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Have no fear: Unknown but irresistible films from Britain, France

Film FestivalsJames Mason

Though one of the pleasures of DVDs is the appearance in home format of films you know you love, it also can be exciting to come across films that sound as fascinating as they are unfamiliar. Two multi-disc packages fit that format this week.

First is “Three Wicked Melodramas From Gainsborough Pictures,” released as part of Criterion’s Eclipse Series. This trio of films — “The Man in Grey,” “Madonna of the Seven Moons” and “The Wicked Lady,” with stars such as James Mason, Margaret Lockwood, Stewart Granger and Phyllis Calvert — are all zesty costume melodramas that thrilled audiences in wartime and postwar Britain.

Even larger is the five-disc collection put out by the intrepid folks at Flicker Alley. “French Masterworks: Russian Emigres in Paris 1923-1928.” These silent films from Film Albatros, a French studio founded by Russian artists, will be little known to most viewers.

But accompanied by newly written musical scores, they can't fail to interest those with an eye for the unexpected.

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Film FestivalsJames Mason
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