The Crown (15)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, £24.99

Fresh from its success at the Emmy Awards, where it picked up three gongs, the £100 million, 10-part Netflix series about the life of Queen Elizabeth II comes to DVD. We Scots may be (arguably) less interested in the subject matter than the Americans, but there's no denying The Crown's oomph factor, both in terms of the script (it has been created and written by Peter Morgan, who also penned Oscar-winning film The Queen), the lavish production and costumes, and not least the starry cast. Claire Foy plays the young Princess Elizabeth when we first meet her in 1947, former Dr Who Matt Smith plays the man she is about to marry – Corfu-born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, better known today as the Duke of Edinburgh.

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The script is snappy and smart, Foy's cut-glass accent is peerless (sorry), and Smith's resemblance to the young Prince Philip is remarkable. Elsewhere, Mad Men's Jared Harris plays George VI, a man who's fond of a filthy joke or two, while Victoria Hamilton plays the future Queen Mother. Vanessa Kirby is Princess Margaret, Ben Miles her future paramour (or one of them, anyway), Group Captain Peter Townsend, and John Lithgow makes a bullish and conniving Winston Churchill.

But as much as The Crown is about the monarchy, so is it about British history in the second part of the 20th century. Series one takes us from 1947 to 1955, three years after Elizabeth's accession to the throne, but series two – which airs on Netflix from December – runs from the Suez Crisis to the Profumo affair, and will doubtless deal heavily with both. A word of advice, though: it helps if you watch with your phone or laptop on and Wikipedia open, just so you know who's who and what's going on.

Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask (15)

BFI, £19.99

Before there was Steve McQueen there was Isaac Julian, also a Briton of Afro-Caribbean descent, also an artist, also a film-maker. Julian never won the Turner Prize or became the first black director to win a Best Picture Oscar, but in every other sense he was a trailblazer thanks to films like 1989's Looking For Langston (a film essay about black gay identity during the so-called Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s) and 1991's Young Soul Rebels (about racism and youth subcultures in late 1970s Britain). And he shows it in this film too, a sort of biopic-meets-docudrama, released in 1996 and starring Colin Salmon as Frantz Fanon, the Martinique-born Marxist intellectual who became the doyen of national liberation movements around the world before dying in America aged just 36.

Isaac's particular focus is Fanon's writings – his 1961 book, The Wretched Of The Earth, is his best known, though the film's title is taken from his 1952 work about black identity – and also his involvement in the long-running and brutal Algerian war of independence. Using archive footage, dramatic re-enactments and re-imaginings, and interviews with people who knew Fanon (including his brother, his former colleagues and noted cultural theorist Stuart Hall), Isaac paints a fascinating picture of his subject without shying away from showing his flaws and contradictions. Fifty six years after Fanon's death and 21 years after Isaac's film, the ideas it contains are still relevant: witness, for example, Julien's discussion of Fanon's controversial essay on the veil in Muslim culture. It's worth watching for Salmon's performance, as well: a charismatic and handsome performer, it's easy to see why he was once tipped for the James Bond role. And what would Frantz Fanon have made of that?

The Party (PG)

Eureka!, £14.99

Blake Edwards's 1968 comedy comes with the label “cult classic” firmly attached, partly because of its unusual construction and style and partly because it stars Peter Sellers and (at least in terms of its reliance on cute slapstick routines) forms a loose trilogy of sorts with those two other Edwards/Sellers outings of the 1960s, The Pink Panther and A Shot In The Dark. It's far less popularly celebrated than either, however, and far less easy for modern viewers to digest. Here's why: Sellers spends the whole film in black face. Well, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

He plays wannabe Indian actor Hrundi V Bakshi, who has somehow inveigled his way into a small role on some kind of Raj-set epic which we see being filmed in the opening scenes. But after he ruins a couple of takes – one with explosive consequences for the director – he's fired. Unfortunately there's a mix up and his name ends up on the invitation list for a party at the swanky Hollywood home of the producer. As you'd expect, mayhem ensues. There are a few belly laughs and a couple of marvellous set-pieces – particularly a dinner party scene, which Edwards shoots with virtually no dialogue and oodles of complex physical comedy – but it's hard to make the claim for “classic” bit of the tag. Still, Sellers fans will find plenty to enjoy and among the extras are a behind-the-scenes Making Of documentary and a feature on Edwards's filming methods.