August 9, 1996 in Seven

Mgm/Ua Releases Six Movie Classics To Videotape

Martie Zad The Washington Post

Six films from the 1949-1962 era, movies that still pop up in conversations and comparisons with more-current major performances, are part of the Vintage Classic video series that arrived at video stores this week.

The films are screen masterpieces from the vaults of MGM/UA that bring back brilliant performances by some of yesteryear’s greatest stars: Spencer Tracy in “Bad Day at Black Rock,” Burt Lancaster in “Birdman of Alcatraz,” Frank Sinatra in “The Manchurian Candidate,” Robert Ryan and Harry Belafonte in “Odds Against Tomorrow,” Gregory Peck in “On the Beach” and James Cagney in “White Heat.”

Designed with the collector in mind, the videos have new packaging, digital transfers and original trailers. They sell for $19.98.

“Bad Day at Black Rock” (1955): A cauldron of tension threatens to boil over when Tracy, a one-armed stranger, arrives in a Western town and uncovers a murderous conspiracy.

“Birdman of Alcatraz” (1962): Lancaster brings compassion inside the prison walls as he nurses a wounded sparrow and goes on to become an authority on birds.

“The Manchurian Candidate” (1962): Sinatra scrambles to avert a catastrophe as experiments turn a war hero (Laurence Harvey) into an assassin trained to strike at the heart of the American political system.

“Odds Against Tomorrow” (1959): Ryan and Belafonte must face their prejudices as well as their fears to pull off a daring heist.

“On the Beach” (1959): Peck and Ava Gardner breathe life into this indictment of nuclear warfare that also features Fred Astaire in his first dramatic role.

“White Heat” (1949): Cagney embarks on the chilling prison break of a lifetime in his last role as a heartless gangster.

In November, MGM/UA will release “The Blackboard Jungle,” “The Defiant Ones,” “North by Northwest,” “Moby Dick,” “Dark Passage” and “Run Silent, Run Deep.”

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