Aisle Seat March Mania Edition
A few quick news items to start off this abbreviated edition of The
Notes, HOGAN'S HEROES and THE BRADY BUNCH, Too!
*It seems Paul Schrader’s discarded version of EXORCIST IV will be released after
all. The Australian DVD of “Exorcist: The Beginning” even
has a trailer for the film, which has hit the net along with various
stills from Schrader’s version of the prequel, which was tossed
out in favor of Renny Harlin’s reshot version (reviewed in last
week’s column). Head on over to the Aisle
Seat Message Boards and we’ll get you set up with links to
the trailer and stills, which look pretty creepy! No word on who has
scored Schrader’s version, though Christopher Young and Michael
Kamen had both been attached to the project at various points (Young
with Schrader before the director was released, Kamen with Harlin
before the composer passed away).
*Fox is planning on 2-disc DVD Special Editions of THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and I, ROBOT for release this May.
Both films have already been released in Special Edition packaging
overseas, and the U.S. discs are expected to reprise the contents of
the international releases, including commentary tracks, numerous
Making Of featurettes, and even an isolated score on “I,
Robot” with accompanying comments from composer Marco Beltrami.
Fox also has Special Edition double-disc packages of the box-office
flop ELEKTRA (complete with Ben Affleck’s discarded Daredevil
cameo) in early April and a deluxe MAN ON FIRE this May.
*The recent news about Miramax’s “reorganization” has
meant the apparent release of numerous projects that have been sitting
on the studio shelves for some time. Renny Harlin’s MINDHUNTERS is supposed to finally
be released in North America this May, while a slew of sequels will be
heading straight to DVD: THE CROW -
WICKED PRAYER (with David “Angel” Boreanaz, Edward
Furlong and Tara Reid, due out mid July); DRACULA 3 - LEGACY (also mid July); PROPHECY - UPRISING (June) and PROPHECY - FORSAKEN (Fall); plus not
one but two HELLRAISER
direct-to-video efforts, one for summer and another for later in the
year. Meanwhile, there have also been rumors that Danny Boyle’s
long-shelved ALIEN LOVE TRIANGLE
(originally supposed to be one portion of an anthology film with
“Imposter,” which was later unsuccessfully extended into
its own feature film) will also be released sometime in 2005.
Seat DVD Picks of the Week
BUNCH: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (1969-70, apprx. 11 hours, Paramount).
DVD FEATURES: Select commentary tracks; Featurette, “The Brady
Bunch: Coming Together Under One Roof”; Full-Screen, Dolby
Digital mono sound.
HOGAN’S HEROES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (1965-66, aprx. 14
Paramount). DVD FEATURES: Full-screen, Dolby Digital mono sound.
These days it truly does seem as if every show known to mankind is
being released on DVD. On the small screen, meanwhile, reunion specials
are all the rage – a recent “Happy Days Reunion”
chalked up big-time ratings, while last week, you might have noticed
CBS paying tribute to (of all things) “One Day at a Time”
(what’s next? A reunion special for “Manimal”?).
With so many series hitting video for the first time, it’s
amazing to see THE BRADY BUNCH – of the most fondly-remembered
sitcoms of all time – just now being released on DVD.
Sherwood Schwartz’s series about a pair of widowers each with
three kids of their own (Mike Brady with three boys and wife Carol with
her three girls, all of equal age) combining to create the singular
grooviest family on the tube in the late ‘60s and early
‘70s was a success during its initial run on the ABC airwaves.
The kids found themselves as recording stars, hounded in malls and in
appearances all around the country, while TV parent Florence Henderson
soon pushed Wesson Oil and Robert Reed grew tired of “The Brady
Bunch” as his lasting legacy.
Over the years, “The Brady Bunch” endured in spite of its
polyester threads, hep tunes and cameo appearances by the likes of Dezi
Arnaz, Jr., and appealed to a whole new generation of a different era.
Those of us who grew up years after its cancellation (yours truly
included) might have thought the clothing was a bit odd, but the themes
of “The Brady Bunch” were – and still are -- as
meaningful and timeless as ever. Lose your diary? Don’t worry,
Mom and Dad will search every used book store combing the ends of the
Earth for it. Lose your voice at Christmas? No sweat, Mom will regain
that ability just in time for Midnight Mass. Running up the phone bill?
Be careful, or else Dad will install a pay phone in the living room.
Paramount’s long-awaited DVD box set of the Bradys’ first
season is out this week and offers splendid, colorful transfers of the
series’ first season, which aired in the fall of ‘69 and
the winter months of 1970. The initial 25 episodes are, if you want to
get serious for a moment, likely the best the show had to offer, with
the plots and performances being more grounded than the wackier, more
slapstick (though arguably more fun) later seasons. Even the theme
song, performed by the “Peppermint Trolley Factory,”
isn’t as rambunctious as the Brady kids’ better-known
rendition from subsequent years.
As I’ve written before many times, being able to see a series
you’re familiar with from re-runs in its original, uncut
broadcast form on DVD is a revelation. If you grew up watching
“The Brady Bunch” only in syndication re-runs, you’ll
be seeing several minutes of previously excised footage in each and
every episode, making each episode flow better in the process.
Paramount has also thrown in a few bonus features for good measure:
“The Brady Bunch: Coming Together Under One Roof” is a
pleasant, 17-minute featurette sporting interviews with Sherwood
Schwartz and several of the Brady kids (no Marcia, however), touching
upon various anecdotes about the show’s production. As many times
as you may hear it, the fact that Gene Hackman (!) was a step or two
away from being cast as Mike Brady is still a fun tale to recall. There
are also commentaries on three episodes: “The Hero” and
“A-Camping We Will Go” include comments from Barry
“Greg” Williams, Christopher “Peter” Knight and
Susan “Cindy” Olsen, while Schwartz fondly recalls filming
the pilot, “The Honeymoon.”
Retail is under $30 for this four-disc set, splendidly packaged with a
3-D cover. Obviously a must for any self-respecting Brady fan!
Also out from Paramount this week is the Complete First Season of HOGAN’S HEROES,
which starred Bob Crane as Col. Hogan, who lead a motley assortment of
POWs in the world’s most luxurious Nazi internment camp. Among
charges were Copls. Robert Clary and Richard Dawson, Ivan Dixon’s
Kinchloe, and Larry Hovis’ Sgt. Carter. All helped Hogan evade
slapstick rule of Werner Klemperer’s Col. Klink, who, along with
next-in-command Sgt. Schultz (John Banner), somehow managed to let the
Allied prisoners come and go as they please, assist other POWs, and
basically live like they were at a posh German resort.
Over the years, “Hogan’s Heroes” has been pegged as
controversial show, particularly in these Politically Correct times. Of
course, the CBS show was nothing but a slapstick, silly comedy, but I
recall the constant battles stations that aired the show would face,
even back in the ‘80s. One local station around these parts,
in Boston, aired “Hogan’s Heroes” nightly while I was
growing up, and
yet their “Ask The Manager” program was always filled with
debate between viewers who found the show in bad taste, and others who
Either way you go, “Hogan’s Heroes” is nothing but a
with a terrific cast and comedy writing that you’re likely to
either amusing or terribly dated in a ‘60s sitcomish way.
five-disc DVD set includes all 32 episodes from the series’ first
season (including the original pilot), which aired on CBS on Friday
nights at 8:30pm during 1965 and the early months of ‘66. The
show their age a bit but are consistently good for the most part, and
again, the episodes have been uncut, transferred from their full-length
broadcast versions and seen here for the first time since their
original network run.
NEXT WEEK: A
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including STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT. Don't
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