Once Upon a Time in America (Warner Bros., $26.99) This title is why DVD exists: to revitalize a film in the version intended by its director. The nearly four-hour cut, giving Robert De Niro in particular a more satisfying character arc, is one U.S. audiences were denied in 1984. Bonus docu pays piquant homage to Sergio Leone, noting that studio bungling disqualified Ennio Morricone’s glorious score from the Oscar race.
Gangs of New York (Buena Vista, $29.99) Some day perhaps a Leone-style DVD treatment will be accorded Martin Scorsese’s 30-year passion project. It may have eked out decent B.O. and a bushel of Oscar noms, but this two-disc set glaringly omits the pic’s epicenter: Scorsese’s battles with Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein, especially over running time. Until the real director’s cut is available, a “Gangs” DVD does not qualify as an event.
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There’s Something About Mary (Fox, $26.98) Already a major video hit, “Mary” gets perhaps one of the splashiest DVD releases yet for a contempo comedy. The film is augmented by 13 deleted or extended scenes and sports a spiffily produced second disc of making-of material. On-set insights are illuminating, especially into the logistical challenges overcome in the classic “franks and beans” scene.