"The Tarzan Collection, Vol. 2" (Warner, $40): After a successful decade at MGM, the "Tarzan" franchise moved to RKO in 1943. Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan, made the move to the new studio, as did Johnny Sheffield as his son Boy and their pet chimpanzee Cheeta. Maureen O'Sullivan, who played Jane, remained at MGM and was eventually replaced by the colorless Brenda Joyce.
The budgets were lower and the stories far less entertaining than
the MGM vehicles. But the films are still a kick, though
Weissmuller was a bit too long in the tooth to be wearing a loin
The films in the collection are 1943's "Tarzan Triumphs," in which
the King of the Jungle takes on the Nazis; 1943's "Tarzan's Desert
Mystery"; 1945's "Tarzan and the Amazons," which marked Joyce's
first appearance; 1946's "Tarzan and the Leopard Woman"; 1947's
"Tarzan and the Huntress" and 1948's "Tarzan and the Mermaids," the
only one without Sheffield.
Weissmuller died in 1984, but Cheeta is alive and well — he
turned 74 this year. Though he retired from acting long ago, he has
a second career as an abstract painter.
"Martin & Lewis Collection — Vol. 1" (Paramount, $50):
One of the hottest post-World War II comedy teams were Dean Martin
and Jerry Lewis, whose exuberant, no holds-barred comedy and music
made them the toast of clubs, radio, TV and movies. Though their
films were box-office hits, these vehicles often reigned in the
duo's more manic side. This four-disc set includes eight movies
they made at Paramount, three of which were previously released on
DVD — "My Friend Irma"; "My Friend Irma Goes West"; and "The
Stooge." New to DVD are 1952's "Sailor Beware," which features
James Dean in a tiny part; 1953's "Scared Stiff," a pedestrian
remake of the classic 1940 Bob Hope comedy "Ghost Breakers," which
features Carmen Miranda in her final film; the 1953 comedy "The
Caddy," which introduced the Oscar-nominated hit "That's Amore";
the 1951 comedy "That's My Boy" and the 1952 farce "Jumping
"Down to the Bone" (Hart Sharp, $20): Vera Farmiga, currently in
"The Departed" as Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon's love interest,
received several acting awards, including from the Sundance Film
Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle, for her harrowing
performance as a woman working in a discount store with two
children and a loveless marriage who attempts to clean up her drug
habit. Extras include director Debra Granik's original short film
on which "Down" is based and heartfelt commentary from the director
and her star.
"George Burns — The TV Specials Collection" (Standing Room
Only, $40): After winning the best supporting actor Oscar for
1975's "The Sunshine Boys," the octogenarian comic headlined
several musical-variety TV specials. This four-disc set features
nine he hosted between 1976 and 1985, including "The George Burns
Special," "George Burns' One Man Show" and "George Burns' 100th
Birthday Party." Guest stars include Walter Matthau, Johnny Carson,
the Osmond Brothers, Bob Hope, Ann-Margret, Steve Martin, Jimmy
Stewart, Gregory Peck, Minnie Pearl, Bernadette Peters, Kenny
Rogers and former President Ronald Reagan.
NEW ON DVD
Some Oldies But Goodies
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