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Silver Screen Series, Vol. 4 [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered
  • Interactive menus
  • Chapter selections
  • Digitally enhanced audio 5.1

Synopsis

Catherine the Great
This historical drama recounts the events that led up to the rule of Russia's 18th-century Catherine the Great. Arriving from Germany as a young woman who is to wed Grand Duke Peter, she soon becomes caught up in the court intrigue and marries the lit-fuse duke. As the Grand Duke's mother lays dying, she relates her fears about her son's mental states, leaving Catherine to contend with his irrational and cruel behavior. When he goes too far with his antics, he is overthrown and put to death, though not by her wishes. Soon, however, Catherine is made the new Czaritza and restores order to her country. Elisabeth Bergner stars with Douglas Fairbanks in this British production. ~ Kristie Hassen, Rovi

The Private Life of Henry VIII
Charles Laughton became an international star by chewing both mutton and scenes in his Oscar-winning turn as King Henry VIII. Alexander Korda's British super-production also put the British cinema on the map, which, until this film, received precious little respect in the international film community. The film, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, details the private life of the famous British monarch. His first wife, Catherine of Aragon, is barely mentioned -- explained away by a prologue which states that she was "too respectable to be included." Henry then marries Anne Boleyn (Merle Oberon) but she is soon beheaded. His next wife, Jane Seymour (Wendy Barrie), dies during childbirth. His next wife is Anne of Cleves (Elsa Lanchester, in a prelude to her Bride of Frankenstein role), whom Henry reluctantly beds with his famous sigh, "The things I've done for England." They divorce and Henry next marries Katherine Howard (Binnie Barnes), who also finds herself beheaded when she has an affair with Henry's friend, Thomas Culpepper (Robert Donat). Finally, Henry is brought down to size with his final wife, Catherine Parr (Everley Gregg). ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Oliver Twist
Based on Dicken's classic novel, this is the first sound version of the oft-filmed tale of a plucky orphan who struggles to survive on the rough, unforgiving London streets. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

King Lear
One of the first important distinctions to be made about this version of King Lear is that it is not the same version directed by Peter Brook in 1971. Brook was responsible for the staging of this 1953 version, but it was Andrew McCullough who put it to film. Orson Welles portrays the titular character, one of the most memorable and important characters from the Shakespearean canon. The story begins with the famous request Lear makes of his daughters: to express how much they love him. In exchange, Lear will divide his land and power amongst them based on the extent of their answers. Cordelia (Natasha Parry), the youngest and the one whom Lear loves the most, answers very modestly -- yet honestly --and incurs the wrath of Lear, who not only withholds his gift to her, but banishes her as well. Lear divides his lands and power between the two older daughters, Goneril (Beatrice Straight) and Regan (Margaret Phillips), who intend to take swift and complete control of their father's power almost instantaneously. Lear is reduced to an angry, bitter man who realizes too late what has happened. After a series of indignities are inflicted upon him by his daughters, he retreats into a storm, vowing revenge. This film is an above-average adaptation with a very capable cast and a well-staged presentation. The subplot of Gloucester and his sons has been removed, however, presumably in interests of time conservation, but it doesn't seriously hinder the story. ~ Ryan Shriver, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
    Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. - Grand Duke Peter
  • Elisabeth Bergner
    Elisabeth Bergner - Catherine II the Great
  • Flora Robson
    Flora Robson - Empress Elizabeth
  • Image coming soon
    Gerald du Maurier - Lecocq
  • Image coming soon
    Irene Vanbrugh - Princess Anhalt-Zerbst
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.