- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

One of our fave filmic tough guys returns to the small screen in the double-disc Scarface: Platinum Edition ($29.98), out this week via Universal Studios Home Entertainment. It’s our …

DVD pick of the week

Al Pacino turns in what may be his most electrifying performance (and that’s going some) as tightly wound Tony Montana, a Cuban “freedom flotilla” refugee who becomes an eager student of Yankee capitalism.

Director Brian De Palma and screenwriter Oliver Stone chart Tony’s violent rise to the top of the Miami cocaine trade with a blistering realism further spiced with bold operatic flourishes, all set to Giorgio Moroder’s pulsing synth-driven score.

Add John A. Alonzo’s vivid cinematography, exotic South Florida locales, sharp dialogue, top supporting work — particularly by Steven Bauer as Tony’s best bud, Michelle Pfeiffer as his understandably resentful trophy wife, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as his “pure” younger sister — and you have a reel winner.

Universal’s digitally remastered, sonically enhanced edition includes several holdovers, ranging from bonus cast and crew interviews and featurettes, from the film’s 2003 “20th Anniversary” DVD release, along with some fresh treats for devoted “Scarface” fans, among them the compelling documentary “The World of Tony Montana” and 20 minutes of deleted scenes.

The most creative new touch, though, has to be the “Scarface Scorecard,” an optional feature that tallies the number of bullets fired and the amount of times Tony’s preferred expletive is uttered onscreen.

All things considered, Universal’s revamped edition offers sufficient incentives for a repeat viewing of a film, widely dismissed in its day, that’s gone on to attain true classic status.

Collectors’ corner

And speaking of movie tough guys, Warner Home Video offers a double Bogie with Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (four-disc, $59.98 each).

Volume 1 assembles 1941’s Casablanca and 1948’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (both in double-disc editions), along with the gangster film High Sierra (1941) and the trucker adventure They Drive by Night (1940).

Volume 2 kicks off with a three-disc special edition of The Maltese Falcon (1941), along with the Dashiell Hammett tale’s previous Bogie-less incarnations, The Maltese Falcon of 1931 and Satan Met a Lady (1934), followed by the World War II films Action in the North Atlantic (1943), Across the Pacific (1942), All Through the Night (1942) and Passage to Marseilles (1944). Commentaries, featurettes, vintage shorts, blooper reels and more bonus material complement the sets.

Crime likewise marches on in extras-enriched special editions of three more recent capers: “Scarface” director Brian De Palma’s 1984 Hitchcockian mystery Body Double (Sony Pictures, $19.94), Guy Ritchie’s hard-hitting 1998 British import Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: Director’s Cut (Universal, $19.98) and Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 Point Break: Pure Adrenaline Edition (20th Century Fox, $19.98).

Elsewhere, horror holds sway in Paramount’s four-disc Stephen King Collection ($44.99), packaging the chillers The Dead Zone, Graveyard Shift, Pet Sematary and Silver Bullet.

Tele-video

Among the new TV-on-DVD sets due this week are the rare 1960s series The New Loretta Young Show: Christine’s Children: The Complete TV Series (VCI Entertainment, three-disc, $39.99), the Australian drama McLeod’s Daughters: The Complete First Season (Koch Vision, six-disc, $59.98), Patricia Arquette as a psychic in the crime show Medium: The Complete Second Season (Paramount, six-disc, $54.99), the supernatural Forever Knight Trilogy Part 3 (Sony Pictures, five-disc, $59.95), the sci-fi series Stargate SG-1: Season 9 (MGM Home Entertainment, five-disc, $49.98) and the animated Return to Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox, two-disc, $19.98).

In the cathode comedy arena, Anchor Bay Entertainment issues the 1980s cult series The Greatest American Hero in a mega 13-disc gift set ($99.98), while Paramount presents the animated South Park: Hits Vol. 1: Matt & Trey’s Top Ten (two-disc, $26.98) and Sony Pictures offers The Jeffersons: The Complete Fourth Season (three-disc, $24.95).

The ‘A’ list

20th Century Fox tops the list of recent theatrical releases debuting on disc with a pair of high-profile titles. Aaron Eckhart and Katie Holmes star in the darkly comic Christopher Buckley adaptation Thank You for Smoking and Hugh Jackman and his superhero crew return in X-3: The Last Stand ($29.99 each), both augmented by copious bonus features.

Limited-release films include Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu in the French drama Changing Times (Koch Lorber, $29.98), along with the offbeat Norwegian thriller Next Door (TLA Releasing, $24.99).

Phan mail

Dear Phantom: One of my favorite films is The Wicker Man (1973). My DVD copy is 88 minutes long. Is there a DVD out with the 103-minute version?

George T. Bannister, via e-mail

Anchor Bay Entertainment recently reissued the 1973 original to tie in with the remake, but with the same 88-minute running time.

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

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