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Chris Hicks: Bruce Lee and ‘Mad Max’ repackaged in Blu-ray, while Liberace’s movie is on DVD this week

New Blu-ray sets of Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” and the "Mad Max Trilogy" highlight this week’s vintage-movie releases, along with the only film to star Liberace.

“Enter the Dragon: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition” (Warner/Blu-ray, 1973; R for violence, nudity; $49.99, audio commentary, featurettes, trailers, TV spots; photo cards, lenticular card, embroidered patch, 12-page booklet). Gorgeous edition of the seminal Lee martial arts film gets the “Ultimate” edition makeover, which may lure in some new fans.

Lee is still considered the greatest of all martial arts movie stars and his untimely death at age 32 has only served to enhance his legend. Watching this film again, which boasts a number of incredible fight scenes — all choreographed by Lee — confirms that the legend is earned.

The plot is familiar and the chief villain owes something to “Dr. No,” but the fight scenes and eye-popping stunts are why we watch, even with those silly sound effects that make every blow sound like the snap of a whip. Look for future Hong Kong superstars Sammo Hung (kicking it up with Lee in the opening sequence) and, very briefly, a very young Jackie Chan as a doomed henchman.

Though it has been on Blu-ray for six years, this is a newly remastered version and the film has never looked better. There are also some new bonus features, though film buffs may lament the loss of the very good feature-length documentary “Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey,” which is not here.

“Mad Max Trilogy” (Warner/Blu-ray, 1979-82; R for violence, language, nudity/PG-13; three discs, $49.99, three movies, audio commentaries, featurettes, trailers). The original, action-packed “Mad Max,” depicting an ultra-bleak post-apocalyptic future where ex-cop Mel Gibson seeks revenge on a marauding gang that killed his family, was a huge success in its native Australia. But it bombed in the United States, where the distributor dubbed it in “American” to get rid of those pesky Aussie accents.

So when its sequel, “Mad Max 2,” was released here in the summer of 1982, it was retitled “The Road Warrior” so no one would know it was a sequel. The ploy worked and it was a huge box-office hit, launching Gibson into U.S. stardom. Those two films have been on Blu-ray for a while, but the third in the series, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” co-starring Tina Turner (and the only one rated PG-13), makes its Blu-ray debut. Kinetic action galore in all three, but the second remains the best. (If you have the first two on Blu-ray already, “Beyond Thunderdome” is also available alone for $19.98.)

“Sincerely Yours” (Warner Archive, 1955, $18.95). Liberace starred in only one movie, this remake of the creaky 1932 picture “The Man Who Played God.” Liberace is a concert pianist who dreams of playing Carnegie Hall but finds he is going deaf. Meanwhile, he’s engaged to marry the wrong woman (Dorothy Malone) when the right woman (Joanne Dru) is right under his nose. Liberace doesn’t have the acting talent to pull off this sentimental claptrap, but he’s a master at the keyboard, especially in the first half — before the soap opera takes over — as he validates his reputation as a pianist of immense talent. (Available at

Electra Glide in Blue” (Shout!/United Artists/Blu-ray, 1973; PG, $19.97, introduction, audio commentary, trailer). Vietnam veteran and idealistic Arizona motorcycle cop Robert Blake yearns to make detective, but when he eventually does he finds it difficult to play ball with some of his colleagues’ reprehensible tactics, leading to difficult choices and eventual tragedy. The beautifully photographed but violent film is thoughtful and has a European-movie sensibility. And as with many ’70s films, it does not end well for the protagonist.

“Perfect Understanding” (Cohen/Blu-ray, 1933, b/w, $34.98, Mack Sennett comedy shorts “Husband’s Reunion,” “Dream Stuff”). This British light comedy was produced by silent star Gloria Swanson as a vehicle for herself after a career slump when “talkies” came in and she is cast opposite a budding young star in one of his earliest lead roles, Laurence Olivier. The script, written by Michael Powell years before he would make “The Red Shoes” and “Black Narcissus,” has Swanson and Olivier agreeing to an open marriage without jealousy. As if. Amusing and quite frank for its time. (Also on DVD, $24.98)

“The Mask of Dimitrios” (Warner Archive, 1944, b/w, $18.95, trailer). Peter Lorre is fourth billed but has the lead role as a novelist caught up in a mystery involving the apparent death of a sociopath (Zachary Scott in his film debut) with aid from an accomplice (Sydney Greenstreet) who has ulterior motives. Zippy film noir thriller gets a huge boost from yet another terrific teaming of Lorre and Greenstreet. (Available at

“Stampede” (Warner Archive, 1949, b/w, $18.95). When she made this film, Gale Storm was still three years away from TV stardom with “My Little Margie,” laboring as a contract player in B-movies, including a lot of Westerns. But Rod Cameron has the lead as an Arizona cattle rancher battling land-grabbers. Storm plays a settler’s daughter, and when they take possession of land they’ve purchased, they discover they’ve been swindled. The sheriff (Johnny Mack Brown) is no help but you just know Cameron will eventually step up. (Available at

“Wild Stallion” (Warner Archive, 1952, $18.95). Ben Johnson, a member of John Ford’s stock company and a future Oscar winner (for “The Last Picture Show”) has the lead in this colorful B-Western as a cowpuncher trying to recapture a spirited colt that escaped his family’s homestead during an Indian raid when he was a boy. Good cast helps, with Edgar Buchanan and Martha Hyer in support. (Available at