This week on DVD

Baseball, bandleaders, submarines, a Jew in the Hitler Youth, the Osbournes' first season, Brad Pitt in Tibet. Plus: If you watch "The Ring" on DVD, does it still kill you?

Published March 4, 2003 9:00PM (EST)

"Bang the Drum Slowly" (1974). Directed by John D. Hancock. Starring Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty, Vincent Gardenia. Not a bad baseball flick (Paramount).

"The Benny Goodman Story" (1955). Written and directed by Valentine Davies. Starring Steve Allen, Donna Reed, Sammy Davis Jr. (Universal).

"Born Free" (1966). Directed by James Hill and Tom McGowan. Starring Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna, Elsa the lioness. Well, the score was great. And the lions (Columbia TriStar).

"C'est la Vie" ("La Baule-les-Pins," 1990). Directed by Diane Kurys. Starring Nathalie Baye, Zabou, Julie Bataille, Candice Lefranc. French drama, rarely seen here (MGM World Films Collection).

Classic Musicals Collection three-disc set: "An American in Paris," "Gigi," "My Fair Lady" (Warner).

"The Dark Crystal" (1982). Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Imaginative Tolkien-style fantasy, with Henson puppets (Columbia TriStar).

"Das Boot: The Director's Cut" (1982/1997) Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Winnemann. Classic WWII submarine drama (Columbia TriStar).

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951). Directed by Robert Wise. Starring Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray. Sci-fi classic, restored and digitally mastered (Fox Studio Classics).

"A Doll's House" (1973). Directed by Patrick Garland. Starring Claire Bloom, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Richardson. Fine staging of Ibsen classic (MGM Literary Classics Collection).

Epic Dramas Collection three-disc set: "Ben-Hur," "Casablanca," "Gone With the Wind" (Warner).

"Equus" (1977). Directed by Sidney Lumet. Starring Peter Firth, Richard Burton, Joan Plowright. Chilling screen adaptation of Peter Shaffer play. One of Burton's finest hours (MGM Literary Classics Collection).

"Europa Europa" ("Hitlerjunge Salomon," 1990). Directed by Agnieszka Holland. Starring Marco Hofschneider, Salomon Perel, René Hofschneider. Jewish boy conceals identity, joins Hitler Youth. Devastating (MGM World Films Collection).

"Fear Strikes Out" (1957). Directed by Robert Mulligan. Starring Anthony Perkins, Karl Malden. Biopic of baseball player Jimmy Piersall, who battled mental illness. Interesting for its time (Paramount).

"The Glenn Miller Story" (1954). Directed by Anthony Mann. Starring Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson, Harry Morgan. Totally watchable (Universal).

"Half Past Dead" (2002). Directed by Don Michael Paul. Starring Steven Seagal, Morris Chestnut, Ja Rule. Extras: commentary by director Don Michael Paul, "The Making of Half Past Dead," deleted scenes. Watch a scene with Morris Chestnut. Hear Chestnut and Nia Peeples commentary (Columbia TriStar).

"It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown" (1974). Animated. Extras: "It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown," "Meet the Animals" game (Paramount).

"Labyrinth" (1986). Directed by Jim Henson. Starring David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly. Overlooked at the time, but pretty weird and interesting (Columbia TriStar).

"Legends of the Fall" (1994). Directed by Edward Zwick. Starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Henry Thomas. Hit adapted from Jim Harrison fiction (Columbia TriStar).

"Living Free" (1972). Starring Susan Hampshire, Nigel Davenport, Elsa the lioness (Columbia TriStar).

"1984" (1984). Directed by Michael Radford. Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton. Interesting to see how this effective but bleak adaptation holds up (MGM Literary Classics Collection).

"Of Mice and Men: Special Edition" (1992). Directed by Gary Sinise. Starring John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Sherilyn Fenn. Extras: commentary with Sinise, featurette with Sinise and screenwriter Horton Foote, screen tests, deleted scenes (MGM Literary Classics Collection).

"The Osbournes: The First Season." Two-disc set with all 10 episodes. Extras: four never-before-seen bonus episodes; bonus footage from all 10 episodes; "Too Oz for TV" blooper reel; "Osbournes" Top Moments; "Conversations With the Osbournes"; commentary track on all episodes; "Ozzy Translator": decode the Prince of Darkness; Set-Top extras: "Name That Dookie," edit a scene, and the Osbournes' Bingo game; DVD-ROM extras (Buena Vista).

"Otello" (1986). Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Starring Placido Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli. Fine version of Verdi opera (MGM World Films Collection).

"Pauline at the Beach" (1983). Directed by Eric Rohmer. Starring Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombasle, Pascal Greggory. One of Rohmer's finest French delights (MGM World Films Collection).

"Quitting" (2002) Directed by Zhang Yang. Well-reviewed docudrama about real-life Chinese actor's attempt to get off drugs (Columbia TriStar).

"The Ring" (2002). Directed by Gore Verbinski. Starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox, David Dorfman, Daveigh Chase. Extras: all-new 15-minute experimental short film created by director Gore Verbinski exclusively for the video release. It reveals more secrets that bring viewers closer to understanding the mystery of "The Ring." The DVD also features specially designed animated menus that utilize elements from the deadly tape (DreamWorks).

"Ringu" (1998). Directed by Hideo Nakata. Starring Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatami, Hiroyuki Sanada. Coinciding with the release of "The Ring," DreamWorks debuts the record-breaking Japanese cult hit that started it all. New digital film-to-video transfer; new 5.1 Japanese digital surround mix (DreamWorks).

"Salaam Bombay!: Special Edition" (1988). Directed by Mira Nair. Heartbreaking tale of Bombay street kids that made Nair's reputation. Extras: commentaries by Nair and cinematographer Sandi Sissel, six featurettes (MGM World Films Collection).

"Seven Years in Tibet" (1997). Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Starring Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, B.D. Wong. Great scenery. The spiritual enlightenment stuff is up to you (Columbia Tristar).

"SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost at Sea." Animated. Nine episodes. Extras: commentary and storyboards for episode "The Sponge Who Could Fly," SpongeBob's "Life Strategies" (Paramount).

"Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: Special Collector's Edition" (1986). Directed by Leonard Nimoy. Two-disc set. Extras, Disc 1: commentary by co-writer and director Nimoy and William Shatner, text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (coauthors of the "Star Trek Encyclopedia"). Disc 2: Featurettes on the "Star Trek Universe," the production and visual effects; tributes to Gene Roddenberry and artist Mark Lenard; interviews with Nimoy, Shatner and DeForest Kelley; storyboards; production gallery (Paramount).

"Sweet Charity" (1969). Directed by Bob Fosse. Starring Shirley MacLaine, Chita Rivera, Sammy Davis Jr., Ricardo Montalban, Stubby Kaye. Musical adaptation of Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria," sort of. Crazy and fabulous, maybe Fosse's best. Extras: alternate ending, "Sweet Charity: From the Stage to the Screen," "Edith Head's Costume Design: The Art of Exaggeration" (Universal).

"Talent for the Game" (1991). Directed by Robert M. Young. Starring Edward James Olmos, Lorraine Bracco, Jeff Corbett. Baseball oddity (Paramount).

"The Weight of Water" (2002). Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Sean Penn, Catherine McCormack, Elizabeth Hurley. Intriguing period drama. What connects a lurid ax murder in 1873 to the one that just happened? (Lions Gate).

"Women in Love" (1969) Directed by Ken Russell. Starring Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed, Alan Bates, Jennie Linden. Russell's highly stylized take on D.H. Lawrence novel. Probably seems quaint today. Extras: commentary with Russell, commentary with writer-producer Larry Kramer, photo gallery (MGM Literary Classics Collection).

By Salon Staff

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