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Ultimate James Dean collection on DVD

Also new, six by Steve McQueen and the first two seasons of ‘Moonlighting.’ By David Germain
/ Source: The Associated Press

“The Complete James Dean Collection”James Dean came and went in the blink of an eye, but Warner Bros. is milking his brief career in a yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. This trio of two-disc sets has all three of the films in which Dean starred in quick succession before his death in a car crash in September 1955. The John Steinbeck adaptation “East of Eden,” appearing for the first time on DVD, stars Dean as a defiant youth competing with his brother for the attentions of their callous dad. “Rebel Without a Cause,” previously available in a single-disc release, stars Dean and Natalie Wood in one of Hollywood’s classic tales of disenfranchised youth. “Giant,” included in its previously released DVD set, co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in an epic soap opera about a Texas oil clan. Each film is accompanied by commentary from critics or people associated with the movies, and the sets include retrospective documentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and other background material. DVD boxed set, $69.92; two-disc sets, $26.99 each. (Warner Bros.)

“The Essential Steve McQueen Collection”Six of Mr. Cool’s flicks — including three making their DVD debuts — are collected in this seven-disc set. The package is anchored by a new two-disc release of “Bullitt,” previously available on a single DVD, with McQueen as a cop tracking the shooters of a key witness and racing through one of cinema’s most elaborate car chases. The other five films, released in single-disc editions, include the new-to-DVD titles “The Cincinnati Kid,” with McQueen as a card hustler out to make a name for himself in gambling circles; “Never So Few,” featuring newcomer McQueen as one of Frank Sinatra’s underlings in a World War II tale of guerrilla fighters in Burma; and the Western “Tom Horn,” one of McQueen’s final movies. The set also includes previously released single-DVD issues of the prison-escape adventure “Papillon,” co-starring Dustin Hoffman, and the heist caper “The Getaway.” “Bullitt” comes with commentary by director Peter Yates and two background documentaries. Extras are scant on the other DVDs, though “Cincinnati Kid” director Norman Jewison provides commentary. DVD boxed set, $68.92; “Bullitt” two-disc set, $26.99; single DVDs, $19.97 each. (Warner Bros.)


Barry Watson in Boogeyman.
Barry Watson in Boogeyman.Screen Gems

This horror mini-hit lands in the middle of the pack of Hollywood’s recent surge of fright flicks — nowhere near as abysmal as some, yet not good enough or scary enough to really justify its existence. Produced by “Spider-Man” overseer Sam Raimi, the movie stars Barry Watson as a man haunted by childhood memories — or delusions — of the boogeyman, the creature that chowed down on his dad when he was 8 years old (or the creature that became a handy scapegoat for why his father abandoned the family). The DVD includes an alternate ending and deleted scenes, plus a making-of featurette and background on the movie’s visual effects. DVD, $28.95. (Sony)

TV on DVD:

“Moonlighting: Seasons One and Two” — Bruce Willis leaped to stardom and Cybill Shepherd made her comeback with the 1980s screwball series about a model who loses all her assets except a second-rate detective agency, where she partners up with a wisenheimer private eye. The six-disc set has 23 episodes, plus cast and crew commentary and interviews. DVD set, $49.98. (Lions Gate)

“The Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete Third Season” — The rowdy Duke boys (Tom Wopat and John Schneider), bombshell cousin Daisy (Catherine Bach) and the rest of their Southern kin and kindred continue to foil the schemes of greedy Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke). DVD set, $39.98. (Warner Bros.)

“The Edward R. Murrow Collection” — The pioneer of American broadcasting is profiled in a four-disc package featuring such Murrow proteges as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Mike Wallace. The discs include a portrait of Murrow narrated by Charles Kuralt, a best-of program examining Murrow’s “See It Now” TV series, an exploration of the newsman’s challenges to the Joseph McCarthy communist witch hunt and the TV documentary “Harvest of Shame,” in which Murrow chronicled exploitation of migrant farm workers. DVD set, $59.95. (A&E)

“The Rifleman: Boxed Set Collection 4” — Chuck Connors dishes out family values at the point of a gun as a widower raising his young son to do right in the Old West. This latest four-disc package features 20 more episodes of Connors’ Western series that ran from the late 1950s to early ’60s. DVD set, $49.98. (MPI)

“This Is Your Life: Volume 1” — Ralph Edwards’ long-running biography series begins its DVD afterlife with a three-disc set containing 18 episodes. Celebrities such as Johnny Cash, Bette Davis, Milton Berle, Bobby Darin, Laurel and Hardy, Dick Clark, Jesse Owens and Richard and Karen Carpenter are the subjects of surprise reunions with people from their past. DVD set, $49.99. (R2 Entertainment)

“The Presidents” — From the original George W., President Washington, through the current President Bush, the lives and accomplishments of the 43 commanders-in-chief are explored in a three-disc set featuring the series that aired on the History Channel. Interview segments include President Jimmy Carter, Bob Dole and newsmen Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley. DVD set, $49.95. (A&E)

Other new releases:

“Swimming Upstream” — Geoffrey Rush is the drunken, abusive dad and Judy Davis the sturdy mom of 1960s Aussie swimming champ Tony Fingleton (Jesse Spencer), who rises above his ugly upbringing to compete for Olympic gold. The DVD has about a dozen deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew. DVD, $26.98. (MGM)

“The Parent Trap,” “Get a Clue” — Lindsay Lohan made her feature-film debut in the 1998 remake about identical twin girls who scheme to reunite their divorced parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson). The new DVD version includes commentary with director Nancy Meyers. Debuting on DVD is the TV comedy “Get a Clue,” starring Lohan as a teen queen trying her hand as an investigative reporter for the school paper. DVDs, $19.99 each. (Disney)