- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2001

Kino Video's newly issued Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde ($29.95) contains more than the complete remastered, color-tinted 1920 screen adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's influential novella. It also features a bravura performance by John Barrymore in the title role(s); Stan Laurel's one-reel 1925 spoof, "Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pride"; excerpts from a rival 1920 production starring Sheldon Lewis; and a 1909 audio recording of Dr. Jekyll's transformation scene that was sold as an individual record. It's our …

Video pick of the week
This release helps show that Kino (800/562-3330), with an able assist from producer-archivist Bret Wood, continues to impress with its uncanny ability to amass rare supplemental materials to augment its DVD editions of vintage classics.
Perhaps the most fascinating "extra," though, is an illustrated essay, "The Many Faces of Jekyll/Hyde," which places Stevenson's seminal fable in historical perspective. Stevenson's theme of the individual's struggle with constantly warring noble and base components struck an immediate, powerful chord with the public. Theatrical versions appeared within months of the novella's 1886 publication.
We also get a glimpse, through various reprinted newspaper articles and reviews, of the generally low regard in which movies were held by 1920 intellectuals. Many disapproved of a theatrical genius like Barrymore stooping to appear in the upstart medium. (Bottom line: Few of Barrymore's stage admirers are alive today to testify to his talent, but with video, the long-late thespian still can star in what amounts to a new film release and find a fresh audience.)
For the movie itself: You don't have to be a film scholar to enjoy this excellent and at times quite brutal telling of Stevenson's tale, which unfolds in a streamlined 73 minutes; the DVD, on the other hand, provides an entire evening's worth of cultural time travel.

Winstar goes to war
In other vintage-video news, Winstar Entertainment unlocks its vaults to present a six-pack of rare combat films, including three 1960s titles from the Philippines, all directed by Eddie Romero. The Raiders of Leyte Gulf, with Leopold Salcedo and Michael Parsons, and The Ravagers, starring John Saxon, both deal with the Filipino guerrilla movement. The Walls of Hell, featuring Jock Mahoney, dramatizes the final battle between American and Japanese forces in the walled city of Intramuros.
Elsewhere, Peter Finch and Chips Rafferty star in The Fighting Rats of Tobruk, a 1950s chronicle of a pivotal German defeat at the hands of Australian troops, while Submarine Attack, with Lois Maxwell, charts a damaged ship's perilous trek through U-boat-infested waters.
The 1966 American indie Mission to Death, meanwhile, gets up-close and personal with members of an endangered Yank patrol during World War II. The titles are tagged at $9.98 each VHS, $14.98 each DVD.

The A-list
In the A-list arena, Warner Home Video announces early December dates for a pair of recent theatrical titles: the all-star but underachieving American Outlaws, with Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, Ali Larter, Timothy Dalton and Kathy Bates, and the Freddie Prinze Jr. showcase Summer Catch, which mixes baseball and romance and co-stars Jessica Biel.
Paramount plans a similar time frame for Frank Oz's recommended heist caper The Score, top-lining Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando and Angela Bassett. All three will be priced for rental and also available on DVD.
New Line goes the sell-through route with its Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker mismatched-cops blockbuster Rush Hour 2 ($22.98 VHS, $26.98 DVD), while Warner does likewise with the animation-live-action combo comedy Osmosis Jones ($22.98 VHS, $24.98 DVD), with Bill Murray and the vocal talents of Chris Rock, William Shatner and Brandy.

Corrections department
Thanks to the astute reader who sent an e-mail noting correctly that Haxan and The Vanishing DVDs are being released by the Criterion Collection, distributed by Home Vision. Sorry about the error.

Phan mail
Dear Phantom: I'm looking for a movie titled Once in Paris, starring Wayne Rogers (formerly of "M*A*S*H" on TV) and Gayle Hunnicutt. I believe the story was by Frank Gilroy. Can you tell me if it is available for sale?
Ray Wheeler, via e-mail
"Once in Paris," from 1979, was available on home video, but is long out of circulation. Best bets for mail-order rental copies would be Video Library (800/669-7157) or Scarecrow Video (206/524-8554).

Send your video comments and queries to Phantom of the Movies, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 or e-mail us at: [email protected] And check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.


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