The busy holiday season brought a seemingly endless array of new DVDs that was hard to keep up with -- and that meant we all missed some cool new releases over the past few weeks.
The most impressive of the lot is "Get Smart: The Complete Collection" ($199.95, Time Life Video), a set with a whopping 138 episodes on 25 discs and nine hours of bonus material. Each season comes in its own case and includes audio commentaries, a featurette, interactive bonus feature, interviews and more.
Don Adams played Maxwell Smart, a bumbling secret agent who was a mix of James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. Agent 86 had a handy telephone shoe, as well as a trustworthy and lovely sidekick in Agent 99 (played by Barbara Feldon). The series was co-written by comic geniuses Mel Brooks and Buck Henry.
Feldon, Brooks, Henry and guest stars James Caan and Bernie Koeppel are among those offering commentaries. The DVD featurettes include such topics as the "Secret History of Get Smart," "Barbara Feldon: Real Model to Role Model," "Code Words and Catchphrases" and "Spooks, Spies, Gadgets and Gizmos."
In "Code Words," we learn that Smart's ever-handy "Sorry about that, Chief" apology became such a popular catch phrase, that it was even uttered in space after a minor mishap on a Gemini 7 flight.
The "Spooks, Spies, Gadgets and Gizmos" feature has a quirky array of interviews with an intelligence contractor, surveillance expert and even an "Agent X" (with his face hidden) discussing how the fictional props of "Get Smart" often became a reality.
The still-lovely Feldon is a big part of the set. She introduces the bonus features and takes part in many interviews, discussing, for instance, her surprise at how Agent 99 became a role model for many young women. "At the time, I didn't even think of it. I didn't analyze the fact that she was something pretty special," Feldon says of her on-screen counterpart.
The interactive bonus feature on each disc lets the viewer explore such things as the chief's office, Maxwell Smart's car and Max's apartment by clicking the remote on a drawing. In Max's apartment, for instance, you'll find such hidden gadgets as the headboard phone, miniature canon and a phone gun (just dial 117 for bullets).
*"Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection" ($59.98, Universal) is a wonderful set that classic movie buffs will devour. Sturges was a brilliant director with a flair for high-energy comedies. Included on the seven discs here are his best: "Sullivan's Travels," "The Lady Eve," "The Palm Beach Story," "Hail the Conquering Hero," "The Great McGinty," "Christmas in July" and "The Great Moment."
*Watch Val Kilmer channel Jim Morrison to perfection in "The Doors: 15th Anniversary Edition" ($19.98, Lionsgate). New bonus features include 40 minutes of deleted and extended scenes plus the documentaries "The Doors in L.A.," "The Road to Excess" and "Jim Morrison: An American Poet in Paris" (with a new interview with writer/director Oliver Stone).
*Those Disney vaults keep churning out surprises. Disney has released, for the first time on video, a collection of its "True-Life Adventures" nature documentaries.
"Walt Disney Legacy Collection -- True Life Adventures" has been released as two-disc "volumes" that each sell separately for $32.99 (Walt Disney Video). So far, four of these volumes are available: "Volume 1: Wonders of the World," "Volume 2: Lands of Exploration," "Volume 3: Creatures of the Wild" and "Volume 4: Nature's Mysteries."
The discs are enclosed in a nifty collectible circular tin inside a larger box. Each set has an introduction by Roy Disney and a second disc of bonus material that includes a "Backstage With Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom" feature, filmmakers' journals and specials.
"Broken Bridges" (Paramount); "Color of the Cross" (Fox); "Crank" (Lionsgate); "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (MGM); "Idiocracy" (Fox); "The Illusionist" (Fox); "The Night Listener" (Miramax/Buena Vista); "The Princess Bride Special Edition" (MGM); "Quinceanera" (Sony); "Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror" (Vivendi); and "Wings of Desire Special Edition" (MGM).
BANDIDAS: Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz are the sultry title characters in this comic buddy movie/Western co-written by Luc Besson. The actresses lend a commentary to the film, also starring Steve Zahn, Dwight Yoakam and Sam Shepard. ($27.98, Fox. Available Tuesday.)