Like the original Family Classics 50 Movie Pack (C&I 5:4 and 5:7, March and May 2005) and 50-Movie All Stars Collection (C&I 6:4 and 6:14, March and December 2006), this collection isnâ€™t limited to any genre. Like the Family Classics set, itâ€™s mostly very old movies and includes quite a number that do qualify as classics or at least significant films of the times. (The All Stars Collection was TV movies.)
Once again, Iâ€™m interleaving two of the packs, roughly alternating these discs with the 50 Movie Western Classics collection. Walt Crawford? Westerns? I wouldnâ€™t have thought so, but the westerns that showed up in previous collections reminded me just how much good entertainment Westerns have to offer. That set may be strange, as it appears to be organized by star: Iâ€™ll let you know how I feel about five Tex Ritter movies in a row, when I finish that disc in a couple of weeks.
Dishonored Lady, 1947, b&w, Robert Stevenson (dir.), Hedy Lamarr, Dennis Oâ€™Keefe, John Loder, William Lundigan, Margaret Hamilton. 1:25.
Hedy Lamarr is a successful magazine editor by day, a love-em-and-leave-em type at night, and itâ€™s killing her. She drops out, moves to Greenwich Village to paint, falls in love with a scientist in the same building (Oâ€™Keefe)â€”and canâ€™t escape an old paramour. Murder ensues, with a solid attempt to frame her. The naÃ¯ve scientist is disillusioned, but things work out. Fine drama, well acted. Downgraded for a noisy soundtrack, but still $1.25.
Good News, 1947, color, Charles Walters (dir.), June Allyson, Peter, Lawford, Patricia Marshall, Joan McCracken, Mel TormÃ©. 1:35 [1:33].
This one should have been in the Musicals packâ€”itâ€™s a full-fledged big-show-number musical set at Tait College, with Peter Lawford as the quarterback and June Allyson as a retiring coed. Thereâ€™s lots more to the plot, of course, but this a big, full-Technicolor, big-production-number musical including numbers such as â€œThe Best Things in Life are Free.â€ The pictureâ€™s in excellent shape, as is the sound. $2.00.
Tom Brownâ€™s School Days, 1940, b&w, Robert Stevenson (dir.), Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Freddy Bartholomew, Jimmy Lydon, Gale Storm. 1:26 [1:20]
The problems of a boy new to Rugby (the school) and the headmaster trying to reform it from a rowdy bunch of hooligans into a first-rate school. Well played. Downrated for seriously damaged soundtrack. $1.25.
Second Chorus, 1940, b&w, H.C. Potter (dir.), Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, Artie Shaw, Charles Butterworth, Burgess Meredith. 1:24.
[Film also appears in Musical Classics; review repeated from C&I 7:5] The timeless Fred Astaire and a very young Burgess Meredith as two â€œfriendlyâ€-rival musicians whoâ€™ve managed to stay in college, running a collegiate band, for seven years. They hire a gorgeous (and very effective) manager, somehow both graduate, and both try to get into Artie Shawâ€™s band, sabotaging each other along the way. Some slapstick, decent plot, lots of Shawâ€™s music and some other good numbers, and thereâ€™s a little dancing in there too. $1.50.