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Snow White is being re-released on Blu-ray and DVD next week
Yko Minamida stars in the Japanese thriller "Voice Without a Shadow," now on Blu-ray as part of the Nikkatsu Diamond Guys, Vol. 1 set. - photo by Chris Hicks
A new Blu-ray/DVD release of Walt Disneys first animated feature hits stores Tuesday, and a collection of Japanese film noir thrillers is on Blu-ray now. The other films here are all vintage titles on DVD for the first time from Warner Archive (available at

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney, 1937, G, audio commentary, featurettes, music video, interactive games, trailers). What can be written about this seminal classic that hasnt been written before? Ive written about it on these pages myself several times over the past three-plus decades.

Still, its worth repeating how well Snow White holds up in the 21st century, with memorable songs, hilarious gags, romance and thrills and it looks sharp, vibrant and gorgeous by any standard.

In terms of bonus features, all that has gone before in previous DVD and Blu-ray sets is here, along with some new stuff: an archival interview with Walt Disney discussing the film, an alternate storyboard sequence, and other new featurettes.

This release marks the launch of The Walt Disney Signature Collection, which means other animated classics will follow on Blu-ray, and what better way to start than with the first feature-length cartoon in film history? Beauty and the Beast is scheduled to follow in October.

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys, Vol. 1 (Arrow, 1958-59, b/w and color, in Japanese with English subtitles, three discs, three films, featurettes, photo gallery, trailers; booklet). The title of this Blu-ray set refers to a 1950s Japanese movie company that made action pictures with stars built up as Diamond Guys, represented here by three hits from the studios heyday.

Red Pier is the kinetic tale of a killer on the run pursued by a cop that wont quit, and The Rambling Guitarist (the only color film here) is an inventive yarn about a street musician falling in with mobsters. Both are enjoyable examples of Japanese cinema adapting to American film styles.

My favorite is Voice Without a Shadow, a film noir/Alfred Hitchcock-style thriller about a former telephone operator that hears a killers voice on the line. He is never captured and the voice haunts her for three years until she hears it again when her husband brings home some business associates. Worse, the guy turns up dead a few days later, and her husband is the chief suspect. It's a satisfying twisty mystery.

Station West (Warner Archive, 1948, b/w). This Western is a fine example of how witty dialogue can lift any film. Dick Powell is an undercover military-intelligence officer looking into the murder of a pair of gold-shipment guards. He butts heads with the owner of a gambling house (Jane Greer) and discovers she is secretly the brains behind a gang of bandits. Burl Ives has a small role, but his three songs on the soundtrack are an unfortunate misstep. Still, its a strong film worth seeing. Agnes Moorehead and Raymond Burr co-star.

Roughshod (Warner Archive, 1949, b/w). This offbeat film-noir Western gets a boost from the presence of Gloria Grahame as one of four women stranded on the Nevada prairie before being rescued by a rancher (Robert Sterling) and his younger brother (Claude Jarman Jr.). The rancher is anxious to get home as he has been warned that an escaped convict (John Ireland) is coming after him. Martha Hyer and Jeff Donnell co-star.

The Ice Pirates (Warner Archive, 1984, PG, trailer). This is a goofy spoof (or ripoff, take your pick) of Star Wars and other sci-fi fantasies of the era set in a future where water is a precious commodity. Robert Urich is a space pirate recruited to help a princess (Mary Crosby) search for a seventh planet with enough water to save the universe. Anjelica Huston, Ron Perlman and (in one scene) John Carradine co-star.

Bad Boy (Warner Archive, 1949, b/w). This troubled-teen melodrama is sometimes erroneously cited as Audie Murphys first film. It was actually his third, but it marked his first starring role as a 17-year-old thief sentenced to juvenile detention until hes taken under the wing of a sympathetic boys-ranch superintendent (Lloyd Nolan). It's interesting for Murphy fans but little more than a low-rent Boys Town.

The Younger Brothers (Warner Archive, 1949, trailer). This is a colorful, fictional Western about the notorious Younger brothers trying to go straight, which is difficult when they are hounded by a former Pinkerton detective and a woman who coerces them into joining her band of outlaws for a bank robbery. Wayne Morris, Janis Paige and Bruce Bennett star.

Two Guys From Texas (Warner Archive, 1948, trailer). This Western spoof stars Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson, who appeared as a team in no less than 11 1940s Warner Bros. movies. This one is No. 10 and casts them as vaudevillians stranded at a dude ranch, with Carson allergic to animals. It has seven songs, amusing dialogue and a dream sequence with cartoon versions of Morgan and Carson meeting up with Bugs Bunny. Dorothy Malone co-stars.

Gold Dust Gertie (Warner Archive, 1931, b/w, trailer).

50 Million Frenchmen (Warner Archive, 1931, b/w, trailer). These are two early films starring the Hellzapoppin comedy team of Olsen & Johnson, a vaudeville duo that never quite climbed up to Abbott & Costello movie heights but not for lack of trying. Gold Dust Gertie is the better of the two (laced with some surprising double-entendres), but both are pretty silly skit films. Look for Bela Lugosi as a magician in 50 Million Frenchman, which was a color musical until the Cole Porter songs were excised. Only this black-and-white print survives.

April Showers (Warner Archive, 1948, trailer). Jack Carson co-stars with Ann Sothern in a clichd story of a vaudeville couple who brings their son into the act. When they are shut down for exploiting a minor, it causes a rift, which only gets worse as Sothern takes a new onstage partner (Robert Alda) who wants more than just the job. S.Z. Cuddles Sakall co-stars.
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