New on DVD: July 2

This week on DVD, tenants of a London building are terrorized by a sniper in Tower Block

Tower Block

The residents of a run-down tenement apartment building in London are terrorized by a sniper who has also booby-trapped their other escape routes in this thriller. With no other choice, they are forced to band together in order to try and survive.


A Syrian immigrant (Alexander Siddig) is forced to return to his native country after 30 years after his journalist daughter disappears. With no one else to turn to, he enlists the help of an ex-girlfriend (Marisa Tomei) and a government official (Joshua Jackson).


Kentucky Fried Movie

Before Airplane! and The Naked Gun films, writers David and Jerry Zucker, along with Jim Abrahams, created this hit-and-miss collection of raunchy and politically incorrect sketches. With a cast of familiar TV faces like Henry Gibson, Donald Sutherland and Bill Bixby – as well as a troupe of unknown actors – they take a machine-gun approach to comedy in which if they fire enough jokes at the audience, a few ought to make you laugh. And they do, but the good ones are few and far between (“Catholic High School Girls in Trouble”, “A Fistful of Yen”). EXTRAS include audio commentary from director John Landis, producer Robert K. Weiss and the writers; an hour-long “conversation” with the Zucker brothers and more. (Shout Factory)

The Producers

Since this 1968 Mel Brooks’ comedy was released, it has been adapted into a stage musical and then had that project turned into another film. But the original – about a failed producer (Zero Mostel) coerces a weak accountant (Gene Wilder) into helping produce a disastrous musical about Hitler as part of a con – is still one of the funniest films ever made. EXTRAS include an hour-long “making of” documentary, a deleted scene and more. (Shout Factory)


The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis: The Complete Series

This sitcom, which began airing in 1959, should be much better known than it is. It contained several great comic performances, helped launch the careers of two major film actors and remained hilariously solid throughout its four-season run.

Based on the short stories of Max Shulman (The Tender Trap), this TV series centered around teenager Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman), a typical young man who aspired mostly to attain a beautiful girlfriend (in which he succeeded numerous times throughout the run of the show with guest stars like Batman’s Yvonne Craig, That Girl’s Marlo Thomas and future Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn), but mostly ended up in wacky situations typical of the era where he was usually joined by his best friend Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver, who would go on to life-long fame as Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island).

Hickman was perfect in this role. He had the looks and the skills to be a TV leading man and had honed his comic chops playing nephew Chuck on The Bob Cummings Show for the four years prior. Denver, whose character here was a lazy, often moronic beatnik with a heart of gold, had a lot of the same qualities that would make him a TV star a few years later and the pair made a great comic team.

Blustery Frank Faylen and soothing Florida Friebus co-starred as his parents and for the first season Tuesday Weld starred as Thalia, the object of Dobie’s romantic fascination while Warren Beatty was his rich rival for her affections, Milton Armitage.

This series ran for four seasons and now all 147 episodes are available on DVD from Shout Factory on a 20-disc set which includes some great EXTRAS including rare footage from the original pilot episode and bonus episodes from The Bob Cummings Show (Love That Bob!) and The Stu Erwin Show, which co-starred Sheila James whose character on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was the brilliant and hopelessly devoted (almost to obsession) Zelda, who longed to marry Dobie at any cost. (Shout Factory)