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The Selznick Collection [5 Discs] [DVD]

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$58.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • A Star is Born features:
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Wardrobe test
  • Gallery
  • A Farewell to Arms features:
  • Trailers
  • Gallery of images

Synopsis

Nothing Sacred
"This is New York, Skyscraper Champion of the World...Where the Slickers and Know-It-Alls peddle gold bricks to each other...And where Truth, crushed to earth, rises again more phony than a glass eye..." With this jaundiced opening title, scripter Ben Hecht introduces his classic comedy Nothing Sacred. Fredric March plays Wally Cook, a hotshot reporter condemned to writing obituaries because of his unwitting complicity in a fraud. Anxious to get back in the good graces of his editor Oliver Stone (Walter Connolly), Cook pounces on the story of New England girl Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard), who is reportedly dying from radiation poisoning. Actually, Hazel isn't dying at all; she's been misdiagnosed by Moscow's eternally drunk doctor (Charles Winninger). But when Cook offers to take her on an all-expenses-paid trip to New York in exchange for her exclusive story, it's too good an offer to pass up. Once in the Big Apple, Hazel is feted as a heroine by the novelty-seeking populac; she enjoys the adulation at first, but soon (and with the help of gallons of alcoholic beverages) suffers the pangs of conscience. She confesses her deception to Cook, who by now has fallen in love with her. Cook and Stone conspire to keep the public from discovering the truth, eventually dreaming up a phony suicide. Travelling incognito to avoid arrest, Wally and Hazel marry and go on a honeymoon, secure in the knowledge that New York City has forgotten all about her and moved on to their next fad. Brimming with witty, acerbic dialogue and hilarious bits of physical business, Nothing Sacred is among the best "screwball" comedies of the 1930s. The musical score by Oscar Levant both mocks and celebrates the George Gershwinesque musical style then in vogue. As an added bonus, the film is lensed in Technicolor (avoid those two-color reissue prints), allowing modern viewers to see what New York City looked liked back in 1937. Nothing Sacred was later adapted into a Broadway musical, Hazel Flagg, which in turn was filmed by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as Living It Up (1954), with Lewis in the Carole Lombard role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Farewell to Arms
This first film version of Ernest Hemingway's novel A Farewell to Arms stars Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. Cooper plays Lt. Frederick Henry, a World War I officer who falls in love with English Red Cross nurse Catherine Barkley (Hayes)-after first mistaking her for a woman of ill repute. Henry's friend, Major Rinaldi, is envious of the romance, and pulls strings to have Catherine transferred to Milan. When Henry is wounded in battle, he ends up in the very hospital where Catherine works. They resume the affair, which reaches an ecstatic peak just before Henry is returned to the front. The now-pregnant Catherine remains in Switzerland, sending letters by the bushelfull to Henry. But the jealous Rinaldi sees to it that Henry never receives those letters, leading Catherine to conclude sorrowfully that Henry has forgotten her. As the Armistice approaches, Henry makes his way to Switzerland, hoping to find Catherine. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Little Lord Fauntleroy
David O. Selznick's first independent production upheld the producer's tradition, established at Paramount, RKO and MGM, of bringing the "classics" to the screen. Adapted by Hugh Walpole from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy is set in the late 19th century. After establishing Freddie Bartholomew as a likeable Brooklyn boy who can handle himself in a scrap--with the assistance of his roughneck pal Mickey Rooney, of course--the film introduces us to Bartholomew's mother, played by Dolores Costello-Barrymore (though divorced from John Barrymore, Mrs. Costello-Barrymore was still billng herself by her married name). Costello-Barrymore is the widow of a titled Englishman, whose father, the aristocratic Sir C. Aubrey Smith, detests all Americans with equal fervor. Upon discovering that Bartholomew is the rightful heir to his fortune, Smith demands that Costello-Barrymore deliver the boy to his sprawling English country estate. Now addressed by one and all as Lord Fauntleroy, Bartholomew chafes at the restrictions imposed upon him by his station in life. The boy's good nature and forthrightedness wins his grandfather's respect-and, eventually, the old man's love. When pasty-faced Jackie Searl, a false claimant to Bartholomew's title, shows up, Bartholomew's American pals, led by Rooney, set things right. His hard heart softened at last, Smith stage-manages a happy reunion between Bartholomew and Costello-Barrymore. Expertly sidestepping the "sissy" onus that has been unfairly placed upon the original Burnett novel, Little Lord Fauntleroy scored well at the box office. Other versions of this venerable tale have starred Mary Pickford (as both Fauntleroy and his mother) and Ricky Schroder. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Star Is Born
A Star is Born came into being when producer David O. Selznick decided to tell a "true behind-the-scenes" story of Hollywood. The truth, of course, was filtered a bit for box-office purposes, although Selznick and an army of screenwriters based much of their script on actual people and events. Janet Gaynor stars as Esther Blodgett, the small-town girl who dreams of Hollywood stardom, a role later played by both Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand in the 1954 and 1976 remakes. Jeered at by most of her family, Esther finds an ally in her crusty old grandma (May Robson), who admires the girl's "pioneer spirit" and bankrolls Esther's trip to Tinseltown. On arrival, Esther heads straight to Central Casting, where a world-weary receptionist (Peggy Wood), trying to let the girl down gently, tells her that her chances for stardom are about one in a thousand. "Maybe I'll be that one!" replies Esther defiantly. Months pass: through the intervention of her best friend, assistant director Danny McGuire (Andy Devine), Esther gets a waitressing job at an upscale Hollywood party. Her efforts to "audition" for the guests are met with quizzical stares, but she manages to impress Norman Maine (Fredric March), the alcoholic matinee idol later played by James Mason and Kris Kristofferson. Esther gets her first big break in Norman's next picture and a marriage proposal from the smitten Mr. Maine. It's a hit, but as Esther (now named Vicki)'s star ascends, Norman's popularity plummets due to a string of lousy pictures and an ongoing alcohol problem. The film won Academy Awards for director William Wellman and Robert Carson in the "original story" category and for W. Howard Greene's glistening Technicolor cinematography. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bird of Paradise
Having inherited the warhorse stage piece Bird of Paradise from his predecessor William LeBaron, RKO Radio production chief David O. Selznick opted to do the property up brown, hoping to transform the Richard Walton Tully original into RKO's "prestige" offering of 1932. Joel McCrea stars as a handsome South Seas soldier of fortune who falls in love with Dolores Del Rio, the daughter of a Polynesian native chieftain. Alas, their idyllic romance is destined to come to a sudden and violent end: tribal custom decrees that Del Rio is to be sacrificed to the local volcano. After initial resistance, the heroine nobly resigns herself to her fate, realizing that there is no place for her in her white lover's civilization. A more conservative (and far less costly) version of Bird of Paradise was filmed in 1952, with Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Carole Lombard
    Carole Lombard - Hazel Flagg
  • Fredric March
    Fredric March - Wally Cook
  • Charles Winninger
    Charles Winninger - Dr. Enoch Downer
  • Walter Connolly
    Walter Connolly - Oliver Stone
  • Frank Fay
    Frank Fay - Master of Ceremonies
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.