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New on Blu-Ray for Januaray 2013

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The New Year starts off with a number of notable classics making their debut on the Blu-ray format. Among those making the transfer are a lavish ensemble melodrama featuring Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo; a classic thriller starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum; a stirring wartime drama; an Alfred Hitchcock classic later remade by The Master himself; Elia Kazan's groundbreaking drama about racial prejudice; and a surprisingly endearing romantic comedy directed by John Ford. As always, these films make great additions to both casual fans and ardent collectors alike.

1. ‘Grand Hotel’ – 1932

Warner Bros.
Starring Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, John Barrymore and Greta Garbo, Edmund Goulding’s Oscar-winning melodrama Grand Hotel will make its debut on Blu-ray in January. Set in a lavish Berlin hotel where nothing happens, the film featured John Barymore as an aristocratic thief out to steal the jewels of a disillusioned ballerina (Garbo) while fancying the attention of a scheming stenographer (Crawford) who also happens to be the mistress of a ruthless tycoon (Wallace Beery). The ensemble cast is in top form in this escapist entertainment that featured the top Hollywood stars of the day. No word yet on what extras will be included, which appears to be par for the course with Warner Bros.

Releases Jan. 8, 2013

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2. ‘Cape Fear’ – 1962

Universal Studios
A classic thriller featuring two outstanding lead performances, the original Cape Fear makes its debut bow on the Blu-ray format. The film stars Gregory Peck as Sam Bowden a small-town lawyer whose family is terrorized by charming, but malicious ex-convict Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) after his release from prison. Cady targets Bowden because of his testimony that lead to his eight-year prison sentence and uses his extensive knowledge of the law to execute his plan of payback. Cape Fear was remade decades later by Martin Scorsese, and starred Nick Nolte and Robert De Niro. Released by Universal Studios, the Blu-ray contains a making-of featurette and a series of production photographs.

Releases Jan. 8, 2013

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3. ‘Mrs. Miniver’ – 1942

Warner Bros.
Director William Wyler won the Oscar for this stirring wartime drama about a determined British family that keeps calm and carries on despite the chaos of the war destroying everything around them. Headed by matriarch Greer Garson, who stalwartly tends to her garden and fights off Nazis in her own kitchen, the strong-willed family presses on in true British fashion. Once again, Warner Bros. has not given details about any extras prior to the Blu-ray’s release.

Releases Jan. 8, 2013

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4. ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ – 1934

Criterion Collection
The shorter and original version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much will be released on the Blu-ray format in January. Starring Leslie Banks, Peter Lorre and Edna Banks, the classic thriller focuses on a British family that gets mixed up in an assassination plot carried out by foreign spies while vacationing in Switzerland. Released by the ever-classy Criterion Collection, the Blu-ray features a number of choice extras that include a new digital restoration and uncompressed soundtrack; audio commentary from film historian Philip Kemp; an interview with contemporary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro; an extensive interview with Hitchcock from 1972; and audio excerpts from Francois Truffaut’s legendary interviews with The Master from 1962. .

Releases Jan. 16, 2013

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5. ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ – 1947

20th Century Fox
A searing drama directed by Elia Kazan, Gentleman’s Agreement was a bold indictment of anti-Semitism and was one of the first films to tackle racial prejudice. The film starred Gregory Peck as a journalist who goes undercover as a Jew in a wealthy Connecticut suburb to write a series of articles about anti-Semitism and uncovers what it’s like to be the victim of religious intolerance. Along the way, he falls for his editor’s niece (Dorothy McGuire) and observes the effects of a childhood friend’s own battle with prejudice. The Blu-ray will contain commentaries by June Havoc, Richard Schickel and Celeste Holm; the featurette Hollywood Backstories: ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’; two Fox Movietonews reels; and the original theatrical trailer.

Releases Jan. 15, 2013

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6. ‘The Quiet Man’ – 1952

Olive Films
An endearing romantic comedy featuring a surprisingly diverse performance from John Wayne, The Quiet Man earned John Ford his last Oscar for Best Director and finally makes its debut bow on Blu-ray. Wayned played an American boxer haunted by the tragedy of accidentally killing a man in the ring who travels to his ancestral Irish home where he falls in love with a spirited woman (Maureen O’Hara) and battles her bullying brother (Victor McLaglen) for her hand in marriage. Released by the always stingy Olive Films, the Blu-ray contains a printed booklet adapted from Joseph McBride’s biography Searching for John Ford; and a making-of documentary hosted by Leonard Maltin and featuring interviews with Michael Wayne, Toni Wayne LaCara and Andrew McLaglen.

Releases Jan. 22, 2013

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