|Warner Home Video Releases Four Jazz Favorites on DVD - Blu-ray a No-Show|
|Home Theater News DVD Hardware-Software News|
|Written by AVRev.com|
|Wednesday, 02 July 2008|
Bird, directed and produced by Academy Award®--winning director Clint Eastwood and starring Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker, earned Clint Eastwood a Golden Globe® for Best Director and took home the Oscar® for Best Sound in 1988. The Bird DVD will include a 6-track bonus CD. Round Midnight stars another Academy-Award winning director, Martin Scorsese, and jazz legend Dexter Gordon who captured an Academy Award nomination as an African American expatriate musician in 1959 Paris. The superb musical score won Herbie Hancock an Oscar®.
Also included are two new-to-DVD titles -- Pete Kelly’s Blues starring Peggy Lee in her Oscar-nominated (Best Supporting Actress) portrayal of an inebriated songbird. Pete Kelly’s Blues has been digitally remastered for 16x9 anamorphic presentation in its 2.55:1 original aspect ratio, and has a new 5.1 Dolby digital soundtrack derived from the original 4-track theatrical mix. Rounding out this group is Blues in the Night, starring actor-turned-directors Richard Whorf (TV’s “Beverly Hillbillies,” “Gunsmoke”) and Elia Kazan (Academy Award® Best Director winner for On the Waterfront and Gentleman’s Agreement). Included are special features, the Oscar®-Nominated Musical Short Jammin’ the Blues and classic cartoons Kitty Kornered, My Favorite Duck and Swooner Crooner.
About the Films
The year: 1946. The event: Oakland’s “Jazz at the Philharmonic.” The music streaked into the unknown, daring listeners to grab hold and fly there, too. On stage was the creator of those new sounds: Charles “Yardbird” Parker. In the crowd was the 16-year-old who would someday bring Parker’s extraordinary story to the screen: Clint Eastwood. “Americans don’t have any original art except Western movies and jazz,” observes Eastwood. Movie fans, of course, know that few heroes sit as tall as Eastwood. Now the legendary American icon, whose Dirty Harry films have been praised for their jazz scores, ventures deeper into that other original American art.
Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)
Jack Webb stars as a Kansas City jazz coronet player, and when he takes on a vicious gang lord (Edmond O’Brien), the only thing faster than his famed deadpan delivery is the rapid-fire action. And the only thing more dynamic than the film’s Dixieland- and blues-infused musical score is its stellar cast. Janet Leigh is a gin-swilling heiress who moves
in on Kelly’s heart; Lee Marvin and Martin Milner are Pete’s hot-headed sidemen who keep the tempo torrid; Andy Devine goes dramatic as an ice-cold cop; Ella Fitzgerald brings her inimitable jazz alchemy to Hard Hearted Hannah and Pete Kelly’s Blues. And Peggy Lee proves as masterful acting the blues as singing them, earning a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award® nomination for her portrayal of a boozy songbird.
• Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
• Oscar®-nominated Shorts: Gadgets Galore and 24 Hour Alert
• Classic cartoon: The Hole Idea
• Theatrical trailer
Blues in the Night (1941)
Another night, another club. Jigger Pine’s quintet is sockin’ ‘em solid before hopping a boxcar to the next gig. There’s not much money in this life; but plenty of tumult involving a criminal (Lloyd Nolan), a songbird (Priscilla Lane), a siren (Betty Field) and those Blues in the Night. The famed title tune and other songs are by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. Anatole Litvak (The Snake Pit) directs this work packed with future filmmakers. In addition to Whorf and Kazan (see above), other contributors included Robert Rossen (The Hustler) and Don Siegel (Dirty Harry), who provides the film’s montages.
• Oscar®-nominated musical short: Jammin’ the Blues
• Classic cartoons: Kitty Kornered, My Favorite Duck and Swooner Crooner
• Theatrical trailer
Round Midnight (1986)
Bertrand Tavernier’s loving ode to jazz and its creators, set in 1950s’ Paris, stars real-life jazz legend Dexter Gordon as Dale Turner, an African American tenor saxophone player who is befriended by a Frenchman obsessed with his music. Gordon captured an Academy Award® nomination as the expatriate musician battling alcoholism. A supporting cast of real jazz musicians playing live music throughout the film gives Round Midnight an authentic feel of the Jazz scene of that time. Herbie Hancock’s superb music score won an Oscar®.