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Macho movies pumped up for DVD release



Published: Thu, June 2, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Studios are counting on these macho movies to be big sellers for Father's Day.

By JOHN ANDERSON

SPECIAL TO NEWSDAY

They're the kind of hard-bitten, action-packed movies that separate the men from the boys, and are guaranteed not to separate the men from the couch.

The macho, manly men of movies past are being dusted off, dressed up and brought out in DVD box sets. Lots of them. Special editions of the films of Steve McQueen, James Dean, Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper will all hit the stores Tuesday. Sets devoted to Errol Flynn and John Wayne and a special two-disc reconstructed version of Sam Fuller's "The Big Red One" have just been released, and anniversary editions of "Jaws" and "Casino" are right around the corner (June 14).

The deluge is partly due to the huge profitability of studios' home entertainment divisions, and, more immediately, Father's Day and graduations.

Questionable content

Some are baffling -- "The Marlon Brando 4-Movie Collection" consists of "A Countess From Hong Kong," "The Appaloosa," "The Night of the Following Day" and "The Ugly American," four movies a lot of people would pay not to see. The John Wayne box is equally lackluster.

However, the Errol Flynn box is cream: "Captain Blood," "The Sea Hawk," "Dodge City," "They Died With Their Boots On" and "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex," as well as the full-length documentary "The Adventures of Errol Flynn."

Such bonus features make or break a box, especially sets that include previously issued DVDs. The "Casino" package, for instance, is loaded: In addition to the movie, there are two hours of behind-the-scenes material featuring Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone and co-writer Nicholas Pileggi.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of James Dean's death, which makes his box set a fait accompli.

McQueen is king

However, perhaps the most intriguing actor -- or at least the most intriguing comeback -- is McQueen. Virtually a household name in the '60s, his star has been eclipsed by the years, but his particular brand of masculinity and pure movie stardom seem ripe for rediscovery -- something made easy via three separate sets: "The Essential Steve McQueen" from Warners (Tuesday), MGM's "The Steve McQueen Collection," released May 17, and New Line's repackaging of McQueen's 1958 CBS-TV western "Wanted: Dead or Alive."




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