New Blu-ray Releases Columbia Classics

In the words of the Mama Mia! sequel: here we go again. It’s time for another Blu-ray round-up, and this week’s titles are what I’d call “specialty titles.” None of these are new movies – but they’re all new releases. These are the new Blu-ray releases (and digital releases, too) you should check out this week.

Columbia Classics Collection

The Columbia Classics Collection is a jaw-dropping new box set that has an odd assortment of films, all of which are in 4K, and all of which are worth checking out. While I’m not entirely sure how they decided to classify some of these films as “classic” – Jerry Maguire? – I can safely say this set is a stunner. The set includes Frank Capra‘s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where Jimmy Stewart plays an idealistic senator who quickly discovers all his colleagues in the beltway are politicians who would rather destroy him than work for the American people; Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean‘s epic about T.E. Lawrence, as played by Peter O’TooleDr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Stanley Kubrick‘s pitch-black satire about the end of the world via nuclear war; Richard Attenborough‘s Gandhi, where Ben Kingsley plays the Indian leader devoted to non-violence; A League of Their Own, Penny Marshall‘s hilarious, heartfelt look at the All-American Girls Baseball League, with a cast that includes Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, and Madonna; and Jerry Maguire, Cameron Crowe’s romantic drama starring Tom Cruise as a down-on-his-luck sports agent trying to put his life back together.

Without exception, all of these films are good – some are even great. The “worst” film here would probably be Jerry Maguire, and even that has its charms. And while these titles may not all go together, the prospect of having them all together – on 4K, no less – is too good to pass up. I particularly enjoyed revisiting A League of Their Own, which is even better than I remember. It’s a funny, charming, even melancholy film that I might dare say is perfect. Most of the rest of the titles here speak for themselves: Lawrence of Arabia is often held up as one of the best films of all time, and while Criterion recently released their own version of Dr. Strangelove, it’s still great to have Kubrick’s classic in 4K.

 

Own or Rent? 

Well, this is an easy one: own, primarily because you can’t rent this one. The price (currently $106.99 on Amazon) might scare some off, but all things considered, that’s a very fair cost for so many 4K movies. Especially since all of the films collected here are worth owning. So if you’re looking to splurge a bit, or you have a birthday coming up and want to ask for a cool gift, here’s your solution.

 

Special Features Include:

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON Disc Breakdown

4K Ultra HD Includes:

  • Feature presented in 4K resolution with HDR10
  • 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio

Blu-ray Includes:

  • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
  • 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Features:
  • Audio Commentary with Frank Capra Jr.
  • Frank Capra Jr. Remembers… Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Conversations with Frank Capra Jr.: The Golden Years
  • Conversations with Frank Capra Jr.: A Family History
  • Frank Capra: Collaboration
  • The Frank Capra I Knew
  • Frank Capra’s American Dream Feature-Length Documentary
  • Domestic & International Theatrical Trailers

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA Disc Breakdown

4K Ultra HD Includes:

  • Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, fully restored from the original camera negative
  • Feature split across two 4K Ultra HD discs for optimal bitrate
  • Dolby Atmos English audio
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Feature: NEW: Unused International Prologue

Feature Blu-ray Includes:

  • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Feature: Secrets of Arabia: Feature-Length Picture-in-Graphics Track
  • Special Feature Blu-ray Includes:
    • Peter O’Toole Revisits Lawrence of Arabia
    • Making of Lawrence of Arabia Documentary
    • Deleted Balcony Scene with Introduction by Anne V. Coates
    • The Lure of the Desert: Martin Scorsese on Lawrence of Arabia
    • A Conversation with Steven Spielberg
    • Wind, Sand and Star: The Making of a Classic (1963 & 1970 Versions)
    • Maan, Jordan: The Camels Are Cast
    • In Search of Lawrence
    • Romance of Arabia
    • King Hussein Visits Lawrence of Arabia Set
    • In Love with the Desert Documentary
    • Lawrence at 50: A Classic Restored
    • Archival Interviews
      • Steven Spielberg on Lawrence of Arabia
      • William Friedkin on Lawrence of Arabia
      • Sydney Pollack on Lawrence of Arabia
  • New York Premiere Footage
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Vintage Trailers & TV Spots

DR. STRANGELOVE Disc Breakdown

4K Ultra HD Includes:

  • Feature presented in 4K resolution with HDR10
  • 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Features:
    • NEW: “Stanley Kubrick Considers the Bomb” Featurette
    • Mick Broderick Interview
    • Joe Dunton and Kelvin Pike Interview
    • Richard Daniels Interview
    • David George Interview
    • Rodney Hill Interview
    • Archival Stanley Kubrick Audio Interview
    • The Today Show Clips featuring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott
    • Exhibitor Trailer
    • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Includes:

  • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
  • 5.1 TrueHD audio
  • Special Features:
    • The Cold War Feature-Length Picture-in-Picture Track
    • Inside Dr. Strangelove
    • No Fighting in the War Room
    • An Interview with Robert McNamara
    • Best Sellers
    • The Art of Stanley Kubrick
    • Split-Screen Interviews with Peter Sellers and George C. Scott

GANDHI Disc Breakdown

4K Ultra HD Includes:

  • Feature presented in 4K resolution with HDR10, fully restored from the original camera negative
  • Feature split across two 4K Ultra HD discs for optimal bitrate
  • Dolby Atmos English audio
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Features:
    • NEW: Theatrical Trailers
  • Feature Blu-ray Includes:
    • Feature presented in high definition
    • 5.1 TrueHD audio
    • Special Features:
      • Introduction & Commentary with Director Richard Attenborough
      • Gandhi’s Legacy: Feature-Length Picture-in-Graphics Track
      • Special Feature Blu-ray Includes:
      • Sir Ben Kingsley Talks about Gandhi
      • Vintage Newsreel Footage
      • In Search of Gandhi
      • Reflections on Ben
      • Madeleine Slade: An Englishwoman Abroad
      • The Funeral
      • Looking Back
      • Shooting an Epic in India
      • Designing Gandhi
      • From the Director’s Chair
      • The Words of Mahatma Gandhi
      • The Making of Gandhi Photo Montage

 

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN Disc Breakdown

4K Ultra HD Includes:

  • Feature presented in 4K resolution with HDR10, fully restored from the original camera negative
  • Dolby Atmos English audio
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Features:
    • Domestic Theatrical Trailer
    • NEW: 5 International Teasers & Trailers

Feature Blu-ray Includes:

  • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Features:
    • NEW: 3 episodes from the 1993 TV series, “A League of Their Own”
    • Feature Commentary with Director Penny Marshall and Actresses Lori Petty, Tracy Reiner, and Megan Cavanagh
    • Nine Memorable Innings Documentary
    • Deleted Scenes
    • The Enduring Legacy of A League of Their Own
    • “This Used to Be My Playground” Music Video by Madonna

JERRY MAGUIRE Disc Breakdown

4K Ultra HD Includes:

  • Feature presented in 4K resolution with HDR10, fully restored from the original camera negative and approved by writer/director Cameron Crowe
  • Dolby Atmos English audio
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Feature:
    • NEW: “The Fast Times and Long Career of Cameron Crowe” episode of the “Here’s The Thing” podcast, hosted by Alec Baldwin and produced by WNYC Studios

Feature Blu-ray Includes:

  • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Special Features:
    • Feature-Length Picture-in-Picture Commentary with Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger & Cuba Gooding, Jr.
    • Jerry Maguire: We Meet Again 3-Part Documentary
    • Nearly 1 Hour of Deleted & Extended Scenes
    • Behind the Scenes at the Video Commentary
    • The Making of Jerry Maguire
    • Photo Gallery
    • “My First Commercial” by Rod Tidwell
    • Drew Rosenhaus: “How to Be a Sports Agent”
    • Original Deleted & Alternate Scenes
    • Rehearsal Footage
    • “Secret Garden” Music Video by Bruce Springsteen
    • Theatrical Trailer

EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC INCLUDES:

  • Excerpts from the 1975 TV special celebrating the 50th anniversary of Columbia Pictures
  • “Mr. Attenborough and Mr. Gandhi” Vintage Behind the Scenes Documentary

 

Gladiator 4K

In honor of the anniversaries of two of their epics, Gladiator and Braveheart (more on that below), Paramount has released new 4K steelbooks of both films. It’s wild to look back now, 20 years later, and remember that Gladiator was a major Oscar winner, taking home Best Picture and Best Actor, among other awards. I’m not saying Gladiator is bad – it just doesn’t really seem like an “Oscar movie.” The book The Men Who Would Be King, about the creation of DreamWorks, goes into great detail about how the DreamWorks publicity people worked overtime to get Gladiator noticed by the Academy – and it worked, obviously.

Ridley Scott‘s Gladiator has Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman general who is betrayed by the sniveling Commodus (a great, nasty Joaquin Phoenix, clearly relishing playing an unredeemable jerk). Maximus’ wife and child are killed, and Maximus himself is left for dead. But he recovers – only to end up a slave forced to become a gladiator. When he’s not dodging swords and wild animals in the Colosseum, he’s plotting his revenge. Again: this doesn’t read as Oscar-bait. Instead, it’s an entertaining, gory, action-packed sword-and-sandal epic, and it holds up surprisingly well.

Own or Rent? 

Gonna go with OWN for this one. I’m not an avid steelbook collector, but I will confess that they’re nifty. And if you don’t already own Gladiator, this is the version to scoop up. The film was actually already released on 4K back in 2018, so it’s not exactly new. But if you’re in the market for this film, I’m happy to recommend this newest release.

Special Features Include: 

4K Blu-ray Special Features

  • Introduction by Ridley Scott (Extended Edition)
  • Audio Commentary by director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe (Extended Edition)
  • Audio Commentary by director Ridley Scott, editor Pietro Scalia and cinematographer John Mathieson (Theatrical Edition)

Blu-ray Special Features

  • Introduction by Ridley Scott (Extended Edition)
  • Audio Commentary by director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe (Extended Edition)
  • Audio Commentary by director Ridley Scott, editor Pietro Scalia and cinematographer John Mathieson (Theatrical Edition)
  • The Scrolls of Knowledge
  • Deleted Scenes Index with Optional Commentary by Ridley Scott
  • Visions from Elysium: Topic Portal
  • Strength and Honor: Creating the World of Gladiator
  • Image & Design: Storyboard Demonstration, Storyboard Archive, Costume Design Gallery, Photo Galleries
  • Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes
  • The Aurelian Archives – My Gladiator Journal by Spencer Treat Clark

 

Braveheart 4K

Okay, before we get into this, I have to add a disclaimer: Mel Gibson is clearly a person with a lot of issues, and many of those issues involve him being a racist, offensive creep. I am by no means condoning Mr. Gibson’s actions – I’m just talking about a movie he made 25 years ago. Back before Gibson’s terrible deeds derailed his career (at least for a while), he was a box office star, and he directed and starred in the epic Braveheart.

Based on the true story of Scottish warrior William Wallace, Gibson’s film takes a lot of liberties with history. For instance: the real Battle of Sterling took place on a bridge, but here, it’s set entirely in a big open field. That’s just one instance, there are many more. But movies like this aren’t meant to be factual records, they’re meant to be entertainment. And say what you will about Gibson (and you can say a lot), he knows how to direct an epic. Full of big, bloody battles and swooning romance, Braveheart was a huge deal when it arrived in ’95, and the big battle scenes still have the power to thrill.

 

Own or Rent? 

A tough one. You might not want to plop down money for this if you have a problem with Mel Gibson, and that’s perfectly understandable. However, if you’re a fan of this film, this is a good version of it to own. The 4K transfer looks sharp and the steelbook is a nice touch.

Special Features Include: 

4K Blu-ray Special Features

  • Commentary by Mel Gibson

Blu-ray Special Features

  • Commentary by Mel Gibson
  • Braveheart Timelines
  • Battlefields of the Scottish Rebellion
  • Braveheart: A Look Back
  • Smithfield: Medieval Killing Fields
  • Tales of William Wallace
  • A Writer’s Journey
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