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‘Corpse Bride’ rises on DVD

Also new: ‘Legend of Zorro,’ ‘In Her Shoes,’ ‘Hill Street Blues’ season one
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride”Filmmaker Burton spins an enchanting animated tale for friends of the bride and ghoul alike. Using characters made of rubber meticulously shot through stop-motion animation a frame at a time, Burton and company tell the story of a jittery 19th century groom (voiced by Johnny Depp) who is hauled off to the underworld as the betrothed to a dead, decaying bride (voiced by Burton’s own romantic companion, Helena Bonham Carter). The DVD has a nice range of background featurettes on the vocal talents, the intricacies of breathing life into inanimate objects and the design of the worlds of the living and dead. Burton’s musical comrade, Danny Elfman, offers insights on the styles he created for both worlds, while Burton discusses the inspiration of the story, drawn from an eastern European folk tale. DVD, $28.98. (Warner Bros.)

Last year’s other stop-motion tale, “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” hits home video Feb. 7; meantime, the 1985 Claymation stop-motion cartoon “The Adventures of Mark Twain,” with James Whitmore providing the voice of the rascally author, makes its DVD debut. DVD, $14.94. (Sony) Read the review

“The Legend of Zorro”

Columbia Pictures

Audiences snored some “Z’s” of their own for the return of Antonio Banderas’ Zorro, a box-office dud that reunited the actor with “The Mask of Zorro” co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones and director Martin Campbell. The comic action caper picks up 10 years after the first movie, with Zorro and his wife’s marriage on the rocks as the masked crusader for justice takes on a secret society intent on unleashing the 19th century equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction. Campbell offers commentary on deleted scenes and joins his cinematographer for commentary on the full movie. The DVD also has making-of featurettes offering background on stunts and visual effects. DVD, $28.95. (Sony) Read the review

“In Her Shoes”

20Th Century Fox

Another box-office underachiever, director Curtis Hanson’s comic tale of sibling jealousy features excellent performances from Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine. Diaz plays the pretty, perky, air-headed sister who’s always coasted along on her looks and the charity of sibling Collette, a workaholic attorney who feels handicapped by her plain-Jane appearance. After a falling out, the two learn to see the world from the other’s point of view with help from a grandma (MacLaine) they never knew they had. The DVD is light on extras, but its three featurettes include one animal activists will love: The novel on which the movie is based called for a purebred canine, but Hanson settled on a mutt rescued from a shelter, noting that some viewers emulate films by buying purebreds they see on screen; instead, Hanson hoped the cute little mutt would encourage audiences to adopt strays. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox) Read the review

“Bubble”Steven Soderbergh makes a small movie with big implications for Hollywood. Soderbergh’s low-budget drama with a cast of nonprofessional actors is a test case for simultaneous release on the big-screen, television and DVD, a possible future for Hollywood film distribution. “Bubble” debuted Friday in about 30 theaters and premiered on the HDNet TV channel that night, with the DVD following four days later. It’s a taut little film following the relationship between two lonely co-workers at a doll factory, a fortysomething woman (Debbie Doebereiner) and a young man (Dustin James Ashley), and the tragic drama that unfolds when a new employee (Misty Dawn Wilkins) comes between them. The DVD features an alternate ending that was wisely cut from the finished film, which concludes more poetically and provocatively without it. The disc also has excellent portraits on Soderbergh’s cast of unknowns. DVD, $29.98. (Magnolia) Read the review

“The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection”The cool cat that debuted in 1964 in the title credits of the Blake Edwards-Peter Sellers crime comedy “The Pink Panther” gets his own boxed set. As the debut nears for Steve Martin’s new take on Sellers’ bumbling detective, a five-disc collection gathers 124 of the cartoon shorts made between 1964 and 1980 for theatrical release and television, including the Academy Award-winning first installment, “The Pink Phink.” The set also has the animated title sequences from five “Pink Panther” feature films, plus segments on the creation of the character, his popularity and the artists behind him. Available as single discs are three volumes of “Pink Panther” shorts containing 27 cartoons each. Also arriving are single-disc versions of five feature films — “The Pink Panther,” “A Shot in the Dark,” “The Pink Panther Strikes Again,” “Revenge of the Pink Panther” and “Trail of the Pink Panther” — previously available in a boxed set, along with two making their DVD debuts, “Curse of the Pink Panther” and “Son of the Pink Panther.” DVD set, $69.96; single DVDs, $14.94 each. (Sony)

TV on DVD:

“Hill Street Blues: The Complete First Season” — The gritty cop show that laid the groundwork for “NYPD Blue,” “The Shield” and “Homicide: Life on the Street” returns to action with a three-disc set packing the first 17 episodes that aired in 1981. Creator Steven Bochco and co-stars James Sikking and Joe Spano offer commentary on two episodes. DVD set, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Archie Bunker’s Place: The Complete First Season” — Carroll O’Connor’s working-class bigot goes into business as a tavern owner in this continuation of “All in the Family” that co-starred Jean Stapleton and Martin Balsam. The first 24 episodes from 1979-80 are collected in a three-disc set. DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)

“All-American Girl: The Complete Series” — Margaret Cho blazed trails for Asian-Americans with her short-lived sit-com about a thoroughly assimilated San Franciscan and her tradition-minded Korean family. All 19 episodes of the show that aired in 1994-95 are included in a four-disc set, with commentary from Cho on four shows. DVD set, $39.98. (Shout)

“Diff’rent Strokes: The Complete Second Season” — Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges return as streetwise black kids adopted by a rich white widower (Conrad Bain). A three-disc set contains all 24 episodes from the 1979-80 season. DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)

“Benny Hill: Set Four — 1978-1981” — The latest collection of madcap British funnyman Hill’s sketch-comedy show features 10 episodes on three discs, along with a featurette on the show’s bosomy female co-stars. DVD set, $49.95. (A&E)