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DVDs to pick up this week


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Just a reminder of what's coming to DVD today:

 

The Bad Seed (1956) with Nancy Kelly (her oscar nominated role)

Bette Davis and Karl Malden in Dead Ringer (1964)

Tod Browning's Freaks (1932)

and a Double Feature of Village of the Damned (1960) and Childred of the Damned (1963)

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"Dead Ringer" is a great camp classic from the 60's. Bette Davis is great playing twin sisters - one worst than the next. Peter Lawford plays the hanger-on mooch of Bette's "rich" sister. And there's a great scene with Lawford where he's being attacked by a dog, and it's so fake that you'll crack up. And Karl Malden plays the boyfriend of Bette's "poor" sister, and he's so dramatic in his role, it's like he thought he was making the sequel to "On the Waterfront." The movies a lot of fun for anyone who enjoys those cheesy 60's flicks that so many of Hollywood's great actresses of yesterday were making at the time. It's along the same lines as "Baby Jane" and "Lady in a Cage" with Olivia De Havilland.

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I picked up FREAKS on Tuesday and as soon as I get some time to sit back and relax (Busy, BUSY week at work), I will finally watch it, plus all the cool extras, including 3 (!) alternate endings and commentary by David J. Skal, who wrote the excellent Browning bio: 'Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre.'

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I'm picking up FREAKS next week, after I finish up watching my Deanna Durbin "Sweetheart Pack" collection of six classics--and Vol. 3 of abbott and costello. I do hope this special edition of FREAKS will contain some of that long fabled deleted footage of the Strongman being tortured before the weirdoes finally terminate him; and also a rather grahphic scene where you're shown how Cleopatra is turned into that horrific whatisit at the end. Give us all the juicy details keithfromkc and movie joe and mongo!

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PatyPancake,

 

Although I won't have time to watch the FREAKS dvd until late this weekend, I did throw it in last night just to see the 'alternate' endings, and not to ruin it for anyone's who planning to purchase the disc, the alternate endings are completely disappointing. I won't give them away here, but you'll see what I mean once you check them out. I wanted the film itself on disc, so any extras are always a bonus, but the tease of alternate endings here is a little misleading.

 

The scenes you described concerning the strongman and Cleopatra are 'described' during the alternate ending segment, by the aforementioned Browning expert, David J. Skal. So, despite the disappointment, I have always enjoyed the actual film itself and look forward to watching it with Skal's commentary. The disc also includes a documentary on the legend of the film and includes profiles of all the actors and characters involved.

 

So, I hope you enjoy the disc, Paty! As you know, it is one of the most unusual projects ever released by a major studio (MGM) and the final 10 minutes or so is some of the creepiest cinema ever filmed! For those who have yet to see FREAKS, you might at least want to give it a try as a rental. Schlockbuster probably has a copy or two of it on hand and the online providers (Netflix, Greencine, etc.) will surely have it in stock. FREAKS is a truly unusual celluloid anomaly well-worth your time.

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I haven't bought "Freaks" myself, but I'm definitely gonna rent it from Netflix just to hear the commentary and see the extras. I remember the first time I saw it on TCM - probably about a year ago - it bugged me out - especially the ending - it's not even so "horrific" in a brutal, violent sort of way - it's just shocking and grotesque. Tod Browning certainly was a master at horror. I wonder what it would be like to see this movie in a theater, and hear the audiences reaction when we see "Cleopatra" at the end - it shocked the hell out of me! It was like a Hitchcock ending - like "Psycho" when we finally see "Mrs. Crane" - I love endings that send chills up your spine like in these two movies!

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