1. Kirk Douglas: The Centennial Collection. This boxed set is a great value with eight movies and a price under $20. Of course, it's the quality of films that count and there are four winners in this set: Spartacus, Lonely Are the Brave, The List of Adrian Messenger, and Man Without a Star. The other quartet are less impressive, but still entertaining enough (e.g., John Wayne joining Kirk in The War Wagon). Just consider those flicks a bonus!
|Robert Reed and E.G. Marshall.|
3. The Jack Lemmon Star Collection. This is our favorite of the various collections of Jack Lemmon movies. It includes two Billy Wilder classics--The Apartment and Some Like It Hot--and the underrated Lemmon-Wilder collaboration Avanti! The fourth and final film, How to Murder Your Wife, is a pleasant 1960s comedy with Virna Lisi. It's not as good a value as other boxed sets in the list, but you may be able to find a good deal over the holidays.
4. Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Complete Cases Collection. Are you shopping for any mystery fans? If so, then we heartily recommend this boxed set containing 70 episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot starring David Suchet. The mystery plots range from ingenious ("Lord Edgware Dies") to the routine (and, yes, they sometimes deviate from Ms. Christie's works). However, Suchet is impeccable as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and Hugh Fraser makes a fine Captain Hastings. This is not an inexpensive present, but you may be able to find it for under $100 during the holiday season. Then, you can sit down and pit your little gray cells against Hercule's!
5. Green for Danger. If you're looking for an inexpensive stocking stuffer, then consider this nifty 1947 British mystery starring Alastair Sim and Trevor Howard. Set in a hospital during World War II, it pits a droll detective against a clever murderer. In his book The Detective in Film, William K. Everson touts it as one of the three best detective films ever made (the others being The Maltese Falcon and The Kennel Murder Case). You can buy it for under $8.