! Mario Tosi's work usually has strong colors, so it would as bad as altering Peter Murton and Brian Ackland-Snow's production design on Dracula. Definitely Dreyfuss' strongest performance, though he himself was so strung out on coke at that time that he doesn't remember the production, so an interview or commentary involving him would be strange.

Payday is a film that I have wanted to see for a long time. Folk legends, Ian and Sylvia Tyson contributed to the soundtrack.

Owen Roizman was the cinematographer on Straight Time, so that has also been on my list and from what I have heard, it is one of Hoffman's best performances.

Prince of the City is already scheduled for a UK release in March and I have it pre-ordered, but as this R1 release is definitely a 2-disc, it has made me think twice. Great film, very long and after watching Lumet's, The Offense and Dog Day Afternoon this week, I am greatly looking forward to seeing Prince of the City again and for the first time in its OAR. And I hope that the specs are not complete, as I'd love to hear a Lumet commentary and if Lumet prefers the longer (4-hour?) cut, then surely we should be seeing that, too.

Until today, I had not even heard of Tell Me a Riddle, which is apparently quite moving, though with boring passages. Only 43 votes at the IMDb - Warner certainly have more popular films wanted on DVD.
 

walter o

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I am glad Warner was able to record a commentary with Daryl Duke before he passed away, I hope Warner was able to do the same with him with his SILENT PARTNER, a great film that he directed that Warner controls.

Gordon, interesting to hear about WHO'S LIFE IS IT ANYWAY meant to be B/W. Everytime I saw the film, the colors was indeed desaturated, but the B/W segments (his dream of his lover dancing naked) came off much stronger than the color segments. Since Warner went ahead and released REFLECTION IN A GOLDEN EYE in a almost sepia tone color, as intended by John Huston, be curious to see if Badham would try to release the B/W version. And yes, for anyone who haven't see this film, it is worth a blind buy.

Also interesting bit on Dreyfuss. I think it is his best performance, and yet he was apperently "high" on drugs?

As for PRINCE OF THE CITY, I could have swore I read somewhere Lumet was recording a commentary for this. Maybe they are saving it for a ultimate Sidney Lumet box set (as they can bundle DOG DAY AFTERNOON, NETWORK, PRINCE OF THE CITY, MORNING AFTER with a upgrade DVD of POWER, RUNNING ON EMPTY, DEATHTRAP, as all 3 need a OAR release, along with the DVD debut of the underrated BYE BYE BRAVERMAN, JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT and rarely seen APPOINTMENT and THE SEAGULL, as Warner controls those as well and LAST OF THE MOBILE HOTSHOTS, curiously absent from the Tennesse Williams box set Warner put out).

Well one can only dream, right?
 

PatrickDA

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Lumet has done a commentary for it, I guess they just didn't include that
in the press release.
 

Richard M S

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Fantastic news. And since I buy so many DVDs, for me this is finally a box set with no double dipping.

And Steelyard Blues is the movie I never knew existed until today, I am looking forward to seeing it.
 

Gordon McMurphy

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A Lumet commentary is a must. I have heard that the longer (4-hour including adverts?) version of Prince of the City has been shown on U.S. TV recently - has anyone seen it?
 

oscar_merkx

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Really good to see another of Dustin H early movies making it to DVD.

Which films were in Vol 1 ?
 

Mario Gauci

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Frankly, I hope this isn't a Box Set as, personally, I'm only really interested in 2 movies from this lot - STRAIGHT TIME (1978) and PRINCE OF THE CITY (1981).

I've only watched one film from this batch - WHOSE LIFE IS IT, ANYWAY? (1981) - but, although it has its admirers and is indeed a well-acted film, it's nothing I'd add to my collection.

As for the rest, I'm mildly interested in PAYDAY (1972) and STEELYARD BLUES (1972) but, again, perhaps not enough to purchase them. Of course, if they were all bundled together they'd be more affordable but I think that (and I never thought I'd say this) Warners - especially, but not exclusively - are just overloading it with Box Sets lately and I have way too many of them to catch up on as it is...
!
 

Dick

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Are you sure Warner controls this? I thought it was in ownership La La Land.
 

Marcel H.

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Thanks, I can remember that I checked these news at dvdtimes when they were released but I haven't realised that they were part of Take One.
 

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