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‘Guess Who’ is coming to DVD

Also new: season one of ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘The Complete Thin Man’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Guess Who”Bernie Mac steps into Spencer Tracy’s shoes and Ashton Kutcher follows Sidney Poitier in this play-it-for-laughs update of the 1960s classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Mac plays a disapproving black dad who reacts with blustering horror when his little angel (Zoe Saldana) comes home for a weekend visit with her white fiance (Kutcher). The DVD has seven well-polished deleted scenes, including one in which Mac’s other daughter brings home a Samoan boyfriend. Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan offers commentary for the full movie and the deleted material, noting that he’s brutal about excising nonessential footage: “I know you’re smart. Scenes like this, which are basically there to give you more information that you can intuit on your own, end up on my cutting-room floor.” DVD, $28.95. (Sony) Original theatrical review

“Ghostbusters 1 & 2”Who you gonna call? Bill Murray. As “Broken Flowers,” the latest comic drama in Murray’s second career as king of the droll sad-sacks, arrives in theaters, this two-disc reissue of his 1980s blockbusters serves as a reminder of his roots in manic mainstream comedy. Featuring co-writers Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis, the movies star Murray as leader of a team of supernatural exterminators trying to zap gooey, ectoplasmic spirits back to the great beyond. The “Ghostbusters” DVD comes with commentary by director Ivan Reitman and Ramis, three making-of featurettes and deleted scenes. “Ghostbusters 2” is accompanied by two episodes from a 1988 animated TV spinoff. DVD set, $19.94. (Sony)

“The High and the Mighty,” “Island in the Sky”The first wave of long-unavailable films from the John Wayne vaults lands on DVD with these newly restored versions of two airplane adventures, both directed by William A. Wellman. The highlight is a two-disc set with 1954’s “The High and the Mighty,” a precursor to the 1970s airplane-disaster flicks, starring Wayne as a down-and-out co-pilot faced with calamity during a routine passenger flight. In 1953’s “Island in the Sky,” available on a single DVD, Wayne’s a transport pilot trying to keep his men alive after they crash onto a frozen lake in northern Canada. Both films feature introductions by critic Leonard Maltin, who also offers commentary with the director’s son, William Wellman Jr. The DVDs also have a broad range of behind-the-scenes featurettes. Other Wayne flicks coming down the road include “Hondo” and “McLintock!” “High and the Mighty” DVD set, $19.98; “Island in the Sky” DVD, $14.98. (Paramount)

“The Complete Thin Man Collection”William Powell and Myrna Loy set the standard for spousal detective teams with their urbane performances as Nick and Nora Charles in the 1930s and ’40s series of films based on the characters of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man.” Along with the previously released DVD version of 1934’s “The Thin Man,” the seven-disc set has the DVD debuts for the sequels “After the Thin Man,” “Another Thin Man,” “Shadow of the Thin Man,” “The Thin Man Goes Home” and “Song of the Thin Man.” Most films are accompanied by vintage short films and cartoons, and a bonus disc features documentaries about Powell and Loy, plus the stars performing a radio broadcast of “The Thin Man” and an episode of the 1950s TV spinoff starring Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk. DVD set, $59.92. (Warner Bros.)

“This Machine Kills Fascists”Woody Guthrie was the original singer-songwriter, the first alternative musician and the last of the great Elizabethan balladeers, according to British folk-rocker Billy Bragg, a modern rabble-rousing heir to Guthrie. Narrated by Bragg, the nearly three-hour documentary is packed with music and recorded recollections by Guthrie and includes candid, insightful interviews with his friends and family, including his children Arlo and Nora Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. The rich and absorbing film, which takes its title from the slogan Guthrie painted on his guitar, offers a warm, wry, unsentimental look at the demigod of modern folk music. Nora Guthrie chuckles over people’s reverence for her dad, saying her image of the trio he formed in his teens was of “Wayne’s World,” young guys who started a garage band to meet girls. “It’s not like he had some sacred mission to sing folk songs,” she says. DVD, $19.98. (Snapper Music)

TV on DVD:

“The Cosby Show: Season 1” — One of TV’s all-time hits returns with the DVD debut of Bill Cosby’s family sitcom about a doctor and lawyer (Phylicia Rashad) and their five rambunctious kids (including Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Sabrina LeBeauf). The four-disc set has all 24 episodes from the 1984-85 season, along with a 90-minute retrospective documentary that aired in 2002. DVD set, $49.99. (Ventura)

“The Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete Fourth Season” — Through the magic of Hollywood marketing, year four of John Schneider, Tom Wopat and Catherine Bach’s good old Southern series comes to DVD days before the big-screen “Dukes” debut. The nine-disc set has 27 episodes, with a guest spot by Mickey Gilley and commentary on one from Schneider, Wopat and Bach. DVD set, $39.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Candid Camera: 5 Decades of Smiles” — Highlights of television’s original “Punk’d” show are packed in a 10-disc set that has 44 episodes, from the 1960s on, featuring hidden-camera pranks pulled on unsuspecting victims. DVD extras include the show’s premiere episode from 1949 and a “Greatest Moments” disc. DVD set, $99.95. (Rhino)

“Saturday Morning With Sid & Marty Krofft” — Children’s TV psychedelia returns with this collection of seven pilot episodes for Krofft shows: “H.R. Pufnstuf,” “The Bugaloos,” “Lidsville,” “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters,” “Land of the Lost,” “The Lost Saucer” and “Far Out Space Nuts.” DVD, $14.95. (Rhino)

Other new releases:

Photo: Jaap Buitendijk From left to right: Elliott Cowan (Ptolemy), Jared Leto (Hephaistion) and Colin Farrell (Alexander The Great) in Oliver Stone's as-yet-untitled film about Alexander the Great. Ptolemy and Hephaistion are close friends of Alexander's and two of his top generals. The film is scheduled for North American distribution in November 2004 by Warner Bros. Pictures. Photo by Jaap Buitendijk.

“Downfall” — An Academy Award nominee for 2004’s best foreign-language film, this war saga presents Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler in a harrowing look at a dictator in defeat, maintaining the facade of a future for his Third Reich even as his shrinking circle of bunker mates braces for the Allies’ arrival. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel offers commentary. DVD, $29.95. (Sony)