Editor’s Notes: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Childrens Hospital: The Complete Sixth & Seventh Seasons, & Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season are currently out on their respective home entertainment formats right now.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Warner Archive) is an adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play about greed, sexual frustration, lust and impotence shaking up a wealthy Southern family. Elizabeth Taylor plays Maggie, the wife of neurotic Brick Pollitt (Paul Newman), who seems to be uncertain about his sexuality. Made in 1958 during the era of the Production Code, the film was pretty steamy. The performances still hold up, particularly those of Burl Ives as Big Daddy Pollit and Madeleine Sherwood as the always pregnant Mae Pollitt. Taylor does a fine job, too, but her constant nagging tends to be grating after a while. Newman nearly blends into the sets with an extremely low-key performance.
Director Richard Brooks makes the location— a humid, suffocating Louisiana mansion — a major ingredient. Placing so many disagreeable people with their own clashing agendas together in a claustrophobic setting can’t help but generate dramatic fireworks.
Though the acting, especially toward the end when tempers flare and private resentments are aired, is often overwrought, the film is an excellent showcase for Taylor in her prime. She would subsequently win an Oscar for Butterfield 8, a movie she detested; many believe it was compensation for not having received the award for her flamboyant performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Bonus extras on the Blu-ray release include commentary by biographer Donald Spoto, author of “The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams,” making-of featurette, and theatrical trailer.
Childrens Hospital: The Complete Sixth & Seventh Seasons
Childrens Hospital: The Complete Sixth & Seventh Seasons (Warner Archive) is a satire of the TV medical drama genre. The series was created by and stars Rob Corddry in late 2008 as a set of 10 webisodes, approximately 5 minutes long. The storyline centers on the staff of a children’s hospital named for Dr. Arthur Childrens. The hospital is located in Brazil, even though there is little attempt to disguise the fact that it is filmed in Los Angeles. Corddry is part of an ensemble portraying doctors that includes Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino, Megan Mullally, and Henry Winkler.
Season 6 episodes involve the doctors being summoned to the White House to deal with a national security matter, a break-in at a sperm bank, a Shabbat dinner in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and changes at the hospital that do not sit well with the doctors.
In Season 7, the doctors find new jobs at a crosstown hospital after being fired, they attend a Doctor of the Year convention, a conspiracy is suspected when the hospital runs out of tongue depressors, grandparents visit the workplace on Bring Your Grandparents to Work Day, a possible gas leak might be causing hallucinations, and a race horse is hidden from a mob boss in the hospital.
The humor is sometimes shaky but usually manages to skewer the numerous doctor shows on TV. Even though the jokes can sometimes be juvenile, the cast manages to rise above the material.
There are no bonus features on the unrated 2-disc DVD release.
Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season
Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season (Warner Archive) is the 10-episode season that ran on Netflix, after premiering in June, 2012, and running three seasons on A & E. Based on the Longmire mystery novels by Craig Johnson set in Absaroka County, Wyoming, the show is a contemporary Western crime thriller with dark secrets. Now that the mysterious White Warrior who tormented Branch is dead, Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) and friends are ready to move on. Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), is a free man; deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) is newly divorced; and Walt’s wife’s murder is seemingly resolved. But just when second chances seem possible for everyone, the Reservation’s new casino brings new trouble.
Season 4 episodes involve Walt investigating Jacob Nighthorse’s involvement in the death of Walt’s wife; a murder that coincides with the opening of the casino; an investigation into local oil workers raping a young native woman; the death of an oil rig worker shortly after being promoted; and Nighthorse offering Cody a job as legal representative for the Native Americans.
The show is notable for dealing with long-festering resentments among the local Cheyenne reservation community. Unlike many TV police and detective shows, the stories on Longmire are straightforward and avoid cumbersome subplots. Each episode focuses on the solution of a crime, though some dramatic arcs extend into two of more episodes.
There are no bonus features on the 4-disc unrated widescreen Blu-ray release.