Product Description & Reviews
A seven-disc set of Marked Woman, Jezebel, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Old Acquaintance, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Two-Disc Special Edition, and the 2005 documentary Stardust: The Bette Davis Story. With expert commentaries, new and vintage documentary profiles, new and vintage featurettes, and more. Bette Davis's long career as a Warner Bros. contract star is crowded with decent movies, so it's no surprise that Vol. 2 of The Bette Davis Collection is about as strong as the first such DVD bundle. Even so, it strays from the classic years by including the latter-career What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, also made at Warner, and an entire disc given to a new feature-length documentary. The earliest title here is 1937's Marked Woman, a tart vehicle from the busy period following her first Oscar. Bette plays a clip-joint girl recruited by D.A. Humphrey Bogart to rat on a Lucky Luciano-style mob boss. Here Davis spits and sparks like a young dragon, so electrically "on" that other actors sometimes look a little afraid of her. Jezebel is one of the best-remembered of Davis's performances, and the second of her Oscar wins. Something of an audition for the Gone with the Wind lead (of course she didn't get that part), Davis plays a scheming New Orleans belle whose headstrong behavior brings grief to fiancé Henry Fonda--and eventually to herself. This was the first time William Wyler directed Davis, and the intensity of their collaboration (and affair) is visible. The Man Who Came to Dinner, while a fun movie, is not a Davis vehicle; she takes a distinctly supporting role to Monty Woolley's deliciously nasty re-creation of his Broadway triumph. He plays the famous writer Sheridan Whiteside, waylaid by a cracked hip in the home of some squares in small-town Ohio. Old Acquaintance (1943) is a trademark Warner "women's picture," with Davis and Miriam Hopkins as childhood friends who become rival writers in adulthood (the John Van Druten play was later remade as Rich and Famous). Hopkins has the showier role, but Davis shines by contrast. Davis and Hopkins hated each other in real life, which must have been good preparation for Davis on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, her epic showdown with Joan Crawford, filmed as both actresses found their careers well into eclipse. The two former screen queens were not friendly and had never worked together, but their inspired casting in this Grand Guignol tale resulted in a surprise box-office smash. Robert Aldrich brought his smart sensibility to the story of two showbiz sisters living a grotesque existence well out of the public eye. The movie has become a camp classic in the years since its release, a phenomenon acknowledged by the disc's commentary track featuring veteran female impersonators Charles Busch and John Epperson ("Lypsinka"). The set also includes a bonus disc of supporting short documentaries and archival footage. Stardust: The Bette Davis Story is a feature doc that gives a thorough cruise through Davis's life and career, with an emphasis on the warts-and-all side of biography (an admiring Susan Sarandon narrates). It's well paced and heavy with good clips, although it does render some the supporting bios on the Baby Jane bonus disc redundant. --Robert Horton
Features & Highlights
|Manufacturer:||Warner Home Video|
|Brand:||Warner Home Video|
|Publisher:||Warner Home Video|
|Studio:||Warner Home Video|
|Item Weight:||1.45 pounds|
|Item Size:||5.75 x 3.75 x 3.75 inches|
|Package Weight:||1.4 pounds|
|Package Size:||5.5 x 3.7 x 3.7 inches|
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