The Bette Davis Collection (5-disc)

The Star       Mr. Skeffington      Dark Victory      Now, Voyager       The Letter

directed by Stuart Heisler, Vincent Sherman, Edmund Goulding, Irving Rapper and William Wyler
USA 19
39 - 52

 

The Bette Davis Collection includes 2 new-to-DVD classics, one old one remastered and 2 previous releases, featuring Davis in multiple Emmy-nominated performances as a captivating adulteress, a manipulative beauty, and a former Oscar-winning actress recovering from the end of her career. out of

Gary W. Tooze

Warner  - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC

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Distribution Warner Studios - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

 

directed by Stuart Heisler
USA 19
52

As Margaret, Bette Davis got yet another good picture and earned her ninth Academy Award nomination. Davis's confident, perceptive performance lends absolute authenticity, as did a prop she provided. An Oscar statuette set noticeably on the car dashboard during Margaret's drunken spin through Beverly Hills was one of two Davis owned. Sterling Hayden and Natalie Wood co-star in this gripping story that has many moments of truth.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 11th, 1952

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DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Cover and individual purchase links:

or buy the Entire Bette Davis Collection with The Star, Mr. Skeffington, Dark Victory, The Letter and Now, Voyager

    

    

Runtime 1:30:18 
Video 1.33 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New Featurette How Real is The Star?
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: June 14th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 24

 

 

Comments:

The transfer is not bad at all - this print may have been quite dirty and it has a dark resonance to it - bordering on sepia, but overall a strong image. Typical for the set, the audio is original mono and English, French and Spanish subtitles are offered. A 7 minute featurette is the extra feature where it compares the real life of Bette Davis to that of the character in the film. Eerily similar at times. Another worthy DVD purchase with the type of quality we now expect from Warner! out of    

Gary W. Tooze

 





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YES, that is Natalie Wood !

 

 


 

 


 

 

directed by Vincent Sherman
USA 1944

 Whose face ravaged, grotesque is in the mirror? Surely it's not that of Fanny Skeffington, the prettiest woman in New York. Fanny always used her beauty to manipulate her way through life. She's encouraged dozens of suitors, even after her marriage. But now diphtheria has robbed her of her only attribute. And without her looks, she's lost. Bette Davis earned her eighth Best Actress Oscar nomination portraying Fanny.

Posters etc.

Theatrical Release: May 25th, 1944

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DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Cover and individual purchase links:

or buy the Entire Bette Davis Collection with The Star, Mr. Skeffington, Dark Victory, The Letter and Now, Voyager

    

    

Runtime 2:26:05 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English (CC), Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by the film's Director Vincent Sherman
• Featurette Mr. Skeffington: A Picture of Strength
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: June 14th, 2005
Keep Case
Chapters: 36

 

 

Comments:

This transfer is very sharp with some heavy grain at times but conclusively a superior image than one might expect for a film this old. There is some damage and flickering contrast but neither are too intrusive onto the viewing enjoyment. I loved the film to pieces and Bette Davis is pin-point perfect in her role. This has a unique director commentary for a film made over 60 years ago. A new featurette is also included as an extra as well as the theatrical trailer. Good job by Warner! out of      

Gary W. Tooze

 





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directed by Edmund Goulding
USA 19
39

Bette Davis' bravura, moving-but-never-morbid performance as Judith Traherne, a dying heiress determined to find happiness in her few remaining months, remains a three-hankie classic. But that success would never have happened if Davis hadn't pestered studio brass to buy Dark Victory's story rights. Jack Warner finally did so skeptically. Who wants to see a dame go blind? he asked. Almost everyone: Dark Victory was Davis!

Poster

Theatrical Release: April 20th, 1939

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DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Cover and individual purchase links:

or buy the Entire Bette Davis Collection with The Star, Mr. Skeffington, Dark Victory, The Letter and Now, Voyager

      

    

Runtime 1:43:56 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English (CC), Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Film Historian James Ursini and CNN film critic Paul Clinton
• New Featurette 1939: Tough Competition for Dark Victory
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: MGM - September 30th, 1997 - Remastered and reissued Warner - June 14th, 2005

Both offered in Keep cases
Chapters: 28

 

 

Comments:

First MGM released their DVD of Dark Victory - as expected the quality was abysmal (see comparison below), then Warner re-issued in September 19, 2000 - I am unsure of this quality but it was in a Snapper Case, now this Restored and Remastered Edition is brought out in both the Bette Davis Collection and individually - in an Amaray Keep case. Although the quality is infinitely better than the original MGM edition there are still some damage marks and occasional contrast flashes in this release. It still ranks very high in my opinion and remarkable that we can see how far DVD production has come. Typical earmarks of a Warner restoration process are the intensive grain prevalence that appears most predominantly in close-ups. Regardless of our critique, this is a no-brainer purchase - actually the whole set is especially if you have none (or even one) of the initial releases. I haven't got into the commentary yet but  am looking forward to it.  out of    

Gary W. Tooze

 





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(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - PAL - TOP vs. Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

 


 

 

directed by Irving Rapper
USA 1942

A tender love story, a taut psychological drama, an inspiring tale of physical and spiritual transformation. Now, Voyager is all three, as well as a Bette Davis career milestone, resulting in her sixth Best Actress Oscar nomination. She magically plays Charlotte Vale, a spinster who defies her domineering mother (fellow Oscar nominee Gladys Cooper) to discover love, heartbreak and eventual contentment. More magic is generated by a top-notch ensemble, Max Steiner's Academy Award-winning score and an improvised moment by Paul Henreid that became an instant classic: he lights two cigarettes at once and hands one to Davis. For the ultimate in romantic melodrama, it's Now Voyager now, then and forever.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 22nd, 1942

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DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC

Cover and individual purchase links:

or buy the Entire Bette Davis Collection with The Star, Mr. Skeffington, Dark Victory, The Letter and Now, Voyager

      

    

Runtime 1:57:28 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.80 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English (CC), Spanish, French, Portuguese, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Max Steiner Scoring Session Music Cues
• Cast Career Highlights
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: November 13th, 2001 - Reissue - June
14th, 2005
Original issue is in 'Snapper Case' and new edition in Amaray Keep case
Chapters: 34

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: This DVD is coded for regions 1 and 4 while the rest of the Boxset is 1 - 4 inclusive.

Although this is an exact duplicate of the initial release, excepting that it comes in an Amaray instead of a snapper case - it is still the best image in the Boxset. It look like a brand new film. The print must have been in great shape. Very sharp with perfect contrast. Original audio and solid subtitles. There is no commentary but some might find interest in the Max Steiner Scoring Session Music Cues. This is one of Warner's best 'classic film' image transfers. Worthy for a purchase for that alone.  out of   

Gary W. Tooze

 





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directed by William Wyler
USA 1940

 

"With all my heart I still love the man I killed..."

I count William Wyler among my favorite directors. Six years after exploding to stardom in Of Human Bondage, Bette Davis equaled that excitement with another W. Somerset Maugham role as an adulteress using her sexual wiles to escape a murder conviction in The Letter. The film throbs with sultry tension thanks to Davis, an impeccable supporting cast, atmospheric cinematography and the artistry of three-time Academy Award winner Wyler, Davis' director on Jezebel and The Little Foxes. Nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, Actress, Director and Supporting Actor (James Stephenson, superb as the anguished defense attorney), The Letter remains one of Hollywood's most special deliveries, a peerless example of melodrama as movie art.

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 22nd, 1940 - USA

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Cover and individual purchase links:

CLICK to order from:

or buy the Entire Bette Davis Collection with The Star, Mr. Skeffington, Dark Victory, The Letter and Now, Voyager

    

    

Runtime 1:35:03
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:

• Alternative Ending (9:58)
• Lux Radio Broadcast 1941 (59:30)
• Lux Radio Broadcast 1944 (55:58)
• Restored Theatrical Trailer (2:17)

DVD Release Date: January 11th, 2005 /Reissue in Boxset - June 14th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 23

 

 

Comments:

Warner again shows us why the only real DVD Production studio competing with them is Criterion. Perhaps a shade softer that we have become accustomed to, but it still shows some fine film grain and great contrast levels. Subtitles are perfect. The radio broadcasts are a bit of a bore for the uninitiated, but the alternative ending is inspired. Another great DVD from Warner only missing a commentary.  out of     

Gary W. Tooze

 





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