Handsome, witty and extremely talented, Rock Hudson was the embodiment of the Hollywood leading man during his illustrious film career. Join this iconic actor as he lights up the screen with five of his most impressive films in the Rock Hudson: Screen Legend Collection. Featuring co-stars Piper Laurie, Leslie Caron, Kirk Douglas and Burl Ives, these films highlight the diverse career of an actor whose status as a screen legend will live on in cinema history. Has Anybody See My Gal: In this charming musical comedy, Rock Hudson plays a faithful soda jerk who finds his attentions to the lovely Millicent (Piper Laurie) turned down after her family gains a large sum of money. A Very Special Favor: The war of the sexes heats up when a sleek businessman (Rock Hudson) attempts to seduce an attractive psychiatrist (Leslie Caron) who seems immune to his charms. The Golden Blade: Follow Rock Hudson on an epic adventure as a brave warrior who uses the magical Sword of Damascus to save his people and claim the heart of a princess (Piper Laurie). The Last Sunset: Journey to the Wild West with a haunted sheriff (Rock Hudson) as he joins an outlaw (Kirk Douglas) in a treacherous cattle drive and finds his heart captive to the wanted man's former lover. The Spiral Road: When an opportunistic physician (Rock Hudson) travels to the jungles of Java, a shocking meeting with a black magic witch doctor forces him to re-evaluate his selfish past.
This three-disc, five-film set spans a decade (1952-62) in Rock Hudson's career. It is not the ideal introduction to the strapping, ruggedly handsome leading man who, in his prime, was among Hollywood's top five biggest box office stars for eight years running. But his fans will want to add these more obscure and admirably diverse films--each making its DVD debut--to their collections. The most entertaining film, Has Anybody Seen My Gal
(1952) is an amusing trifle set in the 1920s, but it does mark Hudson's first film with Douglas Sirk, who would direct Hudson in some of his best films, including Written on the Wind
, All That Heaven Allows
, and Magnificent Obsession. Hudson is cast in a small but pivotal role as a poor but honest soda jerk in love with Piper Laurie, whose social-climbing mother does not approve. Charles Coburn is the real star as an eccentric millionaire who teaches the family that "it's not money that makes a person happy." Look for an uncredited James Dean at the soda fountain counter. Hudson was perhaps best known for his romantic comedies opposite Doris Day, and what a difference Day's absence makes in the somewhat icky A Very Special Favor
(1965). Womanizer Hudson brings "fulfillment" into the life of career woman Leslie Caron at the request of her father (!), portrayed by Charles Boyer. The Arabian Nights adventure The Golden Blade
(1953) is pure escapism with a questionably cast Hudson as Harun, who becomes embroiled in Baghdad palace intrigue as he searches for his father's killer. He is armed with the magical Sword of Damascus, which only seems to work when he wields it.
The most provocative film in this set is the 1961 Western The Last Sunset, co-starring Kirk Douglas as a killer sheriff Hudson has sworn to bring in to be hanged. But first, they agree to help Joseph Cotten drive his cattle across the border from his Mexican ranch. Dorothy Malone costars as Cotten's wife and Kirk's lost love, whose 16-year-old daughter's true parentage will cause Kirk some disquieting problems after he romances her. The Spiral Road (1962), very long at nearly three hours, stars Hudson as an arrogant, upstart doctor who seeks to advance his career by working in the Borneo jungle with Brits Jansen (Burl Ives), whose groundbreaking work with leprosy Hudson wants to chronicle. While none of these films rank among Hudson's most essential work, it is a Rock-solid collection that charts the development of an old-school movie star. --Donald Liebenson