On the agenda for this afternoon: DVD/Blu-ray releases galore, and how you can help save a piece of Hollywood history.
John Wayne’s greatest achievement, and biggest regret, was directing 1960’s The Alamo. After a lengthy shoot, the movie was significantly cut down to please studios and audiences. Since then, the movie’s original print has sat in the MGM vault deteriorating. The complete article at The Digital Bits explores attempts to restore the movie, but unfortunately the prognosis for any restoration, even if started today, is grim. The best way to help is by tweeting, emailing, and Facebooking MGM and (politely) inquiring about this. The studio that’s celebrating 90 years of movie excellence isn’t preserving that excellence? Unacceptable.
Author Carl Rollyson, who wrote the fantastic biography on Dana Andrews, Hollywood Enigma, is receiving a reprint of his book, Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress. Instead of a straightforward biography, Rollyson explores Marilyn’s body of work and how she utilized elements of life and various acting methods to enhance her performances. If you’re interested in an analytic exploration of her work, you might want to head over to the University Press of Mississippi site and purchase it.
New on DVD/Blu-ray
Warner Brothers: Gone With the Wind receives the box set treatment again as Warner Brothers announces a new 75th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. The set includes the Blu-ray disc, a replica of Rhett Butler’s handkerchief and a music box/paperweight, and a companion booklet. New bonus content on the Blu-ray is set to feature footage from the film’s premiere and a journey through the South of today. No final artwork’s been revealed and fture bonus features could be announced. If you missed the last Gone With the Win box set, here’s how to rectify that. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Gone With the Wind hits store shelves September 30th.
Warner Archive: Warner Archive is firing on all cylinders this week with a bevy of Greer Garson releases, more Dr. Kildare, and two additional Clark Gable features. In the Garson category the studio’s putting out Desire Me (1947), The Law and the Lady (1951), Scandal at Scourie (1953), and Strange Lady in Town (1955). It’ll be interesting to compare The Law and the Lady to its predecessor, The Last of Mrs. Chaney. (I reviewed the Joan Crawford version, itself a remake to a movie starring Norma Shearer, a few months ago.) If you’re a fan of Dr. Kildare, the studio’s putting out volume 3. And Clark Gable returns in two tiles that were previously out of print: Teacher’s Pet (1958) and It Started in Naples (1960). All of these can be ordered, on-demand, at WB’s website.
Universal Vault: Universal isn’t releasing movies from their vault series as rapidly as they used to, but the eight movies now available on DVD are fantastic. You can know own Ernst Lubitsch’s Angel (1937), William Powell and Kay Francis in For the Defense (1930), Ronald Colman in If I Were King (1938), Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955) starring Maureen O’Hara, The Mississippi Gambler (1953) with Tyrone Power and Piper Laurie, W.C. Fields in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1934), No Room for the Groom (1952) starring Tony Curtis, and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in Variety Girl (1947). You can buy all these exclusively at Amazon.
Shout! Factory: Shout! Factory’s made me the happiest girl in the world! They’ve announced an August 12th release date for 1965’s made-for-TV version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, aka the version that made me love musicals! For several years this was out-of-print, leaving those with copies to command high prices online, or forcing fans to invest in subpar bootleg copies. There’s no details on if Shout! has plans for additional bonus content to honor the 50th Anniversary, but they’re touting a new digital transfer. This is already in my Amazon cart!
20th Centry Fox: Fox is putting out four more titles, June 17th as part of their Cinema Archives. They include: Warner Baxter in The Cisco Kid (1931), John Barrymore in Hold That Co-Ed (1938), Crack-Up (1936) starring Peter Lorre, and Blood and Steel (1959).
TCM Vault: The TCM Vault is unlocked to provide another series of film noirs in their Dark Crimes series. Dark Crimes: Film Noir Thrillers, Volume 2 contains four films, one of whic has already received a superior Criterion release; Fritz Lang’s Ministry of Fear (1944), You and Me (1938), Undertow (1949) and Hollywood Story (1951). Bonus content on the discs include intros by Ben Mankiewicz, commentaries by Eddie Muller, lobby cards, posters, and more.
Twilight Time: Finally, Twilight Time’s released fantastic cover art for their upcoming Blu-ray of Born Yesterday. The movie comes to Blu-ray, for the first time ever, on July 8th.