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1. The Ox-Bow Incident
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2. Battleground
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1. The Ox-Bow Incident
Director: William A. Wellman
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Asin: B00008LDO3
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3648
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Study of Mob Mentality
Before "12 Angry Men" there was "The Ox-Bow Incident," a bleaker and never less than fascinating exploration of the nature of mob violence. Unlike "12 Angry Men," this film has no clear-cut heroes. It takes place in a more primitive, wilder time and location, and the principal question at the crux of this movie's conflict is whether or not three suspected cattle thiefs should be punished without due legal process. A small group is in favor of letting the frontier town sheriff handle the situation, while a much larger group smells only blood (and in some cases are motivated by personal vengeance) and convince themselves of the suspects' guilt without listening to any of the evidence. It's quite a frightening movie in its own way, and it has a stark look at odds with the average studio film being churned out at the time (1943).

Henry Fonda is quite good, as usual, in the closest thing the movie has to a main character, but it seems pointless to single him out in what is obviously such an ensemble effort, and in a movie that only lasts a mere 75 minutes or so and has such a large cast, each actor manages to color his/her character with delightful details, sometimes with no more than a single line of dialogue or one reaction shot.

"The Ox-Bow Incident" is a fantastic film. I don't think it's well-remembered now, but I'm thrilled to see it on DVD and hope that it will be rediscovered.

Grade: A

5-0 out of 5 stars Mob Mentality
The Ox-Bow Incident is the best film that I have seen to look at the dynamics and mentality of a mob. In this story, three innocent men are captured and accused of the death of a rancher. Although Henry Fonda, a drifter, tries to change the mind of the mob, everyone wants "justice". The lives of three men hang in the balance. Fonda, as usual, is excellent in his role of the man trying to convince the others, similar in a way to his role in 12 Angry Men. Dana Andrews, as one of the accused men, gives a heartfelt, unusually emotional performance. The movie is short (75 minutes), which means the action moves at a good pace, and the black and white photography adds to the starkness of the whole situation. This is a western that takes a sharp look at how mobs function, and it presents a lot of unfortunate truths.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece!
What are the last consequences about a crowd who decide to lynch a man?
Notice this film is made in just the middle of WW2. William Wellman made a timeless script about the no sense and the unthinkable behavior of a crowd in a small town who have decided in the name of a collective honor code to make justice by themselves.
You must have noticed that in the most of the cases the human being acts due the passion instead the reason. And that's the nucleus of the film . The concept of justice can not associate just because the number by itself imposses . This a warning for all of us .
Since the collective memory is weak and their feelings are always under the reason , you may inquire the reason must prevail. But beware. The point to remark is that the passion must under the reason's service .
In 1935 Fritz Lang made his first film in USA titled Fury with a closest script.
A powerful and timeless film!

4-0 out of 5 stars Short and Sharp
This film is incredibly tense and concise; the antithesis of sprawling, yawning Westerns like "The Missing" and "Open Range." At just 75 minutes, shot in claustrophobic black-and-white, not a shot or line of dialogue is wasted. Dana Andrews is completely sympathetic as the leader of the three men unjustly accused of murder, while Henry Fonda has an unusually disquieting turn as someone who goes along with the lynching...at least, until the very end of the picture. They are just two of the many powerful performances. It's a great picture, even for people (like me) who aren't really too keen on Westerns.

The DVD includes a commentary by Dick Etulain, Western professor and enthusiast, and director William Wellman's son. This gets repetitive quickly, so it's best to sample the first thirty minutes and then move on. Strangely, Fox's sound editors seem to have felt similarly, because Wellman repeats a comment right in the middle of the film! Also included are a trailer, photo gallery, restoration comparison, and the real gem of the thing - a great "A&E Biography" episode on Henry Fonda.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent and still very relevant
Never has so much tragedy been packed into such a brief film (not even 90 minutes in length). Ostensibly a western, this film is an unsettling examination of the nature of mob mentality. In large part, the wave of lynchings sweeping the Jim Crow South was behind the story being told. Although, fortunately, lynching is for the most part behind us, our propensity towards a mob mentality remains with us in great abundance. In times of national hysteria, movies such as this are a not so subtle reminder of what we, as a species at large, are sometimes capable of doing.

This is a magnificently crafted film. The tragedy of the events still carry great impact, even after 60 years. This a truly moving film that should by all means be a part of every collection, even if you don't care particularly for westerns. ... Read more


2. Battleground
Director: William A. Wellman
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Asin: B0001FVE40
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4042
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Description

Van Johnson, Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy star in this remarkable war film, nominated for six Oscars(R) (including Best Picture) about courageous American G.I.s caught up in the battle at Bastogne.Year: 1949 ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best movie about World War II
This is the best movie ever made about a democratic society going to war against fascism.

The movie captures the fear and courage of American soldiers in war, fighting not to conquer like the Germans or destroy civilization like terrorists, but to defend their fellow man.

There's no sunshine patriotism in this movie. No flag waving or false heroics. But the lofty ideas behind the nation that made men such as these is there hidden like the sun behind fog and clouds. And at the end, the glory embodied in the men blazes true and shines as brightly as the sun when the weather lifts.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific film!!!
When I was a kid living on an army post in Europe, Battleground used to wander through whenever there was a lag in getting movies from the States. Goodness, my brother and I must have seen this 100 times and it still has so many memorable scenes and roles. James Whitmore was absolutely perfect as the machine gun toting sergent. Van Johnson was fine, George Murphy, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montabaln. A great cast. Favorite lines/scenes:

"Get a load of mama!"
"There is a boarding house far, far away..."
"The fight they put up was one for the books." (talking about the wounded fighting the attacking Germans)
"That's for sure, that's for dang sure."
"Texas leaguer, right over the 2nd baseman's head."
The ambush by the railroad tracks.
Whitmore seeing his shadow as the weather finally breaks.

It goes on and on. And great sets! It seems it was mostly filmed on a sound stage but the sets are very realistic.

Just perfect filmmaking.

4-0 out of 5 stars One missing item
It may not portray war as realistically as we do in 2004. It covers everything soldiers went through except the most private functions (there is nothing private in the Army). That is the way it was; if only you could feel how cold it was! I'm sorry that you could not put out a DVD of the colorized version because it was well-done. That is the missing item. Colorized I would give it 5 stars. You need to see this movie because it is the true story of any number of GIs in the 101st. Go Airborne!

4-0 out of 5 stars When films had scripts
Battleground is the definitive squad-lvel war film. It concentrates on a small group of soldiers and shows their cold food, gripes, hopes - and the reason why they fought in the 1940s.
Well acted and very well written (garnering a screenplay Oscar), the movie concentrates on a small group of men in the 101 Airborne -and not the "spectacle" of war. At times the lack of a bigger budget - and the lack of any Wehrmacht tanks on-screen is a liability for some viewers; in some scenes the film reminded me of a Shakespearean play, where the actors point offstage to the major battle. But the humanity of the film make it much more compelling than the bombastic but somehow hollow modern efforts like Blackhawk Down.
The only real knock is the very grainy look of the dvd - a combination of all the fog in the film and poor source material. Rarely crisp, it still looks better than I've seen it before. If you want a gripping war film that puts people ahead of explosions, Battleground is a classic.

4-0 out of 5 stars TAUT, TERRIFYING AND TERRIFIC: BATTLEGROUND HAS IT ALL!
"Battleground" is the all-star grim depiction of an Allied offensive in the Ardennes forest during WWII. It's remarkably hard edged by 1949 standards - a tribute to the tough, hard-hitting directorial style of director, William A. Wellman. Starring Van Johnson, Ricardo Montalban, James Whitmore, Scotty Beckett and John Hodiak the on camera camaraderie amongst the men seems geniune, in part because Wellman insisted that his actors train with real soldiers to fully appreciate their brief tenure in military service. MGM refridgerated a cyclorama built inside one of their sound stages to recreate the unsettling and terribly cold atmosphere of winter. This is a top flight, ensemble war drama that engrosses and entertains. Oscars for screenplay and cinematography.
THE TRANSFER: Warner gives us a much improved transfer from previously available versions. The gray scale is nicely balanced. Blacks are generally solid. Some scenes have a bit more film grain and grit that one would like to see, but over all the image quality is very smooth and consistent. While previously issued versions of this film suffered from a misregistration - resulting in ghostly halos around objects and a general blurring of the image quality, this DVD is remarkably solid and sharp. Edge enhancement crops up but is minimal. Pixelization is also present but only marginally. The audio is MONO but very nicely remastered.
EXTRAS: Sorry, war fans. There's nothing to celebrate about here.
BOTTOM LINE: "Battleground" is one of the best war dramas ever made. It is tops in action, establishing taut tension, providing serious storytelling and detailed character development, and truthfully - how many of the more recent war films (Peal Harbour, anyone?) can you say that about? ... Read more


3. Blood Alley
Director: John Wayne, William A. Wellman
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Asin: B0007P0XCI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1664
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Description

An American merchant marine captain ferries a group of = Chinese refugess down the Yangtze River to escape the Communists. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ferryboat to Hong Kong
"Blood Alley" is a big, sprawling, grandly mounted and sumptuously photographed adventure story starring John Wayne and Lauren Bacall that tells the tale of a merchant sea captain (Wayne) who has had his freighter stopped and boarded illegally in international waters by the Red Chinese, and who has been imprisoned by them for some time since. A village downriver from the prison where Wayne has been kept antes up a bribe to the prison guards and gets Wayne sprung. Taken downriver by his "contact", big Mike Mazurski made up to look oriental, Duke is informed that the entire village wants to escape to Hong Kong and they want him, Duke, to captain them all down the Formosa Straits ("Blood Alley") to Hong Kong and freedom...and they want this to be done on a leaky, creaky, pokey-slow and prone-to-breakdown stern-wheeled ferryboat. With no charts.
Wayne mulls this and decides he has no choice in the matter. He makes a homemade chart from memory and sets about to put the escape plan in motion, taking everyone with him, including the headstrong daughter (Bacall) of a medical missionary, and an entire family of loyal communists who can't be left behind because their masters would kill them as "responsible" for this flight.
Down the straits goes the ferry boat, dodging commie gunboats day and night and slipping into forests of reeds for camouflage when their pursuers draw too near.

The telling of the story of this journey is so well done that the viewer tends to be detoured away from the story's great glaring logical pothole. This escape is set in the mid-1950s and NOT the EIGHTEEN fifties. Decades earlier it COULD have happened the way it is shown, but NOT in its supposed time period. The reason? Airplanes. In the mid-1950s Communist Chinese forces would have aircraft up and down the Formosa Straits LOOKING for this ferry and they WOULD find it. Yet there is never a mention of aircraft here and no aircraft ever shows up anywhere in the movie. Its almost as though there is no such thing as a search plane in existance...or any kind of plane at all!!!

Very Strange. Yet, it is only later that you realize this. Throughout the film the movie-makers keep you so involved with the dangers and rigors of the journey that you don't even THINK about planes while you're watching it. Very clever diversion.

There is good chemistry with Wayne and Bacall and they go through the typical "difficult" time with each other before becoming hard-breathers as they enter Hong Kong Harbour together.

Aside from some minor silliness (Duke perpetually talks to an "imaginary friend" named "Baby"....which happened to be Bogart's pet name for Bacall) and the aforementioned mysteriously missing aircraft, this William Wellman-directed story hangs together well and delivers the goods on excitement and interest.

Good movie overall.

Now...WHEN are they EVER going to release one of Wayne's all time masterpieces? WHEN are we EVER going to see "The High And The Mighty"???????

4-0 out of 5 stars Let me get it correct for everyone
First off, you can't beat the Duke in just about any movie. Blood Alley and The Sea Chase were a departure from his typical westerns and WWII movies, but he handled them in his true dominating fashion.

Now, I noticed that in other reviews, there was some discussion about how many movies John Wayne died in. Let me give you the complete list of those from 1939 onward. I don't know how many he may have died in during the 1930s, if any, because I haven't seen that many of his B westerns.

1. The Shootist (1976)
2. The Cowboys (1972)
3. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). He is dead at the start of the movie, and the entire story is told in a flashback.
4. The Alamo (1960)
5. The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
6. Wake of the Red Witch (1948)
7. The Fighting Seabees (1944)
8. Reap the Wild Wind (1942)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great John Wayne Flick
I saw this a couple of times on TV. It's a fine action movie.
One review here suggests to get it on DVD-wisescreen, but I can't find where any such version was made. VHS is the only choice.

3-0 out of 5 stars also WAKE OF THE RED WITCH
Last saw Blood Alley on tv long, long, ago. I didn't even know it was available on video, but I will pick this up soon to add to my library. A good action movie.
I THINK John Wayne also died in Wake of the Red Witch.Can we say that he 'died' in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"?
3/10/2004 JULY 2003? time sure flies.Just got the VHS (was looking for DVD, can't find).Great, better than I remember from tv.Not just action, there's commentary, and some of the Chinese characters are sooo stereo typed.Note the Chief Engineer is Nisei (2nd gen Japanese American, see GO FOR BROKE i think).

3-0 out of 5 stars He has died in 4
John Wayne also died in the Fighting Seabies ... Read more


4. The Public Enemy
Director: William A. Wellman
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Asin: B0006HBV2S
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 14607
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Influential and powerful, and still compelling.
The most powerful of all the Warners gangster films, 'Public Enemy' is still gripping viewing today. It may be an obvious point, but it can't be stated enough how so much of the film's force comes from being made in the actual era it depicts (NB Prohibition lasted until 1933) with all the conviction and urgency that brings. The film is an acknowledged influence on 'Goodfellas' in that the story is told 'straight' with no moral bromide being forced through the criminal charcters' mouths - they lead their lives without time or need for apology or introspection. What moral conclusion there is to be drawn is all too implicit in the resolution of their story. 'Goodfellas' though depicting historical events, drew on a uniquely candid first hand account, as well as the director's own experiences, which gives the film a similar 'truth' to 'Public Enemy'. Scorcese also picked up on William Wellman's use of source, rather than soundtrack music ('I'm For Ever Blowing Bubbles'), as seen to virtuoso effect in 'Raging Bull'. As for Cagney himself, well, let's just say it was the performance that made him a star. That's all that need be said. The famous ending is still one of the most shocking in all cinema.

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest of the great
Paul Muni in Scarface; Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar - these are now interesting but dated performances in interesting but dated movies. Almost seventy years later, Cagney's performance is truly fresh, as is the movie. Public Enemy is the one unmissable gangster movie from the early thirties: its violence is always suggested rather than stated (always more effective); most of the acting seems strikingly contemporary (Sara Algood is of another age, but Jean Harlow could saunter onto a contemporary screen and not seem in any way anachronistic); and there is no mood music: what music there is on the soundtrack can be explained by way of live bands or the presence of a radio. This fact contributes to one of the most chilling endings of any American movie I've ever seen. Above all, there is Cagney! What a great actor! Today there is Russell Crowe: even in the old days, only Spencer Tracy came close to this kind of ease and naturalness. Enough! About James Cagney I have said - and can say - nothing. Rent it, and see for yourself!

5-0 out of 5 stars cagney unleashed on world
the most explosive debut in movie history was made by james cagney. little caesar was a better movie, but cagney epitomizes the depression era movie mobster in this movie. jean harlow gives the worst performance of her career in this movie, which is naturally something of a mystery. a year later she was great in red-headed woman, red dust and later bombshell. wellman was a great director but surely not with harlow. this is best known movie of mae clarke because if features the famed scene where cagney shoves a grapefruit in her kisser. this is totally unjust because clarke was a wonderful actress, especially in waterloo bridge. anyway, she is in only two brief scenes. the only good performance besides cageny is that of leslie fenton as nails nathan. despite public enemy's shortcomings it's one of the movies you have to see.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just one historical note...
James Cagney has always been my great favorite and this seminal performance is nonpareil. I did want to add one thing to the excellent reviews already here: Edward Woods had originally been cast in the role of Tom Powers (I believe he was engaged to a studio honcho), but Cagney was so overwhelming in the secondary role, he was recast after only a couple of days. It's interesting to note that the children who played the characters as youngsters were clearly cast with the roles reversed.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Final Scene
There is very little waste in PUBLIC ENEMY and it is easy to see why this film caused such a sensation in 1931. The movie is about the steady rise of a professional criminal (James Cagney) from before World War I through the early years of Prohibition. The acting by Cagney, Joan Blondell and Mae Clarke is excellent. The strong supporting cast includes Beryl Mercer, Edward Woods and Jean Harlow.

PUBLIC ENEMY received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Story (John Bright and Kubec Glasmon). The film has certainly stood the test of time and the final scene has remained unforgettable. William Wellman also directed BEAU GESTE, WINGS and THE STORY OF G.I. JOE. ... Read more


5. Buffalo Bill
Director: William A. Wellman
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Asin: B0007PALL6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2681
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Joel McCrea as Buffalo Bill
Well,so this Western biopic is wildly off from an historical point of view, but, nevermind, as entertainment it fills the bill and more. BUFFALO BILL is the kind of wholesome, patriotic film that fifty years ago provided solid good entertainment with good production values--and we kinda miss its kind today. McCrea never did a bad job of acting in any of his films, and here he keeps the action going, even when it becomes a bit desultory during the second half of the movie. He really is a pleasure to watch and hear...so easy in the saddle and with his lines. So, lay back and enjoy this film, and with family.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sanitised biopic
This is standard movie biography of a legendary figure of the old West and modern showbiz and it follows the sanitised version of Cody's life perpetuated by dime novel writers such as Ned Buntline .It does not ecplore the gap between myth and legend but instead follows the advice of the editor in the Ford classic " The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance " -namely "When the facts conflict with the legend -print the legend "
The Cody of this lavish and colourful movie does not have feet of clay but is presented in an uncomplicatedly heroic and mythic mode which may have gone down well when it was made but which now comes across as horribly simplistic and patronising .
Cody is written and played as a plaster saint -handsome ,deeply moral and a spokesman for the cause of the Native American and one who earns their respect by defeating their war chief in hand to hand combat.The first half while inaccurate has vigour and pace and is entertaining enough but interest sags when Cody leaves the West for Washington and thence to a career asa world travelled circus proprietor
Macrae does a decent job in the title role bringing a quiet gravity to scenes showing the character being reduced to a humiliating side show attraction astride a rocking horse before his return to fame and fortune .There is a customarilly peppy performance from the great Maureen O'Hara anda zestful cameo by Thomas Mitchell as the ebullient Buntline ,Cody's chronicler .
Not to be taken seriously as history but a decent if dated movie shot in lustrous colour and which should please lovers of the Western

1-0 out of 5 stars I want to cancel this item
I do not wish to purchase this item. I already purchased one yesterday and I didn't know it went through so please do not send it to me.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Way To Pass The Time on a Saturday Evening...
This is a good film for all ages indeed. Growing up in Stonewall, Texas (birthplace of Lyndon Baines Johnson), I remember seeing this film with my parents in the theatres when I was 15. The cast is perfect with heavysupporting players such as Anthony Quinn and Linda Darnell. So what lowersmy rating by one star you ask? Well, the length. Although it couldn't bemore that 100 minutes, there is slightly a tad less action than there isverbal communication and the picture sticks to the same theme too long(i.e. Buffalo Bill's friendship with the Cheyenne Indians). If only thedialouge was a little more fast paced, this film would be of moreentertainment.

Yet as my headline reads, if you have not too much to doon a Saturday evening and feel like passing the time with a historic movie,watch this then. ... Read more


6. Battleground
Director: William A. Wellman
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Asin: B0007TKNLU
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20431
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Director William Wellman (The Big Heat) offered up this 1949 treatment of the Battle of the Bulge, which won Oscars for best screenplay and best cinematography. The film concentrates on the camaraderie and the divisions between the troops as they ready for the big offensive. Told in a taut narrative, the men of the 101st, led by Van Johnson, wait out the winter in the Ardennes forest to confront the German army in what would be the last major offensive of World War II. The men are demoralized and trapped, with no hope of support from the Allies as they are forced to band together and defend their position. A classically assembled war drama that nevertheless manages to be both engrossing and entertaining, Battleground is a mainstay of the genre. --Robert Lane ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Still the classic World War II movies about American G.I.s
The first twenty minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" raised the bar on the realism of war film in terms of the portrayal of the violent hell of combat. But in terms of showing us in a movie what it was like to be combat troops in World War II, the standard still remains the 1949 film "Battleground," directed by William Wellman (and I say this having loved "Band of Brothers"). The film won Oscars in 1950 for Robert Pirosh's script and Paul Vogel's black & white cinematography, and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (James Whitmore), and Best Editing (John D. Dunning).

The setting for "Battleground" is the besieged city of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge and focuses on I Company of the 101st Airborne. Pirosh had based the story on his own experiences during the battle, which including the details like Private Kippton (Douglas Fowley) always losing his false teeth and Private Rodriguez (Ricardo Montalban), who came from L.A. and had never seen snow before he got to Belgium. The situation was pretty simple: the Germans have Bastogne surrounded and the 101st is short on food and ammunition. Sgt. Kinnie (Whitmore) and the men of I Company have there sector to control, so they sit in the freezing cold, waiting for the Germans to attack and praying for the cloud cover to lift so they can get air support and supplies.

I am sure I am not the other kid from my generation who learned to do the cadence call of "Sound off," not knowing that it came from older kids who had seen this movie. This is a movie full of memorable scenes: Private Holley (Van Johnson) trying to make eggs, a checkpoint exchange that shows the importance of knowing baseball terminology like "Texas Leaguer," and a befuddled German officer trying to understand if General McAulliffe's infamous reply of "Nuts" to the demand for the 101st's surrender is a negative or an affirmative response.

For me the key moment in the film comes when I Company finally receives supplies dropped from C-47s. These guys have been freezing and pretty much starving for a week, and when they open up crates of SPAM and K-Rations, they are clearly disappointed. It is not until they find ammunition that they finally get excited. The montage of defeating the Germans is superfluous at that point, because the look in the eyes of these guys captures the moment even better.

In terms of realism I do have one slight knock on this film, in that I Company is atypical because they had winter coats (compare with the Bastogne episode of "Bad of Brothers"), but that is rather secondary to the point of this film, which is to celebrate the citizen soldier. As Holley explains to a major, "PFC" means "praying for civilian." Even when the Chaplain (Leon Ames) answers the big question, as to why these guys had to leave their families and jobs to fight in Europe, in has less to do with fascist ideology and more with the idea that the Germans were bullies throwing their weight around and killing a lot of people.

Still, "Battleground" comes down to the guys in I Company, Jarvess (John Hodiak), "Pop" (George Murphy), Layton (Marshall Thompson), Spudler (Jerome Courtland), Standiferd (Don Taylor), Hansan (Herbert Anderson), Bettis (Richard Jaeckel), Doc (Thomas E. Breen), and Sgt. Walowizc (Bruce Cowling). There is a tendency to make fun of the idea of the melting pot nature of these units, but we are talking diversity in terms of ethnicity more than racial lines and is certainly in keeping with everything I have read about the 101st. The humor in the trenches is a lot grimmer than you hear in most of these movies, an advantage of being made several years after the war ended (compare it with Wellman's 1945 film "Story of G.I. Joe").

This film is more about the psychology of war, putting up with the weather, the lack of supplies, the Germans trying to get them to surrender and showing up dressed in American uniforms, and keeping up morale than it is about actual fighting. That makes it rather unique in terms of movies about World War II in general or the Battle of the Bulge in particular. "Battleground" remains one of the classic films about grunts in the army.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great, now where's the DVD?
It's amazing that this one hasn't seen a DVD release yet because it's a really fine classic war film. Don't be put off by the fact it came out in 1950: yes, there's no blood and gore, so you can easily argue it's unrealistic from that angle. There are hardly even any combat scenes. But like all the best war films, this one concentrates not on combat but on the psychology and morality of the men caught up in war.

Battleground follows a squad through the nightmare of Bastogne, showing the everyday misery they had to put up with and the grim humor and camaraderie that helped them get through it. For a film of its day, this is one is surpisingly even-handed, even a bit dark and cynical. You won't find a bunch of John Wayne heroics here, but rather a bunch of sick, tired, demoralized men doing their best to stay alive. This is a great companion piece to the Bastogne episode of the superb Band of Brothers miniseries. Also consider checking out Wellman's other classic WWII film, The Story of G.I. Joe.

Now, where's the DVD release??

3-0 out of 5 stars So-So WWII Film
I was really looking forward to watching this movie when I received a VHS copy as a Birthday present.
Unfortunately, there are only a couple of combat scenes in BATTLEGROUND.
Where are the 7 crack German Divisions that surrounded Bastogne during late December of 1944? Where are the German Tanks, vehicles, and equipment?
All we get to see are a handful of Germans, and most of them are disguised as American Soldiers!
The entire movie is centered around a platoon of 101st GIs who wisecrack bad jokes all day.
Van Johnson is a Terrible lead actor.
To me, the only good war films are ones that portray the Enemy as well as the Friendlies.
BATTLEGROUND is simply another post-WWII Hollywood film that celebrates American ego and arrogance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Top Notch War Flick!
Excellent story of the 101st Airborne at the Siege of Bastone.This was probably the most famous of the battles held by the Americans.The movie shows life in the filth, mud, and snow quite well.You of course, don't get the true story of the whole battle, movies don't do this well except in documentarys.

Filmed in 1949 this movie stars a lot of people who had actually seen the elephant.

Van Johnson didn't serve in the army due to a plate in his head from a motorcycle accident.But James Whitmore was (I believe) a Lt. in the USMC in the South Pacific.Some of the others had been in the war also.

One of the three best war movies of all time, the others are Twelve O'Clock High and Command Decision.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best WW IIMovie Ever Made
"Battleground" is the best movie of WW II ever made.The characters are strongly and clearly drawn and the action is, for the most part, realistic.The realism of the movie is also due to it being filmed in black & white, with some inserts near the end of actual combat footage.The interesting fact is that while it continues to be seen on the movie channels and remains popular, a restored DVD version has yet to be produced and marketed. ... Read more


7. Nothing Sacred
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $7.98
our price: $7.98
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Asin: B0000639EG
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 21210
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Carole Lombard #1 Comedian of the 30's !!! Great DVD xfer!
Carole Lombard was an intelligent beautiful natural blonde, the greatest female Screwball comedian , highest paid actress, wife of Clark Gable and one of the most powerful woman in Hollywood during the 1930's until her untimely death in 1942. This beautifully restored DVD gives us a taste of Carole Lombard and the effect she had to audiences of the 30's. This was her only Technicolor movie she ever made. So sit back and watch her natural beauty and acting genius evolve on the screen. Fredric March as her co-star adds to this adorably humorous film.

In Summary: A Vermont girl Hazel Flagg (Lombard) in diagnosed in having radium poisoning (terminal). A hot shot New York Jounalist (March)reads about this in a newspaper and wants to use this event to raise his magazines popularity by sponsoring Hazel. Bringing her to New York City and presenting her with the "Keys to the City" and VIP status raises great public awareness. All the time using public sympathy to raise magazine sales.

Hazel finds out she was mis-diagnosed and reluctantly continues on with the scam. In the meantime March starts falling in love with Hazel and he wants her to rest and be comfortable until her end comes. As you can see this has a strange twist of events which is the main ingredient to the "SCREWBALL COMEDIES" of the 30's. Proving "Nothing's Sacred"!!!
The extras include: 2 early silent Lombard movies and Gable & Lombard home movies. This is a collectable "LIMITED EDITION" DVD to have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yumpin' Yiminee! Comedy and commentary in a perfect union!
NOTHING SACRED has all the right elements to make it a classic screwball comedy. It's short (a mere 74 minutes), has tight and fast scenes, some out-of-the-blue and very odd occurences (as mentioned by others, the boy biting March is a riot), stars who aren't afraid to get silly or messy to produce the best laugh, and a strong, scathing message.

Ben Hecht's script is excellent, providing many belly laughs during the movie, and chuckles long after the VCR or DVD player has been shut off. Carole Lombard is her hilarious wacky self. I love black and white movies, but I must admit the Technicolor really allowed me to appreciate her full beauty. And as for Fredric March, well, I've always had a sweet spot for his acting, and he certainly didn't disappoint in this production. He and Lombard balance each other out perfectly. And, as was characteristic of the great comedies of the 30s, the supporting characters excel in their roles to round out a practically perfect comedy.

As far as the film itself, there were three aspects that I particularly enjoyed. One being the sincere, in your face view of male/female relationships. The bedroom fighting scene between March and Lombard is hilarious, one of the highlights of the movie, but would never make it on screen in any of today's movies. In today's movie world where you can't offend ANYONE (except Christians or Republicans), and you usually can't show any kind of physical humor toward women (yet it's OK to beat the guy to a pulp), the un-PC nature of this 60+ year old production gives it unexpected freshness.

A second uncommon point is the change in the romantic comedy formula. You know, it almost always goes boy meets girl, boy and girl are together for awhile having a jim-dandy time, boy and girl break up after tiff or misunderstanding of some sort, boy or girl makes a witty, cutesy speech to get them back together. This movie changes at least the last part of that formula to focus the last question from "How will they get back together?" to "How will they get out of the problem together?". Nice little twist.

A final interesting aspect was the deliberate hiding of Lombard and March's faces during most of their more intimate scenes. This is fitting considering the movie was a rail against the mass media's need to sensationalize and exploit every intimate thing (and the masses' willingness to happily join in the explotation).

If you enjoyed BRINGING UP BABY or IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, you're bound to enjoy this film. If you enjoy this film, but haven't seen the other two I mentioned, check them out! Chances are you won't be disappointed!

4-0 out of 5 stars A dark, satirical look at media hype
Jason Blair, eat your heart out! Frederick March stars as an unscrupulous newspaper reporter who uses a maudlin tragedy -- a young woman who's dying of radium poisoning -- as a way to revive his shaky career. The trouble is, the gal is actually faking her ailment, using it as a way to escape her dull life in a provincial Vermont village. Carole Lombard plays the faker, Ms. Hazel Flagg, who becomes the toast of the town when brought to see the bright lights of New York City. Ben Hecht's tart, cynical script skillfully juxtoposes the sensationalized sentimentalism that Hazel attracts with the business-as-usual media hype and casual crassness of the Big Apple. While the film has its weak points (poor sound design, rushed production values, some ethnic humor that hasn't aged well), Hecht's merciless portrayal of flavor-of-the-week media "events" proves once again that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Recommended.

(PS - A scene involving an airplane ride also provides a nice aerial view of Depression-era NYC.)

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie....pretty medicore transfer
This is one of the 15 all-time greatest screwball comedies of the 1930's...and the only one that was in Technicolor. Problem is that Selnick sold the rights to it (it's in the public domain) sometime in the 1940's and it's very hard to find a decent of print of this (despite the fact that The Museum Of Modern Art completely resotred the movie to it's original Technicolor splendor...but they stupidly won't release it on VHS or DVD to the public...) Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Walter Connolly, and Charles Winninger have never been better. Absolutely first rate film directed by William Wellman and screenplay by Ben Hecht. Worth buying, despite the medicore quality (and occasional blurriness).

2-0 out of 5 stars ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ON LIFE, LOVE, AND DEATH BY RADIATION..
...YOU'LL LEARN FROM THIS MOVIE. After this movie was over, I longed for nothing more than to go away quietly and soak up its deep truths - just go away, like an elephant, and disappear. After all, there's always a way to come back to society. It's very simple, actually - Hazel Flagg has proved it. Just put on a pair of sunglasses. Not only will you look highly suspicious, but chances are people will recognise your mouth or your voice - or maybe just the aura of courage and nobility that emanates from your very presence.

I learned so many other valuable things from this fascinating movie as well. First of all, I found out what the residents of Vermont are really like, hidden away as they are amongst all that scenery. They have an expansive vocabulary that many Americans would do well to imitate. There are only two words to remember: Yep and Nope. It's very contagious, and even New York reporters find themselves picking it up after only a brief stay. Only slightly alluded to, but equally important, is the fact that Vermont must a state of high radiation level, otherwise how did poor Miss Flagg contract the fatal stuff?

Another thing that must never be forgotten is, if you want free publicity, just find a doctor in Vermont who insists you have radiation poisoning. Then your name will be posted abroad. You will be forever remembered as a strong, courageous victim of unfortunate circumstances. There will be silence at boxing rings, nightclubs, and city streets at the sight or sound of your name. You will be compared with such great, heroic personalities as Pocahontas and Catherine the Great (who, by the way, rode pastel-coloured horses and headresses both fearfully and wonderfully made). Schoolchildren will sweetly serenade you with ballads on the subject of your impending demise.

Besides all this, you will be duly blessed with a newspaper reporter who is not only dashingly handsome, madly in love, and prostrate with grief over the radiation which is stealing the very life and soul out of you. (Can such a rosy, sparkling complexion as you have possibly be a mere mask?) He's willing to fish you out of the river, marry you immediately, and all sorts of other noble things, but he'll find out you're a fake and kick you about like a bearskin rug, just to convince the doctors that your radiation isn't put up - even though it is. Perhaps he thinks that is a manifestation of his profound adoration for you, but in reality it causes you to faint away in despair at his utter cruelty to you. It's always helpful to remember that if your handsome newspaper reporter wishes you to fake a fever, and the means to the end involves a fight, you'd better turn away and disappear. Like an elephant. Elephants are the key here. From beginning to end, this movie is a grey haze of stampeding elephantine nonsense, pointlessness, and incredibly pathetic humour.

I do so enjoy learning experiences of any kind. Thanks to this film, I now know everything. Everything there is to know in the world about life, love, and death by radiation is in the depths of that brave name, Hazel Flagg, which is indelibly printed in my mind. In blue neon letters. ... Read more


8. Roxie Hart
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.48
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Asin: B0001FR54S
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 15184
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Different but lots of fun
I watched this out of curiousity after becoming a fan of Chicago the movie. It's fun to compare and contrast the modern version against this Ginger Rogers vehicle. Check out familiar characters (such as the prison matron "Mrs." Morton and Mary Sunshine) new characters (the reporter who has a crucial role in the end) and even missing characters (no Velma Kelley.)

This 1942 film has the title character as a woman on trial for shooting a man who is strongly implied to be her lover. Unlike the Roxie Hart in Chicago, this Roxie is innocent and only on trial for publicity to bolster her show business career. Rogers is a lot of fun and chews the scenery as the gum snapping Roxie. In retrospect, it seems a natural that this story became a musical. Aside from a brief tap dance sequence, it's too bad Rogers couldn't show off her musical talents here.

Make note to watch for the totally different but funny ending.

5-0 out of 5 stars ROGERS ROCKS CHICAGO!!
I got this movie for Christmas yesterday and I love it! I have seen the movie "Chicago" many times and have seen the Broadway musical many times on a tape I have. This is probably the most likeable of all of them because it's clean. They had to follow the Hays Code with motion pictures back then, so that certainly added to its cleanliness. The movie is a version of "Chicago" that all members of the family can enjoy, unlike the current movie and stage show which are only appropriate for ages 13 and up. Ginger Rogers seems perfect for Roxie because she gives off believable innocence, unlike Reinking or Zellwegar who not only killed their lovers, but also were too fake for the role. Reinking talked too fast and Zellwegar was just not the right choice. Rogers is a great Roxie, because she is just like the one in the original play, even though the musical's version is based on Rogers's incarnation. This is my favorite type of movie anyway because I'm a fan of old black&white movies.

5-0 out of 5 stars I DID IT HER WAY!!!
... and BOY she sure dun 'em wrong!
A BRILLIANT gem of a black comedy from the past - superbly restored to DVD - Great in Black & White - with the "Chicago" tune most of us grew up with has the backdrop....

Well, we've seen Mr. Fosse's "Chicago" [brilliant homage to this one] ~ but Ginger's version naturally focuses more on the wronged babe! Great Costumes and Art direction - even a dance number or two - "The Black Bottom" sequence - everyone's doing it! and Gingers homage to the 'other' tapmasters' as she pounds out a little number on the prison stairs.

HUNKY George Montgomery is the perfect 'big lug' of a reporter smitten by Miss Rogers "She Couldn't possibly have done this!"
A touch a Gable there!

Even Velma cameos briefly at the beginning in prison - literally cat-fighting with Roxie. They're basicallty all here - and if you wish another slant on the tangled tale - view this one - you won't be disappointed.

[Especially when the Judge tries to hone in on the background action - mugging for the camera in court - SO indelible in recent times considering it all .... after all it's all "Razzle Dazzle"].

A 'don't miss' experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars KISS! KISS! BANG! BANG! ROXIE HART IS ON HER WAY TO DVD!
Never has a girl with so little done so much. When a 1920s has-been showgirl's husband shoots a burglar in her apartment, "Roxie Hart" (Ginger Rogers) decides to take the wrap. Why? Good business...and because outside of 15 minutes in the pen she becomes the biggest little murderess in old Chicago. Based on a true story, but this time played strictly for laughs, the bawdy, gaudy and luscious Roxy kicks up her high-stepping heels into one of the most publicized trials of the last century. There's much to admire in the story and Rogers is outstanding as the vixen turned hot property. Adolph Menjou costars as Roxy's ubiquitous attorney.
TRANSFER: Kiss! Kiss! Bang! Bang! This one's a winner. Despite a few scenes that lay claim to considerable film grain and minor mis-registration (resulting in some minor pesky halos) this DVD is minted from a remarkably clean camera negative. The gray scale is wonderfully realized, with rich, deep, solid blacks. Occasionally the contrast level appears a tad on the low side but only occasionally. For the most part what you get is a genuinely impressive looking transfer. The audio has been rechanneled to stereo with predictable dated characteristics.
EXTRAS: A couple of trailers that illustrate just how awful this DVD might have looked if the good people at Fox hadn't worked some digital magic on this restored print.
BOTTOM LINE: Get ready to shoot it out with "Roxie Hart" on DVD!

5-0 out of 5 stars A riot of a film
I have never seen chicago, but I cannot imagine that it can be any more fun than this film. Ginger Rogers plays Roxie Hart with great gusto shwing she was a star long before Fred came on the scene. The court climax is just unreal with total chaos unfurling throughout the film.

Also good to see some excellent dancing from Rogers as she really hams it up in this tremendous film. Pure enjoyment. ... Read more


9. Lady of Burlesque
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
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Asin: B00005B6KV
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 29013
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Description

A stripper is murdered with her own G-string backstage during a performance. Everyone is a suspect, but the show must go on! Old-time burlesque on the Great White Way before the lights went out in New York's Times Square. Screen legend Barbara Stanwyck, action director William A. Wellman and famed Gypsy Rose Lee team up to create the best backstage musical murder mystery ever made! Based on actual incidents (and folklore) from the underbelly of the show biz world. It ain't Shakespeare, but it's a lot of fun! ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars BARBARA BUMPS AND GRINDS.....
This must be the film where Barbara Stanwyck proved she could (and would) do almost anything. Based on Gypsy Rose Lee's book "The G-String Murders", strippers in an old Opera house turned burlesque theater are being strangled with their G-strings. And our heroine Dixie Daisy (Stanwyck), the headliner, smells a rat. Fending off advances from a third-rate comic, she sets out to find the killer. Much cattiness and attitude from the other strippers pepper this delightful black comedy as Dixie tries to keep the show going while putting together clues and trying to save her own neck. Lee relied on her own personal experiences as a burlesque queen to give this story the realistic touches it has. And when Stanwyck hits the stage in a VERY scanty outfit (that must have given the censors fits) she's right at home singing a little bump & grind ditty called "Take It Off The E-String, Play It On The G-String". She's surprisingly sexy and has the necessary old-style panache that makes her performance a delight. The DVD from Image is immaculate and this is a must have for Stanwyck fans. Supporting cast is excellent and the characterizations are right on the money. A fun, fun movie worth watching over and over. My favorite line (and there are many): Man to Dixie,"Did I startle you?"....Dixie to Man: "Are you kidding? I've been startled by EXPERTS." Don't miss this one. It's just pure pleasure all the way.

4-0 out of 5 stars DIXIE DAISY WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY
An unusual though entertaining Stanwyck vehicle based on Gypsy Rose Lee's novel entitled THE G-STRING MURDERS. Stanwyck is enjoying her first taste of success on the burlesque stage where murders eventually upset the merry atmosphere! Apparently, Stanwyck didn't forget her early Broadway hoofing as she excels in her role. She's great as Daisy (the Gypsy counterpart) in the movie and adds vitality and mirth to a very jazzy part. The cast of chorus cuties couldn't have been bettered: gum-chewing Iris Adrian; squeakie-voiced Marian Martin; gravel-voiced Gloria Dickson; imperious Victoria Faust; statuesque Stephanie Bachelor; sarcastic Claire Carlton; cutesy Janis Carter and all the rest. The only time the production slows down is during the murder investigations..... Michael O'Shea, a basically Broadway actor had great chemistry with Stanwyck and their scenes together fairly sizzle. Stanwyck surprised many with her rendition of TAKE IT OFF THE E-STRING, PLAY IT ON THE G STRING, complete with appropriate bumps and grinds! Arthur Lange was nominated for an AA for his scoring.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lady of Burlesque
Previously only available thru Alpha (super low price and super low quality) this little gem should keep you interested long enough to finish a box of popcorn. Maltin gives this 1943 flik 3 stars. Stanwyck is young and fun. Pinky Lee has a supporting role. Don't let the title fool you or keep you away from this fun little mystery. I'm sure the Roan Group release will run circles around the budget disc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stanwyck Never Gives a Bad Performance!
Although even "budget" videos are no longer cheap, "Lady of Burlesque," to my mind, is a must for any movie-lover's library and certainly for mystery or Barbara Stanwyck fans. The DVD quality is reasonably clear, aside from that tinny sound quality at times that makes dialogue difficult to hear -- certainly not a major impediment, however, only a problem on occasion, but the film itself is an absolute delight. First of all, in spite of censorship that presumably sanitized the "stripping" sequences so that they are perhaps not quite an authentic reflection of what really took place-- it still presents a wonderful window into a vanished world -- the world of burlesque and vaudeville -- which was once a huge part of American entertainment. Certainly vaudeville and variety ruled at the turn of and early part of the 20th Century and in various forms, continued through variety shows into the 60's and 70's. So the wonderful peek into this world -- the glamorous theater (betcha this fabulous theater is no longer standing), the backstage antics and squabbles, the typical corny comedy bits and the costumes is nothing less than fascinating.

Additionally, there is an absolutely wonderful cast, headed by the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck. I'd agree that Barbara Stanwyck never gave a bad performance, even if she appeared in a bad film, and she's certainly in rare form here. She's delicious -- a sassy showgirl with rapidfire retorts and an attitude, pure old Brooklyn reminiscent of Glenda Farrell. Love that little snarl she gives every once in a while. Stanwyck was truly one of the greats and excelled at everything -- be it drama, soap suds, comedy, etc. Equally wonderful is the supporting cast including Marion Martin and Iris Adrian as Stanwyck's saucy fellow showgirls. All have great "stripper" names and the kind of showbizzy personalities that you can only find nowadays in theater productions -- tough-talkin', gum-chewin', wide-eyed, sugar-and-vinegar, been-around-the-block-twice showgirls.

I would disagree with those who say the mystery takes a back seat. Not only does this film entertain and amuse with the onstage and backstage interactions, but the mystery is equally fun. I certainly didn't guess whodunnit. The mystery begins when one of the strippers is found strangled -- with Babs Stanwyck's g-string! There is a lot of nice intrigue developed, along with the humor, with different characters being given enough shadiness to qualify as suspects and enough interpersonal dramas going on to keep you guessing and keep things mysterious.

Also fascinating are the great song-and-dance sequences. I really do feel they captured the oldstyle flavor of real vaudeville/variety shows and given that this story is based on a book by famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (The G-String Murders), I have no reason to doubt that aspects of it genuinely represent the types of people in and feeling of old burlesque.

In any case, it was an absolutely delicious surprise and a true keeper, in my book. I will watch it again and again. Reminds me of "The Women" crossed with "42nd Street" with an old-fashioned whodunnit thrown in. Great entertainment with a master at the helm (Stanwyck) and a terrific ensemble.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good movie, bad disc
This is a review more of the DVD itself than the movie (which is fast-paced and enjoyable). I had trouble getting the disc to play on two different machines. When I finally did get it going, there's not much there besides the movie itself. No production notes, no subtitles, and the 90 minute film is divided up in only four chapters. I know I shouldn't expect much for such a low-priced DVD, but hassle-free playing would have been nice. ... Read more


10. Nothing Sacred
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00000ICR8
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 29605
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Carole Lombard #1 Comedian of the 30's !!! Great DVD xfer!
Carole Lombard was an intelligent beautiful natural blonde, the greatest female Screwball comedian , highest paid actress, wife of Clark Gable and one of the most powerful woman in Hollywood during the 1930's until her untimely death in 1942. This beautifully restored DVD gives us a taste of Carole Lombard and the effect she had to audiences of the 30's. This was her only Technicolor movie she ever made. So sit back and watch her natural beauty and acting genius evolve on the screen. Fredric March as her co-star adds to this adorably humorous film.

In Summary: A Vermont girl Hazel Flagg (Lombard) in diagnosed in having radium poisoning (terminal). A hot shot New York Jounalist (March)reads about this in a newspaper and wants to use this event to raise his magazines popularity by sponsoring Hazel. Bringing her to New York City and presenting her with the "Keys to the City" and VIP status raises great public awareness. All the time using public sympathy to raise magazine sales.

Hazel finds out she was mis-diagnosed and reluctantly continues on with the scam. In the meantime March starts falling in love with Hazel and he wants her to rest and be comfortable until her end comes. As you can see this has a strange twist of events which is the main ingredient to the "SCREWBALL COMEDIES" of the 30's. Proving "Nothing's Sacred"!!!
The extras include: 2 early silent Lombard movies and Gable & Lombard home movies. This is a collectable "LIMITED EDITION" DVD to have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yumpin' Yiminee! Comedy and commentary in a perfect union!
NOTHING SACRED has all the right elements to make it a classic screwball comedy. It's short (a mere 74 minutes), has tight and fast scenes, some out-of-the-blue and very odd occurences (as mentioned by others, the boy biting March is a riot), stars who aren't afraid to get silly or messy to produce the best laugh, and a strong, scathing message.

Ben Hecht's script is excellent, providing many belly laughs during the movie, and chuckles long after the VCR or DVD player has been shut off. Carole Lombard is her hilarious wacky self. I love black and white movies, but I must admit the Technicolor really allowed me to appreciate her full beauty. And as for Fredric March, well, I've always had a sweet spot for his acting, and he certainly didn't disappoint in this production. He and Lombard balance each other out perfectly. And, as was characteristic of the great comedies of the 30s, the supporting characters excel in their roles to round out a practically perfect comedy.

As far as the film itself, there were three aspects that I particularly enjoyed. One being the sincere, in your face view of male/female relationships. The bedroom fighting scene between March and Lombard is hilarious, one of the highlights of the movie, but would never make it on screen in any of today's movies. In today's movie world where you can't offend ANYONE (except Christians or Republicans), and you usually can't show any kind of physical humor toward women (yet it's OK to beat the guy to a pulp), the un-PC nature of this 60+ year old production gives it unexpected freshness.

A second uncommon point is the change in the romantic comedy formula. You know, it almost always goes boy meets girl, boy and girl are together for awhile having a jim-dandy time, boy and girl break up after tiff or misunderstanding of some sort, boy or girl makes a witty, cutesy speech to get them back together. This movie changes at least the last part of that formula to focus the last question from "How will they get back together?" to "How will they get out of the problem together?". Nice little twist.

A final interesting aspect was the deliberate hiding of Lombard and March's faces during most of their more intimate scenes. This is fitting considering the movie was a rail against the mass media's need to sensationalize and exploit every intimate thing (and the masses' willingness to happily join in the explotation).

If you enjoyed BRINGING UP BABY or IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, you're bound to enjoy this film. If you enjoy this film, but haven't seen the other two I mentioned, check them out! Chances are you won't be disappointed!

4-0 out of 5 stars A dark, satirical look at media hype
Jason Blair, eat your heart out! Frederick March stars as an unscrupulous newspaper reporter who uses a maudlin tragedy -- a young woman who's dying of radium poisoning -- as a way to revive his shaky career. The trouble is, the gal is actually faking her ailment, using it as a way to escape her dull life in a provincial Vermont village. Carole Lombard plays the faker, Ms. Hazel Flagg, who becomes the toast of the town when brought to see the bright lights of New York City. Ben Hecht's tart, cynical script skillfully juxtoposes the sensationalized sentimentalism that Hazel attracts with the business-as-usual media hype and casual crassness of the Big Apple. While the film has its weak points (poor sound design, rushed production values, some ethnic humor that hasn't aged well), Hecht's merciless portrayal of flavor-of-the-week media "events" proves once again that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Recommended.

(PS - A scene involving an airplane ride also provides a nice aerial view of Depression-era NYC.)

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie....pretty medicore transfer
This is one of the 15 all-time greatest screwball comedies of the 1930's...and the only one that was in Technicolor. Problem is that Selnick sold the rights to it (it's in the public domain) sometime in the 1940's and it's very hard to find a decent of print of this (despite the fact that The Museum Of Modern Art completely resotred the movie to it's original Technicolor splendor...but they stupidly won't release it on VHS or DVD to the public...) Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Walter Connolly, and Charles Winninger have never been better. Absolutely first rate film directed by William Wellman and screenplay by Ben Hecht. Worth buying, despite the medicore quality (and occasional blurriness).

2-0 out of 5 stars ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ON LIFE, LOVE, AND DEATH BY RADIATION..
...YOU'LL LEARN FROM THIS MOVIE. After this movie was over, I longed for nothing more than to go away quietly and soak up its deep truths - just go away, like an elephant, and disappear. After all, there's always a way to come back to society. It's very simple, actually - Hazel Flagg has proved it. Just put on a pair of sunglasses. Not only will you look highly suspicious, but chances are people will recognise your mouth or your voice - or maybe just the aura of courage and nobility that emanates from your very presence.

I learned so many other valuable things from this fascinating movie as well. First of all, I found out what the residents of Vermont are really like, hidden away as they are amongst all that scenery. They have an expansive vocabulary that many Americans would do well to imitate. There are only two words to remember: Yep and Nope. It's very contagious, and even New York reporters find themselves picking it up after only a brief stay. Only slightly alluded to, but equally important, is the fact that Vermont must a state of high radiation level, otherwise how did poor Miss Flagg contract the fatal stuff?

Another thing that must never be forgotten is, if you want free publicity, just find a doctor in Vermont who insists you have radiation poisoning. Then your name will be posted abroad. You will be forever remembered as a strong, courageous victim of unfortunate circumstances. There will be silence at boxing rings, nightclubs, and city streets at the sight or sound of your name. You will be compared with such great, heroic personalities as Pocahontas and Catherine the Great (who, by the way, rode pastel-coloured horses and headresses both fearfully and wonderfully made). Schoolchildren will sweetly serenade you with ballads on the subject of your impending demise.

Besides all this, you will be duly blessed with a newspaper reporter who is not only dashingly handsome, madly in love, and prostrate with grief over the radiation which is stealing the very life and soul out of you. (Can such a rosy, sparkling complexion as you have possibly be a mere mask?) He's willing to fish you out of the river, marry you immediately, and all sorts of other noble things, but he'll find out you're a fake and kick you about like a bearskin rug, just to convince the doctors that your radiation isn't put up - even though it is. Perhaps he thinks that is a manifestation of his profound adoration for you, but in reality it causes you to faint away in despair at his utter cruelty to you. It's always helpful to remember that if your handsome newspaper reporter wishes you to fake a fever, and the means to the end involves a fight, you'd better turn away and disappear. Like an elephant. Elephants are the key here. From beginning to end, this movie is a grey haze of stampeding elephantine nonsense, pointlessness, and incredibly pathetic humour.

I do so enjoy learning experiences of any kind. Thanks to this film, I now know everything. Everything there is to know in the world about life, love, and death by radiation is in the depths of that brave name, Hazel Flagg, which is indelibly printed in my mind. In blue neon letters. ... Read more


11. Lady of Burlesque
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $7.98
our price: $7.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006AUGE
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 23935
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars BARBARA BUMPS AND GRINDS.....
This must be the film where Barbara Stanwyck proved she could (and would) do almost anything. Based on Gypsy Rose Lee's book "The G-String Murders", strippers in an old Opera house turned burlesque theater are being strangled with their G-strings. And our heroine Dixie Daisy (Stanwyck), the headliner, smells a rat. Fending off advances from a third-rate comic, she sets out to find the killer. Much cattiness and attitude from the other strippers pepper this delightful black comedy as Dixie tries to keep the show going while putting together clues and trying to save her own neck. Lee relied on her own personal experiences as a burlesque queen to give this story the realistic touches it has. And when Stanwyck hits the stage in a VERY scanty outfit (that must have given the censors fits) she's right at home singing a little bump & grind ditty called "Take It Off The E-String, Play It On The G-String". She's surprisingly sexy and has the necessary old-style panache that makes her performance a delight. The DVD from Image is immaculate and this is a must have for Stanwyck fans. Supporting cast is excellent and the characterizations are right on the money. A fun, fun movie worth watching over and over. My favorite line (and there are many): Man to Dixie,"Did I startle you?"....Dixie to Man: "Are you kidding? I've been startled by EXPERTS." Don't miss this one. It's just pure pleasure all the way.

4-0 out of 5 stars DIXIE DAISY WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY
An unusual though entertaining Stanwyck vehicle based on Gypsy Rose Lee's novel entitled THE G-STRING MURDERS. Stanwyck is enjoying her first taste of success on the burlesque stage where murders eventually upset the merry atmosphere! Apparently, Stanwyck didn't forget her early Broadway hoofing as she excels in her role. She's great as Daisy (the Gypsy counterpart) in the movie and adds vitality and mirth to a very jazzy part. The cast of chorus cuties couldn't have been bettered: gum-chewing Iris Adrian; squeakie-voiced Marian Martin; gravel-voiced Gloria Dickson; imperious Victoria Faust; statuesque Stephanie Bachelor; sarcastic Claire Carlton; cutesy Janis Carter and all the rest. The only time the production slows down is during the murder investigations..... Michael O'Shea, a basically Broadway actor had great chemistry with Stanwyck and their scenes together fairly sizzle. Stanwyck surprised many with her rendition of TAKE IT OFF THE E-STRING, PLAY IT ON THE G STRING, complete with appropriate bumps and grinds! Arthur Lange was nominated for an AA for his scoring.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lady of Burlesque
Previously only available thru Alpha (super low price and super low quality) this little gem should keep you interested long enough to finish a box of popcorn. Maltin gives this 1943 flik 3 stars. Stanwyck is young and fun. Pinky Lee has a supporting role. Don't let the title fool you or keep you away from this fun little mystery. I'm sure the Roan Group release will run circles around the budget disc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stanwyck Never Gives a Bad Performance!
Although even "budget" videos are no longer cheap, "Lady of Burlesque," to my mind, is a must for any movie-lover's library and certainly for mystery or Barbara Stanwyck fans. The DVD quality is reasonably clear, aside from that tinny sound quality at times that makes dialogue difficult to hear -- certainly not a major impediment, however, only a problem on occasion, but the film itself is an absolute delight. First of all, in spite of censorship that presumably sanitized the "stripping" sequences so that they are perhaps not quite an authentic reflection of what really took place-- it still presents a wonderful window into a vanished world -- the world of burlesque and vaudeville -- which was once a huge part of American entertainment. Certainly vaudeville and variety ruled at the turn of and early part of the 20th Century and in various forms, continued through variety shows into the 60's and 70's. So the wonderful peek into this world -- the glamorous theater (betcha this fabulous theater is no longer standing), the backstage antics and squabbles, the typical corny comedy bits and the costumes is nothing less than fascinating.

Additionally, there is an absolutely wonderful cast, headed by the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck. I'd agree that Barbara Stanwyck never gave a bad performance, even if she appeared in a bad film, and she's certainly in rare form here. She's delicious -- a sassy showgirl with rapidfire retorts and an attitude, pure old Brooklyn reminiscent of Glenda Farrell. Love that little snarl she gives every once in a while. Stanwyck was truly one of the greats and excelled at everything -- be it drama, soap suds, comedy, etc. Equally wonderful is the supporting cast including Marion Martin and Iris Adrian as Stanwyck's saucy fellow showgirls. All have great "stripper" names and the kind of showbizzy personalities that you can only find nowadays in theater productions -- tough-talkin', gum-chewin', wide-eyed, sugar-and-vinegar, been-around-the-block-twice showgirls.

I would disagree with those who say the mystery takes a back seat. Not only does this film entertain and amuse with the onstage and backstage interactions, but the mystery is equally fun. I certainly didn't guess whodunnit. The mystery begins when one of the strippers is found strangled -- with Babs Stanwyck's g-string! There is a lot of nice intrigue developed, along with the humor, with different characters being given enough shadiness to qualify as suspects and enough interpersonal dramas going on to keep you guessing and keep things mysterious.

Also fascinating are the great song-and-dance sequences. I really do feel they captured the oldstyle flavor of real vaudeville/variety shows and given that this story is based on a book by famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (The G-String Murders), I have no reason to doubt that aspects of it genuinely represent the types of people in and feeling of old burlesque.

In any case, it was an absolutely delicious surprise and a true keeper, in my book. I will watch it again and again. Reminds me of "The Women" crossed with "42nd Street" with an old-fashioned whodunnit thrown in. Great entertainment with a master at the helm (Stanwyck) and a terrific ensemble.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good movie, bad disc
This is a review more of the DVD itself than the movie (which is fast-paced and enjoyable). I had trouble getting the disc to play on two different machines. When I finally did get it going, there's not much there besides the movie itself. No production notes, no subtitles, and the 90 minute film is divided up in only four chapters. I know I shouldn't expect much for such a low-priced DVD, but hassle-free playing would have been nice. ... Read more


12. A Star is Born
Director: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway
list price: $14.95
our price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00030NS8I
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 56059
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13. A Star is Born
Director: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway
list price: $7.98
our price: $7.98
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Asin: B00008J2EO
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 25237
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14. Nothing Sacred
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $24.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304565283
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 25133
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As potent today as it was when released in 1937, this classic screwball satire stars Carole Lombard as Hazel Flagg, the small-town girl who mistakenly believes she's dying of radium poisoning. Sensing a great human interest story that will tug the public's heartstrings and help sell newspapers, exploitative journalist Wally Cook (Fredric March) brings Hazel to New York City and turns her into a media darling. Wally's callous strategy takes a sudden turn when he starts having feelings for the vulnerable Hazel.Filmed in early three-strip Technicolor and scripted by Ben Hecht and James H. Street, this sharp comedy still sizzles with its cynical take on media profiteering, and the matching of Lombard and March is unforgettably entertaining. The digital video disc features two Mack Sennett comedy shorts in two-strip Technicolor, the original theatrical trailer for Nothing Sacred, and rarely seen home movies from the archives of legendary Hollywood couple Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Carole Lombard #1 Comedian of the 30's !!! Great DVD xfer!
Carole Lombard was an intelligent beautiful natural blonde, the greatest female Screwball comedian , highest paid actress, wife of Clark Gable and one of the most powerful woman in Hollywood during the 1930's until her untimely death in 1942. This beautifully restored DVD gives us a taste of Carole Lombard and the effect she had to audiences of the 30's. This was her only Technicolor movie she ever made. So sit back and watch her natural beauty and acting genius evolve on the screen. Fredric March as her co-star adds to this adorably humorous film.

In Summary: A Vermont girl Hazel Flagg (Lombard) in diagnosed in having radium poisoning (terminal). A hot shot New York Jounalist (March)reads about this in a newspaper and wants to use this event to raise his magazines popularity by sponsoring Hazel. Bringing her to New York City and presenting her with the "Keys to the City" and VIP status raises great public awareness. All the time using public sympathy to raise magazine sales.

Hazel finds out she was mis-diagnosed and reluctantly continues on with the scam. In the meantime March starts falling in love with Hazel and he wants her to rest and be comfortable until her end comes. As you can see this has a strange twist of events which is the main ingredient to the "SCREWBALL COMEDIES" of the 30's. Proving "Nothing's Sacred"!!!
The extras include: 2 early silent Lombard movies and Gable & Lombard home movies. This is a collectable "LIMITED EDITION" DVD to have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yumpin' Yiminee! Comedy and commentary in a perfect union!
NOTHING SACRED has all the right elements to make it a classic screwball comedy. It's short (a mere 74 minutes), has tight and fast scenes, some out-of-the-blue and very odd occurences (as mentioned by others, the boy biting March is a riot), stars who aren't afraid to get silly or messy to produce the best laugh, and a strong, scathing message.

Ben Hecht's script is excellent, providing many belly laughs during the movie, and chuckles long after the VCR or DVD player has been shut off. Carole Lombard is her hilarious wacky self. I love black and white movies, but I must admit the Technicolor really allowed me to appreciate her full beauty. And as for Fredric March, well, I've always had a sweet spot for his acting, and he certainly didn't disappoint in this production. He and Lombard balance each other out perfectly. And, as was characteristic of the great comedies of the 30s, the supporting characters excel in their roles to round out a practically perfect comedy.

As far as the film itself, there were three aspects that I particularly enjoyed. One being the sincere, in your face view of male/female relationships. The bedroom fighting scene between March and Lombard is hilarious, one of the highlights of the movie, but would never make it on screen in any of today's movies. In today's movie world where you can't offend ANYONE (except Christians or Republicans), and you usually can't show any kind of physical humor toward women (yet it's OK to beat the guy to a pulp), the un-PC nature of this 60+ year old production gives it unexpected freshness.

A second uncommon point is the change in the romantic comedy formula. You know, it almost always goes boy meets girl, boy and girl are together for awhile having a jim-dandy time, boy and girl break up after tiff or misunderstanding of some sort, boy or girl makes a witty, cutesy speech to get them back together. This movie changes at least the last part of that formula to focus the last question from "How will they get back together?" to "How will they get out of the problem together?". Nice little twist.

A final interesting aspect was the deliberate hiding of Lombard and March's faces during most of their more intimate scenes. This is fitting considering the movie was a rail against the mass media's need to sensationalize and exploit every intimate thing (and the masses' willingness to happily join in the explotation).

If you enjoyed BRINGING UP BABY or IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, you're bound to enjoy this film. If you enjoy this film, but haven't seen the other two I mentioned, check them out! Chances are you won't be disappointed!

4-0 out of 5 stars A dark, satirical look at media hype
Jason Blair, eat your heart out! Frederick March stars as an unscrupulous newspaper reporter who uses a maudlin tragedy -- a young woman who's dying of radium poisoning -- as a way to revive his shaky career. The trouble is, the gal is actually faking her ailment, using it as a way to escape her dull life in a provincial Vermont village. Carole Lombard plays the faker, Ms. Hazel Flagg, who becomes the toast of the town when brought to see the bright lights of New York City. Ben Hecht's tart, cynical script skillfully juxtoposes the sensationalized sentimentalism that Hazel attracts with the business-as-usual media hype and casual crassness of the Big Apple. While the film has its weak points (poor sound design, rushed production values, some ethnic humor that hasn't aged well), Hecht's merciless portrayal of flavor-of-the-week media "events" proves once again that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Recommended.

(PS - A scene involving an airplane ride also provides a nice aerial view of Depression-era NYC.)

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie....pretty medicore transfer
This is one of the 15 all-time greatest screwball comedies of the 1930's...and the only one that was in Technicolor. Problem is that Selnick sold the rights to it (it's in the public domain) sometime in the 1940's and it's very hard to find a decent of print of this (despite the fact that The Museum Of Modern Art completely resotred the movie to it's original Technicolor splendor...but they stupidly won't release it on VHS or DVD to the public...) Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Walter Connolly, and Charles Winninger have never been better. Absolutely first rate film directed by William Wellman and screenplay by Ben Hecht. Worth buying, despite the medicore quality (and occasional blurriness).

2-0 out of 5 stars ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ON LIFE, LOVE, AND DEATH BY RADIATION..
...YOU'LL LEARN FROM THIS MOVIE. After this movie was over, I longed for nothing more than to go away quietly and soak up its deep truths - just go away, like an elephant, and disappear. After all, there's always a way to come back to society. It's very simple, actually - Hazel Flagg has proved it. Just put on a pair of sunglasses. Not only will you look highly suspicious, but chances are people will recognise your mouth or your voice - or maybe just the aura of courage and nobility that emanates from your very presence.

I learned so many other valuable things from this fascinating movie as well. First of all, I found out what the residents of Vermont are really like, hidden away as they are amongst all that scenery. They have an expansive vocabulary that many Americans would do well to imitate. There are only two words to remember: Yep and Nope. It's very contagious, and even New York reporters find themselves picking it up after only a brief stay. Only slightly alluded to, but equally important, is the fact that Vermont must a state of high radiation level, otherwise how did poor Miss Flagg contract the fatal stuff?

Another thing that must never be forgotten is, if you want free publicity, just find a doctor in Vermont who insists you have radiation poisoning. Then your name will be posted abroad. You will be forever remembered as a strong, courageous victim of unfortunate circumstances. There will be silence at boxing rings, nightclubs, and city streets at the sight or sound of your name. You will be compared with such great, heroic personalities as Pocahontas and Catherine the Great (who, by the way, rode pastel-coloured horses and headresses both fearfully and wonderfully made). Schoolchildren will sweetly serenade you with ballads on the subject of your impending demise.

Besides all this, you will be duly blessed with a newspaper reporter who is not only dashingly handsome, madly in love, and prostrate with grief over the radiation which is stealing the very life and soul out of you. (Can such a rosy, sparkling complexion as you have possibly be a mere mask?) He's willing to fish you out of the river, marry you immediately, and all sorts of other noble things, but he'll find out you're a fake and kick you about like a bearskin rug, just to convince the doctors that your radiation isn't put up - even though it is. Perhaps he thinks that is a manifestation of his profound adoration for you, but in reality it causes you to faint away in despair at his utter cruelty to you. It's always helpful to remember that if your handsome newspaper reporter wishes you to fake a fever, and the means to the end involves a fight, you'd better turn away and disappear. Like an elephant. Elephants are the key here. From beginning to end, this movie is a grey haze of stampeding elephantine nonsense, pointlessness, and incredibly pathetic humour.

I do so enjoy learning experiences of any kind. Thanks to this film, I now know everything. Everything there is to know in the world about life, love, and death by radiation is in the depths of that brave name, Hazel Flagg, which is indelibly printed in my mind. In blue neon letters. ... Read more


15. A Star is Born
Director: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway
list price: $29.99
our price: $26.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6305077029
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 32934
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"This is Mrs. Norman Maine," proclaims Janet Gaynor, fighting back the tears as she addresses her fans while still rocked by personal tragedy. It's the kind of grandiose gesture we love in a movie star, and the original A Star Is Born is gloriously grand with a cynical undercurrent. William Wellman, working from a sharp screenplay cowritten by the acerbic Dorothy Parker, strikes a balance between romantic glamour and tragic melodrama, all accomplished with a barely concealed caustic wit. It's a Cinderella story of a fresh-faced farm girl, the improbably named Esther Blodgett (they have a lot of fun with that one) who transforms into screen icon Vicki Lester when she comes to the attentions of matinee idol Norman Maine (Fredric March). But when the deliriously happy couple marries, Vicki's rise to the top is counterbalanced by Norman's fall from grace, a precipitous plummet from stardom to alcoholism and bitterness. Gaynor's milk-fed wholesomeness is a tad corny next to March's worldly cynicism, but she's a movie star through and through. Adolphe Menjou costars as a mercenary agent with a sing-song patter. One of the quintessential Hollywood Self-portraits, A Star Is Born was remade twice and was itself inspiredby George Cukor's wonderful What Price Hollywood? and the real-life story of Colleen Moore and John McCormick. March based his character on John Gilbert and John Barrymore. --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A STAR IS BORN is the story of an innocent young woman who rises to fame in Hollywood. Her movie star husband helps her get started in her career while he is already on the skids because of his alcoholic behavior. Besides telling a great yarn the film also provides a candid expose of the movie industry before World War II. Janet Gaynor and Fredric March are superb in the leading roles. The strong supporting cast includes Adolphe Menjou, May Robson, Andy Devine and Lionel Stander.

Janet Gayner actually retired not too long after this movie and did only occasional acting later in life. She had been very active in Hollywood during the 1920's and 1930's. Director William Wellman directed many other good films including PUBLIC ENEMY.

It is difficult for to choose between this movie and the 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason. They are both wonderful.

A STAR IS BORN received Oscars in 1937 for Best Original Story and Color Cinematography. Its numerous Academy Award nominations were for Best Picture, Director (William Wellman), Actor (Fredric March), Actress ( Janet Gaynor), Screenplay and Assistant Director (Eric Stacey).

4-0 out of 5 stars The Originals Are Always the Best!
I don't understand why anyone would prefer the later remakes to this version, which is so far superior as to be incomparable to the later attempts. Who could be better than Fredric March? Of course it was a bit bizarre for him to play a fading star when in reality he was in the Hollywood limelight. I felt this version had so much more depth and story to it, without the multitudinous songs or the shallow world of musicals to interfere.

I'm not sure really what to say about this except that it's very very good and I think you and everyone should see it at least once. My favourite moments... in the cafe where Fred drinks raw egg while Janet impersonates various movie stars at another table. And at the preview of their first film together, they kiss for a LONG time, and Janet shrinks down blushing into her chair. There are others, just can't remember them at the moment. And the last part is very touching of course. Loved how Grandma couldn't take the bright lights.

I liked the producer better in this one than the Garland version as well. He seemed to have more character and wasn't so goony looking.

The colour quality of the video is admittedly terrible, but I have heard that the DVD version is a restored one and much better and easier to watch. I have not seen it myself to compare for certain.

Well, I've said my piece. This is the version to see. Don't bother with the other ones - they can't hold a candle to this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tragic, unforgettable love story
The 1937 original version of "A Star Is Born" is a moving, observant drama about an aging, fading movie matinee idol, Norman Maine, played by Fredric March, who discovers and marries a struggling young actress, Esther Blodgett, portrayed by the lovely Janet Gaynor.

Norman has a chance encounter with Esther at a concert and then again at a fancy Hollywood party where she is moonlighting as a waitress. He is immediately taken by her natural beauty and sweetness. Norman chooses Esther to be his leading lady in his next movie. When the movie is released, Esther, who is renamed Vicki Lester by the studio, becomes an "overnight" star (that is after she suffers many rejections and near poverty prior to her stardom).

"A Star Is Born" provides a realistic view of the crassness and undeniable glamour of Hollywood. And it examines the fleeting nature of stardom which Hollywood creates and then conveniently and cruelly destroys when a star is no longer viable.

Everything about this movie is first rate in particular the perceptive direction by William Wellman, the smart screenplay by Wellman and Robert Carson, and the uniformly excellent performances by an all-star cast.

March and Gaynor are at their very best giving restrained, yet powerful performances. March's skill as an actor makes the demise of Norman Maine, at the behest of a fickle public and a mostly callous Hollywood establishment, heartbreaking to watch. And Esther's quiet strength and unconditional love and support of her adoring, self-destructive husband are subtly and convincingly conveyed by the gifted Miss Gaynor.

Be sure to stock up on tissues before you see this tragic, unforgettable love story because by its conclusion, your tears will be profuse. I guarantee it.

5-0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE 1.......
This is the original... The best.... It has a great feel of the Hollywood that was... Gaynor and March are great. I love u Judy - but THIS is THE classic film of the often-told-story... Judy is a class act, but HER film was/is not a classic.

BUY IT FOR GOODNES-SAKES hehehe:)(:

5-0 out of 5 stars This KINO print is excellent!
I went ahead and bought this VHS edition from KINO, and I must say it is THE BEST print of this film to be found. I discovered Fredric March in 2002, and in one year collected over 54 of his films. During this time, I bought 2 other VHS versions of A STAR IS BORN; the first one was horrible...scratchy sound, the mouths didn't match with the words, blurry and washed out color. The second one was a bit better, color not so good, but at least the movement of their mouths was in step with the soundtrack. I really enjoy this film, and wanted to find a better print. This KINO print will not disappoint! It is superb...while the color is not like what you will see today, it is very very good. I was so impressed; what a pleasure it is to see a film almost as it looked originally in 1937.

I mainly wanted to share the news that this is an excellent VHS (I called KINO, and they said they don't know that they will ever put it on DVD...too bad, but I think I have seen bootleg DVD's taken from this KINO print on ebay.) This video is well worth the money due to the wonderful quality.

Many have already stated their opinion on this film. I greatly admire Fredric March and he did such a good job portraying Norman Maine. I liked Janet Gaynor's performance as well. It is fun to see some of the famous Hollywood locations in these early days. It is a good story...nice to see a wife sticking by her man through the good times and bad. Nice to see how she honors his name and memory at the end of the film. Nice to see that she didn't sit and have a pity party about how horrible a husband Norman was. She was of beautiful character...you especially see this when at the Academy Awards, and he accidently slaps her face, she just takes his hand and calmly walks with him back to the table. Later that evening, at home, Norman (March) is passed out drunk in a chair, and we see Esther(Gaynor) kneeling before him, still in her gown, with her Oscar lying on the floor beside her, taking off his shoes. What love and devotion and lack of selfishness is portrayed in that one simple scene... We know her heart was hurting; none of this was easy for her.

I know many people just adore the Judy Garland version. I have seen it, and my main problem was I thought there was too much singing ( I am not fond of musicals), and I also felt Judy looked too old and weary for the part. You could see this in her eyes. She lacked the youthful innocence Gaynor had. Now if Judy had done it when she was younger...but this is only my opinion.

I prefer this 1937 version, and if you do as well, this KINO print is THE ONE to watch and to own. ... Read more


16. Nothing Sacred
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $14.95
our price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002GLWPE
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 23311
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17. Lady of Burlesque
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00020HAKQ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 16864
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars BARBARA BUMPS AND GRINDS.....
This must be the film where Barbara Stanwyck proved she could (and would) do almost anything. Based on Gypsy Rose Lee's book "The G-String Murders", strippers in an old Opera house turned burlesque theater are being strangled with their G-strings. And our heroine Dixie Daisy (Stanwyck), the headliner, smells a rat. Fending off advances from a third-rate comic, she sets out to find the killer. Much cattiness and attitude from the other strippers pepper this delightful black comedy as Dixie tries to keep the show going while putting together clues and trying to save her own neck. Lee relied on her own personal experiences as a burlesque queen to give this story the realistic touches it has. And when Stanwyck hits the stage in a VERY scanty outfit (that must have given the censors fits) she's right at home singing a little bump & grind ditty called "Take It Off The E-String, Play It On The G-String". She's surprisingly sexy and has the necessary old-style panache that makes her performance a delight. The DVD from Image is immaculate and this is a must have for Stanwyck fans. Supporting cast is excellent and the characterizations are right on the money. A fun, fun movie worth watching over and over. My favorite line (and there are many): Man to Dixie,"Did I startle you?"....Dixie to Man: "Are you kidding? I've been startled by EXPERTS." Don't miss this one. It's just pure pleasure all the way.

4-0 out of 5 stars DIXIE DAISY WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY
An unusual though entertaining Stanwyck vehicle based on Gypsy Rose Lee's novel entitled THE G-STRING MURDERS. Stanwyck is enjoying her first taste of success on the burlesque stage where murders eventually upset the merry atmosphere! Apparently, Stanwyck didn't forget her early Broadway hoofing as she excels in her role. She's great as Daisy (the Gypsy counterpart) in the movie and adds vitality and mirth to a very jazzy part. The cast of chorus cuties couldn't have been bettered: gum-chewing Iris Adrian; squeakie-voiced Marian Martin; gravel-voiced Gloria Dickson; imperious Victoria Faust; statuesque Stephanie Bachelor; sarcastic Claire Carlton; cutesy Janis Carter and all the rest. The only time the production slows down is during the murder investigations..... Michael O'Shea, a basically Broadway actor had great chemistry with Stanwyck and their scenes together fairly sizzle. Stanwyck surprised many with her rendition of TAKE IT OFF THE E-STRING, PLAY IT ON THE G STRING, complete with appropriate bumps and grinds! Arthur Lange was nominated for an AA for his scoring.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lady of Burlesque
Previously only available thru Alpha (super low price and super low quality) this little gem should keep you interested long enough to finish a box of popcorn. Maltin gives this 1943 flik 3 stars. Stanwyck is young and fun. Pinky Lee has a supporting role. Don't let the title fool you or keep you away from this fun little mystery. I'm sure the Roan Group release will run circles around the budget disc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stanwyck Never Gives a Bad Performance!
Although even "budget" videos are no longer cheap, "Lady of Burlesque," to my mind, is a must for any movie-lover's library and certainly for mystery or Barbara Stanwyck fans. The DVD quality is reasonably clear, aside from that tinny sound quality at times that makes dialogue difficult to hear -- certainly not a major impediment, however, only a problem on occasion, but the film itself is an absolute delight. First of all, in spite of censorship that presumably sanitized the "stripping" sequences so that they are perhaps not quite an authentic reflection of what really took place-- it still presents a wonderful window into a vanished world -- the world of burlesque and vaudeville -- which was once a huge part of American entertainment. Certainly vaudeville and variety ruled at the turn of and early part of the 20th Century and in various forms, continued through variety shows into the 60's and 70's. So the wonderful peek into this world -- the glamorous theater (betcha this fabulous theater is no longer standing), the backstage antics and squabbles, the typical corny comedy bits and the costumes is nothing less than fascinating.

Additionally, there is an absolutely wonderful cast, headed by the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck. I'd agree that Barbara Stanwyck never gave a bad performance, even if she appeared in a bad film, and she's certainly in rare form here. She's delicious -- a sassy showgirl with rapidfire retorts and an attitude, pure old Brooklyn reminiscent of Glenda Farrell. Love that little snarl she gives every once in a while. Stanwyck was truly one of the greats and excelled at everything -- be it drama, soap suds, comedy, etc. Equally wonderful is the supporting cast including Marion Martin and Iris Adrian as Stanwyck's saucy fellow showgirls. All have great "stripper" names and the kind of showbizzy personalities that you can only find nowadays in theater productions -- tough-talkin', gum-chewin', wide-eyed, sugar-and-vinegar, been-around-the-block-twice showgirls.

I would disagree with those who say the mystery takes a back seat. Not only does this film entertain and amuse with the onstage and backstage interactions, but the mystery is equally fun. I certainly didn't guess whodunnit. The mystery begins when one of the strippers is found strangled -- with Babs Stanwyck's g-string! There is a lot of nice intrigue developed, along with the humor, with different characters being given enough shadiness to qualify as suspects and enough interpersonal dramas going on to keep you guessing and keep things mysterious.

Also fascinating are the great song-and-dance sequences. I really do feel they captured the oldstyle flavor of real vaudeville/variety shows and given that this story is based on a book by famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (The G-String Murders), I have no reason to doubt that aspects of it genuinely represent the types of people in and feeling of old burlesque.

In any case, it was an absolutely delicious surprise and a true keeper, in my book. I will watch it again and again. Reminds me of "The Women" crossed with "42nd Street" with an old-fashioned whodunnit thrown in. Great entertainment with a master at the helm (Stanwyck) and a terrific ensemble.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good movie, bad disc
This is a review more of the DVD itself than the movie (which is fast-paced and enjoyable). I had trouble getting the disc to play on two different machines. When I finally did get it going, there's not much there besides the movie itself. No production notes, no subtitles, and the 90 minute film is divided up in only four chapters. I know I shouldn't expect much for such a low-priced DVD, but hassle-free playing would have been nice. ... Read more


18. A Star is Born
Director: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00003ETIO
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 50840
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A STAR IS BORN is the story of an innocent young woman who rises to fame in Hollywood. Her movie star husband helps her get started in her career while he is already on the skids because of his alcoholic behavior. Besides telling a great yarn the film also provides a candid expose of the movie industry before World War II. Janet Gaynor and Fredric March are superb in the leading roles. The strong supporting cast includes Adolphe Menjou, May Robson, Andy Devine and Lionel Stander.

Janet Gayner actually retired not too long after this movie and did only occasional acting later in life. She had been very active in Hollywood during the 1920's and 1930's. Director William Wellman directed many other good films including PUBLIC ENEMY.

It is difficult for to choose between this movie and the 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason. They are both wonderful.

A STAR IS BORN received Oscars in 1937 for Best Original Story and Color Cinematography. Its numerous Academy Award nominations were for Best Picture, Director (William Wellman), Actor (Fredric March), Actress ( Janet Gaynor), Screenplay and Assistant Director (Eric Stacey).

4-0 out of 5 stars The Originals Are Always the Best!
I don't understand why anyone would prefer the later remakes to this version, which is so far superior as to be incomparable to the later attempts. Who could be better than Fredric March? Of course it was a bit bizarre for him to play a fading star when in reality he was in the Hollywood limelight. I felt this version had so much more depth and story to it, without the multitudinous songs or the shallow world of musicals to interfere.

I'm not sure really what to say about this except that it's very very good and I think you and everyone should see it at least once. My favourite moments... in the cafe where Fred drinks raw egg while Janet impersonates various movie stars at another table. And at the preview of their first film together, they kiss for a LONG time, and Janet shrinks down blushing into her chair. There are others, just can't remember them at the moment. And the last part is very touching of course. Loved how Grandma couldn't take the bright lights.

I liked the producer better in this one than the Garland version as well. He seemed to have more character and wasn't so goony looking.

The colour quality of the video is admittedly terrible, but I have heard that the DVD version is a restored one and much better and easier to watch. I have not seen it myself to compare for certain.

Well, I've said my piece. This is the version to see. Don't bother with the other ones - they can't hold a candle to this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tragic, unforgettable love story
The 1937 original version of "A Star Is Born" is a moving, observant drama about an aging, fading movie matinee idol, Norman Maine, played by Fredric March, who discovers and marries a struggling young actress, Esther Blodgett, portrayed by the lovely Janet Gaynor.

Norman has a chance encounter with Esther at a concert and then again at a fancy Hollywood party where she is moonlighting as a waitress. He is immediately taken by her natural beauty and sweetness. Norman chooses Esther to be his leading lady in his next movie. When the movie is released, Esther, who is renamed Vicki Lester by the studio, becomes an "overnight" star (that is after she suffers many rejections and near poverty prior to her stardom).

"A Star Is Born" provides a realistic view of the crassness and undeniable glamour of Hollywood. And it examines the fleeting nature of stardom which Hollywood creates and then conveniently and cruelly destroys when a star is no longer viable.

Everything about this movie is first rate in particular the perceptive direction by William Wellman, the smart screenplay by Wellman and Robert Carson, and the uniformly excellent performances by an all-star cast.

March and Gaynor are at their very best giving restrained, yet powerful performances. March's skill as an actor makes the demise of Norman Maine, at the behest of a fickle public and a mostly callous Hollywood establishment, heartbreaking to watch. And Esther's quiet strength and unconditional love and support of her adoring, self-destructive husband are subtly and convincingly conveyed by the gifted Miss Gaynor.

Be sure to stock up on tissues before you see this tragic, unforgettable love story because by its conclusion, your tears will be profuse. I guarantee it.

5-0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE 1.......
This is the original... The best.... It has a great feel of the Hollywood that was... Gaynor and March are great. I love u Judy - but THIS is THE classic film of the often-told-story... Judy is a class act, but HER film was/is not a classic.

BUY IT FOR GOODNES-SAKES hehehe:)(:

5-0 out of 5 stars This KINO print is excellent!
I went ahead and bought this VHS edition from KINO, and I must say it is THE BEST print of this film to be found. I discovered Fredric March in 2002, and in one year collected over 54 of his films. During this time, I bought 2 other VHS versions of A STAR IS BORN; the first one was horrible...scratchy sound, the mouths didn't match with the words, blurry and washed out color. The second one was a bit better, color not so good, but at least the movement of their mouths was in step with the soundtrack. I really enjoy this film, and wanted to find a better print. This KINO print will not disappoint! It is superb...while the color is not like what you will see today, it is very very good. I was so impressed; what a pleasure it is to see a film almost as it looked originally in 1937.

I mainly wanted to share the news that this is an excellent VHS (I called KINO, and they said they don't know that they will ever put it on DVD...too bad, but I think I have seen bootleg DVD's taken from this KINO print on ebay.) This video is well worth the money due to the wonderful quality.

Many have already stated their opinion on this film. I greatly admire Fredric March and he did such a good job portraying Norman Maine. I liked Janet Gaynor's performance as well. It is fun to see some of the famous Hollywood locations in these early days. It is a good story...nice to see a wife sticking by her man through the good times and bad. Nice to see how she honors his name and memory at the end of the film. Nice to see that she didn't sit and have a pity party about how horrible a husband Norman was. She was of beautiful character...you especially see this when at the Academy Awards, and he accidently slaps her face, she just takes his hand and calmly walks with him back to the table. Later that evening, at home, Norman (March) is passed out drunk in a chair, and we see Esther(Gaynor) kneeling before him, still in her gown, with her Oscar lying on the floor beside her, taking off his shoes. What love and devotion and lack of selfishness is portrayed in that one simple scene... We know her heart was hurting; none of this was easy for her.

I know many people just adore the Judy Garland version. I have seen it, and my main problem was I thought there was too much singing ( I am not fond of musicals), and I also felt Judy looked too old and weary for the part. You could see this in her eyes. She lacked the youthful innocence Gaynor had. Now if Judy had done it when she was younger...but this is only my opinion.

I prefer this 1937 version, and if you do as well, this KINO print is THE ONE to watch and to own. ... Read more


19. A Star Is Born
Director: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6305010641
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 52217
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20. Star Is Born
Director: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway
list price: $4.99
our price: $4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00023BLQM
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 47065
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