Errol Flynn Movies on DVD: Warner's The Errol Flynn Signature Collection
Errol Flynn was one of the most handsome and most dashing leading men during the studio era – or any era, for that matter. Although Flynn rarely gave what could be considered a “good” performance (his excellent dramatic turn in The Sun Also Rises is a notable exception), he was so great to look at that lack of acting ability was a minor inconvenience.
Warner Home Video is releasing The Errol Flynn Signature Collection, a six-disc DVD package containing five Errol Flynn Warner Bros. movies: Captain Blood (1935), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), Dodge City (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941).
All but one of those (The Sea Hawk) co-stars Olivia de Havilland as Flynn's romantic interest, and all but one (They Died with Their Boots On) was directed by Michael Curtiz. (For the record: Flynn's The Sea Hawk leading lady is Brenda Marshall; Raoul Walsh directed They Died with Their Boots On.)
Errol Flynn Warner Bros. movies
Though not necessarily great films, they are all worth watching because, well, Errol Flynn is the star, and as a plus the boast excellent production values. (Note: both The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and Dodge City are in color.) Also, all five Flynn vehicles feature a gallery of Warner Bros. notables. Besides Olivia de Havilland, you'll find Bette Davis (The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex), Claude Rains (The Sea Hawk), Sydney Greenstreet (They Died with Their Boots On), and Ann Sheridan (Dodge City).
Additionally, the Errol Flynn set also includes the feature documentary The Adventures of Errol Flynn (2005) and several featurettes pertaining to each of the Flynn movies.
The Errol Flynn Signature Collection is scheduled to come out in North America on April 19.
Errol Flynn “pirate” in Captain Blood image: Warner Bros.
Doris Day DVD box set: Warner Home Video's Doris Day Collection
The much underrated Doris Day hasn't won an Honorary Academy Award yet, but at least she's being honored with her own DVD box set, Warner Home Video's Doris Day Collection – even if most of the DD Collection's films have already been released as “singles.” The 8-disc set, to come out on April 26, includes the following Doris Day movies: (Image: Doris Day Love Me or Leave Me.)
- Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962), a sentimental circus story directed by Charles Walters, and co-starring Stephen Boyd, Jimmy Durante, and Martha Raye.
- Calamity Jane (1953), possibly Doris Day's best film. Calamity Jane is a lively musical Western directed by David Butler, with an exuberant Day in the title and co-starring Howard Keel as a no-nonsense Wild Bill Hickok. As a plus, Day gets to sing the Academy Award-winning song “Secret Love.”
- The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), a very 1960s and very silly comedy directed by frequent Jerry Lewis collaborator Frank Tashlin, with Rod Taylor, plus assorted Commie spies and counterspies.
- Love Me or Leave Me (1955), with Day as torch singer Ruth Etting, getting slapped around by James Cagney and delivering a perfectly acceptable dramatic performance under the guidance of veteran Charles Vidor.
- Lullaby of Broadway (1951), which has Doris Day, while not singing show tunes, romancing Gene Nelson.
- The Pajama Game (1957), a musical about labor relations (!), co-directed by Broadway's George Abbott and Hollywood's Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain, On the Town), with John Raitt as Day's leading man.
- Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960), a not very funny “family” comedy directed by MGM alumnus Charles Walters (Good News, Lili), with David Niven and Janis Paige.
- Young Man with a Horn (1950), an acceptable black-and-white melodrama co-starring Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall, and directed by veteran Michael Curtiz.
Andrzej Wajda: Katyn massacre is his next movie project
Andrzej Wajda is currently planning to make a film about the Katyn massacre, reports Slovakian news agency TASR. But what is the “Katyn Massacre”?
Several months after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, approximately 15,000 (some sources claim as many as 25,000) Polish prisoners of war were killed by the Soviet secret police in and around the forest near the city of Katyn, in what was then the western section of the Soviet Union (currently western Russia).
In 1943, the Nazis uncovered the remains during their invasion of the Soviet Union, and blamed the Soviets for the massacre. In turn, the Soviet government accused the Nazis of trying to cover up their own atrocities. Despite incriminating evidence pointing to the Kremlin, the U.S. and Britain – at the time allied with the USSR – opted to look the other way.
It was only in 1990 that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev admitted culpability for the massacre. Two years later, the Russian government handed over to Polish President Lech Walesa previously secret documents proving that Joseph Stalin had directly ordered the killings.
Many of the dead were Polish intellectuals and professionals who had been drafted following the Nazi invasion. Those men found themselves prisoners of the Red Army because of a secret deal between the Nazis and Stalin, which had granted the eastern half of Poland to the Soviet Union.
Katyn massacre: A personal tale for Andrzej Wajda
“My father was also executed then,” Andrzej Wajda is quoted as saying. As a result, his mother had to look for work, and the once privileged family of intellectuals was reduced to a working-class existence. “The real hero of this story is my mother,” Wajda added.
Andrzej Wajda received an honorary Oscar in 2000 for his body of work, which includes A Generation (1955), Kanal (1957), Ashes and Diamonds (1958), Man of Marble (1977), Man of Iron (1981), and A Love in Germany (1984).
Later this month, the Criterion Collection is releasing the box set “Andrzej Wajda: Three War Films,” with three of the Polish director's most acclaimed films: Pokolenie / A Generation (1955), Kanal (1957), and Popiól i diament / Ashes and Diamonds (1958), which stars the “Polish James Dean,” Zbigniew Cybulski. (Like Dean, the offbeat Cybulski had an unexpected, bloody death. At age 40, the by then heavy-drinking actor was struck by a railway train.)
In A Generation, Wajda explores the plight of Polish youth reaching adulthood during the German occupation; Kanal is reportedly the first film ever made about the Warsaw uprising of 1944; and Ashes and Diamonds is the tale of a young Polish resistance fighter who is ordered to kill a local Communist leader.
Bit of trivia: Roman Polanski has a small role in A Generation.
Scheduled Region 0 DVD (playable anywhere) release date in the United States: April 26, 2005
- Picture: Full frame, 1.33:1
- Audio: Polish (Dolby Digital Mono 1.0)
- Language: Polish
- Subtitle: English (optional)
- Black and White
- Interviews with director Andrzej Wajda and “his colleagues”
List price: US$79.95.
A Criterion Collection release.
“Doris Day Movies on DVD” Love Me or Leave Me photo: MGM.