Dream Factory, Film Noir, Myrna Loy/William Powell
Upcoming DVD releases include more vintage musicals from the MGM vaults, some very noir double features and a couple of elegant swells….
Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Volume 2 features the DVD debuts of two 1948 classics, The Pirate and Words and Music, plus the 1985 dance compilation That’s Dancing!, hosted by Gene Kelly. If, like me, you’re a big fan of Gene Kelly, particularly from the waist down, you need to start with The Pirate — because that butt and those legs easily steal this Technicolored piffle from poor Judy Garland.
The new collection also includes a couple of double features: That Midnight Kiss (1949) with The Toast of New Orleans (1950), and Royal Wedding (1951) with The Belle of New York (1952). Royal Wedding is best remembered as the film where Fred Astaire dances on the ceiling….
Most of the selections in the new Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 4 are somewhat less famous than the standouts of past volumes, but this set compensates by offering twice as many films for about the same price. The 10 new-to-DVD titles here are arranged as double features on five discs: Act of Violence (1948) with Mystery Street (1950); Crime Wave (1954) with Decoy (1946); Illegal (1955) with The Big Steal (1949); Where Danger Lives with Tension (both 1950); and They Live by Night (1948) with Side Street (1950). Probably the one bona fide classic of the bunch is They Live by Night, featuring Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell as fugitives and doomed lovers. Elsewhere in the collection you’ll find such essential stars as Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Sterling Hayden, Robert Ryan, Claude Rains, and the incomparable Faith Domergue….
Considering the enormous success of 2005’s The Thin Man Collection, it was only a matter of time before the stars of that popular film series were showcased in a collection of their work apart from the characters of Nick and Nora Charles. Thus, the new TCM Spotlight: Myrna Loy/William Powell Collection presents these five new-to-DVD titles: Manhattan Melodrama, Evelyn Prentice (both 1934), Double Wedding (1937), I Love You Again (1940), and Love Crazy (1941). There’s an interesting historical significance to Manhattan Melodrama, which teamed Loy and Powell for the first time. This is the film legendary gangster John Dillinger was exiting when he was gunned down in Chicago. Just how legendary was Dillinger? Some sources claim 22 inches. Available from Warner Home Video (www.warnerhomevideo.com). — Reviews: Jack Varsi