TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Maureen O'Hara [DVD]
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$11.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
  • Behind-the-scenes documentary featuring an interview with Maureen O'Hara
  • Dance, Girl, Dance:
  • Includes: vintage comedy short just a Cute Kid
  • Classic cartoon Malibu Beach Party
  • The Wings of Eagles:
  • Includes: theatrical trailer
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

The Spanish Main
RKO Radio's first film in the three-color Technicolor process was the standard-issue swashbuckler The Spanish Main. Paul Henried is his usual stoic self as Laurent Van Horn, a Dutch sea captain shipwrecked on the coast of Cartagena, a Spanish-held island. Sentenced to be hanged, Van Horn and his crew escape from jail and take up piracy as revenge against Spain. Soon afterward, they capture a ship carrying Francisca (Maureen O'Hara), the fiance of Cartagena's corrupt governor Don Alvarado (Walter Slezak). Van Horn vengefully forces Francisca to marry him instead, which causes dissension at the Pirate colony of Tortuga. Naturally, Van Horn and Francisca eventually fall in love with each other, but the bad guys must be vanquished before a happy ending can be realized. Binnie Barnes steals the show as feisty female buccaneer Anne Bonney (who in real life looked less like Barnes and more like Walter Slezak!) The script is a cynical melange of pirate-movie cliches and the performances are generally routine, but The Spanish Main pleased the crowd in 1945, posting a profit of nearly $1.5 million and encouraging future Technicolor adventure films from RKO. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Dance, Girl, Dance
Based on a story by Vicki Baum (of Grand Hotel) fame, Dance, Girl Dance finds innocent young Judy (Maureen O'Hara) journeying to the Big Apple in hopes of gaining fame as a classical dancer. Instead she ends up as the "stooge" for raucous strip-tease artist Bubbles (Lucille Ball), who attempts to perform ballet before leering, catcalling, unappreciative burlesque audiences. Eventually, Judy and Bubbles both fall for playboy Jimmy Harris (Louis Hayward), a rivalry that culminates in a hair-pulling, eye-scratching cat fight. Eventually, Harris's ex-wife (Virginia Field) reels him back in, and Judy is hired by ballet producer and entrepreneur Steve Adams (Ralph Bellamy). In recent years, Dance, Girl, Dance has been canonized as a feminist manifesto, due to the fact that Dorothy Arzner was the director and because of Maureen O'Hara's climactic burlesque-house speech, in which she lambastes the male spectators for their puerile chauvinism. It should be noted, however, that Arzner became director only after Roy Del Ruth pulled out of the project. Uncertain how to promote the film, RKO Radio elected to sneak it into its first-run houses without fanfare, and the result was a $400,000 loss for the studio. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Few will argue with the contention that RKO Radio's 1939 adaptation of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame was the best of the many screen versions of the Hugo classic. We say this even allowing for certain liberties taken with the source material-liberties calculated by scenarists Sonya Levien and Bruno Frank to draw parallels between 15th century Paris and 20th century Europe. Thus, Claude Frollo (Cedric Hardwicke), the villain of the piece, is no longer merely a religious hypocrite unable to control his own carnal desires. Instead, Frollo is a bush-league Hitler, warning that the invention of the printing press is dangerous in that it will encourage the rabble to think for themselves, and plotting the persecution and destruction of the "undesirable" gypsies. In the same vein, Gringoire the Poet (Edmond O'Brien in his film debut) has been transformed into an agit-prop "Group Theatre" activist, bent on bringing the unvarnished truth to the ignorant Parisians. Many of Hugo's subplots have been dispensed with, the better to concentrate on the grotesquely deformed Quasimodo (Charles Laughton), bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and his puppylike loyalty towards imperiled gypsy dancer Esmerelda (Maureen O'Hara, in her first American film appearance). The schism between the haves and have-nots in the walled city of Paris is illustrated in broad, visually dynamic strokes by director William Dieterle. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Wings of Eagles
The Wings of Eagles is filmmaker John Ford's paean to his frequent collaborator--and, it is rumored, drinking buddy--Cmdr. Frank "Spig" Wead. John Wayne stars as Wead, a reckless WW1 Naval aviator who (it says here) was instrumental in advancing the cause of American "air power". In private life, Wead becomes estranged from his wife Minnie (Maureen O'Hara) after the death of their baby. Drinking heavily, Wead tumbles down the stairs of his home, and as a result he is apparently paralyzed for life. With the help of happy-go-lucky Navy mechanic Carson (Dan Dailey), Wead is able to regain minimal use of his legs, but it seems clear that his Naval career is over. Fortunately, he manages to find work as a prolific Hollywood screenwriter, and after the attack of Pearl Harbor he is called back to active duty to oversee the construction of "jeep carriers". Not one of John Ford's more coherent films--in fact, it's downright sloppy at times--The Wings of Eagles nonetheless contains several highlights, not least of which are the "I'm gonna move that toe" scene with John Wayne and Dan Dailey, and Ward Bond's inside-joke performance as irreverent film director "John Dodge". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Paul Henreid
    Paul Henreid - Laurent Van Horn
  • Maureen O'Hara
    Maureen O'Hara - Francisca
  • Walter Slezak
    Walter Slezak - Don Alvarado
  • Binnie Barnes
    Binnie Barnes - Anne Bonney
  • Barton MacLane
    Barton MacLane - Capt. Black
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.