Season 1 of ‘The Gilded Age’ Arriving on DVD July 26

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Gilded Age: The Complete First Season on DVD July 26. The series is available now for streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

Created by Emmy and Academy Award winner Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”), “The Gilded Age” chronicles life in New York in the late 1800s during a period of immense economic change. A wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family, Marian (Louisa Jacobson), embarks on a mission to infiltrate the wealthy neighboring clan of her aunts Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon), dominated by ruthless railroad tycoon George Russell (Morgan Spector) and his ambitious wife, Bertha (Carrie Coon), meeting new people like aspiring writer Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), along the way.

The cast also includes Jeanne Tripplehorn, Taissa Farmiga, Blake Ritson, Simon Jones and Harry Richardson.

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The series was recently renewed for a second season by HBO.

The season one DVD includes all nine episodes, plus featurettes such as “Inside the Episodes,” “Who’s Who,” “Old Money vs New: The Heart of the Matter,” “Invitation to Set,” “Carrie Coon BTS,” “Writing Peggy” and the DVD-exclusive “All That Glitters: Creating ‘The Gilded Age.’”


HBO Renews Julian Fellowes Period Drama ‘The Gilded Age’

The HBO period drama “The Gilded Age” has been renewed for a second season.

From creator Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”), the series debuted on Jan. 24 with episodes currently streaming on HBO Max. The nine-episode first season stars Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector, Louisa Jacobson, Denée Benton, Taissa Farmiga, Blake Ritson, Simon Jones, Harry Richardson, Thomas Cocquerel, Jack Gilpin, Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski.

The season one finale will air March 21.
The series explores inhabitants of the American Gilded Age, a period of immense economic change, of great conflict between the old ways and new systems, and of huge fortunes made and lost. The series begins in 1882 with young Marian Brook (Jacobson) moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father to live with her thoroughly old money aunts Agnes van Rhijn (Baranski) and Ada Brook (Nixon). Accompanied by Peggy Scott (Benton), an aspiring writer seeking a fresh start, Marian inadvertently becomes enmeshed in a social war between one of her aunts, a scion of the old money set, and her stupendously rich neighbors, a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife, George (Spector) and Bertha Russell (Coon).

The first episode of “The Gilded Age” premiered as HBO’s best Monday night debut since “Chernobyl,” according to an HBO press release. 

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“Julian Fellowes and the entire ‘Gilded Age’ family have thoroughly captivated us with their tale of late 19th century New York City extravagance,” Francesca Orsi, EVP of HBO programming, said in a statement. “Along with our partners at Universal Television, we couldn’t be prouder to embark on a season two journey with this extraordinarily talented team.”
“The first season of ‘The Gilded Age’ is the beginning of an epic story that introduced a fascinating world full of intriguing characters,” Erin Underhill, president of Universal Television, said in a statement. “The scope of Julian’s vision is ambitious, and we’re thrilled to continue to explore the depths of this fascinating era with HBO.”

Musicals ‘Kinky Boots,’ ‘From Here to Eternity’ and ‘Wind in the Willows’ Due on Disc May 25 From Liberator and MVD

The musicals Kinky Boots, From Here to Eternity and The Wind in the Willows are coming to disc May 25 from Liberator Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

The winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical, Kinky Boots, written by Harvey Fierstein with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, is coming out on both DVD and Blu-ray. It’s a story of two people with seemingly nothing in common. Factory owner Charlie is struggling to save his family business, and Lola is an entertainer with an idea. The unexpected pair learn to embrace their differences and create a line of sturdy stilettos. Stars include Killian Donnelly (Les Misérables 2012), Cordelia Farnworth and Jak Allen-Anderson (Beauty and the Beast 2017), Graham Kent (From Hell) and Robert Grose (Absolute Beginners).

A Tim Rice musical adapted from James Jones’ Pulitzer winning novel, From Here to Eternity is being released on DVD. In the film, when troubled Private Prewitt falls for escort girl Lorene and his sergeant embarks on a dangerous affair with an officer’s wife, the lives of both men are set on a course they cannot control. As war approaches, the worlds of the four lovers and the soldiers of G Company are dramatically intertwined and ripped apart.

A musical from Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, and award-winning composer and lyricist George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, The Wind in the Willows, an adaptation of the classic book, is coming out on DVD. Ratty, Badger, Mole and the impulsive Toad go on a series of riotous adventures, spiraling from Toad’s insatiable need for speed. The show stars Rufus Hound and Simon Lipkin (both from “Doctor Who”).

‘Downton Abbey’ Feature Film Gets Home Release Dates

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has announced home release dates for Downton Abbey, the hit movie based on the celebrated PBS TV series.

The film, which earned $94.5 million in North American movie theaters, will be available digitally Nov. 26, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and on demand on Dec. 17, the studio said.

Aimed at holiday gift-givers, the home versions come with a broad variety of bonus features, including exclusive conversations with the cast, deleted scenes and a recap of the Emmy Award-winning TV series, from Carnival Films.

The Downton Abbey film will also be available in a Deluxe Limited Edition, featuring the Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and digital code, presented in exclusive packaging along with a collectible photo book and recipe cards.

The feature film stars original cast members from the TV series as well as a host of newcomers.  The film chronicles the Crawley family one year after the conclusion of the series, as they prepare for the most important moment of their lives: an impending visit from the Royal Family.

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  • Blu-ray, DVD and digital extras include:
  • Deleted scenes
  • Cast conversations – exclusive roundtable interviews with the cast.
  • “The Royal Visit” – A look at how the royal visit proved to be an ambitious event both on and behind the camera.
  • “True to the Twenties” – A look at how Downton Abby was loyal to the grandeur of the 1920s.
  • “Welcome to Downton Abbey” – A behind-the-scenes look at the grandeur of Highclere Castle and how it serves as a cornerstone in the Downton Abbey franchise.
  • “The Brilliance of Julian Fellowes” – A feature on writer Julian Fellowes.
  • Feature commentary with director Michael Engler

A recap of the TV series will be included on the Blu-ray Disc and iTunes digital versions only.

Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend


Street 2/13/18;
Kino Lorber;
$14.95 DVD, $24.95 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG.’
Stars William Katt, Sean Young, Patrick McGoohan, Julian Fellowes, Hugh Quarshie.

This 1985 adventure from the Disney studio plays a bit like Romancing the Stone if the central object everyone seeks was a dinosaur.

Sean Young and William Katt play a married couple on a research expedition in Africa, where they stumble upon evidence of a family of brontosauruses living in the jungle. It soon becomes a race against time to find the rare creatures, in order to protect them from other members of the expedition who want to exploit them for fame and glory.

Katt was coming off several seasons of the cult-classic superhero TV show “The Greatest American Hero,” and one of the main reasons he took the role in Baby, he admits in a new bonus interview included on the Blu-ray, was because he liked the idea of shooting in Africa. Sean Young, on the other hand, was on the rise after Blade Runner but still relatively early in her career; No Way Out was still two years in her future.

The film also boasts Patrick McGoohan as the lead scientist of the expedition who becomes a one-dimensional villain in his quest to find the dinosaurs and take all the credit for discovering them. And his sniveling sidekick is played by Julian Fellowes. Yes, that Julian Fellowes, years before he would be better known as the Oscar-winning writer of Gosford Park and creator of “Downton Abbey.”

The visual style of the film places it firmly at a crossroads between goofy creature features of the 1950s and 1960s, and the advanced visual effects techniques to come in the 1990s.

In his own retrospective interview on the Blu-ray, director Bill Norton points out that this was one of the last major live-action movies centered on dinosaurs that used practical effects, before Jurassic Park would come along (eight years later) and show everyone how to do it with computer graphics.

In the mid-1980s, however, CGI was still a nascent visual effects technology, best used for depicting holograms, video games and other things not meant to be perceived as “real” (not that The Last Starfighter didn’t try to do it just a year earlier). Young Sherlock Holmes, often cited as one of the early breakthroughs in depicting CGI creatures, wouldn’t hit theaters until nine months after Baby.

So, here the dinosaurs are essentially giant puppets. As a result, Norton laments, even as advanced as the craftsmanship of the 1980s had become, the old-school techniques weren’t quite up to snuff in generating the realism of the dinosaurs he was looking for, and one of his biggest challenges was figuring out how to shoot the film in such a way so as not to highlight the fakeness of it all.

What ends up on screen is just charming enough to accept for the story, but high-definition isn’t doing it any favors when the shots linger just long enough for viewers to focus on Baby’s obviously rubber skin and eerily unnatural eyes. The look of the dinosaurs is not unlike an animatronic one might expect to find at a Disney theme park had the movie been successful enough to inspire a ride based on it. (While Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in Florida does have a dinosaur-themed land, its attractions are based on other sources.)

The film’s title and the cutesy design of the baby dinosaur puppet suggest a family friendliness that is belied a bit by an unexpected level of sexual innuendo and violence. As Katt suggests in his retrospective, the film had a harder edge to it that the film’s marketing may not have properly translated to older audiences, while at the same time turning off parents looking for some appropriate entertainment for their kids.

With all this going on, Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend is certainly a minor curio for anyone interested in 1980s film history, but it’s of particular nostalgic interest to me since I remember seeing it in theaters when I was about 10 (and probably hadn’t seen it again until this Blu-ray, save for any TV airings shortly afterward). I don’t recall why I would have wanted to see it back then, aside from the fact that I liked dinosaurs as a kid (and still have an affinity for them). I also watched “The Greatest American Hero” fairly regularly, and maybe seeing that show’s hero on the big screen was a selling point. However, like most things remembered from childhood, the particulars of the plot didn’t stick with me as much as a general sense of what the movie was, which to me has always been “the one where Sean Young finds a baby dinosaur in the jungle.”

So, yeah, this was my first exposure to Sean Young, and don’t think that scenes of her clad in her underwear lying in bed in a humid African hut, or trying to get it on with her husband in the middle of the jungle while the curious young reptile keeps interrupting, don’t leave an impression on a young boy.

Of course, looking back it’s easy to laugh at how out-of-place any attempts by the characters to get frisky were given the situation, as it provides just the unlikely plot point needed to propel the film into its third act — the inevitable need to rescue the cute creature from the bad guys who want to exploit it. (In this case, when Baby is shooed away by the lovebirds who up to this point in the film have been doing everything they can to keep an eye on it. But, hey — nature calls, right?)