Mike’s Picks: ‘I, Jane Doe’ and ‘Black Peter’

I, Jane Doe

Kino Lorber, Drama, $19.95 DVD, $24.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Ruth Hussey, John Carroll, Vera Ralston, John How.
1948. Even by the standards of shaky ‘A’-picture melodramas, Republic Pictures’ I, Jane Doe is a whopper packed with wall-to-wall coincidences and improbabilities right up to its final courtroom histrionics.
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Black Peter

All-Region British Import;
Second Run, Comedy, $34.99 Blu-ray, NR.
In Czech with English subtitles.
Stars Ladislav Jakim, Pavla Martinkova, Vladimir Pucholt, Pavel Sedláček.
1964. Black Peter, which was done on a very low budget even for the Czech film industry at the time, is very much a shaggy-dog effort, though its observational instincts are spot-on, and director Milos Forman’s skill with actors (which would include the non-professionals who make up most of the cast) is remarkable.
Extras: In addition to a 20-page essay booklet (Jonathan Owen) and commentary by film historian Michael Brooke, the Blu-ray boasts an interview featurette with now 70-year-old actress Pavla Martinkova.
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