"THE GRADUATE: 40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION"
In this respect, I found the story somewhat pointless. I can get into the fantasy of being shown the sexual ropes by an older seductress, but I never saw where the aimlessness and disconnection of the characters come from. No having grown up in the 60s, I came to age outside of the encroaching hippie culture that whined about “finding themselves.” Instead, I’m looking at this film as an adult, and I couldn’t get past the fact what a tool Benjamin Braddock was.
From a filmmaking standpoint, I respect this movie. The filmmaking techniques, while tired today, were innovative and fresh. It’s an impeccably shot film, and the acting is top notch. Fans of the film will want to snatch up this 40th anniversary set. It includes a short-list CD that includes Simon & Garfunkle’s memorable songs (which sound great but make no sense in the context of the film, actually).
The DVD comes with two audio commentaries featuring Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh. There’s also three retrospectives culled from the 25th anniversary release. The features are rounded out with the film’s trailers.
"THE HUSTLER: COLLECTOR’S EDITION"
“The Hustler” tells the story of Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), a pool shark who makes his dough hustling people around the country. His biggest problem, however, is that he never knows when to quit. He goes after the biggest pool star around, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) and loses his shirt. After hitting rock bottom, he struggles for redemption, with women and with money. After he takes heavy casualties on all sides, he manages to find a way to dig up his dignity.
I can see why this film make Newman a star. He is as compelling to watch in old black-and-white as any name actor is today. Newman gives a powerful acting performance, and he bolstered by co-stars Gleason and George C. Scott. His relationship with the character of Sarah (Piper Laurie) wallows around a bit too much in the muck, and I found this far less compelling that his struggle to win – and keep his earnings – in the pool hall.
For historical significance, it’s definitely worth it to check out “The Hustler,” even if it is just a rental. The film shows timeless struggle and is a classic in cinema. The new DVD comes with two discs, featuring new featurettes about the film and its creation. There’s also resurrected features, including an audio commentary, trick shot analysis and other featurettes.
"THE VERDICT: COLLECTOR’S EDITION"
The story follows a sleazy lawyer named Frank Galvin (Newman), who has been handed a slam-dunk malpractice case that should get a fast buck in the settlement. But after Galvin realizes the devastating effect the case had on the family, he plans to go trial. Of course, as a booze-loving sleaze, he has trouble keeping himself focused on justice.
Not an action flick by any means, “The Verdict” is a slow burn from frame one to the end. It’s a spotlight on Newman as an older fellow, and he carries the film well. Unlike most courtroom dramas, “The Verdict” portrays the dark underbelly of the legal system. We see that it’s not always about right or wrong, but about the money and the people making the decisions.
Like “The Hustler,” “The Verdict” is a story of redemption. In this case, Galvin must redeem himself for the family of the victim. He’s still laden with problems, but this dreadful case makes him a better man for it.
This collector’s edition DVD comes with three new featurettes analyzing Newman’s acting, Lumet’s directing and how “The Verdict” went from a routine release to a milestone film. Other resurrected features include an audio commentary, two featurettes, photo gallery and trailers.