Aug 3, 2010

New Spy DVDs Out This Week: Ghosts And Just Men

The big domestic release this week comes from Summit Entertainment, who offer Roman Polanski's superb Pierce Brosnan thriller The Ghost Writer in both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo formats.  Thankfully, both versions include the same special features: "The Cast of The Ghost Writer" (cast interviews), "The Ghost Writer: Fiction or Reality?" (an interview with Robert Harris, screenwriter and author of the novel the film is adapted from) and "An Interview With Roman Polanski" (self-explanatory–and presumably conducted in Switzerland!).  Retail is $40.99 for the Blu-ray and $26.99 for the DVD, but of course if you know where to shop you won't have to pay anything like that.  Amazon's currently got them for $26.99 and $16.99 respectively. (Just follow the links above.)  Read my full review of The Ghost Writer here.

Meanwhile, in the UK we have yet another ITC spy release from Network.  (Another week, another awesome Network release!)  This time it's one of the studio's earliest efforts at a contemporary adventure series, The 4 Just Men: The Complete Series.  Jack Hawkins, Richard Conte, Vittorio de Sica (yes, that Vittorio de Sica) and Dan Dailey play four WWII veterans in disparate professions and geographic locations who make a pact to fight injustice.  Each half-hour episode (after the pilot) focuses on just one of the just men at a time (though another generally pops up in a cameo to maintain continuity), giving the show an interesting, if uneven, feel.  Their professions include the likes of lawyer, crusading reporter and even member of Parliament, but their actual business (as usual for ITC) generally entails exposing traitors and busting up spy rings.  Each just man has his own supporting cast, and for Dan Dailey that means a very young Honor Blackman playing his French secretary.  Her character is certainly not as liberated as Cathy Gale, but she does get a surprising amount to do and isn't just the typical Fifties secreteary.  The plots are predictable and the action is fairly staid as ITC finds its feet for this sort of thing, but the half-hour run time goes by quickly and ITC fans will definitely want to take a look.  The 4 Just Men, a PAL Region 2 five-disc set, is currently available only as a Network Exclusive from the company's website for £39.99. Watch this space for a full review coming soon!

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