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Classic Coming Attractions by Barrie Maxwell

Barrie Maxwell - Main Page

Cary Grant

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 rights.

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. Recommended.

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 2004.

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 recommended.

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, recommended.

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 link below.

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 below.

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 anamorphic transfer.

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 Charlie.

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, Paramount) Universal.
Merrily We Go to Hell (1932, Paramount) Universal
Devil and the Deep, The (1932, Paramount) Universal.
Blonde Venus (1932, Paramount) Universal. Previously available on laserdisc (LD).
Hot Saturday (1932, Paramount) Universal.
Madame Butterfly (1932, Paramount) Universal.
She Done Him Wrong (1933, Paramount) Universal. LD
Woman Accused (1933, Paramount). Universal.
Eagle and the Hawk, The (1933, Paramount) Universal.
Gambling Ship (1933, Paramount) Universal.
Alice in Wonderland (1933, Paramount) Universal.
Thirty-Day Princess (1934, Paramount) Universal.
Kiss and Make Up (1934, Paramount) Universal.
Ladies Should Listen (1934, Paramount) Universal.
Enter Madam (1935, Paramount) Universal.
Wings in the Dark (1935, Paramount) Universal.
Last Outpost, The (1935, Paramount) Universal.
Sylvia Scarlett (1936, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Big Brown Eyes (1936, Paramount) Universal.
Suzy (1936, MGM) Warner Bros.
Wedding Present (1936, Paramount) Universal.
When You're in Love (1937, Columbia) Columbia.
Toast of New York, The (1937, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Holiday (1938, Columbia) Columbia. LD
Gunga Din (1939, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
In Name Only (1939, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
My Favorite Wife (1940, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Suspicion (1941, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
Mr. Lucky (1943, RKO) Warner Bros. LD
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 Bros.
Room for One More (1952, WB) Warner Bros.
Dream Wife (1953, MGM) Warner Bros.


DVD Reviews

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).

Applause (1929)
Love Me Tonight (1932)
Born to Be Bad (1934)
I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
People Will Talk (1951)
Kiss Them for Me (1957)
Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island (1936)
The Edge of the World (1937)
Adam Had Four Sons (1941)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
Divorce American Style (1967)
Marooned (1969)

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 Announcements

The new announcements are presented alphabetically by releasing company. As always, the Classic 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 database.

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 anamorphic widescreen.

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, Dracula’s 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!

Barrie Maxwell
barriemaxwell@thedigitalbits.com


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