In his early years, Jimmy Stewart came to personify the Everyman. "Hollywood dishes out too much praise for small things,'' Jimmy once said. "I won't let it get me, but too much praise can turn a fellow's head if he doesn'... more »t watch his step.'' - Through a Hollywood career spanning 50 years James Stewart has thrilled, touched and delighted audiences with over 80 films. Six of those films are now available on DVD in the all new James Stewart: The Signature Collection.« less
"After waiting so long to see some of these great films in widescreen DVD, it is a major disappointment to see the quality of the transfers in this collection. As another reviewer has noted, Naked Spur is not good and Cheyenne Social Club looks like the entire film was transferred out of focus. Low bit rate to make two features fit on the (two sided) DVD? Who knows. Hard to believe the source material is marred in this way. I bought the collection; Cheyenne and Firecreek are available on their own as a two-disc set that may or may not be better. I've seen Warner features 30 years older that look much better. Shame on you Time Warner."
Terrific set - but beware
A. Film Lover | Studio City, CA United States | 08/25/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First off, what is with the "reviewers" at amazon. I'm sorry, but this is a DVD section and what do we find? Two "reviews" of films but not the actual DVD set, which neither of these two current "reviewers" have seen. What IS the point?
The set, for me, contains two great films - Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur, and Billy Wilder's The Spirit Of St. Louis. The latter is one of Mr. Wilder's most underappreciated films and I simply don't know why. It's grandly entertaining, has great Wilder dialogue (watch the scene with the young girl who gives him her compact with the mirror), wonderful direction, and Mr. Stewart is terrific. The transfer on Spirit (isn't that what people want to know about???) is excellent - very sharp, the color is accurate most of the time and the sound is great. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of The Naked Spur's transfer. It's not the worst I've seen, but it's close. The colors are okay, but it's clearly out of registration, which makes the image soft bordering on being completely out of focus. Shame on Warner Bros. for foisting a transfer like this on the public - in this day and age it's shameful.
The other transfers in the set are all fine. Oh, and to the two other "reviewers" - right on the review form what does it say? "Please be sure to focus your comments on THE PRODUCT." How hard is that? People do love to type."
Not Jimmy's Best, but Enjoyable Collection...
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 08/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"No Hollywood star ever 'reinvented' himself as successfully as Jimmy Stewart, from the idealistic, 'Aw, Shucks' boy-next-door of the Golden Age, to the intense, driven loner of the Mann and Hitchcock films of the 50s, to everybody's favorite 'father figure' of the 60s and 70s...this collection, while certainly not his best films of the 1940s-1960s, offers one bonafide 'classic' ("The Naked Spur"), and five other titles definitely worth owning!
"The Stratton Story" (1949) - 6'4" Stewart and 5'1" June Allyson are so 'natural' together in their three films (they also made "The Glenn Miller Story" and "Strategic Air Command"), that you might honestly think they were married in real life! Based on a true story, of baseball pitcher Monty Stratton, who miraculously returned to the game after losing his leg in a hunting accident, it's the chemistry between the stars that makes this film work so well. Stewart has the will to make a comeback, but Allyson provides the 'heart' to make the dream possible. An enjoyable film, particularly for baseball fans (who may find Stewart's pitching style a bit 'strange', even when he had both legs!)
"The Naked Spur" (1953) - Arguably, the best of Stewart's teamings with director Anthony Mann, in an outdoor saga of reward-driven Stewart attempting to bring in affable (but evil) outlaw Robert Ryan (who called this one of his favorite roles). Complicating matters is Ryan's devoted girlfriend (Janet Leigh, who was never lovelier), a crusty prospector (Millard Mitchell), and a sleazy ex-soldier (Ralph Meeker, who is excellent). The backdrop of the Rockies is breathtaking, the tension, as Ryan manipulates everyone against Stewart, never lets up, and the finale is spectacular.
Certainly, the best film of the collection!
"The Spirit of St. Louis" (1957) - People are often surprised to discover this Charles Lindbergh biography was directed by Billy Wilder! An almost documentary-style recounting of the events leading to Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic, in 1927, Stewart was WAY too old in the lead (at 49, portraying the 25-year old pilot), but he projects so much sincerity in the role that you can almost forget his age. While the film is a bit dry, it does offer a fascinating look at a barnstorming pilot with a dream...
"The FBI Story" (1959) - Produced with the cooperation (and supervision) of J. Edgar Hoover and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, don't expect to find any of the skeletons in the closet of either the agency, or it's megalomaniac and kinky director, but an inspiring story of the growth of the bureau, seen through the eyes of lifelong agent Stewart. Full of famous cases (and a healthy dose of patriotism and anti-Communist rhetoric, as well), the glossy production was one of Stewart's most popular films, and has some unforgettable moments (as he takes on the KKK, the 'Most Wanted' 30s gangsters, and the Nazis)...
"Firecreek" (1968) - Any chance to see lifelong best friends Stewart and Henry Fonda working together is worth owning, and this offbeat western is an enjoyable showcase of the stars. Erudite badman Fonda and his gang hole up in a small town, as pacifist part-time lawman Stewart tries to avoid bloodshed. The tension builds, nicely, as the gang terrorizes his community, and Stewart's helplessness builds to anger. The resolution is worth the slow buildup, but this is a film you HAVE to be patient with...
"The Cheyenne Social Club" (1970) - Directed by Gene Kelly, the last Stewart/Fonda teaming is a hilarious romp, about aging cowpoke Stewart 'inheriting' a bordello. Buddy Fonda tags along to share in Jimmy's good fortune, and is amazed that his friend wants to SELL the place! Costarring Shirley Jones as a hooker "with a heart of gold" and a desire to settle down with Jimmy, the tone is light, the performances excellent, and the humor very broad. While the box office wasn't great (people seemed to dislike seeing Jimmy in this kind of film), the movie is great fun, and Stewart and Fonda seemed to have a ball, making it!
All in all, this collection is certainly worth investing your money to buy!
6 Great Movies in One Collection
M. Johnsen | Chino Hills, CA | 08/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I found out The Spirit of St. Louis was going to be released August 15th, I was hoping there would be other Jimmy Stewart movies coming out on the same day. Never could I have hoped for this collection of 6 coming out at such an affordable price. Out of the other films included in this set, I have only seen the FBI Story, however, I am sure all of them are Jimmy Stewart at his finest. If you are inclined to buy one of these 6, I strongly suggest simply buying this collection as a whole at this affordable price."
Great collection of films starring an actor who never gave a
calvinnme | 06/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good collection of films primarily from the 1950's featuring James Stewart from the library controlled by Warner Home Video. The only one missing that I would have liked to have seen from this era is "Carbine Williams", but I can't tell you which of the six included films I would have given up to have that film replace it.
James Stewart was an actor who never gave a bad performance, and this collection features some of his best. I particularly enjoyed the double feature of films starring Stewart and Henry Fonda. They worked well together on the screen, and in real life they were lifetime friends and even roommates back in the days when they were both starving actors trying to get their first big break.
The transfers look great. Even "The Naked Spur", which several people have complained about, looked good to me. The only complaint I would lodge is the lack of any commentaries on any of the films. "The FBI Story" doesn't have any bonus material at all other than a theatrical trailer. "The Spirit of St. Louis", "The Stratton Story", and "The Naked Spur" all have the customary Warner vintage short and cartoon from the year in which the film was made. "The Stratton Story" does have a nice audio-only radio production featuring James Stewart and June Allyson. This being a signature collection, I would have expected at least some of the films to have commentary and something about Stewart's long career. One as long and as distinguished as his deserves it."