NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection (www.WarnerArchive.com or www.wbshop.com)
WIFE WANTED (1946) Kay Francis' final film fling sees Kay going out with a bang - and how! - in this femme noir sensation. Fading film queen Carole Raymond (Francis) finds herself behind the eight ball in a classified lonely hearts crime ring. Set up as the fall gal for a snuffed out Romeo, Carole is up to her white furs in illegitimate matrimony until a muckraker (Robert Shayne) gets a sniff of the shenanigans. But will he be Carole's salvation or her damnation? Kay Francis produces, no-nonsense noir helmer Phil Karlson directs, and Paul Cavanagh, Veda Ann Borg, Teala Loring and Jonathan Hale co-star.
KILROY WAS HERE (1947) Two titanic kid stars - the Jackies Cooper and Coogan - team up for this post-war fable about an ordinary GI Joe who gets confused for the most traveled footslogger of all, the legendary Kilroy.
Since the familiar roughly sketched hands, nose, and "Kilroy Was Here"
appeared wherever serviceman were found (take that, internet "memes") the public clamored to know the identity of the 'real' Kilroy. Hapless ex-hackney vet John J. Kilroy, hoping to get a GI Bill boost into the realms of higher ed, steps into a co-ed's desperate PR scheme to claim Kilroy for her campus. Thankfully, fellow ex-hackney vet Pappy Collins followed John J. to keep him out of trouble... Oh, boy! Directed by Phil Karlson.
WHERE ARE YOUR CHILDREN? (1944) Youth run amuck gets the Monogram treatment courtesy of on-the-cusp thesps Jackie Cooper and Gale Storm.
They may be from opposite side of the tracks, but this dinette darling and her gentleman GI might just have had a shot were it not for the pre-cursor delinquents spiking drinks, going on cross-country joy rides and beating service station personnel to death. What else is a kid to do back before Youth Centers? Directed by William Nigh.
LOST ANGEL (1943) Margaret O'Brien stars as Alpha, the pint-sized pet project of the Pickering Institute of Child Psychology. Raised according to only the most advanced scientific principles, the eggheads at the institute (played by character greats Donald Meek, Alan Napier, Philip Merivale, Henry O'Neill, Sara Haden, Howard Freeman, Kathleen Lockhart, and Walter Fenner) all but succeed in the quest to turn a real-live girl into an ersatz Pinocchio. But when she gets infected with a bad dose of humanity thanks to a brash newshound (James Craig), it's off to the big city for our pre-teen humandroid's quest to find some magic. A nearly perfect role for O'Brien's preternaturally adult mannerisms, she's matched by Keenan Wynn's delightful turn as babysitting gangster, Packy Roost.
Bing is Back Leading a Pack of Paramounts
RIDING HIGH (1950) Frank Capra teams with Bing Crosby to remake his racing fable Broadway Bill and this time, make it live up to his naturally high standards. Joining Crooner and Craftsman are a Sturgesian ensemble of crackerjack characters including William Demarest, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Bickford, and Colleen Gray. Capra also ups the ante by bringing back much of Broadway Bills cast 16 years later including Clarence Muse, Douglass Dumbrille, Raymond Walburn, Margaret Hamilton, Frankie Darro and Ward Bond (who gets a bump from henchman to heavy). Long on heart, Riding High delivers the goods in both sentiment and song. Also features Oliver Hardy in a rare solo cameo.
ALL IN A NIGHT'S WORK (1961) A dead exec with an ear-to-ear-grin. A towel clad temptress seen fleeing his hotel room. Sounds like a scandal is brewing for newly installed magazine magnate Tony Ryder (Dean Martin) unless he can scope out the lovely lass's purchase price. But young Katie (Shirley MacLaine) may be too dizzy a dame for swinging Tony to wrap his head around. Also stars Cliff Robertson, Charles Ruggles, Norma Crane and Jack Weston. Directed by Joseph Anthony.
GEISHA (1962) Shirley MacLaine goes undercover as a geisha in this romance in which
a wife temps her spouse with her own self (Recognize shades of Madam Satan?).
Gifted comedienne Lucy Dell (MacLaine) is married to noted French director Paul
Robaix (Yves Montand) who works for
RED GARTERS (1954) This musical Western takes place on the edges of the abstract for its still-ahead-of-its-time tongue-in-cheek take on western tropes and clichés delivered up as four-color allegory. Jack Carson and Guy Mitchell are the tuff guy antagonists, Gene Berry is the bromance buddy, Pat Crowley and Cass Daley are the eye candy, Frank Faylen and Buddy Ebsen are the yokel locals, Reginald Owen is the probity probater and Rosemary Clooney is the glue that keeps this impossible tale whirring along on a surge of merriment. Directed by George Marshall.
A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER (1970) Maestro Vincente Minnelli takes on this Broadway
oddity, a tale of romance and regret within the burgeoning new age world of the
seventies. That means we're in for ESP, hypnotic regression and reincarnation
aided by the
When Daisy goes into a trance, however, she can regress into past lives and different personalities - including "Melinda," a 19th-century English coquette. Also stars Jack Nicholson and Bob Newhart.
Nuclear Families and Other Disasters
FIRE IN THE SKY (1993) This film is a sci-fi noir take on the infamous Walton event, in which logger Travis Walton's UFO abduction was witnessed by a bevy of his frightened and bewildered co-workers. D.B. Sweeney stars as Walton in a film that places the familiar ahead of the fantastic in order to deliver a gripping character study of the devastation and suspicion that arises when the extra-ordinary collides with the very ordinary. Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg, Bradley Gregg, and Henry Thomas play the boys left telling the tale while James Garner plays the cop who suspects it's all a cover-up - for murder. Directed by Robert Lieberman.
STUART SAVES HIS FAMILY (1995) SNL alum Al Franken (and current US Senator) eschews broad parody for wistful wisdom as Stuart Smalley leaves the small screen for this surprisingly grown-up celluloid take on the inspirational 12-stepper. Stuart, fired from his cable TV self-help show, goes home to resolve a family crisis. Dad (Harris Yulin) is an abusive drunk, Mom (Shirley Knight) is an enabler, Sis (Laura San Giacomo) is an over-eater, and Brother (Vincent D'Onofrio) has a problem with his temper. But Stuart may just have the goods to save them all. Directed by Harold Ramis.