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Leading Ladies Collection, Vol. 2 [5 Discs] [DVD]

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$39.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • Shoot The Moon Commentary
  • Rare Lillian Roth Variety Short and Vintage Newsreels on I'll Cry Tomorrow
  • Making-Of on Rich and Famous

Synopsis

A Big Hand for the Little Lady
The action in A Big Hand for the Little Lady centers around a high-stake poker game. The participants include some of the wealthiest men in the West (among them Jason Robards Jr., Kevin McCarthy, Charles Bickford and Paul Ford). Into this rarefied atmosphere trudges impoverished farmer Henry Fonda, who despite the protests of his wife Joanne Woodward plunks down his last dollars to join the game. Halfway through the proceedings, Fonda falls ill. With quiet desperation, Woodward sits down daintily at the table and says in a firm voice, "Gentlemen, how do you play this game?" End of story? Not by a long shot! This O. Henry-style shaggy dog story is based on a Dupont Show of the Week TV presentation Big Deal at Laredo. Keep an eye out for two movie veterans in bit parts: silent screen comic Chester Conklin and 1930's leading lady Mae Clarke. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

I'll Cry Tomorrow
Susan Hayward pulls out all the stops, and then some, in this cinemadaptation of singer Lillian Roth's autobiography I'll Cry Tomorrow. In as harshly realistic a manner as possible in the still censor-dominated Hollywood of 1955, the film recounts Roth's rise to fame, her precipitous fall and her tearful comeback. The fact that Roth loves not wisely but too well is only part of the problem (only two of her eight husbands are portrayed in the film); contributing factors to her self-destruction also included her witchlike "stage mother" (Jo Van Fleet) and the pressures of fame and fortune. The principal reason for Roth's fall from the height of fame to the depths of squalor and despair is booze -- at least until she begins to pull herself together with the help of Alcoholics-Anonymous representative Burt McGuire (Eddie Albert). The story concludes with a testimonial staged in Roth's honor on the TV series This is Your Life (the original of which still exists in kinescope form). Having been personally coached by the real Lillian Roth, Susan Hayward does an excellent job of copying the singer's unique style. Though Hayward did not win an Oscar for her performance, she did cop the "Best Actress" prize at the Cannes Film Festival. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Rich and Famous
Two women find their friendship tested when one rises from obscurity to success in this glossy remake of Old Acquaintance. Liz Hamilton (Jacqueline Bisset) and Merry Noel (Candice Bergen) are close friends who met while they were freshmen at Smith College in the 1950s. Liz has become a highly respected novelist, while Merry wed Doug Blake (David Selby) and raised a family. While Merry is happy, she can't help but envy Liz for her glamorous career as an author. Merry decides to write a novel of her own, and with Liz's help, the book soon finds a publisher. While Merry's trashy potboiler earns few positive reviews, it's a massive best-seller, and Merry's fame and wealth soon outstrips that of Liz, leading to jealousy between the old friends and problems in Merry's marriage. Rich and Famous was the final picture directed by Hollywood legend George Cukor; the guest list at the party sequences include such literary and cinematic notables as Christopher Isherwood, Ray Bradbury, Paul Morrissey, and Roger Vadim. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Up the Down Staircase
A serious social drama film of the type that flourished in the 1960's, Up the Down Staircase seems somewhat dated and preachy when viewed by modern audiences. The subject matter is laudable, of course: an ambitious, spirited and concerned young teacher determined to make a difference in a troubled inner city school. And there are quite a few memorable moments, including a very well-directed juxtaposition of Sylvia Barrett triumphing by getting her class excited about A Tale of Two Cities as the lovelorn and dejected Alice Blake quietly and calmly examines the classroom of the teacher she loves before jumping from a window. Director Robert Mulligan also provides appropriate tension to a scene in which another troubled student forcefully comes on to the young teacher, and throughout he does a commendable job of using a hand held camera and a very busy, overlapping soundtrack to convey the tumult, confusion and chaos of the high school. He is less successful in overcoming the script's tendency to excessive earnestness and dialogue that often sacrifices subtlety and nuance to make its points. The film also suffers from a bit of hollowness at its core. Some of this is due to Sandy Dennis's performance - her peculiar brand of acting, while effective in conveying much about the character, also tends to isolate her from the other cast members. However, the decision to present the character solely in terms of the school and its immediate environs and never in her home life also contributes to the hollowness. The supporting cast is marvelous, with a mixture of seasoned pros and novices, although one wishes Eileen Heckart had been given more to do. Despite its flaws, Staircase remains involving. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

Shoot the Moon
Director Alan Parker and writer Bo Goldman chronicle the emotional disintegration of an unhappy marriage. Albert Finney and Diane Keaton play George and Faith Dunlap, a seemingly happily married couple living with their four daughters in a converted farmhouse in Marin County, California. George is inwardly empty and decides to have an affair with Sandy (Karen Allen), who has doubts about how long their affair will last. Faith is also suffering from ennui and takes up with Frank Henderson (Peter Weller), the contractor for the Dunlap's tennis court. Frank, after discovering about Faith's affair, is in a confused state: he wants to leave and live with Sandy but doesn't want his wife to date other men and demands the love of his daughters -- all of whom now detest him. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Henry Fonda
    Henry Fonda - Meredith
  • Joanne Woodward
    Joanne Woodward - Mary
  • Charles Bickford
    Charles Bickford - Benson Tropp
  • Burgess Meredith
    Burgess Meredith - Doc Scully
  • Kevin McCarthy
    Kevin McCarthy - Otto Habershaw
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