Studio Classics: Set 2 [Fox 75th Anniversary] [4 Discs] [DVD]

This release constitutes the second volume in a set of classic features commemorating the 75th anniversary of 20th Century Fox studios. This particular installment exclusively showcases Fox melodramas. It begins with Leo McCarey's 1957 An Affair to Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as two people each engaged to be married to someone else, who meet and fall in love on an ocean voyage and promise to meet again at the top of the Empire State building in six months if they still feel the same way -- until a horrible accident throws a wrench into their plans. The second film in the set, John M. Stahl's 1946 crime drama Leave Her to Heaven, stars Gene Tierney in an Academy Award-nominated role as Ellen Berent, a young woman who meets her favorite writer on a train, falls in love with him, and marries him -- then grows clinically obsessed and puts the safety of numerous others on the line. Joe Mankiewicz's 1949 soaper A Letter to Three Wives has a town seductress named Addie (Celeste Holm) writing a letter and sending a copy to three housewives (Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, and Ann Sothern), informing them that she's had an affair with one of their husbands and plans to run off with him. Finally, Mark Robson's 1957 Peyton Place travels to a seemingly perfect and benign New England town, and behind its closed doors, for a no-holds-barred look at the scandals boiling therein.
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Overview

Synopsis

An Affair to Remember
An Affair to Remember, director Leo McCarey's scene-for-scene remake of his own 1939 film Love Affair, isn't really an improvement on the original, but it's equally as enjoyable. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, high-profile types both engaged to be married to other people, meet and fall in love during an ocean voyage. To test the depth of their commitment to each other, Grant and Kerr promise that, if they're still in love at the end of six months, they will meet again at the top of the Empire State Building. Clips from An Affair to Remember were used as "reference points" throughout the 1993 romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, which likewise concluded atop the Empire State Building. Disproving the theory that "Third Time's the Charm," Warren Beatty attempted to remake Affair to Remember, again titled Love Affair, in 1994. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Letter to Three Wives
Three wives, played by Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern and Linda Darnell, are about to embark on a boat trip when each receives a letter, written by a mutual friend named Addie, informing her that Addie is about to run off with one of their husbands. In flashback, each wife wonders if it is her marriage that is in jeopardy. Deborah (Crain) recounts her fish-out-of-water relationship with her up-and-coming hubby (Jeffrey Lynn); businesswoman Rita (Sothern) asks herself if she's been too rough on her professorial spouse (Kirk Douglas); and Lora May (Darnell), a girl from (literally) the wrong side of the tracks, questions the security of her marriage to a brash business executive (Paul Douglas). The voice of Addie, who is never seen, is provided by Celeste Holm. Thelma Ritter shows up in a hilarious unbilled bit as a slatternly domestic, while an equally uncredited Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer makes a quick entrance and exit as a bellhop. Written with perception and not a little witty condescension by director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives won two Oscars ,both for Mankiewicz. Based on a novel by John Klempner, the property was remade for television in 1985, with Ann Sothern back again in a supporting part. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Peyton Place
Grace Metalious' once-notorious bestseller Peyton Place is given a lavish -- and necessarily toned-down -- film treatment in this deluxe 20th Century-Fox production. Set during WWII, the film concentrates on several denizens of the outwardly respectable New England community of Peyton Place. Top-billed Lana Turner plays shopkeeper Constance McKenzie, who tries to make up for a past indiscretion -- which resulted in her illegitimate daughter Allison (Diane Varsi) -- by adopting a chaste, prudish attitude towards all things sexual. In spite of herself, Constance can't help but be attracted to handsome new teacher Michael Rossi (Lee Philips). Meanwhile, the restless Allison, who'd like to be as footloose and fancy-free as the town's "fast girl" Betty Anderson (Terry Moore), falls sincerely in love with mixed-up mama's boy Norman Page (Russ Tamblyn). And while all this is going on, "white trash" Selena Cross (Hope Lange) is raped by her stepfather, drunken school caretaker Lucas Cross (Arthur Kennedy). Other characters essential to the action are wealthy Rodney Harrington (Barry Coe), who must pay the price for his dalliance with Betty Anderson; Nellie Cross (Betty Field), Selena's long-suffering mother; and the town's Voice of Reason, Dr. Swain (Lloyd Nolan). This 166-minute soap opera (whittled down to 157 minutes before release) culminates in a spectacular murder trial which lays bare the deep, dark secrets of Peyton Place. Filmed on location in Camden, Maine, Peyton Place was a huge moneymaker (even those who felt that the film was but a heavily laundered shadow of the Metalious original were pleased with the professionalism of it all); it not only spawned a 1961 theatrical sequel, but also a long-running prime time TV serial. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Leave Her to Heaven
Gene Tierney portrays a beautiful but unstable woman who marries successful novelist Cornel Wilde. Tierney wants to spend all her time with her new husband, but finds it impossible to do so thanks to his work and the frequent visits of family and friends. When Wilde's crippled younger brother (Darryl Hickman) comes to the couple's summer house to stay, Ms. Tierney indirectly causes the boy to drown. Later, upon discovering that she's pregnant, Tierney deliberately falls down the stairs, choosing to miscarry rather than share her husband's affections with an infant. When it becomes clear that family friend Jeanne Crain is attracted to her husband, Ms. Tierney commits suicide, making her death appear to be murder and framing Crain for the "crime." In court, Ms. Crain is mercilessly grilled by prosecuting attorney Vincent Price, who happens to be Tierney's ex-lover! Filmed in lush Technicolor, Leave Her to Heaven is based on the best-selling novel by Ben Ames Williams. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Cary Grant
    Cary Grant - Nickie Ferrante
  • Deborah Kerr
    Deborah Kerr - Terry McKay
  • Richard Denning
    Richard Denning - Kenneth
  • Neva Patterson
    Neva Patterson - Lois Clarke
  • Cathleen Nesbitt
    Cathleen Nesbitt - Grandmother
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