Legendary TV producer Norman Lear developed this outrageous soap-opera spoof staring Louise Lasser as a pigtailed, gingham-frocked housewife beset by a bewildering array of crises. The three-disc set features the first 25 episodes of the groundbreaking series hailed by critics as "hilarious" (TV Guide), "mind-blowing" (Newsweek) and "televisions zaniest show!" (Readers Digest)
Mass murders, kidnappings and a flasher may be troubling the residents of Fernwood, Ohio. But housewife Mary Hartman (Lasser) has a much more serious problem; waxy yellow buildup on her kitchen floor. And while her husband Tom (Greg Mullavey) struggles in the bedroom and her best friend, country singer Loretta Haggers (Mary Kay Place), struggles to make it big in Nashville, Mary teeters closer to the edge, desperate to save her marriage, keep her family together and give her kitchen floor a proper shine!
Long before Twin Peaks, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman turned the soap opera inside out. Produced by Norman Lear (All in the Family), the syndicated serial centers around gingham-clad housewife Mary Hartman (Woody Allen regular Louise Lasser). The saga begins with Mary agonizing over her floor's waxy yellow buildup when neighbor Loretta Haggers (Emmy winner Mary Kay Place) bursts in to announce that a mass murderer is on the loose in Fernwood. That isn't Mary's only problem. The magic has gone out of her marriage to Tom (Greg Mullavey) and her grandfather is revealed as the Fernwood Flasher. And that's just the pilot.
At first glance, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman resembles a daytime soap with consecutive airings (five nights a week), frame-filling close-ups, and syrupy score, but everything is off-kilter. When Mary isn't looking at other characters as if they're speaking in tongues, she appears to be on the verge of laughter or tears--maybe both at once. She's the ultimate desperate housewife. Aside from Grandpa Larkin (Victor Kilian), regulars include Mary’s preteen daughter Heather (Claudia Lamb), younger sister Cathy (Debralee Scott), and parents, Martha (Dody Goodman) and George Shumway (Philip Bruns). In addition, there's Sgt. Foley (Bruce Solomon), who has the hots for our sexually unsatisfied heroine, and Loretta's hubbie, Charlie (Graham Jarvis), who works with Tom and George at the plant. Mrs. Haggers, an aspiring country singer, loves her Baby Boy "more than a hundred billion frozen Milky Ways." The first set of this groundbreaking series features 25 episodes. Between 1976-1978, a whopping 325 were produced, some as Forever Fernwood when Lasser left in 1977, reportedly due to exhaustion. That year, the series also spun off talk-show satire Fernwood 2Nite, which would soon develop a cult following of its own. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Stills from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (click for larger image)
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|Jubilee (The Criterion Collection)
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When Queen Elizabeth I asks her court alchemist to show her England in the future, she’s transported 400 years to a post-apocalyptic wasteland of roving girl gangs, an all-powerful media mogul, fascistic police, scattered filth, and twisted sex. With Jubilee, legendary British filmmaker Derek Jarman channeled political dissent and artistic daring into a revolutionary blend of history and fantasy, musical and cinematic experimentation, satire and anger, fashion and philosophy. With its uninhibited punk petulance and sloganeering, Jubilee, brings together many cultural and musical icons of the time, including Jordan, Toyah Willcox, Little Nell, Wayne County, Adam Ant, and Brian Eno (with his first original film score), to create a genuinely unique, unforgettable vision. Ahead of its time and often frighteningly accurate in its predictions, it is a fascinating historical document and a gorgeous work of film art.
Avant-garde spirit and punk-rock attitude combine with iconoclastic results in Derek Jarman's defiantly uncommercial Jubilee. Filmed in 1977--the silver jubilee year of England's Queen Elizabeth II--this fascinating hodgepodge of political dissent and audiovisual experimentation now stands as a vibrant document of its time, both immediate and enduring in its bold rejection of all things conventional. (Compared to this, the quasi-punk Repo Man and angst-ridden Sid & Nancy seem positively tame.) Jarman's film deserved its mixed reviews; like the films of Andy Warhol, it's a slapdash affair, cobbled together by Jarman and his fringe-dwelling friends, ostensibly designed as a kaleidoscopic glimpse of London's future, infused with apocalyptic nihilism and populated by proto-punks (including Adam Ant and Rocky Horror's Little Nell) in an anarchic orgy of gay and straight sex, music, violence, and (in retrospect) astonishingly accurate pop-cultural prophesy. It's the pioneering, angry/funny work of a genuine artist, as essential to punk film as the Sex Pistols were to music in the dreadful days of disco. --Jeff Shannon
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A hip darkly comic on-the-road tale about a young woman who has an unfortunate encounter with a figurative big bad wolf while hitching a ride to grandma's house to escape her abusive family. System Requirements:Runtime: 102 minsFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY Rating: R UPC: 017153211610 Manufacturer No: 21161