Barbara Stanwyck Signature Collection [5 Discs] [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Oliver Stone commentary on Executive Suite
  • Vintage shorts and cartoons on other titles
  • Radio shows on My Reputation and Jeopardy


To Please a Lady
In 1931, Clark Gable was a supporting villain in the Barbara Stanwyck vehicle Night Nurse. Two decades later, Gable and Stanwyck were on equal footing in MGM's To Please a Lady. Gable is cast as professional race-car driver Mike Brannan, while Stanwyck plays columnist Regina Forbes. Believing that Mike is responsible for the death of a fellow racer, Regina savagely attacks him in print and on radio. Their adversarial relationship eventually warms up into romance, but it will take a conspicuous act of self-sacrifice on Mike's part before a happy ending can be realized. The climax of To Please a Lady takes place during the Indianapolis 500, an event represented by miles and miles of exciting "actuality" footage. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Counterfeit Cat
Out for Fun
My Reputation
A woman struggling to rebuild her life becomes the victim of uncharitable rumors in this sudsy drama. After the recent death of her husband, and with her sons away at school, Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck) is lonely and out of sorts -- and uninterested in the potential suitors her mother, Mrs. Kimball (Lucile Watson), chooses for her. Jessica joins her close friend Ginna Abbott (Eve Arden) on a skiing trip and meets Maj. Scott Landis (George Brent), a handsome man who is clearly attracted to her. Jessica makes it clear that she has no interest in a short-term fling, and upon returning home, she meets Frank Everett (Warner Anderson), a sweet but dull man whom she begins dating. Frank is willing to marry Jessica, but by chance she meets Scott again, and while she's not willing to be seduced by him, she finds him more exciting and alluring than Frank. As Jessica debates the merits of passion vs. security, she becomes the subject of mean-spirited gossipmongers who speculate that her relationship with Scott has become inappropriately intimate for a new widow. My Reputation was shot in 1944, but it wasn't released until 1946, as the studio believed that it would be better received after the end of WWII. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The answer is: A turgid melodrama. The question: What is Jeopardy? Barbara Stanwyck stars as a suburbanite on a Mexican vacation with her husband (Barry Sullivan) and son (Lee Aaker). The threesome runs afoul of escape convict Ralph Meeker. Stanwyck's dilemma: Attempting to rescue her husband from drowning, while staving off the carnal demands of Meeker, who holds Stanwyck and her son at gunpoint. Jeopardy is on and off in only 69 minutes, but 64 of those minutes seem far longer. Trivia note: When dramatized on Lux Radio Theater, Jeopardy costarred child actor Harry Shearer, later a comic regular on Saturday Night Live. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Into Your Dance
East Side, West Side
Director Mervyn Leroy lends a burnished MGM gloss to this sordid tale of infidelity among rich New York East Siders. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Jessie Bourne, a charming society woman whose finds out that her husband Brandon (James Mason) is guiltily indulging in an illicit affair with the earthy Isobel Lorrison (Ava Gardner). Jessie bears her husband's indiscretion with a gallant dignity, and when Isabelle is killed, Jesse realizes that she doesn't care for Brandon anyway. Van Heflin is also on hand as ex-cop Mark Dwyer, who admires Jessie's stoic dignity. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Billy Boy
Annie Oakley
This highly fictionalized biopic of legendary sharpshooter Annie Oakley stars Barbara Stanwyck as "Little Sure Shot" Annie. Coming down from the hills of Ohio, Annie rises to fame with Buffalo Bill's (Moroni Olsen) Wild West Show. Her success as a performer is counterpointed by her stormy romance with fellow performer Toby Foster (Preston S. Foster), whose reputation as the World's Great Marksman is shot to holes by Annie's accomplishments. Walking out on Annie and the show, Toby loses himself in the streets of New York but is discovered and dragged back by Annie's faithful Indian friend Sitting Bull (Chief Thunderbird, whose performance is far from politically correct but undeniably amusing). Melvyn Douglas co-stars as Annie's manager and would-be boyfriend Jeff Hogarth, while an uncredited Dick Elliot delivers a hearty performance as press agent Ned Buntline; others in the cast include such 2-reel comedy favorites as Charlie Hall and Harry Bernard, who like director George Stevens were alumni of the Hal Roach fun factory. The much-later musical version of the Annie Oakley story, Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, bears traces of this 1935 film, but not so much as to constitute plagiarism (Coincidentally, Herbert Fields, one of the writers of Annie Oakley, collaborated with his sister Dorothy on the libretto of Annie Get Your Gun). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Daffy Doodles
Executive Suite
Cameron Hawley's novel of corporate in-fighting and gamesmanship was brought to the screen by producer John Houseman and director Robert Wise, working successfully in the slickest MGM style. When Avery Bullard, the hard-charging president of Tredway, the third-largest furniture maker in the United States, dies suddenly at the end of a business week, it sets off a scramble among the surviving vice presidents to see which of them will succeed him. Among the latter, the best positioned to take the job is Loren Shaw (Fredric March), an ambitious bean-counter-type who is more concerned with the profits that the company generates than the quality of what it produces. Opposing him are Frederick Alderson (Walter Pidgeon), Bullard's longtime right-hand man, and McDonald Walling (William Holden), a forward-thinking idea man brought in by Bullard but never given a wholly free hand (mostly thanks to Shaw). But Alderson's age works against him, as does his seeming lack of leadership -- and Walling is not ready (or so he thinks) to take the president's job, nor does he really want it. Caught in the same dilemma are Walter Dudley (Paul Douglas), the head of sales, who is being quietly blackmailed by Shaw over an affair with his secretary; Jesse Grimm (Dean Jagger), a production man who has always been distrustful of Walling's new ideas; and George Caswell (Louis Calhern), a duplicitous corporate player who will do anything -- including compromise the future of the company -- to protect his own financial position. And possibly holding the balance of power between them is Julia Tredway (Barbara Stanwyck), the daughter of the company's founder (who committed suicide during the Great Depression) and a major shareholder, whose unrequited love for Bullard clouds all of her thinking about the company. And caught in the middle of their struggle -- which literally has a clock ticking, toward the opening of business on Monday morning -- are the thousands of employees of Tredway, represented by a handful of fine character actors, whose jobs and futures hang in the balance over who wins this fight. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

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