FORD AT FOX (Fox, 1920-1952)
From John Ford, the man many regard as America's all-time best director, here's an outstanding collection of classic Hollywood films, heavy on the westerns.
Twenty-four titles, 18 of them new to DVD, showcase Ford's mastery of the medium and talent for iconic imagery. Films include Steamboat Round The Bend (1935), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), The Grapes Of Wrath (1940), Drums Along The Mohawk (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941) and My Darling Clementine (1946).
There are also loads of extras, including a new documentary and a hardcover coffee table book. $293.99 at amazon.ca.
MARIO BAVA BOX SET, Vol. 1 & 2 (Anchor Bay, 1960-1974)
Eurotrash at its finest. Bava's highly visual and atmospheric gothic horrors have influenced everybody from Tim Burton to Robert Rodriguez.
He launched the Euro-horror boom with his 1960 debut, Black Sunday (Vol. 1), and invented the slasher flick with 1971's Bay Of Blood (Vol. 2). Good commentary and interviews explore his talents, particularly the one with producer Alfredo Leone and star Elke Sommer on Lisa And The Devil (1973, Vol. 2), a movie so delirious that no distributor would take it. Volume 1, with five titles including the wide-screen European cut of Kill Baby Kill (1966) , costs $51.98 at amazon.ca; Volume 2, with eight titles, is $50.99.
INGMAR BERGMAN: FOUR MASTERWORKS (Criterion, 1955-1960)
The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Virgin Spring (1960) and Smiles Of A Summer Night (1955), the essential titles from the master of quiet character drama and the long, dark night of the soul, make up this package.
Excellent commentaries enhance the work, and a 90-minute documentary fills us in on the man himself. Streets December 4. $90.99 at amazon.ca.
THE COEN BROTHERS MOVIE COLLECTION (MGM, 1984-1996)
This set offers five of the Coen brothers' best movies. From Blood Simple (1984), their shoestring debut, through Raising Arizona (1987) to the multi-award-winning Fargo (1996), the Coens have revelled in bravura filmmaking, like the operatic shootout in Miller's Crossing (1990) and the apocalyptic finale of Barton Fink (1991), and plots that mix their own twisted humour with hardboiled pulp.
Miller's Crossing and Fargo have thoughtful and funny extras, with contributions from the Coens, the cast and the cinematographers. $55.98 at amazon.ca.
CARLOS SAURA'S FLAMENCO TRILOGY (Eclipse, 1981-1986)
Each title in this set offers excellent filmmaking in a different style, all in the service of brilliant, pulse-pounding flamenco music, dance and song.
Blood Wedding (1981) takes a near-documentary approach to rehearsals. Carmen (1983) adds fiction to blend onstage and backstage passion, while El Amor Brujo (1986) goes for pure theatricality. Saura's gliding camera and Antonio Gades's spectacular choreography create sheer passion. Brief essays, the only extras, offer insights. $53.59 at amazon.ca.