TORCH SONG (1953): Musical comedy legend Jenny Stewart, who has been hardened by the worst life has to offer, finds romance when blinded war- veteran Tye Graham becomes her new piano accompanist. STRANGE CARGO (1940): When... more » eight prisoners escape from a New Guinea penal colony, they are picked up by another escapee named Verne and his girl friend Julie. Among the fugitives is Cambreau, a soft-spoken, messianic character who has a profound effect on his comrades. SADIE MCKEE (1934): As working girl Sadie McKee, Joan Crawford wears a maid?s uniform. And as any Crawford fan knows, she?ll shortly swap her white apron for black sable ? even (or especially) if it means heartbreak along the way. In this rags-to-riches tale, Sadie wins the affections of the singer (Gene Raymond) she loves, the tycoon (Edward Arnold) she marries and the lawyer (Franchot Tone) she grew up with. That?s a lot of on-screen romantic fire, not all of it may be due to acting ability alone: The year after Sadie McKee was filmed, Crawford became Mrs. Franchot Tone. FLAMINGO ROAD (1949): Life in a small Southern town heats up when a sexy, savvy dancer is stranded there by a traveling carnival. She wins the hearts of two men and gets a taste of local politics when she butts heads with a corrupt sheriff. Apparently Crawford only accepted the role after Jack Warner ordered rewrites and spruced up the production. A WOMAN'S FACE (1941): Anna Holm is scheming con woman and blackmailer, a bitter woman shut off from society because of a disfiguring scar. The opportunity to undergo an operation to remove her scars presents her with a choice: open herself up to a whole new life or return to her old ways and the only life she's ever known.« less
"These are the Films of the first true Movie-Star, Miss Joan Crawford. I cannot wait for this DVD set, because it will include some of Joan's best movies!! And, the movies in this boxed set include Joan at her most stunning! "Sadie McKee" is absolutely my favorite movie, ever. Joan looks so beautiful in this 1934 MGM classic. I first saw this movie 5 years ago when TCM did a month-long Joan Crawford marathon; this was the first movie I ever saw with Miss Crawford and since then I became a huge fan and completely fell in love with this kind, beautiful and very talented actress! I also absolutely adore "Strange Cargo." This is one of Joan's best pictures with her number-one leading man, Clark Gable; and as far as I'm aware it is the only movie she ever made with Mr. Gable where she took second billing! After you view these movies you will see why Miss Crawford was the hardest working woman in Hollywood!
Isn't the picture on the cover of this set really beautiful! Below is a list of each movie included in this set, all movies are shown in pan and scan except for "Torch Song" which is in widescreen. (Scroll down, to see a list of each one of the special features included, as well)
Sadie McKee (May 9, 1934) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 90 mins. (Joan played: Sadie McKee Brennan) Color/BW: Black and White Brief Synopsis: A working girl suffers through three troubled relationships on her road to prosperity. What Miss Crawford had to say about this movie: Everything about "Sadie McKee" was right - Gene Raymond, Franchot Tone, the script, Clarence Brown's direction, Adrian's customs, the works.
Strange Cargo (March 1, 1940) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 111 mins. Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: Julie) Brief Synopsis: Devil's Island escapees are changed forever by a prisoner who thinks he's Jesus. What Miss Crawford said about her last picture with Clark Gable: Two absolutely wonderful films and so different (also discussing "Susan and God") It's a shame I couldn't have retired right then, and come back to do "Mildred Pierce." Clark and I did our best work together in "Strange Cargo." We had always been close, sometimes too close, but now we knew each other as mature persons and the chemistry was still there and it added to the fire.
A Woman's Face (May 14, 1941) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 105 mins. Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: Anna Holm aka Ingrid Paulson) Brief Synopsis: Plastic surgery gives a scarred female criminal a new outlook on life. This is what Miss Crawford says about this picture: I have nothing but the best to say for "A Woman's Face." It was a splendid script and George(George Cukor, the director) let me run with it. I finally shocked both the critics and the public into realizing the fact that I was, at heart, a dramatic actress. Great thanks to Melvyn Douglas; I think he is one of the least-appreciated actors the screen has ever used.
Flamingo Road (May 6, 1949) (Studio: Warners) Runtime Listing: 94 mins Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: Lane Bellamy Reynolds) Brief Synopsis: A stranded carnival dancer takes on a corrupt political boss when she marries. Here are Miss Crawford's comments on this film: ...This script missed, Curtiz (the director) missed, I missed. I just didn't jell, that's all, and it's another time when my judgment screwed up completely, because we were shooting it I thought it would be good.
Torch Song (October 23, 1953) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 90 mins. Color/BW: Color (MetroColor aka EastmanColor) (Joan played: Jenny Stewart) Brief Synopsis: Musical comedy legend Jenny Stewart, who has been hardened by the worst life has to offer, finds romance when blinded war-veteran Tye Graham becomes her new piano accompanist. Miss Crawford's comments on this movie: ...Back at Metro, after all those years... it was like a homecoming, and half the people on the set, the prop men and the grips.... they remembered me and I remembered them. I loved doing that film. It gave me a chance to dance again, to pretend to sing, to emote all over the place and in color yet! (Note: This is Miss Crawford's first staring role in a major motion picture that is entirely in color!) If I hadn't brought it off I'd only have myself to blame because all the elements were there.
This boxed set also includes a lot of special features, many of which I enjoyed very much. I especially got a kick out of Joan's "Torch Song" recording sessions! And, I enjoyed Joan's rendition of "Flamingo Road" very much because this is one of her first radio performances that I have heard and it also included a brief interview afterwards!
Sadie Mckee Special Features: Goofy Movies Number Four (1934) (Studio: MGM) Runtime listing: 9 mins. Color/BW: Black and White Brief Synopsis: This is an MGM short which contains feature stories with humorous commentary.
"Happy Harmonies" "Toyland Broadcast" (December 22, 1934) (Studio: MGM) Runtime listing: 6 mins. Color/BW: Color (Technicolor) Brief Synopsis: This is an MGM short of an animated cartoon. The toys present a musical revue on their own radio station.
Sadie McKee Trailer (1934) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 2 mins. Color/BW: Black and White
More About Nostradamus (January 18, 1941) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 10 mins. Color/BW: Black and White Brief Synopsis: This is an MGM short which includes a brief biography about Nostradamus and highlights some of his accomplishments.
Strange Cargo Trailer (1940) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 2 mins. Color/BW: Black and White
A Woman's Face Special Features: You Can't Fool A Camera (May 1941) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 10 Color/BW: Black and White Brief Synopsis: This short starts out with a dramatization in a documentary-format. Then it ends showing some of the stars of the time with a salute to the actors who have entered the armed forces. Note: On the disc it is subtlitled as "A New Romance of Celluloid," however I did not see this anywhere on the short.
Little Cesario (August 30, 1941) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 7 mins. Color/BW: Color (Technicolor) Brief Synopsis: This is an animated MGM short.
Screen Guild Playhouse (April 19, 1942) Runtime Listing: 30 mins. Color/BW: N/A Brief Synopsis: Bette Davis gives a radio performance of "A Woman's Face." This is only an audio recording. Note: This can not be fast forwarded. Also Note: While this is playing, the screen just includes the "A Woman's Face" special features menu up.
Lux Radio Theater (November 2, 1942) Runtime Listing: 57 mins. Color/BW: N/A Brief Synopsis: Ida Lapino gives a radio performance of "A Woman's Face." This is only an audio recording. Note: This can not be fast forwarded. Also Note: While this is playing, the screen just includes the "A Woman's Face" special features menu up.
A Woman's Face Trailer (1941) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 3 mins. Color/BW: Black and White
Flamingo Road Special Features: Crawford at Warners Runtime Listing: 12 mins.
Curtain Razor (May 21, 1941) (Studio: Warners) Runtime Listing: 7 mins. Color/BW: Color (Technicolor) Brief Synopsis: This is a Warners short/cartoon that features Porky Pig as a talent scout.
Screen Director's Playhouse (May 26, 1950) Runtime Listing: 25 mins. Color/BW: N/A (Joan played: Lane Bellamy Reynolds) Brief Synopsis: Joan gives us a very special treat when she reprises her critically acclaimed role from "Flamingo Road" for radio! Joan's radio performance comes in at 22 minutes and afterwards there is a brief interview with Joan and the director, Michael Cortiz. Note: This can not be fast forwarded. Also Note: While this is playing, the screen just includes the "Flamingo Road" special features menu up.
Torch Song Special Features: Tough Baby: Torch Song Runtime Listing: 12 mins.
TV of Tomorrow (June 6, 1953) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 7 mins. Color/BW: Color (Technicolor) Brief Synopsis: This is an MGM short which discusses television viewing "of tomorrow" in a very funny way.
Jimmy Fund Public Service Announcement (1953) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 3 mins. Color/BW: Black and White (Joan played: herself in a public service message) Brief Synopsis: This is a commercial that Joan made which was shown before her movie, "Torch Song." Many fans, including myself have seen this scarcely-seen commercial, but this includes the entire announcement in its entirety!
Unreleased Torch Song Recording Sessions/Rehearsals (1953) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 31 mins. Color/BW: N/A (Joan played: more or less the character of Jenny Stewart) Brief Synopsis: This includes incredibly-rare, uncut audio clips of Joan singing for "Torch Song." Note: This can not be fast forwarded. Also Note: While this is playing, the screen just includes the "Torch Song" special features menu up.
Torch Song Trailer (1953) (Studio: MGM) Runtime Listing: 3 mins.
Why was Miss Crawford such a fascinating and unconventional star...?
Miss Crawford was a first-rate star, who worked her a-s-s off to get to where she was! And, do you know what she did once she got there? She worked 10 times harder...! Joan had the longest and most impressive film career of any star during Tinseltown's famed Golden Age of Cinema! Joan's career lasted 5 decades! And her career proved to be more loyal to her than any lover or husband! Miss Crawford was always known for her fashion-sense, classical beauty and the ability to constantly re-invent herself (half a century before the Material Girl was a household name!)
Joan Crawford started her career in 1925 as a flapper, playing in bit parts as a contract-player for the most glorious studio in town, MGM. She was nothing more than a glorified prop, unbilled in her first film, "Lady of the Night." Soon, Joan was promoted to leading-lady, appearing in such critically-acclaimed pictures as, Harry Langdon's Tramp Tramp Tramp, and Lon Chaney's The Unknown. But it wasn't until Joan accepted the role of Diana Medford, in Our Dancing Daughters that she became a bona fide star! By the end of the decade Joan had more than 20 pictures under her belt!
In the 30's when many silent stars were bowing out gracefully, Joan was back with a vengeance! This time Joan was the little shop girl that Depression-Era American ladies (and maybe even some boys, too) could really identify with. Miss Crawford could be seen acting in such famed movies as, "Letty Lynton," Rain, Grand Hotel, and one of my personal favorites, Forsaking All Others (1934). Some of the 25 classics that Joan also made during the 30's include: Dancing Lady, Laughing Sinners, Dance, Fools, Dance (Forbidden Hollywood), Chained, "No More Ladies," Gorgeous Hussy, Love on the Run (1936), The Bride Wore Red, Mannequin (1938) and of course one of her most popular ever, The Women !
"No more goddamn shop girls," Joan was once quoted as saying to MGM chief-honcho, Louis B. Mayer. In the 40's Joan yet again came back in another one of her many incarnations, this time as the society matron in such movies as, When Ladies Meet , Reunion in France and Above Suspicion (1943). In 1942 Miss Crawford donated her entire salary from Columbia's They All Kissed the Bride to the war-effort and then she turned around and fired her agent when he didn't do the same! After 18 years of being a member of the MGM family, Miss Crawford took a huge gamble and decided to branch out, this time working for the actor's studio, Warners. Joan's first film for Warners, was her most famous movie, and it garnered her the Oscar for Best Actress; playing the title role in her defining-film, Mildred Pierce . Joan also made a slew other first-rate pictures during this period, such as: Humoresque and Daisy Kenyon . Moving to Warners really paid off for Miss Crawford, because she also received her second Academy Award nomination for Possessed, playing the harried Louise Howell! Of course, Miss Crawford had all the time in the world for our servicemen. Joan was often seen at the Hollywood Canteen entertaining our boys; ...how many of today's movie stars get off their pedestals to do this?
The 50's marked a very pivotal time in Joan's illustrious career. Because in the next chapter of her picture resume, she played the determined and strong matriarch in many wonderful dramatic cinematic masterpieces. Such as, Harriet Craig, Queen Bee, "Female on the Beach," The Damned Don't Cry, "Goodbye My Fancy," Story of Esther Costello and Autumn Leaves. Miss Crawford also received her third Academy Award nomination playing Myra Hudson in RKO's Sudden Fear. And never one to be typecast, Joan made a big splash in Johnny Guitar, portraying a tough saloon owner in the wild-west! Also beginning in the 50's, Joan took up the campaign as official spokeswoman for Pepsi-Cola; a coveted role that she enjoyed for more than 18 years!
In the 60's Miss Crawford didn't slow down for a second! Nope! She came out swinging. Joan made the whole country ask in droves, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? . In one of her most well-known pictures ever, Joan played Blanche Hudson, opposite another very talented actress, Ms. Davis, in this gorgeous Warners film! Throughout all the 60's Joan was known as the "Scream Queen." She stared in such cult-favorites as, Strait-Jacket, Della, I Saw What You Did and Berserk!! It was also around this time, that Miss Crawford penned her autobiography, A Portrait of Joan Crawford.
Even in semi-retirement, Miss Crawford still always kept busy during the 1970's. This time she was the Hollywood Legend, and everyone knew it! When the movie studios weren't knocking on her door, she switched to television. In one of her last television appearances, Miss Crawford played the part of Joan Fairchild in ABC's "The Sixth Sense: Dear Joan: We're Going to Scare You to Death." She also wrote her second book, the best-selling My Way of Life. And, Joan always found the time for some of her favorite charities; donating her talent and time to The Muscular Dystrophy Association and The American Cancer Society. Of course, Joan also made time to speak to her good friend and journalist Roy Newquist. Mr. Newquist was actually the only journalist that Miss Crawford chose to speak to during the late 70's, and his thoughtful (and unprecedented) interviews with Joan were published in the 1980 book, Conversations with Joan Crawford.
Miss Crawford perished a second time when the majority of the public threw her away and vilified her as a lunatic. But this death was much more painful. Because not only were Joan's films forgotten, but all of the good she did during her lifetime was also completely erased! The true Joan Crawford was kind, compassionate and generous to a fault. Joan was a self-made lady who worked for everything she got. She just wanted to keep her head above water in a man's world where women didn't have a voice or a choice. Miss Crawford never for a second forgot where she came from or who she was, and she never for a moment let her beloved fans down! All Joan wanted was for someone to give her a chance and believe in her. I really am so glad that this set is coming out because maybe now the public can see the real Joan Crawford and remember her as she truly was!
Long awaited 2nd volume of Joan Crawford films is announced
calvinnme | 10/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the long awaited second volume of the Joan Crawford Collection. Joan had a very long career in films spanning from the silent era and MGM into the 1970's. She was one of the few actresses to successfully make the transition from silents to sound, and this set gives you a sampling of her roles from 1934 to 1953. The following are the five films in this set and their extra features:
Sadie McKee (1934) One of the last precodes, this film is a melodrama that has Joan Crawford playing a totally virtuous character throughout. She's a maid who is fired for telling off the head of the household (Franchot Tone). Next, her boyfriend deserts her for a chorus girl. She ends up marrying an alcoholic millionaire strictly as a matter of survival, but she does help her husband cure himself of his alcoholism. Afterwards she asks for a divorce so she can go look for her old boyfriend, who is now alone and quite ill. This movie introduced the song "All I Do is Dream of You" by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown. DVD Special Features: (waiting confirmation from Michael Crawford) Vintage comedy short Goofy Movies #4 Classic cartoon Toyland Broadcast Theatrical trailer
Strange Cargo (1940) Andre (Clark Gable) is a convict in a French penal colony in South America. The first time he tries to escape saloon girl Julie (Joan Crawford) turns him in. His second attempt is successful, and this time he throws in his lot with several other escapees, one of which seems to always know what is about to happen, and is even able to draw accurate maps of escape routes. During this escape Andre runs into Julie again. At the conclusion of the escape Andre realizes the reason for the one prisoner's extraordinary abilities and has a change of heart. A very strange film and a strange role for Crawford, although I found it intriguing. Directed by Frank Borzage who is noted for his love stories involving crime, loss, and redemption. DVD Special Features: New featurette: Gable & Crawford Vintage short More About Nostradamus Classic cartoon The Lonesome Stranger Theatrical Trailer
A Woman's Face (1941) One of Joan Crawford's best performances as a woman whose scarred face embitters her and leads her into a life of crime until a surgeon (Melvin Douglas) decides to operate and remove her outer scars. However, her inner scars remain and she finds it hard to change even with the help of the good doctor. This film initially failed at the box office, but was recognized as a classic years later. Directed by George Cukor. DVD Special Features: Vintage Romance of Celluloid Short You Can't Fool a Camera Classic cartoon Little Cesario Two audio-only radio adaptations with Bette Davis and Ida Lupino Theatrical trailer
Flamingo Road (1949) Lane Bellamy (Joan Crawford) is a dancer touring with a carnival who falls in love with Fielding Carlisle. However, a marriage to a carnival dancer is not what Fielding's political handler, Titus Semple, considers a suitable move for his protege. Thus he has Lane framed and sent to jail and arranges a loveless marriage for Fielding with a girl more appropriate for the future he has planned for him. Once out of jail, Lane falls in love with and marries another prominent person, but their future together is threatened when Fielding comes to call. Directed by Michael Curtiz. DVD Special Features: New featurette: Crawford at Warners Classic cartoon Curtain Razor Audio-only radio adaptation with the film's stars Theatrical trailer
Torch Song (1953) This was Joan Crawford's return vehicle to MGM after having left ten years earlier, and is the weakest of the films in the bunch, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Instead it is great fun because it is such a camp classic. Too bad there's no commentary, because I would really like to know what went on behind the scenes in this one. It has everything - Technicolor, an over-the-top wardrobe for Joan, and of course there's Joan as a steamroller of a woman that no man can stand up to except a British pianist, blinded in WWII. And then there are the musical numbers - well, you'll have to see it for yourself. DVD Special Features: New featurette: Tough Baby: Joan Crawford and Torch Song Audio bonus: Joan Crawford recording session Public service announcement trailer: At Home with Joan Crawford Vintage MGM cartoon: TV of Tomorrow Vintage MGM short Theatrical trailer
All films B&W and Mono, in 1.37 aspect ratio, except Torch Song, which is Color and 1.77 aspect ratio as originally shown in theaters. The details for the extra features come from a press release from Warner Home Video. This set is currently scheduled for release on February 12."
Love Joan, Hate the packaging...
Movie Nut | New York USA | 04/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love having this set. It includes some of my favorite Crawford films, so I was very excited when the release date was announced. I ordered it right away, and just received it and again, while I love the films in the set, the box 'set up' really annoys me. The fold out type of case is not what I was expecting. Since I have Volume 1, where all the DVDs are in individual cases with cover art, this is what I was expecting. I really wanted to put all the DVDs together in my media cabinet in alphabetical order, with the hopes that someday all Joan Crawford's films would be available on DVD and I would have a complete shelf of Joan!!! This may sound petty, but I feel that sometimes the studios are trying to save money by cutting back on the boxed sets yet they don't lower the prices for the consumer. I like to take DVDs with me to watch on a long car trip (no... I am not the driver on these trips!) so the individual cases work best for me- Overall I give this a 5 star rating for the films and for a wonderful actress who is unforgettable, but the box/packaging leaves me flat-"
FINE SAMPLE OF A LEGEND'S LEGACY.....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 02/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent cross section of Crawford's films from the period 1934-1953. A spectrum of good performances that show how she was evolving as an actress and a star is captured on 5 discs that have been rather meticulously preserved with only very minor scratching on some. Not a bad offering that was long overdue. She shines as "Sadie Mckee", she's edgy as a hard luck dame with Clark Gable in "Strange Cargo", she's great as a scarred blackmailer in the melodramatic "A Woman's Face", then the Crawford we've come to really know faces off with dirty politics in "Flamingo Road" and dominates the Technicolor musical drama "Torch Song". She does a little bit of everything in these films and shows why she earned "star" status, maintained legions of fans over the years and still impresses fans today. I love this set and am looking forward to another one but I have to admit I would have preferred the discs in their own individual cases. I just think it's safer for them. But here they are and they're meant to be enjoyed so...enjoy!"
Mixed bag of movies; easy on the extras
Dave | San Diego, CA | 02/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After the powerhouse release of Volume 1, it doesn't take too much to realize that the Volume 2 would be slightly weaker. This set contains the following 5 movies:
1. Sadie McKee (1934) This one is actually one of my favorites from the set. Joan plays Sadie, a young girl who falls in love with bad boy Tommy Wallace (Gene Raymond). When Sadie's rich employer's son, Michael Alderson (Franchot Tone), badmouths Tommy, Sadie tells him, quits her job, and follows Tommy to NY. As always, Tommy makes some bad choices and strands Sadie for a cheap blond singer, Dolly (Esther Ralston). Sadie makes friends a woman living in the same boarding house, Opal (Jean Dixon), who helps Sadie get a job at a Dance Hall. While working one night, Sadie catches of the eye of an alcoholic millionaire, Jack Brennan (Edward Arnold). Sadie marries him for his money, but soon learns that money doesn't buy happiness. How things resolve with the three men in her life, Jack, Tommy, and Michael, makes for a good film that shows the growth of all its characters. Especially appealing is the performance of Jean Dixon as the heart of gold Opal, who is not as hard as she appears. For a film that is more than 70 years old, it holds up very well, thanks to a good script and solid performances. Extras: A silly Pete Smith short "Goofy Movies #4", a two-strip 1934 technicolor short "Toyland Broadcast" (which includes caricatures of Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman, and a somewhat offensive black-face band named "Sambo"), and the theatrical trailer.
2. Strange Cargo (1940) is strange indeed! The plot: a bunch of convicts from Devil's Island attempt an escape for a second chance at life. One of the convicts, Verne (Clark Gable) happens upon Julie (Crawford), a hardened prostitute, before his attempted escape. Ratted out by a strange stalker, "Pig" (Peter Lorre) for talking to Verne, a convict, Julie is also forced off the island. Besides Julie and the convicts, there is a Christ-like man, Cambreau (Ian Hunter) who joins the group and leads each one of the hardened men to redemption before they die. Of course, the last 2 to get redemption are Verne & Julie; whether they will turn on each other and retain their hardened personas will have to be found out by viewing this film. Crawford is fantastic, showing much depth to her characterization of a typical heart-of-gold prostitute who eventually finds redemption. Gable's limited depth as an actor unfortunately shows through with his character given an extremely poor script. However, as in their previous teamings, there is a great deal of chemistry between the 2. Hunter's character of an all-knowing spiritual man seems a little odd in the middle of a somewhat gritty movie, and his final scene with Gable just seems a little too pat. Hunter gives a strong performance in this rather weird role. Of course, Lorre is perfectly creepy as Crawford's stalking admirer. Somewhat enjoyable to watch, but also a little uneven. Extras: The featurette "Gable & Crawford" is enjoyable, but doesn't go into a lot of depth. Christina Crawford gives a few details about her mother and Gable, as do film historians. It seems extremely odd that Christina, who denounced her mother 30 years ago, is now being trotted out as an authority on Joan in all the featurettes on this set. The vintage short "More About Nostradamus" (1941) is somewhat interesting, and mixes reenactments of the famous man who made so many prophecies about the future and current historical footage. Also included are the theatrical trailer for "Strange Cargo" and a vintage short, "Lonesome Stranger."
3. "A Woman's Face" (1941) After watching this movie, it is difficult to continually hear that Joan Crawford was a star/personality, but not an actress. She gives an excellent performance as Anna Holm, a blackmailer who was facially scarred in a fire as a child, and bears the inner and outer scars as an adult. Most likely, director George Cukor can be given much of the credit for Joan's performance (as in the 1939 classic "The Women"). Even after her "new" face is revealed from plastic surgeries, Joan does not go back to being a classic star persona; she maintains the gestures and facial tics that she had previously. The film is somewhat predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable to watch. Marjorie Main has a nice cameo in this movie as well. Extras include: vintage short "You Can't Fool A Camera" (1941) which is somewhat funny today in the era of CGI. It shows the history of motion pictures VERY briefly from Edward Muybridge to the present films currently being shot or in development at MGM. A vintage color MGM cartoon "Little Cesario" (1941) and a theatrical trailer are also on hand. Most interesting are the 2 radio adaptations of "A Woman's Face," one with Bette Davis and one with Ida Lupino. Both were recorded in the same year...must have been a popular story!
4. "Flamingo Road" (1949) is the only film in this set from Joan's Warner Brothers career. Again, she plays a hardened woman, Lane Bellamy, a carny dancer who is able to cross over to the right side of the tracks against the wishes of the corrupt small town political boss, Titus Semple (Sydney Greenstreet). She falls for weak sheriff Fielding Carlisle (Zachary Scott), but ends up marrying wealthy politician Dan Reynolds (David Brian). Titus does all that he can to bring both Lane and Dan down. This is a fun and trashy film, again, somewhat predictable. Excellent performances by the entire cast. Extras include the short featurette "Crawford at Warners" which rehashes fairly common knowledge about Joan's jump from MGM as she sought better roles. Again, a few film critics and Christina are trotted out for this 10 minute or so documentary. Nothing really revealing here. The theatrical trailer and a vintage cartoon short, "Curtain Razor" are included, along with the audio-only radio adaptation.
5. "Torch Song" (1953) has become a cult classic...and not in a good way. Crawford came back to MGM for this one film, her first technicolor feature. Originally it was to be a Lana Turner vehicle, but she wisely turned it down. Joan plays Jenny Stewart a (surprise!) tough Broadway star used to getting things her way. This all changes when a blind piano accompanist (Michael Wilding) enters her life and tries to change her. Fairly predictable, with an embarassingly quick and bad finale (the only thing missing from making it a total disaster is the lead character getting his sight back!). Joan looks fantastic and does the best that she can with a very trite script. Sadly, her singing is dubbed by India Adams. Although interesting, but somewhat cruel, the extras include her original recording sessions. The voice is good, but off a little in pitch and at times, support. Had this been more than a B-Grade musical cashing in on the Crawford name, surely some time could have been spent to pick songs that she was more comfortable with. Many campy elements and all the earmarkings of a film that was put together rather cheaply and quickly. A sad return for the former Queen of the Lot. There is also absolutely zero chemistry between Wilding and Crawford. The featurette "Tough Baby: TorchSong" is probably the best of the featurettes on this set, as it reveals what did (and didn't) go into the making of this movie. Very sad to hear Joan cursing herself as she is unable to get the desired results in her vocal recordings. The vintage film "Jimmy Fund Public Service Announcement" is a little creepy; Crawford is seen putting the kids to sleep (as they shot out "Good Night Mommie" with the soundtrack of the "Wizard of Oz" playing in the background. This is a film to promote donations to a children's cancer facility in Boston. The other extras include a theatrical trailer and vintage cartoon "TV of Tomorrow."
For the price, this set is a good value, and it would be hard to imagine buying these films separately as a result. The picture and sound quality are good overall...even the 1934 Sadie McKee. Still, the lackluster short featurettes are a little disappointing, and the vintage cartoons are also a little annoying as they don't really have much to do with Joan. Hopefully future box sets will have more related extras that delve a little deeper into the archives. NOTE: Although some other reviews show that all the movies are "color/bw" only "Torch Song" is actually in color. What the color/bw refers to are the documentary featurettes and vintage cartoons. This is what happens when you blindly copy info from a pre-release website."