Camille Claudel, Winter Kills, & Edie |Top Foreign & Indie DVD Picks

Whether you're a fan of classic films or more modern picks, LJ reviews the best of recent and re-released DVDs.

The Bells of St. Mary’s. b/w. 126+ min. Olive Films. 1945. Blu-ray UPC 887090602006. $39.99.
Bing Crosby reprises his Oscar-winning Going My Way role as easygoing Father O’Malley in Leo McCarey’s schmaltzy but delightful 1945 classic. Butting white collars with strict Sister Benedict (Ingrid Bergman), the “modern” priest prefers leniency and understanding toward the grade-school students of poor St. Mary’s Academy, even as both work together to coax a rich but tightfisted businessman (Henry Travers) to donate a new school building. Upgraded from a 2013 Olive release to a “Signature Edition” with copious extras, Bells sounds a joyful note.
 
Betty Blue. 185+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Criterion Collection. 1986. DVD UPC 715515237611. $29.99; Blu-ray UPC 715515237512. $39.99.
Not long after the opening love scene in the best film in Jean-Jacques Beineix’s (Diva) mixed body of work, the ardent relationship between an aspiring-novelist-cum-handyman (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and his earthy girlfriend (Béatrice Dalle) turns volatile as her unpredictable behavior descends into schizophrenia. The stunning Dalle creates a memorably tragic figure when the passion igniting her happiness turns destructive. Supplemented by bonus features, this digitally spiffed-up “director’s cut” far outshines its truncated original release.
 
Camille Claudel. 173+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Bruno Nuytten, Kino Lorber. 1988. DVD UPC 738329241841. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 738329241858. $29.99.
Love, art, and madness mix with disastrous results when promising young sculptor Camille Claudel (Oscar-nominated Isabelle Adjani) subordinates her own creative evolution to serve as aide, inspiration, and lover to mentor Auguste Rodin (Gérard Depardieu). When the seasoned sculptor refuses to abandon his mistress, Camille leaves him only to turn increasingly delusional until she ends up in an asylum. In his directorial debut, Bruno Nuytten puts his skills as a cinematographer on great display, superbly rendered in this hi-def restoration of the longer international cut.
 
Edie. 102+ min. Music Box Films. 2017. DVD UPC 751778951390. $29.99.
After her long-ailing but still demanding husband dies, twinkly-eyed 83-year-old Edie (Sheila Hancock) decides to fulfill a deferred dream: climb Mount Suilven in the Scottish Highlands. Initially hiring a camping-store owner (Kevin Guthrie) for help, Edie ultimately pursues her solitary quest despite a lack of experience which comes back to bite her. Writer-director Simon Hunter is better behind the camera, elevating sometimes clichéd situations with postcard-pretty imagery and leading-actress-friendly close-ups in route to an inspiring tale of age-defying perseverance.
 
Winter Kills. 98+ min. Kino Lorber. 1979. DVD UPC 738329240332. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 738329240349. $29.99. Rated: R.
Nineteen years after the murder of President Timothy Kegan, his half-brother Nick (Jeff Bridges) hears the dying confession of the “second assassin,” leading him on a fool’s errand to uncover a conspiracy pointing to politicos, policemen, mobsters, and, not least of all, his business-magnate father (John Huston). Based on Richard Condon’s roman à clef about John F. Kennedy’s assassination, William Richert’s box-office bomb turned cult classic deftly satirizes its ripe subject material with a mix of black humor and jarring thrills nicely restored in HD with archival extras.

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