Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Classic Film & TV Fan (2011 Edition)

One of the Cafe's most popular articles each year is a list of holiday gift ideas from our contributors (click here to read previous recommendations). This year, we're proud to present the third post in this series (hey, it's a trilogy now!). Hopefully, you'll find some gift ideas for the classic film and/or TV lover in your family. Our picks run the gamut from a boxed set from the Master of Suspense to Raymond Burr's Perry Mason TV series to creepy horror films from the 1980s.

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (recommended by Rick29). Although this boxed set of 14 Hitchcock classics retails for $120, you can buy it online for less than $75. It's a steal at that price, considering it includes Hitchcock favorites such as Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds. Plus, you get some genuine surprises such as the underrated Marnie and The Trouble With Harry (which improves with subsequent viewings for me). The films have been digitally remastered and come with lots of extra goodies: a 360-page booklet, 14 documentaries, and nine featurettes.

The Brigitte Bardot Classic DVD Collection (recommended by Dawn). One of the silver screen's best-known blonde bombshells sizzles in three stories of love, scandal and betrayal: The Night Heaven Fell (1958); Plucking the Daisy (1956);  and Don Juan (1973). Ms. Bardot's stunning looks often overshadowed that she was a fine light comedienne, as evidenced by Plucking the Daisy. The other two films in this collection were directed by her one-time husband, Roger Vadim.

West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition (recommended by Paul). A must-have for any West Side Story fan, this new three-disc Blu-ray set includes a book, postcards, tribute CD, and much more. For many fans, watching the film in high definition and listening to the remastered songs will be enough! Russ Tamblyn, who played Riff, said: "Fox has made this Blu-ray rendition that is just beautiful and so clear. You see so many things that you missed in the original."

Make your own Rebecca Gift Basket (recommended by TheLadyEve). My holiday gift recommendation this year springs from an idea that came to me a month or so ago when I started thinking about how best to enjoy chilly evenings at home. I spent a few nights reading Daphne du Maurier’s classic modern gothic, Rebecca and watching the classic 1940 film version starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. In the end, I put together a couple of blog posts on the joys of books and the movies made from them – plus warm drink recipe suggestions to accompany…so here’s my 2011 gift idea…A Rebecca gift basket containing: one copy of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel (from $5.98 new on Amazon); one copy of the Oscar-winning Hitchcock/Selznick film (DVD @$14.99 on TCM.com); one 14.5 oz. canister of Godiva Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa mix (from $13.99 on Amazon); 16 oz. Hot & Spicy Winter Toddy Mix (add ice cream, hot water or spirits) available on Amazon.com for $6.95;  one 50 g. canister of loose leaf tea (black, green white or flavored tea of your choice from the Tea Fountain (from $4.95 at http://www.teafountain.com/). Feel free to add or subtract to your gift basket.

A Free Film! (recommended by ClassicBecky). It may seem mundane, but I would love to receive a gift packet for my favorite movie theatre, good for two shows with popcorn and a Coke for each.  Givers with more pocket money could add more tickets or give enough for prime-time movies.  Those with limited budgets could give a matinee packet.  Considering the high cost of going to the movies, I would be thrilled with such a gift!

Perry Mason (recommended by Rick29). Seasons 1-5 of Raymond Burr's first-rate courtroom TV series are available separately or in a (pricey) boxed set. If you want to go with just one season, I recommend the first, which includes a number of episodes adapted from the Erle Stanley Gardner novels. The mysteries are fun and Burr is fabulous as the clever, sometimes smug super-lawyer. Plus, as you and your friends watch, you can discuss the relationship between Perry and Della...are they more than just co-workers?

Any Horror Fans among your family and friends? (Recommended by Sarkoffagus) This holiday, scare yourself silly and see what terror looks like in high definition. Numerous horror movies have been released on Blu-ray just in time for the festive season. Movies that came out for Halloween but would still make great gifts include the 30th anniversary of the 1981 cult TV movie, Dark Night of the Scarecrow; William Lustig’s Maniac Cop (1988), featuring cinematic icons Bruce Campbell and Richard Roundtree; two impressive outings from famed Italian horror maestro, Lucio Fulci, Zombie (aka Zombi 2/1979) and The House by the Cemetery (1981); and Lon Chaney making horror movie history in the classic 1925 silent version of The Phantom of the Opera. Released this month was the 25th anniversary of Sam Raimi’s horror-comedy sequel, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987), which also happens to star Bruce Campbell, and the Spanish/UK produced Horror Express (1972), featuring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Telly Savalas, will make its way onto Blu-ray on Nov. 29th. Tuesday, Dec. 13th, will see two horror gems on hi-def format: The 1989 Intruder, written and directed by Scott Spiegel, who co-wrote Evil Dead II with Sam Raimi, who appears in Spiegel’s film (with appearances from Sam’s brother, actor Ted Raimi, and – one more time – Bruce Campbell); and the popular vampire flick, Fright Night (1985), whose release coincides with the home media debut of its recent 2011 remake. And finally, if you don’t mind dropping an IOU into people’s Christmas stockings, two offbeat classics will sleep through the holidays and sneak onto Blu-ray in late January 2012, The Deadly Spawn (1983) and Night Train Murders (aka L’ultimotrenodellanotte/1975).

11 comments:

Allen Hefner said...

Sadly, Rick, you missed Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection which was just released this month and includes EVERY sound short Laurel and Hardy film made at Hal Roach Studios, plus 10 feature films. All have been restored by the UCLA film preservation dept. and this release is from RHI Entertainment. Missing are the silent films and the later 20th Century Fox films. It's on my wish list!

ClassicBecky said...

May I have one of each, please? Well, barring that, I obviously have a penchant for the Rebecca gift basket (very clever idea), and that actually is in a tie with the horror movies! I am a huge fan of Evil Dead II and the original Fright Night, plus plenty of the others. All of the ideas are quite good.

Hey, congratulations on being a trilogy!!

Paul 2 said...

I just found out that Target has a "combo Pack" of West Side Story, with a regular DVD included with the Blu-ray for about $20,00 with all the other "goodies"

Rick29 said...

Thanks, John, for a great recommendation for Stan & Ollie fans! Nice tip, Paul, on what sounds like a nifty buy. And, Becky, I'm with you...I love all of the this year's gift recommendations (and, in fact, took up your suggestion for one of my brothers-in-law). As for the EVIL DEAD pics, #2 is my favorite--a delirious blend of creepy sights and delightful slapstick (especially the hand scene).

ClassicBecky said...

Rick, a fellow Evil Dead II lover! My favorite part of the hand scene is when he captures the hand under the bucket and weighs it down with "A Farewell to Arms." Too funny!

Anonymous said...

I just picked up the blu-ray of WEST SIDE STORY and hope to watch it this weekend or next week for sure. They seemed to have done a great job, at least with the packaging, though I have read good things about the quality too.


John

Dawn said...

Wow!! What great recommendations for Christmas gifts, there is something there for everyone. Christmas shopping will be easy for me this year.

Yvette said...

Love, love, love this, Rick! Fabulous ideas. Most especially the Rebecca Gift Package. You can actually do this with any film/book combo that catches your fancy. I have to say, this is a very unique idea. Love it.

The Lady Eve said...

Yvette makes a great point that I probably should have mentioned - my film/book combo idea doesn't have to be confined to "Rebecca." Here's an idea for one's more hard-boiled friends/family: the (excellent) film/book combo of "The Maltese Falcon" plus a bottle of rye whiskey (and, perhaps, some Alka-Seltzer).

I've had my eye on that Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection for a while, by the way. Lots of great suggestions here, including Allen's for the Laurel & Hardy Essential Collection.

Grand Old Movies said...

The movie gift basket is a great idea; as the Lady Eve suggests, it can be extended to other movie-book combinations. What about Gone With The Wind, obviously packed with your favorite Southern food? Or Moby Dick with seafood? Just think what you could do with Breakfast at Tiffanys! Possibilities are endless!

ClassicBecky said...

Love these movie package ideas -- I have a nephew who would truly love to get a copy of Night of the Living Dead, with, of course, fake intestines (cooked spagetti), eyeballs (peeled grapes), blood (coulda had a V8) and some gummy worms for dessert. I'm not kidding, he would love it!