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Studio Classics - Best Picture Collection (Sunrise / How Green Was My Valley / Gentleman's Agreement / All About Eve)

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: UN
Release Date: 12-OCT-2004
Media Type: DVD

Sunrise (1927)
There are those who rate Sunrise the greatest of all silent films. Then again, some consider it the finest film from any era. Such claims invite a backlash, but do yourself a favor and give it a look. At the very least, you'll know you've seen a movie of extraordinary visual beauty and emotional purity. This universal tale of a farm couple's journey from country to city and back again was the first American film for F.W. Murnau, the German director of Nosferatu and The Last Laugh whose everyday scenes seemed haunted by phantoms and whose most extravagant visions never lost touch with reality. Hollywood afforded him the technical resources to unleash his imagination, and in turn he opened up the power of camera movement and composition for a generation of American filmmakers. You'll never forget the walk in the swamp, the ripples on the lake, the trolley ride from forest to metropolis. This movie defines the cinema. --Richard T. Jameson

How Green Was My Valley (1941)
John Ford's beautiful, heartfelt drama about a close-knit family of Welsh coal miners is one of the greatest films of Hollywood's golden age--a gentle masterpiece that beat Citizen Kane in the Best Picture race for the 1941 Academy Awards. The picture also won Oscars for Best Director (Ford), Best Supporting Actor (Donald Crisp), Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography; all of those awards were richly deserved, even if they came at the expense of Kane and Orson Welles. Based on the novel by Richard Llewellyn, the film focuses its eventful story on 10-year-old Huw (Roddy McDowall), youngest of seven children to Mr. and Mrs. Morgan (Donald Crisp, Sarah Allgood), a hardy couple who've seen the best and worst of times in their South Wales mining town. They're facing one of the worst times as Mr. Morgan refuses to join a miners union whose members have begun a long-term strike. Family tensions grow and Huw must learn many of life's harsher lessons under the tutelage of the local preacher (Walter Pidgeon), who has fallen in love with Huw's sister (Maureen O'Hara). As various crises are confronted and devastating losses endured, How Green Was My Valley unfolds as a rich, moving portrait of family strength and integrity. It's also a nod to a simpler, more innocent time--and to the preciousness of memory and the inevitable passage from youth to adulthood. An all-time classic, not to be missed. --Jeff Shannon

Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Elia Kazan directed this sometimes powerful study of anti-Semitism in nicer circles, based on Laura Z. Hobson's post-World War II novel. Gregory Peck is a hotshot magazine writer who has been blind to the problem; to ferret it out, he passes himself off as Jewish and watches the WASPs squirm. Seen a half-century later, the attitudes seem quaint and dated: Could it really have been like this? Yet the truth of the story comes through, in the wounded dignity of John Garfield, the upright indignation of Peck, and the hidden ways bigotry and hatred can poison relationships. That's particularly true in the Oscar-winning performance of Celeste Holm, who finds more layers than you'd expect in what seems like a stock character. --Marshall Fine

All About Eve (1950)
Showered with Oscars, this wonderfully bitchy (and witty) comedy written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz concerns an aging theater star (Bette Davis) whose life is being supplanted by a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing ingenue (Anne Baxter) whom she helped. This is a film for a viewer to take in like a box of chocolates, packed with scene-for-scene delights that make the entire story even better than it really is. The film also gives deviously talented actors such as George Sanders and Thelma Ritter a chance to speak dazzling lines; Davis bites into her role and never lets go. A classic from Mankiewicz, a legendary screenwriter and the brilliant director of A Letter to Three Wives, The Barefoot Contessa, and Sleuth. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Sunrise
  • Commentary by ASC cinematographer John Bailey
  • Outtakes with optional John Bailey commentary
  • Original scenario by Carl Mayer with annotations by Murnau
  • Murnau's lost film: Four Devils
  • Original Four Devils screenplay
  • Original Sunrise screenplay
  • Original movietone score (mono)
  • Alternate Olympic Chamber Orchestra score (stereo)
  • Aspect ratio 1.20:1
  • How Green Was My Valley
  • Commentary by Anna Lee Nathan and Film Historian Joseph McBride
  • AMC Backstory episode
  • Still gallery
  • Gentleman's Agreement
  • Commentary by Celeste Holm, June Havoc and Film Critic Richard Schickel
  • 2 Fox Movietone Newsreels
  • All About Eve
  • Commentary by Celeste Holm, Christopher Mankiewicz, and Kenneth Geist
  • Commentary by Sam Staggs (Author of All About "All About Eve"
  • Original interviews with Bette Davis and Ann Baxter
  • 4 Movietone Newsreels
  • Restoration comparison

Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Bette Davis, Anne Baxter
  • Directors: Elia Kazan, F.W. Murnau, John Ford, Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Writers: Elia Kazan, Carl Mayer, Erich Kästner, H.H. Caldwell
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Box set, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • 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: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: October 14, 2003
  • Run Time: 469 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AINLS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,698 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Studio Classics - Best Picture Collection (Sunrise / How Green Was My Valley / Gentleman's Agreement / All About Eve)" on IMDb

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Tryavna on November 19, 2004
If you're thinking of buying this collection, chances are that you're most interested in F.W. Murnau's 1927 silent masterpiece Sunrise. (For whatever reasons Fox may have, this is currently the only official way to get hold of the Sunrise DVD.) My review is mainly aimed at those folks, so I'll try to answer the question: Is it worth buying the other three to get Sunrise?

Short answer: Definitely! Fox's DVD transfer of Sunrise, which is an upgrade from an earlier Laserdisc release, is superb. No kidding, it's actually comparable to the best current transfers of silent films, like Kino's Metropolis, WB's Chaplins, and Criterion's Passion of Joan of Arc. Considering that any of those titles would cost you about what you'll pay for this whole collection, you've got to figure that you're getting a pretty good deal.

Long answer: I actually believe that two of the other three films here are masterpieces in their own right. How Green Was My Valley, which has unjustly been labelled as the film that "stole" Best Picture from Citizen Kane, ranks among John Ford's best efforts; it's a genuinely beautiful, though an admittedly sentimental, film. And it's one of those movies that received a solid restoration a few years ago -- back when AMC actually showed good movies and took a hand in these sorts of projects. All About Eve, of course, needs no introduction. I find it a tad too long, but I agree that it has one of the best scripts ever written and some fantastic performances. It has finally received a full restoration from Fox -- all the speckles are gone (though some of the image's sharpness has gone, too). Gentleman's Agreement, on the other hand, is one of those movies that's easier to admire for its aims than for its entertainment value or aesthetics.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Bibb on September 23, 2004
This DVD set contains 4 Academy Award winning films from 20th Century Fox. While descriptions of All About Eve, How Green Was My Valley and Gentlemen's Aggreement can be found elsewhere, there is no description of the DVD version of Sunrise.

At this time the only way to obtain Sunrise is by buying this box set.

The DVD version of Sunrise includes a restored version of the film, an article explaining the restoration, original theatrical trailer, a few still photos on the making of the film, some very rare outtakes, and audio commentary tracks.

The DVD also includes some real treasures from the 20th Century Fox archive. The film "Four Devils" was the very next film made by F.W. Murnau, the director of "Sunrise." The film, is considered to be lost. Using the original script (which is included on the DVD) as well as still photos and storyboard sketches the film is recreated.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By M. J Jensen on October 2, 2004
Verified Purchase
Fox is partially redeemed by this set for not making Sunrise available by itself. Being the only way that Sunrise is available on DVD, this package is an amazing deal. For the price that one could very well pay for Sunrise alone, you can get All About Eve, Gentleman's Agreement, and How Green Was My Valley included. Actually, this would even be a fair price for any 2 of those movies, so to get all 4 of these is incredible.

Since this isn't a very common box set to see, i was especially curious about what it would look like, since Amazon didn't show an image at the time. I was really impressed by the packaging, which is the standard slip case, only it has an interesting see-through slide-on case to hold the DVD's in. So in the above picture, the gold trim and logo are on the transparent outer case, and the faded images are on the actual case. It really looks great in my collection (Although i'll admit i initially had difficulty figuring out how to get the DVD's out of the case).

No further comment on the individual movies is necessary. This set is comparable to the Warner Best Picture collection with Ben Hur, Casablanca, and Gone with the Wind, only it costs nearly half as much, and has an additional movie. But there's no reason any set of Best Pictures shouldn't be in your collection--these are the ones you absolutely cannot go wrong with!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Donald Rogers on June 30, 2005
I have to take issue with "Moviefanatic", who objected to having no lower-cost, 'Sunrise'-only alternative to this set.

I could see his point if they were charging a premium price for the set, but they're not. The cost of this 4-film set is less, for example, than for the 1-disk Criterion edition of 'The Passion of Joan of Arc', or the Kino or Image Entertainment versions of 'Intolerance'. (To say nothing of other silent masterpieces, like 'The Crowd', which have never received DVD release.)

If it helps, you can think of the other three films as bonus filler items. They are all worthy pictures. 'How Green Was My Valley' is often called sentimental, and in some ways it is, but it is a dark, sad movie, and one of Ford's best. 'Gentleman's Agreement' is the weakest film here, a sincere and well-intentioned attack on American anti-Semitism, but rather talky and slow. If it doesn't represent Kazan's best work, it still stands up as historically important. 'All About Eve' was for years the film with the most Oscar nominations (14); it too is talky, but with dialogue this memorable, talky is in this case a good thing.

But the big attraction of this set is 'Sunrise'. Technically, you could argue 'Sunrise' is out of place here, as is not exactly a "Best Picture" Oscar-winner. In the first year of the Academy Awards, 1927-28, the award for "Best Production" was split between 'Wings' and 'The Last Command', while 'Sunrise' got the award -- issued that year only -- for "Best Artistic Quality of Production", beating out 'The Crowd' and 'Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness'. (Incidentally, none of those three films were nominated for "Best Production", and 'The Crowd' would have taken the Artistic Quality award if not for an all-night fillibuster by L.B. Mayer.
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