March 25, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • Page 19 Classic films available in new box sets by Dennis Seuling Cable channel Turner Classic Movies is the movie fan’s dream. Not only does the station run classic and not-soclassic films uncut and commercial-free, it also features Robert Osborne’s insightful, informative introductions. In conjunction with TCM, Warner Home Video has just released “Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 3,” a collection of six pre-code programmers directed by William Wellman. These films contain material that would soon be verboten under the Production Code of 1934, which toned down considerably the ways in which filmmakers could address controversial, violent, or racy subject matter. “Other Men’s Women” (1930) is a love triangle that pushes the envelope of genteel taste. Solid, reliable railroad worker Jack (Regis Toomey) is married to Lily (Mary Astor), but ladies’ man Bill (Grant Withers) finds himself increasingly attracted to her. As passions intensify, domestic bliss crumbles. Look for up-and-coming Warner contract players James Cagney and Joan Blondell. “Midnight Mary” (1933) stars Loretta Young as a young woman on trial for murder in a crime melodrama based on an Anita Loos (“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”) story. Flashbacks show how a life of poverty and despair led to her involvement with gangsters. At rock bottom, she meets a young lawyer in a brothel who helps her remake her life. “Wild Boys of the Road” (1933) is an unromantic look at Depression life. At first, Tommy Gordon and pal Eddie are shown having a good time at a high school dance. Tommy’s mother has been out of work for months and then Eddie’s father loses his job. Not to be a burden on their parents, the two kids hop a freight train and look for work. One of the earliest social conscience films, “Wild Boys of the Road” helped draw attention to wandering youngsters whose lives have been interrupted by economic realities. Other films in the collection are “The Purchase Price” (Barbara Stanwyck), “Frisco Jenny” (Ruth Chatterton), and “Heroes for Sale” (Richard Barthelmess). Bonus extras include two documentaries on the career of Wellman, vintage era shorts and cartoons, theatrical trailers, and commentaries on three of the films. The primary attraction of “Happy Go-Lucky” (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) is Sally Hawkins, an infectiously appealing actress perfectly cast as Poppy, a justturned-30 London elementary school teacher who manages to be charming and quirky in every situation. Initially, it is tough to make her out and her incessant jokiness is irritating. As this episodically structured film progresses, she is shown interacting with friends and family, professionals and pupils, and displays more and more of the empathy and intelligence that make her a sympathetic, multi-faceted character. Poppy is shown with roommate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman), on a visit to her bossy pregnant sister (Caroline Martin) in suburbia, during a strange and potentially dangerous encounter with a homeless man, working with a troubled student at school, and coping with a volatile driving instructor, Scott (Eddie Marsan). The Poppy-Scott scenes provide the main story thread and much of the film’s comedy as Scott’s rigid teaching style clashes with Poppy’s relaxed approach. Director Mike Leigh accomplishes the trick of making a genuinely happy person interesting. Compassionate and capable of deep emotion, qualities her flip manner masks, Poppy is one of the most joyous, charming characters to grace the silver screen. Extras include a behind-the-scenes short, a featurette showing how car-in-motion scenes are filmed, and audio commentary. “Murnau” (Kino On Video) is a magnificent boxed set of six of director F. W. Murnau’s silent films, including one of the best horror films in cinema history, “Nosferatu” (1922), a thinly-disguised, unauthorized version of Bram Stoker’s vampire novel, “Dracula.” Stoker’s widow sued successfully and all prints of “Nosferatu” were ordered destroyed. Fortunately for film history, some copies escaped this order. Max Schreck portrays the gaunt, menacing Count Orlock so effectively that his portrayal remains indelible. His makeup becomes more frightening as the film progresses, just as the unwary visitor to Orlock’s Carpathian castle comes to realize his host is no mortal. There are several genuinely chilling moments in this recent restoration. The other Murnau films included are “The Last Laugh,” “Tartuffe” (both starring Emil Jannings), “The Haunted Castle,” “Faust,” and “The Finances of the Grand Duke,” four of which are color tinted. There are many extras, including making-of featurettes, image galleries, an information booklet, audio commentaries, and lost footage. “The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks Home Entertainment), new on Blu-ray, is a captivating story about (continued on Crossword page) FINE LEBANESE CUISINE (Lunch Hours, Mon - Fri, 11am - 3pm only) TABBOULE Authentic Cuisine from Spain ����������������� OPEN 7 DAYS • LUNCH • DINNER • COCKTAILS �� ����������������� ��������� LUNCH SPECIAL $ 95 Complete Lunch with Soup, Salad & Coffee (Sorry, No Substitutions) 8 (Lunch Hours, Mon - Fri, 11am - 3pm only) SOUP & SALAD $ 95 SHAWERMA BEEF SHAWERMA CHICKEN (Lunch Portion with Rice) (Lunch Portion with Rice) (Lunch Portion with Rice) (Lunch Portion) (Lunch Portion) (Lunch Portion with Rice) Bowl of Soup with Small Fattouche, Small Green Salad or Small Tabboule Ask us about catering your next luncheon or special occasion! 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