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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Short Takes, Vol. 2”

In this edition of Short Takes, Regina checks out new releases of old classics Gigi, Some Kind of Hero and How The West Was Won, as well as the more recent thriller 88 Minutes.

Gigi (Warner Bros.). The Best Picture of 1958 receives a top-drawer restoration in this two-disc edition marking its 50th anniversary. The musical’s regarded today mostly as a second-tier version of My Fair Lady, which came before it. The two share the same composers (Lerner & Loewe) and production designer (Cecil Beaton). Granted, there’s no equivalent here to Professor Henry Higgins, but Leslie Caron is charming, and who can resist the Paris of 1900 or Maurice Chevalier singing “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”? Also newly restored and available this month: a two-disc An American in Paris, starring Caron and Gene Kelly. Some Kind of Hero (Paramount/Legend). 1981 movie has Richard Pryor as a Vietnam-era POW trying to return to the life he remembered before the war. Ray Sharkey’s on hand as a fellow prisoner, and Margot Kidder’s the hooker Pryor falls for. A bit dated, but still plays fairly well. 88 Minutes (Tri-Star). Al Pacino’s a forensic psychologist in this OK thriller set in Seattle. Not as bad as the critics claimed on its theatrical release earlier this year. One thing they did get right, though: with his deep tan and poufy hair, Al looks like he just returned from a vacation in Barbados. How The West Was Won (Warner Bros.) Jimmy Stewart, Carroll Baker, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, and many more stars headline this saga of a family in the years leading up to the Civil War. One of the few feature-length movies filmed in the then-daring and ultimately expensive and ungainly Cinerama process. It was shot using three cameras and theaters needed three projectors to show it. Impressive modern technology now eliminates the original three-panel “join lines” and the movie now looks great. Memorable theme by Alfred Newman. Three-disc edition includes the film, special features, and the documentary Cinerama Adventure. All are worthwhile.