You don’t need ME to tell you that DVDs make a great gift for Dad for Father’s Day.  Choices are increasing at an explosive rate, and that’s a good thing.

I especially like the fact that the studios are opening their vaults and issuing increasing numbers of classic movies on DVD.  Studios are also adding content to the movies such as deleted scenes, outtakes, interviews with principals, narration by the actors and directors, online content with links in the DVD and so much more.

I was particularly pleased to see a couple of my favorites, and sure to be other dad’s favorites, The Good The Bad and The Ugly and The Great Escape, both from MGM Home Entertainment, with new releases just in time for Father’s Day.

The new Collector’s Edition of Director Sergio Leone’s quintessential masterpiece spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach is a two-disc set with 18 minutes of footage that only existed with Italian audio and with a new English studio track from both stars who lent their voices for this DVD release.  Simon Prescott substituted his voice for the late Lee Van Cleef.  In addition, there is a new 5.1 surround sound track!

Additional content includes a making-of documentary, a biographical documentary on Leone, a historical documentary on the Civil War, a featurette on composer Ennio Morricone, deleted and extended scenes, an audio commentary by film historian Richard Schickel, a poster gallery, the original theatrical trailer and four Easter eggs (hidden gems usually worth finding).

The other gem, a two-disc Collector’s Edition DVD of The Great Escape coincides with not only Father’s Day but also the 60th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during World War II.  Based on a heroic true story this action-packed drama is memorable on so many levels.

It is a collaboration between director John Sturges, (The Magnificent Seven), screenwriters James Clavell (Shogun), and W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar) and Oscar®-winning composer Elmer Burnstein. The cast is phenomenal – including film legend Steve McQueen (Junior Bonner) in his breakout role, James Garner (Space Cowboys), Sir Richard Attenborough (Elizabeth), James Donald (The Bridge On The River Kwai), Charles Bronson (Death Wish), Donald Pleasance (Escape From New York) and James Coburn (Eraser).  The film follows a band of Allied POWs as they attempt one of the largest and most daring breakouts in history from the German POW camp called Stalag Luft North. I can still recall the first time I saw the movie and heard its stirring music as McQueen rode the motorcycle in his attempted breakout.  I defy anyone to not be moved by his performance and, especially, those scenes.  You’ll be humming it after the movie, too!  Sound on this one is also in glorious 5.1 surround!

Special features on this one include four behind-the-scenes featurettes narrated by Burt Reynolds, three documentaries, a unique audio commentary created with archived never-before-heard interviews of the cast and crew, a trivia track, a photo gallery and the original theatrical trailer.

Each collector’s DVD sets carry a suggested retail price of $30.  With careful online shopping, you will probably see the sets for about $20 each.

More information is at http://www.mgmhomevideo.com.

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