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Heated return Liz and Richard battle the odds in 'Virginia Woolf'

Before Bennifer, TomKat and Brangelina, real Hollywood royalty was found in two names that defied any cutesy moniker: Elizabeth and Richard.

In today's tabloid-frenzied world, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton would be a buffet of material. Married to others, they fell in love on the set of "Cleopatra," married in 1964, divorced a decade later and then remarried and divorced each other again. This may have gone on for the rest of their lives if Burton hadn't died in 1984.

Their passionate and combustible relationship may have been the only reason it made sense to cast them as a volatile and cruel married couple in the film version of Edward Albee's award-winning play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

"They were getting married and divorced a lot and yelling at each other a great deal, so I guess they thought it was perfect casting even though Elizabeth was 20 years too young and Richard was five years too old," Albee says in a new interview featured in the bonus features for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" ($26.99, Warner Home Video).

The two-disc special edition also has a new commentary by director Mike Nichols along with Steven Soderbergh. Three new featurettes include "Too Shocking for Its Time," an interesting look at how the film was "the first shot fired" at the creation of a movie rating system.

That's what Jack Valenti says, a man who was only a month into his job as the president of the Motion Picture Association when he was faced with this controversial movie that contained sexually frank and profane language that had not been heard on the screen before.

"This film was like a burning arrow thrown into a haystack," recalls Valenti. "It was a pioneering film that pushed boundaries."

The two-disc special edition can also be purchased as part of the "Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Film Collection" ($49.92, Warner), a five-disc set that also includes three movies new to DVD: "The Comedians," "The Sandpiper" and "The V.I.P.s."

The New York Times best seller "The Devil Wears Prada" ($29.98, Fox) became a fashionable hit movie starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt. The DVD has an audio commentary by director David Frankel; 15 deleted scenes; a gag reel; and featurettes including "Trip to the Big Screen," "NYC and Fashion" and "Fashion Visionary Patricia Field."

*Will Ferrell received mixed reviews for "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" ($28.95, Sony), his comedy about a NASCAR driver with two first names. His fans, however, loved it. Extras include a commentary with Ferrell, John C. Reilly and director Adam McKay; race footage; deleted scenes; alternate lines not used in film and interviews with Ricky, Cal and Carley.

An unrated version ($28.95) has an additional 13 minutes of footage; more deleted and extended scenes; Ricky and Cal's commercials and outtakes.

*"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Four-Disc Extended Edition and Gift Set" ($42.99, Buena Vista) is, in true Disney fashion, only available for seven weeks. It includes an extended version of the movie, commentaries, featurettes, a pair of bookends and a 10-page companion guide.

*Also from Disney is "The Fox and the Hound 2" ($29.99), a sequel to the 1981 animated film. Songs are by country music stars Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood. McEntire, Patrick Swayze and Jeff Foxworthy are among those lending their voices to the continuing saga of Copper and Tod. Extras include a behind the scenes look at "The Making of the Music" and a music video by Lucas Brabeel ("High School Musical").

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Coming Tuesday

"Airwolf Season 2" (Universal), "Black Dahlia" (Universal), "Dane Cook's Tourgasm" (HBO), "The Descent" (Lionsgate), "Factotum" (IFC), "Jackass Number Two" (Paramount), "The Last Kiss" (Paramount), "Scratch" (Silver Nitrate).
e-mail: truberto@buffnews.com

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DVD extra

"AIR BUDDIES": Youngsters will delight at the adventures of the five puppies of the famous canines. Extras include puppy profiles, a backstage pass with Air Buddies and a Jordan Pruitt music video. ($29.99, Disney)

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