Robert Blake hasn't worked in film since 1997, but as of last week, fans and curiosity seekers can see the veteran actor - recently acquitted of murdering his wife - in the DVD release of Electra Glide in Blue. In the offbeat 1973 MGM thriller, generally considered one of Blake's best films, he plays a good-natured ex-Marine turned Arizona motorcycle cop who dreams of becoming a homicide detective.
Blake, who received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, did not participate in any of the DVD's extras, for obvious reasons. The film is being released with little fanfare; more attention went to the previous DVD releases of Blake's popular TV series Baretta and the film In Cold Blood.
The disc ($15) includes an introduction and commentary by director/composer James William Guercio.
This week's DVD releases also include two of the year's Oscar contenders, a vintage movie serial and a legendary detective series from the 1970s.
Finding Neverland (Miramax, $30): Nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best film and actor - it captured an Oscar for its delicate score - Finding Neverland chronicles how Scottish playwright James Barrie (Johnny Depp) was inspired to write Peter Pan. Kate Winslet, Radha Mitchell, Julie Christie, Freddie Highmore and Dustin Hoffman also star. Marc Forster directed. Extras on the DVD include commentary from Forster, screenwriter David Magee and producer Richard Gladstein, as well as deleted scenes and two behind-the-scenes featurettes. But the highlight is the outtake reel, featuring Hoffman's outrageous shenanigans and Depp and Forster's innovative attempts to keep the four young actors in the film giggling during a dinner sequence.
Being Julia (Columbia, $26): Annette Bening won a Golden Globe for best actress and received an Oscar nomination for her vivacious turn in this old-fashioned romantic comedy set in 1938 England about an aging London stage actress - bored with her career and husband (Jeremy Irons) - who has a fling with a young American. Among the extras are two standard production featurettes, deleted scenes and commentary from Irons, Bening and director Istvan Szabo.
Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason (Universal, $30): Disappointing sequel to the 2001 hit comedy Bridget Jones's Diary, with Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant returning. There's a tepid "Who's Your Man Quiz," a few wan featurettes and pedestrian commentary from director Beeban Kidron. The only saving grace is a clever interview between journalist Bridget Jones and Firth as himself.
Fat Albert (Fox, $30): Comic Bill Cosby's rotund animated creation hits the big screen in this live-action comedy, which finds the stars of the vintage Fat Albert cartoon series popping out of the TV set after a sad teenage girl (Kyla Pratt) sheds a tear on the remote control. Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live plays the title role. The extras include a few extended scenes and a comedic featurette. Director Joel Zwick (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and producer John Davis are on the commentary track.
The Final Cut (Lions Gate, $28): Uneven sci-fi thriller that fails to engage despite a cast that includes Oscar-winners Robin Williams and Mira Sorvino. Among the extras on the disc are production documentaries, storyboard-to-film comparison and better-than-average commentary from first-time writer/director Omar Naim.
MTV's Pimp My Ride - The First Season (Paramount, $30): The cable network's car makeover series arrives on DVD in this funky three-disc set that includes deleted scenes and bloopers, a music video and a visit with Blink 182's Travis Barker and his 1954 custom Cadillac Coupe de Ville.
Kojak - Season One (Universal, $30): With USA Network offering an updated version of the 1970s crime series with Ving Rhames as the lollipop-loving New York detective, Universal has released the 1973-74 season of the original CBS series starring Telly Savalas. Though Kojak creaks a bit around the edges, the stories are taut and Savalas is still fun to watch.
Doogie Howser, M.D. - Season One (Anchor Bay, $40): Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley co-created this dramedy series, which premiered on ABC in 1989, about a whiz kid who becomes a doctor before his 16th birthday. Baby-faced Neil Patrick Harris was a charmer as Doogie.
Closer, Vera Drake, After the Sunset, Seed of Chucky and National Lampoon's Gold Diggers
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