Search - Controversial Classics Collection (Advise and Consent / The Americanization of Emily / Bad Day at Black Rock / Blackboard Jungle / A Face in the Crowd / Fury / I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang) on DVD
The Controversial Classics Collection features the debut DVDs of seven groundbreaking motion pictures, released in America over three decades from the '30s to the '60s that had dramatic social impact, changed attitudes and... more » brought important political and social reforms. The films include A Face in the Crowd, Blackboard Jungle, Fury, Bad Day at Black Rock, Advise and Consent, The Americanization of Emily and I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. These films, which all took on hot button -- some even taboo -- topics such as prison injustice, racial tension, juvenile delinquency, homosexuality, mob violence as well as political corruption in Washington, the military and the media, caused America to take notice and do something about the issues the movies raised. Each film features either a commentary or documentary examining the film's historical context and political impact. Blackboard Jungle (1955)
Richard Dadier, a new teacher at inner city North Manual High, is a man eager to make a difference. Topics such as racial and sexual tensions, gang violence and apathy were topics Blackboard Jungle tackled 50 years ago that are still hot-button issues in schools. Glenn Ford as Dadier clings to his ideals and pays a price vying with teen misfits led by Vic Morrow and, in a star-making performance, a young Sidney Poitier. Featuring Bill Haley's classic "Rock Around the Clock," the film is often remembered as being responsible for the breakthrough of rock 'n' roll to the media and consumer mainstream. Richard Brooks (In Cold Blood) directed, based on Evan Hunter's best seller. DVD special features include: Commentary by co-stars Paul Mazursky and Jamie Farr, Glenn Ford's son Peter Ford and Assistant Director Joel Freeman, Droopy Cartoon Blackboard Jumble, theatrical trailer. A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Andy Griffith made a stunning movie debut as Lonesome Rhodes, whose meteoric rise to TV fame is paralleled by his plunge into booze, sex and political corruption. From On the Waterfront's Academy Award. -winning collaborators, director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg, A Face in the Crowd reflects the authenticity of filmmakers who know the media world from the inside out. Lee Remick also made her screen debut in this film which featured cameos from Mike Wallace, Walter Winchell, Betty Furness, Bennett Cerf and Burl Ives as themselves. DVD special features include: New documentary Facing the Past (an all new retrospective with new interviews with stars Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and screenwriter Budd Schulberg) and theatrical trailer. Fury (1936)
Joe Wilson, a wrongly jailed man thought to have died in a blaze started by a bloodthirsty lynch mob, is alive. Now, Joe aims to ensure his would-be executioners meet the fate Joe miraculously escaped. Spencer Tracy is Joe, Sylvia Sidney is his bride-to-be and Fury lives up to its volatile name with its searing indictment of mob justice and lynching. In his first American film, director Fritz Lang (Metropolis, The Big Heat) combines a passion for justice and a sharp visual style into a landmark of social-conscience filmmaking. DVD special features include: Commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, with interview excerpts of director Fritz Lang and theatrical trailer. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Spencer Tracy (a 1955 Best Actor Oscar. nominee for this film) plays World War II veteran John J. Macreedy, who keeps his own counsel about why he's come to Black Rock and who keeps his wits about him when confronted with threats and violence. John Sturges (The Great Escape) directed; Robert Ryan, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin are among the town's thugs and other denizens. DVD special features include: commentary by film historian Dana Polan and theatrical trailer. Advise and Consent (1962)
Three years after Anatomy of a Murder, Otto Preminger examined the body politic in Advise and Consent, a story of power and procedure where deals become extortion, closets reveal skeletons and careers are crushed. It was also one of the first mainstream films to deal with homosexuality. History buffs may think they recall real-life counterparts to the characters depicted while movie fans can revel in a rare array of star power: Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon, Don Murray, Gene Tierney, Peter Lawford, Franchot Tone and Charles Laughton in his final role. DVD special features include: Commentary by film historian Drew Casper and theatrical trailer. The Americanization of Emily (1964)
Julie Andrews and James Garner headline this earlier milestone from screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky (Network) and director Arthur Hiller (also teamed later on The Hospital). Garner plays Charlie Madison, a U.S. Naval officer stationed in London, who cares nothing about glory. That attracts war widow Emily Barham (Andrews), who's had her fill of seeing men go to war and never retim. DVD special features include: Commentary by film historian Drew Casper, featurette Action on the Beach, theatrical trailer. I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Paul Muni gives a joltingly realistic performance in this powerhouse classic directed by Mervyn LeRoy (Little Caesar), based on autobiographical writings by chain-gang escapee Robert E. Burns. Like many '30s crime sagas, this deals with gritty realities. Yet it also stands apart as a film that made a difference, igniting protests that led to vital penal reforms and Burns himself received a commuted sentence. DVD special features include: Commentary by film historian Richard B. Jewell, vintage musical short 20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang, and theatrical trailer.« less
"I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG (1932) Controversy: The oldest movie in the controversial classics set, FUGITIVE also lays claim to the most unwieldy title. Chain gang prison labor is the controversial topic. Strengths: Paul Muni is absolutely riveting, and his final scene is one of the more memorable in movies. Weaknesses: The last chain gang prison system was outlawed in the 1940s. The oldest title is also the least relevant. Bottom Line: Inspiration for other classic movies like Cool Hand Luke and O Brother, Where Art Thou? Although severely dated, FUGITIVE still delivers as top-drawer entertainment.
FURY (1936) Controversy: German director Fritz Lang's first American film is an exposé of lynching, mob violence, and the corrosive effects of living for revenge. Strengths: Spencer Tracy's transformation from good-natured innocent to bitter victim is breathtaking. Lang's depiction of the mob is still quite strong Weaknesses: The first and last act tends to stall out the story. The studio imposed ending is unsatisfying. Bottom Line: Although not quite as powerful as Lang's German film M, which it resembles, FURY still has a number of memorable moments, and Tracy's Jekyll and Hyde transformation works very well.
BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955) Controversy: Xenophobia during World War II and a small southwestern town with a big, ugly secret. Strengths: Spencer Tracy always adds value to a movie. Robert Ryan, as Tracy's chief nemesis, turns in a typically fine performance, too. Weaknesses: Anne Francis isn't anything more than a token female and doesn't really seem to fit in the story. A little too much attention paid to the secret keeping, and not enough on what was done that must remain hidden. Bottom Line: A good Decent Stranger Against the Mob movie that may have dealt a little more directly with the shameful incident everyone was trying to keep buried.
BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955) Controversy: Rock `n roll infected juvenile delinquents are taking over the world. Strengths: Director Richard Brooks really wades into it, and doesn't pull his punches on some issues one simply didn't talk about in the 1950s - racial tensions, rape, middle class apathy and cynicism. Glenn Ford, Sidney Poitier and especially young Vic Morrow are very good. Weaknesses: Because it shows few if any female students, no parents and otherwise little of the students' lives away from school this one's a little exploitative. Bottom Line: Overall an excellent and honest look at urban troubled youth. Probably Glenn Ford's best film.
A FACE IN THE CROWD (1957) Controversy: Director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg's warning about the pernicious encroachment of mass media, especially television, in American life. Strengths: They got it right, although they were about a decade ahead of the rest of us. Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, as worried onlookers, are very good. Weaknesses: I may be a minority of one, but Andy Griffith in the lead role too often goes way over the top. Kazan may have wanted to portray him as an irresistible force of nature, but at times he's simply too loud, too out-sized, too outlandish. Bottom Line: Still fun and entertaining, especially to see how much of it Kazan on got right. After the 2004 elections, it was somewhat chilling to see a politician go geese hunting with the Griffith character in a bid to develop his `common man' credentials.
ADVISE AND CONSENT (1962) Controversy: Director Otto Preminger's adaptation of best-selling novel and hit play deals with Washington in-fighting over a presidential cabinet nomination. Strengths: Charles Laughton and Walter Pidgeon as savvy senators give this one backbone and keep it interesting. Weaknesses: Episodic and ultimately more soap opera than exposé. Bottom Line: In my opinion this is the weakest entry in the set.
AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964) Controversy: The Navy needs a hero on D-Day and this movie not only questions hero worship, it pulls it apart and blows it up, bit by bit. Strengths: Paddy Chayefsky's script is perfect. James Garner and Julie Andrews are perfect as the mismatched lovers. Weaknesses: Addictive. Bottom Line: My favorite movie in the bunch, a perfect satire while treating with compassion those it satires. One of the great comedies of the twentieth century. "
A MAGNIFICENT ASSEMBLAGE OF LANDMARK FILMS AT A GREAT PRICE
Eric | Columbus, OH | 05/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warner Brothers home video department just keeps topping their previous exceptional achievments.
Here we have SEVEN magnificent, acclaimed feature films from the 1930s to the 1960s that still have the power to reach the "gut" of the viewer and be profound and provocative. Of course, each film is available individually, but the value of buying this boxed set brings the price to around $8 per film. Unreal.
Any serious cinema afficiando owes it to him or herself to buy this.
Pre-release reviews have praised the exceptional transfers (typical of WB), and I cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by this boxed set of incomparable films."
Controversial Classics Collection
Gold God | Earth Sector | 08/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a wonderful treat this collection is....at first I was skeptic because I am a big Film Noir fan...and did not think that this collection would suffice...how wrong I was. The commentaries are crisp, clean and full of information...the movies are some of the Best Produced...Bad Day At Black Rock...starring Tracy as in Spencer...and Ryan. Then there is The Americanization of Emily with a script by one of the best writers: Paddy C......and one of my favorite movies starring Julie Andrews fresh from Mary Poppins..thank God...and James Garner...both of them a treat. A face in the Crowd should be one of the 10 BEST Movies Ever Produced...Andy Griffith is just magnificent along with Patricia Neal...Watch This Movie! I am a Fugituve from a Chain Gang...a must see of what happened in the disgrace of the American Judicial System...Advise and Consent I really did not care for but it was worth watching just to listen to the commentary....and finally Blackboard Jungle which still pulls no punches with a very young Glenn Ford...with funny commentary by the teen-agers (I am not going to tell you who) that were in the movie.
Get this collection and give yourself a Treat that is seldom if ever seen in the Movies now days...."
stewie | Victoria, Australia | 06/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased these films from the USA as unfortunately they are not available in Australia on DVD. All of the films in this special edition are classics and my family have thoroughly enjoyed viewing these very special early films - especially "I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" and "Bad Day at Black Rock". I am very happy I was able to purchase these controversial classic films."
No weak link
Kevin Maness | St. Davids, PA | 12/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There have been a lot of these genre or theme boxed sets released in the past several years. Some of them are obvious strategic attempts to force people to buy some weak movies in order also to have some great movies--kind of like "block booking" for the 21st century.
This is NOT one of those sets. Every movie in this box is wonderfully written, acted, and filmed, and each one is thought-provoking and, as strange as it may sound, timely. To be honest, I hadn't heard of all of these movies when I bought the set (although I've heard and read about all of them since), so I was absolutely thrilled to find that each one was a thoroughly entertaining and enriching picture."