Lady Sings the Blues (1972, Paramount, Blu-ray, R, 143 min.). Shortly after she left The Supremes and went solo, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy cast Diana Ross to play troubled blues-jazz singer Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings the Blues,” a picture he financed. Ross justifiably earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance, one of five Oscar nominations the film received. The other nominations were for screenplay, art or set decoration, costume design and music. The film did win Image Awards for Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Ross) and Best Actor (Billy Dee Williams).

The film plays up the relationship between Holiday and Louis McKay (Williams), which began the evening of her first club performance and lasted through her death at age 44 in 1959. There is plenty of music too, with Ross performing some 17 songs, but there is less of what got her into performing and, surprisingly, nothing about the 12 studio albums and three live albums she recorded.

Although this was Ross’ first film acting role – she had appeared in an episode apiece of TV’s “Tarzan” and “Make Room for Granddaddy” — she has the viewer hooked from her strong performance in the harrowing opening sequence, when she is jailed and flails around in her cell, throwing her body at the padded walls. By then, Holiday was hooked on heroin and was going through withdrawal. As for the singing, Ross says in an interview from 2009 that she did not want to imitate Holiday, yet somehow, she manages to sing in a similar style that is nothing like her Top 40 pop-soul work with The Supremes.

As for the narrative of the film, directed by Sidney J. Furie (“The Ipcress File,” “Iron Eagle,” “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”) it generally follows the usual biopic track of humble beginnings (as Eleanora Fagan, forced to clean steps at a Harlem brothel and then work upstairs), the first break (at a club across the street run by Jerry, played by Sid Melton of “Captain Midnight,” TV’s “Golden Girls”), years of climbing to the top (struggling on a bus tour with an all-white band and catching glimpses of racist America), a fall brought on by the use of hard drugs and a triumph performance, this time at Carnegie Hall – although during the performance, superimposed newspaper headlines show us there would be no triumphant ending in her life.

In addition to Ross’ great work, Williams leaps off the screen with charisma in what was really only his second feature film, after several years of TV acting. He would go on to play Lando Calrissian in the “Star Wars” universe. Also giving a good performance is comedian Richard Pryor (“Superman III,” “Silver Streak”) as Piano Man, who helps Holiday get her first singing job, becomes a friend and plays for her over the years. One very good scene with Ross and Pryor is when Holiday learns her Mama (Virginia Capers) has died.

Previously-released extras include audio commentary by Gordy, Furie and artist manager Shelly Berger; a 2005 making-of featurette with interviews of Ross, Williams, co-screenwriter Suzanne De Passe and costume designer Bob Mackie (23:06); and seven deleted scenes (21:03), including a late night talk between Holiday and McKay before she goes on the road, McKay physically confronting co-traveling band leader Harry Branford (songwriter-actor Paul Hampton) about giving Holiday drugs, and Holiday talking to Mama about her illness. Grade: film 3.75 stars; extras 2.25 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Pump Up the Volume (1990, Warner Archive, Blu-ray, R, 102 min.). This film is different from the others in this column in that while it heavily involves music, the music is heard via radio or cassette rather than performed by actors. Christian Slater already was hot after “Heathers” (1989), but this film helped establish him as a draw among the teenage crowd. While the film often is a broad comedy of teenage angst, it does touch on serious subjects such as suicide, coming out as gay and having the education system manipulated for higher test scores to lead to more money for the school.

Slater plays Mark Hunter, who recently moved with his parents Brian (Scott Paulin of “Teen Wolf,” “The Right Stuff”), a new school commissioner, and Marla (Mimi Kennedy of TV’s “Dharma & Greg”) to Paradise Hills, Arizona from the East. Like all kids forced to move away from their friends, he resents it a lot, but he also finds Paradise Hills completely boring. Thus, Mark takes on the persona of Hard Harry or Happy Harry Hard-on – the latter so the initials match those of his Hubert H. Humphrey High School – and launches a scathing and often obscene 10 p.m. pirate radio show that includes him reading letters sent to his blind p.o. box and even calling the writers if they include their phone number. At one point, he calls the school guidance counselor (Robert Schenkkan as David Deaver) to discuss the expulsion of a student.

Mark, as Harry, starts to get into trouble and even second guess himself, after he talks to a depressed student (Anthony Lucero as Malcolm) who then kills himself. However, his show has becoming a rallying point for disaffected students. Only one, though, figures out who he is and that is rebellious Nora (then-newcomer Samantha Mathis of “Broken Arrow,” “American Psycho”), who urges him to continue, even though the FCC shows up in town to track down and shut down Hard Harry.

Slater is terrific here and the movie thematically is a powder keg. Today’s Harry would probably be on YouTube or some other Internet platform. Helping deliver writer-director Allan Moyle’s (“Times Square”) message that young people should fight against injustice in any form is a wonderful batch of songs by the likes of Leonard Cohen (“Everybody Knows”), Descendents (“Weiner Schnitzel”), Peter Murphy (“I’ve Got a Miniature Secret Camera”), Pixies (“Wave of Mutilation”), Beastie Boys (“Scenario”) and Was (Not Was) (“Dad, I’m in Jail”), as well as covers, including Richard Hell singing “Love Comes in Spurts” and Liquid Jesus doing the closing “Stand!” There are no bonus features. Grade: film 3.25 stars

Show Boat (1951, Warner Archive, Blu-ray, NR, 108 min.). “Show Boat” shares the struggling singer trying to break into the business along with “Lady Sings the Blues” and “My Dream Is Yours” (see below), but that is the second half of the film. The first half is delightful, as the show boat Cotton Blossom pulls into town and everyone flocks to the Mississippi River landing, including the black slaves working the cotton plantations and the townsfolk. It is a colorful, tuneful arrival, arranged by director George Sidney (“Scaramouche,” “Ziegfeld Follies”).

“Show Boat” began as a 1926 novel by Edna Ferber and was a Broadway musical success with songs by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. This was the third film version, following those in 1929 and 1936. The show was notable for being a musical drama rather than just a musical comedy. Its classic songs include “Ol’ Man River,” “Make Believe” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.”

After the Cotton Blossom lands, impresario Cap’n Andy Hawks (Joe E. Brown of “Some Like It Hot,” “Broadminded”) introduces his cast, including leading man Steve Baker (Robert Sterling of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”), leading lady Julie LaVerne (Ava Gardner of “On the Beach,” “Mogambo”) and dancers Ellie Mae Shipley (Marge Champion) and Frank Schultz (Gower Champion). The Champions, who were married, do three terrific dance numbers in the film. More in the background are Hawks’ wife Parthy (Agnes Morehead of “Citizen Kane,” “The Magnificent Ambersons,” TV’s “Bewitched”) and their daughter Magnolia “Nolie” (Kathryn Grayson of “Kiss Me Kate,” “Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary”).

Magnolia wants to be a singer and actress as well, but her mother would never allow it. However, on the day the boat pulls into town, she is discovered performing lines of a play by itinerant gambler Gaylord Ravenal (Howard Keel of “Kiss Me Kate,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Kismet”). They have an instant attraction, which later blossoms into love and marriage, as Gaylord is hired to replace Steve, when he leaves with Julie, after Julie is threatened with arrest for being partially black (her mother was) and being married to a white man. Julie was reported by jealous boat worker Pete (Leif Erickson of “On the Waterfront,” “The Carpetbaggers”).

The second half of the film jumps to mid-1890s Chicago, where now-married Magnolia and Gaylord are trying to make a living on his gambling winnings. However, his luck turns bad and soon they are out of their fancy hotel digs and living in a small apartment. Gaylord leaves to try his luck in the West, before Magnolia can tell him she is pregnant with their daughter, who will be named Kim (after the intersection of three states along the Mississippi). Magnolia tries to get work singing in Chicago, but eventually goes back to the show boat with her daughter. Surfacing offstage around Magnolia a couple times is Julie, but she always helps anonymously.

In addition to the big musical numbers, there is a delightful dance between Brown and young Sheila Clark as 4-year-old Kim. The ending, with its remade connections is very moving emotionally.

Extras include audio commentary by director Sidney and a 15:29 excerpt from the 1956 Jerome Kern biopic, “Till the Clouds Roll By,” that features a re-creation of the beginning of the 1927 stage production of “Show Boat,” jam-packed with all the opening musical numbers. Featured in this excerpt are Lena Horne as Julie, Tony Martin as Gaylord and Grayson as Magnolia. There also is a Lux Radio Theater broadcast of “Show Boat” from Feb. 11, 1952, with Grayson, the Champions, Gardner, Keel and Jay C. Flippen as Cap’n Andy (50:50).

Additionally, there are audio only versions of Gardner singing “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Me” (5 min.) and “Bill” (3:25). For the film, Gardner’s singing voice was dubbed by an uncredited Annette Warren. Grade: film 4 stars; extras 3 stars

My Dream Is Yours (1949, Warner Archive, Blu-ray, NR, 101 min.). Once again, Warner Archive Collection turns to Doris Day movies for conversion to Blu-ray with this and “On Moonlight Bay” (see below). Directed by Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca,” “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “White Christmas”) and written by Harry Kurnitz (“A Shot in the Dark,” “Hatari”) and Dane Lusier (“Let’s Dance”), the film stars Jack Carson as talent agent Doug Blake, searching for a new talent and finding singer Martha Gibson (Day).

This was the third film Day and Carson had made together in a two-year span, following “Romance on the High Seas” (1948; previously reviewed) and “It’s a Great Feeling” (1949). “Romance on the High Seas,” which featured Day’s first lead role, also was directed by Curtiz. Reportedly, Day and Carson dated in 1950-51, but Day left him to marry her third husband, Marty Melcher. (Day’s son, Terry, was adopted by Melcher and he later became a successful record producer, including The Byrds’ first two albums, some of the Beach Boys’ singles and most of the hit recordings by Paul Revere & the Raiders.)

Doug represents crooner Gary Mitchell (Lee Bowman of “She Wouldn’t Say Yes”), but his client refuses to resign with the radio program, “The Hour of Enchantment,” for another five years. In fact, Mitchell has gone behind Doug’s back and made his own deal elsewhere. So, aided financially by Vi (Eve Arden of “Mildred Pierce” with Carson, TV’s “Our Miss Brooks”), the secretary to talent agency boss Thomas “Hutch” Hutchins (Adolphe Menjou of “The Front Page,” “Stage Door”), Doug goes to New York City to search for a talent. At a bar, he hears Martha singing via telephone and tracks her down so he can make her his next star. (Apparently in those days, one could pay a dime and over the telephone, an employee of the record store would play the vinyl recording you requested.)

Martha agrees to go to Los Angeles with Doug but has to leave her – surprise – young son Freddie (Duncan Richardson) behind. The film uses real Hollywood locations, including the Brown Derby restaurant and Schwab’s Pharmacy, to lend authenticity. In LA, Martha does a lot of bouncy, even novelty numbers, but repeatedly gets turned down. Felix Hofer (S.Z. Sakall of “Casablanca,” “Christmas in Connecticut,” “In the Good Old Summertime”), whose soap company sponsors “The Hour of Enchantment,” refuses to hire her. Doug finally realizes that Martha could be a hit by singing more “straight” material. Meanwhile, Martha has fallen in love with Mitchell, which only brings her heartache.

The film was released around Easter and thus has an Easter-themed segment, a dream that Eddie has that features animated Bugs Bunny and other cartoon characters, plus Martha and Doug dressed up like rabbits. A similar melding of animation and human had taken place in “Anchors Aweigh” (1945), when Gene Kelly danced with Jerry Mouse.

Bonus features include a Joe McDoakes short, “So You Want to Be an Actor” (10:56; satirical); the Oscar-nominated short, “The Grass Is Always Greener,” starring Chill Wills as a ranch hand with the gift of gab (21:24); and the Looney Tunes cartoon, “A Ham in a Role” (6:48). Grade: film 3.25 stars; extras 2 stars

On Moonlight Bay (1951, Warner Archive, Blu-ray, NR, 95 min.). Adapted from the “Penrod” stories by Booth Tarkington, “On Moonlight Bay” is stuffed with about a dozen songs, most loaded in the last half-hour, but the romantic pairing of Doris Day and Gordon MacRae never really works for me. The film is mostly a family drama, with much of the fun moments stolen by young Billy Gray as 11-year-old Wesley. In another three years, Gray would be a star of TV’s “Father Knows Best.”

There are other familiar faces here, starting with Day (see “My Dream Is Yours” above) and MacRae (“Carousel,” “Oklahoma!”). Day plays tomboy Marjorie Winfield, Wesley’s older sister, who falls in love with the boy across the street (MacRae as Bill Sherman). Unfortunately, Bill has not much use for marriage or money, as he tells Marjorie’s father (Leon Ames of TV’s “Father of the Bride,” “Mr. Ed” as George Winfield), not knowing he is a bank vice president, who has just moved his family a mile-and-a-half for a better neighborhood. Ellen Corby (TV’s “The Waltons”) plays Miss Mary Stevens, Wesley’s teacher. Rosemary DeCamp (“13 Ghosts,” TV’s “The Bob Cummings Show”) plays matriarch Alice Winfield. Their maid, Stella, is played by Mary Wickes of two “Sister Act” films. Stella, with the help of swinging doors, gets to drop a lot of plates in an ongoing funny bit.

Sometimes the film is clunky. MacRae plays a college guy, so he wears a large red sweater with a big “I” on it, for the University of Indiana. They meet cute when Marjorie takes a gun away from Wesley and Bill’s younger brother, only to have it fire off through the garage and nearly hit Bill, who promptly spanks Marjorie, thinking she is a boy. Jack Smith plays Hubert Wakely, Bill’s stuffy rival for Marjorie’s hand.

Marjorie and Bill’s first date sees them rowing on “Moonlight Bay” and then Marjorie besting a crooked carny guy in a throwing contest. It is all rather ho-hum. At one point, Wesley goes to see a black-and-white movie about a drunk and unfaithful husband, which gives him fodder for an excuse as to why he fell asleep in class.

As the film is set in 1916-17 and Bill has repeatedly mentioned the fighting in Europe, it ends up with him enlisting and going off to military training. The whole cast would reassemble two years later for a sequel, “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.”

Extras include “Let’s Sing a Song About the Moon” with the Melody Makers (9:24); and the Merrie Melodies cartoon, “A Hound for Trouble.” Grade: film 2.5 stars; extras 1.5 stars