Classic Cinema [2 Discs] [Tin Case] [DVD]

This twin-pack of six Hollywood hits includes Eternally Yours, the original version of A Star Is Born, the adaptation of the Broadway hit Life With Father, and Love Affair, as well as two Elizabeth Taylor vehicles Father's Little Dividend and The Last Time I Saw Paris.
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Overview

Synopsis

The Last Time I Saw Paris
Loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story Babylon Revisited, MGM's The Last Time I Saw Paris is a star-studded soap opera, luxuriously lensed by director Richard Brooks. In his last film as an MGM contractee, Van Johnson plays reporter Charles Wills, who while covering the VE Day celebrations in Paris, meets and falls in love with the gorgeous Helen Ellsworth (Elizabeth Taylor). Soon afterward, Charles and Helen are married. Charles supports his wife with a low-paying wire service job, devoting his evenings to writing a novel. After numerous rejections, Charles is more than willing to give up writing and live off the revenue of a Texas oil well in which he'd invested. As he squanders his newfound riches on creature comforts, he loses his literary ambitions and, slowly but surely, the love and devotion of his wife. His self-destructive behavior is halted only by a devastating tragedy. Donna Reed costars as Charles sister-in-law Marion, who carries a torch for him throughout the picture, and Eva Gabor contributes a supporting role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Life With Father
The longest-running non-musical play in Broadway history, Life With Father was faithfully filmed by Warner Bros. in 1947. William Powell is a tower of comic strength as Clarence Day, the benevolent despot of his 1880s New York City household. Irene Dunne co-stars as Day's wife Vinnie, who outwardly has no more common sense than a butterfly but who is the real head of the household. The anecdotal story, encompassing such details as the eldest Day son's (James Lydon) romance with pretty out-of-towner Mary (Elizabeth Taylor), is tied together by Vinnie's tireless efforts to get her headstrong husband baptized, else he'll never be able to enter the Kingdom of God. Each scene is a little gem of comedy and pathos, as the formidable Mr. Day tries to bring a stern businesslike attitude to everyday household activities, including explaining the facts of life to his impressionable son. Donald Ogden Stewart based his screenplay upon the play by Howard Lindsey (who played Mr. Day in the original production) and Russell Crouse; the play in turn was inspired by a series of articles written by Clarence Day Jr., shortly before his death in 1933. Due to a legal tangle with the Day estate, Life With Father was withdrawn from circulation after its first run; it re-emerged on the Public Domain market in 1975. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Love Affair
Leo McCarey's classic tale of romance stars Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer as two strangers who fall in love on an ocean voyage. Charles Boyer is Michel Marnet, engaged to be married to Lois Clarke (Astrid Allwyn). Irene Dunne is Terry McKay, also engaged to be married, in this case to Kenneth Bradley (Lee Bowman). But when Michel and Terry meet aboard a ship, they fall instantly in love. In order to prove to themselves their love affair is not just a shipboard romance, they agree to meet six months hence on the top of the Empire State Building. If they still feel the same way about each other, they will bid adieu to their fiancees and start their affair anew. Six months later, they are still thinking about each other and proceed to their meeting at the Empire State Building. Michel awaits Terry's arrival, but Terry, on the way to their meeting, is involved in a terrible car accident, leaving her a cripple. Later, by a twist of fate, they are reunited and Michel vows to stay with Terry to help her walk again. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Eternally Yours
Anita's (Loretta Young) life seems to be progressing nicely. She's engaged to Don Barnes (Broderick Crawford), a wealthy man that will give her all the stability and comfort a woman could desire. But then she meets a magician with the unlikely name of The Great Arturo (David Niven), who performs a singular feat of magic -- he sweeps her off her feet. Promptly dropping Barnes, she weds Arturo and travels the globe as his assistant. After some time, however, the magic begins to wear off and Anita longs for a simpler life, perhaps on a quite farmhouse in the country. She's also a bit put out by Arturo's flirting with other women, but what really worries her are the dangerous stunts he has added to his repertoire. Realizing it is time for her to do something, she pulls a little magic of her own and disappear, forcing Artuto to set off on a lively chase to find her. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

Father's Little Dividend
This sequel to the 1950 comedy hit Father of the Bride finds Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett returning as Stanley and Ellie Banks, the parents of newlywed Kay Dunstan (Elizabeth Taylor). In the first film, Stanley Banks was forced to endure the chaotic events leading up to the wedding. This time, he must comes to grips with the prospect of becoming a grandfather. Once he's reconciled himself to this jolt of mortality, Stanley must contend with the little bundle of joy, who screams his head off every time Grandpa comes near him. Father's Little Dividend was remade in 1994 as Father of the Bride II, with Steve Martin assuming the Spencer Tracy role, and with the added complication of discovering that his own wife (Diane Keaton) is also pregnant. The copyright for Father's Little Dividend was not renewed in 1978; thus the film has lapsed into public domain. ~ 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

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