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The Joan Crawford Collection, Vol. 2 (A Woman's Face / Flamingo Road / Sadie McKee / Strange Cargo / Torch Song)

4.4 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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(Feb 12, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Joan Crawford Collection Vol. 2 (DVD)

TORCH SONG (1953): Musical comedy legend Jenny Stewart, who has been hardened by the worst life has to offer, finds romance when blinded war- veteran Tye Graham becomes her new piano accompanist. STRANGE CARGO (1940): When eight prisoners escape from a New Guinea penal colony, they are picked up by another escapee named Verne and his girl friend Julie. Among the fugitives is Cambreau, a soft-spoken, messianic character who has a profound effect on his comrades. SADIE MCKEE (1934): As working girl Sadie McKee, Joan Crawford wears a maid's uniform. And as any Crawford fan knows, she'll shortly swap her white apron for black sable – even (or especially) if it means heartbreak along the way. In this rags-to-riches tale, Sadie wins the affections of the singer (Gene Raymond) she loves, the tycoon (Edward Arnold) she marries and the lawyer (Franchot Tone) she grew up with. That's a lot of on-screen romantic fire, not all of it may be due to acting ability alone: The year after Sadie McKee was filmed, Crawford became Mrs. Franchot Tone. FLAMINGO ROAD (1949): Life in a small Southern town heats up when a sexy, savvy dancer is stranded there by a traveling carnival. She wins the hearts of two men and gets a taste of local politics when she butts heads with a corrupt sheriff. Apparently Crawford only accepted the role after Jack Warner ordered rewrites and spruced up the production. A WOMAN'S FACE (1941): Anna Holm is scheming con woman and blackmailer, a bitter woman shut off from society because of a disfiguring scar. The opportunity to undergo an operation to remove her scars presents her with a choice: open herself up to a whole new life or return to her old ways and the only life she's ever known.


Those looking for heavy doses of melodrama, good old-fashioned storytelling, and--of course--more Joan, look no further. The Joan Crawford Collection, Vol. 2 offers up a fine assortment of some of Crawford's popular second-tier titles that helped secure this unstoppable actress’ well-deserved seat in the court of Hollywood royalty. Spanning from 1934 to 1954, the five films take viewers on a journey over peaks and valleys of Miss Crawford’s tumultuous but often spectacular career and permits a glimpse into the star’s adeptness to the changing times of movie making. The first film, 1934’s Sadie McKee, captures a radiant Crawford, still riding high as the queen of MGM, playing the eponymous poor cook’s daughter who struggles to keep her principles intact through her rocky romances and unexpected rise to riches. Nobody plays an unlikely do-gooder like Crawford, and this splendidly entertaining film is one of her finest. 1940’s Strange Cargo features Crawford as a dive-bar singer and frequent co-star Clark Gable as a gritty prison escapee joining forces to flee a remote island. A religious parable, jungle adventure, and prison escape movie in one, Strange Cargo maintains suspense and action surprisingly well. A Woman Face (1941) is beautifully directed by one of cinema’s best, George Cukor, who provides Crawford with one of her most accomplished dramatic roles: Anna Holm, a woman whose face is horribly disfigured as a child. Anna’s physical appearance drastically alters her destiny, and becoming full of spite and bitterness, she turns to a life of crime. When the opportunity to correct her scars presents itself, the story takes a sharp turn into suspense-thriller and courtroom drama territory, eventually making its way to a totally improbable and predictable but equally exciting finale. Flamingo Road (1949), which went on to become a nighttime television soap opera in the ‘80s, sees Crawford as Lane, a hardened carnival dancer who finds herself stranded in a small town facing crooked men and parochial hypocrisy. Lane’s a tough cookie and unsurprisingly manages to cross the bridge from rags to riches while triumphing over her foes in a delicious reversal of fortune. The story may be hackneyed, but Crawford’s histrionics provide a juicy good time. This was her first foray into playing roles that are clearly too young for her, yet her portrayal is so earnest one simply doesn’t dare question the rather enormous leap in realism. Like pieced-together leftovers from much finer musicals, 1953’s Torch Song is the weakest movie of the bunch but still worth a gander. Here, Crawford plays an embittered and aging musical stage star whose unlikely romance with a blind pianist might turn around her lifetime of heartache. The film probably isn’t one of her career highlights but offers up some surprisingly poignant, all-too-real moments.

Joan Crawford Collection, Vol. 2 comes with an abundance of extras including several interesting featurettes covering her career at Warner Brothers and her work with Clark Gable as well as several entertaining old-fashioned cartoons. There’s also some amusing Torch Song outtakes of Crawford aspiring to sing. (Once you’ve heard them you may understand why her voice was dubbed.) Many of Crawford's characters have been described as being only slight manipulations of the real Joan; a tough woman looking for a little respect and trying to make it in a man’s world. This collection should help vindicate her efforts. -- Matt Wold

Special Features

  • Includes:
  • A Woman's Face (1941)
  • Vintage Romance of Celluloid short: You Can't Fool a Camera
  • Classic cartoon: Little Cesario
  • Audio-only bonus: two radio adaptations, one with Bette Davis and one with Ida Lupino
  • Theatrical trailer
  • B&W, 1.33
  • Flamingo Road (1949)
  • New featurette: Crawford at Warners
  • Classic cartoon: Curtain Razor
  • Audio-only bonus: radio adaptation with the film's stars
  • Sadie McKee (1934)
  • Vintage comedy short: Goofy Movies #4
  • Classic cartoon: Toyland Broadcast
  • Strange Cargo (1940)
  • New featurette: Gable & Crawford
  • Vintage short: More About Nostradamus
  • Classic cartoon: The Lonesome Stranger
  • Torch Song (1953)
  • New featurette: Tough Baby: Torch Song
  • Classic cartoon: TV of Tomorrow
  • Vintage Crawford Jimmy Fund Public Service Announcement trailer
  • Audio-only bonus: Crawford recording sessions
  • Color, 1.85 anamorphic

Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Hennings, Colleen Coffey, Doug Jeffery, Griffin Drew
  • Directors: Kelley Cauthen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC, Restored, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XNZ7NO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,260 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Joan Crawford Collection, Vol. 2 (A Woman's Face / Flamingo Road / Sadie McKee / Strange Cargo / Torch Song)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
These are the Films of the first true Movie-Star, Miss Joan Crawford. I cannot wait for this DVD set, because it will include some of Joan's best movies!! And, the movies in this boxed set include Joan at her most stunning! "Sadie McKee" is absolutely my favorite movie, ever. Joan looks so beautiful in this 1934 MGM classic. I first saw this movie 5 years ago when TCM did a month-long Joan Crawford marathon; this was the first movie I ever saw with Miss Crawford and since then I became a huge fan and completely fell in love with this kind, beautiful and very talented actress! I also absolutely adore "Strange Cargo." This is one of Joan's best pictures with her number-one leading man, Clark Gable; and as far as I'm aware it is the only movie she ever made with Mr. Gable where she took second billing! After you view these movies you will see why Miss Crawford was the hardest working woman in Hollywood!

Isn't the picture on the cover of this set really beautiful! Below is a list of each movie included in this set, all movies are shown in pan and scan except for "Torch Song" which is in widescreen. (Scroll down, to see a list of each one of the special features included, as well)

Sadie McKee (May 9, 1934) (Studio: MGM)
Runtime Listing: 90 mins.
(Joan played: Sadie McKee Brennan)
Color/BW: Black and White
Brief Synopsis:
A working girl suffers through three troubled relationships on her road to prosperity.
What Miss Crawford had to say about this movie: Everything about "Sadie McKee" was right - Gene Raymond, Franchot Tone, the script, Clarence Brown's direction, Adrian's customs, the works.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the long awaited second volume of the Joan Crawford Collection. Joan had a very long career in films spanning from the silent era and MGM into the 1970's. She was one of the few actresses to successfully make the transition from silents to sound, and this set gives you a sampling of her roles from 1934 to 1953. The following are the five films in this set and their extra features:

Sadie McKee (1934)
One of the last precodes, this film is a melodrama that has Joan Crawford playing a totally virtuous character throughout. She's a maid who is fired for telling off the head of the household (Franchot Tone). Next, her boyfriend deserts her for a chorus girl. She ends up marrying an alcoholic millionaire strictly as a matter of survival, but she does help her husband cure himself of his alcoholism. Afterwards she asks for a divorce so she can go look for her old boyfriend, who is now alone and quite ill. This movie introduced the song "All I Do is Dream of You" by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown.
DVD Special Features: (waiting confirmation from Michael Crawford)
Vintage comedy short Goofy Movies #4
Classic cartoon Toyland Broadcast
Theatrical trailer

Strange Cargo (1940)
Andre (Clark Gable) is a convict in a French penal colony in South America. The first time he tries to escape saloon girl Julie (Joan Crawford) turns him in. His second attempt is successful, and this time he throws in his lot with several other escapees, one of which seems to always know what is about to happen, and is even able to draw accurate maps of escape routes. During this escape Andre runs into Julie again. At the conclusion of the escape Andre realizes the reason for the one prisoner's extraordinary abilities and has a change of heart.
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Format: DVD
I love having this set. It includes some of my favorite Crawford films, so I was very excited when the release date was announced. I ordered it right away, and just received it and again, while I love the films in the set, the box 'set up' really annoys me. The fold out type of case is not what I was expecting. Since I have Volume 1, where all the DVDs are in individual cases with cover art, this is what I was expecting. I really wanted to put all the DVDs together in my media cabinet in alphabetical order, with the hopes that someday all Joan Crawford's films would be available on DVD and I would have a complete shelf of Joan!!!
This may sound petty, but I feel that sometimes the studios are trying to save money by cutting back on the boxed sets yet they don't lower the prices for the consumer. I like to take DVDs with me to watch on a long car trip (no... I am not the driver on these trips!) so the individual cases work best for me- Overall I give this a 5 star rating for the films and for a wonderful actress who is unforgettable, but the box/packaging leaves me flat-
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Excellent cross section of Crawford's films from the period 1934-1953. A spectrum of good performances that show how she was evolving as an actress and a star is captured on 5 discs that have been rather meticulously preserved with only very minor scratching on some. Not a bad offering that was long overdue. She shines as "Sadie Mckee", she's edgy as a hard luck dame with Clark Gable in "Strange Cargo", she's great as a scarred blackmailer in the melodramatic "A Woman's Face", then the Crawford we've come to really know faces off with dirty politics in "Flamingo Road" and dominates the Technicolor musical drama "Torch Song". She does a little bit of everything in these films and shows why she earned "star" status, maintained legions of fans over the years and still impresses fans today. I love this set and am looking forward to another one but I have to admit I would have preferred the discs in their own individual cases. I just think it's safer for them. But here they are and they're meant to be enjoyed so...enjoy!
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