Joan Crawford Collection Volume 2

 

Sadie McKee (1934)     Strange Cargo (1940)     A Woman's Face (1941)


Flamingo Road (1949)     Torch Song (1953)

 

Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur; (March 23, 1905 – May 10, 1977) was an Academy Award-winning American actress. The American Film Institute named Crawford among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time, ranking her at number 10.

Starting as a dancer, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1925 and played in small parts. By the end of the '20s, as her popularity grew, she became famous as a youthful flapper. At the beginning of the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled that of fellow MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. She was often cast in movies in which she played hardworking young women who eventually found romance and financial success. These "rags to riches" stories were well-received by Depression-era audiences. Women, particularly, seemed to identify with her characters' struggles. By the end of the decade, Crawford remained one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars, and one of the highest paid women in the U.S.

Moving to Warner Bros. in 1943, Crawford won an Academy Award for her performance in Mildred Pierce and achieved some of the best reviews of her career in the following years. In 1955, she became involved with PepsiCo, the company run by her last husband, Alfred Steele. Crawford was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors after his death in 1959, but was forcibly retired in 1973. She continued acting regularly into the 1960s, when her performances became fewer, and retired from the screen in 1970 after the release of the horror film Trog.

From Wikipedia located HERE

 


Titles

 

 


 

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. l.

 

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1934 - 1953

  DVD Reviews

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

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Respectively - 1:20:30, 1:29:45, 1:20:00 and 1:45:44
Bitrate:

Sadie McKee (1934)

Bitrate:

Strange Cargo (1940)

Bitrate:

A Woman's Face (1941)

Bitrate:

Flamingo Road

Bitrate:

Torch Song

Audio English (original mono)
Subtitles English (CC), French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 + 1.66 

Edition Details:

• various shorts and documentaries (see menu screen caps below)


DVD Release Date: February 12th, 2008

Custom Case (see image above)
Chapters (respectively): 25, 30, 30, 26, 23

 

Comments:

NOTE: The 5 main features of this boxset are housed in a custom case (see image above) and are also available separately. Though, considering price it seems to make much better financial sense to buy the entire Joan Crawford Collection Vol. 2 package than individually - even if you only want two of the five.

 

All five discs in the package are dual-layered and progressive. Each are coded for Regions 1 thru 4 in the NTSC standard. The transfers are in their original aspect ratios with only Torch Song being widescreen (anamorphic) and in color - the rest are 1.33:1 ratio black and white. The audio for all is original English and there are optional English (CC) or French subtitles available. The average bitrate for each transfer is 5.54 mbps.

 

Image quality varies as there is an almost 20 year span in the production of the oldest to youngest feature. I'll comment on each transfer individually:

 

Sadie McKee (1934) - the film shows its age and the DVD has some prominent noise to go along with the occasional marks and dirty appearance. Actually though it looks a shade better than one might expect for something almost 75 years old. A watchable DVD and film although it doesn't hold up very well with its supercilious plot lines (perennially drunken Edward Arnold was just too much for me) - I'd say this, and Torch Song, are the weak links of the collection in my opinion.  

 

Strange Cargo (1940)  - improved sharpness and contrast over Sadie. There may be some slight black boosting but it has brought up detail to some degree. I enjoyed the film especially the 'stranded boat' element. Gable more-or-less steals the film and Crawford's sour-puss character must take a backseat. I have a note of some chroma but don't recall where in the film that I saw it.

 

A Woman's Face (1941) - firstly a great Cukor film and the DVD transfer equals this wonderful classic. Great contrast, detail and its quite clean with minimal noise. How can you not love a film with the tagline "They called her a scar-faced she-devil.".


Flamingo Road (1949) - Another fine film with Michael Curtiz at the helm showcasing stalwart street-smart Lane Bellamy (Crawford) battling crooked and rich Titus Semple (Greenstreet) while cloistered within the confines of small-town USA. I really enjoyed Crawford's performance - one of her better I thought. This is the best looking DVD of the collection.  
At times exceedingly sharp with fabulous greyscale.

 

 

 

Torch Song (1953) - Some say that it should be in 1.37:1 aspect ratio not 1.75. Kind of weak as the colors and sharpness never look particularly crisp. They may be bleeding a bit too. Perhaps more aptly suiting the over-the-top film (or rather; 'performance' from Crawford) - I couldn't help but be reminded of Miss Nora Desmond. Interesting to watch but even in anamorphic widescreen the image is at the poor end of the scale.

 

NOTE: From IMdb: 'In the song-and-dance number, "Two-Faced Woman," (music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Howard Dietz), Joan Crawford performed in blackface. Miss Crawford's singing voice was dubbed by India Adams, whose prerecording was originally intended for Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953). The song-and-dance performance by Miss Charisse (with Oscar Levant on piano) was dropped from this movie, but the footage appears on the DVD release from Warner Home Video. In That's Entertainment! III (1994), the Charisse and Crawford versions are compared via split screen.'

 

Extras are typical Warner - short comedies, cartoons and some decent documentaries on Crawford. I especially enjoyed the one on Torch Song ('Tough Baby - Torch Song')and Flamingo Road ('Crawford at Warners') with Jeanine Basinger, Christina Crawford, and Richard Barrios discussing various films in the grand scheme of Crawford's career. I'm kind of tired of the filler 'era' stuff but the cartoons always get me in a happy mood. I didn't listen to all the audio-only supplements (on A Woman's Face, Flamingo Road and Torch Song).

 

This is a darn good boxset. Strange Cargo (1940), A Woman's Face (1941) and Flamingo Road (1949) are worth it alone without the other two although Crawford fans should get a kick out of hyper-thespian Torch Song. This is great deal from Warner - I think I enjoyed Volume 1 (Reviewed HERE) a little better but this package still has super value at about $7.50/film. Absolutely recommended!

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus


Extras


Screen Captures

 

Sadie McKee (1934)

 

Subtitle Sample
 

 

 

 

 


Screen Captures

 

Strange Cargo (1940)

 

Subtitle Sample


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Screen Captures

 

A Woman's Face (1941)

 

Subtitle Sample

 

 

 

 

 


Screen Captures

 

Flamingo Road (1949)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Screen Captures

 

Torch Song (1953)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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