New DVDs: TV Series, Nonfiction and Feature Length Films – November 2009

An Awfully Big Adventure

An engaging comedy about a star-struck young girl lured into the grown-up world of the theater. Young Stella Bradshaw quickly discovers what it takes to make it in the theater. Cast: Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Georgina Cates, Peter Firth. (1995) Rated R

The Barefoot Contessa

With extraordinary beauty, talent and grace, Spanish dancer Maria Vargas was born to be a star. Aided by American movie director Harry Dawes, she attains great success and fortune in Hollywood’s land of dreams. But, though she gives her all for stardom, there is one thing Maria will never compromise – her soul. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Marius Goring, Valentina Cortesa, Rossano Brazzi, Warren Stevens, Bessie Love, Elizabeth Sellars. (1954) Not Rated

Battlestar Gallactica: The Plan

The Cylons began as humanity’s robot servants. They rebelled and evolved and now they look like humans. Their plan is simple: destroy the race that enslaved them. But when their devastating attack leaves human survivors, the Cylons have to improvise. The story of two powerful Cylon leaders, working separately, and their determination to finish the task. Cast: Tricia Helfer, Edward James Olmos, Grace Park, Callum Keith Rennie, Dean Stockwell, Kate Vernon, Michael Trucco, Michael Hogan, Rekha Sharma, Aaron Douglas, Alisen Down. Not Rated

Beyond Christmas

While three elderly businessmen are having a Christmas Eve dinner, they are visited by two kind-hearted strangers who return their wallets. The men are all killed in a blizzard, but return to Earth as the couple’s guardian angels. Cast: Harry Carey, Charles Winninger, Aubrey Smith, Jean Parker, Richard Carlson. (1940) Not Rated

The Bridge on the River Kwai

British soldiers captured by the Japanese during World War II are forced to construct a strategic railroad bridge which a commando team is instructed by the British High Command to destroy. Cast: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald, Ann Sears, Geoffrey Horne. Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle. (1957) Rated PG

California Suite

Five couples have come to the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles for diverse reasons, and they must all confront some rather amusing personal dilemmas. Cast: Alan Alda, Michael Caine, Bill Cosby, Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Richard Pryor, Maggie Smith. Screenplay by Neil Simon. (1978) Rated PG

Call Me Claus

Lucy is a cranky, volatile producer at a home shopping network in charge of hiring the station’s on-air Santa Claus. The “real” Santa, who finds himself at the end of his 200-year contract, must convince Lucy that she is the perfect candidate to fill his shoes. Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Nigel Hawthorne, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Victor Garber, Taylor Negron, Frankie R. Faison, Alexandra Wentworth. (2001) Not Rated


Leonard Bernstein’s comic operetta is based on the classic Voltaire tale of an innocent young man’s journey through a life filled with colorful characters and unexpected life lessons. Cast: Robert Orth (Pangloss), Michael Slattery (Candide), Nancy Allen Lundy (Cunegonde), Gabriele Ribis, Rosalind Elias, Hilda Ramos. Recorded in the Teatro Argentina, Rome, Italy, June 2003.


This National Geographic special profiles life at Dogtown, a sanctuary for stray dogs located in Utah’s canyon country and part of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Shows how sanctuary workers transform problem dogs into well-behaved pets. (2008)

Fail Safe

A computer malfunction causes nuclear-equipped American bombers to destroy Moscow and the president of the United States has to take terrible measures to appease the Soviets and prevent all-out nuclear war. Cast: Henry Fonda, Dan O’Herlihy, Walter Matthau, Frank Overton, Edward Binns, Larry Hagman, Fritz Weaver. (1964) Not Rated

Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens

Based on the book Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel and produced as an episode of the PBS television series: Nova. A dramatization of the life and achievements of 17th century Tuscan astronomer Galileo Galilei. Focuses on Galilei’s struggles with the Catholic Church over his controversial theory that the earth revolves around the sun.


Hamlet, a prince of medieval-era Denmark, senses treachery behind his royal father’s death. His mother is all too dangerously entangled in that treachery. This film portrays Shakespeare’s immortal tale of high adventure and evil deeds. Cast: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Helena Bonham-Carter. (1990) Rated PG

The Haunted Airman

RAF Flight Lieutenant Toby Jugg is wounded during the war and confined to a wheelchair. He arrives at a remote mansion in Wales to recuperate. While recovering he begins to suffer from terrible nightmares and visions. Toby finds that he can’t trust the hospital staff and psychologists, especially once other patients begin to die. Cast: Julian Sands, Rachael Stirling, Robert Pattinson.  Based on “The Haunting of Toby Jugg” by Dennis Wheatley. (2006) Rated R

Incredible Human Machine

Brilliantly designed and marvelous in its mechanics, the human body is incredible. With stunning footage and powerful first hand accounts, take a fantastic journey through an ordinary day in the life of the human body. Witness striking feats of medical advancement, from glimpses of open-brain surgery to real-time views of Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler’s vocal chords. Meet athletes and other unique people who push the human body to its ultimate limits.  As seen on the National Geographic Channel.

Inside Mecca

This National Geographic special examines the spiritually charged history of Mecca and its place at the center of the fastest growing and perhaps most misunderstood religion in the world.  (2003)

Inside the U.S. Secret Service

Originally broadcast on the National Geographic Channel in 2004.  In the post-9/11 world, where the stakes have dramatically escalated, the Secret Service agent is the first and last defense for the President of the United States. Agents operate in an arena where there is no margin for error. Go inside and meet the dedicated men and women who are sworn to protect the President at any cost. Get an agent’s-eye view of the daily challenges faced through the decades by Secret Service veterans, from keeping tabs on the president’s children to dealing with the privacy of the First Family.

Inside the Vatican

National Geographic, with unprecedented access, provides a rare glimpse inside the secret archives and private chapels of the Vatican.  Privileged accounts from Vatican officials, historians, and devoted individuals who work closely with Pope John Paul II provide insight into the remarkable history of the holy city and the unique traditions that have survived for nearly 2000 years.  (2002)

Inside the White House

This National Geographic documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman, takes viewers on an in-depth tour of the White House, including its private quarters. Interviews with White House staff members as well as every President and First Lady living at the time of production are included, as is a behind-the-scenes look at a state dinner preparation.

Inspector Lewis: The Pilot and Complete First Series

Following the death in 2000 of his eponymous mentor in Inspector Morse, Sergeant Lewis was promoted to Inspector and took a two-year sabbatical in the British Virgin Isles. Newly widowed, he now returns to Oxford and soon finds himself in charge of his own murder case. But it is notes that Morse made on an earlier case which help Lewis solve his case. Cast: Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman, Rebecca Front. Inspired by the Inspector Morse novels of Colin Dexter. (2006) Not Rated

Journey to the Edge of the Universe

This National Geographic production uses CGI technology created from images taken by the Hubble Telescope to present a view of outer space.

Look Back in Anger

Fierce, funny, and cathartic, John Osborne’s classic ‘kitchen sink’ drama as directed by Academy Award winner Judi Dench is a masterpiece of ensemble acting.  Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Gerard Horan, Siobhan Redmond, Edward Jewesbury. (1989) Not Rated

Love in the Afternoon

Frank Flannegan, an American playboy infamous for his scandalous affairs is smitten by Ariane, the beautiful, innocent daughter of the worldly detective, hired by a man who believes that Frank is carrying on with his wife. Frank turns out to be no match for Ariane and they stumble through one of the funniest seductions. Cast: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier, John McGiver. (1957) Not Rated

A Month by the Lake

Two women pursue a handsome bachelor at a luxurious lakeside resort. Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Fox, Uma Thurman, Alida Valli.  Based on the novel by H.E. Bates. (1995) Rated PG


When a group of young sophisticated high society friends in New York take in a new member with more humble origins, they begin to learn what life is like outside their sheltered world. Cast: Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements, Taylor Nichols, Christopher Eigeman, Allison Rutledge-Parisi, Dylan Hundley. (1990) Rated PG-13.

A Midwife’s Tale

Dramatic exploration of the life of Martha Ballard, a woman who lived through the economic boom and bust, and political and social turmoil of the decades following the American Revolution. Based on the book by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. (1997) Not Rated

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Christmas is the perfect season for Clark Griswold and his family. Clark’s a disaster waiting to happen. You have to see it to believe it. There are 25,000 lights on the Griswold rooftop. An exploding turkey. And a house full of relatives. Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Diane Ladd, John Randolph, E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (1989) Rated PG-13


The quartet consists of novelist Marya Zelli, her Polish husband, Stephen, wealthy philanderer/artist H.J. Heidler and his wife, Lois. Though she has been indulgent of H.J.’s past indiscretions, Lois isn’t keen on her husband carrying on an affair with Marya under their own roof. Meanwhile, Stephen sits in prison, jailed for his various petty thefts. Once Stephen is released, he learns about the triangle. When the dust settles, it is Marya who suffers the most. Cast: Alan Bates, Maggie Smith, Isabelle Adjani, Anthony Higgins. Based on the novel by Jean Rhys. (1981) Not Rated

Roberto Clemente

This episode of the PBS series, The American Experience, tells the story of Roberto Clemente, an exceptional baseball player and committed humanitarian who challenged racial discrimination to become baseball’s first Latino superstar. Not Rated

Secrets of the Titanic

This National Geographic special documents Dr. Robert Ballard’s famous expedition, the first to uncover the passenger ship Titanic that had sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean seventy years earlier.

Shroud for a Nightingale

Adam Dalgliesh visits John Carpenter Hospital to interview an arms dealer, but while he is there, a nurse dies a horrible and violent death during a teaching demonstration. Cast: Roy Marsden, Joss Ackland, Sheila Allen, Liz Fraser, Thelma Whiteley, Andree Evans, John Vine. Based on the novel by P. D. James. (1986) Not Rated

Six Degrees Could Change the World

This National Geographic program discusses why many scientists believe that the Earth’s average temperature could rise by as much as six degrees Celsius by 2100. Explores what each rising degree could mean for the future of humanity and our planet. Illustrates how global warming has already affected the reefs of Australia, the ice fields of Greenland, and the Amazonian rain forest. Explains what’s real, what’s still controversial, and how existing technologies and remedies could help dial back the global thermometer.  (2008)

State of the Union

When an idealistic businessman is chosen to run for President, he is caught between the ruthless ambition of a string-pulling newspaper owner and the integrity of his devoted wife. Cast: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury, Adolph Menjou, Lewis Stone.  Based on the play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. (1948) Not Rated

A Touch of Frost: Season 14

Three episodes from the British detective series featuring Detective Inspector Jack Frost, a policeman who approaches his cases with a dry wit and sense of moral justice. Cast: David Jason, Bruce Alexander, John Lyons. Based on characters created by R.D. Wingfield. Not Rated

Twice upon a Yesterday

Victor, an out of work actor, tries to stop his ex-girlfriend, Sylvia, from marrying another man. When she refuses him, Victor is miraculously given a second chance to go back and correct the mistake which led to their break-up.Cast: Lena Headey, Douglas Henshall, Penelope Cruz, Gustavo Salmeron, Eusebio Lazaro, Mark Strong, Charlotte Coleman, Neil Stuke, Elizabeth McGovern. (1999) Rated R

Unnatural Causes

Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh investigates the bizarre murder of a man with his hands cut off found floating in a dinghy out at sea. Cast: Roy Marsden, Simon Chandler, Kenneth Colley, Mel Martin, Bill Nighy. Based on the novel by P.D. James. (1993) Not Rated

Vietnam: A Television History: The Fall of Saigon

Three episodes from Vietnam, a Television History, looks at the end of the war, peace efforts by diplomats in Paris and the American opinion of the Vietnam War.

Volcano: Nature’s Inferno

This National Geographic special explains what a volcano is, explores how volcanoes build new land mass, and chronicles past volcanic eruptions throughout the world. Features comments from leading volcanologists and visits to some of the world’s most famous volcanoes including Mount Pinatubo in the Phillipines and Mount Unzen in Japan. (1997)

Woman of the Year

In this hilarious excursion into the battle of the sexes, Tracy plays Sam Craig, the down-to-earth sportswriter of the New York Chronicle. As Tess Harding, the paper’s bright international columnist, Hepburn makes his life miserable. As soon as they start taking swipes at each other in their columns, there is little peace between them. In the office and in the bedroom the squabbling continues, until their problems are overcome by their deep love for each other. Cast: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Fay Bainter, Reginald Owen. (1942) Not Rated