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Henry Fonda - The Signature Collection (Advise and Consent / Battle of the Bulge / Mister Roberts / The Wrong Man)


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Henry Fonda - The Signature Collection (Advise and Consent / Battle of the Bulge / Mister Roberts / The Wrong Man) + The Cary Grant Signature Collection (Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House / Destination Tokyo / The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer / My Favorite Wife / Night and Day)
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Turner Classic Movie
  • DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FZETSY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,751 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Henry Fonda - The Signature Collection (Advise and Consent / Battle of the Bulge / Mister Roberts / The Wrong Man)" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Henry Fonda: The Signature Collection (DVD) (4-Pack)

Amazon.com

Otto Preminger expanded his vision in the 1960s with a whole series of ambitious, expansive dramas with huge casts and big themes. Advise and Consent, an examination of deal making, party politics, and congressional diplomacy in Washington's legislative halls (based on the novel by Allen Drury), is one of his best. Preminger broke the blacklist with his previous film, Exodus, and it rings through in this drama about a controversial nominee for secretary of state (a confident, stately Henry Fonda) accused of being a Communist. The nomination process becomes the center ring of the political circus, with fidgety accuser Burgess Meredith in the spotlight; devious, silver-tongued Charles Laughton cracking the whip as a southern senator with a grudge against Fonda; and party whip Walter Pidgeon lining up votes behind the scenes. Arm twisting and diplomatic hardball turns to perjury and blackmail, and a melodramatic twist gives this lesson in party politics a salacious soap opera dimension.

The German offensive in December 1944 became the basis for the all-star Hollywood Battle of the Bulge. Henry Fonda is an officer who predicts the assault, Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews are Army brass skeptical of his intuitions, and Robert Shaw is a German officer leading the tank attack. Shaw is certainly the most compelling thing about the film, especially in his philosophical debates with ambivalent underling Hans Christian Blech. Elsewhere, the movie jumps around to sidebar stories (cowardly James MacArthur becomes a leader, wheeler-dealer Telly Savalas falls in love) while messing around with the historical facts of the battle. There are interesting episodes, such as the Malmedy massacre of American POWs and the Germans' use of English-speaking spies, but overall Battle of the Bulge has the feeling of having been patched together from different scripts. On the physical level the movie comes up short, with the Spanish locations rarely suggesting the wintry misery of the battle, and the use of models and studio sets highly inadequate. A number of war films from this era are compelling on their own terms, but in the wake of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, this one looks antique.

Henry Fonda re-created his Broadway hit Mister Roberts for the 1955 film that was mostly directed by Fonda's frequent collaborator, John Ford (Young Mr. Lincoln, My Darling Clementine)--an ailing Ford was replaced at some point by Mervyn LeRoy--and the results are exceptionally fine. A perfect cast, including James Cagney's irascible captain, William Powell's thoughtful physician, and Jack Lemmon's Oscar-winning Ensign Pulver, give Fonda the right boost to portray his ennui-burdened officer with dignity, self-effacing humor, and not a trace of self-pity. A wonderful film.

Alfred Hitchcock was fond of telling the story about how his father discouraged his son from even the slightest criminal impulse by having young Alfred locked in a police holding cell for a brief period--a terrifying experience Hitchcock never forgot. Much of the fear from that childhood incident resonates through The Wrong Man, which is unique among Hitchcock's films in that it is based entirely on a factual case that occurred in New York City in January 1953. As Hitchcock states in a shadowy prologue, authenticity was his primary goal--including the use of actual names and locations from the case--and the film gains considerable power from Hitchcock's semi-documentary approach (a film noir style that was still in vogue when Hitchcock shot this film in 1957). Henry Fonda is perfectly cast as the financially struggling nightclub musician who is mistakenly identified as a robber when he attempts to cash in his wife's life-insurance policy to pay for her much-needed dental work. Vera Miles is equally superb as the suffering wife, who ultimately cracks under the pressure of her husband's wrongful accusation and the drawn-out process of proving his innocence. Through all of this, Hitchcock pays close attention to the mundane details of police procedure, intensifying Fonda's desperation and the narrative tension that was Hitchcock's directorial trademark. As it happens, the strict adherence to factual detail--no matter how absurd or incredible--also renders The Wrong Man somewhat weaker than Hitchcock's classic plots, since in this case truth is decidedly stranger than fiction. Nevertheless, this is still a riveting film that fits quite nicely alongside Hitchcock's better-known films of the 1950s.

Customer Reviews

Great actor ... great movies ... they don't make them like this anymore ... not the actors or the movies.
Jim wohlsen
I hope that's not set in stone and I hope the studio decides to either put another movie in there, or take that one out.
Wonderous Thoughts
This entire collection was probably a bad idea for several reasons, but not because these aren't good movies.
calvinnme

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. Scot Shelley on September 14, 2006
I do agree with other reviews - there's not much here and it's all already available. But I do have to comment on something I see over and over in these reviews - Warner Brothers doesn't own the rights to every movie ever made. The reason they can't include his great Western "Once Upon a Time in the West" is because the rights are owned by Paramount Pictures, and "Grapes of Wrath" is owned by 20th Century Fox, just to name two.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 3, 2007
This entire collection was probably a bad idea for several reasons, but not because these aren't good movies.

1. All of these movies are available individually on DVD and were for some time before this collection was released. Thus, this set really only works as a discount collection because you are buying all four DVDs together versus the individual price.

2. Three of the four movies are in other Warner Home Video DVD collections. "Advise and Consent" is in the "Controversial Classics" collection. It is an excellent set, and if you are a collector of classic movies you are probably going to eventually want that one. Also, if you are a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, "The Wrong Man" is also included in the "Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection", which is also a very good set. "Battle of the Bulge" is in the "World War II Collection - Battlefront Europe", also an excellent set. This leaves you with "Mr. Roberts" as the only DVD that isn't already in some other Warner Home Video collection. It is notable not only for Fonda's excellent performance but for the fact that it was the beloved William Powell's last appearance in a motion picture and one of Jack Lemmon's first.

3. Finally, let's face it, Fonda's best work was probably done in films under the control of 20th Century Fox, not in the films controlled by Warner Home Video. However, I have to wonder, with all of the duplication going on in this set, why didn't Warners include two excellent films starring Fonda that were made for Warner Brothers - 1963's "Spencer's Mountain", which was the basis for the TV series "The Waltons", and 1966's "Big Hand for the Little Lady", which is not even on DVD yet.
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ADVISE AND CONSENT is a devastating political film of what goes on behind the scenes in Washington. This is a good film about the nomination of Henry Fonda for Secretary of State. The only problem is that Fonda has a skeleton hidden in his closet and he perjures himself. The film then shifts focus from Fonda to all the people trying to uncover dirt upon dirt from both sides of the political arena. It is a very interesting film and again we see Preminger as the master technician manipulating the almost documentary style of drama. This film has one of the best casts every assembled and performances to match. Charles Laughton, George Grizzard, Walter Pidgeon, Don Murray, Franchot Tone, Lew Ayres, Burgess Meredith, Gene Tierney, Peter Lawford, Will Geer and young Eddie Hodges are all featured. This film is an exhausting experience and you can really feel for some of the characters. The finale of this drama leaves the viewer numb. THE WRONG MAN has a semi documentary feel about it and an interesting score composed by Bernard Herrmann. THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE is a big single lens CINERAMA production of the WWII battle. Director Ken Annakin's single lens Cinerama epic is a condensation of time, characters and events of the real last ditch W.W.II German offensive. Though not historically accurate it looks back to the glory days of Warner Brothers' BATTLE CRY for inspiration. It did manage to find scope and it does not fail to entertain. Robert Shaw is excellent as the determined Nazi tank division commander Colonel Hessler. But the real standout performance is given by the long forgotten veteran actor George Montgomery as the seasoned American Sergeant who takes the green Lieutenant (James McArthur) under his wing.Read more ›
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Verified Purchase
Purchased for my husband, who is a Henry Fonda Fan. Nice collector set. Only watch one DVD so far, but had no problems with it.
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Verified Purchase
The signature collection is flawed only in the sense that it is reduced to just four films. However, that being said, the collection harkens back to the day when Hollywood told stories about life unlike today's films where the box office is the bottom line as opposed to entertainment value. This is evidenced by the fact that today's films must make X amount of dollars at the box office opening week-end or be doomed to short theater runs and obscurity in the DVD rental arena. Henry Fonda's subtle performances are filled with nuance today's actors will never achieve.
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Verified Purchase
This is a 'must have' for any serious film fan and collector, each one alone worth the price beginning with Mr. Roberts and culminating in the brilliant Advise and Consent which will change forever your understanding of how Washington REALLY works. This set also contains some entertaining and truly informative extras. First rate!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peggy on March 4, 2007
I bought this set because it had two of my favorite Henry Fonda movies included - Mister Roberts and Battle of the Bulge. I already owned Advise and Consent from another movie collection, but The Wrong Man was a new one for me. An excellent way to spend a weekend!
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