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The Kim Novak Collection (Picnic / Jeanne Eagels / Bell, Book and Candle / Middle of the Night / Pal Joey)

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Kim Novak Collection (Picnic / Jeanne Eagels / Bell, Book and Candle / Middle of the Night / Pal Joey)
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  • The Films of Rita Hayworth (Cover Girl / Tonight and Every Night / Gilda / Salome / Miss Sadie Thompson)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's Labor Day weekend, and fresh off a freight train is Hal Carter (William Holden), a happy-go-lucky drifter who's looking for a brand new start in life. A robust, handsome show-off, Hal has come to Kansas to seek gainful employment in his old fraternity brother Alan's family granary. But despite his high hopes and expectations, Hal's ambitious plans soon go away when his sexual magnetism attracts every woman in town, including 19-year-old Madge Owens (Kim Novak) -- the alluring young beauty queen who also happens to be Alan's girlfriend.

Jeanne Eagels
The short and tortured life of Broadway actress and silent screen star Jeanne Eagels was a perfect vehicle for Miss Novak. As a small-town beauty whose ambition for the legitimate stage drove her to self-destruction, the film showcased Novak’s dramatic talents in one of her favorite roles. Richly photographed in Black and White, and directed by George Sidney (Kiss Me Kate, Viva Las Vegas), with strong support from the legendary Agnes Moorehead and Jeff Chandler.

Bell, Book, and Candle
Meet Gillan Holroyd (Kim Novak), Greenwich Village's most seductive sorceress. Powerful, glamorous, and a wee bit bored, Gillian knows that witches can't fall in love. But they can have fun... especially if their lover belongs to another woman! So when Gillian discovers handsome new neighbor Shep Henderson (James Stewart) is the fiance of an old college nemesis (Janice Rule), she promptly puts the befuddled publisher under her spell. But while her sex hex may have heated up Shep's heart, it has also unthawed her own, leading to a romantic complication that not even Pyewacket, Gillian's mind-reading cat, could have foreseen. Presented in eye popping Technicolor transfer that beautifully captures James Wong Howe's stunning cinematography, Bell, Book and Candle co-starring Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold, and Elsa Lanchester is "a delightful spoof on witchcraft with the cast members at their very best." THE MOTION PICTURE GUIDE!

Middle of the Night
Paddy Chayefsky’s story, pairing her with actor Frederick March, allowed Novak to again display the richness of her talent. Novak is a young divorcee who falls into an uneasy romantic relationship with her clothing manufacturer boss (March), who is more than twice her age. The anxieties and opinions of family and friends press on the couple and strain the fragile relationship. Directed by Delbert Mann on location in New York, the terrific supporting cast includes Martin Balsam and Lee Grant.

Pal Joey
Pal Joey stars Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, and Kim Novak in a sophisticated musical comedy. Sinatra plays Joey Evans, a cabaret singer who romances wealthy socialite Hayworth into financing his own nightclub, but then falls for voluptuous chorine Novak. Pal Joey took 17 years to get to the screen. Based on a series of stories written as letters by John O'Hara for THE NEW YORKER, the letters were all signed "Your Pal Joey" by a mythical dancer. O'Hara later adapted the stories as a book for the Broadway musical which starred Gene Kelly. When Columbia bought the film rights, studio chief Harry Cohn wanted Kelly for the lead and Hayworth for the younger role of Linda. But Kelly was already contracted to MGM and the project was shelved. At one time, Billy Wilder was interested in doing the picture with Marlon Brando and Mae West-but the studio passed. It finally took the combined talents of Hayworth, Sinatra, and newcomer Kim Novak to bring Pal Joey to the screen. The gossip columns were filled with stories of an impending battle over credits. Sinatra was at the height of his film popularity, but Hayworth's contract stipulated she receive top billing. The battle however, was never fought. Sinatra gladly took the second slot-"I don't mind being in the middle of that sandwich," he quipped. Pal Joey contains some of Rogers and Hart's best songs including "My Funny Valentine," and one of Sinatra's biggest hits, "The Lady Is A Tramp." Hayworth's vocals were dubbed by Jo Ann Greer, Novak's by Trudi Erwin. Pal Joey was nominated for four Academy Awards(r) (1957) for Art Direction-Set Decoration, Sound Recording, Costume Design (by Jean Louis) and Film Editing. Although Pal Joey was a huge commercial success, it would be Rita Hayworth's swan song for Columbia. The studio machine that had turned Margarita Cansino into the glamorous Rita Hayworth, would now turn its attentions to Chicago-born Kim Novak, the last in a long line of studio-made stars.

The Kim Novak moment in Hollywood--1955 to 1960--is amply represented by the five movies in The Kim Novak Collection, a vivid portrait of an ingénue at the top. Novak's rise, under the forceful tutelage of Columbia boss Harry Cohn, was incredibly rapid; but then, nobody could miss her movie-star aura after seeing her performance as the small-town beauty in Picnic, in only her second year in movies. Picnic, the first film directed by stage veteran Joshua Logan, is a special experience, a Kansas summertime daydream invaded by a rail-riding wayfarer (William Holden); Novak's pretty homecoming queen is the film's key source of poignancy. ("I was Madge. I was that girl in the Midwest," Novak says in an interview here.) Her starring role in Jeanne Eagels (1957) looks like an attempt to establish Novak as a serious actress, which is one reason it doesn't work. In portraying the addictions and irresponsibility of a famed silent-era actress, Novak's limitations are on display, and the film's overripe melodrama has aged badly.

While Pal Joey (1957) is not a masterpiece, it does have a brilliant song score (the Rodgers and Hart classics include "Bewitched" and "I Could Write a Book") and glorious star power: Frank Sinatra is the breezy bad-boy singer caught between older San Francisco aristocrat Rita Hayworth and chorus girl Novak. As she reveals in an interview included in this boxed set, Novak did not do her own vocals on the sultry "My Funny Valentine"--yet her winsome performance makes the song her own anyway. As for Sinatra's take on "The Lady Is a Tramp," well, there's no question whose for-the-ages vocal that is. After making Vertigo with James Stewart, Novak reunited with him for the fun Bell Book and Candle (1958), director Richard Quine's cocktail-era version of a hit play by John Van Druten. Talk about "bewitched": Stewart's a straight-arrow drawn into the world of Greenwich Village witchcraft, of which Novak, Jack Lemmon, and Elsa Lanchester are key practitioners. Middle of the Night (1959) was a project Novak fought for, a serious Paddy Chayefsky script about a 56-year-old garment exec (Fredric March) falling for a 24-year-old receptionist. The rueful tone, full of mortality and regret, is pure Chayefsky, and a de-glamorized Novak is very touching as a lost soul.

The handsome prints are accompanied by 10- to 20-minute interview segments between Novak and writer Stephen Rebello; she is not seen, except in long shots during a 10-minute backgrounder called "Backstage and at Home with Kim Novak." Some good anecdotes emerge during the interviews (including why she disdained brassieres and why she's "very much a fatalist"), and the low-voiced actress comes across as much feistier and franker than her screen image usually suggested. That image is neatly summed up in this iconic set. --Robert Horton

Special Features

Kim Novak's Hollywood Picnic
Reflections In The Middle of The Night
Backstage and At Home with Kim Novak
Select Scenes Commentary with Kim Novak and Author Stephen Rebello
Bewitched, Bothered and Beautiful

Product Details

  • Actors: Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Jeff Chandler, William Holden
  • Directors: Delbert Mann, George Sidney, Joshua Logan, Richard Quine
  • Writers: Daniel Fuchs, Daniel Taradash, Dorothy Kingsley, John Fante
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010
  • Run Time: 442 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003O2H7MA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,829 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Kim Novak Collection (Picnic / Jeanne Eagels / Bell, Book and Candle / Middle of the Night / Pal Joey)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Wheeler on July 1, 2010
Verified Purchase
Good News for fans of Kim Novak, and in particular fans of the great 1955 hit "Picnic".

According to Columbia Classics official website, all five of these great Kim Novak films will be digitally remastered in their original aspect ratios. It is about time that these great classics get the restored film treatment that they deserve.


Jump to 2010. The various color-fade processes used to boost color back into dozens of films in the earlier
part of the 2000's have disappeared, replaced by the digital intermediate workflows that have been adapted and adopted over the last few years for film restoration.
So, instead of the trial and error approach of the previous work, we can now scan the faded original negative at a 4K resolution and work to digitally rebuild the colors that are missing from the film. Such is the case with two films we are currently working on in preparation for a new box set of films starring Kim Novak, Picnic and Bell Book and Candle. Both films suffer from severe fading in the original camera negative. Attempts over the last decade to restore these films using traditional means were only moderately successful. The digital restoration of these films, both shot by the great cinematographer James Wong Howe, ASC, will allow them to be shown as close to their original color as possible, in their proper formats (2.55:1 widescreen original CinemaScope in the case of Picnic.)

Along with Picnic and Bell Book and Candle, the new set will include the George Sidney production of Jeanne Eagels (a personal favorite of Ms. Novak), Pal Joey and the Paddy Chayefsky-written Middle of the Night, also starring Frederic March. Some are new to DVD, but all five have been newly-restored and remastered for this new set
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It's been a great year for Kim Novak. Five of her films in this collection and two("Pushover" & "5 Against the House") from Sony's Columbia FILM NOIR CLASSICS I & II have all been re-mastered with beautiful new prints. If you factor in the recent re-mastering of "Vertigo"(Universal) and "The Man With the Golden Arm"(Warner) you just can't go wrong if you're a fan of this undefinable actress. I say that because I've always thought she was one of the most mysterious persons ever to appear on the screen. She was hired by Harry Cohn to be Columbia's answer to Fox's Marilyn Monroe. But that was unfair of both Cohn and Columbia. You always knew what you were getting with Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Mamie van Doren, and the rest of the "Blond Bombshells" of the Fifties. And you certainly knew what you were getting with some of Ms Novak's co-workers at Columbia: Lizabeth Scott, Cleo Moore and the great Gloria Grahame. But you never did with Kim Novak because there was always something beneath the surface that she wasn't going to let you see. That is best represented in her performance in "Vertigo". She seems to be telling the audience that she is more than just a pretty face up there on the screen. You can see a playful side of her by going on YOUTUBE and checking out her mystery guest appearence on "What's My Line" on Feb. 05, 1956. She uses a cockney accent to confuse the panelists as to her identity(and she almost succeeds). The real gem of this new collection is the rarely seen "Middle of the Night"(1959). Directed by Delbert Mann("Marty"); I agree with the commentary by Stephen Rebello that it is one of her greatest performances. In the commentary, Ms Novak mentions that the cast had a five to eight week rehearsal before filming started and it really shows.Read more ›
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Actress Novak gets the star treatment she deserves in the wonderful collection of her films. While Pal Joey, Picnic have been previously released all five of the films here were restored. (Since the original trailers - in unrestored condition - are included as bonus features, you can really see the difference. I hadn't seen Picnic in probably 40 years and it was great to see it again. Both Jeanne Eagles and Middle of the Night were new to me and both were great to watch.

The real gem for me - and this is, of course, subjective - was Middle of the Night (1959). Written by Paddy Chayefsky, and Directed by Delbert Mann this film (adapted from a stage play), brings back memories of "the Golden Age of Television Drama". Chayefsky and Mann are both TV veterans and Mann's direction uses camera angles that were developed in the live TV dramas of the 1950s. The stark black and white images are crisp and add to the period of this story of the New York Garment District. Frederic March gets most of the screen time and dialogue though he and Novak share the top billing.

The bonus features include a 15-minute audio interview of Novak with writer Stephen Rebello, with scenes from the film and publicity stills shown. We learn from this interview that, unlike most films, there were full run rehearsals (like a Broadway show) for two weeks before filming. And it shows.

Jeanne Eagles (1957) - also in black and white - was the other highlight for me. It follows a track similar to A Star Is Born, with Novak in the Judy Garland role and Jeff Chandler doing the James Mason part as a producer who discovers - and then marries - a new young actress and how their relationship changes when she becomes a bigger success than he.
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