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TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Legends - Jean Harlow (Dinner at Eight / Libeled Lady / China Seas / Wife vs. Secretary) (2011)

Jean Harlow , Marie Dressler , George Cukor , Jack Conway  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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TCM Greatest Classic Film Collection: Legends - Jean Harlow (Dinner at Eight / Libeled Lady / China Seas / Wife vs. Secretary) + Red Dust
Price for both: $28.57

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  • Red Dust $13.99

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, William Powell, Clark Gable
  • Directors: George Cukor, Jack Conway, Clarence Brown
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Classic Movie
  • DVD Release Date: February 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 383 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047BXR1C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,957 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Bonus Français Audio on Wife vs. Secretary
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Main Feature. Bonus Material/Trailer May Not Be Subtitled).

Editorial Reviews

China Seas

Sea captain Clark Gable has his hands full on the Hong Kong-Singapore route: secret gold hidden below decks, pirates, a typhoon. None of which truly matters, since the real action here is animal attraction: Gable can't believe the one classy lady (Rosalind Russell) he ever loved has come on board the same time as his bawdy mistress (Jean Harlow). Director Tay Garnett does well by the storm at sea and the marauding pirates, but he knows the real fun is when Gable and Harlow trade smoldering glances and caustic one-liners. And if more deliciously vulgar dialogue is needed, Wallace Beery is there to spray it around. However preposterous all this may seem, it's so spicily written (script by James Kevin McGuinness and the gifted Jules Furthman) and perfectly cast that it satisfies on pretty much every level. Gable was at his prime here, a bullheadedly confident example of machismos americanus in his natural habitat, and in Harlow he found his perfect unpretentious sparring partner. China Seas is essentially a rehash of their teaming in Red Dust, but absolutely nobody minded. --Robert Horton

China Seas

For such an unheralded movie, Wife vs. Secretary provides a surprisingly satisfying time, aided immensely by the old MGM gloss and a trio of big stars. Clark Gable, so secure in his manly-man pictures, reminds us that he could be a dab hand at lightweight romance; his role is a typical Gable world-beater, a publishing tycoon with a lavish Manhattan lifestyle. But here he's happily, blissfully married, and his scenes with wife Myrna Loy are playful and cute. The only glitch is, his secretary is Jean Harlow, and despite Gable's fidelity, tongues will inevitably wag. Harlow here has none of the boisterous sass of her earlier pairings with Gable--she really is just an efficient and plucky secretary, even if boss and assistant trade charged glances during a business trip to Havana--and so the movie's tone is pretty genteel. The greenhorn James Stewart, still a couple of years from stardom, plays Harlow's mild but suspicious suitor, and he gets stuck with obligatory dialogue urging Harlow to give up her job and settle down with him. (The movie is interesting in showing how productive and fulfilled Harlow is by work rather than marriage.) MGM mainstay Clarence Brown directed, with an approach so dignified that nothing, alas, ever gets too giddy. Still, Gable and Loy are so fun together the movie succeeds. For Thin Man fans who can't get enough of Loy and the idea of marriage-as-playtime, this is a good fix. --Robert Horton

Product Description

DINNER AT EIGHT (1933) You’re invited to a sparkling all-star peek into the lives of the troubled and troublemaking Who’s Who coming to a posh Manhattan party, led by Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and more. George Cukor directs. LIBELED LADY (1936) When society diva Myrna Loy sues newsman Spencer Tracy for libel, he enlists fiancée Harlow and buddy William Powell in a scheme involving a rigged marriage, a phony seduction, a funny fishing scene, fisticuffs and, eventually, true love for all. CHINA SEAS (1935) A rugged captain (Clark Gable) sails perilous waters with a fortune in British gold. That’s not the only risky cargo he carries. Both his fiery mistress (Harlow) and refined fiancée (Rosalind Russell) are aboard! Wallace Beery also stars. WIFE VS. SECRETARY (1936) Businessman Clark Gable relies on secretary Harlow – too much. according to wily wife Myrna Loy. James Stewart adds to the star-bright comedy/drama as Harlow’s beau.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
By Tee
I'm giving this set a qualified five stars because the movies are wonderful as of course is their star, the legendary Jean Harlow. This is a wonderful introduction to one of the movies' greatest stars and pioneering sex symbols, as well as one of the best comediennes of alltime. The bad news is ALL FOUR of these movies are already available on DVD when there's well over a dozen other Harlow movies sitting in the MGM vaults that badly need to be released!! Jean had major roles in about 23 films before her tragic death at age 26 in 1937 yet only these, RED HEADED WOMAN (in a pre-code set), Universal's HELL'S ANGELS, WB's THE PUBLIC ENEMY, and Columbia's PLATINUM BLONDE have been commercially released on DVD to date!! That's a major disgrace, she's perhaps the biggest movie star of all who has been so poorly represented on dvd.

And what a slap in the face to Harlow fans who have kept this star's flame alive for over 70 years - March 2011 will be the 100th anniversary of Jean Harlow's birth. Some birthday present!!! Shame on you Warner Bros. (who now has the rights to the vintage MGMs) when it comes to Jean Harlow you are almost as bad as the notorious Universal handling of the vintage Paramount catalog!

If you have never seen Jean Harlow in action and want to know what all the fuss is about, by all means grab this collection. DINNER AT EIGHT is perhaps Jean's most legendary film and her comic barbs are as delicious as the bon bons she munches on. Equally delightful is the comedy LIBELED LADY which was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award in 1936. CHINA SEAS is a roaring comedy/adventure on the high seas with Jean's greatest leading man Clark Gable; WIFE VS.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time ! October 31, 2010
By dan
Jean deserves so much better ! I am glad something is happening for Jean and dvds,even though these movies have all ready been out.WHERE IS BOMBSHELL,RED DUST,RIFF RAFF,RECKLESS.This young lady WAS the BEST....Come on !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jean Deserves A Better Collection January 19, 2011
While all of these movies are great on their own and rank among some of my favorite movies, I already have them on dvd so getting this from a friend who knows I am a huge Harlow fan didn't have quite the impact expected. For someone who doesn't have the films/dvds included in this set, it is a great deal and is a Jean Harlow primer for the uniformed. For the die-hard Harlow fan (and there are many out there) this falls a bit short.
My issue with this set is given that it is so long overdue, it would have been nice if it had been a truly comprehensive set with special features and films that are not currently available on dvd. It should be quintessential Harlow with films such as Suzy, Girl From Missouri, Platinum Blonde, Red Dust, Riffraff and my absolute personal favorite Red Headed Woman(already on dvd in the Forbidden Hollywood set).
Harlow was the original Hollywood blonde and had such an innate gift for comedy that this set while good, certainly isn't as good as it might have been. My major concern is that while she has now been given her own 'collection' will her fans have to wait years to see more titles released? I certainly hope not. Considering Harlow had a relatively short career, it is nothing less than amazing that she left such a substantial film legacy.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's Jean Harlow's box set? February 8, 2011
The four films included in this set are excellent, and showcase Jean Harlow's stellar comedic timing and beauty, but in the context of her career, releasing four films previously released on DVD (and China Seas and Wife vs. Secretary have been included in Clark Gable's box set!) is a blatant rip-off considering 2011 is Jean's centennial year.

Where are the DVD releases for Suzy, Reckless, RiffRaff, Bombshell, Iron Man, Three Wise Girls, The Beast of the City, The Girl from Missouri, Hold Your Man, Red Dust, Goldie, Personal Property, and most importantly, Saratoga, Jean's last film? The perfect box set would include Jean's entire filmography, plus the four or so documentaries made about her life and the two 1960s biopics (despite basing their information on Irving Shulman's false "biography").

At least throw us a bone by releasing a Harlow/Gable box set!

Grab this if you would like to see all four films for one low price, but for we Jean Harlow fans, the repackaging of four previous DVD releases is disappointing and insulting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I ADORE Jean Harlow...and these are great films May 19, 2011
The fact that this Harlow collection was manufactured by TCM guarantees quality of the product. TCM has spearheaded the early film restoration project that has salvaged many of the great movies from the wages of time & neglect. Since other reviewers discuss the individual films (I give each one a 5 star rating), I just want to take this opportunity to set the record straight on a remark I made in another review of a Harlow movie.

In that review I said something to the effect that maybe Harlow couldn't act her way out of a paper bag, but who cares? She was just too adorable & lovely. Since then I've seen other Harlow movies & discovered something: When she wasn't playing a vamp and just an "ordinary" woman...she was damned good! Very natural, very competent. Up to this point I had only seen her in "shady lady" type roles.

Please don't misunderstand, I loved her in the vampy roles too, and part of the fun was that she did seem to go way over the top & overact. Now I realize that she WAS an "ordinary" woman (who happened to be stunningly attractive) and the vamp roles were wildly out of character--hence the tendency to overact. She was playing a part that was nothing like her true self. The overacting was funny & I think it allowed people--like yours truly--to identify even more with her.

In this regard she was very much like Marilyn Monroe (who was probably inspired by the Harlow Plantimun Bombshell legacy.) Both actresses were real photogenic Aphrodites, but their little foibles allowed people to see them as being just like "real" people. Women loved them as much as men--and this was a real secret to their success. If they had been as perfect as they looked, they would have inspired envy in other women, not adulation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great old movies
I love old movies and was glad to find this one. I like Clark Gable and Jean Harlow so even though the acting wasn't superior I was glad to see these classic films. Read more
Published 7 days ago by classy qm
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movies.
Published 9 days ago by rosemary
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty OK. Nothing great here
Pretty OK. Nothing great here. I probably liked "The Secretary" best.
Published 1 month ago by Super Seven
5.0 out of 5 stars She loved the films and now adores Jean Harlow and Clark ...
A Christmas present for my son's girl friend. She had just been introduced to William Powell and Myrna Loy. She loved the films and now adores Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joseph Baetz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good DVD
Published 1 month ago by sherman miller
5.0 out of 5 stars ... showed this in a nursing home and the residents LOVED all the
I showed this in a nursing home and the residents LOVED all the films
Published 1 month ago by dana d
5.0 out of 5 stars ... another Jean Harlow hew tragic young death was a great los to the...
There never will be another Jean Harlow hew tragic young death was a great los to the movie world. She still is sexy and lovable and her with Clark Gable light up every movie they... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Patrick W. Casale
5.0 out of 5 stars One of TCM's best
TCM has a great selection of movies - this is a great deal - four movies in one package - the only thing that disappoints me is the lack of movie liners. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pearl
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyale set of films.
My wife and I enjoy older films. This a great collection and features some of the biggest names of the era. Acting is great.
Published 4 months ago by Tennessee Happy Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars OK for a rainy day
I've only watched 2 of the 4 movies so far and I like one of them. Never really knew Jean Harlow but I can see what people like about her. Hope the other 2 will be good.
Published 5 months ago by C. Conley
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Topic From this Discussion
TCM Classic Film Legends -Jean Harlow
I think I read somewhere that this is a re-release of "China Seas", "Wife Versus Secretary", "Libeled Lady" and "Dinner at Eight".
Nov 6, 2010 by Byron Kolln |  See all 4 posts
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