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The James Stewart: Signature Collection [6 Discs] [DVD]

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$44.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • The Spirit of St. Louis
  • The Spirit of St. Louis Premiere
  • Vintage Joe McDookes Comedy Short So Your Wife Wants To Work
  • Classic Cartoon Tabasco Road
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • The Naked Spur
  • Vintage Pete Smith Specialty Short Things We Can Do Without
  • Classic Cartoon Little Anthony Jet
  • The Cheyenne Social Club and Firecreek
  • Vintage The Cheyenne Social Club Featurette The Good Time Girls
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • The FBI Story
  • The Stratton Story
  • Vintage Featurette Pest Control
  • Classic Cartoon Batty Baseball
  • Audio-Only Bonus: Radio Show with Stewart and Allyson
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

The Stratton Story
Both Van Johnson and Gregory Peck were considered for the role of baseball star Monty Stratton in the 1949 biopic The Stratton Story before settling upon the real Stratton's own first choice, James Stewart. The film covers several years in the 1930s, as Texas farm boy Stratton rises from the minors to the Chicago White Sox. Along the way, Monty marries an Omaha gal named Ethel (June Allyson), who gives him a son. In November 1938, Monty accidentally shoots himself in the leg while on a hunting excursion. When the leg has to be amputated, it looks as though Stratton's pitching career is over. He broods over his bad luck for months before snapping out of his self-pity and learning to walk with his new prosthesis. To prove to himself that he's overcome his handicap, Monty takes a job pitching with the Southern All-Stars. His return to baseball is rough sledding (the other team persistently bunts balls out of his reach), but Monty Stratton is finally able to make a successful comeback. Only occasionally playing fast and loose with the facts (the time-frame of Stratton's real-life return to baseball is telescoped by several years), The Stratton Story was one of the best and most profitable baseball pictures ever turned out by Hollywood. Fans of the game will get an extra kick from the presence in the cast of big-leaguers Bill Dickey and Jimmy Dykes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Spirit of St. Louis
This retelling of one of Charles Lindbergh's most famous feats stars Jimmy Stewart as the legendary flier, and was directed by Billy Wilder. The story, adapted from Lindbergh's autobiography, begins when the aviator is working as an airmail pilot, but has much loftier goals in mind for himself. He begins to envision a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic - something that no one has ever done before - and finds a group in St. Louis, Missouri willing to provide the necessary financial backing; he then has a special plane built in honor of the funders. Later, as Lindbergh sits in his cockpit, waiting to take off, he thinks back over his days as a circus flier, stunt flier and aimail pilot. The journey itself presents a series of hazards, but Lindbergh perseveres, using the stars for navigation when his compass disappears and overcoming other obstacles such as ice on the wings. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

The FBI Story
If Warner Bros.' pageantlike The FBI Story resembles an episode of Jack Webb's Dragnet at times, it's probably because the screenplay was by veteran Dragnet scrivener Richard L. Breen. The film meticulously details the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from its formation in 1924 to the present day (1959, that is). The story is told through the eyes of FBI agent Chip Hardesty (James Stewart), who narrates the film. We see the FBI tackling such villains as the Ku Klux Klan, the mob, the Nazis and the communists. Subplots include the struggle by the federal agents to be given permission to carry firearms, a plight driven home when Hardesty's best friend (Murray Hamilton) is killed by gun-toting Baby Face Nelson (William Phipps). Offsetting moments like these are scenes of Hardesty's home life with his wife Lucy (Vera Miles), who at first opposed her husband's joining the bureau but who later becomesJ. Edgar Hoover's biggest fan. Excessively sentimental at times (it seems that the Hardesty family can never hold a party without receiving a terse telegram announcing yet another personal tragedy) and saddled with a rambling, stop-and-start continuity, the overall success of The FBI Story hinges upon its individual episodes, including a wowser of a pre-credits sequence involving matricidal mad bomber John Graham (Nick Adams). Since the film was made at a time when the FBI was considered to be of spotless reputation, don't expect to see any scenes of the bureau wiretapping civil rights leaders--or, for that matter, J. Edgar Hoover prancing around in drag. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Naked Spur
The powerhouse combination of star James Stewart and director Anthony Mann score another cinematic bullseye in The Naked Spur. Stewart plays a taciturn frontiersman who loses his home while he's off fighting the Civil War. To raise enough money for a new grubstake, Stewart becomes a bounty hunter in Colorado territory. His first quarry is fugitive, killer Robert Ryan. Stewart's efforts to bring in Ryan and collect the reward are compromised by the presence of Ryan's loyal girl friend Janet Leigh and Stewart's two disreputable sidekicks, wily prospector Millard Mitchell and disgraced Union-officer Ralph Meeker. There's plenty of "cat and mouse" byplay between Stewart and Ryan before the brutal climax; the drama is intensified by the fact that both men are on the outer rim of total insanity. The Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Naked Spur was cowritten by Sam Rolfe, who was later one of the creative forces responsible for the similarly no-nonsense TV western series Have Gun, Will Travel. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Cheyenne Social Club
James Stewart and Henry Fonda star in this light-hearted western comedy, directed by Gene Kelly. In 1870 Texas, John O' Hanlan (James Stewart), an itinerant cowboy, receives a letter notifying him that he has inherited a business establishment called the Cheyenne Social Club in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Thinking that he can finally settle down from his hard life on the trail and become a man of property, he travels with his friend Harley O'Sullivan (Henry Fonda) to Cheyenne to claim his property. Once there, he finds the Cheyenne Social Club to be a brothel, run by the attractive Madame Jenny (Shirley Jones). John is appalled, and while Harley is sampling the business's wares, John is planning to close the place down and turn it into a boardinghouse. But when the citizens of Cheyenne get wind of John's plan, they try to convince him to keep the whorehouse the way it is. However, all of this talk is tabled when John finds out that Jenny has been beaten by the disreputable Corey Bannister (Robert J. Wilke). John challenges him to a gunfight and kills him. Suddenly, John and Harley discover that they have the whole Bannister clan after them, and now they have to defend both themselves and the gals at the Cheyenne Social Club. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Firecreek
Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda headline this western in which an old lawman (Stewart) attempts to keep his town safe from a band of recent returnees from the Missouri range wars and their villainous leader (Fonda), who threaten to destroy it with their drunken revelry. The old sheriff usually avoids the town, preferring to live on the outskirts of town with his pregnant wife. He is a bit of a pacifist, and when he sees what the outlaws are doing to the peaceful little village, he decides he must intervene, as no one in town seems to have the grit to fight back. At first the lawman attempts to reason with the outlaws. He fails at this, and even more violence ensues, forcing the sheriff to use a stronger form of persuasion. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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