Cary Grant died in late 1986 at the age of 82. Had he lived,
January 2004 would have marked his 100th birthday. During a film
career that began in 1932 and lasted for 34 years, Grant appeared in
72 films as well as doing several shorts and at least one cameo.
Throughout virtually his entire career, Grant was without doubt
Hollywood's paramount player of light comedy and romance. He was
urbane, resourceful, and quick-witted, and his attractiveness to
women made the often bizarre situations his films placed him in
quite easy to understand and accept. The pleasure was in seeing how
he managed to extricate himself even if it meant getting in even
deeper before emerging seemingly none the worse for wear. He made
appear easy that which is most difficult - playing comedy - and for
his efforts, Hollywood belatedly awarded him a special Oscar in
1970, four years after his last film. He accepted it with all the
grace and sincerity that one would have expected from him. This
recognition merely confirmed what any filmgoer already knew, however
- that Cary Grant had been a true superstar at a time when that term
actually meant something. Whether it was straight comedy, romance,
or thriller or the expert blend of any combination of them as
shepherded by the likes of Howard Hawks or Alfred Hitchcock, Cary
Grant in the starring role ensured that one got one's money's worth
even if the supporting elements were not always up to standard. It's
sometimes said that Grant never got enough opportunities in serious
dramatic roles to truly show off his acting ability. That may be
true, but would we willingly trade off his numerous comedic turns
throughout the late 1930s and 1940s for them? There were many who
could excel in dramatic roles, but few like Grant who could do so in
a wide variety of comedy roles.
Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England on January
18th, 1904. He came to America as a member of a pantomime and
acrobatic troupe in 1920 and eventually found work on Broadway that
resulted in increasingly important roles by the late 1920s. By the
early 1930s, Paramount was making films in both Hollywood and New
York. Those made in the latter tended to be short subjects that
often employed Broadway performers in various comedy sketches or
musical numbers. One of the shorts was Singapore
Sue, which starred Chinese character actress Anna Chang.
Grant got his first film role as a sailor visiting the café
where Chang sang. Soon thereafter, he signed a contract with
Paramount and he quickly found himself appearing in feature films.
His first such effort was This Is the
Night (1932, with Lily Damita and Charles Ruggles).
From 1932 to 1936, Cary Grant made 25 films. Twenty-one of these
were made at Paramount and allowed Grant opportunities to appear
with virtually every major star on the Paramount lot: Carole Lombard
(Sinners in the Sun, 1932),
Fredric March (Merrily We Go to Hell,
1932), Gary Cooper (The Devil and the
Deep, 1932), Marlene Dietrich (Blonde
Venus, 1932), Sylvia Sidney (Madame
Butterfly, 1932; Thirty-Day
Princess, 1934), and Mae West (She
Done Him Wrong, 1933; I'm No
Angel, 1933). The latter two films with Mae West are
noteworthy ones from this period as were The
Eagle and the Hawk (1933) - an effective World War I
flying film starring Fredric March, Jack Oakie and Carole Lombard,
and Gambling Ship (1933) which
was the first film to give Grant top billing.
In 1935, Katharine Hepburn was interested in filming Sylvia
Scarlett at RKO. The story involved the escape of an
embezzler from France to England. Hepburn would play the embezzler's
daughter and for the role of a Cockney conman who accompanies the
pair, she suggested Cary Grant whom Paramount was willing to loan
out. The part was a welcome respite from the series of
charming-men-in-dark-suit roles that Grant had fallen into at
Paramount and marked the beginning of the second phase of his film
career. The notices were good and the timing was perfect. His
five-year contract with Paramount was ending and he had no intention
of renewing it. Grant was then fortunate to land a four-picture deal
with Columbia and soon after another deal with RKO. This would allow
him to alternate films at the two studios as well as freelance
elsewhere and to be essentially his own man when it came to
directing his career - a rare situation in Hollywood where most
players were bound to a single studio with a seven-year contract.
From 1937 to 1945, Grant appeared in 22 films and among them are
found many of the smart, witty comedy titles for which Grant is best
remembered - Topper (1937),
The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing
Up Baby (1938), Holiday
(1938), His Girl Friday
(1940), My Favorite Wife
(1940), The Philadelphia Story
(1941), The Talk of the Town
(1942), Mr. Lucky (1943), and
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944).
He did not restrict himself to the comedy genre, however, and showed
that he could also excel at adventure (Gunga
Din, 1939), soap opera (Penny
Serenade, 1941), wartime propaganda (Destination
Tokyo, 1944), drama (None But
the Lonely Heart, 1944), and thrillers (Suspicion,
1941). This was indeed a rich period for Grant, and he was
particularly pleased (as were most critics) with his straight
dramatic work in None But the Lonely
Heart. He was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost
out to Bing Crosby for Going My Way.
His disappointment, along with marriage difficulties, contributed to
a self-enforced year-long period of seclusion.
When Cary Grant returned to work in mid-1945, it was to film Night
and Day, a biography of Cole Porter, for Warner Bros.
Despite a rather wooden performance by Grant and the usual nonsense
contained in Hollywood biopics, the film was a huge box office
success. Artistically speaking, it was not an auspicious start to
the third and final phase of Grant's film career. The next film was
a different matter entirely, however. Alfred Hitchcock had directed
Grant in 1941's Suspicion and
he now wanted him to play an intelligence agent in love with a
beautiful woman who marries someone else in order to help out her
adopted country. The film was Notorious
(1946) and it would lead to two other Hitchcock/Grant collaborations
that would come to stand out from many of the rest of the films that
Grant would make.
From 1946 until his retirement from films in 1966, Cary Grant would
make a further 25 pictures. The first decade of this period
continued on a generally high standard and included the likes of
The Bishop's Wife (1947,
Samuel Goldwyn, with David Niven and Loretta Young), Mr.
Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948, RKO, with Myrna
Loy- "If you ain't eatin' Wham, you ain't eating' ham"),
I Was a Male War Bride (1949,
Fox, with Ann Sheridan), People Will Talk
(1951, Fox, with Jeanne Crain), Monkey
Business (1952, Fox, with Ginger Rogers), and To
Catch a Thief (1955, Paramount - the third Hitchcock
film, this time with Grace Kelly). The second decade began with both
the ridiculous (The Pride and the Passion,
1957, UA) and the sublime (An Affair to
Remember, 1957, Fox - well, not really sublime, but at
least a decent remake of 1939's Love
Affair). There would be one more real high point - 1959's
North by Northwest (MGM, the
final Hitchcock collaboration), and a couple of decent comedies (Indiscreet,
1958 and Houseboat, 1958)
before Grant embarked on a run of five films for Universal. Of
these, only Operation Petticoat
(1959) and Charade (1963, with
Audrey Hepburn) were really up to the Grant standard. Grant's
experience with Father Goose
(1964), in which he played a bewhiskered beach bum, convinced him
that the public did not want to see him grow old on the screen nor
appear as anyone else other than Cary Grant playing Cary Grant, so
he ended his film career with 1966's Walk,
Don't Run which was a tolerable remake of 1943's The
More, the Merrier.
Grant had another reason for retiring from films. After three
unsuccessful marriages, he was finally going to have a child with
his fourth wife, Dyan Cannon. Their daughter Jennifer was born in
February 1966 and Grant would later say, "I retired when I
became a father because I didn't want to miss any part of my
daughter's growing up. I could have gone on playing a grandfather or
a bum, but I discovered more important things in life." There
would be a fifth marriage, to Barbara Harris, who encouraged Grant
to share his reminiscences of working in film in a series of
lectures called "Evenings with Cary Grant". It was while
preparing for one of these evenings that Cary Grant died of a stroke
on November 29th, 1986. He was 82.
Cary Grant on DVD
Almost seven years into the DVD era, over a third of Cary Grant's
films are now available to us in Region 1, with at least two others
forthcoming. The details follow. Most of the missing key titles are
RKO productions whose rights are held by Warner Bros. One hopes that
Warners' new-found dedication to the classics includes early release
of many of these titles. Note that several of these films have
already been released in other Regions where there are different
rights holders. In Region 2, for example, Sylvia
Scarlett (1936, RKO), Bringing
Up Baby (1938, RKO), My
Favourite Wife (1940), Suspicion
(1941, RKO), Once Upon a Honeymoon
(1942, RKO), and Mr. Blandings Builds His
Dream House (1948, RKO) are available with The
Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947, RKO) forthcoming.
Singapore Sue (1931,
Paramount). Made in New York City, Grant's Paramount film contract
may have resulted from his appearance as a sailor in this short,
although his overly enthusiastic emoting would seem to belie that.
Available on DVD in Hollywood Rhythm
Volume 2: The Best of Big Bands and Swing from Kino. The
print is rough, but quite watchable.
I'm No Angel (1933,
Paramount). This is the second teaming with Mae West and one of
West's best outings. Previously available on DVD from Image, but now
out of print although the odd copy can still be found in some
stores. The transfer looks fairly sharp but is characterized by
plenty of age-related speckling and debris. Universal now holds the
Born to Be Bad (1934, United Artists). Grant fails to
inspire in this pre-Code outing starring Loretta Young. Available on
DVD from Fox. See review link below.
Riches and Romance (1936,
British, aka The Amazing Adventure,
The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss,
and Romance and Riches). Minor
Grant comedy, filmed in Britain and available on DVD from numerous
public domain specialists. The only version I've seen (from Platinum
Disc Corporation) looks faded and hazy with pretty scratchy sound.
Topper (1937, MGM). A very
pleasant comedy with an early view of the debonair Grant persona
even though here he's playing a ghost. Available on DVD from Artisan
packaged with Topper Returns
(1941). This is one of the Artisan efforts that's actually not too
bad. The inclusion of Topper Returns
is a welcome bonus even though Grant's nowhere to be seen.
The Awful Truth (1937,
Columbia). This is one of the crown jewels of screwball comedy with
both Grant and Irene Dunne in top form. Available on DVD from
Columbia in a disappointing transfer.
Bringing Up Baby (1938, RKO).
Another of the crown jewels and Grant's first collaboration with
Howard Hawks. Believed to be forthcoming on DVD from Warner Bros. in
Only Angels Have Wings (1939,
Columbia). A solid adventure drama with a stand-out cast of Grant,
Jean Arthur, Thomas Mitchell, Rita Hayworth and Richard Barthelmess.
Available on DVD from Columbia with an excellent transfer. Highly
His Girl Friday (1940,
Columbia). Vies with Bringing Up Baby
to be the finest of the Grant/Hawks collaborations. A comedy
classic. Available on DVD from Columbia with an excellent transfer
and fine supplements. Very highly recommended.
The Howards of Virginia (1940,
Columbia). This Revolutionary War tale is sincerely told, with Grant
effectively cast even though it's a role out of the ordinary for
him. Enjoyable entertainment available on DVD from Columbia in a
more than satisfactory transfer.
The Philadelphia Story (1941,
MGM). Grant + Katharine Hepburn + James Stewart = another key comedy
classic. Available on DVD from Warner Bros. One of the earliest DVD
releases that still looks pretty good. Recommended.
Penny Serenade (1941,
Columbia). I really wish Columbia would rescue this public domain
standard like it did His Girl Friday.
Irene Dunne and Grant give excellent performances in a George
Stevens-directed sentimental tale of a couple that adopts a baby.
Available on DVD from numerous public domain specialists, none of
whose versions are particularly great.
The Talk of the Town (1942,
Columbia). Grant, Ronald Colman, and Jean Arthur all sparkle in this
Capresque comedy-drama directed by George Stevens. Available on DVD
from Columbia sporting an inconsistent transfer. Nevertheless,
Destination Tokyo (1944, WB).
A very entertaining flag waver with Grant in good form as a
submarine commander backed by a crew of WB regulars like John
Garfield, Alan Hale, Dane Clark, and the like. Forthcoming on DVD
from Warner Bros. in 2004.
Once Upon a Time (1944,
Columbia). A mediocre outing about a man (Grant) and a trained
caterpillar. Equally mediocre is Columbia's DVD release.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944,
WB). A very entertaining version of the stage play with Grant ably
supported by the likes of Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre, Jack Carson ,
and Priscilla Lane. Directed by Frank Capra. Available on DVD from
Warner Bros with a very fine transfer. Highly recommended.
Notorious (1946, RKO).
Grant/Hitchcock/Bergman and the only time Grant worked with the
ever-reliable Claude Rains. Available on DVD from Criterion. The
usual impeccable Criterion effort with some excellent supplements.
Very highly recommended. Criterion's licence has expired as of the
end of 2003 and the rights are now held by MGM.
The Bishop's Wife (1947,
Samuel Goldwyn). A very pleasant holiday fantasy that shows its
stars (Grant/Niven/Young) off to perfection. Available on DVD from
MGM in a nice-looking transfer. Recommended.
I Was a Male War Bride (1949,
Fox). The "oomph" girl meets Cary Grant. Available on DVD
from Fox. Recommended. See review link below.
People Will Talk (1951, Fox).
Available on DVD from Fox. Recommended. See review
Monkey Business (1952, Fox).
Being on a par with I Was a Male War
Bride means that this is a second-tier Howard Hawks
comedy. That still means it's quite enjoyable with Grant in fine
form in a slapstick-heavy story. Available on DVD from Fox in a
pretty decent transfer. Recommended.
To Catch a Thief (1955,
Paramount). A classy romantic thriller from Alfred Hitchcock that
superbly casts Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Available on DVD from
Paramount in a very nice anamorphic transfer and accompanied by some
fine supplements. Highly recommended.
The Pride and the Passion
(1957, United Artists). A long and frequently boring period piece
(during the Napoleonic wars) about a massive Spanish cannon.
Principals Grant and Frank Sinatra are badly miscast. Available on
DVD from MGM in a passable transfer.
An Affair to Remember (1957,
Fox). This remake of Leo McCarey's Love
Affair is entertaining though not up to the original.
Available on DVD from Fox as part of its Studio Classics series.
Very good anamorphic transfer (improving on Fox's first DVD release
of this film) and fine supplements. Recommended.
Kiss Them for Me (1957, Fox).
Available on DVD from Fox. See review link
Indiscreet (1958, WB).
Pleasant but inconsequential comedy set in London. Grant and Bergman
are the whole show. Available on DVD from Artisan in a mediocre
widescreen (non-anamorphic) transfer.
Houseboat (1958, Paramount).
An amiable time-passer with Grant and Sophia Loren in good form in
Washington. Available on DVD from Paramount in a very nice
North by Northwest (1959,
MGM). Excellent thriller from Hitchcock with Grant, Eva Marie Saint,
and James Mason all first rate. Available on DVD from Warner Bros in
a startlingly good anamorphic transfer. Very highly recommended.
Operation Petticoat (1959,
Universal). A still entertaining comedy that features Grant as the
commander of a damaged submarine which he tries to get to the
nearest drydock Available on DVD from Artisan in a mediocre
widescreen (non-anamorphic) transfer.
The Grass Is Greener (1961,
Universal). A lumbering comedy set in an English mansion opened to
the public. Neither Grant nor co-stars Deborah kerr, Robert Mitchum,
and Jean Simmons can breathe life into this one. Available on DVD
from Artisan in a mediocre widescreen (non-anamorphic) transfer.
That Touch of Mink (1962,
Universal). Standard Doris Day/Rock Hudson fare except Cary has the
Rock Hudson part. Available on DVD from Artisan in the usual
mediocre widescreen (non-anamorphic) transfer.
Charade (1963, Universal).
Grant's last really good picture is this comedy-thriller with Audrey
Hepburn and directed by Stanley Donen. Available on DVD from
Universal, Criterion, and numerous public domain specialists. Very
fine Criterion version recommended despite being non-anamorphic.
Universal did issue an anamorphic transfer coupled with its release
of a remake entitled The Truth About
Father Goose (1964,
Universal). A cut above the likes of That
Touch of Mink and The Grass Is
Greener, but still decidedly second-tier Cary. Available
on DVD from Artisan in the usual widescreen non-anamorphic transfer,
but slightly less worn looking than Artisan's other Grant transfers.
Walk, Don't Run (1966,
Columbia). Grant is good, but the supporting cast is decidedly
second rate in this passable remake of The
More The Merrier. Set in Tokyo. Available on DVD from
Columbia in a nice-looking anamorphic transfer.
Cary Grant films not yet available nor announced as forthcoming for
DVD in Region 1 are as follows, with the current rights holder
listed beside each along with previous laserdisc availability.
This Is the Night (1932,
Paramount) Universal holds rights.
Sinners in the Sun (1932,
Merrily We Go to Hell (1932,
Devil and the Deep, The (1932,
Blonde Venus (1932, Paramount)
Universal. Previously available on laserdisc (LD).
Hot Saturday (1932, Paramount)
Madame Butterfly (1932,
She Done Him Wrong (1933,
Paramount) Universal. LD
Woman Accused (1933,
Eagle and the Hawk, The (1933,
Gambling Ship (1933,
Alice in Wonderland (1933,
Thirty-Day Princess (1934,
Kiss and Make Up (1934,
Ladies Should Listen (1934,
Enter Madam (1935, Paramount)
Wings in the Dark (1935,
Last Outpost, The (1935,
Sylvia Scarlett (1936, RKO)
Warner Bros. LD
Big Brown Eyes (1936,
Suzy (1936, MGM) Warner Bros.
Wedding Present (1936,
When You're in Love (1937,
Toast of New York, The (1937,
RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Holiday (1938, Columbia)
Gunga Din (1939, RKO) Warner
In Name Only (1939, RKO)
Warner Bros. LD
My Favorite Wife (1940, RKO)
Warner Bros. LD
Suspicion (1941, RKO) Warner
Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942,
RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Mr. Lucky (1943, RKO) Warner
None But the Lonely Heart
(1944, RKO) WB. LD
Night and Day (1946, WB)
Warner Bros. LD
Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, The
(1947, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
(1948, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Every Girl Should Be Married
(1948, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Crisis (1950, MGM) Warner
Room for One More (1952, WB)
Dream Wife (1953, MGM) Warner
For this edition of the column, I've reviewed 12 classic films
released recently on DVD. Just click the title link to read each
review (and then be sure to come back here for a rundown of the
latest classic release announcements).
Me Tonight (1932)
to Be Bad (1934)
Was a Male War Bride (1949)
Will Talk (1951)
Them for Me (1957)
Crusoe of Clipper Island (1936)
Edge of the World (1937)
Had Four Sons (1941)
Darling Clementine (1946)
American Style (1967)
In addition to these 12 titles, I'd like to commend an Artisan
title (gasp!) to you - Four Faces West.
This is an interesting and lesser known 1948 western starring Joel
McCrea and Charles Bickford that has real entertainment value and
quite a decent transfer, all at a modest price.
New Classic Release
The new announcements are presented alphabetically by releasing
company. As always, the
Release Database has been updated accordingly.
Alpha has its usual new monthly slate of 20-odd releases set for
March 23rd. Titles of interest include: Forbidden
Trails (1941, with Buck Jones), The
Great Alaskan Mystery (1944 serial, with Milburn Stone),
Murder in the Clouds (1934,
with Lyle Talbot), and The Pay-Off
(1930, with Lowell Sherman). The full rundown is available in the
In March, Columbia has four classic releases. On March 2nd, we can
expect Dr. Faustus (1967, with
Richard Burton) and The Prisoner
(1955, with Alec Guinness). Both will be in anamorphic widescreen
and accompanied by the usual trailers. The same date will also see a
new Three Stooges compilation, this time entitled Stooges
with the Law, which will contain the five shorts Idiots
Deluxe, Pop Goes the Easel,
Yes We Have No Bonanza, The
Three Trouble Doers, and In
the Sweet Pie and Pie. On March 16th, expect Baby
the Rain Must Fall (1965, with Steve McQueen and Lee
Remick) in anamorphic widescreen.
Criterion's March slate consists of two titles, both set for March
9th. Onibaba (1964. directed
by Kaneto Shindo) will be in anamorphic widescreen and include a new
video interview with the director; the original trailer; a stills
gallery with behind-the-scenes photos, production sketches, and
promotional art; and rare super-8 behind-the-scenes footage provided
by actor Kei Sato. Ingmar Bergman's superb Scenes
from a Marriage (1973) will be a three-disc special
edition including anamorphic widescreen transfers of both the
theatrical and original television versions of the film, a
comparison between the versions by film scholar Peter Cowie, a new
video interview with the two lead actors, and a video interview with
director Ingmar Bergman.
Fox will present The Raquel Welsh
Collection on March 9th. Five films will be in the set
including the already-available Fathom.
The new titles are: Bandolero!
(1968, also with James Stewart), Mother
Jugs & Speed (1976, also with Bill Cosby), One
Million Years B.C. (1966), and Myra
Breckinridge (1970, also with Mae West). The latter will
be a special edition with two audio commentaries one with director
Michael Sarne and the other with Welch, the AMC
Backstory featurette, and additional teaser trailers and
TV spots. All will have anamorphic widescreen transfers. On April
20th, Fox will release Reefer Madness
(1936) in a restored black and white version and a new colorized
version. Why Fox is bothering with this turkey (restored, colorized
or whatever) when it has numerous unreleased titles of its own
languishing in the vaults is a mystery to me. Where are its Charlie
Chan, Mr. Moto, and Laurel and Hardy films, for example? All are
infinitely better second features and more worthy of release than
the likes of Reefer Madness.
Other Fox news, much of it none too specific, comes from a recent
chat over at the Home Theater Forum with Peter Staddon, Senior Vice
President of Marketing for Fox. Note that for some of the following
films, Staddon raised concern over whether a particular title has
potential sales value as a reason for not releasing it on DVD. It's
hard to understand how Fox can't see sales value in the Charlie Chan
films or Les Miserables when
it saw enough to release the likes of Born
to Be Bad, A Christmas Wish,
or the forthcoming Reefer Madness.
Anyway, here are the items relating to classic films touched upon
during the chat. There are no plans to release Sunrise
(1927) as a stand-alone title (available up to now as a mail-in
offer). Something may transpire with respect to it and Cavalcade
(1933) as part of the Studio Classics series later in 2004. Les
Miserables (1935, with Fredric March) seems unlikely to
see the light of day as it is not considered a particularly
commercial property. Some Fox film noir titles, including The
Lodger and Hangover Square,
will possibly start appearing later this year. A Tree Grows in
Brooklyn (1945) is being actively worked on at present. The
Innocents (1961) is not in the works at present. The 300
Spartans (1962) and Zorba the
Greek (1964) appear set to be released on DVD to coincide
with the release of the new movie Troy
for this summer. Anamorphic versions of the previously released
Rodgers and Hammerstein films are more viable financially than in
the past so odds have improved on a possible release, but nothing
definite yet. Two for the Road
(1967) is being considered for release. It was suggested that Prince
Valiant (1954) and Garden of
Evil (1954) would make great studio classics releases.
Prince of Foxes (1949), Untamed
(1955), and The Egyptian
(1954) are not being worked on at this time. As is already known,
Fox has licensed about 12 titles to Criterion, including Kagemusha,
Three Women, Beyond
the Valley of the Dolls, Unfaithfully
Yours, and The Leopard.
The other titles were not revealed, but Fox is apparently willing to
license more rare titles to Criterion. The stumbling block is the
fact that Criterion can only handle a limited number of titles from
any one studio in a given year. Heaven
Can Wait (1943) will be coming out in the Studio Classics
line and possibly Lifeboat
(1944) too, but no timing is indicated as yet. Bigger
Than Life (1956, with James Mason) and Forty
Guns (1957, directed by Sam Fuller) are not being worked
on. Star! (1968) will be
coming out in the next couple of months. Neither of the Paul Newman
comedies What a Way to Go or
Rally Round the Flag Boys is
on the release schedule at this stage. The Charlie Chan films are
not planned for release at this time as they are not considered
commercially viable. Fox may consider licensing out some of its
silent titles (such as those of Murnau and Borzage) or issuing them
as double features in the Studio Classics line.
Among several more recent Joseph Losey films being released by Home
Vision in March (exact date not specified yet) is Time
Without Pity (1957), which will also include Losey's
debut film, the 20-minute short Pete
Roleum and His Cousins.
The Pink Panther Collection
announced in a previous edition of this column is now set for an
April 6th release by MGM. This six-disc set will include
newly-remastered anamorphic widescreen versions of five films in the
series: The Pink Panther, A
Shot in the Dark, The Pink
Panther Strikes Again, Revenge
of the Pink Panther, and The
Trail of the Pink Panther plus a bonus disc with the new
documentary The Pink Panther Story
and The Pink Panther Cartoon Theatre. The latter consists of a
collection of six award-winning original cartoons and the featurette
Behind the Feline: The Cartoon Phenomenon.
Other extras include an audio commentary by Blake Edwards. Also from
MGM and arriving April 20th are: Ring of
Bright Water (1969), Jack the
Giant Killer (1962), Billie
(1965), Follow That Dream
(1962, with Elvis Presley), I Could Go On
Singing (1963, with Judy Garland), Man
of La Mancha (1972, with Peter O'Toole). The first two
will be non-anamorphic widescreen. The others were announced as full
screen, but I Could Go On Singing
and Man of La Mancha have
apparently since been pulled from the schedule to bring them out in
Paramount has set April 6th as the release date for The
Greatest Show on Earth (1952, full frame mono), The
Little Prince (1974, anamorphic 2.0 surround), and Half
a Sixpence (1967, anamorphic 2.0 surround).
Universal throws some bones to devotees of its classic monsters by
re-releasing all five Frankenstein titles (Frankenstein,
Bride of Frankenstein, Son
of Frankenstein, House of
Frankenstein, Ghost of
Frankenstein), this time on a two-disc set entitled Frankenstein:
The Legacy Collection. The disc will include some of the
supplements from the earlier special editions of the individual
titles. Street date will be April 27th. Similarly packaged Dracula
and Wolf Man collections will debut on the same date: Dracula:
The Legacy Collection (Dracula,
Dracula: Original Spanish Version,
Draculas Daughter, Son
of Dracula, House of Dracula)
and The Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection
(The Wolf Man, Werewolf
of London, Frankenstein Meets
the Wolf Man, She-Wolf of
London). All three legacy collections will also be
available in The Monster Legacy Gift Set
which will include three collectible figures. In other Universal
news, on April 6th, look for Lover Come
Back, a new digitally remastered version of Pillow
Talk, and a Hudson/Day Romance
Collection (which will include Pillow
Talk, Lover Come Back,
and Send Me No Flowers).
The big news from Warner Bros. is the confirmation of the Judy
Garland titles previously reported here. On April 6th, we'll get
five Garland titles: Meet Me in St. Louis,
In the Good Old Summertime,
For Me and My Gal, Ziegfeld
Girl, and Love Finds Andy
Hardy. Meet Me in St. Louis
will be a two-disc Special Edition that is the third release to
undergo Warner Bros. Pictures' proprietary "Ultra-Resolution"
process. Extras include: Disc One - new introduction by Liza
Minnelli; new commentary by Garland biographer John Fricke with
Margaret O'Brien, screenwriter Irving Brecher, songwriter Hugh
Martin and daughter of producer Arthur Freed, Barbara
Freed-Saltzman; music-only track (without vocals); and a Vincente
Minnelli trailer gallery with trailers from eight of his most
treasured films including Meet Me in St.
Louis, Father of the Bride,
An American in Paris, The
Bad and the Beautiful, Brigadoon,
Designing Woman, Gigi,
and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.
Disc Two - Meet Me in St. Louis: The Making of an American Classic
(narrated by Roddy McDowall); Hollywood: The Dream Factory
(Emmy-Award winning 1972 MGM-TV special, narrated by Dick Cavett -
first time on home video); Becoming Attractions: Judy Garland (1996
TCM special); Meet Me in St. Louis (1966 TV pilot with Shelley
Fabares and Celeste Holm); Bubbles (1930 Warner Bros. short
featuring Judy Garland at age 7); Skip To My Lou (rare 1941 musical
short with Meet Me in St. Louis composers Hugh Martin and Ralph
Blane); Audio Vault [Boys and Girls Like You and Me outtake
(re-construction using still photographs), Lux Radio Theater
Broadcast from December 2, 1946]; and a stills gallery. The other
four films all feature new introductions, vintage shorts, audio
additions, and theatrical trailers. In addition, For
Me and My Gal will have an audio commentary by Garland
biographer John Fricke.
Other Warner Bros. news includes the release of Helen
of Troy (1955, directed by Robert Wise) on April 27th
with an anamorphic widescreen transfer. A release of
Gold Diggers of 1933 is
planned, but no date has been fixed as yet. The disc will include
the existing two restored reels of Gold
Diggers of Broadway (1929). Further Warner plans appear
to include box sets for the Marx Brothers (possibly for June),
Johnny Weismuller, and Errol Flynn (both in the fall). The first
entry in WB's new "Hanna Barbera Collection" will be The
Flintstones: The Complete First Season, a four-disc set
containing 28 episodes and scheduled to arrive March 16th.
In Region 2 news of interest, there will be an ambitious release of
Laurel and Hardy sound films in the Netherlands through
Universal/Benelux. March 11th will see the release of three two-disc
sets of the sound shorts: Laurel &
Hardy Talkies, Part 1 - 1929-1930 - Disc 1: Unaccustomed
As We Are 1929, Berth Marks '29, Men O'War '29, Perfect Day '29,
They Go Boom! '29, The Hoose-Gow '29, Night Owls '30. Disc 2: Blotto
'30, Brats '30, Below Zero '30, Hog Wild '30, The Laurel-Hardy
Murder Case '30, Another Fine Mess '30. Laurel
& Hardy Talkies, Part 2 - 1931-1932 - Disc 1: Be Big
'31, Chickens Come Home '31, Laughing Gravy plus long version '31,
Our Wife '31, Come Clean '31, One Good Turn '31. Disc 2: Beau Hunks
'31, Helpmates '32, Any Old Port '32, The Music Box '32, The Chimp
'32, County Hospital '32. Laurel &
Hardy Talkies, Part 3 - 1932-1935 - Disc 1: Scram! '32,
Their First Mistake '32, Towed in a Hole '33, Twice Two '33, Me and
My Pal '33, The Midnight Patrol '33, Busy Bodies '33. Disc 2: Dirty
Work '33, Oliver the Eighth '34, Going Bye-Bye! '34, Them Thar Hills
'34, The Live Ghost '34, Tit for Tat '35, The Fixer-Uppers '35,
Thicker Than Water '35. The three sets will also be available in a
single box set. On May 6th, the sound features will be made
available on a number of two-disc releases. Approximately six months
later, the silent shorts will appear.
Well, once again, that's it for now. I'll be back again soon!