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Tuesday, June 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A Blu-ray Christmas

By Doug Nye, McClatchy-Tribune  I  Industry experts predict Blu-ray players and discs will be more affordable than ever this holiday season. Here’s a checklist of recommended titles that would m

“Gone With the Wind 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition” (Warner Brothers, 1939, $84.99): Arguably the most famous motion picture ever made looks breathtaking on Blu-ray. The three-disc set comes packaged in a beautiful red-velvet box which also contains a hardcover book packed with photos, production notes and memos, 10 art prints, a reproduction of the original 20-page theater program and a CD soundtrack sampler.

“Mama Mia! The Movie – Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Giftset” (Universal, 2008, $49.98): A repacking of the energetic musical previously released on Blu-ray. This latest two-disc edition has many more extras, including a CD soundtrack featuring 18 songs by ABBA and a 32-page book about the film.

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (Walt Disney, 1937, $39.99): When Walt Disney announced that he was going to make a feature-length cartoon, most of Hollywood thought he was crazy. Disney had the last laugh as it became a box-office hit. The lovely Snow White, the wicked queen and the seven dwarfs became ever-lasting movie icons. The film looks beautiful in the high-definition format. This Blu-ray release is packed with extras.

“Rocky: The Undisputed Collection” (MGM, 1976-2006, $99.98): Released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, this seven-disc set includes all six movies plus a bonus disc filled with extras. Sylvester Stallone stars as two-bit boxer Rocky Balboa, who gets a one-in-a-million shot at heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in the first film, which won a Best Picture Oscar.

“The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition” (Warner Brothers, 1939, $84.99): Never has this timeless classic looked so stunning as it does in the high-definition DVD format. Seventy years later, the magic is as enthralling as ever. The memorable cast includes Judy Garland as Dorothy, Frank Morgan as the Wizard, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion and Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch. Plenty of extras.

“Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection” (Paramount, $139.99): Seven-disc set that not only includes the six films but also 2  1/2 hours of extras. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley headline the casts. The titles include “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979), “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn” (1982), “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984), “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989) and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991).

“Star Trek – The Original Series: Seasons One and Season Two” (Paramount, 1966-68, $118.00 each): William Shatner stars as Capt. James Kirk and Leonard Nimoy is First Officer Spock, who sail the universe in the starship Enterprise. Among the other characters aboard are Dr. “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Scott (James Doohan) and Sulu (George Takei). CBS and Paramount have done a magnificent job of bringing the legendary sci-fi television show to the DVD high-definition format with new special effects. Season Three will be available Tuesday.

“Woodstock: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition” (Warner Brothers, 1970, $69.99): Forty summers ago, more than 400,000 people and dozens of musicians gathered at a dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, N.Y., for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Producer Bob Maurice and director Michael Wadleigh were there with a film crew to vividly record it all. The boxed collection includes 18 previously unseen performances, a 60-page Life magazine reprint and much more.

“A Christmas Carol” (VCI, 1951, $29.99): Alastair Sim stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in this British production that is the best theatrical version of Charles Dickens’ classic yuletide story. The film has been digitally mastered from the original 35mm negatives.

“Yellowstone: Battle for Life” (BBC, $24.98): Take a look at America’s Yellowstone Park and the creatures who live there, including a great bison herd, the grizzly bear, antelope, the grey wolf and others. This includes three hour-long episodes and 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes features. It also features stunning photography that looks gorgeous on Blu-ray.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” (Warner Brothers, 1989, $39.92): Chevy Chase is Clark Griswold, who is bent on celebrating a “fun-filled, old-fashioned” Christmas. Of course, it turns out to be anything but that. Randy Quaid, Beverly D’Angelo and John Randolph also are in the cast of this very funny film. Packaged in a holiday tin.

“Expedition Africa” (A&E, 2009, $39.98): Four modern-day explorers follow the journey made by Henry Morton Stanley during his famous search for Dr. David Livingstone in the heart of Africa. The beautiful scenery is awesome on Blu-ray. A two-disc, eight-episode set.

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