'Goodbye Girl' on Blu-ray, 'Cats Don't Dance' on DVD
Posted November 20, 2016
Neil Simon’s “The Goodbye Girl” gets a Blu-ray upgrade this week and “Cats Don’t Dance,” which has been out of print, is revived on DVD.
“The Goodbye Girl” (Warner Archive, 1977, PG, trailer). Much to their surprise, a New York dancer (Marsha Mason) and her young daughter (Quinn Cummings) are left in the lurch when Mom’s actor-boyfriend abandons them. If that’s not enough, he’s also sublet their apartment to another actor (Richard Dreyfuss). Forced to let him move in, it’s annoyance at first sight, but, of course, romance isn’t all that far off.
This very funny Neil Simon romantic comedy is one of his best films, filled with snappy one-liners that poke fun at show business and written with Mason in mind; she was his wife at the time. But Dreyfuss handily steals the show in a hysterical performance that earned him an Academy Award. Mason, Cummings and Simon were also nominated, and the film was up for best picture. (Nice Blu-ray upgrade, available at warnerarchive.com)
“Cats Don’t Dance” (Warner Archive, 1997, G, trailer). This charming and amusing animated feature is set against the backdrop of 1939 Hollywood, using anthropomorphic animals as a metaphor for the treatment of minority actors at the time. Song-and-dance cat Danny (voiced by Scott Bakula) tries to break the “species barrier” with help from a variety of animal friends (voiced by Kathy Najimy, Don Knotts, John Rhys-Davies and Jasmine Guy).
Catchy songs by Randy Newman, a couple sung by Natalie Cole, enhance this enjoyable picture for the entire family, and film buffs will get a kick out of caricatures of Laurel and Hardy, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Mae West, etc. (Manufacture-on-demand DVD-R available at warnerarchive.com)
“Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze” (Warner Archive, 1975, G, trailer). Ron Ely (who played Tarzan on TV) stars as the titular tough-guy adventurer, here trekking with his team to the Valley of the Vanished in South America to investigate his father’s death, only to find the evil Captain Seas is responsible. This hokey attempt at camp adapted from Kenneth Robeson’s novels was the final film for producer/co-writer George Pal (1960’s “The Time Machine”). (Blu-ray upgrade, available at warnerarchive.com)
“Taxi Driver: 40th Anniversary Edition” (Columbia, 1976; R for violence, language, sex, nudity; audio commentaries, new 40-minute documentary, featurettes, storyboards, interactive script, photo galleries, trailer). Martin Scorsese’s disturbing portrait of an unhinged Vietnam War veteran (Robert De Niro) on the mean streets of New York put the filmmaker on the map but remains controversial to this day. Co-stars include Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks and Peter Boyle.
“Dead Ringers: Collector’s Edition” (Scream/MGM, 1988; R for violence, sex, nudity, language, drugs; audio commentaries, featurettes, TV/radio spots, photo gallery, trailer). David Cronenberg (1986’s “The Fly”) co-wrote and directed Jeremy Irons in two roles as twin gynecologists, and he’s very good at delineating each. But the story is lurid, sordid and altogether unpleasant as the brothers share a patient (Genevieve Bujold) and then deteriorate into madness when she departs after their deception is revealed.
“Rabid” (Scream, 1977; R for violence, nudity, language; audio commentaries, featurettes, trailer, TV/radio spots, photo gallery). A Canadian doctor performs a radical medical procedure on a motorcycle accident victim (Marilyn Chambers), giving her an insatiable appetite for human blood, which turns her victims into zombies of a sort. This is an early David Cronenberg gore-filled horror.
“C.H.U.D.” (Arrow, 1984, R for violence and language, theatrical version, eight minutes-longer director’s cut, extended scene, audio commentaries, featurettes, photo gallery, trailers, booklet). The title stands for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers,” creatures from the black lagoon of Manhattan’s sewers that come out at night to dine on unsuspecting denizens. Actually, the monsters are transients infected by toxic waste dumped there by the government. It stars John Heard, Daniel Stern, John Goodman, Jay Thomas and Hallie Foote.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.