The Cinema Pride Collection features ten, count ’em ten, full length LGBT films, which chronicles the way that flicks for “our kind” have evolved over the past 40 years. It also marks the first time that a major movie studio, Twentieth Century Fox in this case, has ever released more gay titles than you can shake a stick at in one huge package.
Sit back and watch treasured favorites, like La Cage Aux Folles, My Beautiful Laundrette, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Extra Frills Edition, The Birdcage, Bent, The Object of My Affection, Boys Don’t Cry, Kissing Jessica Stein and Imagine Me & You.
There’s even one controversial-for-its-time release with The Children’s Hour, a movie that starred Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine as two women accused of having a “questionable relationship” at the school that they run together. Pretty heady stuff for 1961, with this respectable tackling of a silver screen taboo, which had previously presented many gay and lesbian characters as either villains or the foppish/fey comic relief, yet, their sexuality was never addressed.
Fast forward to 1999 and you have Hilary Swank picking up an Oscar for her portrayal of Teena Brandon, a transgender teen who lived life with a male identity, but was born into a female body. Many of the discs include the films’ original trailers, TV spots, and an assortment of bonus features. Available June 8. Of note…you can only purchase this Pride bonanza at Amazon.com
A Star is Born, starring the incomparable Judy Garland circa 1954, fell in-between the 1937 version with Janet Gaynor and the 1976 thrice remake with Babs Streisand. The film snagged The Wizard of Oz actress her first Academy Award nomination (although she was given a Juvenile Award in 1940) as Best Actress for her role as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester. Garland’s portrayal as the celebrity-on-the-rise and long-suffering wife of declining leading man Norman Maine (James Mason) was fueled by her much-reported dependency to drugs and alcohol, which actually adds an extra resonance to the performance.
The original George Cukor-directed vehicle clocked in at a whopping 196 minutes for preview audiences and then trimmed to 182 minutes upon its release. The DVD features ten additional and alternate takes of scenes, plus the audio only versions of several musical numbers cut to trim down the runtime. Available June 22.
The camp champ Showgirls is getting a Blu-Ray makeover with the 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition. The 1995 film, long-considered to be one of the all-time worst big budget spectacles to fall flat off its stripper pole, stars Elizabeth Berkley as new-girl-in-Vegas Nomi Malone, and is directed by Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct).
Somewhere along the way, this movie received a second life as a bonafide cult classic for the new millennium, as it began cropping up at the midnight movie circuit in recent years. And, Thank God it did! Otherwise, how would gay and lesbian audiences not be able to take their eyes off the eerily parallel storyline to the 1950 Bette Davis classic All About Eve?
Albeit, it has a decidedly different slant, as its set against the competitive world of being a titular showgirl, and not about an actress on her way down. Oh, but someone goes down…a flight of stairs that is! Better watch your step there, Gina Gershon! I’d say that was a spoiler alert, but show of hands…who hasn’t seen this movie? Before her unfortunate accident, Gershon’s Cristal Connors does get to tell the aforementioned former “Saved by the Bell” starlet that “You have great t*ts. They’re really beautiful.” Pearls of wisdom to live by, really. The film also stars “Desperate Housewives” hubby Kyle MacLachlan with some severe ’90s hair going on. Go ahead and snack on some “Doggy Chow” and watch one of moviedom’s guiltiest pleasures. Available June 15.
Shutter Island marks the fourth time that actor Leonardo DiCaprio has joined forces with Martin Scorsese, following his turns in the famed director’s artistic visions in Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed. For their latest cinematic re-teaming, DiCaprio portrays Teddy Daniels, a WWII-war- vet-turned-U.S. Marshall, who is the new partner of Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo). The movie, set in 1954, follows the duo’s first assignment together to uncover the happenings at the Massachusetts isle, which harbors a hospital for the criminally insane, as well as the mysterious disappearance of one of its patients. Available June 8.
TV On DVD
Most people are apt to remember the theme song to “The Greatest American Hero,” which was subtitled ‘Believe It or Not,’ and was sung by Joey Scarbury over the opening credits for this 1981 Stephen J. Cannell production, than the fuzzy memories of the series itself.
Well then, you’re in luck, because all three seasons of the nearly thirty-year-old superhero show are being released as “The Complete Season,” which means that fans can enjoy all of the misadventures of school teacher Ralph Hinkley (played by William Katt, whose character’s last name was changed to Hanley and then Mister. H., following the assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley). Katt’s character is left a red suit with magical powers by aliens; unfortunately, he loses the instruction manual for it, and joins forces with an FBI agent (Robert Culp) to save the world through the process of trial-and-error. “The Greatest American Hero” also co-starred a pre-“Hotel”/Mrs. John Tesh Connie Sellecca as his girlfriend Pam Davidson. Available now.