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News From the Lake: DVD Releases, Mel Brooks, a Greta Garbo Biopic, and Cinemark Classic Series


Blame Cleopatra for why this is late, but never late than never, right?  In this expansive News From the Lake segment, I’ll announce some DVD release dates, discuss Mel Brooks getting the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, a new biopic in the works, and what movies you can see in theaters this summer courtesy of Cinemark.

Set your DVR recorders for June 15th because that’s the night the AFI Life Achievement Awards airs honoring director Mel Brooks.  Brooks was recently part of a television production on PBS (which for the life of me I can’t recall now), and is continuing that by nabbing a coveted AFI Award.  The award will be presented to Brooks by equally acclaimed director Martin Scorsese and will lead into an all-night tribute of Brooks’ work on TCM, July 24th.  Brooks is well-regarded for his comedic classics, several of them spoofing classic Hollywood films.  The AFI Life Achievement Awards will take place June 6th at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, and will air on TNT June 15th at 9pm Eastern.

A new Hollywood biopic is coming out, and this one already has my attention based on the actress it’ll be featuring.  The Playlist is reporting that Game of Thrones actress Carice Van Houten has been pegged to play Greta Garbo in an upcoming biopic.  The Swedish-made production will be shot in English and be written by Soni Jorgensen with Van Houten producing.  There’s not much known about the plot aside from it will follow Garbo from her beginnings as a shop assistant to international stardom and her early retirement.  I don’t recall seeing any Garbo biopics previously, and being an ardent fan of  Game of Thrones I can picture Van Houten playing the role.  There’s no shooting date, but the theory is the production will start once Game of Thrones goes into hiatus.  I’ll keep an eye for any updates.

After seeing Cleopatra on the big screen (my review is up today if you haven’t already read it), I’m anticipating the next spate of films as part of Cinemark’s Classic Series.  The month of June will get Spielbergian, and while some of these push the line in terms of classic time period, they’re modern-day classics.  All the showings take place Sunday and Wednesday; Sunday showings are at 2pm and Wednesday’s are at 2pm and 7pm.  You can purchase tickets to all four for $20, an awesome deal.  On June 2nd and 5th: Jaws (I’ll be making a trip out to see that!); June 9th and 12 is Raiders of the Lost Ark; June 16th and 19th is E.T.: The Extraterrestrial; and on June 23rd and 26th is Schindler’s List with 100% of the proceeds going to the Shoah Foundation (I’m hoping to see this as well).  There’s not many places that show classic films in my town, so if Cinemark is doing this in your area please support it.  You can find a list of theaters and other information at the Cinemark Classic Series site.  I’ve also included their recent trailer:


The Criterion Collection has revealed their upcoming slate of films for August and there’s quite a few intriguing discs worth picking up.  August 6th starts things off with the release of The Earrings of Madame De… by Max Ophuls.  I saw this several years ago and should rewatch it.  August 13th is the release of John Frankenheimer’s Seconds starring Rock Hudson, which I’ve never heard of but love Frankenheimer.  And August 28th Criterion will release Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be Or Not to Be which was one of my TCM Top 12 choices for March!  Other films were announced and you can see all the release dates here.

VCI Entertainment is another smaller film company that produces some fantastic Blu-ray releases of classic films.  If you haven’t been to their site and explored their collection please do so here.  The company has just announced an upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release date for the Rene Clair directed And Then There Were None, based on the Agatha Christie film Ten Little Indians.  The film boasts an exemplary cast including Topper’s Roland Young and Walter Huston; and while the disc doesn’t include any bonus content, the fact that this isn’t available on Blu or DVD anywhere else should make it worth seeking out.  And Then There Were None is set for release August 27th.

20th Century Fox has detailed another 23 titles to be released as part of their Cinema Archive.  They appear to be on a Western and jungle kick as several of the films include elements.  Right now you can order The Gambler From Natchez (1954), Tail Spin (1939) starring Alice Faye, The True Story of Jesse James (1957) with Robert Wagner, Powder River (1953), Princess of the Nile (1954), Young Guns of Texas (19620), and White Witch Doctor (1953) starring Robert Mitchum and Susan Hayward.  Fox will be consistently releasing product through June 11th and some other titles to watch out for (at least in my opinion): The Road to Glory (1936) with Fredric March, Hard Contract (1969) with James Coburn and Lee Remick, Paris After Dark (1943).  Remember, these discs are manufactured-on-demand so the quality is not always perfect and there are no bonus features.

Next up, Warner Archive is celebrating Robert’s, saddles, and a man named Joe with their upcoming releases.  First off, they’ve remastered the 1943 film A Guy Named Joe, starring Spencer Tracy and Robert Taylor.  I’ve heard good things about this film, so if you haven’t purchased it, now’s the time!  They’ve also released four other Robert Taylor films including Stand Up and Fight (1939), Power and the Prize (1956), The House of the Seven Hawks (1959), and Cattle King (1963); you can also pick up Massacre River (1949) starring Rory Calhoun.  As with the Fox films, these are also manufactured-on-demand and lack bonus content.  You can order all of these at Warner Archive’s site.

When I reviewed the 1965 Carroll Baker version of Harlow on Sunday, I didn’t add any purchase links because the film has never been released on DVD.  I should have waited a few more days because Olive Films has announced they’ll be putting this on DVD AND Blu-ray on July 23rd.  If you read my thoughts on this version of Harlow, I hated it but apparently there’s a market for it.  Olive has also announced a Blu-ray release of Summer and Smoke (1961) starring Laurence Harvey and Geraldine Page for the same day.

And last, but never least, Walt Disney will be releasing a 50th Anniversary edition of The Sword in the Stone on August 6th on both DVD and Blu-ray; the Blu will include the DVD and a digital copy.  In terms of bonus features, all the content from the last release will carry over with the new addition of an alternate opening.  It feels like forever since I reviewed this during my Journeys in the Disney Vault; I didn’t enjoy it, but I have a few friends who will be adding this to their collection.

Phew, that took a long time.  That’s all for this week, and I’ll be back next Wednesday to explore some more News From the Lake!

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

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