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The Kim Novak Collection

Picnic (1955)         Jeanne Eagels (1957)        Bell, Book and Candle (1959)

Middle of the Night (1959)        Pal Joey (1957)

 

 

One of the most beautiful and talented stars to emerge from the studio era in the 1950s, Kim Novak has made an indelible mark on the cinema, and in the hearts of film fans all over the world. On August 3, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) unveils The Kim Novak Collection, featuring five of Novak's best-known films, fully restored and remastered, including two new to DVD. The must-have collection includes Jeanne Eagels with Jeff Chandler and Middle of the Night with Fredric March (each making their DVD debuts), as well as the Novak classics Picnic with William Holden and Rosalind Russell; Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth; and Bell Book and Candle with James Stewart and Jack Lemmon. The Kim Novak Collection also features rare archival photographs of Kim Novak on set and at work on her most popular films as she shares her personal stories in newly recorded intimate conversations with author Stephen Rebello. Rediscover Miss Novak: one of the most beautiful and talented actresses to ever grace the screen.

About Kim Novak

Kim Novak is a true original, with her sultry good looks and smoky voice, her earliest film roles seared the screen and brought her almost instant stardom. Born Marilyn Pauline Novak on February 13, 1933, she was raised in Chicago, and by 18 years of age she’d accepted a scholarship at the prestigious Chicago Art Institute. Her dream of become an artist now a reality, she took a summer job as a model that accidentally placed her in Hollywood where she signed a studio contact in early 1954. From 1954-1962, Kim Novak was not only the reigning goddess at Columbia Pictures, but she was named the No. 1 Worldwide Box Office Star three years in a row. She appeared in more than a dozen films, each role and performance richly varied -- which may be why she is also one of Hollywood’s most mysterious and indefinable actresses. Blonde and beautiful, she exuded a daunting combination of intelligence and passion, which was echoed in her best-known performance in Hitchcock's Vertigo. The dual roles in that film suggest the range of Novak's career: cool, calculating and enigmatic one moment, and warm, willing and vulnerable the next. Novak’s mystique is in part due to her well-guarded private life, which kept her away from Hollywood, while leaving audiences wanting more.

Her first role for Columbia was a star turn playing opposite Fred MacMurray in Pushover (1954, available in the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics Volume II DVD collection), and she quickly played lead roles in Phffft (1954, available on DVD in The Jack Lemmon Film Collection) and 5 Against the House (1955, available in the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics Volume I DVD collection).

With her role in the smash hit Picnic (1955) Novak found herself the hottest sex symbol in town, a title she wore with discomfort. Unlike other similar stars, Novak was pragmatic and did not lose herself in the glamour of the studio’s carefully manufactured blonde bombshell image of her. Despite her dislike of such publicity chores as providing “cheesecake” shots for the press, and going out on studio arranged “dates” to keep her name in print, she was a trooper and toed the company line.

She was cast in a string of box office hits, including The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) with Tyrone Power, Jeanne Eagels (1957), and Pal Joey (1957), before landing her most famous role, opposite Jimmy Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece
Vertigo, on loan to Paramount. On returning to Columbia, she was reunited with Stewart for the charming romantic comedy, Bell Book and Candle (1958). She made only three more films for Columbia -- Middle of the Night (1959), Strangers When We Meet (1960), and The Notorious Landlady (1962, available on DVD in The Jack Lemmon Film Collection).

Preferring privacy to celebrity, she left Hollywood at the height of her fame in 1966 to live in Big Sur. Determined to define own her career, her screen appearances became rare: Robert Aldrich’s The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968), The Great Bank Robbery (1969), Tales That Witness Madness (1973), Just a Gigolo (1979) and The Mirror Crack’d (1980) with Angela Lansbury, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. After a stint on the TV series “Falcon Crest” during the 1986-7 season, she has turned down more offers than she has accepted, and currently lives away from Hollywood, on a ranch with her veterinarian husband.

Posters

 

 

Picnic
It's Labor Day weekend, and fresh off a freight train is Hal Carter (William Holden), a happy-go-lucky drifter who's looking for a brand new start in life. A robust, handsome show-off, Hal has come to Kansas to seek gainful employment in his old fraternity brother Alan's family granary. But despite his high hopes and expectations, Hal's ambitious plans soon go away when his sexual magnetism attracts every woman in town, including 19-year-old Madge Owens (Kim Novak) -- the alluring young beauty queen who also happens to be Alan's girlfriend.

Jeanne Eagels
The short and tortured life of Broadway actress and silent screen star Jeanne Eagels was a perfect vehicle for Miss Novak. As a small-town beauty whose ambition for the legitimate stage drove her to self-destruction, the film showcased Novak’s dramatic talents in one of her favorite roles. Richly photographed in Black and White, and directed by George Sidney (Kiss Me Kate, Viva Las Vegas), with strong support from the legendary Agnes Moorehead and Jeff Chandler.

Bell, Book, and Candle
Meet Gillan Holroyd (Kim Novak), Greenwich Village's most seductive sorceress. Powerful, glamorous, and a wee bit bored, Gillian knows that witches can't fall in love. But they can have fun... especially if their lover belongs to another woman! So when Gillian discovers handsome new neighbor Shep Henderson (James Stewart) is the fiance of an old college nemesis (Janice Rule), she promptly puts the befuddled publisher under her spell. But while her sex hex may have heated up Shep's heart, it has also unthawed her own, leading to a romantic complication that not even Pyewacket, Gillian's mind-reading cat, could have foreseen. Presented in eye popping Technicolor transfer that beautifully captures James Wong Howe's stunning cinematography, Bell, Book and Candle co-starring Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold, and Elsa Lanchester is "a delightful spoof on witchcraft with the cast members at their very best." THE MOTION PICTURE GUIDE!

Middle of the Night
Paddy Chayefsky’s story, pairing her with actor Frederick March, allowed Novak to again display the richness of her talent. Novak is a young divorcee who falls into an uneasy romantic relationship with her clothing manufacturer boss (March), who is more than twice her age. The anxieties and opinions of family and friends press on the couple and strain the fragile relationship. Directed by Delbert Mann on location in New York, the terrific supporting cast includes Martin Balsam and Lee Grant.

Pal Joey
Pal Joey stars Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, and Kim Novak in a sophisticated musical comedy. Sinatra plays Joey Evans, a cabaret singer who romances wealthy socialite Hayworth into financing his own nightclub, but then falls for voluptuous chorine Novak. Pal Joey took 17 years to get to the screen. Based on a series of stories written as letters by John O'Hara for THE NEW YORKER, the letters were all signed "Your Pal Joey" by a mythical dancer. O'Hara later adapted the stories as a book for the Broadway musical which starred Gene Kelly. When Columbia bought the film rights, studio chief Harry Cohn wanted Kelly for the lead and Hayworth for the younger role of Linda. But Kelly was already contracted to MGM and the project was shelved. At one time, Billy Wilder was interested in doing the picture with Marlon Brando and Mae West-but the studio passed. It finally took the combined talents of Hayworth, Sinatra, and newcomer Kim Novak to bring Pal Joey to the screen. The gossip columns were filled with stories of an impending battle over credits. Sinatra was at the height of his film popularity, but Hayworth's contract stipulated she receive top billing. The battle however, was never fought. Sinatra gladly took the second slot-"I don't mind being in the middle of that sandwich," he quipped. Pal Joey contains some of Rogers and Hart's best songs including "My Funny Valentine," and one of Sinatra's biggest hits, "The Lady Is A Tramp." Hayworth's vocals were dubbed by Jo Ann Greer, Novak's by Trudi Erwin. Pal Joey was nominated for four Academy Awards(r) (1957) for Art Direction-Set Decoration, Sound Recording, Costume Design (by Jean Louis) and Film Editing. Although Pal Joey was a huge commercial success, it would be Rita Hayworth's swan song for Columbia. The studio machine that had turned Margarita Cansino into the glamorous Rita Hayworth, would now turn its attentions to Chicago-born Kim Novak, the last in a long line of studio-made stars.

 


 

directed by Joshua Logan
USA 1955

Theatrical Release: November 1955 (Limited release)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:52:56
Video

2.49:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.30 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 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.49:1

Edition Details:
• Disc 1:
• Kim Novak's Hollywood Picnic featurette (17:12)
• Select Scenes Commentary for Jeanne Eagles with Kim Novak and Stephen Rebello (21:36)
• Original Theatrical Trailer for Picnic (3:21)
• Original Theatrical Trailer for Jeanne Eagles (2:40)
• Disc 2:
• Bewitched, Bothered and Beautiful featurette (9:35)
• Reflections in the Middle of the Night featurette (15:02)
• Original Theatrical Trailer for Bell Book and Candle (2:37)
• Original Theatrical Trailer for Middle of the Night (3:18)
• Treasures of Columbia Classics Trailer (3:34)
• Disc 3:
• Select Scenes Commentary for Pal Joey with Kim Novak and Stephen Rebello (11:23)
• Backstage and at Home with Kim Novak featurette (9:27)
• Original Theatrical Trailer for Pal Joey (4:58)

DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010
2 slimcases in a pack

Chapters 12

 

Comments

A truly beautiful and glamorous actress, although with somewhat limited range, Kim Novak became a star for Columbia after her debut in a film noir Pushover , but her most iconic role came 4 years later in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. This collection from Sony Pictures collects 5 of her Columbia titles, 2 of them newly released to DVD and 3 others being remastered. Unfortunately, we don't have the previous editions of Picnic, Bell Book and Candle and Pal Joey to compare to this set. 5 films are spread over 3 discs. Picnic/Jeanne Eagles and Bell Book and Candle/Middle of the Night are double features that share 2 dual-layered discs housed in one slim case while Pal Joey gets single-layered disc and a slim case all to itself. Unfortunately, each title gets a single layer, and the low bitrate shows for it. The overall print quality for each film is very good. Picnic, the only title in CinemaScope, suffers from lack of detail in wide shots, but close-ups don't suffer as much. It's the title that would benefit from higher resolution. Other 4 titles average about 1.82:1 and there are slight black bars on top and bottom of the frame to preserve correct aspect ratio.

Picnic and Pal Joey include 2.0 and 5.1 soundtracks and the other 3 titles have only Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Gaudy yellow subtitles are available for all 5 titles, only in English (see samples below). The real coup for this release was securing participation from the lady in question herself, Kim Novak. Miss Novak narrates a few featurettes and select scenes with a help from an author Stephen Rebello. We don't see her in close-ups, but she is generous enough to show us her house, her horses and her paintings.

I can recommend the set just for the extras, but also DVD debut of Middle of the Night - one of the underrated gems worth rediscovering -and a fine presentation of Bell Book and Candle make the Kim Novak Collection a highly recommended release - one her fans won't want to pass up.

  - Gregory Meshman

 



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Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 


 

directed by George Sidney
USA 1957

Theatrical Release: 2 August 1957 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Runtime 1:48:32
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.19 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 Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
2 slimcases in a pack

Chapters 12

  


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Richard Quine
USA 1959

Theatrical Release: 25 December 1958 (New York City, New York)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Runtime 1:42:18
Video

1.81:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.4 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 Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.81:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
2 slimcases in a pack

Chapters 12

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Delbert Mann
USA 1959

Theatrical Release: 20 May 1959 (France)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Runtime 1:57:12
Video

1.82:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.10 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 Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.82:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
2 slimcases in a pack

Chapters 12

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Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by George Sidney
USA 1957

Theatrical Release: 25 October 1957 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Runtime 1:48:56
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.66 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 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
2 slimcases in a pack

Chapters 12

  


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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