Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The James Stewart Hollywood Legend Collection |
Vertigo / Rear Window / Harvey / Winchester '73 / Destry Rides Again
Actors: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Shelley Winters, Kim Novak, Marlene Dietrich
Directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Mann, George Marshall, Henry Koster
Genres: Westerns, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 09/07/2004
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Captures Jimmy Stewart in top form
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By the time James Stewart returned from World War II he was a changed man. The horrors that he witnessed in the war almost made him give up acting because he thought it might be too trivial a profession. Luckily for us he didn't. Ironically, it deepened his art as an actor and this terrific boxed set has five of Stewart's greatest movies with four from the latter part of his career and one early classic.
Hitchcock found in Stewart the quintessential American hero. Originally, Cary Grant wanted the role in "Vertigo". Hitchcock knew he was absolutely wrong for the role and turned to the only actor that could portray both the world weariness, sense of obsession and the longing needed for the role of Scotty the police officer who develops a fear of heights after when he nearly dies in pursuit of a criminal. Scotty retires prematurely from the force but is hired by a college friend Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) to follow his wife Madeline (Kim Novak). It seems she has become obsessed with the fact that she is the reincarnation of an ancestor who went insane and died. Gavin believes that she possibly may harm herself. Scotty saves her from drowning and gradually falls in love with her when tragedy strikes him again.
Brilliantly restored, Hitchcock's "Vertigo" is one of his best films and features one of Stewart's best performances. Highly recommended.The widescreen anamorphic transfer looks dazzling with the restoration reclaiming the lost, rich colors of the film. Re-released to theaters and on DVD in the late 90's, the film still looks remarkable considering how badly it had faded.
There's an interesting commentary by associate producer Herbert Coleman, restoration producers James Katz, Robert Harris and Steven Smith the author of a book on music composer Bernard Herrmann. We get an alternate European ending that has never been seen in the US, storyboards, production drawings, advertising materials and "Obsessed with Vertigo" a great AMC documentary narrated by Roddy McDowall produced in 1999.
"Rear Window" stars Stewart as L.B. Jeffries a photography confined to a wheelchair with two broken legs due to an accident while shooting a race. His girlfriend Lisa (the wonderful and beautiful Grace Kelly)stops by to keep him company from time to time. Jeffries becomes fixated on his neighbors in the apartment building he lives in observing their lives from his back window. When he sees suspicious behavior by one of his neighbors (Raymond Burr) suggesting that he has murdered his wife and and Lisa become amateur sleuths to try and determine if, indeed, the woman was murdered and why.
Another marvelous restoration, "Rear Window" doesn't quite look as dazzling as "Vertigo" but then the film's use of color wasn't as impressive as Hitch's ultimate masterpiece. Nevertheless, the restoration adds lost luster to a classic that had disintergrated considerably while Hitch retained ownership of it. It's a remarkable movie and one of Hitch's and Stewart's best. Extras include a featurette with writer John Michael hayes, "Rear Window Ethics" which discusses the restoring of the film, production photos and a re-release trailer narrated by James Stewart. there's also a DVD-Rom which has the original script (which is great since the copy I had obtained years ago from the UCLA library is faded beyond belief).
"Winchester '73" is one of director Anthony Mann's best westerns and helped bring the genre back into vogue with its success in the 50's. Stewart plays Lin McAdam who engages in a marksmenship contest with rival he has been hunting named Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally)for a unique Winchester rifle. McAdam wins the rifle only to have it stolen by Brown. McAdam pursues Brown to reclaim the rifle, settle a quarrel and, ultimately, face him in a memorably shot show down.
The transfer looks quite good for "Winchester '73" but it's clear that the source transfer was the same laserdisc master that the audio commentary track featuring Stewart was recorded for in 1989. It looks quite good but could look much more impressive.
Finally we get Stewart with Marlene Dietrich in the early classic western (1939) "Destry Rides Again". This western classic combines comedy and drama in a unique winning package. Unfortunately, the DVD transfer here is pretty poor. The print has faded signficiantly (no chance to restore the negative either as Universal had many of their negatives dropped in the Pacific during a bonehead administration in the late 40's)but there was the possibility of restoring the print from other prints available around the world like "Vertigo" and "Rear Window" Sadly, this doesn't happen here. Still, it's a great little gem of a film. Unfortunately, there's no extras with this disc.
There's the round up of a series of classic Stewart films in this boxed set. Each is packaged individually in their own case (and can be purchased that way as well)."
Stewart rides again
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 06/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Stewart won over the masses with a drawl and slight stutter, a good guy image, and some endearingly ordinary good looks.
And he also had a long and distinguished career, with everything from suspense to westerns to... giant white rabbits. "The James Stewart Hollywood Legend Collection" brings together five of his best known movies in pristine condition, although it could have used a tad more diversity.
"Vertigo" afflicts James "Scottie" Ferguson after a traumatic event on a rooftop, forcing him to retire. But when an old classmate asks him to investigate his wife Madeleine's (Kim Novak) odd behavior, Scottie agrees. When he falls in love with the woman -- and loses her to suicide -- Scottie begins to pursue a woman who is her mirror image, as he descends into madness...
"Rear Window" is a somewhat less shocking Hitchcock movie. L.B. Jeffries has a nasty broken leg, so he's stuck in a wheelchair. He passes the time by spying on his neighbors, and contemplating his incompatibility with his pretty rich girlfriend (Grace Kelly). But L.B. spots someone acting suspiciously, and believes that the man has murdered his wife...
"Harvey" remains one of the most enchanting movies to come out of Hollywood. Elwood P. Dowd is a sweet, considerate man who has a giant white rabbit (invisible, of course) named Harvey as his companion. Unfortunately, it's driving his sister Veta (Josephine Hul) and niece Myrtle May (Victoria Horne) completely nuts. Soon a bunch of mental health professionals are after Elwood... but is he crazy, or has he just found a way to be happier than everyone else?
Apparently Stewart was searching for something a little less cuddly than his past roles, so he tried out westerns with a noir sensibility. "Winchester '73" is a gun that Lin McAdam wins in a shooting contest, and which is soon stolen by his rival, Dutch Henry Brown (McNally). Since McAdams already has a grudge against McNally, he goes on an obsessive quest to get his gun back... no matter what.
But he had done some previous western roles, like in "Destry Rides Again." It takes place in the town of Bottleneck, whose sheriff has just died in suspicious circumstances. The town bad guy (Brian Donlevy) arranges for a drunk to be the new sheriff -- but the new sheriff brings in Tom Destry, the mild-mannered son of a local hero. And Tom Destry is going to clean up the town of Bottleneck... in his own unique way.
There aren't really any flaws with this collection, in terms of the movies' quality -- all of them were brilliant in their respective ways. The only problem is that it doesn't really give a glimpse of all the roles that Stewart could do; for example, he was also great in romantic comedies like "Philadelphia Story." So where is it?
But whatever movies he was in, Stewart was outstanding as a wry photographer, a lovable "nut," an unstable detective, and two cowboys. He nailed every one of those roles, no matter how odd or creepy. He's deeply unsettling in "Vertigo" and "Winchester 73," likably crusty in "Rear Window," and completely lovable in "Harvey." You love him or hate him as his character demands.
And the movies themselves are top-notch: two are vintage Hitchcock, and one had the unique twist of taking place entirely in one room. They're all well-written and intelligent; wry humor is peppered through them, giving Stewart some of the best lines ("I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it!").
James Stewart's excellent acting is on display in the "James Stewart Hollywood Legend Collection," which shows us some of the films that made him a Hollywood legend."