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THE INGMAR BERGMAN SPECIAL EDITION DVD COLLECTION
A muscular wedge from the brooding Swede’s long career, restored and corrected: Persona, Shame, Hour of the Wolf, The Serpent’s Egg, and The Passion of Anna, with commentaries, interviews, docs, featurettes, and gouts of effluvia. Pace yourself and make it last until next December.
THE ALAN CLARKE COLLECTION
A bellicose post-punk yowl from the filmmaking conscience of Thatcher’s England: Three pulverizing dramas fluent in the argot of imploding masculinity (Scum, Made in Britain, The Firm), and an astonishingly detached and horrific take on the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland (Elephant). Minimal extras, but you get both the BBC-banned and theatrical versions of Scum.
THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK SIGNATURE COLLECTION
Universal cashed in on its Hitch properties with DVD sets a few years ago, leaving aficionados to wait for Warner to get its act together and release Suspicion, Foreign Correspondent, The Wrong Man, and Dial M for Murder. Boxed with the long-digitized Strangers on a Train and North by Northwest, they compensate for having to cough up for I Confess, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Stage Fright.
FRITZ LANG EPIC COLLECTION
Essential cinema in a givable brick: Five of the great cynic’s best German silents, including the restored Metropolis, Spies, the utterly wacky Woman in the Moon, and all nearly five hours of Die Nibelungen, supplemented by stills, on-set footage, and restoration histories.
THE MONSTER LEGACY COLLECTION
A monster completist’s wet dream, this Universal box compiles Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man with all the studio sequels and a load of extras including docs, commentaries, and alternate versions. It’s enough to make you forget this was a Van Helsing tie-in.
FILM NOIR CLASSIC COLLECTION
An assemblage of all important noirs would take nearly a hundred discs, but this box is an excellent start. Supplemented by commentaries from critics and historians, the set features the best of Warner-owned ’40s noir (Gun Crazy, Murder My Sweet, The Set-Up, and Out of the Past), capped off with the definitive American noir, The Asphalt Jungle.
THE PINK PANTHER FILM COLLECTION
Some spotty moments in Strikes Again and Revenge, but Trail is so bad (a posthumous Sellers performance, Rich Little dubbing David Niven) it’s as funny as the true gems here, The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, and old Panther cartoons. Justifiably ignored: the post-Sellers Curse and Son.
MARTIN SCORSESE COLLECTION
Rectifying the paltry inadequacy of preexisting discs for Mean Streets and GoodFellas, this set finally does justice to the Scorsese oeuvre. Many bells and whistles (great commentaries by Scorsese, cast members, regular collaborators, and the real Henry Hill) join long-overdue DVD releases for Who’s That Knocking at My Door?, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and After Hours.
THE ULTIMATE OLIVER STONE COLLECTION
By all means use Heaven and Earth and U-Turn as coasters, but with judicious editing, this 14-disc blast of Stoner rock is a terrific value—an exhausting but compulsive paranoiathon. Just about everything is accounted for, including the recent docs on Castro (Looking for Fidel) and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Persona Non Grata).
THE ED WOOD BOX
A must-have trove of the most beloved anti-auteur’s life and work, encompassing five of his most famous films, docs about the man’s notorious life and non-career, as well as a re-edit of Wood’s first work (Crossroads of Laredo), scores of psychotronic news footage, outtakes, and more.