The Barbara Stanwyck Signature Collection


Annie Oakley (1935)       My Reputation (1946)      East Side, West Side (1949)

To Please a Lady (1950)       Jeopardy (1953)       Executive Suite (1954)

 

An icon of film and Noir - While faithfully playing resilient and confident female characters that almost always had a likeable edge - Barbara Stanwyck was born Ruby Catherine Stevens on July 16th, 1907 in New York City to a Canadian immigrant mother from Nova Scotia.  

 

Warner Home Video honors the 100th birthday of one of the motion picture industry’s most glamorous stars with her first-ever NTSC DVD set, Barbara Stanwyck The Signature Collection. This release includes six titles across five discs -- Annie Oakley, East Side, West Side, Executive Suite, My Reputation and a Double Feature disc, To Please A Lady and Jeopardy. Each of the discs in the collection contain various special features, including radio programs, vintage cartoons and shorts, and most notably, an incisive commentary by Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, with his take on Robert Wise’s powerful all-star drama, Executive Suite.

 


Titles

 

 


 

Annie Oakley (1935) - A fictionalized life of the markswoman known as "Little Sure Shot," it's the story of backwoods girl whose remarkable skill with the rifle makes her the star of the flamboyant Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. The rivalry between Annie and fellow sharpshooter Toby Walker (Preston Foster) turns to love, and Annie also develops a strong friendship with another member of the troupe, Chief Sitting Bull. The star was Barbara Stanwyck, an established leading lady with a string of successful films for such directors as Frank Capra and William Wellman. But Stanwyck had been unhappy with her recent films at Warner Brothers, and was once again freelancing. Annie Oakley was her first film for RKO, and her first-ever western.

Excerpt from Tuner Classic Movies located HERE      

 

My Reputation (1946) - Moving romantic drama in which a war widow, Barbara Stanwyck, with two young sons tries to forge a new relationship with an army officer, George Brent, despite the disapproving mutterings of both the conservative community and her own mother Lucile Watson. Stanwyck delivers a compelling performance as the frustrated young mother.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE    

 

East Side, West Side (1949) - Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason and Ava Gardner star in this New York-set melodrama about a stoic wife, Stanwyck, who decides to stand by her man, Mason, despite him being an inveterate philanderer who's having an affair with Gardner. Fine ensemble acting illuminates this superior soap.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE
 

To Please a Lady (1950) - Clark Gable stars as Mike Brannon, a thrill-seeking race car driver whose ruthless tactics cause a crash that results in another driver's death. Barbara Stanwyck plays Regina Forbes, an influential newspaper columnist who is determined to get him permanently banned from the professional racing circuit. The pair engages in an explosive battle of wills while fighting off an attraction to each other that threatens to spin out of control.

Excerpt from Tuner Classic Movies located HERE

    

Jeopardy (1953) - Solid performances and slick direction give this thriller a certain edge, but the situation is contrived, the tension spurious. On holiday in Mexico, Sullivan is trapped by timber from a collapsing pier on a remote beach. With the tide rising, his wife (Stanwyck) drives off to seek help, leaving their young son (Aaker) to tend to his dad. She runs into an escaped killer (Meeker), who cynically appropriates the car to make good his own escape; but surprised by the way Stanwyck continues to fight him, he returns to the beach after she reminds him that he can use her husband's clothes and papers, and promises to go with him herself (as decoy for police roadblocks, or whatever he wants) provided her husband is freed. It's an MGM film, so you know that family and the love of a good woman will weigh heavily in the end.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE      

 

Executive Suite (1954) - Executive Suite boasted a star-studded cast, including William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, Fredric March, June Allyson, Walter Pidgeon, Shelley Winters, Paul Douglas and Nina Foch. Though the large A-list cast was in part a throwback to the days of Grand Hotel (1932) and Dinner at Eight (1933), in the main, it was a rear-guard attempt by Hollywood to increase ticket sales in the new world of television. Still, according to Houseman, the cast was selected not on the basis of their star power, but because they could handle the dialogue-rich scenes. Most of the actors had stage experience and were not adverse to the idea of spending an inordinate time on rehearsals.

Excerpt from Tuner Classic Movies located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1935 - 1954

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner (5-disc) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Audio English (original)
Subtitles English, English (CC), French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

  • Annie Oakley (1935)
    Special Features:
    Main Street Follies, vintage 1935 short starring Hal Le Roy
    Into Your Dance, vintage 1935 cartoon

    My Reputation (1946)
    Special Features:
    Jan Savitt and Band, vintage Warner Bros. musical short
    Daffy Doodles, vintage Warner Bros. cartoon
    Audio Only Bonuses: Vintage Radio Versions - Lux Radio Theater adaptation with Barbara Stanwyck (4/47) and Screen Guild Theater adaptation with Alexis Smith (7/47)
    Theatrical trailer

    East Side, West Side (1949)
    Special Features:
    Counterfeit Cat, vintage M-G-M Tex Avery cartoon
    Stuff for Stuff, vintage M-G-M short subject
    Original theatrical trailer

    Barbara Stanwyck Double Feature: To Please a Lady and Jeopardy
    Special Features:
    To Please A Lady original theatrical trailer
    Jeopardy original theatrical trailer
    Audio Only Bonus: Jeopardy 1954 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast with Stanwyck

    Executive Suite (1954)
    Special Features:
    Feature commentary by Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone
    Out for Fun, vintage M-G-M Pete Smith Short
    Billy Boy, vintage M-G-M Tex Avery Cartoon
    Original theatrical trailer


DVD Release Date: October 30th, 2007

5 Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: various

 

 

Comments:

The 6 main features of this boxset are housed in 5 individual Keep Cases (see image above) and they are also sold separately. To Please a Lady and Jeopardy share the same disc.  All five of the DVDs are dual-layered (just barely - most around 5 Gig) - coded for Regions 1 thru 4 in the NTSC standard. All are in their original aspect ratios of 1.33:1 and are progressively transferred.  As expected from Warner they look very consistent, Annie Oakley showing its age - but quite acceptable transfer-wise. Audio is in original English only with no option for DUBs. Each support the audio with optional English, English close captioned and French subtitles.

The more recent the film - the better it tends to look but each still have excellent contrast. There are sprinklings of damage here and there - again more so on the older features. Four of the six have pictureboxed opening credits. I don't have excessively more to say than from what you can see in the screen capture samples. Annie Oakley has some weak moments (hazy with light scratches) and To Please a Lady tends to show heavier digital noise than the others. I don't see strong indications of manipulation and overall I would say these transfers are superior to the other latest signature collection - Burt Lancaster reviewed HERE. Executive Suite and Jeopardy look stunning for their age.  

 

Audio is all original and corresponds well to the image quality (Oakley the weaker sister and Executive Suite perfectly clear and consistent). I'll assume that these transfers are as good s can be expected and the best these films will look and sound on digital for a very long time.

Aside from Oliver Stone's commentary on Executive Suite the supplements represent some vintage filler with cartoons (two Tex Avery!), MGM shorts and audio two only Lux Broadcasts. There are also trailers for five of the six films (none for Annie Oakley). Stone gives an adequate commentary although it has gaps and he tends to narrate a bit. But on the positive he brings up some very good points and those keen should give it a listen. He defines the film as 'a battle for humanity' and discuss some of the moral lapses by characters in the film. He genuinely has some definite interest in Executive Suite, but suspect he is reading from some notes occasionally (you can hear him turn the pages!) when he talks about specifics of past stars (like Shelly Winters - rhyming off her other film credits etc.). Still it was fairly entertaining and informative - there are significant gaps. 

I'm a big Stanwyck fan and especially enjoyed  the dated Annie Oakley, East Side, West Side (has Van Heflin ever given a bad performance?), the noir-ish Jeopardy and the star-studded Executive Suite.

It makes incredible financial sense to buy the boxset as opposed to individually. This collection was overdue (although there was a Barbara Stanwyck Screen Goddess Collection released in Region 2 - PAL - see our reviews HERE) and hence there are many superior Stanwyck offerings already available on DVD (she received four nominations for Best Actress Oscars for roles in Stella Dallas (1937), Ball of Fire (1941), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) and Billy Wilder's sleazy adulterous Noir thriller Double Indemnity) but I had only seen one of these previously and they are all debuting digitally (except Annie Oakley which was out in France - R2 PAL). I consider it a must-own for fans of the era or Barbara Stanwyck.     

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus


Supplements:


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

Annie Oakley


Stars Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster and Melvyn Douglas

 

Directed by George Stevens


 


Theatrical Release Date: November 15th, 1935

 

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

My Reputation


Stars Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Warner Anderson, Lucile Watson and John Ridgely


Directors: Curtis Bernhardt


Theatrical Release Date: January 25th, 1946

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

East Side, West Side

 

Stars Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Van Heflin, Ava Gardner, Cyd Charisse and Nancy Davis

 


Directors: Mervyn LeRoy


Theatrical Release Date: December 22nd, 1949

 

 


 

Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 To Please a Lady (1950)

 

Stars Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, Will Geer and Roland Winters 

 
Directors: Clarence Brown


Theatrical Release Date: October 30th, 1950

 

 

 

Jeopardy (1953)

 

Stars Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Ralph Meeker and Lee Aaker  

 
Directors: John Sturges


Theatrical Release Date: March 30th, 1953

 

 

 


Keep Case Cover

 

Also available individually here:

 

 

Screen Captures

 


Executive Suite

 


Stars William Holden, June Allyson, Barbara Stanwyck, Fredric March, Walter Pidgeon and Shelley Winters


Directors: Robert Wise


Theatrical Release Date: May 6th, 1954

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

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




 

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