Literary Classics Collection (Madame Bovary (1949), Captain Horatio Hornblower, The Three Musketeers (1948), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937 and 1952 Versions), Billy Budd)
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The 1948 version of The Three Musketeers is one of the lesser versions of that swashbuckler; Gene Kelly and Lana Turner leads the cast in a Technicolor-iffic but dramatically underwhelming effort. Raoul Walsh's Captain Horatio Hornblower (1950) delivers thoughtful seagoing strategies, as the British captain navigating gunships and political winds. The movie doesn't have the oomph of the usual Walsh action film, perhaps keyed instead to Gregory Peck's serious presence, but it has a gratifyingly intelligent forward motion. Plus, the Hornblower disc comes with "Captain Hareblower," a Warners cartoon with Bugs Bunny battling Yosemite Sam on the high seas.
The shipboard morality play of Melville's Billy Budd is included here, in the classic 1962 adaptation by director Peter Ustinov (who also plays Captain Vere). Terence Stamp, in his film debut, is the innocent sailor Billy, and Robert Ryan etches one of the all-time portrayals of cold-eyed cruelty as the brutal master-at-arms Claggart. A great conversation piece in the era of the repertory house, the film holds up--and a commentary track with Stamp and Steven Soderbergh provides good stuff on the actor's career start.
The 1949 M-G-M production of Madame Bovary might not please Flaubert purists, but it will impress auteurist fans of Vincente Minnelli. The tale of a wayward small-town wife is infused with Minnelli's swooning grasp of camera movement and décor, and a showpiece ballroom sequence out-duels any Max Ophuls film for swirling dance delirium. Jennifer Jones' alien presence might be a problem for modern viewers, yet her strangeness actually fits the character. This might just be the discovery of the set, which is otherwise filled out with a satisfying batch of vintage cartoons and short subjects. --Robert Horton
Top Customer Reviews
Also included is the Gregory Peck seafaring tale, "Captain Horatio Hornblower," in which Peck gives a fine performance. In 1807, unflappable Capt. Hornblower (Peck) of the British Navy is sent on a secret mission to divert Napoleon's Spanish allies by sponsoring a megalomaniac's Central American revolution. After a hard voyage, unexpected complications force Hornblower to revise his plans...and play reluctant host to the beautiful sister (Virginia Mayo) of the Duke of Wellington. Sea-battles, remarkable adventures, and a star-crossed romantic interlude follow.
A stellar cast give fine performances in another literary classic brought to film in the 1949 "Madame Bovary." French author Gustave Flaubert (James Mason) is on trial for writing the "indecent" novel "Madame Bovary." To prove that he wrote a moral tale, Flaubert narrates the story of beautiful Emma Bovary, (beautiful Jennifer Jones (Duel in the Sun (1946) an adulteress who destroyed the lives of everyone she came in contact with. The film also stars French actor, Louis Jourdan (GiGi (1958) and Van Heflin (Possessed (1947)
Two versions of the literary classic, "The Prisoner of Zenda" are also included. David O. Selznicks's 1937 version is a classic swashbuckler. Maj.Read more ›
I have already watched Captain Hornblower and it was as if it was brand new. The quality and sound are of high quality, the colours are better and I also loved the fact that I had the english subtitles available (I always wanted to figure out the "Fire as your guns bare" phrase).
The price is not a bargain only if you compare it with other available box-sets but I would pay even more for this one.
This is one to tell your friends about, because there's something for everyone here. I echo all the positive comments left by others, and underscore emphatically how amazing it is to finally have a proper widescreen BILLY BUDD. The other films in the collection haven't been as hard to see or own as BILLY, but BILLY suffered from being made by a small company (Allied Artists).
Warner rectifies that error now with this great new set, which is a no-brainer purchase for any true cinephile.
Spanish is a good third choice.
[BTW, it would be nice if subtitle authors were required to be proficient in the source and destination languages. Ideally, they would have access to the script. Also, they should not make common, elementary English errors: its vs. it's, maybe vs. may be, everyday vs. every day, a lot (not alot), till or until (not 'til or til), Internet (not internet), could've or could have (not could of), OK or okay or even O.K. (not Ok or ok), for a while (not for awhile), I used to (not I use to), omitting the second delimiter of parenthetical information, hyphenating two words (a-b) when they mean to put a dash between two parts of a sentence (a--b, a - b, or a -- b), vs. or v. (not vs), etc. or et cetera (not etc...), etc. Punctuation doesn't matter much in e-mail or in Web reviews, but these subtitle authors are being paid as professionals to create something that lasts.]
The main attractions in this collection (at least from my perspective) are "Captain Horatio Hornblower" and "The Three Musketeers." Neither of these has been available on DVD, and I have looked forward to their inevitible (eventual) release.
"The Three Musketeers" is a very fun movie. This literary classic has been made into several movies over the years, but this is my favorite. There is a humerous slant to this that only someone like Gene Kelly could add. This was actually one of those videos that I watched as a kid, and it made an impression on me. There are some good laughs and overall good entertainment!
"Captain Horatio Hornblower" is another one of those that makes you wonder what took so long to get on DVD! An all-time great that epitomizes the seafaring tale--and Gregory Peck doing a terrific job.
"The Prizoner of Zenda" is considered one of the all-time great family adventure movies by some prominent critics (at least the 1937 version). A terrific addition to this collection.
As for the remaining three, I cannot give individual reviews on them because I have not seen them. However, I would most likely buy this collection for the other three alone, so an additional three titles just makes the bargain better! This is a terrific buy with several "overdue" DVD releases. This is a no brainer for your classic movie collection!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Old movies are sometimes more enjoyable than some of the new ones.I had seen them Years ago,but enjoyed them just as much now.Published 17 months ago by David B Jones
We have greatly enjoyed the movies included in this collection, and can assess their overall quality as excellent. Read morePublished on August 14, 2013 by Dr. Angel E. Pacheco
Capt. Horatio hornblower disc was missing? The rest of the cases and DVDs were included.it was too much trouble and expense to return.Published on March 27, 2013 by Michael F. Krogman
Enjoyed the mix of movies included in the collection. I hadn't seen the version of 3 Musketeers since I was a boy -- great to see it again. Read morePublished on December 31, 2012 by Sooner Man
This is a wonderful treat for the old movie buff. The films, the transfer and quality, and the price can't be beat.Published on December 30, 2012 by KR
I am beloved with classic fillms, books, songs from my childhood. Not only American, English, French, but also Russian as
well as Polish,of course. Read more
I'll try to keep it short, I've waited years to track down a copy of this movie. (Thank you, Amazon, if that is not inappropriate). Read morePublished on August 6, 2007 by P. Neal
I purchased this set mainly for the wonderful 1937 version of "The Prisoner of Zenda." I watched that film first, and was surprised at the lack of quality there. Read morePublished on June 22, 2007 by Roger Howerton
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