Magazine article USA TODAY

Sets Appeal: Boxed DVD Collections of Their Favorite Movie Series or TV Shows Make Ideal Gifts for Film Buffs. (Entertainment.)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Sets Appeal: Boxed DVD Collections of Their Favorite Movie Series or TV Shows Make Ideal Gifts for Film Buffs. (Entertainment.)

Article excerpt

ONE OF THE MANY advantages of DVDs is the ease they provide for film buffs to build up their collections of classic and/or well-loved movies, especially with the studios opening up their vaults to release their extensive libraries. If you're looking for holiday gifts for cinema aficionados, DVDs are ideal, and one way to go is handsome boxed sets of motion picture and cable TV series, more and more of which are cannily being bundled for mass sales. The following is a sampling of some of the offerings that are or will be in video stores in time for the holidays:

The Stanley Kubrick Collection (Warner Home Video, $199.95) consists of eight of the late director's most-renowned films: "2001: A Space Odyssey," "A Clockwork Orange" "Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," "The Shining," "Lolita," "Full Metal Jacket," "Barry Lyndon," and his last effort, "Eyes Wide Shut." Each is digitally reproduced from master prints and other elements, creating pristine copies, though only three contain "The Making of ..." and/or interview features: "Shining," "Eyes," and "Strangelove." (The rest make do with the original theatrical trailers.) The big bonus, though, is the accompanying 140-minute documentary by long-time Kubrick associate Jan Harlan, "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" which dissects the director and his work to an extent few, if any, auteurs have undergone so intimately. Besides the expected tributes and interviews with various stars, colleagues, and family--Woody Allen, Tom Cruise, Malcolm McDowell, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Sir Arthur Clarke (author of 2001)--there are a number of clips of Kubrick at work and with his family, just released by his wife. The eight motion pictures alone would be enough to warm collectors' hearts. Throw in the documentary and you have a package par excellence.

The Clint Eastwood Collection (Warner Home Video, $99.98) assembles a half-dozen of the actor/director's efforts, ranging from the Academy Award-winning "Unforgiven" and his signature "Dirty Harry" to "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "In the Line of Fire," "The Beguiled" and "Bronco Billy." The first four are must-haves for Eastwood fans; "Beguiled" is mostly of interest to see a baby-faced young Eastwood as a wounded Union soldier being fought over by the headmistress and students of a girls' school in the South; and "Billy" is a failed effort in which he portrays a Buffalo Bill-like impresario of a Wild West show, a picture that, surprisingly to his fans, is one of his personal favorites. The boxed set contains no special features besides the usual theatrical trailers and cast filmographies, but four of his best performances make the set well worthwhile.

The Complete Superman Collection (Warner Home Video, $79.95) is just that--"Superman: The Movie" and its three sequels: "Superman II," "Superman III," and "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace." Watching Christopher Reeve bring dignity to a comic book character who had mostly been treated cheesily in earlier movie serial and TV series efforts emphasizes the sadness of this once-vibrant actor confined to a wheelchair ever since a horseback accident turned him into a paraplegic. The movies never took themselves particularly seriously, and the supporting casts feature some of the most deliciously hammy performances this side of the "Batman" TV show, especially Marlon Brando as Jor-El, the Man of Steel's father, and Gene Hackman as Superman's archenemy, Lex Luthor. The boxed set includes an assortment of treats, including "Making Superman: Filming the Legend," "The Magic Behind the Cape," and "Taking Flight: The Development of Superman," the latter pair giving inside views on making him fly and other special effects. A group of screen tests is disappointing since it doesn't show any of the other actors who tried out for the opportunity to wear the blue suit and red cape, but viewers can see actresses as varied as Stockard Channing, Lesley Anne Warren, Ann Archer, and Susan Blakely losing out to Margot Kidder for the role of Lois Lane. …

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