New on DVD: ‘The Pawnbroker,’ ‘The Address’

‘The Pawnbroker’

The film directed by Academy Award-winner Sidney Lumet features one of the greatest performances in the career of Rod Steiger. He earned a 1965 Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the survivor of a World War II Nazi death camp who lives a life of misery and hatred.

Sol Nazerman (Steiger) has not been the same since he saw his parents, wife and children murdered in a concentration camp. His decision to open a pawnshop in Harlem, where the clients are mostly thieves and prostitutes, reflects the emptiness that he’s living with on a daily basis.

As if Steiger’s performance wasn’t enough, “The Pawnbroker” features a jazz-influenced score by Quincy Jones and a supporting cast of Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Raymond St. Jacques and a very young Morgan Freeman.

The black-and-white film, which was selected in 2008 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, has been remastered in high definition.

Grade A-minus

‘The Address’

Filmmaker Ken Burns takes a look at the students at the Greenwood School, a tiny Vermont learning institute for boys ages 11-17 who face a range of personal, academic and social challenges, and their annual task of learning Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

It’s a moving story of how a speech given more than 150 years ago is helping heal these students. The documentary shows their growth and development as they dig into the history, context and importance of President Lincoln’s most powerful address.

Grade B

Also new on DVD this week

”Stan Lee’s Mighty 7: Beginnings”: Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee stars in an animated film.

“Doctor Who: The Web of Fear”: A 1968 six-part adventure featuring Doctor Who.

“Newhart: The Complete Third Season”: Bob Newhart plays the owner of an inn that’s filled with odd people.

“Sorcerer”: William Friedkin’s 1977 cult suspense thriller.

“Nikita: The Complete Fourth and Final Season”: Last six episodes from the TV series.

“Seven Warriors”: A modern take on Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai.”

Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee

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