‘Citizen Hearst’ digs deep into life of media mogul

Rick's Reviews
Dear Evan Hansen

Ben Platt (right) stars in “Dear Evan Hansen” that is available now on digital platforms. (Photo courtesy of Universal)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — First-rate PBS documentary series is available this week on DVD and Blu-ray.

“American Experience: Citizen Hearst” Grade 4 stars: The production offers a look at one of the most powerful men of the 20th century in William Randolph Hearst. The production that originally was broadcast on PBS  is based on David Nasaw’s book, The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst.

What the documentary series reveals is that by the 1930s, he controlled the largest media empire in the country with 28 newspapers, a movie studio, a syndicated wire service, radio stations and 13 magazines.

Hearst was unparalleled in his power almost a century ago but Steven Ives – who co-wrote and co-directed the documentary – is certain Hearst would have felt right at home if he were alive today.

Even in an era before social media – or even television – Hearst used his empire to achieve political power unprecedented in the industry. The life he lived in his California castle of San Simeon caught the attention of a young filmmaker in Orson Welles who used Hearst as his model for “Citizen Kane.”

Today’s media is full of stories dealing with the exploits and antics of billionaires. This series looks at one of the men who created a blueprint for those who followed.

Also new on DVD and Blu-ray Nov. 23

“Deep Blues”: Music scholar Robert Palmer goes deep into the heart of the North Mississippi Hill Country and Mississippi Delta to seek out the best rural blues acts.

“Raging Fire”: Highly respected hardline cop has his past unexpectedly come back to haunt him when a sting operation is attacked by a mysterious group of criminals.

“Alexander Nevsky”: The 1938 film is Sergei Eisenstein’s landmark tale of Russia thwarting the German invasion of the 13th century.

“Overrun”: Military extraction specialist Marcus Lombardi (Omid Zader) must track down a mysterious briefcase to save his informant sister and their family.

“October”: The 1928 film officially produced to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution was a Sergei Eisenstein experiment in film form.

“Terminator 2: Judgement Day”: The Arnold Schwarzenegger film is being re-released to mark the 30th anniversary.

“Pups Alone”: Two thieves are no match for a mischievous pack of neighborhood pups.

“The Show”: This new fantasy mystery feature comes from the extraordinary mind of legendary graphic novel writer Alan Moore. 

 “The Village Detective: A Song Cycle”: Fishing boat off the shores of Iceland made a most curious catch: four reels of 35mm film, seemingly of Soviet provenance.

Available through digital platforms

“Dear Evan Hansen”: High school student becomes popular when he lies about his friendship to someone who commits suicide. Will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 7.

“The Humans”: The film explores the hidden dread of a family and the love that binds them together. Look for it on the Showtime streaming service.

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”:  Death row inmate (Woody Harrelson) discovers Eddie Brock’s (Tom Hardy) secret and becomes the host for Carnage. Will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 14.

“Autumn Road”: Grief-ridden sister returns to their hometown to make peace with her unresolved past 10 years after a young girl goes missing on Halloween night.

“Copshop”: Con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) hatches a desperate plan to hide out from lethal hitman Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler). Look for it on DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 7.

“Boiling Point”: Commanding head chef Andy Jones (Stephen Graham) balances multiple personal and professional crises that threaten to destroy everything.

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