The Claudette Colbert Collection [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen

Synopsis

Three-Cornered Moon
Three-Cornered Moon is regarded by many film buffs as the first of the genuine "screwball comedies." Claudette Colbert stars as the only level-headed member of a wacky Brooklyn family. Her mother (Mary Boland) loses the family fortune in the stock market, forcing Colbert's knuckleheaded brothers to look for work. Unfortunately the boys seem interested only in jobs for which they're uniquely unsuited. Even Colbert has her weak moments, especially when she falls for a callow writer (Hardie Albright), but she eventually finds happiness with sensible doctor Richard Arlen. Three-Cornered Moon was written by the gloriously named Gertrude Tonkonogy. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Maid of Salem
Claudette Colbert is a young freethinking woman living in Salem, Massachusetts during the notorious 17th century "witch trials". Colbert falls in love with adventurer Fred MacMurray, causing no end of scandal with the Puritan townsfolk. A hateful little girl (Bonita Granville) pretends to be "possessed", thereby convincing the Salemites that Claudette is a witch. Tried and convicted of sorcery, the poor girl is sent to be burned at the stake, but is rescued in the nick of time by MacMurray, who convinces the townsfolk that they've been the victim of a hoax. Maid of Salem earned a footnote in entertainment history in 1937 when it was booed off the screen of New York's Paramount theatre by fans who wanted to see the evening's real attraction--a performance by Benny Goodman and his orchestra. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

No Time for Love
Mitchell Leisen utilizes his stylistic pizzazz to enliven this romantic comedy that proves the old adage "opposites attract" -- but only after three or four reels. Claudette Colbert is Katherine Grant, an upper-crust fashion photographer who has a gang of admirers snapping at her heels. When her vindictive editor tries to teach her a lesson for her snobbishness by giving her an assignment photographing lower-class workers digging a tunnel, she falls for Jim Ryan (Fred MacMurray). Ryan is also attracted to her, so when she leaves her camera tripod in the tunnel, Ryan obligingly returns it to her. When Ryan returns to the job site, he is ribbed by his co-workers. Ryan loses his head and gets into a fight and is subsequently suspended from his job. Katherine, feeling guilty about Ryan being suspended from his job (and also looking for an excuse to have him around), hires him as her assistant. But in his new job, Ryan starts to put the make on one of Katherine's flirtatious models, Darlene (June Havoc). Katherine must now find a way to overcome her superior attitude and make her true feelings known to Ryan. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

The Egg and I
Based on the humorous autobiographical book by Betty McDonald, The Egg & I casts Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray as Manhattan-dwelling newlyweds. When MacMurray enthusiastically purchases an upstate farm in the hopes of cleaning up in the egg business, Colbert cautiously goes along. The film's humor is derived from the efforts of these two hopelessly citified slickers to adapt themselves to the rigors of rural life. In a plot complication added to the film, pretty neighbor Louise Allbritton upsets the equilibrium of MacMurray and Colbert's union, but both husband and wife are happily reunited at the finale (in real life, Betty McDonald and her husband were splitsville before the book even hit the stands). Retained from the novel, though heavily laundered, were the earthy characters of farmers Ma and Pa Kettle and their huge brood of children. Marjorie Main as Ma and Percy Kilbride as Pa struck so responsive a chord with filmgoers that Universal headlined them in their own "Kettle" series of B pictures, which endured until 1956. The Egg & I would be adapted into a live TV comedy serial in 1952, with Pat Kirkland and John Craven in the leading roles. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

I Met Him in Paris
After a year-long period of starring in such heavy fare as Maid of Salem, Claudette Colbert returned to comedy with I Met Him in Paris. Colbert plays a successful American fashion designer, squired by three suitors: playwright Melvyn Douglas, playboy Robert Young and hometown lad Lee Bowman. Bowman is fourth-billed, so that lets him out. Young is already married: Strike Two. That leaves Melvyn Douglas, who is indeed the winner of this three-way race. Most of the film takes place at a vacation resort in Switzerland (actually Sun Valley, Idaho), where several minutes of humor is extracted from the three suitors' clumsiness on skis. I Met Him in Paris charmed the critics in 1937; today it seems like just another pleasant diversion, served up by experts in the comedy field. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife
The great Ernst Lubitsch directed this farce (written by Charles M. Brackett and Billy Wilder) about a free-wheeling millionaire, Michael Brandon (Gary Cooper), who enjoys getting married but has a hard time staying married: he's had seven wives and is looking for number eight. He thinks he may have found her in the person of Nicole de Loiselle (Claudette Colbert), whom he meets in a shop on the French Riviera. Unfortunately for Michael, Nicole doesn't like him very much and keeps rebuffing his advances, even though most women would be only too happy to marry him for his money. For just that reason, Nicole's father (Edward Everett Horton), a financially embarrassed French nobleman, strongly suggests that matrimony with Michael would be a good idea, especially since Michael doesn't want to take no for an answer. Nicole eventually relents and weds Michael, but when she tries to get him to change a few of his habits during the honeymoon, he makes plans to divorce her. But Nicole has finally decided that she loves Michael after all, and, as he tries to flee from her, she gives chase, determined to win his heart once and for all. The same story was previously filmed as a silent picture in 1923. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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