By Steven Suskin
18 Nov 2012
Now, finally, Warner has provided us with both the official version and the original filmed ending, in which Audrey II voraciously devours the city. Director Frank Oz tells us that test audiences rebelled against the original ending; they wanted Seymour and Audrey alive, so the studio insisted on scrapping the footage. Now we can watch it and decide for ourselves. We get the theatrical version of the film; the Director's Cut with the original ending; Oz's commentary on both versions; outtakes; deleted scenes; and more. Plus Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, and Audrey II.
Holiday time inevitably brings forth holiday box sets of various sorts; collections focusing on actors, directors, and sometimes studios. Universal, which has of late been reissuing many of their classics as spiffed up DVDs and Blu-rays under the title "100th Anniversary Collector's Series," has now collected a couple dozen of them — "25 unforgettable films remastered in high-definition"--and packaged them as Universal: 100th Anniversary Collection. Said collection is something of a grab-bag, mixing classics, blockbusters and pure entertainment. Any grab-bag that includes titles like "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Sting," "Jaws," "Jurassic Park" and "The Birds" sounds mighty fine to me. Purchase of sets like this depends, to some extent, on just how many of the films you might already have; in this case, many of the major titles have only recently been issued on Blu-ray.
And there's more. Eight featurettes about various eras in the history of Universal; three vintage shorts from the 1930s; 14 vintage Universal cartoons; a music CD containing musical selections from Universal films (including Bernard Herrmann's "Psycho"); and a 75-page book offering a breezy and colorful chronicle of the aforesaid 100 years.
Another holiday gift box, for cheerier (?) viewing of a very different type, is Tarantino XX: Celebrating 20 Years of Filmmaking [Lionsgate]. Quentin Tarantino, that is. One of the most distinctive filmmakers of the last two decades, Tarantino made an astounding debut in 1992 with "Reservoir Dogs." He placed himself in a category all his own in 1994 with "Pulp Fiction," propelled by a set of remarkable performances by John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis. Also included in the box are the 1993 "True Romance," starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette (which was written but not directed by Tarantino); the 1997 "Jackie Brown," with Jackson, Pam Grier, Robert DeNiro and Michael Keaton; "Kill Bill Vol. 1" (in 2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 2" (in 2004), with Thurman, David Carradine, and Daryl Hannah; the 2007 "Death Proof," with Kurt Russell; and finally the 2009 "Inglourious Basterds," with Brad Pitt. The Blu-ray set contains eight films on ten discs, with 15 hours of special features including over five hours of never-before-seen interview footage.
Visit PlaybillStore.com to check out theatre-related DVDs for sale.
(Steven Suskin is author of "Show Tunes," "The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations," "Second Act Trouble," the "Broadway Yearbook" series and the "Opening Night on Broadway" books. He also pens Playbill.com's Book Shelf and On the Record columns. He can be reached at Ssuskin@aol.com.)