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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Peanuts movies receive Blu-ray upgrades
Sam Elliott, left, Kelly Lynch and Patrick Swayze star in "Road House," making its Blu-ray debut. - photo by Chris Hicks
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and two Peanuts theatrical films receive Blu-ray upgrades this week.

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (Warner Archive, 1958, audio commentary, featurette, trailer). Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor are terrific as Brick and Maggie The Cat, an unhappy, squabbling couple reluctantly attending a birthday bash for his wealthy, cancer-riddled father, Big Daddy (Burl Ives is a real standout).

One of Maggies beefs is that Brick refuses to kowtow to the old man, even as the rest of the family is fawning all over him in hopes of a large inheritance. Jack Carson and Judith Anderson co-star; directed and co-written by Richard Brooks (Blackboard Jungle, Elmer Gantry).

This sharp Blu-ray transfer gives a boost to this admittedly watered-down but undeniably gripping adaptation of Tennessee Williams Pulitzer Prize-winning play. (Available at

A Boy Named Charlie Brown (CBS/Paramount, 1969, G).

Snoopy, Come Home (CBS/Paramount, 1972, G). After six successful 30-minute animated TV specials, beginning with A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965, the feature A Boy Named Charlie Brown marked the big-screen debut of Charles Schulzs Peanuts comic-strip gang. And it was successful enough that Snoopy, Come Home followed three years later.

Both films are sweet and charming in a way that I kind of miss amid all the crass jokes that pepper so many modern animated movies. These two are visually inventive, devoting individual vignettes to several beloved characters, with special emphasis on Snoopy in the second film. I dont much care for Rod McKuens songs in A Boy Named Charlie Brown, but both pictures remain delightful family fare.

Unholy Partners (Warner Archive, 1941, b/w, trailer).

Blackmail (Warner Archive, 1939, b/w, trailer). These two solid thrillers from Hollywoods golden age are on DVD for the first time. In Unholy Partners Edward G. Robinson starts up a sensationalistic newspaper with funding from a mobster (Edward Arnold), which works well until he steps on his benefactors toes. Mormon actress Laraine Day shines in support as Robinsons secretary.

And Blackmail has Robinson as a first-rank oil-field firefighter with a loving family and a dark secret. Both pictures are well paced and boast snappy dialogue, and Robinson is in top form. (Manufacture-on-demand DVD available at

Road House (Shout Select, 1989; R for violence, sex, nudity, profanity; two discs, audio commentary, documentary, featurettes, trailer). Patrick Swayze, in full hunk mode, swaggers into a small town owned by evil Ben Gazzara and gets a job as a bouncer, which leads to his cracking heads and taking names. And in the end, Swayze goes all Rambo on Gazzara. Kelly Lynch and Sam Elliott co-star. This marks the Blu-ray debut for what can only be described as a truly brain-dead movie but it nonetheless has a very rabid following. Go figure.
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