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During the 1940s, realism reigned in British cinema—but not at Gainsborough Pictures. The studio, which had been around since the ’20s, found new success with a series of pleasurably preposterous costume melodramas. Audiences ate up these overheated films, which featured a stable of charismatic stars, including James Mason (Lolita), Margaret Lockwood (The Lady Vanishes), Stewart Granger (King Solomon’s Mines), and Phyllis Calvert (Indiscreet). Though its films were immensely profitable in wartime and immediately after, Gainsborough did not outlive the decade. This set brings together a trio of Gainsborough’s most popular films—florid, visceral tales of secret identities, multiple personalities, and romantic betrayals.
THREE DVD BOX SET INCLUDES:
THE MAN IN GREY This tale of treachery put both the Gainsborough melodrama and actor James Mason on the map. The star-to-be plays Lord Rohan, a cruel nobleman who marries the naive and sweet-natured Clarissa (Phyllis Calvert) for the sole purpose of producing an heir; meanwhile, Clarissa’s conniving best friend, Hesther (Margaret Lockwood), secretly plots against her for her own nefarious ends. The Man in Grey, directed by Leslie Arliss (The Wicked Lady), was such a box-office success that Gainsborough used it as a template, launching a cycle of increasingly rococo films. 1943
MADONNA OF THE SEVEN MOONS
A lurid tale of sex and psychosis, Madonna of the Seven Moons, directed by Arthur Crabtree (Fiend Without a Face), is among the wildest of the Gainsborough melodramas. Set in Italy, it begins as a relatively composed tale about a respectable, convent-raised woman (Phyllis Calvert) who is haunted by the memory of being raped as a teenager. When her grown daughter returns from school, her life begins to crack up in monumentally surprising ways. Stewart Granger also plays a prominent role in this sensational tale. 1945
THE WICKED LADY
Margaret Lockwood devours the screen as a tightly wound seventeenth-century beauty with loose morals, who steals her best friend’s wealthy fiancé on the eve of the wedding. And that’s only the beginning of this piece of pulp from director Leslie Arliss (The Man in Grey): there are no depths to which this sinful woman won’t sink. James Mason costars, and nearly steals the movie, as a highwayman with whom our antiheroine becomes entangled. This nasty, subversive treat was the most commercially successful of all the Gainsborough melodramas. 1945
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I looked all over for these old movies and when I saw that I could by them on DVD, I was more than... Read more
Each of these three sparklers is a complement to the other two. Here is to dialogue at its richest, plot to its sublimely diabolical (yes, an oxymoron), and to direction and every... Read morePublished 14 months ago by John P. Morris
"Madonna of the Seven Moons" is an example of the psychologically oriented films that started to be made shortly after WWII. Read morePublished 20 months ago by jj1
Stewart was a post-war german teenage idol. He was so very good playing the romantic lead, which made our hearts beat a little faster. Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by Hannelore P.
All three of these films present famous actors in early roles. James Mason (A Star is Born, the Seventh Veil, etc. Read morePublished on July 6, 2013 by John Feeley
Watch Margaret Lockwood transform! Follow the wild, implausible adventures! You'll never watch a PBS English county-house drama the same way after cruising through these... Read morePublished on February 5, 2013 by John AM
I purchased this set of three movies because they contain some of James Mason's earliest performances. I consider James Mason to be one of the best actors of the last century. Read morePublished on January 4, 2013 by Tony Marquise Jr.
Filmed to appeal to the women home alone while their men were fighting World War II, and introducing James Mason and Stewart Granger to movie audiences, these three melodramas are... Read morePublished on January 3, 2013 by Laura Boyes