Search - Katharine Hepburn Collection (Morning Glory / Undercurrent / Sylvia Scarlett / Without Love / Dragon Seed / The Corn Is Green [1979]) on DVD

Katharine Hepburn Collection (Morning Glory / Undercurrent / Sylvia Scarlett / Without Love / Dragon Seed / The Corn Is Green [1979])
Katharine Hepburn Collection
Morning Glory / Undercurrent / Sylvia Scarlett / Without Love / Dragon Seed / The Corn Is Green 1979
Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Adolphe Menjou, Walter Huston
Directors: George Cukor, Vincente Minnelli
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
NR     2007

Includes: Morning Glory (1933), Undercurrent (1946), Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Without Love (1945), Dragon Seed (1944), The Corn Is Green (1979).


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Movie Details

Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Adolphe Menjou, Walter Huston
Directors: George Cukor, Vincente Minnelli
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
Sub-Genres: Classics, Animation, Cary Grant, Love & Romance, Classics, Classics, Family Films, Animation, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/29/2007
Original Release Date: 08/18/1933
Theatrical Release Date: 08/18/1933
Release Year: 2007
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

Nicholas M. Disabatino | Canton, Ohio | 03/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thank God Warner Bros is on the ball with Katharine Hepburn!

She deserves this and so do her fans.

"Sylvia Scarlett"- panned in 1936 when RKO released it, this gem directed by George Cuckor with Hepburn and Cary Grant about con artists and sexual ambiguity was scandalous at its time, and although the plot is thin in certain parts, as a whole today it's a great movie. Hepburn looks great dressed as "Sylvestor."

"Without Love" - one of the lesser known pairings of Hepburn and Tracy, but still a gem about a loveless marriage of convienance. Lucille Ball plays Hepburn's best friend/realtor.

"Undercurrent" - beautiful cinematography, yet Hepburn never struck me as the "victim." Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum costar with her in a story about a newly married couple, and Hepburn's worries over her husband's mysterious past and mysterious brother.

"Morning Glory" - "My name is Eva Lovelace, my stage name, you've probably never heard of me because I'm just starting." - Hepburn won her first Oscar for Best Actress as a stagestruck girl destined to get into the theatre. There's supposedly a cut scene between her and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. where they perform the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, and I wish they would include it on the extra features, but I don't think they will for some reason. Adolphe Menjou co-stars as well.

"Dragon Seed" - this is probably the only one of the bunch that I wish they'd left out. At the time it was critically acclaimed (it was 1944), yet by today's standards having American actors portraying Chinese peasants is ludicrous. The movie isn't horrible; however, I don't see why they couldn't have actually used Chinese actors, but blame the Studio System of the 1940's and racial intolerance for that. Hepburn however does portray and independent, freedom fighter peasant woman, and that is the only admirable thing I can think about this movie based on Pearl Buck's novel.

An odd mix of films, with some great moments
Randall A. Byrn | New York, NY | 06/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"2007 is the centenary of quite a few who touched the movies one way or another:
the poet W.H. Auden, novelists Robert A. Heinlein and Daphne Du Maurier, singers Gene Autry, Kate Smith, and Connee Boswell, bandleader Cab Calloway, film score composer Miklós Rózsa, director Fred Zinnemann, and the actors Dan Duryea, Cesar Romero, Buster Crabbe, Laurence Olivier, John Wayne, Barbara Stanwyck, Fay Wray, Burgess Meredith - and one Katharine Houghton Hepburn of Connecticut.

We have already seen tributes to Wayne, and no doubt Olivier and Stanwyck will also be acknowledged. In honor of Miss Hepburn, Warner has issued a rather odd and quite endearing six-disc boxed set of films not previously available on DVD. They range widely in both chronology and quality, and few would put these particular films at the very top of the Hepburn canon, even the one that won her her first Oscar. But as I watched this motley group of films - two from RKO in the 1930s, three from MGM in the 1940s, and one TV film from the late 1970s, I was reminded what a treasure she was and is. Even in the midst of misguided melodramas and not-quite-good-enough romantic comedies, she gives unique, memorable performances. In two cases, her acting may in fact be memorably off-key rather than memorably wonderful, but she makes all these worth seeing.

Morning Glory (1933) won Hepburn an Academy Award. She's excellent as a stage-struck young woman who is trying to make it as a Broadway actress. Her eccentric, fascinating performance can even be seen as a stylized self-portrait. The film itself, directed by Lowell Sherman, is dated in fascinating ways: the stilted storytelling, the 1920s/1930s view of Broadway as the ultimate place to become a dramatic star, the sexual mores. Although it's presented rather obliquely, the parts of the plot involving Hepburn ending up in bed with big producer Adolphe Menjou, falling instantly in love with him and being just as summarily dumped, may leave your jaw dropping both at the "adult" subject matter and the attitudes of another era. Of course, Hepburn eventually understudies for a star-making part, and gets her chance to shine. The bittersweet last scene is both wonderful and a bit ridiculous; this isn't just from an earlier time - it seems to be from another planet.

Without Love (1945) is often described as the worst of the pictures Hepburn made with Spencer Tracy. It's no classic, but if you set your expectations accordingly, it's very entertaining. Defense industry scientist Tracy and well-to-do young widow Hepburn decide to enter into a marriage "without love," based on mutual respect rather than, well, sex. This being Hollywood, you can guess how long that lasts (about ten minutes less than the running time). Lucille Ball and Keenan Wynn have amusing supporting roles - it's fun to see Ball playing a sexy sophisticate, leagues away from Lucy Ricardo. The competent but uninspired direction is by Harold S. Bucquet. His name was up until now unknown to me, but he co-directed another film in this very DVD set (see below), after doing mostly Dr. Kildare series movies before that. And although this is based on a play by Philip Barry, in which Hepburn starred on Broadway in 1942, it is a much less satisfying piece than Holiday or The Philadelphia Story, two earlier Barry-Hepburn collaborations. But she's very charming and perfectly cast.

Dragon Seed (1944) is the oddest of these six movies. It features a largely Caucasian cast playing poor Chinese farmers during the Japanese invasion of the 1930s. It's just about impossible for a 21st-century audience not to respond with appalled laughter at what seems now like a stunt. But the script, based on a Pearl S. Buck novel, is nothing if not sincere, and it has its effective moments. Still, seeing the inconsistent and almost entirely unconvincing ways the Hollywood makeup artists try to make Hepburn, Walter Huston, Agnes Moorehead and others look like Asians - well, this is entertainment in itself, after a fashion. But only for half an hour or so, and the film runs a stultifying 148 minutes. It was lavishly produced by MGM. The co-directors were Bucquet (of Without Love) and Jack Conway. Hepburn manages to project some real feeling through the silly makeup and the platitudinous dialogue.

Hepburn gives the nearest thing to a poor performance (in this set, I mean) in Vincente Minnelli's noirish melodrama Undercurrent (1946). Married to yet another war-era defense scientist (Robert Taylor), this one with a mysterious past, she's supposed to be meek and scared, and as we all know, that just ain't Hepburn. But the glossy production, along with Minnelli's gift for décor and movement, keep this one interesting, even, or especially, when it's ridiculous. Robert Mitchum plays a supporting role that many have called inappropriate for him, but I think he's just fine, as is Edmund Gwenn as Hepburn's father (he turns up again in this set, too).

Although it's flawed, George Cukor's Sylvia Scarlett (1936) is probably the best movie in the set. It features a fierce, sexy, and delightful performance by Cary Grant as a Cockney con man - a role quite different from most of his starring parts. Hepburn is on the run from the French police with her gambler father (Gwenn again), and to put them off the trail she cuts her hair and dresses as a boy - Sylvia becomes Sylvester. This leads to some startling and very entertaining scenes with a bit of bisexual innuendo: a woman kisses and tries to seduce "Sylvester," and both Grant and Brian Aherne find themselves strangely attracted to this young man. At one point, Grant and Sylvester are set to bunk together in close quarters. "It's a nippy night out," says Grant, "and you'll make a nice little hot water bottle." Sylvester flees in fright, even though Sylvia of course has a crush on Grant. The Grant and Aherne characters are both visibly relieved when Sylvester transforms back into Sylvia, but the audience may feel a letdown: Sylvester is a captivating, unusual presence, while Sylvia tends to mewl and whine too much. The later twists and turns in the comic-melodramatic plot are far from convincing, but it's all stylish and fun nonetheless.

I considered cheating a bit on this review and skipping the 1979 The Corn Is Green, also directed by Cukor. But although it is formulaic, it hooked me right away and I enjoyed it right through to the happy-teary climax. The story is a familiar one, a la Pygmalion and To Sir With Love, an 1890s period piece about a teacher, done up in the Hallmark Hall of Fame manner, and Hepburn is probably 25 years older than the part as written. (Bette Davis, born a year later than Hepburn, played this same role in a 1945 film when she was about 36; Hepburn was about 71! Still, Ethel Barrymore was over 60 when she played the part on Broadway in 1940.) There is beautiful Welsh scenery and a fine cast, and Cukor guides it home like the old pro he was by 1979.

Produced under the auspices of Turner Classic Movies, the discs all offer splendid picture and sound quality, and all include short subjects from their era, such as a Tex Avery "Wolf" cartoon and a fabulous Technicolor travelogue of Los Angeles in the forties. Maybe you only want to see the pedigreed Katharine Hepburn classics like Little Women and Adam's Rib and Summertime; if so, only Morning Glory and Sylvia Scarlett come close to that grade here. But the other, less familiar movies offer aspects of Hepburn you may not see elsewhere, and their Hollywood craftsmanship, as wrapped by Warner and Turner Classics in nice shiny packages, provides several hours of great entertainment."
Finally Katie gets one of her own!
D. James | Melbourne, Australia | 02/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Not a moment too soon, the Katharine Hepburn Signature Collection finally arrives on DVD. A brief description of the titles:

Morning Glory (1933)
Eva Lovelace, would-be actress trying to crash the New York stage, is a wildly optimistic chatterbox full of theatrical mannerisms. Her looks, more than her talent, attract the interest of a paternal actor, a philandering producer, and an earnest playwright. Is she destined for stardom or the "casting couch"? Will she fade after the brief blooming of a "morning glory"?

Undercurrent (1946)
Young bride Ann Hamilton soon begins to suspect that her charming husband is really a psychotic who plans to murder her.

Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are joined by amiable con man Jimmy Monkley, then, after a brief career in crime, meet Maudie Tilt, a giddy, sexy Cockney housemaid who joins them in the new venture of entertaining at resort towns from a caravan. Through all this, amazingly no one recognizes that Sylvia is not a boy...until she meets handsome artist Michael Fane, and drama intrudes on the comedy.

Without Love (1945)
In World War II Washington DC, scientist Pat Jamieson's assistant, Jamie Rowan, enters a loveless marriage with him. Struggles bring them closer together. Written by Ed Stephan {}

In WWII Pat Jamieson is a scientist working, without backing, on a high-altitude oxygen mask for fighter pilots. But he has nowhere to conduct his research until he meets Jamie Rowan, a woman with a large empty country house. She has no hopes of marrying for love (and neither does Pat) but Jamie wants to help the war effort and she likes this quirky scientist and his dog, so to satisfy the proprieties they agree on a business arrangement: a marriage of convenience and partnership. They happily work on oxygen mixes instead of honeymooning. But as the footing of their relationship begins warm up, Jamie is courted by another man and the old flame that broke Pat's heart is back in his life. It will take a sleepwalking ruse, dodging in and out of doors, and a working oxygen mask to get them together again.

Dragon Seed (1944)
The lives of a small Chinese village are turned Upside down when the Japanese invade it. And heroic young Chinese woman leads her fellow villagers in an uprising against Japanese Invaders.

The Corn is Green (1979 TV version)
A strong-willed teacher, determined to educate the poor and illiterate youth of an impoverished Welsh village, discovers one student whom she believes to have the seeds of genius in him.

Let's hope they do a 'Warner Night at the Movies' section for this release :o)
What lousy film choices
Film Buff Chris | Doylestown, PA United States | 08/29/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Katharine Hepburn is a great actress, and she has made scores of first rate films. This collection is ludicrous as a first collection for her. "Morning Glory" is indeed good, and was her first Oscar. "Sylvia Scarlett" is weird and doesn't quite work, but it's definitely of interest - she passes as a man, which is intriguing; Cary Grant is charming and shows his music hall background. But it's also famous as the film Hepburn and director George Cukor APOLOGIZED for after it was made (to the producer). "Undercurrent" is faintly interesting, as Katharine worries if husband Robert Mitchum is dangeorus; but she's hardly at her best as a worried wife. "Without Love" is probably the dullest Tracy-Hepburn film, and Lucille Ball probably gives the best (supporting) performance in it. "Dragon Seed" is a famously bad film which even at the time was ridiculed for all these Caucasions pattering around playing Asians. (Once you get over the disconcerting casting, I admit Hepburn has good moments in it, as does Walter Huston.) I've never seen the tv version of "Corn is Green," maybe it's okay, I don't love that story, and don't love the Bette Davis version either.

But here are brilliant Hepburn films (and performances) that could or should be in a collection: "Little Women," "Alice Adams" (fabulous performance, excellent film), "Stage Door" (great movie, and has the "callalilies" lines), "Holiday," "Bringing Up Baby" (classic screwball comedy, one of the best), "The Philadelphia Story."

"The African Queen" is a fabulous film, needs to be on a US dvd soon. All these OTHER Tracy-Hepburn are worthy: "Woman of the Year," "Adam's Rib," "Pat and Mike," "State of the Union," even "Desk Set" (charming), "Keeper of the Flame" (unusual story), "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." "Summertime" is great; "Rainmaker" is moving and good. She's great in "Suddenly Last Summer," excellent in "A Delicate Balance." Her performance in "Long Day's Journey into Night" is truly great, and psychologically complex. Of her tv movies, "Love Amid in the Ruins" is very good, and it has Laurence Olivier too. Oh, and "Lion in Winter."

Gosh, with this many great movies, how did they come up with this list??? (Maybe rights is a big part of the answer, but even so.) So better to buy your Hepburn films separately for now. Hope a more valuable, less obscure Hepburn collection comes out someday."