Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection [4 Discs] [DVD]

Now this is a treat from Warner Home Video -- four good early 1960's genre films that couldn't possibly stand on their own for DVD release, assembled in a neat, no-frills package. Susan Slade (1961), Parrish (1961), and Rome Adventure (1962) were all the work of producer/director Delmer Daves, a popular filmmaker of the 1940's and 1950's whose pictures are just beginning, as of 2009, to get the critical attention that they deserve -- grouped along with Palm Springs Weekend (1963) (the work of Norman Taurog, they're all linked by the presence of Troy Donahue as the young male lead, and they comprise an immersion into an early 1960's film environment in which the major studios were struggling to come to grips with a changing world. The old Production Code, which restricted what one could show or even hint at loudly on screen, was collapsing amid a wave of rock 'n' roll and multiple social upheavals, spearheaded by teenagers turning twenty-somethings. Delmer Daves, in his work as represented here (and on the earlier A Summer Place, did his best to ease the subjects of sex and post-teen hedonism onto the screen tastefully but honestly. And audiences ate it up at the time, even if none of these pictures is especially marketable today on its own terms. Together, however, they comprise an unexpectedly pointed and finely nuanced body of films, each a snapshot of a society finally getting wise to itself, in reality and in its entertainment. They're offered here in basic DVD editions, each letterboxed (1.85-to-1) to the standard non-anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of the period, in clean, crisp transfers, with original trailers and basic, two-layer menus. The images are all of demonstration quality, and the sound is crisp and bright as well.
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Overview

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Special Features

  • Theatrical trailers

Synopsis

Parrish
A scenic, tobacco-road soap opera by director Delmar Daves, known more for his westerns, Parrish features Troy Donahue in the eponymous title role. Parrish's mother Ellen (Claudette Colbert in her last movie role) happens to marry one of two competing tobacco growers in the Connecticut River Valley. Her new husband and Parrish's stepfather Judd Raike (a snarling Karl Malden) drums the tobacco business into Parrish, alienating him in the bargain. The lad is soon romancing three different women: Judd's daughter Paige (Sharon Hugeny), the daughter of Judd's arch-rival, and a wanton woman of the tobacco fields. Now all that remains is for the romance and the rivalry to shake down into the winners and losers. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Palm Springs Weekend
This light romantic comedy filmed on location in Palm Springs finds couples engaging in a kissing frenzy of puppy love. Jim (Troy Donahue) has eyes for Bunny (Stephanie Powers), unaware she is the daughter of the local chief of police (Andrew Duggan). Connie Stevens, Jack Weston, Ty Hardin and Jerry Van Dyke. The Modern Folk Quartet makes an out-of-place appearance performing in a casino. Robert Conrad is the spoiled rotten rich kid who tries to interfere with love and romance with his lupine lusting. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

Rome Adventure
Delmer Daves directs this cross between a travelog and a routine romantic drama set in Italy. The story begins when beautiful librarian Prudence (a misnomer, played by Suzanne Pleshette) decides to take off for Italy. She works in a women's college and was brought up short for recommending a racy book to one of the students. In a huff, she opts to go to the land of opera and find out if Italian men are as romantic as legend maintains. Once there, she runs into Roberto (Rossano Brazzi), who is likely to prove the legend true, and meets Don (Troy Donahue), an American running away from the love of his life, Lyda (Angie Dickinson). Between the glamour and the setting, Daves has geared this fluffy tale for the more innocent-minded teen set. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Susan Slade
A complicated soap opera, Susan Slade features Connie Stevens as the title character, a naïve, virginal 17-year-old, raised by her parents in Chile, where her father Roger (Lloyd Nolan) works as an engineer. As the story opens, the family returns to their home in California on a luxury cruise ship. During the passage, Susan meets and falls madly in love with a climber, Conn White (Grant Williams), and the two promise to meet again after Conn climbs Mt. McKinley. She ends up pregnant, but Conn falls off of the mountain and dies. Her parents take her to Guatemala to have the child. The plan is that her mother Leah (Dorothy McGuire) will pretend that the child is hers upon their return to the U.S. a year later. Tragically, Susan's father Roger (Lloyd Nolan) suffers a fatal heart attack while they are abroad. Mother and daughter return with the baby to San Francisco, where the son of Roger's boss, Wells Corbett (Bert Convy), proposes to Susan. She is also pursued by Hoyt Brecker (Troy Donahue), an aspiring novelist whose father committed suicide after embezzling funds from Corbett's father. When Susan's baby is badly burned in an accident, she admits that the child is hers and prepares to deal with the consequences of the previous statements she had made to her two suitors. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Troy Donahue
    Troy Donahue - Parrish McLean
  • Claudette Colbert
    Claudette Colbert - Ellen McLean
  • Karl Malden
    Karl Malden - Judd Raike
  • Dean Jagger
    Dean Jagger - Sala Post
  • Connie Stevens
    Connie Stevens - Lucy

Overall Customer Rating

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1 Reviews
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