Posted Tue Mar 17, 2015 at 12:00 PM PDT by Tom Landy
Four 1939 classics will be getting the high-definition treatment in June.
All four films (along with 'Gone with the Wind') will also be available in ''The Golden Year Collection - 1939' available on the same date.
'Ninotchka' - A stern Russian woman (Greta Garbo) sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man (Melvyn Douglas) who represents everything she is supposed to detest. "Garbo Talks!" proclaimed ads when silent star Greta Garbo debuted in talkies. Nine years and 12 classic screen dramas later, the gifted movie legend was ready for another change. Garbo Laughs! cheered the publicity for her first comedy, a frothy tale of a dour Russian envoy sublimating her womanhood for Soviet brotherhood until she falls for a suave Parisian man-about-town (Melvyn Douglas).
Working from a cleverly barbed script written in part by Billy Wilder, director Ernst Lubitsch knew better than anyone how to marry refinement with sublime wit. "At least twice a day the most dignified human being is ridiculous," he explained about his acclaimed Lubitsch Touch, That's how we see Garbo's love struck Ninotchka: serenely dignified yet endearingly ridiculous. Garbo laughs. So will you. Ninotchka received four 1939 Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Garbo), Best Writing: Original Story (Melchior Lengyel), and Best Writing: Screenplay (Charles Brackett Walter Reisch, Billy Wilder).
Special features include: NEW! Prophet Without Honor – Vintage 1939 Academy Award® nominated MGM Short; The Blue Danube – Vintage 1939 MGM Cartoon; and Theatrical Trailer.
'The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)' - In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her. With huge sets, rousing action scenes and a versatile throng portraying a medieval Paris of cutthroats, clergy, beggars and nobles, The Hunchback of Notre Dame remains one of Hollywood's all-time grandest spectacles.
Charles Laughton endured a daily five-and-a-half hour makeup session to become Quasimodo, Victor Hugo's mocked and vilified anti-hero. The result was one of his best performances -- outsized yet nuanced, heartrending yet inspiring. Maureen O'Hara is the gypsy Esmeralda, whose simple act of pity frees the emotions within Quasimodo. When she is wrongly condemned, he rescues her from hanging, sweeping all of Paris into a fight for justice.
Bonus features include: NEW! The Lone Stranger and Porky - Vintage1939 WB Cartoon; Drunk Driving – Vintage 1939 MGM Short; Interview with Maureen O'Hara; and Theatrical Trailer.
'Dark Victory' - A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and must decide whether she'll meet her final days with dignity. Bette Davis' bravura, moving but never morbid performance as Judith Traherne, a dying heiress determined to find happiness in her few remaining months, turns the film into a three-hankie classic. But that success would never have happened if Davis hadn't pestered studio brass to buy Dark Victory's story rights. Jack Warner finally did so skeptically. "Who wants to see a dame go blind?" he asked. Almost everyone was the answer: Dark Victory was Davis' biggest box-office hit yet and garnered three Academy Award nominations for 1939's Best Picture, Best Actress (Davis) and Best Music, Original Score (Max Steiner).
Supplements include: Commentary by Film Historian James Ursini and CNN Film critic Paul Clinton; "Warner Night at the Movies"; 1939: Tough Competition for Dark Victory - Vintage Featurette; and 1/8/40 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast.
'Dodge City' - Wade Hatton (Errol Flynn), a Texas cattle agent, witnesses firsthand the brutal lawlessness of Dodge City and takes the job of sheriff to clean the town up. In his first of eight Westerns, Flynn is as able with a six-shooter as he was with a swashbuckler's sword. He confronts lynch mobs, slams outlaws into jail and escapes (along with co-star Olivia de Havilland) from a fiery, locked railroad car. Cheered for Flynn's sagebrush debut, its vivid Technicolor look and spectacular saloon brawl that may have employed every available Hollywood stunt person, Dodge City later gained another distinction when it inspired Mel Brooks' cowboy parody Blazing Saddles.
Bonus materials include: Newsreel - Vintage Featurette; Sons of Liberty – Vintage WB 1939 Academy Award®-Winning Short; Dangerous Dan McFoo - Vintage 1939 WB Cartoon; Dodge City: Go West, Errol Flynn - Vintage Featurette; and The Oklahoma Kid Trailer.
Each Blu-ray has a suggested list price of $19.98, while the box set is $69.96.
You can find the latest specs for 'Ninotchka,' 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame,' 'Dark Victory'' and 'Dodge City' linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where it is indexed under June 9.
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