Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection Romance |
Splendor in the Grass / Love in the Afternoon / Mogambo / Now Voyager
Actors: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Gary Coope, Audrey Hepburn, Clark Gable
Directors: Elia Kazan, Billy Wilder, John Ford, Irving Rapper
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS - Two teenagers (Natalie Wood and screen-debuting Warren Beatty) find their intense feelings for each other put them at odds with their families and the rigid respectability of their 1920s Kansas town... more »
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Romance has a 50/50 Chance in this Classic Four-Pack, Classi
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 01/08/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Turner Classic Movies' classic movie series continues with this two-disc set showcasing four beloved films with romantic themes. Intriguingly, while two movies have the requisite happy ending, the other two close with former lovers resigned to the wisdom gained from relationships that could not endure. All four have been presented in pristine print condition.
Splendor in the Grass (****1/2): Director Elia Kazan was able to extract a searing performance from Natalie Wood in this classic 1961 melodrama about youthful sexual repression in rural 1920's Kansas. She never been more affecting then she is here as Deanie Loomis, the local butcher's daughter deeply in love with Bud Stamper, the son of an oil scion and the high school football hero. They are the senior sweethearts everyone expects to marry, but both have to battle constantly with their sexual longing and their grasping parents.
While the whole film is beautifully executed thanks to Kazan's sure hand and William Inge's screenplay (his first directly for the screen), it's the last fifteen minutes that really resonate with the characters expressing their emotions with a minimum of dialogue. At her most youthfully beautiful, Wood is wondrous as she moves fluidly from innocently infatuated to obsessive to resigned. As the none-too-bright Bud, Warren Beatty is charismatic in his film debut and makes Deanie's powerful fixation completely understandable. The classic Wordsworth poem from which the film's title is derived makes a fitting coda for this movie, and I still feel the intractable sense of longing in the two lead characters every time I see this movie. The 2009 DVD offers the original theatrical trailer and a familiar 1961 Roadrunner cartoon short, "Beep Prepared".
Love in the Afternoon (****): There is likely no more romantic ending to a Hollywood movie than the one in this soufflé-light 1957 romantic comedy, where Audrey Hepburn tries to keep up with a departing train upon which Gary Cooper stands and listens intently to her babbling about her fictitious sexual conquests. Hepburn plays Ariane, a young cellist and the daughter of a Parisian private investigator named Claude Chevasse. She has an unbridled interest in her father's often tawdry cases, chief among them the affairs of Frank Flannagan, a millionaire industrialist and aging playboy who finds himself in various trysts with married women around the world. They embark on a clandestine affair under the pretense that she is as much a worldly bon vivant as he is.
Things come to a head when Flannagan becomes infatuated with this mysterious "thin girl" and recruits Crevasse to find out who she is. Film master Billy Wilder leaves his unmistakable stamp on this confection with a clever, ironic script co-written with his long-time partner I.A.L. Diamond in their first collaboration. The dialogue is full of their trademark sparkling banter. Hepburn is her usual impeccable self as Ariane. Cooper played this type of boulevardier role in the 1930's under masters like Ernst Lubitsch, and it is quite enjoyable to see him come back to this milieu two decades later as an aging lothario. Maurice Chevalier is ideally cast as Crevasse even if he has to play down his naturally effervescent manner. Granted the film runs a little too long at 126 minutes, but it is fine, light entertainment. The print transfer on the bare-bones 2005 DVD is fine though not outstanding.
Mogambo (****): Ava Gardner could hardly be considered anyone's second choice, but this is what director John Ford and screenwriter John Lee Mahin would have you believe in this overripe 1952 safari melodrama. Yet, she is the primary reason why this film is still worth a look 56 years later, epitomizing a primal sensuality and a hidden vulnerability, the combination of which was intoxicating in her prime. Ford captures this, as well as her dark beauty and sharp comedy sense, by casting her as smart-mouthed, carefree playgirl Eloise "Honey Bear" Kelly, who has come to a remote African outpost to meet up with a wealthy maharajah.
Finding herself stood up, she is greeted by no-nonsense big game hunter Victor Marswell as she conveniently takes a shower al fresco. Looking the patrician beauty that served her well during her brief movie career, a 24-year-old Grace Kelly plays a prudish English wife in starchy, melodramatic fashion. As Marswell, the 52-year-old Clark Gable still shows his enduring appeal, but he really hands the picture to Gardner. Ford handles the exotic background as well as he does Monument Valley in his classic westerns, and the look of the film is sumptuous even by MGM's high standards. The only extra with the 2006 DVD is the original theatrical trailer.
Now, Voyager (****): Let's face it - this 1942 Warner Bros film classic is a hoot. Directed by journeyman studio veteran Irving Rapper, it's an unabashed, only-in-Hollywood soap opera with Bette Davis at the peak of her popularity as she evolves from a distraught, overweight spinster to a glamorous Boston society social maven in about ten minutes. It's also a big valentine to the positive effects of psychoanalysis, as the plot focuses on heiress Charlotte Vale, a walking disaster of sheltered neurosis. Her sister-in-law contacts a doctor who convinces Charlotte to seek psychiatric treatment at a posh sanitarium. Transformed by the experience, she finds romance with architect Jerry Durrance, who is married to an unstable woman.
Overcome with guilt, Charlotte returns to the sanitarium, where she meets troubled young Tina, who turns out to be Jerry's daughter. In what amounts to a showcase for her versatility, Davis is superb in both before and after modes, even playing a romantic shipboard teenager with sincerity in a flashback sequence. Paul Henried plays Jerry with requisite Continental charm, but he is truly overmatched by Davis in their scenes together. Claude Rains fares better in the pivotal role of Dr. Jaquith providing his medical advice with convincing paternal authority and genuine warmth. Gladys Cooper portrays Charlotte's iron-willed mother in a sharply uncompromising manner befitting the intimidating stature she holds in the family. The print condition on the 2005 DVD is excellent, though there are no other extras included."
Four classic romantic movies for one super price!
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 11/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"TCM/Warner's ongoing series of "Greatest Films" collections gets a little romantic with four fondly-remembered titles on 2 double-sided DVDs, starring the likes of Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood.
LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON: Despite being directed by the great Billy Wilder, this is sadly one of Audrey Hepburn's lesser vehicles. She plays Ariane, the daughter of a private detective (Maurice Chevalier), who is fascinated by the antics of an aging playboy (Gary Cooper). Once you get past the uncomfortable pairing of Hepburn and Cooper it's actually quite enjoyable.
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS: William Inge's sensitive portrait of young love, destroyed by 1930s small-town morés. Warren Beatty makes his screen debut, with Natalie Wood as Deanie, the role that kicked her career into high-gear as an adult star. Special features: trailer, Oscar-nominated cartoon short "Beep Prepared".
MOGAMBO: Clark Gable stars in a Technicolor remake of his 1930s potboiler "Red Dust", with splendid support from Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner as the two women competing for his affection. Special features: trailer.
NOW, VOYAGER: Bette Davis is hapless spinster Charlotte Vale, repressed into a nervous breakdown by her icy mother (Gladys Cooper) until she's transformed by love and psychiatry. Special features: music scoring sessions.
If you haven't yet purchased these movies individually, the savings made by buying all four in this box-set will be quite substantial."