Feb 19, 2013

New Spy DVDs Out This Week

I never expected to see Innocent Bystanders on DVD, let alone on Blu-ray. But today, thanks to Olive Films, the 1972 spy film starring Stanley Baker (The Man Who Finally Died), Donald Pleasence (You Only Live Twice), and Sue Lloyd (The Baron), is available on both DVD and Blu-ray! And that's just awesome. Innocent Bystanders was directed by The Italian Job's Peter Collinson and based on a novel by Callan creator James Mitchell. (Mitchell wrote several books about secret agent John Craig, played by Baker in the film.) Bond veterans Vladek Sheybal and Cec Linder also appear. This violent tale of betrayal and espionage has long been one of the most sought-after titles among spy fans of this era, who can now finally add it to their collections. Both formats are presented in 1.77:1 widescreen. Now if only someone would give us a Region 1 release of the Callan movie!

Ben Affleck's Oscar-nominated historical spy film Argo is out this week from Warner Bros. (just in time for the Academy Awards) on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD. Argo is a terrific period spy movie that plays out like a real-life episode of Mission: Impossible--right down to the awful late Seventies haircuts. (Read my review of the movie here.) The Blu-ray/DVD combo edition includes an audio commentary with director/star Affleck and writer Chris Terrio, a feature-length picture-in-picture commentary track called "Eyewitness Account" including testimonies with everyone involved in the real-life events who's still around, and the featurettes "Absolute Authenticity" and "The CIA & Hollywood Connection." Finally, there's also a 47-minute TV documentary from 2005 called "Escape From Iran: The Hollywood Option." The DVD apparently includes a different featurette called "Escape From Tehran: We Were There." I would imagine that might be edited out of the picture-in-picture feature, but I'm not sure. There's also an exclusive version of the combo pack available at Target stores with the additional half-hour featurette "From the Argo Files," so that's the one completists will want.

Finally, there's a notable non-spy title out from Olive this week as well. Diana Rigg fans keen on tracking down all of her rare (and surprisingly few) appearances from the era of The Avengers and On Her Majesty's Secret Service will no doubt be interested in the 1970 version of Julius Caesar out today on DVD and Blu-ray, in which Rigg plays Portia. Jason Robards and Charlton Heston star, while a host of spy stars round out the cast including Christopher Lee (The Man With the Golden Gun), Richard Johnson (Deadlier Than the Male), Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and Richard Chamberlain (The Bourne Identity).


Anonymous said...

Very cool music cue when Stanley Baker does a shoulder roll and shoots a target...I remember that from way back on TV! Thanks for your blog.
Sir James Bond

Bob said...

Importcds.com currently has Innocent Bystanders bluray for $14.43