A number of harder-to-find titles are being released on Blu-ray this December, just in time for holiday shopping. Among those making the transfer are a tense crime thriller with Frank Sinatra as a would-be presidential assassin; Marlene Dietrich's breakthrough film; a lesser-known biopic starring Gregory Peck as F. Scott Fitzgerald; a charming musical with Danny Kaye; and an adaptation of a Ken Kesey novel starring Paul Newman. As always, these films make great additions to both casual fans and ardent collectors alike.
A taut and tense thriller starring Frank Sinatra, Suddenly (1954) makes its way to Blu-ray as part of the Frank Sinatra Collection. Sinatra starred as a cold-blooded assassin who takes an unsuspecting family hostage in order to stage an assassination attempt on the President of the United States as he makes a campaign stop in town. Sterling Hayden co-stars as the small town sheriff who takes on Sinatra in a tense battle of wills. Released by Image Entertainment, the Blu-ray contains only a few extras that include commentaries by Frank Sinatra, Jr., a short film about New York City and an image gallery.
Releases Dec. 4th
Directed by the great Josef von Sternberg, this special two-disc Blu-ray features both the English- and German-language versions of The Blue Angel (1930), screen diva Marlene Dietrich’s auspicious breakthrough film. Dietrich starred as a speakeasy dancer named Lola Lola, who attracts the amorous attention of an old university professor (Emil Jannings), only to trigger a downward spiral in both his life and work. While the DVD version contains far more extras, the Kino Video release does have newly restored HD footage.
Releases Dec. 4th
A unique title from the career of Gregory Peck, this rather melodramatic biopic that examines the final days of alcoholic author F. Scott Fitzgerald will see a limited release through indie distributor Twilight Time. Based on the memoir of Fitzgerald’s lover, Sheilah Graham, the film shows Fitzgerald as down on his luck and resorting to writing screenplays for Hollywood to overcome debt while trying to reclaim his place as an important novel writer. Deborah Kerr played Graham, who’s portrayed as something of a savior as she tries to steer Fitzgerald away from the bottle and toward the typewriter. Per their habit, Twilight Time intends to release only 3,000 copies while keeping details about extras under wraps.
Releases Dec. 11th
A smash hit upon release and recipient of five Academy Award nominations, Charles Vidor’s vibrant musical starring Danny Kaye finally finds its way onto the Blu-ray format. Kaye played the famed children’s author, who starts off as a small-town cobbler with a gift for telling fairy tales that happen to keep kids from attending school. Asked to leave, Andersen strikes out on his own to ultimately find success and happiness knowing that children all across the world are enchanted by his tales. Distributed by Warner Home Entertainment, the Blu-ray’s technical and supplementary details remain shrouded in mystery, but it will be released in Digibook packaging.
Releases Dec. 18th
Adapted from Merry Prankster Ken Kesey’s novel of the same name, Sometimes a Great Notion, starring Paul Newman, Lee Remick and Henry Fonda debuts on the Blu-ray format this month. Newman played Hank Stamper, the eldest son of a logging family headed by father Henry (Fonda) who finds his position in the family threatened when his hippie-minded brother, Leeland (Michael Sarrazin), returns home after a 10-year absence. Making matters worse, his wife (Remick) has an affair with Leeland, while a local union threatens retaliation for Henry’s refusal to use unionized loggers. Distributed by indie label Shout Factory, the Blu-ray appears to offer little in the way of supplementary extras.
Releases Dec. 18th