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Silver Screen Romances: 8 Movie Collection [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Music in My Heart
Boasting Tony Martin and Rita Hayworth and bandleader Andre Kostelanitz as its leading players, it's surprising that Music in My Heart isn't better than it is. Martin plays European-born actor Robert Gregory, who while rehearsing for a Broadway musical falls in love with chorine Patricia O'Malley (Rita Hayworth). She likewise falls in love with him, even though she's scheduled to marry millionaire Charles Gardner (Alan Mowbray). The relationship is endangered when Gregory faces deportation to his own country, but baton-wieldig Kostelanitz comes to the rescue by making Gregory a radio singing sensation. Talented child actress Edith Fellows, who in previous films had been given top billing over Rita Hayworth, is somewhat wasted in the role of Rita's kid sister. Of the film's six songs, "It's a Blue World" is the singular highlight. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

It Should Happen to You
Gladys Glover (Judy Holliday) is an unsuccessful model and actress who believes that a jolt of publicity will do her career a world of good. She gets that publicity by renting a billboard in the middle of Manhattan, emblazoned with her name. As a result, Gladys is showered with endorsement by a gentleman named Evan Adams III (Peter Lawford). He becomes enamored with Gladys, which irritates her "unofficial" boyfriend, documentary-director Pete Sheppard (Jack Lemmon, in his film debut). Pete grows tired of Gladys' publicity stunt, feeling that it is turning her into an object rather than a human being, but Gladys luxuriates in the fame and fortune. A happy ending may be inevitable, but it's a hard-won happiness for both hero and heroine. Scriptwriter Garson Kanin had intended this as a vehicle for Danny Kaye, but Kanin's wife, Ruth Gordon, suggested the gender-switch to Judy Holliday, noting that what might seem aggressive from Kaye would appear merely whimsical from Holliday. In one of the best scenes, real-life celebrities Melville Cooper, Ilka Chase and Constance Bennett show up as talk-show panelists -- the ideal magnet for the likes of Gladys Glover, who has become famous merely for being famous. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Angels Over Broadway
In the Ben Hecht-scripted Angels over Broadway. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. plays a poker hustler working in cahoots with good-time girl Rita Hayworth. Alcoholic playwright Thomas Mitchell, having saved embezzler John Qualen from suicide, decides to enter Fairbanks' high-stakes game, using Qualen as an easy-mark "bait." Mitchell's clever schemes to beat Fairbanks come acropper, but Fairbanks has a sudden change of heart and decides it's more fun to perform good deeds. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Adam Had Four Sons
Ingrid Bergman stars in Adam Had Four Sons, her second American film appearance. Based on a novel by Charles Bonner, the story begins in the early twentieth century, when French governess Emilie Gallatin (Bergman) is hired to care for the four growing sons of wealthy Adam Stoddard (Warner Baxter). The sudden death of Stoddard's wife Molly (Fay Wray) and the loss of his fortune compels Emilie to reluctantly give up her position and head home. Ten years later, Stoddard, having recovered financially, again sends for Emilie, even though his sons have all grown and are about to march off to WW1. Secretly in love with Stoddard, Emilie nonetheless keeps her place, until the libertine behavior of Stoddard's scheming sister-in-law Hester (Susan Hayward) forces Emilie to take drastic action. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Down to Earth
A semi-sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Columbia's Down to Earth is a camp- and kitsch-lover's delight. More beautiful than ever, Rita Hayworth stars as Terpsichore, the Goddess of Dance. From her perch Up Above, Terpsichore discovers that Broadway producer Danny Miller (Larry Parks) intends to put together a musical satire, lampooning herself and her fellow Greek Gods. Eliciting the aid of Heavenly emissary Mr. Jordan (Roland Culver, taking over from the earlier film's Claude Rains), Terpsichore descends to Earth in human form, landing a role in Miller's play. Through her bewitching influence, Miller agrees to abandon his plans for a satire, transforming his production into a portentiously serious "work of art"-which lays a large and noxious egg with the opening-night crowd. Somehow, our ethereal heroine manages to set things right, but there's still one nagging problem: Will she, a goddess, ever be permitted to fall in love with a mere mortal like Miller? Repeating their Here Comes Mr. Jordan roles, James Gleason and Edward Everett Horton appear respectively as the eternally flustered Max Corkle (formerly a fight promoter, now a theatrical agent) and the pompous, rule-bound Heavenly messenger #7013. Silly but immensely entertaining, Down to Earth was remade as the sillier but decidedly less entertaining Xanadu in 1980. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Marrying Kind
A master blend of comedy, domestic drama and sudden tragedy, The Marrying Kind remains one of the best collaborations between star Judy Holliday, screenwriters Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon, and director George Cukor. The film begins at the end, with married couple Florence and Chet Keefer (Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray) seeking a divorce. Both parties state their cases before understanding judge Carroll (Madge Kennedy)--whereupon the story of their marriage unfolds in a series of revelatory flashbacks. After an amusing recap of their courtship days, the film details the many major and minor trials and tribulations of married life. In the film's most unforgettable sequence, one of the couple's children dies by drowning while Florence and Chet are obliviously engaged in one of their petty squabbles. Throughout the testimony, the Judge gives equal time to both parties, and in so doing demonstrates that all aspects of marriage work both ways. In the final scenes, the Judge allows the Keefers to reconsider their impending divorce, but not before offering a few understanding and unobtrusive words of advice. Judy Holliday is in top form, while Aldo Ray delivers what may be his finest performance. Featured in the cast as Ray's sister-in-law is Peggy Cass in her film debut. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

We Were Strangers
Set in the Cuba of 1933, We Were Strangers stars John Garfield as revolutionary-minded Tony Fenner. A member of an underground movement dedicated to toppling the despotic Machado regime, Tony supervises the booby-trapping of a cemetery where several top Cuban officials are planning to converge for a state funeral. Also involved in the assassination scheme is China Valdes (Jennifer Jones), whose brother had been executed by the government. As often happens in a John Huston film, the best-laid schemes of the protagonists go tragically awry. Based on a portion of Robert Sylvester's novel Rough Sketch, We Were Strangers was scripted by frequent Huston collaborator Peter Viertel. The film has the curious distinction of being lambasted by both the left-wing and right-wing critics in the U.S. Audiences were likewise underwhelmed, compelling Columbia Pictures to withdraw the film from distribution early on. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Solid Gold Cadillac
The Solid Gold Cadillac was adapted from the George S. Kaufman-Howard Teichmann Broadway hit of the same. Both the play and film were predicated upon the notion of a humble ten-share stockholder triumphing over a corrupt big-business board of directors, but there was one significant difference. In the stage version, septuagenarian Josephine Hull starred as Laura Partridge, a sweet little old lady who asks several embarrassing questions at a stockholder's meeting. In the film version, Laura's age is lowered by at least four decades to accommodate star Judy Holliday. In both versions, a romance develops between Laura Partridge and Edward L. McKeever, the owner of the corporation she takes on. McKeever (played in the film by Paul Douglas, Holliday's co-star in the Broadway version of Born Yesterday) is an honest man, which is more than can be said for his self-serving board of directors (Fred Clark, John Williams, Ray Collins et. al.) With McKeever's covert help, Laura, who has been given a dummy executive position in the corporation in hopes that she'll shut up, forms a stockholder's association intent upon throwing the rascals out. Though the dialogue in Solid Gold Cadillac is consistently entertaining, the film's best line goes to Judy Holliday: Describing her brief career as an actress in a Shakespearean troupe, she recalls ruefully that "No one's allowed to sit down unless you're a king." George Burns, taking over from the stage version's Fred Allen, provides the wry scene-setting narration. Currently available TV prints of The Solid Gold Cadillac have restored the original Technicolor final shot. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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