Incredible DVD’s-Tributes, Vintage TV

The number of DVD releases can be dizzying, but here’s a useful paradigm when navigating this spring’s releases: stick to Oscar nominees when renting (they’ll all be out this spring), go for the collections and collector’s editions when buying. The latter is much more exciting.

The biggest DVD this March-let’s just get it out of the way-will undoubtedly be the two-disc collector’s edition of The Incredibles (March 15). The DVD promises Jack-Jack Attack, a new and exclusive short film, the Pixar short Boundin’ and plenty of bloopers and outtakes. The set is sure to make an incredible- zing!-amount of money. This week, don’t miss the special-edition releases of two beloved Cary Grant–Katharine Hepburn classics, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story.

For the obsessive DVD-ophile, several must-haves pop up this spring, including some re-releases and others that didn’t get their proper due the first time around. First off is the unfairly maligned The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (May 10); the two-disc collector’s edition fits in nicely with other Wes Anderson titles- Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums-that surelylitterever-growing film libraries everywhere. A collector’s edition of Spaceballs (May 3) marks the triumphant return to DVD of perhaps Mel Brooks’ last funny movie-that is, until The Producers comes out (again) later this year. Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame sully the minds of innocent youth with the uncensored and unrated releasesof Team America: World Police (May 17) and Orgazmo (March 29), their little-seen homage to the porn industry. Team America will be available as a special collector’s edition-buy it to remind you of a time when there still was hope.

If this spring’s DVD releases had a theme, however, it would be “Old Hollywood Collections.” March leads with the Classic Musicals Collection: Broadway to Hollywood (March 15), which includes Vincente Minnelli’s The Band Wagon, Bells Are Ringing and Brigadoon, Francis Ford Coppola’s early effort Finian’s Rainbow and Irving Berlin’s Easter Parade. Fred Astaire pulls a hat trick in that set. Then there’s the Duke: The John Wayne Legendary Heroes Collection includes Blood Alley, McQ, The Sea Chase, Tall in the Saddle and The Train Robbers.

Fulfill your quota of subversiveness with the Controversial Classics Collection (May 10), which includes Advise and Consent, The Americanization of Emily (fresh off a James Wolcott feature in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue), Bad Day at Black Rock, Blackboard Jungle, A Face in the Crowd, Fury and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang.

Steve McQueen, the Cold War generation’s John Wayne, gets fêted with his own collection too (May 17). The gift set doesn’t feature McQueen speeding around in a Mustang, but he still manages to look badass in The Great Escape, the Kurosawa remake The Magnificent Seven, the Sam Peckinpah rodeo classic Junior Bonner and (the original) The Thomas Crown Affair. James Dean’s legacy gets mileage once again with a collection of East of Eden, Giant and the special-edition release of Rebel Without a Cause (May 31). And Gary Cooper … well, you see where this is going. Even so, all of these actor-based boxed sets pale in comparison to the Marlon Brando Collection. The collection boasts such classics as On the Waterfront (special edition!), The Wild One and, er, The Freshman, in which he co-starred with Matthew Broderick. What a tribute!

And if you can’t get enough of vintage television, Nick at Nite lovers should check out the first season of Doogie Howser, M.D. (March 22), Dynasty (April 19) and The Partridge Family (May 3).