Thursday, June 23, 2005
Some new DVDs and videos out for leisurely summer viewing include the re-release of Otto Preminger's classic film noir Laura. Based on the Vera Caspary novel, this atmospheric tale takes us into previously uncharted territory. What happens when the man responsible for investigating a crime falls in love with the victim (Gene Tierney)? When the victim thought to be dead turns up alive? When she is then suspected of the crime? When the newspaper critic in love with her plans to use his column to turn public opinion against the prosecutor and the police in order to secure her acquittal, in the way he has previously used public opinion against her lovers, men he thought were his rivals? The film raises some background questions about the power of the press, but its focus is always on Laura and the men in her life, manly Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews), urbane Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), and weird Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb). The DVD offers two priceless extras: wonderful biographies of the beautiful and tragic Gene Tierney and of the cultured Vincent Price, whom many moviegoers have tended to underestimate, both as an actor and as an art critic and writer. The DVD also includes extended commentary by composer David Raksin and film critic Jeanne Basinger, and an extended version of the film that includes a previously omitted scene. List price is $14.98.
James Carville, Mary Matalin, and colleagues made 10 episodes of the improvisational K Street that aired on HBO; the complete series is now available on DVD for a list price of $24.98. This truly odd experiment in television directed by Steven Soderbergh features a look at the workings of lobbyists in their natural habitat brought to you by people who should know. At times the folks who made the story became the story, as when then Presidential candidate Howard Dean uses a line James Carville gives him during an episode for an actual debate. Pay some attention to the people behind the curtain and enjoy this little adventure.