15 gift ideas that are so classically Hollywood

Lead art for 2020 gift guide lists
(Jillian Goeler / For The Times)

There are treasure troves of releases this holiday season for the Classic Hollywood buff in your life, including vintage films on Blu-ray, a library of new books, music CDs and even a tour of a famed Hollywood cemetery. Prices can vary greatly, so shop around.

See the full L.A. Times 2020 gift guide here.

‘Top Gun’

Box set of 4K UltraHD, Blue Ray Disc of "Top Gun"
(Paramount Home Entertainment)

Do you have the need for speed? It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 35 years since the high-flying action-adventure “Top Gun” starring Tom Cruise took audiences’ breath away. With “Top Gun: Maverick” due — hopefully — in theaters in June, Paramount is releasing a limited-edition 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Steelbook packed with extras, including retrospective docs: “The Legacy of Top Gun” and “On Your Six: Thirty Years of Top Gun.” Arriving Dec. 1.

$24.99 | 👉 Purchase here


Criterion Channel

Criterion Channel title cover grid
(Criterion Channel)

How many streaming services offer Joan Crawford’s last film, 1970’s “Trog,” and Jean Renoir’s 1939 “The Rules of the Game?” Since its launch last year, the Criterion Channel has become the go-to streamer for all things celluloid — including special editions from its parent company and spotlights on female directors such as Dorothy Arzner.

$10.99 a month; $99.99 a year | 👉 Purchase here

‘The Essentials Vol. 2: 52 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter’

Cover of the book The Essentials Vol. 2: 52 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter
(Running Press Adult)

One of the most popular showcases on TCM is “The Essentials.” Every Saturday evening host Ben Mankiewicz and a special co-host feature classic films with lasting impact on audiences. Film historian/author Jeremy Arnold showcases 52 of the “Essentials” picks — from F.W. Murnau’s 1927 “Sunrise” to Phil Alden Robinson’s 1989 “Field of Dreams” — and explains why they are so important.

$25.99 | 👉 Purchase here

‘West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks and the Making of a Classic’

Cover of West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks, and the Making of a Classic by Richard Barrios and Turner Classic Movies
(Running Press Adult)

Are you Team Jets or Team Sharks? The release of Steven Spielberg’s remake of the 1961 multi-Oscar-winning masterpiece based on the Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical has been delayed by the pandemic. But you can get into the Jets/Sharks groove with this beautifully detailed history of the beloved Robert Wise-Jerome Robbins classic.

$21.28 | 👉 Purchase here

King of the Movies: The Leonard Maltin Game

King of Movies: The Leonard Maltin Game

Film historian/author Leonard Maltin is now a tabletop party game for three to six players. The game is based on the capsule movie reviews from his “Movie Guide,” which he published for 40 years. After a player announces the title of the movie, fellow players give short synopses of the film in Maltin’s style in hopes one of them will think your description is Maltin’s actual review. Fibbing is encouraged.

$25 | 👉 Purchase here

‘Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone’

Box set of Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone
(Paramount Home Entertainment)

Thirty years ago, fans of Francis Ford Coppola’s multi-Oscar-winning “The Godfather” saga eagerly awaited the end of the trilogy, “The Godfather: Part III.” Though it was nominated for seven Oscars, the film received mixed reviews. Coppola has re-edited the film with a new beginning and ending and rearranged shots, scenes and music cues. The disc features a Coppola introduction.
Arriving Dec. 8.

$22.98 | 👉 Purchase here

More gift guides


‘Cinema ’62: The Greatest Year at the Movies’

Cover of the book Cinema '62: The Greatest Year at the Movies by Stephen Farber
(Rutgers University Press)

Sure, 1939 gave us “Gone With the Wind,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Stagecoach,” but film historians/authors Stephen Farber and Michael McClellan believe attention must be paid to 1962. Consider the stellar late-career work by John Ford (“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”); Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”); and Howard Hawks (“Hatari”), as well as the rise of a new generation, including Robert Redford (“War Hunt”), and culminating with David Lean’s extraordinary epic “Lawrence of Arabia.”

$29.47 | 👉 Purchase here

‘Love Me Tonight’

"Love Me Tonight"
(Kino Lorber/Heritage Auctions)

Delicious and naughty 1932 pre-Code musical has been beautifully restored from a 4K master for this Blu-ray. Rouben Mamoulian (“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”) directed this delight starring Maurice Chavalier and his frequent leading lady Jeanette MacDonald. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart penned the gorgeous songs, including such standards as “Isn’t It Romantic?, “Mimi” and “Lover.” All we can say is ooh-la-la.

$17.99 | 👉 Purchase here


Hollywood Heritage Museum

The Hollywood Heritage Museum
(Jay L. Clenenin / Los Angeles Times)

Did you ever wonder about that old barn across the street from the Hollywood Bowl? Well, it’s one of the most historic buildings from Hollywood yesterday. More than a century old, the Lasky-DeMille Barn was a film stage during the Golden Years of Hollywood — DeMille’s 1914 Western “The Squaw Man” was shot there. It’s now a fabulous museum filled with vintage photos, memorabilia, documents and props illustrating the early days of filmmaking in Hollywood. Events and screenings are also held there — it’s gone digital during the pandemic. The organization also works to preserve the town’s rich heritage.

$40 for individual membership, $25 for seniors 65 and older | 👉 Purchase here

‘Outside the Law’

Tod Browning's "Outside the Law" (1920), starring Priscilla Dean and Lon Chaney
(Kino Lorber Inc.)

One of the earliest collaborations between director Tod Browning and “the Man of a Thousand Faces” Lon Chaney, this 1920 revenge melodrama also stars Priscilla Dean and Wheeler Oakman. Browning and Chaney went on to several exceptional — and often perverse — silent thrillers for MGM, most notably 1925’s “The Unholy Three” and 1927’s long-lost “London After Midnight.”

$19.99, DVD | 👉 Purchase here


‘The Lost Weekend’

Blue Ray Disc cover of the movie The Lost Weekend
(Kino Lorber Inc.)

Billy Wilder won his first Oscars for director and adapted screenplay, the latter shared with Charles Brackett, for this harrowing 1945 depiction of an alcoholic writer (Ray Milland) who goes on a three-day binge in New York City. Milland, who was best known for lighter comedic roles, received the lead actor Oscar, and the film won best picture. The Blu-ray features a new 4K master and audio commentary from film historian Joseph McBride. Arriving Nov. 24.

$19.98 | 👉 Purchase here

‘Munster, Go Home! Limited Edition’

"Munster, Go Home" music composed and conducted by Jack Marshall.
(La-La Land Records)

TV theme music just doesn’t have the zip and zing of the 1960-80s. And there’s probably not a baby boomer around who can’t hum composer Jack Marshall’s title tune to the ‘60s sitcom “The Munsters.” The cast made the feature film “Munster, Go Home!” after production wrapped on the show’s final season, and Marshall was able to record the score with a fuller orchestra and in stereo. This is truly a limited edition with only 3,000 CDs pressed.

$19.98 | 👉 Purchase here


‘The Quinn Martin Collection — Volume 3: The Streets of San Francisco Limited Edition’

"The Streets of San Francisco," music by Patrick Williams.
(La-La Land Records)

Patrick Williams, who composed music for such classic TV series as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Lou Grant,” did some of his best work for the captivating 1972-77 ABC police series “The Streets of San Francisco.” This limited-edition two-CD set — only 2,000 have been pressed — features the jazzy score for the pilot as well as nine other episodes.

$29.98 | 👉 Purchase here

‘Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer’

"Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood's Most Influential Composer," by Steven C. Smith
(Oxford University Press)

Max Steiner was one of the most admired and influential composers of the Golden Age of Hollywood, winning three Oscars as well as writing the landmark score for “Gone With the Wind.” Steven C. Smith uses previously unpublished letters as well as studio documents, music scores and other unique material to create a rich portrait of the Austrian-born composer.

$29.24 | 👉 Purchase here

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Walking Tour

Toto's memorial at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
(David Young-Wolf)

Film historian/writer Karie Bible knows where the bodies are buried. She leads tours most Saturday mornings — she has strict rules during the pandemic — usually dressed in vintage outfits from her collection. The tours visit the final resting places of Hollywood legends including Rudolph Valentino, Judy Garland, Cecil B. DeMille and Marion Davies.

$21 | 👉 Purchase here

More gift guides