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DVD taps Astaire pix

WB preps 'Easter,' 'Band Wagon' releases

Warner will release a parade of classic films on DVD in time for Easter, including “Easter Parade.”

“Easter Parade” and “The Band Wagon,” two oft-requested musicals starring Fred Astaire, will make their DVD debut March 15 as two-disc special editions featuring meticulously restored versions of the movie, a new Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and lots of bonus features.

Astaire’s last musical, “Finian’s Rainbow,” under the unlikely direction of Francis Ford Coppola and co-starring Petula Clark, will be released for the first time on March 15, along with two other films directed by “Band Wagon” helmer Vincente Minnelli, “Bells Are Ringing” and “Brigadoon,” the latter in a newly remastered, widescreen edition.

Strike up the ‘Band’

Liza Minnelli is among participants in the audio commentary on “Band Wagon,” which co-stars Cyd Charisse. Judy Garland co-stars along with Astaire, Ann Miller and Peter Lawford in “Easter Parade,” which features 17 Irving Berlin tunes. Bonus features include a new documentary on the making of the movie and a Garland musical number outtake.

The five titles will be available as a “Broadway to Hollywood — Classic Musicals Collection” gift set ($59.92) and separately at $26.99 for each of the two double-disc DVDs and $19.97 for the other three.

Making its DVD debut March 1 will be the classic screwball comedy “Bringing Up Baby,” starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.

“Baby” will be introduced as a two-disc special edition that includes bios on Hepburn and filmmaker George Cukor.

“The Philadelphia Story,” also starring Grant and Hepburn with James Stewart, will be re-released on DVD simultaneously with “Baby” in a remastered two-disc special edition.

“Baby” includes audio commentary by Peter Bogdanovich as well as two new docs, a feature-length Cary Grant bio by Robert Trachtenberg and Richard Schickel’s bio on filmmaker Howard Hawks.

Each of the previous two DVDs will be priced at $26.99. They also will be available in a gift set for $68.92, which includes the first-time DVD release of several other comedies of the era, “Libeled Lady,” “To Be or Not to Be,” “Stage Door” and “Dinner at Eight.”

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