Knight at HOME at the Movies
Back to the Classics
The Warner Archive Collection and three other classics - all worth checking out in this edition of DVD Recommendations.
The Warner Archive Collection - From Warner Home Video. With their huge movie library - encompassing MGM, WB, and RKO
titles, it only makes sense that Warner Bros. is opening their vaults with an exciting new DVD on demand program. Over 165 titles
have already been announced - with new ones added monthly - that are available in bare bones editions. These include a lot of
obscure though expertly made studio products with many big name stars - including a batch of titles from Joan Crawford, Payment on
Demand from 1951 with Bette Davis (a personal fave of mine), a slew of early Katharine Hepburn movies, etc. With their huge
backlog, this is perhaps the only way that classics fans will have a chance to get their hands on these films. The movies are of DVD
quality, packaged as shown above, and are only available through the Warner site. There's also a download directly to computer
option but I'm guessing most classic fans will want to have even the bare bones artwork and case - especially for a title like Ice
Follies of 1939 - the early Technicolor misfire with Crawford, Jimmy Stewart and Lew Ayres. Take note Paramount, Fox, and Universal!
TCM Spotlight - Doris Day Collection – From Warner Home Video. This should actually be called the Doris Day Collection
Volume Three as it collects the five remaining early Day films into one set (only four Day movies remain unreleased on DVD: Julie,
Midnight Lace, The Ballad of Josie and Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?). This one has a nice variety with the musical April in
Paris, the all star Hollywood parody It's a Great Feeling and the loosely based on "No No Nannette" Tea for Two (thanks to supporting
work from Eve Arden, S.Z. Sakall and Billy DeWolfe) the strongest of the quintet. Tunnel of Love with co-star Richard Widmark is a
smarmy comedy, the sets only dud (though Day brings it her all as usual) while Starlift is one of those "all star" Hollywood Canteen-
like musicals in which Day appears briefly as herself. A must for Day collectors.
Cleopatra – From Universal. Though I haven't had a chance yet to review the special features on this 75th anniversary edition of
Cecil B. DeMille's 1934 film version, that shouldn't stop you from picking up what is sure to be another winner in Universal's new
Backlot Classics series. The over the top production values, Claudette Colbert's vixenish lead performance, and DeMille's obsession
with putting as many "sinful" acts on the screen make the film alone a must have. A second disc of new featurette goodies and a
new transfer are all in the plus column as well.
Nickelodeon-The Last Picture Show – From Sony Pictures. This 2-disc set is going to make fans of director Peter
Bogdanovich very happy indeed. Here for the first time is Nickelodeon, his 1976 misfire presented as the director originally intended
it - in glorious black and white and with an additional four minutes of footage. The movie, a frenetic homage to the silent era of
movie making stars Ryan O'Neal (doing almost a repeat performance of his dithering professor in What's Up Doc?), Burt Reynolds
sans mustache, Tatum O'Neal with her crack timing, John Ritter, Stella Stevens, and a shrill Brian Keith. The film, long unavailable is
a genuine curio that works in fits and starts but has some truly hilarious and moving sequences (especially the final one which takes
place at the premiere of Birth of a Nation). The original color version is also included along with the director's matter of fact
commentary. A director's version of The Last Picture Show, his 1971 masterwork, is also included along with over an hour's worth of
special features. A great twofer.