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James Stewart - The Signature Collection (The Cheyenne Social Club / Firecreek / The FBI Story / The Naked Spur / The Spirit of St. Louis / The Stratton Story)

63 customer reviews

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James Stewart - The Signature Collection (The Cheyenne Social Club / Firecreek / The FBI Story / The Naked Spur / The Spirit of St. Louis / The Stratton Story) + 4 Movie Marathon: James Stewart Western Collection (Bend of the River / The Far Country / Night Passage / The Rare Breed) + Shenandoah
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

James Stewart: Signature Collection, The (DVD) (5-Pack)

Amazon.com

Few Hollywood stars have the reservoir of goodwill that James Stewart enjoys; even in his so-so vehicles he's delightfully worth watching. That premise is tested by James Stewart: The Signature Collection which, with one exception, contains none of Stewart's really important pictures. The box does present a collection of movies mostly new to DVD, which gives the set whatever urgency it has from an otherwise mixed bag.

The one important Stewart title is The Naked Spur, arguably the best of the superb series of Westerns the actor made in collaboration with director Anthony Mann in the 1950s (which also include Winchester 73 and The Man from Laramie). The nervous, hard character who emerged in those films is perfected in Stewart's amazingly raw performance in The Naked Spur. He plays an embittered bounty hunter attempting to bring captured outlaw Robert Ryan to the authorities while also dealing with Ryan's companion (Janet Leigh) and two associates who want in on the reward (Ralph Meeker and Millard Mitchell). Mann's command of locations that reflect the emotional lives of the characters is unerring, and Stewart goes all the way with a performance that suggests he is as unbalanced as his villainous quarry.

Two other Westerns are included, both teaming Stewart with Henry Fonda: Firecreek, a grim 1968 High Noon imitator with Jimmy as a small-town farmer defending the place from Hank's band of desperadoes; and The Cheyenne Social Club, a comedy that has Stewart inheriting a bordello, as saddle pal Fonda tags along for the laughs. If director Gene Kelly's approach weren't so crass, the movie might be a lot funnier than it is.

The Stratton Story, a big hit from 1949, casts Stewart in the true tale of pitcher Monty Stratton, who enjoyed some big-league success before a hunting accident cost him his leg. The cornball script is rife with baseball nostalgia, and audiences loved the gee-whiz chemistry of lanky Stewart and tiny, indomitably perky June Allyson. Equally square is The FBI Story, an account of the Bureau's growth from the 1920s onward, with especially lavish reverence for J. Edgar Hoover (who appears in a cameo). Stewart is the agent through whose eyes we see the decades roll by.

The Spirit of St. Louis is one of the most atypical titles in Billy Wilder's career, standing as a straightforward account of Charles Lindbergh's legendary solo flight from the U.S. to Europe. Stewart may have been apt casting for the Lone Eagle in some ways, but he looked far too old to play the young aviator in this 1957 picture. The film has some nagging storytelling problems, but the aviation footage--especially Lindbergh's thrilling liftoff for his record flight--is beautifully shot. Taken together, this set does provide different angles on James Stewart's American Hero (a more complex personality than he's usually given credit for). But it's not his top-drawer work. --Robert Horton


Special Features

  • Includes:
  • The FBI Story (1959)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • 1.66 anamorphic, color, English mono
  • The Naked Spur (1953)
  • Vintage short "Things We Can Do Without"
  • Classic cartoon "Little Johnny Jet"
  • 1.33, Color, English mono, French mono
  • The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
  • Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
  • "The Spirit of St. Louis" Premiere
  • Vintage Joe McDoakes comedy short "So Your Wife Wants to Work"
  • Classic cartoon "Tabasco Road"
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 2.35 anamorphic, Color, English Dolby 5.1, French mono
  • The Stratton Story (1949)
  • Vintage featurette "Pest Control"
  • Classic Cartoon "Batty Baseball"
  • Audio-only Bonus: Radio Show with Stewart and Allyson
  • 1.33, black and white, English mono, French mono
  • The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) & Firecreek (1968)
  • First-Time Widescreen home video debut for both movies
  • Vintage "The Cheyenne Social Club" Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • 2.35 anamorphic, color, English mono, French mono

Product Details

  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2006
  • Run Time: 683 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FTCLRQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,338 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "James Stewart - The Signature Collection (The Cheyenne Social Club / Firecreek / The FBI Story / The Naked Spur / The Spirit of St. Louis / The Stratton Story)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By P. Williams on August 31, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After waiting so long to see some of these great films in widescreen DVD, it is a major disappointment to see the quality of the transfers in this collection. As another reviewer has noted, Naked Spur is not good and Cheyenne Social Club looks like the entire film was transferred out of focus. Low bit rate to make two features fit on the (two sided) DVD? Who knows. Hard to believe the source material is marred in this way. I bought the collection; Cheyenne and Firecreek are available on their own as a two-disc set that may or may not be better. I've seen Warner features 30 years older that look much better. Shame on you Time Warner.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A. Film Lover on August 25, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First off, what is with the "reviewers" at amazon. I'm sorry, but this is a DVD section and what do we find? Two "reviews" of films but not the actual DVD set, which neither of these two current "reviewers" have seen. What IS the point?

The set, for me, contains two great films - Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur, and Billy Wilder's The Spirit Of St. Louis. The latter is one of Mr. Wilder's most underappreciated films and I simply don't know why. It's grandly entertaining, has great Wilder dialogue (watch the scene with the young girl who gives him her compact with the mirror), wonderful direction, and Mr. Stewart is terrific. The transfer on Spirit (isn't that what people want to know about???) is excellent - very sharp, the color is accurate most of the time and the sound is great. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of The Naked Spur's transfer. It's not the worst I've seen, but it's close. The colors are okay, but it's clearly out of registration, which makes the image soft bordering on being completely out of focus. Shame on Warner Bros. for foisting a transfer like this on the public - in this day and age it's shameful.

The other transfers in the set are all fine. Oh, and to the two other "reviewers" - right on the review form what does it say? "Please be sure to focus your comments on THE PRODUCT." How hard is that? People do love to type.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on August 4, 2006
Format: DVD
No Hollywood star ever 'reinvented' himself as successfully as Jimmy Stewart, from the idealistic, 'Aw, Shucks' boy-next-door of the Golden Age, to the intense, driven loner of the Mann and Hitchcock films of the 50s, to everybody's favorite 'father figure' of the 60s and 70s...this collection, while certainly not his best films of the 1940s-1960s, offers one bonafide 'classic' ("The Naked Spur"), and five other titles definitely worth owning!

"The Stratton Story" (1949) - 6'4" Stewart and 5'1" June Allyson are so 'natural' together in their three films (they also made "The Glenn Miller Story" and "Strategic Air Command"), that you might honestly think they were married in real life! Based on a true story, of baseball pitcher Monty Stratton, who miraculously returned to the game after losing his leg in a hunting accident, it's the chemistry between the stars that makes this film work so well. Stewart has the will to make a comeback, but Allyson provides the 'heart' to make the dream possible. An enjoyable film, particularly for baseball fans (who may find Stewart's pitching style a bit 'strange', even when he had both legs!)

"The Naked Spur" (1953) - Arguably, the best of Stewart's teamings with director Anthony Mann, in an outdoor saga of reward-driven Stewart attempting to bring in affable (but evil) outlaw Robert Ryan (who called this one of his favorite roles). Complicating matters is Ryan's devoted girlfriend (Janet Leigh, who was never lovelier), a crusty prospector (Millard Mitchell), and a sleazy ex-soldier (Ralph Meeker, who is excellent). The backdrop of the Rockies is breathtaking, the tension, as Ryan manipulates everyone against Stewart, never lets up, and the finale is spectacular.

Certainly, the best film of the collection!
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Freeman on May 2, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't know what the other viewers were complaining about when it came to the video quality of The Naked Spur and The Cheyenne Social Club I found them to be just fine. I almost didn't buy it for those reasons, but I am very glad I did. I am still a young man and just recently became more than just a casual fan of Jimmy Stewart and other great Classic Movies,actors and actresses in general. I have flat out fallen in love to the point of collecting every movie I can get my hands on from Hollywood's Golden era. I have been passing on my love for these great movies to my son 12 and daughter 9 who also have a growing interest for the Classic's. For example, when I was watching The Naked Spur my daughter was hooked from the start and sat watched the entire movie and said she loved it. It's nice to hear them say can we watch a Stewart movie or a Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Cary Grant, James Cagney, Glenn Ford and to many other great actors and actresses to mention, but like I said they love it and are now passing it on to their cousins and to their friends. Bob
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Johnsen on August 3, 2006
Format: DVD
When I found out The Spirit of St. Louis was going to be released August 15th, I was hoping there would be other Jimmy Stewart movies coming out on the same day. Never could I have hoped for this collection of 6 coming out at such an affordable price. Out of the other films included in this set, I have only seen the FBI Story, however, I am sure all of them are Jimmy Stewart at his finest. If you are inclined to buy one of these 6, I strongly suggest simply buying this collection as a whole at this affordable price.
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