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Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 1 (If You Could Only Cook / Too Many Husbands / My Sister Eileen / She Wouldn't Say Yes) (2011)

Fred McMurray , Rosalind Russell  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 1 (If You Could Only Cook / Too Many Husbands / My Sister Eileen / She Wouldn't Say Yes) + Icons of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2 (Theodora Goes Wild / Together Again / A Night to Remember / The Doctor Takes a Wife) + Mystery Classics
Price for all three: $22.10

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Product Details

  • Actors: Fred McMurray, Rosalind Russell, The Three Stooges
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: August 4, 2009
  • Run Time: 336 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0024FAG1C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,305 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 1 (If You Could Only Cook / Too Many Husbands / My Sister Eileen / She Wouldn't Say Yes)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The Screwball Comedy was virtually invented at Columbia Studios, during the height of the depression. Following the huge success of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934). Columbia would make more of these madcap romantic comedies than any other studio. Typical "Screwballs" features marital mix-ups and plenty of opportunities to poke fun at the wealthy, while allowing audiences to dwell in the luxury of the upper-class. These films also offered some of the best roles for actresses in this period, such as working-girls in a man's world (Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday), or socially liberal gals battling restrictive upper-crust society (Katharine Hepburn in Holiday). A breezy approach to male and female roles was a hallmark of the Screwball Comedy. For this collection, the studio digs deep into its vaults for four classics of the genre.

Jean Arthur stars as a down-on-her-luck cook who charms a millionaire (Herbert Marshall) into playing along as her husband so they can get work in If You Could Only Cook, then as a girl who finds herself legally-wedded to two men (Fred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas) in Too Many Husbands. Another screen legend, Rosalind Russell, shines as the "other" sister who's pretty, young sister (Janet Blair) brings a host of eccentrics through their Greenwich Village apartment in the original film version of My Sister Eileen. Russell then battles her patient's (Lee Bowman) impulses while suppressing her own as a button-down psychiatrist in She Wouldn't Say Yes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
In my earlier review of the color musical remake of "My Sister Eileen" My Sister Eileen I discussed at some length the many superior charms of the (then) unavailable Rosalind Russell version of "My Sister Eileen", and complained of its absence from DVD. Well at last the outstanding 1942 "My Sister Eileen" with Rosalind Russell in absolute top form is available on DVD. Following sensational roles in 1939's "The Women", and 1940's "His Girl Friday", Russell's hilarious performance as the no-nonsense big sister of beautiful Eileen earned Russell her first (of four) Oscar nominations. Not until Auntie Mame would she again touch such comedic heights. If you enjoy Russell in any of those films you're in for a treat here.

"If You Could Only Cook", a 1935 Jean Arthur feature, is the charming runner-up in this four film set. A very brief film, even for the age of double features, the film premiered as an 'A' at Christmas in 1935 and won good notices. A classic thirties Cinderella story, with Arthur as struggling shop girl, the film's delights are nicely divided between the irrepressibly attractive Arthur, and the rest of a small and fine cast. Herbert Marshall plays an automobile tycoon, who meets and his charmed by the lovely Jean while cooling his heels in the park following an argument with his board of directors. Intriqued by the penniless Arthur's determination to find a job, he keeps his own status a secret, and when she mistakes him for a fellow down and out, he goes along. The only possible job offering Arthur can find calls for a couple, a cook and butler, and when Marshall decides to tag along of course things go from there.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
This set includes four films:
If You Could Only Cook (1935),
Too Many Husbands (1940),
My Sister Eileen (1942),
She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945)
All of these were made after the pre-code era ended, and they're pretty hard to find or see unless you have Turner Classic Movies, which has had access to the "Columbia B's" since 2007. In fact, that's the way I was able to see two of the four.

"Too Many Husbands" - directed by Wesley Ruggles - is reminiscent of "My Favorite Wife", except this time it is the husband that was shipwrecked and presumed dead. Jean Arthur is the wife, Fred McMurray plays husband number one, and Melvyn Douglas plays husband number two. Another departure is that here the wife has been remarried for a year versus "My Favorite Wife" where the second marriage has barely started.

"If You Could Only Cook" has Herbert Marshall playing an automobile executive who is bored with his life. While sitting on a park bench one day he is mistaken by a cook as one of the many unemployed. She wants to apply for a different job, but that job require a cook/butler husband/wife team. She asks Marshall's character to apply for the job with her and pose as her husband. He decides this is just the change of pace he is looking for. The problem is they are not married and they are required to share a room with one double bed.

"My Sister Eileen" stars Rosalind Russell as an aspiring writer who moves from Ohio to New York to pursue her dream. She takes along her younger and very attractive sister, and the two wind up sharing a basement apartment where they are subjected to a parade of the friends and clients of ex-tenants and a less than honest landlord. If you liked Rosalind in her other screwball comedy roles you'll like this film.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ruth, Eileen and their 'wonderful town'... May 4, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
MY SISTER EILEEN was Columbia's answer when they could not secure the film rights to WONDERFUL TOWN, the hugely-successful Broadway musical version of Ruth McKenney's "Eileen Stories". Columbia had previously filmed MY SISTER EILEEN to acclaim in 1942 with Rosalind Russell as Ruth and Janet Blair as Eileen. Roz later wowed Broadway when she made her musical Ruth debut in WONDERFUL TOWN in 1953 (playing the role again for a TV version of the tuner in 1957). This musical version of MY SISTER EILEEN features a score that cannot even compare with that for WONDERFUL TOWN (despite the music by Jule Styne - `Mr Broadway Overture' himself).

Betty Garrett is good casting for the role of plain-speaking Ruth, and Janet Leigh makes the role of flirty Eileen her own. Jack Lemmon plays Ruth's boss Bob Baker (he has a charming musical style) whilst Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall play two suitors competing for Eileen's hand. Dick York (of `Bewitched' fame) plays the girls' helpful footballing-neighbour Wreck and Kurt Kasznar plays the double-talking landlord Appopolous to perfection. A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

The DVD presents a great new anamorphic print of the film. Extras consist of the original trailer plus trailers of other classic Columbia releases.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming, screwball musical December 21, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Most folks will pay attention to this film becuase it's an early piece by choreographer Bob Fosse -- but it is a fun bit of froth that easily stands on its own. An absolutely delightful musical comedy, starring Betty Garrett as a smart smalltown girl determined to make it in New York City. She moves there with her with her glamourous, ditzy sister Eileen, whose good looks open more doors than do Garrett's brains and moxie. A nice film about struggling to get ahead in the Big Apple, with a script that takes its time and several exuberently goofy dance numbers, gleefully choreographed by a young Bob Fosse, who also plays one of the sister's avid suitors. The penultimate dance scene is side-splittingly hilarious, featuring a swarm of recently disembarked Cuban sailors on the prowl for American women, who form an inexhaustable conga line that snakes chaotically through the gal's tiny apartment. Thoroughly entertaining... a great, lighthearted film with some fabulous acting and bright, winning performances by all involved.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four films for a great price plus Jean Arthur & Rosalind Russell -...
I bought this box set because I really like Jean Arthur and Rosalind Russell.
My Sister Eileen is very funny (and with a surprise cameo appearance at the end!). Read more
Published 13 days ago by D. S. Wymore
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Movie Lover Here
I am a classic movie lover and I enjoy black and white movies. I enjoy watching classic comedies and thrillers, so long as they are in black and white. Read more
Published 2 months ago by SirLaurent
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Noise
At the beginning of the tape, there is a horrible sound, then later on it comes back. If I had owned this tape, I never would have sold it, I would had thrown it away.
Published 2 months ago by dean57
5.0 out of 5 stars Utter Laff riot
They're all good, but MY SISTER EILEEN is a minor classic. The show's roots as a play show through from time to time but the screen is packed with more comic energy than I could... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr Garfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, Clean family humour
A wonderful collection of comedy movies without all the profanity of modern day films. No, these are not films that will go down in history as being deep or making a profound... Read more
Published 4 months ago by patsypopo
5.0 out of 5 stars Rosalind Russell and Jean Arthur are two stars you never hear about.
I ordered "Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume I" because I happened to see Rosalind Russell in "She Wouldn't Say Yes" on PBS TV and loved it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ernest D. Chwalisz
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed my sister eileen
Fun secondary musical. Not the very best but the dancing is first rate. A warm viewing experience with actors who are clearly enjoying themselves
Published 7 months ago by tigertheboo
4.0 out of 5 stars The movies are screwball, but the listing is downright screwy
I am posting this appreciative review of the ICONS OF SCREWBALL COMEDY, VOLUME 1, that offers four relatively neglected but enjoyable B&W screwball comedies in one DVD set at a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Allen Smalling
4.0 out of 5 stars FUN MOVIES!
You will enjoy these movies! They don't make movies like this today! Good clean fun at the movies! BUY IT!
Published 9 months ago by George Thursby
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie Review
We purchased this cd because of the actors. We have enjoyed other movies they have acted in. We
enjoyed the comedies selected in this volume and consider it a gd. purchase.
Published 10 months ago by busy life
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