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HALL OF FAMEon April 29, 2013
This entry in TCM/Warner Home Video's budget-priced classic movie collection is one of the best they've assembled. Lauren Bacall, one of the greatest actresses from the golden age, is featured in four memorable movies (sharing the screen in two of them with husband Humphrey Bogart). The pick of the bunch is DESIGNING WOMAN (which had actually been out-of-print for a couple of years before being reissued in this set).

The two Bogie/Bacall titles are 1947's DARK PASSAGE and what was to be their final screen pairing, 1948's KEY LARGO. DARK PASSAGE is my personal favourite of all the Bogart-Bacall films. Wrongly jailed for the murder of his wife, Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) escapes from San Quentin and is picked up by Irene Jansen (Lauren Bacall), a sympathiser who frequented Parry's trial, and by sheer coincidence, was in the area when Parry fled. Back in San Francisco, Parry undergoes plastic surgery in an attempt to disguise himself, but when his best friend is murdered and a small-time crook recognises the fugitive, Parry must track down whom he believes is the real person who killed his wife.

KEY LARGO boasts an Academy Award-winning performance from Claire Trevor as a tragic gangster's moll, co-starring opposite Edward G. Robinson, who holds a group of disparate strangers hostage in a run-down hotel during a hurricane. Bacall is Nora Temple, the daughter of the hotel's aged owner (played by Lionel Barrymore in one of his great autumnal turns).

Bacall stars opposite John Wayne in the splashy CinemaScope adventure BLOOD ALLEY, a 1955 production from Wayne's film company, Batjac. Set in Communist China, Bacall is Cathy Grainger, the daughter of a local doctor who has been murdered by the regime and begs sea captain Tom Wilder (John Wayne) to transport a boatload of Chinese refugees down the dangerous waterway known as "Blood Alley".

Finally in the sparkling 1957 Vincente Minnelli-directed gem, DESIGNING WOMAN, Bacall gets to shine in a delicious "battle of the sexes" romp co-starring amiable Gregory Peck as a sportswriter who romances fashion designer Marilla (Bacall). Clarion-voiced Broadway import Dolores Gray co-stars as one of Peck's former flames who cannot help but meddle in their affairs.

Conceived by longtime MGM costume designer Helen Rose, the shoot of DESIGNING WOMAN was scheduled around the time when Humphrey Bogart was gravely-ill with cancer. The lighthearted mood of the film must have provided a welcome distraction for Bacall - who turns in one of her greatest performances.

Extra features replicate those on the original DVD releases. Each film has its own disc (no more of those cumbersome double-sided discs). A no-brainer if you've yet to collect any of these movie greats - or if you missed out on the single release of DESIGNING WOMAN.
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on October 20, 2013
I originally bought this set simply because it's the only in print DVD with the fantastic comedy Designing Woman. The rice is worth it just to get a hold of that gem. All the films are great though and look beautiful. My only complaint is that the packaging is poorly thought out, all four discs are stacked on top of each other on one spindle, everything I get a film I worry about breaking it or scratching up the discs.
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on May 14, 2013
I bought this collection mainly for Designing Woman, one of my all time favourite films. Funny with brilliant performances from all the cast, and it's a sizeable cast. You'll talk about it for months ... no years ... afterwards. I had forgotten how brilliant a film Key Largo is ... the classic scenario of a group of people trapped together ... while a hurricaine rages outside ... and the incredible performance by all in the cast, but in particular Clair Trevor. Blood Alley is a great John Wayne anti-Red "values" film. I haven't revisited Dark Passage yet ... so long since I first saw it ... but looking forward to it.
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on November 19, 2014
I've always been a fan of Lauren Bacall and this DVD set did not disappoint.

I particularly enjoyed watching Key Largo again, she just shines in this one as does Claire Trevor (wonderful!!!), Bogie and Robinson. I never tire of this movie, it's a classic.

Dark Passage has it's moments too and the chemistry between Bacall and Bogie in this one is tangible. It's so obvious that they actually ARE in love, in this film. Some of the plot was very implausible though.
Spoiler alert: Come on, Bogie running up and down stairs in the dark, right after having plastic surgery!!! That was so funny. But it still didn't take away from the overall appeal of this movie.

Designing Women was OK but it did seem a bit long to convey the very simple plot that was unfolding. LOVED seeing the gorgeous clothes in this one though.

Haven't watched: Blood Alley yet, not sure if I'll bother. I'm not a fan of John Wayne's.

The DVDs come stacked on one spindle which is a very poor packaging idea. So easy to scratch a DVD that way. TCM should not be trying to economize that way!!!

Movie quality was good, especially considering how old these films are, good reproduction.
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on July 11, 2013
Four Great old movies. It is fun for us old timers to revisit the past. Younger blue-ray surround sound people will probably not be happy with this collection. I'm old enough (1929) to appreciate both the old and the new. I have the latest 3D 55 inch TV with the latest sound. I have two full range speakers to the left and the right of the TV, a fantastic woofer and two rear of the room speakers Super sound is available. for the latest movies.
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on September 18, 2013
I have to say that Key Largo and Dark Passage were my real motivations for this purchase since I am a big Bogart fan, but Blood Alley was fun to watch. It reminded me of Bacall and the Duke in The Shootist which came later on. I think the two work very well off one another. And I love the story telling style in which Designing Woman is presented. Gregory Peck is excellent and of course, Lauren Bacall always gives an excellent performance in any role. The first thing I ever saw her in was Misery, but I see how she got to be a big star long before that. So convincing. Any fan of Bogart's or Bacall's or both should own this collection which includes insightful extras as well.
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on April 22, 2013
At less than $11 this collection is certainly a bargain, particularly if you do not already own any of the four films. Most Bogart/Bacall fans will already own DARK PASSAGE and KEY LARGO. All four of their films are also available in a single box set. BLOOD ALLEY and the two Bogart films are also available as single DVDs. However, this set is the only way you can get DESIGNING WOMAN on DVD, and that may be reason enough to buy it. DESIGNING WOMAN was one of Bacall's favorite films, providing some relief from watching Bogart dieing at home from cancer.

Ideally there should be separate holders for each DVD. Instead, to save a few kopecks, Warner piled all four DVDs onto one holder--one on top of each other. This makes it clumsy to access the DVD you want and risks scratching the DVDs as you pull them out and place them back in the case. I understand all of the quad DVD TCM Greatest Classic Legend Collections have this physical format.
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on September 3, 2013
I enjoy more of the older movies than many of the new ones. I especially like to see the stars I grew up with and the ones I watched that were well before my time, late 1920's forward. The old B/W and the storylines just seem to be more believable, Even without all the special effect and the digital enhancements. Also, most, if not all, of the actors (male and female) knew how to dance and sing which is always a plus in my book. I have always liked Lauren Bacall and seeing her in these pictures just reminds me of what a great actress she really was.
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on June 6, 2013
Overall it was okay, however my favorite movie of the lot - Designing Woman freezes up durign a scene where she is having lunch with Gregory Peck, so I had to skip that very good scene to be able to watch the rest of the movie. But the rest is good!!!!
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on December 8, 2012
You just can not go wrong with first class actors. Enjoyed all 4 movies.Lauren Bacall is great.

Recommend it highly.
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