The Joan Collins Superstar Collection


The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955)       Sea Wife (1957)        Stopover Tokyo (1957)
       Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958)        Seven Thieves (1960)

 

Well before Joan Collins played scheming 'super-bitch' Alexis Carrington on TV's Dynasty (1981-89) she appeared in some low-budget British movies. But in 1951, she caught the attention of Hollywood when she appeared in the Howard Hawks epic Land of the Pharaohs (1955). Primarily cast as a sultry, brunette siren, she was in several films in the late '50s and early '60s, including The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955) and Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (both included this boxset). In the '60s and '70s she worked in many low-budget horror films and in some television (she was the guest star in 1967's "City on the Edge of Forever" one of the most celebrated episodes of the original Star Trek series). She is often referred to as "The British Open" because of her permissive sexual lifestyle although claims to have turned down Frank Sinatra, Robert F. Kennedy, Darryl F. Zanuck and Dean Martin. Collins has also written some salacious novels, books on beauty tips and a scathing autobiography. Twentieth Century Fox has chosen to celebrate some of her early work with a 5 disc boxset of her film from the late 1950's.

 


Titles

 

 


 

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing
Twentieth Century-Fox has resurrected the musty scandal of Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White and Harry K. Thaw to give itself the inspiration for another run-through of "Bertha, the Sewing-Machine Girl" in its latest CinemaScope romance, "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing." This foray in the realm of soap-opera opened at the Roxy yesterday. The way we have always heard it, Evelyn Nesbit was a pretty cool young thing who got herself badly mouse-trapped between two wealthy and socially sporty men. When one of them (Thaw) shot the other in what was clearly a fit of jealous rage and then was declared of unsound mind, Miss Nesbit was out in the rain.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE
 

Sea Wife  
Before considering this British-made adaptation, produced in color by Andre Hakim, and starring Joan Collins, Richard Burton and Basil Sydney, let's brush up a minute on that plot. A series of newspaper personal-column messages gradually links a quartet of peculiar characters. Three jittery correspondents—Sea Wife, Biscuit and Bulldog—obviously are at cross-purposes over a mutual black deed committed years ago against Number Four. Most of England starts wondering who they are and what they did. And, of course, why..

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE
 

Stopover Tokyo
Novelist John P. Marquand's soft-spoken Japanese detective Mr. Moto was brought to the screen in an entertaining 1930s B-picture series by 20th Century-Fox. But when the same studio purchased Marquand's novel Stopover Tokyo in 1957, Mr. Moto was totally excised from the screenplay. The film's main character is an American intelligence agent, played by Robert Wagner. Assigned to protect the US ambassador to Japan (Larry Keating) from assassination, Wagner is stymied by the ambassador's refusal to cooperate. This makes it all the easier for communist spy Edmond O'Brien to set a time bomb in the embassy. Wagner races against time to neutralize the bomb, and in so doing loses the love of Joan Collins, who wants no part of the espionage racket. Stopover Tokyo was a rare excursion into directing by Oscar-winning screenwriter Richard L. Breen.

Excerpt from Hal Erickson's review at All Movie.com located HERE


Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!
Director Leo McCarey was clearly past his prime when he made this screen version of Max Shulman's comic novel Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys; still, the film was a success, no small thanks to the star power of real-life husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The scene is Putnam's Landing, Connecticut, where commuter Harry Bannerman (Paul Newman) is driven crazy by his wife Grace's (Joanne Woodward) insistence upon joining every civic committee known to man. When the government chooses Putnam's Landing as the location for their new missile base, Grace immediately joins a committee to halt this project-which causes no end of trouble for Air Force reservist Harry, who is expected to be the government's liaison man for the new base. Adding to the dilemma is local vamp Angela Hoffa (Joan Collins), whose efforts to get her lunchhooks into Harry lead to a dizzying series of recriminations and misunderstandings. Satirical barbs are aimed at military stupidity (as personified by thick-eared Captain Hoxie, played by Jack Carson), small-town hypocrisy, and the teenaged "beat" craze. Among the supporting players are Dwayne Hickman and Tuesday Weld...

Excerpt from Hal Erickson's review at All Movie.com located HERE

Seven Thieves
Discredited professor Edward G. Robinson organizes a seven-person criminal gang. Robinson plans to steal a fortune from the underground vaults of the Monte Carlo casino. Despite a few tense moments, the plot moves like clockwork. Alas, Robinson isn't around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labors. As for the other criminals, they find that fencing their stolen booty is next to impossible. All they come away with is $3000--won legitimately at the gaming tables. Those not interested in the male contingent of Seven Thieves (Robinson, Rod Steiger, Eli Wallach et. al.) are advised to feast their eyes upon leading-lady Joan Collins, in her considerable prime.

Excerpt from Hal Erickson's review at All Movie.com located HERE 

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1955 - 1960

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: 20th Century Fox (5-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Respectively 1:48:48 + 1:21:33 + 1:40:18 + 1:46:20 + 1:41:57
Bitrate: 

The Girl in the Red Velvet swing

Bitrate:

Sea Wife

Bitrate:

Stopover Tokyo

Bitrate:


Rally Round the Flag Boys

Bitrate:

Seven Thieves

Audio English (4.0 stereo) - DUBs in Spanish mono
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 2.35:1

 

Edition Details:

  •  Commentary (often isolated to specific scenes) on all five films by author and film historian Aubrey Solomon
     Documentary - From Ingénue to Icon (12:32)

  •  Photo and advertising galleries; Restoration comparisons; Original theatrical trailers; Interactive pressbooks; Vintage press releases; Hollywood Hightlights Reel

  • NOTE: Each DVD includes 4 Lobby Card reproductions (postcard size) of that particular film


DVD Release Date: July 10th, 2007

5 Slim Slim Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: various 

 

 

Comments:

The 5 main features of this boxset are housed in individual slim Keep Cases (see image above) and they are also sold separately. Four of the DVDs are dual-layered (Sea Wife is single-layered) - coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. All are in their original Cinemascope ratio of 2.35:1 and are progressive.  Generally they look very consistent - quite strong transfer-wise. Audio is in original 4.0 with option for a mono Spanish DUB. Each support the audio with optional English, French and Spanish subtitles. Four postcard photos are included for each film in their respective DVD cases.

I should state that I have never seen any of these films previously and have very little idea about how well the colors are represented in comparison to original theatrical viewing. I can state, however, if I feel they have been digitally enhanced or manipulated in any way (with Fox I rarely see this). See my individual comments below.

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing  - detail is quite strong as are colors although they might be slightly faded. Overall this transfer looks very good in my opinion. Characters tend to look a shade 'stretched' wide at times but I can't say for sure - it may be an optical illusion. There are some minor digital artifacts and the image is a bit dirty at times. Supplements are quite extensive but I'm afraid the Aubrey Solomon commentary didn't do much in the way of appreciation (for me personally). As well as including the - common to all DVDs - advertising galleries, restoration comparisons and original theatrical trailer this adds a short documentary about Collins. I was always given the impression that her career tended to focus quite heavily on her appearance.

Sea Wife - this is the only disc that is single-layered but it is still looks acceptable to me. The color palette is consistently soft and I imagine it was made this way. It is very clean and shows up the inexpensive sets and backdrops of the film. It borders on 'campy'. There is another Aubrey Solomon segmented commentary, animated photo gallery as well as galleries for the pressbook, advertising material, lobby cards and finally a theatrical trailer. I found myself watching this film with interest but in reflection I wouldn't say it is any type of masterpiece - it's just kind of charming in its own way. 

Stopover Tokyo  - dual-layered but the image quality is a shade weaker than the others which is appropriate as I found it the least enjoyable film. The artifacts are a bit heavier and it seems dirtier in spots - also darker or with a greenish hue. It appears as though the print may have been in marginally poorer condition. It includes the usual extras plus a 'Hollywood Highlights Reel' that seems more like filler than germane to this film. I didn't get much out of this film but once again Collins is attractive eye candy and expresses a very natural relationship with her characterizations. 

 

Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! - At times colors are brighter and more vibrant on this DVD but I can't shake the feeling that some boosting was done. Skin tone hues fluctuate a bit, but it may have the best detail of the five transfers. Kinda cute film but it seemed lacking in some respects. The disc has the usual supplements but nothing I would rate as essential in terms of post-viewing.  

Seven Thieves - Although the 'newest' production of the five (1960) - the film is in black and white and is still in the impressive 2.35:1 cinemascope widescreen. Contrast and greytones are strong - as is detail. The BW was a good choice as it tends to suit the film and I think it might be my favorite in the collection. Not as much for Collins as for the supporting cast. It's cut from the same cloth as the original Ocean's 11 and Mission Impossible TV series. The standard supplements are available for those keen.   

NOTE: Each DVD includes 4 Lobby Card reproductions (postcard size) of that particular film and a one page lining the keep case with a color image and listing the chapter stops.

Overall I would say that I am happy with the transfers but again I don't really know if they should look substantially better. I think the screen caps give accurate representations of the DVD image appearances.

I'm starting to gain an appreciation for this more lavish era of Hollywood films and I would say these are probably standard fare - meaning 'nothing exceptional'.  I did moderately like Sea Wife and Seven Thieves - Rally... was amusing to some degree but I didn't like Stopover Tokyo. I was fairly indifferent to The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.  I don't know how many this collection will appeal to (Fox has done some extensive work) but it did allow me to gain some appreciation for Joan Collins who I only really had seen from later shlocky productions (ohh... and the wonderful Star Trek episode as Edith Keillor!).   

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus


Supplements:


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing


Stars Ray Milland, Joan Collins, Farley Granger, Luther Adler and Cornelia Otis Skinner


Directors: Richard Fleischer


Theatrical Release Date: October 1st, 1955

 

 

 


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Sea Wife


Stars Joan Collins, Richard Burton, Basil Sydney and Cy Grant


Directors: Bob McNaught


Theatrical Release Date: October 16th, 1957

 

 


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Stopover Tokyo

 

Stars Robert Wagner, Joan Collins, Edmond O'Brien, Ken Scott and Reiko Oyama

 


Directors: Richard L. Bean


Theatrical Release Date: December 3rd, 1957

 

 


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!

 

Stars Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Joan Collins, Jack Carson, Dwayne Hickman and Tuesday Weld

 
Directors: Leo McCarey


Theatrical Release Date: December 23, 1958

 

 

 

 


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 


Seven Thieves

 


Stars  Edward G. Robinson, Rod Steiger, Joan Collins and Eli Wallach


Directors: Henry Hathaway


Theatrical Release Date: March 11th, 1960

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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