The Mel Brooks Collection
Of the eight films in this just-released box, four are new to Region 1 DVD (and remain unavailable as stand-alone discs): the Lubitsch remake To Be or Not to Be, the Hitchcock parody High Anxiety, Silent Movie, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Also included: Blazing Saddles, History of the World: Part I, Young Frankenstein, and the previously out-of-print Twelve Chairs (what happened to Spaceballs?). Supplements vary widely from disc to disc.
The Chess Players
Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray is justly revered for his early neorealist masterworks, but his directorial career continued for some three decades following the 1959 completion of the seminal Apu Trilogy, encompassing a variety of subjects and genres. The first of Ray’s later works to be released on disc, The Chess Players (1977) interweaves the daily lives of the titular pair of game-obsessed aristocrats with the broader political machinations behind the impending British takeover of their kingdom. Ray renders the mid 19th century with a minimum of historical-drama fanfare and tempers his characteristic humanism with pointed political satire. As was the case with most of his films, Ray also composed the score. Narrated by the legendary Amitabh Bachchan.
This post-apocalyptic cyborg drama has, perhaps inevitably, been dubbed the Korean Blade Runner.