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1. Gone With the Wind
Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
list price: $24.98
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Asin: 6305123667
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 22263
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (481)

3-0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Overrated Films Ever
Gone With the Wind is remember as a great movie because of it's epic scope and excellent production values. But 60 years later when the big budget no longer thrills us, we are left with a decent film but nothing special.

To begin with the entire film is very campy and melodramatic. The whole film is very heavy-handed and over-done. Scenes like where Scarlet crys "I'll never be hungry again" are just plain ackward. Someone should have tatooed the word "subtlty" on Selznick's head.

The script is fairly weak too. It presents a very narrow, one dimensional view of the Civil War. Worse, the Civil War ends half way through the movie and the rest of the film lacks the first half's energy.

Another major flaw is that the characters lack any real depth. Scarlet is cold and nasty through the whole movie. She never changes untill the last two minutes of the movie. There is simply no development. Ashley is noble and his wife is so nice and sweat that it makes me sick. These characters simply aren't human and don't feal real. Probably the only character in the whole movie who actually developes at all is Ret. Sadly, Clark Gable's strong performance isn't enough to carry the rest of the cast.

It should also be noted that Gone With the Wind is very racist at some points. The scene where all the slaves are going off to fight the "evil yankees" is enough to turns one's stomache. Most of the black characters are portrayed as child-like and stupid. The only exception to this is Mimi who does an excellent job and deserved her Oscar.

Gone With the Wind is still an example of fine production values but when you strip away all the lavish sets and money spent on the film, you're left with a rather hollow experiance. While there is no denying that it is a very pretty movie, even today, and it does have it's moments, Gone With the Wind is simply an over-done and campy movie. This film does not deserve to be ranked up there with the likes of Citizen Kane or the Godfather. It's just not that good.

4-0 out of 5 stars After more than 400 reviews...
...you can't say much else!! A spectacle to end all spectacles; the epitomy of costume, art direction, and cinemagraphic grandeur (Technicolor film was still rare in the 1930's, and the industry was already engulfed in production of at least one *other* color movie that same year). I wasn't enthralled with this film when I first saw it years ago but I have come to appreciate its epic presentation and gothic, almost soapy, storytelling. And the cast is entirely first-rate, from the leading lady (whose historical casting was a mini-series in itself) to the supporting roles (Hattie McDaniel, Thomas Mitchell, Ona Munson, Laura Crews, Ann Rutherford, Harry Davenport, Oscar Polk, 'Superman's' George Reeves, et al) to the hundreds (thousands?) of extras who populated the pre-and-postwar South (the tracking shot of the Twelve Oaks mansion at the start of the barbecue and the sprawling, widening shot of Scarlett walking amidst all the wounded soldiers come to mind). It is a great script ("Waste always makes me angry;" "Do you ever shy away from marrying men you don't love?") and great direction (Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and Sam Wood- anyone else?). It is a record-holder of sorts among Oscar nominated (or Oscars won) films, but it came out in an extraodrinary year of films. 1939 also saw the releases of, among others, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, DARK VICTORY, THE OLD MAID, GUNGA DIN, ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, JUAREZ, ON BORROWED TIME, THE WOMEN, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, AT THE CIRCUS, BABES IN ARMS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, LOVE AFFAIR, MADE FOR EACH OTHER, and THE WIZARD OF OZ.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lesley Howard is brilliant and a strong character
In his role of Scarlett O'Hara's (initially) true secret love. I had been a fan of Mr. Howard's for many years. His performance here is among his finest. Also check him out in The Petrified Forrest. As for the rest of the film. When he's not in it it's a little strong on the romantic side.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth Another Look for this Fan of Classic Film
Gone with the Wind creates many strong opinions, but I daresay many of them by people who haven't seen the film, or at least not in many years. It is sort of an amalgamation of both Margaret Mitchell's book and a reworking of DW Griffith's even more controversial silent blockbuster Birth of a Nation.

I had written this off as a silly commercialized Hollywood fairly tale but recently decided to give it another look. Basically, I think the claims of racism are far overblown, especially compared to other films of this era. It seems to me that Selznick and company went to great pains to stamp out the more overtly racist themes of Griffith's famous 1915 film. For instance, Scarlett's attempted rapists were all white; real black actors have menial but still important roles; those black actors are treated with dignity and respect; and finally the "n" word probably more frequent in southern parlance of the day was replaced with the more delicate term of "darky", and never used in a scornful fashion. And while establishment opinion in the North still clings to belief that the Civil War was a most noble and unselfish effort, the truth was something much less certain. Surely slaves in the prewar South were not all treated as gingerly as in this film; but just as certainly they were also brutally repressed in the North as well (just watch Gangs of New York for a history lesson on Northern feelings towards African Americans). All wars have a side people would rather forget, and this one was certainly no different. Also on the positive side, the film does a good job of capturing this broad historic period with smart scenes amidst well designed sets. It's really quite a grand production, in color no less, with a marvelous historical and cinematic scope.

On the less positive side, the heralded performances I think are a bit overrated. Clark Gable's presence helps considerably, but he is certainly not nearly as natural or comfortable as he was in It Happened One Night. And Mitchell's sappy, soap operaesque story frequently slips nearly into the preposterous, especially in latter scenes of the film when the historic takes a back seat to the dramatic. But maybe that's what gave the film its broad appeal, as it has a little of something for everyone. I think another factor may have really launched its success: released during the cold winter of 1939, its four-hour sitting time gave depression-weary Americans a warm night on the town for a cheap price that they could all afford.

Regarding the standard edition DVD, its very serviceable but the extras are appallingly poor for a film of this esteemed history. Also, Spanish subtitles would have been nice (only has English and French).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best
A total classic...everyone should own this film. ... Read more


2. The Pride of the Yankees
Director: Sam Wood
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Asin: B000069HZY
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2485
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig as True Hero
There are movies that involve the audience about the life of its star and there are others that use gimmicks to hide the fact that the audience never gets to look at the star from the inside. In PRIDE OF THE YANKEES director Sam Wood gave us a movie that has already stood the test of time as one of the best movies to come out of Hollywood. The high quality of this film is mostly because of Gary Cooper's startlingly realistic portrayal of a baseball icon whose playing career overlapped the cinematic career of the film icon who played him. The audience sees the man in a way that the fans in the stands could not. Cooper carries the movie in the same way that he carries SERGEANT YORK, by his straightforward radiating of emotion that is often at odds with the face that says one thing but the eyes that say another.
The young Lou Gehrig starts off as a youth loving baseball so much that he has to hide his love from a mother who wants Lou to surpass Uncle Otto as a symbol of success. Lou hears his mother praise Uncle Otto and assures her that he will follow in his footsteps, but his eyes tell another story. In fact, throughout this movie, it is his eyes that speak more eloquently than anything else he can say or do. Lou winds up in Columbia on a scholarship, and during a frat party hazing designed to test his ability to endure a razzing, Lou retreats within himself until he can retreat no more. For the first time in this film, and very nearly for his entire movie career as well, Cooper shows the anger that we all knew lay buried deep. Cooper made a career out of rechanneling emotion into productive ends, and as Lou Gehrig, he can redirect his inner chi into belting baseballs over walls well enough to earn a tryout with the New York Yankees. By this time, the audience is hooked by their caring for a man who combines the best of the American ideals of hard work and talent with the self-effacing that marks most film icons of that time.
Theresa Wright plays first his girlfriend, then later his wife. She is simply wonderful as the cultured girl who falls for the small town hero. They poke fun of each other but the audience knows that what they are really saying is the Real Thing. Theresa Wright knows exactly when to back off and let Cooper be at center stage and when to interact with him to produce some truly stirring moments. There are two scenes that stand out as unforgettable, one with Wright, the other without. The first occurs when Lou has been playing poorly. He has been striking out, dropping easy catches, and running awkwardly. His teammates are puzzled and mix anger with concern. After a loss caused by his poor play, Lou sits on a bench, trying to make sense of a body that had never before betrayed him. As he leans forward to untie his laces, he continues to fall, rolling over onto the floor. His mates pretend not to notice. Lou says nothing but his face tells the audience all that they need to know. The fear that often bubbles just beneath the skin in many of Cooper's movies surfaces, and that fear clicks in the hearts of all. Later, when he has seen a doctor and knows that his illness, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is terminal, he decides to hide this knowledge from his wife who nevertheless has already guessed the truth, but tries to hide that from him. There is a heartbreaking scene in which she tries to raise his spirits by donning a barker's hat and mustache. As she stares at him, she laughs. As she hugs him, her eyes reveal her own torment. Each actor is absolutely convincing in their respective attempts to hide what they know, while pretending all is well.
PRIDE OF THE YANKEES tells a story well-known to anyone who reads the sports pages. It features Cooper in center stage, with a supporting cast including Walter Brennan and Dan Duryea, both of whom interact credibly with him and Ms. Wright. This is more than a baseball bio of a man who hits it big in his game. It is more the story of a giant who continued to hit it big even after the fans have left the stadium.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic Eye for the Baseball Guy
I hate people that can't seem to enjoy an old fashioned good feeling movie and call it sacharine because it has a happy ending. Which is why I am a little embarassed to give Pride of the Yankees just three stars. But the truth is that I really had to fight hard to surpress a smile at the level of schmaltz in this film that I didn't recognize when I saw this as a boy.

Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig with a childlike naivete which I know was charming in its day but today it feels like you would have to lock someone up who was his age and still that childlike. And I really did want to play along with the most classic scene in the film but found it funnier than any campy parody I have seen over the years. The little boy in the hospital who is sitting by the radio because the Babe and Lou promised him they would each hit home runs form him. "Little Billy" sits in pajamas in the hospital by the radio. He listens earnestly with a expectant vapid open mouth expression waiting. Its as if his ability to ever walk again hung on the success of that hit. Bottom of the sixth Gehrig disappoints by striking out for his second time in a row still one short of the two promised home runs, you can tell the kid is thinking "Damn" but instead says "Golly"! I am glad I wasn't drinking anything at the time because it would shot through my nose trying to hold back the laugh. Pride of the Yankess does hearken back to simpler times but is perhaps so gentle and guileless it crosses the line into accidental comedy.

However I did very much enjoy the relationship between the two competing sportswriters who mock each others favorite players much like Statler and Waldorf the two old geezers in The Muppet Show. Walter Brennan plays writer Sam Blake who roots for Lou and does a wonderful job. He is so slender of build here he is almost unrecognizable in this role.

I am sure most people will have a fine time enjoying this film and Lou Gehrigs touching farewell speech.

5-0 out of 5 stars From NY Immigrants' Child to American Legend
This was probably my introduction, and for millions of others, to the legend that is Lou Gehrig. And for so many years, I had Gehrig and Gary Cooper completely confused in my mind--they seemed inseparable. But there's good reason for it: the role of the Iron Horse seemed to be made for Cooper. Gehrig was a low-key, almost self-effacing athlete and person, which was just the type of character that Cooper built his career on. Their sizes were just about the same. Cooper nailed down Lou Gehrig's voice, especially for the famous "luckiest man" farewell speech. Hell, Gary Cooper LOOKS like Lou Gehrig! Maybe my confusion is justified, at least on this subject.

PRIDE OF THE YANKEES is the grand-daddy of all baseball movies. Cooper's performance, as I can't help but keep mentioning, is stellar. Teresa Wright as his wife helps keep the hankies moist but she is also very spunky and strong. Walter Brennan (who also played opposite Cooper in MEET JOHN DOE where John Doe is a semi-pro pitcher) is in a supporting role here but provides desperately needed comic relief.

And perhaps I'm wrong to categorize PRIDE OF THE YANKESS as merely a baseball film. It is about human potential, human frailty, and above all human strength during times of crisis. Lou Gehrig's tragedy occurred during a time of extreme crisis in America, and, I believe, his strong steady public appearances helped the nation through it. PRIDE OF THE YANKEES could easily have been named "Strength of America" in my mind. It's that important a film.

5-0 out of 5 stars The story of Lou Gehrig and the classiest sports biopic
There are all sorts of little imperfections in the 1943 film "The Pride of the Yankees." The screenwriters rearranged Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium so that the best line, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," becomes his exit line (it was the second line in his speech with his actual last line being, "So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for"). Gary Cooper had enough problems batting right-handed let alone left-handed like Gehrig, so the actor wore a uniform with "KROY WEN" on the front, ran to third base when he managed to hit the ball, and then they reversed the print. Gehrig is shown wearing his famous number 4 when the Yankees play the World Series, but that happened in 1926 and 1928 while the Bronx Bombers did not start wearing uniform numbers until 1929 (Gehrig batted cleanup and was 4, Babe Ruth batted in front of him and was therefore 3). The film talks about how Gehrig won the Triple Crown on the day he was married but Gehrig won the Triple Crown in the 1934 season, the year after Lou and Eleanor were married in 1933.

But none of that really matters because "The Pride of the Yankees" remains the standard by which all sports biopics, whether of baseball players or anyone else, are judged. Even those who were not weaned and raised on baseball know that the title character is going to die of Lou Gehrig's disease and the film takes full advantage of that foreshadowing: when Gehrig gets into his first game and refuses to come out after being hit in the head by a thrown ball, manager Miller Huggins asks, "What do we have to do to get you out of the game? Kill you?" Irving Berlin's song "Always" becomes a recurring musical theme throughout the film, another reminder of Gehrig's mortality.

In many ways "The Pride of the Yankees" is more of a love story than a baseball theme. It starts off as a rags-to-riches story, where Gehrig's mother (Elsa Janssen) insists her son will be an engineer and does want him wasting time playing baseball. Eventually the fame and money opens her eyes, but then Lou meets Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright) and has a new "best girl." One of the most impressive aspects of this film is how it touches on the two darker sides of the Lou Gehrig story, the friction between his overbearing mother and his society wife along with the strained relationship that developed between Gehrig and Babe Ruth. The film really only touches on these aspects and Ruth, playing himself, is usually a smiling figure when he shows up on screen, except for when Gehrig is eating his new hat and he is listening to Gehrig's farewell speech.

Cooper was nominated for an Oscar for his performance and even though he is rather awkward and a bit old for the role, he captures the essential dignity and class of Gehrig. It makes sense that one American icon is being played by another. Having been nominated of a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for "The Little Foxes" in 1941 she received another nomination in that category in 1942 for "Mrs. Miniver" and also one for Best Actress that same year for "The Pride of the Yankees." Wright won for "Mrs. Miniver" and lost out to Greer Garson for Best Actress (because of the war the Oscars were made of plaster for the first time, but were replaced by "real" Oscars when the war ended). "The Pride of the Yankees" was nominated for 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, but only won for Daniel Mandell's Film Editing.

Walter Brennan as sportswriter Sam Blake and Ludwig Stössel as Pop Gehrig provide a lot of the comic relief in the film. Brennan's role is rather low-keyed for him while Stössel has several fine moments where he tries, usually without success, to stand up to his wife. Appearing as themselves are Yankee players Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel, and Mark Koenig, and the familiar voice of Bill Stern makes it on screen as well.

Gehrig's tragic death at the age of 38 makes all of his records even more astounding given that his career was cut short. Sportswriter Jim Murray once described the tall, strong Gehrig as a "Gibraltar in cleats," and "The Pride of the Yankees" provides a sense of that. For me the most poignant scene comes before Gehrig enters Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, when he encounter 17-year-old Billy (David Holt), the lame boy in the hospital (Gene Collins) for whom Gehrig hit two home runs in a World Series game in the film's most extended baseball sequence. The irony that Gehrig could inspire Billy to rise up and walk but Fate had conspired to strike down the Iron Horse who played in 2,130 is enough to reduce most of us to tears before Gehrig ever steps to the plate for the last time to talk about how lucky he is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage and Heroism in Perfect Form
"The Pride of the Yankees" is without a doubt one of the best baseball films of all time. Why? Because it isn't just about baseball. It's about a real person seeking that seemingly impossible American dream and capturing it, only to lose it all too soon. Cooper plays Gehrig with so much heart in this film, that the movie almost seems unreal due to the fact that Gehrig was such a good person, both as a human and as a star athlete.

There are few professional athletes in the world who show so much character and so much love to others as Gehrig did. He faced death with honor and courage. He was and is a true hero. If you're looking for an athlete for your children to look up to, pick the "Iron Man of Baseball."

This film does exceptionally well in capturing the heart and soul of Gehrig. It is a great family film and I highly recommend it. Gehrig might have been in Ruth's(and later, DiMaggio's)shadow, but he was so much bigger than these guys. He was honest, hard-working, and approached people long after the cameras were gone.

Add this one to your collection. It's a keeper, even if you don't know the difference between a baseball and a ball of yarn. ... Read more


3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
Director: Sam Wood
list price: $14.98
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Asin: 0783229488
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4. Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Director: Sam Wood
list price: $19.98
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Asin: B00011D1R2
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5625
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

One more terrific film from a terrific year for movies--1939, the year of Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, andStagecoach, among others--Sam Wood's Goodbye Mr. Chips is a deeply stirring work starring Robert Donat as the old schoolmaster who looks back upon his life. Told mostly in flashbacks, the film wraps itself around a history of an older England as seen through the generations of boys who pass through Mr. Chips's classroom. Greer Garson is her usual classy, sexy-intelligent self as Donat's wife, their earlier courtship one of the film's highlights. Get out the Kleenex for this one.--Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Teachers Do Make a Difference
Robert Donat gives an excellent, heartfelt performance as a reserved, unsure school master who makes an impact on the lives of his students in small and big ways throughout a career that spans over sixty years. Mr. Chipping may not be the most exciting or charismatic teacher, but he earns the respect and admiration of those around him. Greer Garson gives a warm, appealing performance as the lady who steals Donat's heart, showing him how to enjoy life and to open up. All of their scenes together are terrific, although my favourite scene is of Donat trying to teach during an air raid. Having read the book as well, I can say this film captures the story well and extends it, and this movie is in a different league then the ill-conceived musical version of the sixties. As a teacher, I find a lot of truth in this story, and it's the kind of film that teachers should watch at those times when they need to feel good about what they are doing and re-discover the important role they play in children's lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars BEST ACTOR AA FOR 1939.
The excellent film version of James Hilton's sentimental novellette. The tribute to the English public school system and to one Mr. Chipping is done with immaculate care in every respect; it is a serene, tenderly heart-warming story. Like the story, the film is nostalgic: if we never knew a Mr. Chips, we should have - he belongs in every young man's past. Robert Donat gives an incredibly fine charactisation of the much-loved schoolmaster. Donat's performance is noteworthy not merely for his uncanny ability to make a convincing transition from young schoolmaster to octogenarian, but for his subtle underlining (if underlining can be subtle) of the dramatic moments in an essentially undramatic life. Chips was a shy person; like an iceberg, two-thirds of him was always subsurface. Donat wisely understated him playing him softly which doubled his poignance. It is only when he is seen as a crotchety old man scattering across campus in his tattered robe - that Donat went a TRIFLE overdrawn: a fraction of the cute and overacted side. But that is just and impression and not deep enough to discredit an otherwise flawless performance. Greer Garson's portrait of Katherine, the assertive young woman who changed the dour Mr. Chipping into the loveable Mr. Chips is altogether believable and quite entrancing: here is one of the nicest people we could ever wish to encounter! The boys are completely captivated hy Katherine - and so is the viewer. Paul Henreid is splendid as the German instructor and Terry Kilburn is unforgettable. A beautiful picture in every respect.

2-0 out of 5 stars Pacifism, 1939
I'm surprised that most of the reviews don't mention the pacifist theme of the film. The film is well done and quite watchable on its own terms. But those terms are so tragically wrong -- pacifism in 1939 -- that it's tough to get past the unintended sadness and irony. For a movie that's aged better, see Mrs. Miniver.

5-0 out of 5 stars Schmaltzy, but who minds?
This is a wonderfully sentimental depiction of public school life in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and beyond. Chipping, like so many other schoolmasters of the time, lives a cloistered life on which the outer world only occasionally impinges -- mostly during wartime.

In the film, he ventures out on only one other memorable occasion -- a holiday with the school German teacher to the Tyrol where he meets the handsome Greer Garson (in her first movie appearance), who somewhat improbably falls for him. This sets off a chain of sentimental events: marriage, introductions to the common room, tea with the boys, her death through childbirth, and a never-ending cycle of Colleys (played by the same actor, but with a slightly different haircut for each generation). The school hymn is also designed to pluck the heart stings.

The movie was actually filmed at Repton. I went to a similarly confined, all-boys, English public school, set in a country town miles from anywhere else, though somewhat more recently than the Chips era. Many of the masters never married because it was so difficult for them to meet any women. We still had corporal punishment -- which Chips continues to inflict even when brought out of retirement to become head during World War One. This film does not reflect the grubby reality of public school life -- the author must have had his rose-tinted spectacles on when he wrote this -- but it's hard not to be moved by it.

I have special memories of first seeing this at the age of 12 in our headmaster's study, together with all the other senior boys at the prep school. Today, its meaning for me is more about staying in the same place for a long time, while all about you moves on. (I've recently completed 25 years with the same employer!) I also enjoyed trying to work out how many of the Tyrol scenes were shot in the studio. (At one stage, Chips and his friend even walk against a film background.)

The DVD has no special extras, but the picture and sound quality is reasonable. I haven't tried the film on my teenage children, but I think this is one of the few black and white movies that they would be absorbed by. (Don't be misled by the colour photo on the DVD box cover into believing the movie is in colour!)

5-0 out of 5 stars A meaningful life unfolds over time
The origin of all the inspirational teacher movies, Goodbye, Mr. Chips is a heartwarming film that unfolds the story of a man who is transformed by love, and goes on to influence the lives of his pupils and colleagues. Nostalgic, even when it was released in 1939, this is a tender and affectionate study of a society, an education system, and a man who belatedly outgrows his constraints and develops a true vocation from his professional commitments. It is Chips' transformation that makes this film a classic example of a man who belatedly discovers how to use strengths that ultimately give meaning and value to his life.

The film opens amidst the hustle and bustle of a new academic year at Brookfield with new and returning pupils hurrying to attend the first-day assembly. Chips arrives late for the event and is locked out with a young pupil with whom he shares his knowledge of the stone tablets that serve as memorials to past students and staff.

Mr. Chips: So, you're a stinker, eh?
Student: A stinker, Sir?
Mr. Chips: A new boy. That's what we call them here. Stinkers... (he indicates a stone tablet that commemorates the hero of the Armada: "Sir Francis Drake 1552")
Student: Drake! Was he here, Sir?
Mr. Chips: Yes.
Student: Was he a stinker too, Sir?
Mr. Chips: To be sure he was. But he grew out of it. And so will you.
This exchange sets-up the question of how 'stinkers' are helped to mature into the fine young men and heroes whom we see later in the film. We see the answer in a series of flashbacks that extend over sixty years of Chipping's life.

The young Mr. Chipping arrives at Brookfield, filled with enthusiasm and ambition. Some early misjudgements make him vulnerable to criticism by the Headmaster who reprimands him for his poor control of the boys.

Our profession is not an easy one, Mr. Chipping. It calls for something more than a University degree. Our business is to mould men. It demands character and courage. Above all, it demands the ability to exercise authority. Without that, I think any young man should ask himself seriously if he has not perhaps mistaken his vocation. When a man is young, Mr. Chipping, there are many other walks of life open to him.

In a disastrous attempt to assert his authority, the teacher forbids his pupils to attend a cricket match, which the school then loses because of the absence of a key player. Despite Chipping's apology, the reaction of the pupils and his colleagues leads him to develop a protective shield of authoritarianism and inflexibility. Chipping's enthusiasm ebbs away over the years: he is so intimidated by life that he retreats into a sterile existence that smothers rather than protects him. Passing him over for promotion, the Headmaster praises Chipping for his ability to exact high academic performance from the boys but explains that he is thought to lack the empathy and vision that is needed in a Housemaster.

... We felt that with your unusual gifts of getting work out of the boys that you'd rather concentrate on teaching and leave the rather tiresome job of Housemaster to someone with special gifts in that direction...I doubt if Mr. Wilkinson will ever turn out as many minor Latin poets as you have.

Although surrounded by the rich, social network of the school, and a senior member within it, Chipping is exposed as an isolated figure whose relationships are restricted to the functional, and are grounded only in perfunctory respect and status. Humiliated, Chipping withdraws into his room, where his loneliness and the darkness close in around him. Fortunately, a young colleague persuades him to accompany him on a walking tour to the Tyrol where Chipping meets the fascinating Katherine Ellis who is destined to be his wife and help-meet.

Chipping's feelings are reciprocated in a charming courtship that changes his view of himself, and alerts him to the possibilities of living his life in a different way.

Chipping: Do you suppose a person in middle age could start life over again and make a go of it?
Katherine: I'm sure of it. Quite sure. It must be tremendously interesting to be a schoolmaster.
Chipping: I thought so once.
Katherine: To watch boys grow up and help them along. To see their characters develop and what they become when they leave school and the world gets hold of them. I don't see how you could ever get old in a world that's always young.
Chipping: I never really thought of it that way. When you talk about it, you make it sound exciting and heroic.
Katherine: It is.
Chipping: (He turns to her) And the schoolmaster? Is he exciting and heroic too?
Katherine: (teasing him for his earlier actions and diffidence) I've met only one - a reckless person who climbed the Blochner in a mist...

The couple marry before the start of the school year. And from the start, the pupils and colleagues view Chips (as he is now affectionately named by Kathy) in a new light. She encourages him to use the strengths (such as empathy and a dry sense of humour) that she knows him to have, but that are little seen by others. Inevitably, Chips wins the trust and admiration of the pupils and the change in his status is reflected when he wins the appointment of Housemaster.

Despite personal and larger-scale tragedy, we see that Chips' life becomes one of meaning and influence: we see his crucial role in the transformation of 'stinkers' into admirable men and the foundations of the freedoms enjoyed by others, built on their sacrifices.

This film epitomises key aspects of a meaningful life: Chips learns to use his previously concealed Signature Strengths (see "Authentic Happiness" by Marty Seligman), is transformed by love and a capacity to be loved and is taught that it is never too late to change. ... Read more


5. Gone with the Wind / Gettysburg
Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
list price: $39.96
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Asin: B0001WTX00
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 19424
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars TWO REALLY GREAT FILMS!!!
Gettysburg is without a doubt the best Civil War ever film made! With this two pack, you can keep the ladies and the men happy! Gone with the Wind is a powerful drama, while Gettysburg is an AWESOME action film!! ... Read more


6. Gone With The Wind (Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set)
Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
list price: $79.98
our price: $71.98
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Asin: B00005QCN9
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6151
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (481)

3-0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Overrated Films Ever
Gone With the Wind is remember as a great movie because of it's epic scope and excellent production values. But 60 years later when the big budget no longer thrills us, we are left with a decent film but nothing special.

To begin with the entire film is very campy and melodramatic. The whole film is very heavy-handed and over-done. Scenes like where Scarlet crys "I'll never be hungry again" are just plain ackward. Someone should have tatooed the word "subtlty" on Selznick's head.

The script is fairly weak too. It presents a very narrow, one dimensional view of the Civil War. Worse, the Civil War ends half way through the movie and the rest of the film lacks the first half's energy.

Another major flaw is that the characters lack any real depth. Scarlet is cold and nasty through the whole movie. She never changes untill the last two minutes of the movie. There is simply no development. Ashley is noble and his wife is so nice and sweat that it makes me sick. These characters simply aren't human and don't feal real. Probably the only character in the whole movie who actually developes at all is Ret. Sadly, Clark Gable's strong performance isn't enough to carry the rest of the cast.

It should also be noted that Gone With the Wind is very racist at some points. The scene where all the slaves are going off to fight the "evil yankees" is enough to turns one's stomache. Most of the black characters are portrayed as child-like and stupid. The only exception to this is Mimi who does an excellent job and deserved her Oscar.

Gone With the Wind is still an example of fine production values but when you strip away all the lavish sets and money spent on the film, you're left with a rather hollow experiance. While there is no denying that it is a very pretty movie, even today, and it does have it's moments, Gone With the Wind is simply an over-done and campy movie. This film does not deserve to be ranked up there with the likes of Citizen Kane or the Godfather. It's just not that good.

4-0 out of 5 stars After more than 400 reviews...
...you can't say much else!! A spectacle to end all spectacles; the epitomy of costume, art direction, and cinemagraphic grandeur (Technicolor film was still rare in the 1930's, and the industry was already engulfed in production of at least one *other* color movie that same year). I wasn't enthralled with this film when I first saw it years ago but I have come to appreciate its epic presentation and gothic, almost soapy, storytelling. And the cast is entirely first-rate, from the leading lady (whose historical casting was a mini-series in itself) to the supporting roles (Hattie McDaniel, Thomas Mitchell, Ona Munson, Laura Crews, Ann Rutherford, Harry Davenport, Oscar Polk, 'Superman's' George Reeves, et al) to the hundreds (thousands?) of extras who populated the pre-and-postwar South (the tracking shot of the Twelve Oaks mansion at the start of the barbecue and the sprawling, widening shot of Scarlett walking amidst all the wounded soldiers come to mind). It is a great script ("Waste always makes me angry;" "Do you ever shy away from marrying men you don't love?") and great direction (Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and Sam Wood- anyone else?). It is a record-holder of sorts among Oscar nominated (or Oscars won) films, but it came out in an extraodrinary year of films. 1939 also saw the releases of, among others, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, DARK VICTORY, THE OLD MAID, GUNGA DIN, ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, JUAREZ, ON BORROWED TIME, THE WOMEN, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, AT THE CIRCUS, BABES IN ARMS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, LOVE AFFAIR, MADE FOR EACH OTHER, and THE WIZARD OF OZ.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lesley Howard is brilliant and a strong character
In his role of Scarlett O'Hara's (initially) true secret love. I had been a fan of Mr. Howard's for many years. His performance here is among his finest. Also check him out in The Petrified Forrest. As for the rest of the film. When he's not in it it's a little strong on the romantic side.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth Another Look for this Fan of Classic Film
Gone with the Wind creates many strong opinions, but I daresay many of them by people who haven't seen the film, or at least not in many years. It is sort of an amalgamation of both Margaret Mitchell's book and a reworking of DW Griffith's even more controversial silent blockbuster Birth of a Nation.

I had written this off as a silly commercialized Hollywood fairly tale but recently decided to give it another look. Basically, I think the claims of racism are far overblown, especially compared to other films of this era. It seems to me that Selznick and company went to great pains to stamp out the more overtly racist themes of Griffith's famous 1915 film. For instance, Scarlett's attempted rapists were all white; real black actors have menial but still important roles; those black actors are treated with dignity and respect; and finally the "n" word probably more frequent in southern parlance of the day was replaced with the more delicate term of "darky", and never used in a scornful fashion. And while establishment opinion in the North still clings to belief that the Civil War was a most noble and unselfish effort, the truth was something much less certain. Surely slaves in the prewar South were not all treated as gingerly as in this film; but just as certainly they were also brutally repressed in the North as well (just watch Gangs of New York for a history lesson on Northern feelings towards African Americans). All wars have a side people would rather forget, and this one was certainly no different. Also on the positive side, the film does a good job of capturing this broad historic period with smart scenes amidst well designed sets. It's really quite a grand production, in color no less, with a marvelous historical and cinematic scope.

On the less positive side, the heralded performances I think are a bit overrated. Clark Gable's presence helps considerably, but he is certainly not nearly as natural or comfortable as he was in It Happened One Night. And Mitchell's sappy, soap operaesque story frequently slips nearly into the preposterous, especially in latter scenes of the film when the historic takes a back seat to the dramatic. But maybe that's what gave the film its broad appeal, as it has a little of something for everyone. I think another factor may have really launched its success: released during the cold winter of 1939, its four-hour sitting time gave depression-weary Americans a warm night on the town for a cheap price that they could all afford.

Regarding the standard edition DVD, its very serviceable but the extras are appallingly poor for a film of this esteemed history. Also, Spanish subtitles would have been nice (only has English and French).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best
A total classic...everyone should own this film. ... Read more


7. Gone with the Wind
Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
list price: $19.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004RF96
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1034
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Description

Vivien Leigh is Scarlett to Clark Gable's Rhett in cinema's greatest epic of passion and adventure. With its immortal cast, magnificent cinematography and sweeping score, this cherished classic continues to thrill audiences today. Year: 1939 ... Read more

Reviews (481)

3-0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Overrated Films Ever
Gone With the Wind is remember as a great movie because of it's epic scope and excellent production values. But 60 years later when the big budget no longer thrills us, we are left with a decent film but nothing special.

To begin with the entire film is very campy and melodramatic. The whole film is very heavy-handed and over-done. Scenes like where Scarlet crys "I'll never be hungry again" are just plain ackward. Someone should have tatooed the word "subtlty" on Selznick's head.

The script is fairly weak too. It presents a very narrow, one dimensional view of the Civil War. Worse, the Civil War ends half way through the movie and the rest of the film lacks the first half's energy.

Another major flaw is that the characters lack any real depth. Scarlet is cold and nasty through the whole movie. She never changes untill the last two minutes of the movie. There is simply no development. Ashley is noble and his wife is so nice and sweat that it makes me sick. These characters simply aren't human and don't feal real. Probably the only character in the whole movie who actually developes at all is Ret. Sadly, Clark Gable's strong performance isn't enough to carry the rest of the cast.

It should also be noted that Gone With the Wind is very racist at some points. The scene where all the slaves are going off to fight the "evil yankees" is enough to turns one's stomache. Most of the black characters are portrayed as child-like and stupid. The only exception to this is Mimi who does an excellent job and deserved her Oscar.

Gone With the Wind is still an example of fine production values but when you strip away all the lavish sets and money spent on the film, you're left with a rather hollow experiance. While there is no denying that it is a very pretty movie, even today, and it does have it's moments, Gone With the Wind is simply an over-done and campy movie. This film does not deserve to be ranked up there with the likes of Citizen Kane or the Godfather. It's just not that good.

4-0 out of 5 stars After more than 400 reviews...
...you can't say much else!! A spectacle to end all spectacles; the epitomy of costume, art direction, and cinemagraphic grandeur (Technicolor film was still rare in the 1930's, and the industry was already engulfed in production of at least one *other* color movie that same year). I wasn't enthralled with this film when I first saw it years ago but I have come to appreciate its epic presentation and gothic, almost soapy, storytelling. And the cast is entirely first-rate, from the leading lady (whose historical casting was a mini-series in itself) to the supporting roles (Hattie McDaniel, Thomas Mitchell, Ona Munson, Laura Crews, Ann Rutherford, Harry Davenport, Oscar Polk, 'Superman's' George Reeves, et al) to the hundreds (thousands?) of extras who populated the pre-and-postwar South (the tracking shot of the Twelve Oaks mansion at the start of the barbecue and the sprawling, widening shot of Scarlett walking amidst all the wounded soldiers come to mind). It is a great script ("Waste always makes me angry;" "Do you ever shy away from marrying men you don't love?") and great direction (Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and Sam Wood- anyone else?). It is a record-holder of sorts among Oscar nominated (or Oscars won) films, but it came out in an extraodrinary year of films. 1939 also saw the releases of, among others, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, DARK VICTORY, THE OLD MAID, GUNGA DIN, ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, JUAREZ, ON BORROWED TIME, THE WOMEN, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, AT THE CIRCUS, BABES IN ARMS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, LOVE AFFAIR, MADE FOR EACH OTHER, and THE WIZARD OF OZ.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lesley Howard is brilliant and a strong character
In his role of Scarlett O'Hara's (initially) true secret love. I had been a fan of Mr. Howard's for many years. His performance here is among his finest. Also check him out in The Petrified Forrest. As for the rest of the film. When he's not in it it's a little strong on the romantic side.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth Another Look for this Fan of Classic Film
Gone with the Wind creates many strong opinions, but I daresay many of them by people who haven't seen the film, or at least not in many years. It is sort of an amalgamation of both Margaret Mitchell's book and a reworking of DW Griffith's even more controversial silent blockbuster Birth of a Nation.

I had written this off as a silly commercialized Hollywood fairly tale but recently decided to give it another look. Basically, I think the claims of racism are far overblown, especially compared to other films of this era. It seems to me that Selznick and company went to great pains to stamp out the more overtly racist themes of Griffith's famous 1915 film. For instance, Scarlett's attempted rapists were all white; real black actors have menial but still important roles; those black actors are treated with dignity and respect; and finally the "n" word probably more frequent in southern parlance of the day was replaced with the more delicate term of "darky", and never used in a scornful fashion. And while establishment opinion in the North still clings to belief that the Civil War was a most noble and unselfish effort, the truth was something much less certain. Surely slaves in the prewar South were not all treated as gingerly as in this film; but just as certainly they were also brutally repressed in the North as well (just watch Gangs of New York for a history lesson on Northern feelings towards African Americans). All wars have a side people would rather forget, and this one was certainly no different. Also on the positive side, the film does a good job of capturing this broad historic period with smart scenes amidst well designed sets. It's really quite a grand production, in color no less, with a marvelous historical and cinematic scope.

On the less positive side, the heralded performances I think are a bit overrated. Clark Gable's presence helps considerably, but he is certainly not nearly as natural or comfortable as he was in It Happened One Night. And Mitchell's sappy, soap operaesque story frequently slips nearly into the preposterous, especially in latter scenes of the film when the historic takes a back seat to the dramatic. But maybe that's what gave the film its broad appeal, as it has a little of something for everyone. I think another factor may have really launched its success: released during the cold winter of 1939, its four-hour sitting time gave depression-weary Americans a warm night on the town for a cheap price that they could all afford.

Regarding the standard edition DVD, its very serviceable but the extras are appallingly poor for a film of this esteemed history. Also, Spanish subtitles would have been nice (only has English and French).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best
A total classic...everyone should own this film. ... Read more


8. A Night at the Opera
Director: Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding
list price: $19.97
our price: $15.98
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Asin: B0001HAINQ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3006
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely one of the most hilarious movies ever made, this classic farce featuring the outrageous genius of the Marx Brothers is a chance to see some of their best bits woven together seamlessly in a story of high society, matchmaking, and chaos. In order to bring two young lovers together, brothers Groucho, Chico, and Harpo must sabotage an opera performance even as they try to pass themselves off as stuffed shirts. Featuring the classic sequence where Groucho piles as many people as possible into a ship's stateroom, A Night at the Opera is a deliciously zany romp worth watching again and again. --Robert Lane ... Read more

Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars The 2nd Best Marx after Duck Soup
Night at the Opera is different from their first 5 - in a nutshell, as everyone else had commented, there's no Zeppo, more music, Margaret Dumont is back, bigger role for romantic leads, and the comedy is somewhat more disciplined, i.e., the antics are perhaps less spontaneous than earlier films.

I understand criticisms leveled by those who prefer to skip the plot, musical numbers, and romantic plot development, but I wholeheartedly disagree that the movie is somehow lesser because of it, particularly the music. The brothers were an extemely musically talented trio, and throughout their lives saw themselved less as a Comedy show and more a variety show. To disregard the musical numbers as "filler" is to show a lack of appreciation for a performing art they held in very high regard.

I have always felt The Marx Bros. were more "in Character" here than in most of their other films (Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, Animal Crackers, are also good in this regard, as is Day at the races, to a lesser degree). Everything from the contract swindle ("the party of the first part...") to the organized fooling of sgt. Henderson ("now there are four beds - I know I'm crazy!") to the stateroom bit ("Is my Aunt Minnie in here?") to the methodically brilliant destruction of Il Trovatore in the finale are examples of great writing that suited the personalities of the brothers.

Duck Soup or Horse Feathers may be their funniest films, and Animal Crackers may be more memorable for it's classic scenes, but Night at the Opera in my opinion is the most well-balanced of all thier movies. I feel it's the best-written, best-produced, has the best plot, and contains BY FAR the best acting among suporting roles. If Duck Soup weren't so well-paced and funny, Night at the Opera would be my favorite.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Marx Brothers at their very, very, best. Classic Comedy
On the one hand I want to say that I think "A Night at the Opera" is the greatest Marx Brothers comedy because their peculiar brand of lunacy works better when given a real world target such as Opera than in the fantasy land of Freedonia in "Duck Soup." On the other hand I want to say that I think "A Night at the Opera" has more funny stuff in it than "Duck Soup." I do not even want to begin to get into any consideration of what difference the retirement of Zeppo meant in all this. I just want to laugh my head off.

Groucho is Otis P. Driftwood, too busy trying to fleece Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont) to waste time running an Opera Company. Harpo is Tomasso, the much abused valet to the pompous tenor Rudolpho Lassparri (Walter Woolf King), while Chico is Fiorello, self-appointed agent for the unknown but talent young singer Ricardo Baroni (Allan Jones), who is in love with Rosa Castaldi (Kitty Carlisle). When Groucho loses his job to stuffed shirt Herman Gottlieb (Sig Ruman), it is up to the Marx Brothers to restore order and sanity to the universe.

In terms of classic comic routines "A Night at the Opera" gives you (1) the Stateroom scene with all those people (and don't forget the hardboiled eggs); (2) Groucho and Chico discussing the clauses in a contract (including the Sanity Clause); (3) Chico and Harpo working "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" into the overture of the opera (get your peanuts); (4) a dinner date between Groucho and Margaret Dumont (looking at him is the price you have to pay); and (5) Chico the Russian aviator explaining how they flew across the Atlantic Ocean in a boat (always remember to take enough gas or else you will have to turn back). There are more-you now Chico plays the piano, Harpo plays the harp, and Groucho deflates a pompous windbag at some point--but I want to talk about other things now.

I think the person who really helps sell this film is Kitty Carlisle. In every Marx brother movie there are the boys, there is Margaret Dumont as the foil, and then there are the young boy and girl who sing their way into your hearts. Carlisle and Jones (the only boy singer to appear in more than one Marx Brothers movie) are clearly the best pair to ever take on these thankless roles. The boys clearly like her and take her seriously, which she does in return, giving "A Night at the Opera" a sense of heart. This does not happen in Marx Brothers movies (compare it to the campy efforts of the young lovers in "Animal Crackers"). On top of all this, Carlisle and Jones can sing and their duet from the end of Il Travatore is much better than all the sappy songs that the lovers usually sing in these films.

"A Night at the Opera" is directed by Sam Wood (who would later spend some time directing scenes on that "Gone With the Wind" film you hear so much about). James Kevin McGuineess receives story credit but the key thing is that George S. Kaufman had a major hand in the script (until it ended up in the hands of the actors of course).

Notes: Look for the father of the Marx brothers on the pier when the ship sets sail and please remember that it Leonard's stage name is pronounced "Chick-o" not "Chico." Put an end to this Marxist reinterpretation nonsense.

3-0 out of 5 stars The beginning of the decline
Many think this film the best or one of the best the Brothers Marx ever did. It's probably a matter of taste (well, it's certainly a matter of taste), but I think the first MGM comedy by the Marx Brothers is scattershot. Groucho, Chico and Harpo are in top form, and when they're on -- and allowed to dominate a scene -- the film is terrific. The stateroom scene is still funny after 70 years, and the finale at the opera is Marxist anarchy at its finest.

But when they're off screen (at least a third of the movie), you're left with an embarrassing melodrama I'm sure the movegoing audiences of 1935 found as sappy as I did. Bad enough the young Italian lovers sound like they're from New England section of Italy; worse are the musical interludes, which bring the film to a halt and destroy any comedic momentum the Marxes have created. A scene where Chico, Harpo and Jones show off their musical prowess goes on far too long and completely stops the film. Their earlier comedies had musical interludes, but they were woven into the films better. The opening number in Duck Soup, for example, is a lengthy set-up to the first joke; ditto the "We're Going to War" number. When the young lovers in A Night at the Opera sing "Alone," there's nothing but the youngsters staring moonily at each other. Their voices are fine, but the studios of the time were never short of movies with beautiful youngsters singing to each other. It's unnecessary here, and it reminds you the Marx Brothers aren't on screen.

"A Night at the Opera" was the Marxes' most successful comedy at the box office, and probably the most popular film they ever did. But time has been kinder to their earlier Paramount productions. Those films are stagebound, but they have a madcap energy the MGM films never recovered.

If you're a real fan of the Marx Brothers, you've probably already seen this; the rest of you should start with Duck Soup or Horse Feathers. A Night at the Opera was, unfortunately, the beginning of the end for this legendary team.

4-0 out of 5 stars "No need of you reading that, because these are duplicates."
Many have argued that A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is the Marx Brother's finest film, pointing out that it combined the best of the Brother's comedy with the biggest and boldest in MGM production values. Personally, while I really like the film, I wouldn't quite put it in the top slot. Any of the sequences containing the Marx Brothers themselves are gold, but I find that I'm not as enamored with the romantic subplot and singing as other reviewers have been (notably Leonard Maltin in this DVD's commentary). Still, arguing about which one of the fine films is actually the best is a little pointless. This is a great movie, regardless with how it compares to the others.

The biggest thing this film has going for it (outside of the wonderful Marx Brothers themselves, of course) is the big production values that MGM splashed out on. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's nice to have some great big sets for the Brothers to clown around in (Harpo's stunt double swinging through the rafters is great), but all things considered, I think I prefer the tongue-in-cheek send-up of the big dance numbers (as done in DUCK SOUP) to the production dances which are played straight here.

Margaret Dumont is underused, which is a shame since her dignified outrage usually accounted for big laughs. She gets a good scene at the beginning, and a handful of opportunities to look indignant later in the film, but she isn't the constant presence that she had been in other films.

Still, while I can pick out a few flaws here and there, this is overall a hilarious and fun movie. Much of what is considered classic Marx Brothers material is from this film: the too-many-people-in-the-stateroom scene, the Marxian deconstruction of a legal contract (if anyone thinks that "'The party of the first part' shall be known in this contract as 'the party of the first part'" isn't realistic, then I can show you fine print I've received from credit card companies that are even more tautological than that), and, of course, the grand finale wherein the three brothers completely destroy an opera-in-progress.

The DVD also contains an all-new documentary, which features (among other people) co-star Kitty Carlisle, who is amazingly sharp for being in her 90s, and Dom DeLuise, who talks a lot about food and appears to have been interviewed in the middle of making breakfast (no, I'm not sure why he's here). This is mostly a talking heads interview documentary and there's not a whole lot of brand new material or trivia, but it is nice to see some differing perspectives on things. The story of how Groucho got his name contradicts the anecdote given on the commentary track, and Carlisle refutes the conventional wisdom that states that Margaret Dumont didn't get any of the jokes Groucho was bouncing off her.

A short except from a 1961 broadcast of "The Hy Gardner Show" (who?) reveals Groucho recounting the story of he and his brothers stripping naked and roasting potatoes in the office of Irving Thalberg after the famed producer kept them waiting once too long. I trust you will enjoy the anecdote, because it's told a whopping three times during the course of these DVD extras. Shockingly, none of the tellings blatantly contradict each other.

Two shorts have been included as extras, though I'm not sure I understand their relevance. Robert Benchley's HOW TO SLEEP won the Academy Award in 1935 for Best Short Subject/Comedy, and it's certainly entertaining enough. As for the other short, SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE TROCADERO, well, I'm baffled. I can't make heads or tails of it. Set in a nightclub, a Hollywood talent scout is visiting this ritzy affair. Numerous song and dance people are attempting auditions, while the club's doorman is trying to impress by doing very bad celebrity impersonations (it didn't help that half the time I didn't recognize the name of the person he was impersonating or the name of the person people actually thought he was doing). Cameos by stars of the day abound by having the camera cut to different tables and a voice over shouting, "Hey, look! It's Bob Has-been!" (or whoever). It isn't helped by the fact that most of the careers of these minor celebrities ended soon after the shoot, so for me I was watching cattle call of anonymous hotshots. I couldn't figure out why these people were appearing as themselves. Was the audience supposed to believe that these people really hang out at this fictional locale? Groucho Marx (out of character and costume) has a three-second cameo where he looks as confused as I felt.

I'm wary of commentaries performed by people who weren't actually born when the film they're talking about was made, but Leonard Maltin does a fine job here. He relates a lot of anecdotes about the Marx Brothers, points out how the script is layering the subplots, and relates a lot of trivia that I had never heard before (for example, the only surviving print is actually an edited version made during WWII when all references to Italy have been removed, which explains why the film bizarrely never tells you were the first scenes are set). He even gets into the fun, shouting "What a twit!" when the evil opera singer refuses to sing on the cruise-liner for free.

Although the DVD of A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is included in "The Marx Brothers Collection" box set, it is also available for individual sale. Although I slightly prefer A DAY AT THE RACES (also out on DVD now), I couldn't recommend anyone not pick up this film. For Marx novices, there's a great movie. For Marx aficionados, there's informational material that may be enjoyed. In any event, the powers that be have given a great film an excellent treatment on the DVD format.

2-0 out of 5 stars Tiresome
Almost everything I write about stuff for Amazon gets either ignored or negative responses. I hardly expect this to fare any better. My original intent was to buy the 7 disc set of the Marx Bros (also just released), I grew faint-hearted near the deadline and canceled it and ordered the only 3 I wanted: Opera, Races and Casablanca. I think the first 5 "lost" Marx Bros movies (I have them on DVD and treasure them, all but Duck Soup, with a screenplay by one of their song-writing teams) are (so far) their funniest. Chaos, pandemonium, idiosyncrasies, personality. Either I was despondent when I watched this flick or else the Marx Bros' antics had worn thin for me. (I remember loving all their movies 30 years ago.) I was bored, saw what was supposed to be funny and didn't think it was. There were a few witty remarks, but those came from either Kaufman or Ryskind, not the Marx Bros. And on that subject, I never (at least not before The Solid Gold Cadillac) thought I'd ever watch or read a Kaufman play and not think it was hilarious. I did not think this was hilarious. The opera they featured at the end was Verdi's Il Trovatore, I don't like that opera anyway, particularly the mezzo gypsy song, particularly all of it. I thought the whole movie was watery, thin, dull and not the best of the Marxes, and not particularly funny. I just opened Casablanca. Tomorrow morning I'll take a crack at it, though I remember much of it now. I remember (and make the connection between that movie and this) that Harpo had gone from being an innocent who chases girls to a character who gets knocked around a lot by the heavies. I don't like the change. The characters, the (well, I said it already) idiosyncrasies and personalities of the brothers just weren't there in this movie. Sigh. I have 2 more to go. ... Read more


9. A Day at the Races
Director: Sam Wood
list price: $19.97
our price: $17.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001HAIMW
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 10558
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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A Day at the Races is the Marx Brothers at their commercial and popular peak, working with a top Hollywood director (Sam Wood of The Pride of the Yankees), supported with a healthy screen budget paying for such extras as a blue-tinted ballet sequence, love songs from crooner Allan Jones, and decorative sets. But the brothers are also at the top of their game in terms of their own comic material and timing. The story finds Groucho, Chico, and Harpo helping out at a sanatorium, where their longtime foil in the movies, Margaret Dumont, is the leading patient. The film has some of the trio's funniest and most memorable bits and a dazzling horserace at the climax. Not quite as good as its predecessor, A Night at the Opera, this is still a highlight in the Marxian filmography. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars HILARIOUS MARX MADNESS
When Tony (Chico), an employee at the financially troubled Standish sanitariam, discovers that Judy Standish (Maureen O'Sullivan) is in danger of losing the institution to a banker named Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille), he decides to seek a large donation from wealthy patient Mrs. Upjohn (Margaret Dumont, natch). Fashions in Marxism change, but this top quality production, though lacking their zaniest inspirations, does contain several of their funniest routines and a spectacularly well integrated racehorse climax. The musical and romantic asides are a matter of taste but are delightfully typical of their time. Among the performers in this delightfully off-beat film is Duke Ellington's wonderful vocalist Ivie Anderson, famous for her rendition of I GOT IT BAD (AND THAT AIN'T GOOD), and a very young Dorothy Dandridge made her debut here. It has been noted that over 5,OOO black performers auditioned for parts in the black musical sequences. An amusing trivia note: the character Groucho plays, Dr. Hackenbush was to be originally named Quakenbush. Reason for the change? Thirty-seven REAL-life doctors with that very name threatened to sue the studio(!).

5-0 out of 5 stars "A Day At the Races" - Marxs' last great film
"A Day At the Races", the Marx Bros. seventh film, released in 1937, is their last real great film in the sense of its overall humor and comic genous.

Groucho plays a horse doctor, Dr. Hackenbush, who is more interested on betting on horses than treating them.

The plot revolves around a sanatorium which is loosing money. Run by Judy Standish (Maureen O'Sullivan), she is offered five thousand dollars to sell it to a shady character, Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille). He wants the sanitorium for his race track. However, the sanitorium's leading patient, Mrs. UpJohn (Margaret Dumont) comes to the aid of Judy Standish when she offers finicial support - but only if she hires Dr. Hackenbush. Of course nobody knows he is just a horse doctor.

Harpo plays a jockey. Chico (Tony) plays the sanitarium's loyal employee. When he overhears the conversation about Hackensbush, he quickly wires him to come. He also sells ice cream and racing tips on the side. In a later scene, one of the film's highlights, he sells Groucho a library's worth of books which are intended to have the name of the horse and jockey in a particular race.

As is many Marx Bros. films, there is a love interest. This one involves Allan Jones (Gil Stewart) and Judy Standish. He spends his life's savings on a horse, Highhat, in the hopes it will win a race and enough money to bail the sanatorium out of its near bankruptcy.

Over-all, this is a fast paced comedy, expect for the songs which really have no place in the film, and seem to go on forever. However, they may be fast forwarded through.

The film's highlights include a roarous scene with the Marx Bros. and a seductress, Flo Marlowe (Esther Muir). Morgan uses her to seduce Groucho, and have Dumont come in on the act, knowing she would quickly dispense of his services, and the sanatoruim would be his. However, Hapro and Chico, through a series of hilarious events, foil the plan.

Another highlight comes when Sig Ruman, playing Dr. Leopold Steinburg, comes to examine Dumont and prove there is nothing really the matter with her. The Marx Bros. have another of their field days.

The climax comes when Highhat is entered in a race, and Morgan tries everything he can to keep him out of it. The Marx Bros. see to it that Highhat remains in the race, at any cost.

"A Day At the Races" contains enough comic humor and classic Marx Bros. material to be considered a great film, and still stands the test of time as a Marx Bros. classic.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Marry me, and I'll never look at another horse."
A DAY AT THE RACES is the second of the Marx/Wood/Thalberg collaborations (Marx Brothers, director Sam Wood and producer Irving Thalberg) movies made at MGM, the first the delightful A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Irving Thalberg (called "the boy genius" about a hundred times in the DVD extras) died partway through production, bringing this successful combination to an unhappy end. Critical opinion will have you believe that NIGHT is the stronger of the two, but I've always preferred DAY. I'm absolutely tickled to have it now on a fantastic DVD.

First, I think the jokes are just a little sharper and sillier here than in NIGHT (not that they were poor there by any means). Also, the romantic subplot was handled a little better here. It helps, I think, that Allan "Imitation Zeppo" Jones has better chemistry with Maureen O'Sullivan than he did with Kitty Carlisle. The stricter structure that Thalberg imposed on the films is improved. I have an entertaining time cheering on the Brothers' attempting to win a horserace to save a young heroine's sanitarium.

But, of course, the real fun from a Marx Brothers film comes from the one-liners and comedic set pieces that abound, and the gags here rival their best material. As you'll hear loads of times if you peruse the DVD extras, Irving Thalberg encouraged the Brothers to take their material on the road for testing in front of an audience before filming it. Hence, the timing, the punch lines and the individual words themselves are all finely honed. It's this attention to detail that makes them work. You could easily imagine the "Tootsie Frootsie" sequence dragging and dying if the lines hadn't been performed perfectly.

The bad guys in this one are a lot of fun too, and go a long way towards making this such a success. Sig Ruman is welcomed back after OPERA, and it's great to see him eye-popping in shock whenever insulted by Groucho. By the end of his segment, his voice has risen so high in outrage that he sounds like Dr. Strangelove. Similarly, the fake telephone call from Florida wouldn't be as funny as it is without Leonard Ceeley's wonderful over the top frustration.

As a modern movie viewer, I couldn't help but be amused by a scene, which, if DAY had come later, would have been seen as a parody of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. In one of that science fiction epic's more famous sequences, Johann Strauss' "Blue Danube" plays majestically in the background as a space station slowly spins in orbit, ready to engage in docking procedures. Here, the same piece of classical music plays while we see Groucho Marx in a dressing grown, slowly spinning and dancing in front of a mirror, as he eagerly awaits engaging in docking procedures with the beautiful Esther Muir. Well, I was amused anyway.

One more thing I should mention about the film: the song and dance sequence in the poor, black community. Now, compared to other films of that time, this is almost progressive in its attitude towards race (which, admittedly, isn't saying much). But there is one thing that makes me a little uncomfortable. In context, it almost appears to be saying that, yes, the blacks are poor, and yes, they're outcasts from white society, but, well, they've got their singing and dancing, and, gosh, aren't they happy, and doesn't that make it all okay? I can't help but think that's the subtle message, though perhaps it's just me. Still, I shouldn't complain too much, because it is by far the best singing and dancing in the entire film (though I'll grudgingly admit the ballerina was also quite skilled). Imagine, people actually having fun with song and dance! It's certainly a change from the stoic, restrained and boring performances elsewhere.

The DVD comes with several extras, so you really get your money's worth, even if you aren't quite thrilled with all of the offerings. The documentary is based upon the same structure as on the DVD of A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, which means there's valuable trivia and knowledge from the lips of all manner of comedians, co-stars, and writers, and also Dom DeLuise talking about food. I'll bet I'm not the only one surprised and delighted that both the female romantic leads from NIGHT and DAY are still alive and sharp enough to recall details from almost seventy years ago.

The commentary track is relatively good when fan Glenn Mitchell is actually speaking, but there's an unfortunate amount of dead air. At least he's honest though; he recommends viewers take advantage of the chapter-forward button to skip through the interminable ballet sequence since he's decided it's not any good and he has nothing to say until the next scene. Some of the trivia he imparts is interesting, but he has an unfortunate habit of pointing out continuity errors and things that most the audience won't care about. Still, he said some stuff I didn't know (the song "A Message From The Man In The Moon" that Groucho sings a snatch of at the closing was intended to be the movie's big song, but was cut), which is always appreciated.

You can skip over the rest of the DVD extras. Robert Benchley had an Oscar winning short on the NIGHT release, but A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES is rather predictable and dull. Also included are three vintage cartoons, which are quite clearly from a different age. And they're welcome to them.

I'm not sure whether I'd place this film or DUCK SOUP as my all-time favorite Marx Brothers flick. But honestly, who cares which one is the best? This film is available separately or as part of the recent "Marx Brothers Collection" DVD box set. If you're going to buy only one of those films (and why not just buy the set?), then I'd recommend this one above all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Grand Finale
The big all-black except Harpo production number included a song that I don't know the name of (All god chillun got swing?) which was recorded (either before or after the movie, I just recognized it) by a young Judy Garland. Did Gus Kahn write the words for that too? I thought the flick was watery and patchy (like all their movies after the big 4, I always exclude Duck Soup, bullheaded? because it was scripted by Kalmar and Ruby, 2 of their songwriters?), but it had some great lines and some reasonably though compared to their first 4 flicks only moderately funny routines in it. Harpo got knocked about once, but it was brief and early in the flick and he more than compensated by kicking the villain in the ass! There was chaos, there was pandemonioun and there was shtick, but (sigh) while funny it wasn't up (down, in golf a low score is better) to par. But. This was only in the first part of the movie. It got better. And really picked up when our hero made up with his girl, Harpo (later joined by Groucho and Chico) danced with the black people, followed by the plot complications and the funny horserace and ending in triumph. I thought it was a little plot-laden, but I also thought it was funny and liked it. Now I've got my 8 little Marx Bros flicks on the shelf waiting to amuse and delight my future grandkids of which I won't have any of because I'm gay. Margaret Dumont was great, the film was in excellent condition (why should this be such a surprise, it was made in 1937, about the time of The Wizard of Oz, and there's nothing wrong with that print), the cast members all did good jobs, and the villians were nasty and made me mad. I prefer the Marx Bros movies where there are no villains. A long review that mentions no rountine, I'll leave that to the devotees who revel and delight in the Marx Bros more than I do to point out and rhapsodize over. In short, though it's not as good as the first 4 of their films, it's right up there with Casablanca, and head and shoulders above their other 6 movies. I thought the Marx Bros (even liked Zeppo) were a riot 30 years ago. Sigh, now I don't think they're very funny. Maybe it's just these last 3 movies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hello Doctor, Hello Doctor...
Doctor Hugo Z. Hackenbush (Groucho Marx) is hired by Judy Standish (Maureen O'Sullivan) to save her sanatorium as the greedy Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille) attempts take over the sanatorium and turn it into a casino. In addition, Judy has taken the word of a rich client that Hackenbush is a great doctor and she does not check out his credentials and he later turns out to be a veterinarian. If this knowledge leaked to the wrong people it could lead to Judy loosing her sanatorium, and people loosing their jobs. Day at the Races is a hilarious film that depicts the Marx brothers once again fighting social injustices with slap-stick and witty comedy, which in the end offers a good cinematic experience. ... Read more


10. Andersonville/Gone With the Wind
Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
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11. Queen Kelly
Director: Sam Wood, Irving Thalberg, Erich von Stroheim, Richard Boleslawski, Edmund Goulding
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Asin: B000094J73
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Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Story!
I was just surfing the shelves at Borders today when I stumbled over Queen Kelly on DVD! I couldn't believe it. I have just been getting interested in silent films (I'm 18) and of course I'm a Gloria Swanson fan (who isn't?), having seen her brilliant performance in Sunset Blvd. Anyway, I had always heard rumors about Queen Kelly - the incomplete, forgotten masterpiece. I had to pay a whopping [money] for this DVD, but it is definitely a piece of art and worth every penny. First of all, this film is old. You can hear it creak and moan at times and the orchestra soundtrack has not aged well - let's just say the music is annoyingly intense. But the age of the film just makes it more haunting to watch. The story takes place in the 20s, but you could almost believe it was hundreds of years ago. Now I want to concentrate on the story and the performances. Gloria Swanson's performance in Queen Kelly has to be one of her best - she was every bit as good in this film as in Sunset Blvd. We can easily see why she was such a huge silent star - her emotions and beauty carry the film just as much as the fascinating story. This was really melodrama at its best. People tend to forget, I think, that melodrama can be an art form, stressing wistful idealism and instead of cynical realism! The main event here is the story - wow! It's tragic that the film (and the story) were never finished. But who knows? It's just begging for a megabucks remake with Nicole Kidman. Now that the musicals are back, maybe silents will be next.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rare Classic
The great silent film QUEEN KELLY, is Swanson's most popular film, aside from SUNSET BOULEVARD.

Swanson plays Patricia Kelly, a naive and innocent convent girl, who catches the eye of a Prince (Walter Byron), when her underpants accidentally fall down. He falls in love with her, despite the fact that the demented and jealous Queen Regina (Seena Owen), is after the Prince herself.

The scene where Regina chases Kelly out of the palace, whip lashing and her feathered robe flaying, is truly memorable.

One of the most sought-after silents, this great tinted version is backed by a full orchestra soundtrack.

5-0 out of 5 stars This film is proof that the "studio system" ruined US films
Financed by Joseph Kennedy, Stroheim was hired by his old friend Gloria Swanson, but when talkies came in and it was apparant there would never be a market for a silent Swanson vehicle, production stopped and the film was unreleased for decades. Almost completed, and later restored with stills replacing lost footage, the film has a unique power like all of Von's work. This was Von's swan-song (no pun intended.) He would never complete another film, but go on to immortality as a great actor, ignored in the U.S. but worshipped in Europe. This film is proof that there was a brief period in which American films could be held up against the films of the world as great works of sophisticated filmatic art. Von's films make even the best products of the "studio System" look like bad soap operas. It is impossible to fully appreciate Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" without seeing this film (Von referred to his performance in Wilder's film with contempt as "that butler role." The world of course knows better. As Elenor Roosevelt said, Von was the greatest director in the world. ... Read more


12. Heartbeat
Director: Sam Wood
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Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweet & romantic classic
Set in France, this romantic non-musical stars Ginger Rogers as Arlette, a young pick-pocket who falls in love with a handsome diplomat (Jean Pierre Aumont). Fresh out of pick pocket school, Arlette gets caught on her first professional attempt and ends up at an embassy ball where she is blackmailed into stealing a watch from a young diplomat.
To her surprise, she not only succeeds in stealing his watch but also in stealing his heart as he easily falls for her beauty and charm. Enchanted by him herself, Arlette tries to hide the truth from him but can't do it for very long.
Watch Basil Rathbone in a brief but funny performance as the professor of the pick pocket school, and enjoy the great on-screen chemistry between Rogers and Aumont.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cute, charming rainy day movie
Ignore Maltin for once, and check out this little seen gem. Silly at first, but it gradually grows on you. Rogers plays a young run-away, desperately turning to crime to survive the streets of Paris. Basil Rathbone is the owner and operator of a rather unique school for pickpockets she unwittingly stumbles upon.

After receiving some prelimanary training on the art of theft Rogers is sent out into Paris to repay Rathbone's investment. Things get compilcated though as she is caught trying to lift a man's tie-pin on her very first day. Instead of turning her in to the police, the man comissions her to make a lift at a high society ball. Her mark turns out to be a handsome French Diplomat, and the plot then follows their various misadventures as they fight, argue, and fall in love.

Jean Pierre, playing the diplomat, has great chemistry with Rogers, and we get to see the great Basil Rathbone as head master at a school for pickpockets. The plot manages to stay surprising, and the dialogue is above average. Rogers (in a rare non-dancing role) is very charming and handles the comedy well. All in all, a well made film perfect for old-movie lovers. B+

3-0 out of 5 stars Voulez Vous en Asprin?
As the French comedy "Battement de Coeur," this must have been oh so charmant. Mais. En Anglais, and directed by the torpid Sam Wood, it's the epitome of an old movie on the late, late show. Ginger Rogers tries hard but this is her umteenth version of "Cinderella" and the strain is starting to show... Basil Rathbone jumps at the chance to play something besides Sherlock Holmes, but as so often, his comedy style consists of raised eyebrows and scampering around the set. Not the finest hour of either of these two great stars. Quelle drag, n'est ce pas?

4-0 out of 5 stars Charming, old-fashioned fun
After encountering an early-morning broadcast of this film years ago, I had to track down a copy to own. Those who prefer Rogers in musicals may not enjoy this, but those who like to see her stretch and take on unusual, challenging roles should enjoy her winsome performance here as--of all things!--a pickpocket in training. Her Fagin/Svengali is the consummately nasty Basil Rathbone, but in this sweetly old-fashioned story true love conquers all obstacles. This isn't a classic of the calibre of Kitty Foyle or Bachelor Mother, but it's got a quiet, wistful charm of its own. ... Read more


13. Our Town
Director: Sam Wood
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14. Our Town
Director: Sam Wood
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15. The Pride of the Yankees
Director: Sam Wood
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Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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When people say, "They don't make them like they used to," Pride of the Yankees is just the kind of film they're wistfully remembering. Nominated for 11 Academy awards (winning one for film editing), this handsome biographical drama of baseball legend Lou Gehrig is one of the most finely crafted films ever to emerge from Hollywood. Gary Cooper, that great oak of an American actor, progresses from the awkward and naively shy rookie to the seasoned "Iron Horse" first baseman of the New York Yankees without losing his idealism or modesty. Teresa Wright captures the same slice of Americana with her mixture of girl-next-door sweetness and urban sophistication as his supportive wife, Eleanor. After he's diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease (known today simply as Lou Gehrig's disease), Cooper delivers Gehrig's famous retirement speech from the mound of Yankee Stadium with the courage and spirit of a winner: "I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth." One of the finest sports films ever made, Pride is about more than simply baseball: Gehrig, thehard-working, uncommonly talented son of immigrant parents, is the living embodiment of the American Dream. Walter Brennan and Dan Duryea costar as a Greek chorus of sportswriters, and real-life Yankees Bill Dickey, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, and Babe Ruth appear as themselves. --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig as True Hero
There are movies that involve the audience about the life of its star and there are others that use gimmicks to hide the fact that the audience never gets to look at the star from the inside. In PRIDE OF THE YANKEES director Sam Wood gave us a movie that has already stood the test of time as one of the best movies to come out of Hollywood. The high quality of this film is mostly because of Gary Cooper's startlingly realistic portrayal of a baseball icon whose playing career overlapped the cinematic career of the film icon who played him. The audience sees the man in a way that the fans in the stands could not. Cooper carries the movie in the same way that he carries SERGEANT YORK, by his straightforward radiating of emotion that is often at odds with the face that says one thing but the eyes that say another.
The young Lou Gehrig starts off as a youth loving baseball so much that he has to hide his love from a mother who wants Lou to surpass Uncle Otto as a symbol of success. Lou hears his mother praise Uncle Otto and assures her that he will follow in his footsteps, but his eyes tell another story. In fact, throughout this movie, it is his eyes that speak more eloquently than anything else he can say or do. Lou winds up in Columbia on a scholarship, and during a frat party hazing designed to test his ability to endure a razzing, Lou retreats within himself until he can retreat no more. For the first time in this film, and very nearly for his entire movie career as well, Cooper shows the anger that we all knew lay buried deep. Cooper made a career out of rechanneling emotion into productive ends, and as Lou Gehrig, he can redirect his inner chi into belting baseballs over walls well enough to earn a tryout with the New York Yankees. By this time, the audience is hooked by their caring for a man who combines the best of the American ideals of hard work and talent with the self-effacing that marks most film icons of that time.
Theresa Wright plays first his girlfriend, then later his wife. She is simply wonderful as the cultured girl who falls for the small town hero. They poke fun of each other but the audience knows that what they are really saying is the Real Thing. Theresa Wright knows exactly when to back off and let Cooper be at center stage and when to interact with him to produce some truly stirring moments. There are two scenes that stand out as unforgettable, one with Wright, the other without. The first occurs when Lou has been playing poorly. He has been striking out, dropping easy catches, and running awkwardly. His teammates are puzzled and mix anger with concern. After a loss caused by his poor play, Lou sits on a bench, trying to make sense of a body that had never before betrayed him. As he leans forward to untie his laces, he continues to fall, rolling over onto the floor. His mates pretend not to notice. Lou says nothing but his face tells the audience all that they need to know. The fear that often bubbles just beneath the skin in many of Cooper's movies surfaces, and that fear clicks in the hearts of all. Later, when he has seen a doctor and knows that his illness, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is terminal, he decides to hide this knowledge from his wife who nevertheless has already guessed the truth, but tries to hide that from him. There is a heartbreaking scene in which she tries to raise his spirits by donning a barker's hat and mustache. As she stares at him, she laughs. As she hugs him, her eyes reveal her own torment. Each actor is absolutely convincing in their respective attempts to hide what they know, while pretending all is well.
PRIDE OF THE YANKEES tells a story well-known to anyone who reads the sports pages. It features Cooper in center stage, with a supporting cast including Walter Brennan and Dan Duryea, both of whom interact credibly with him and Ms. Wright. This is more than a baseball bio of a man who hits it big in his game. It is more the story of a giant who continued to hit it big even after the fans have left the stadium.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic Eye for the Baseball Guy
I hate people that can't seem to enjoy an old fashioned good feeling movie and call it sacharine because it has a happy ending. Which is why I am a little embarassed to give Pride of the Yankees just three stars. But the truth is that I really had to fight hard to surpress a smile at the level of schmaltz in this film that I didn't recognize when I saw this as a boy.

Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig with a childlike naivete which I know was charming in its day but today it feels like you would have to lock someone up who was his age and still that childlike. And I really did want to play along with the most classic scene in the film but found it funnier than any campy parody I have seen over the years. The little boy in the hospital who is sitting by the radio because the Babe and Lou promised him they would each hit home runs form him. "Little Billy" sits in pajamas in the hospital by the radio. He listens earnestly with a expectant vapid open mouth expression waiting. Its as if his ability to ever walk again hung on the success of that hit. Bottom of the sixth Gehrig disappoints by striking out for his second time in a row still one short of the two promised home runs, you can tell the kid is thinking "Damn" but instead says "Golly"! I am glad I wasn't drinking anything at the time because it would shot through my nose trying to hold back the laugh. Pride of the Yankess does hearken back to simpler times but is perhaps so gentle and guileless it crosses the line into accidental comedy.

However I did very much enjoy the relationship between the two competing sportswriters who mock each others favorite players much like Statler and Waldorf the two old geezers in The Muppet Show. Walter Brennan plays writer Sam Blake who roots for Lou and does a wonderful job. He is so slender of build here he is almost unrecognizable in this role.

I am sure most people will have a fine time enjoying this film and Lou Gehrigs touching farewell speech.

5-0 out of 5 stars From NY Immigrants' Child to American Legend
This was probably my introduction, and for millions of others, to the legend that is Lou Gehrig. And for so many years, I had Gehrig and Gary Cooper completely confused in my mind--they seemed inseparable. But there's good reason for it: the role of the Iron Horse seemed to be made for Cooper. Gehrig was a low-key, almost self-effacing athlete and person, which was just the type of character that Cooper built his career on. Their sizes were just about the same. Cooper nailed down Lou Gehrig's voice, especially for the famous "luckiest man" farewell speech. Hell, Gary Cooper LOOKS like Lou Gehrig! Maybe my confusion is justified, at least on this subject.

PRIDE OF THE YANKEES is the grand-daddy of all baseball movies. Cooper's performance, as I can't help but keep mentioning, is stellar. Teresa Wright as his wife helps keep the hankies moist but she is also very spunky and strong. Walter Brennan (who also played opposite Cooper in MEET JOHN DOE where John Doe is a semi-pro pitcher) is in a supporting role here but provides desperately needed comic relief.

And perhaps I'm wrong to categorize PRIDE OF THE YANKESS as merely a baseball film. It is about human potential, human frailty, and above all human strength during times of crisis. Lou Gehrig's tragedy occurred during a time of extreme crisis in America, and, I believe, his strong steady public appearances helped the nation through it. PRIDE OF THE YANKEES could easily have been named "Strength of America" in my mind. It's that important a film.

5-0 out of 5 stars The story of Lou Gehrig and the classiest sports biopic
There are all sorts of little imperfections in the 1943 film "The Pride of the Yankees." The screenwriters rearranged Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium so that the best line, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," becomes his exit line (it was the second line in his speech with his actual last line being, "So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for"). Gary Cooper had enough problems batting right-handed let alone left-handed like Gehrig, so the actor wore a uniform with "KROY WEN" on the front, ran to third base when he managed to hit the ball, and then they reversed the print. Gehrig is shown wearing his famous number 4 when the Yankees play the World Series, but that happened in 1926 and 1928 while the Bronx Bombers did not start wearing uniform numbers until 1929 (Gehrig batted cleanup and was 4, Babe Ruth batted in front of him and was therefore 3). The film talks about how Gehrig won the Triple Crown on the day he was married but Gehrig won the Triple Crown in the 1934 season, the year after Lou and Eleanor were married in 1933.

But none of that really matters because "The Pride of the Yankees" remains the standard by which all sports biopics, whether of baseball players or anyone else, are judged. Even those who were not weaned and raised on baseball know that the title character is going to die of Lou Gehrig's disease and the film takes full advantage of that foreshadowing: when Gehrig gets into his first game and refuses to come out after being hit in the head by a thrown ball, manager Miller Huggins asks, "What do we have to do to get you out of the game? Kill you?" Irving Berlin's song "Always" becomes a recurring musical theme throughout the film, another reminder of Gehrig's mortality.

In many ways "The Pride of the Yankees" is more of a love story than a baseball theme. It starts off as a rags-to-riches story, where Gehrig's mother (Elsa Janssen) insists her son will be an engineer and does want him wasting time playing baseball. Eventually the fame and money opens her eyes, but then Lou meets Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright) and has a new "best girl." One of the most impressive aspects of this film is how it touches on the two darker sides of the Lou Gehrig story, the friction between his overbearing mother and his society wife along with the strained relationship that developed between Gehrig and Babe Ruth. The film really only touches on these aspects and Ruth, playing himself, is usually a smiling figure when he shows up on screen, except for when Gehrig is eating his new hat and he is listening to Gehrig's farewell speech.

Cooper was nominated for an Oscar for his performance and even though he is rather awkward and a bit old for the role, he captures the essential dignity and class of Gehrig. It makes sense that one American icon is being played by another. Having been nominated of a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for "The Little Foxes" in 1941 she received another nomination in that category in 1942 for "Mrs. Miniver" and also one for Best Actress that same year for "The Pride of the Yankees." Wright won for "Mrs. Miniver" and lost out to Greer Garson for Best Actress (because of the war the Oscars were made of plaster for the first time, but were replaced by "real" Oscars when the war ended). "The Pride of the Yankees" was nominated for 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, but only won for Daniel Mandell's Film Editing.

Walter Brennan as sportswriter Sam Blake and Ludwig Stössel as Pop Gehrig provide a lot of the comic relief in the film. Brennan's role is rather low-keyed for him while Stössel has several fine moments where he tries, usually without success, to stand up to his wife. Appearing as themselves are Yankee players Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel, and Mark Koenig, and the familiar voice of Bill Stern makes it on screen as well.

Gehrig's tragic death at the age of 38 makes all of his records even more astounding given that his career was cut short. Sportswriter Jim Murray once described the tall, strong Gehrig as a "Gibraltar in cleats," and "The Pride of the Yankees" provides a sense of that. For me the most poignant scene comes before Gehrig enters Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, when he encounter 17-year-old Billy (David Holt), the lame boy in the hospital (Gene Collins) for whom Gehrig hit two home runs in a World Series game in the film's most extended baseball sequence. The irony that Gehrig could inspire Billy to rise up and walk but Fate had conspired to strike down the Iron Horse who played in 2,130 is enough to reduce most of us to tears before Gehrig ever steps to the plate for the last time to talk about how lucky he is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage and Heroism in Perfect Form
"The Pride of the Yankees" is without a doubt one of the best baseball films of all time. Why? Because it isn't just about baseball. It's about a real person seeking that seemingly impossible American dream and capturing it, only to lose it all too soon. Cooper plays Gehrig with so much heart in this film, that the movie almost seems unreal due to the fact that Gehrig was such a good person, both as a human and as a star athlete.

There are few professional athletes in the world who show so much character and so much love to others as Gehrig did. He faced death with honor and courage. He was and is a true hero. If you're looking for an athlete for your children to look up to, pick the "Iron Man of Baseball."

This film does exceptionally well in capturing the heart and soul of Gehrig. It is a great family film and I highly recommend it. Gehrig might have been in Ruth's(and later, DiMaggio's)shadow, but he was so much bigger than these guys. He was honest, hard-working, and approached people long after the cameras were gone.

Add this one to your collection. It's a keeper, even if you don't know the difference between a baseball and a ball of yarn. ... Read more


16. Our Town
Director: Sam Wood
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
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Asin: 6305838208
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 7255
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17. Kings Row
Director: Sam Wood

Asin: B00005JNEX
Catlog: DVD
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Secrets Behind A Small Town
King's Row starts off with a view of a sign that announces that the town of King's Row is a great place to live and have a family. The rest of the movie shows you just how untrue that sign was. The film turns the romantic view of life in a small town upside down, exposing a lot of vices and prejudices. The performances are a mixed bag. Ann Sheridan gives one of her best performances as the girl from the wrong side of the tracks (literally), and Ronald Reagan surprises with an effective job as the victim of a sadistic doctor. But Robert Cummings is sometimes laughable as the very idealistic young doctor and Betty Field is over the top as his troubled girlfriend. The supporting cast is generally fine, with an especially fine performance by Nancy Coleman, who should have become a star but didn't. The movie is both dramatic and entertaining, and if you like stories about small towns like I do, then don't miss this one. It's an eye-opener!

5-0 out of 5 stars A grim soap opera with Ronald Reagan's finest performance
"Kings Row" is the most distinguished film of Ronald Reagan's actor career, for which he drew his best reviews. However, by the time it was released in 1942, Reagan was in the Army and his film career had received a fateful interruption that would eventually lead to his shifting to a political career. I remember that when Breshnev was preparing to meet with President Reagan the Soviet leader screened several of Reagan's films, and "King's Row" was the one that impressed him. If you have already seen this film, directed by Sam Wood, you know why.

The film focuses on five childhood friends who grow up to complicated lives. Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) has become a medical student, studying privately with Dr. Alexander Tower (Claude Rains), whose daughter Cassandra (Betty Field) is a sheltered neurotic. Louise Gordon (Nancy Coleman) has been raised by harsh parents who warn here away from playboy Drake McHugh (Reagan), who is living off an inheritance. Drake ends up falling for Randy Monoghan (Ann Sheridan), the former tomboy who has grown up in to a most practical working class girl. Things then get very dark. First, when Dr. Tower discovers Cassandra is pregnant he kills her and himself. Then, after losing his fortune and taking a job at the railroad yard, Drake is injured and Dr. Gordon (Charles Coburn) decides to amputate the young man's legs as a punishment for his former hedonism. This is what leads to Reagan's unforgettable scene when he wakes up and discovers what has been done to him. The scene could have become ludicrous, but Reagan pulls it off and it is clearly his finest moment as an actor.

"Kings Row" is based on the novel by Henry Bellamann, which is a massive story of sadism and thwarted love in what was clearly the "Payton Place" of its day, set in a quiet Midwestern town at the turn of the (last) century. A lot of the novel's elements, such as incest, homosexuality and euthanasia were never going to make it into the film forcing screenwriter Casey Robinson to salvage what he could (e.g., turning the incest between Dr. Tower and his daughter Cassandra into a question of insanity). Robinson also gave the movie a "happier" ending (originally, Drake McHugh dies of cancer after his legs are unnecessarily amputated). Even more radical was the casting, since few in Hollywood were comfortable with Sheridan, Cummings and Reagan having the three lead roles. However, all of them perform admirably, as does Field and the supporting cast of veteran character actors.

Reagan would go on to entitle his autobiography "Where's the Rest of Me?" after the famous line he screams when he awakens to discover his legs are gone. He often told the story about what it was like to film the scene, his worried preparation for him to find the moment in him as an actor and director Wood waiting for Reagan to give the go ahead. For his parent, Reagan always credited Ann Sheridan, who was not supposed to be in the scene. But when he suddenly started calling for Randy she rushed into the room in character and Reagan delivered a powerful scene.

4-0 out of 5 stars "King" Size Entertainment
I am not a fan of Ronald Reagan on any level, but the one movie I've always heard talk about when discussing Reagan as an actor has been "Kings Row" the movie filmbuffs reserve as one of Reagan's best films.

I saw this movie mainly for two reasons. The first being, it's one of my grandmother's favorite movies, the other, the death of the former President.

"Kings Row" is quite an accomplised film from director Sam Wood, a man who has directed serval American classics that would take up too much space if I recited them all here, but they include "Goodbye Mr. Chips", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "The Pride of the Yankees", and two Marx Brothers comedies "A Night at the Opera", and "A Day at the Races".

"Kings Row" directly and indirectly takes on what must have been a lot of taboo subjects. One of the main ones being fornication.

The movie starts off with a shot of a sign that reads; "Kings Row, a great pace to raise your children". From that we are suppose to suspect this is a friendly small town, that to some would seem being. Everybody knows each other and spreads the town's gossip and the people give excited waiting for the local events, but as the film goes on we find out there is much going on behind everyone's back.And the town is not as innocent as it seems.

The film's main characters are Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) and Drake McHugh (Reagan) who have remained friends since childhood. Now that both are older they are soon starting to discover the secrets that lie beneath the town and some of its citizens.

The movie has a terrific cast including Claude Rains as Dr. Tower, a man who is trying to help Parris become a doctor, he also happens to be the father of Cassie (Betty Field), the love of Parris' life. Then there Dr. Henry Gordon (Charles Coburn) who is known to give usual operations and is the father of Louis (Nany Coleman), the girl Drake plans to marry. And there's Ann Sheridan as Randy Monaghan.

Just about everyone in the film does a good job acting wise, but I think it's Cummings' movie all the way, not Reagan. But either way you look at it you have to admit "Kings Row" is an interesting film that holds your interest.

Bottom-line: Well made dramatic suspense film notably known as one of Ronald Reagan's best films, but Robert Cummings gives one of his best performances. Well worth seeing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a job Reagan does!
I've always been a big fan of Reagan the President, but I studiously avoided Reagan the Actor. I had seen just one movie of his - ironically, "Bedtime for Bonzo" - and while it was a cute little romp, I didn't walk away from it, bowled over by Reagan's acting ability.

TCM had a Reaganfest this week because of the president's death, so I tuned in to see "King's Row." All I can say is WOW! I seriously underestimated him!

Not only is Reagan handsome, he steals the movie! You can find out the plot details from other reviews, but I'll guarantee you, when he wakes up to find out his legs have been amputated, you'll be riveted to the screen.

Reagan delivers a bravura performance, tough and touching at the same time. If you always assumed Reagan was a B-movie actor, this movie will blow that assumption to smithereens!

5-0 out of 5 stars good melodrama, great cast
This is a riveting soap opera with a cast that holds all the pieces together, and keeps the sometimes improbable plot fascinating at all times for the viewer.
It was filmed on a soundstage, with very effective scenic design by William Cameron Menzies...I just love the skies !
Brilliantly conceived and directed by Sam Wood, it's based on Harry Bellamann's best-selling novel. The excellent Erich Wolfgang Korngold score also adds to the drama and atmosphere.

Set in a turn of the century small town, where the dark secrets and vile motives of some contrast with the goodness of others, the best scenes are between Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan.
The chemistry between them is a delight, and their acting so real, one feels one is sharing the moment with them, even though this was filmed over 60 years ago. They shine as Randy and Drake, two strong, independent, and fun loving souls.

With the exception of one or two scenes with rather stilted dialogue between Betty Field and Robert Cummings, the pacing never lags. There are great actors even in the supporting roles, like Dame Judith Anderson and Maria Ouspenskaya. Claude Rains is absolutely marvelous, and steals every scene he's in.

This classic was nominated for several Oscars...B&W Cinematography (James Wong Howe), Director, and Best Picture, but lost to a "Mrs. Minever" sweep.
It's perhaps Ronald Reagan's best performance, so this film is a piece of American history, as well as being highly entertaining. ... Read more


18. Saratoga Trunk
Director: Sam Wood

Asin: B00005JNMK
Catlog: DVD
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars No virtuous woman for Ingrid Bergman this time around
Ingrid Bergman plays Clio Dulaine, the half-Creole illegitimate daughter of a new Orleans aristocrat, who returns to the Crescent City from Paris after her mother's death to revenge herself on her father's family. While she succeeds in humiliating the Dulaines, she flirts with Texas gambler, Colonel Clint Marron (Gary Cooper). He is not thrilled by her need for revenge and heads off to Saratoga Springs. Clio eventually shows up, pretending to be a French noblewoman in an attempt to get a rich husband, setting her sights on railroad tycoon Bart Van Steed (John Warburton). But we all know who is really the right guy for her. Bergman, a brunette for this film, certainly finds the sexy Clio to be a nice change of pace from the nuns and cool refugees from the continent she had been playing of late. Unfortunately, the melodrama offers nothing new and Bergman ends up with Gary Cooper because, well, he is Gary Cooper; a bit roguish, but still a pillar of strength and virtue. All the sparks are on her side of the equation. "Saratoga Trunks" is based on a novel by Edna Ferber. Flora Robson received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for role as Angelique, Clio's attendant, in this 1945 film was directed by Sam Wood.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful period movie!
fabulous adaption of edna ferber's nove...set in tun-of-the-century new orleans. ingrid bergman is luminous as clio dulaine and the costumes are ravishing!Supporting actors wonderful and Gary Cooper is perfect as clint. A must-see!

3-0 out of 5 stars Character actress saves the day!
While I concur that English actress Flora Robson playing a "mulatto" is stretching things a bit, her studied performance, as well set decorations, is the only reason that this Cooper/Bergman vehicle is tolerable.

Robson had an extremely long career on the stage and in film, comparable to contemporary Dame Judith Anderson. By portraying the role of Bergman's maid, she joined a rather short list, including Lord Olivier ("Othello") and Ava Gardner ("Showboat"), of white actors "passing" as black.

Hey, it was the norm, back in the day. "Saratoga Trunk" was no different from most era westerns or historical dramas in the practice of white actors portraying persons of color.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining
This movie is fun and entertaining, with Ingrid Bergman giving a wonderful performance as Clio, showing just how talented and versatile she is. Gary Cooper is also good in a very typical Cooper role as a Texas cowboy. The movie has some very witty and sparkling dialogue, with Bergman having some of the best lines, and the best scenes are between her and Cooper. A must-see for Bergman fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ingrid, Gary and Max Steiners Love Theme
Ingrid is more beautiful than ever; Gary is perfect as "that Texas" out for revenge and fortune by hook or crook. As Clio and "Cleent", in her restored French Quarter house, when they stroll in her small garden and the lovely Steiner love theme plays, it is a romantics dream. ...if you love beautiful costumns, sets, and the romantic films from the golden era, you will like this movie.
When the little lawyer sent by her fathers aristocratic family comes to her house to buy her off and get her out of town, she bests him in the negotiations. A Magic Movie Moment comes when he looks at her with a small smile and says "may I say - you are very -- beautiful?" And she says with a beautiful, wicked smile "Yes, isn't it lucky?" You want to say YES!! You go girl!
Florence Bates as the grand dame in Saratoga steals every scene she is in. Jerry Austin as the dwarf "Pepito" jack-of-all-trades, is fun and I think brings dignity to the role. Flora Robson is quite good as the maid/companion and received an academy award nomination.
But it is the romantic French Quarter, the wide veranda at the Saratoga hotel, with all the old biddies rocking and gossiping; and Clio and Clint, two rogues, and their love story that make this so much fun to watch. Just relax and enjoy. ... Read more


19. Kitty Foyle
Director: Sam Wood

Asin: B00005JLUC
Catlog: DVD
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ginger's victory all the way
Any best actress oscar winner of 1940 would have been controversial. I think Ginger deserved it as well as any of the others. She is wonderful in this drama, and she portrays KItty with a certain realness. watch her facial expressions. I believe that Ginger had the most expressive and beautiful eyes in hollywood history. after losing her baby in childbirth, kitty's look on her face whenever she sees a child afterwards is devestating. the whole cast is fine, and you could cut Gin and Dennis Morgan's chemistry with a knife. Ginger had a strange power to bring out so much chemistry from all her leading men. In the early scenes, she is adorable as little kitty. I don't believe that this is a soap opera, because the situations are NOT ridiculous and the characters are very real, but nevertheless it is a heavier type of drama, so don't expect a SWING TIME-like experience, and keep the tissues handy. I highly recommend this film, not only for Ginger's performance, but for the movie as a whole.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless Classic
This is one of my all-time favorite old movies. I believe that Ginger Rogers definitely earned the Academy Award against some stiff competition. I have watched "Kitty Foyle" around ten times, and it gets better each time. Ginger gives a spectacular performance, and the movie itself is well-constructed. It is interesting to see the character's interactions with two very different men, and there's the suspense of wondering which she will choose. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars Ginger Rogers in a working girl dilemma
Ginger Rogers really came into her own as the dramatic heroine of RKO's drama "Kitty Foyle" after her legendary collaborations with fred Astaire during the 1930's. Despite being almost solely regarded as Astaire's dancing partner Ginger Rogers had done a large number of films of a non dancing nature and by 1939 with their teamings coming to an end was anxious to develop her very fine comic and dramatic abilities. As seen in the previous years classic "Bachelor Mother", with David Niven she proved to be totally up to the task and this was followed in 1940 by the Sam Wood directed "Kitty Foyle", for which Rogers was awarded the Academy Award as Best Actress.

"Kitty Foyle" tells the quite simple story of a modern White Collar working girl who finds herself in the position of being courted by two entirely different men from different stations in life. Wyn Strafford (Dennis Morgan) offers Kitty the glamour of Philadelphia society in a lifestyle of priveldge, position and very set social values, while struggling intern Mark Eisen (James Craig) has only himself and his dreams to offer her. Growing up in the poor part of town Kitty as a child dreamt of the sort of life that Wyn represents, beautiful clothes, nice cars and appearances at all the society events like Philadephia's Assembly evening. Meeting and falling in love with Wyn Kitty thinks that all those earlier dreams have come true and soon she finds herself being swept off her feet into marriage with one of Philadelphia's best families. Meeting his family however finds Kitty being made only too aware of her humble beginnings and this clash of two different levels of society results in Kitty divorcing Wyn only to discover that she is carrying Wyn's child which she later loses in childbirth. Happily reciprocating Mark's uncomplicated love for her that involves no standards for her to be meeting, Kitty becomes engaged to him. Then as if by magic Wyn returns to her life yet again and momentarily arouses all those old passionate feelings she still has for him that she never really feels for Mark. With an offer to go away with him to South America, Kitty is for a moment prepared to abandon all to live this dream with Wyn again when her conscience reminds her of just what type of position she is placing herself in with the still married Wyn. Kitty begins to realise what a fine person Mark is and that he is a man who really loves her for herself and is waiting to marry her and give her the type of loving existence she really craves. Back to her senses Kitty decides to go ahead and marry Mark and have the loving marriage she has always wanted where she is appreciated for what she is, not who.

Vintage soap opera it is indeed but "Kitty Foyle", shines with real characters and emotions that we can all identify with. Dennis Morgan does wonderful work as the besotted Wyn, the victim of family background and expectations and his screen chemistry with Ginger Rogers is magical and very romantic. James Craig as the humble doctor has the less flashy role of the two men but his simple playing and sincere dialogue really hits the right note in playing a character that has nothing but love to offer his beloved. There was alot of controversy in 1940 about whether Ginger Rogers really deserved the Oscar over the quite formidable competiton that year from Katherine Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story", and especially Joan Fontaine in "Rebecca". The jury will always be out on that one I guess but Rogers playing of Kitty is wonderful and she has her best scene in her confrontation with Wyn's mother (Gladys Cooper in a small but wonderful performance). For that scene alone where she drives home a few truths about their family and the rules they live by, some award should have been forecoming.

Nominated for a total of five Academy Awards "Kitty Foyle",could never be regarded as one of Hollywood's unforgettable classics. Ginger Rogers helps lift what is basically a soap opera to a higher level with her assured playing of the typical working girl who is both romantic and practical. It's a joy to see her in a dramatic role and it led the way for some other great dramatic performances by Rogers through the 1940's decade. Take a look at the ultimate working girl saga in the Sam Wood directed "Kitty Foyle".

4-0 out of 5 stars Kitty Foyle: A Soap Well Done
Whenever Ginger Rogers' name is bandied about, it is usually done so in the context of a musical, usually co-starring with Fred Astaire. Her acting ability was most often hidden in a rousing background of song and dance. But with KITTY FOYLE, Ginger showed that she could play it straight too. Kitty is a lower class Irish lass who has the great bad luck to fall for an upper crust Philadelphia scion (Dennis Morgan) whose family has long since planned his future, one that does not include a poor Irishwoman. They marry but the gap between them is too wide. Exit the scion and enter a poor but kindly doctor (James Craig) who loves her enough for her to have to choose between them.

The charm of KITTY FOYLE rests squarely on Miss Rogers' ability to create the aura of a woman who loves two men, although unequally. Morgan and Craig are purposely bland, and very nearly interchangeable, so it is no surprise that Kitty bounces back and forth between them. Along the way, director Sam Wood presents New York as a backgound that is just perfect for young lovers to meet in quaint Italian restaurants. Eduardo Ciannelli is cast against type as an Italian waiter who brings to mind Mister Botchagaloop of Abbott & Costello fame. By the time the closing credits roll, it comes only as a minor surprise as to which lover Kitty chooses. KITTY FOYLE is no great film, but it is a grabbing piece of pre-WWII soap that showcases the talents of an actress who for far too long had been admired more for her hoofing legs than her thespian skills.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kitty Foyle
Ginger Rogers dazzled me with her simplistic character of Kitty Foyle. In a performance of a woman with no social status, but charms the hearts of two men, one of which may be too high in class for her, so his family feels. It is a movie that has you almost sure of who she loves, but totally surprises you in the end. Enjoy it, and I hope you love it as much as I did! ... Read more


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