Yankee Doodle in Blu and a Quartet of New
YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) Blu-ray Disc. Warner’s tough guy leading lad with a song and dance man’s heart, James Cagney, was an Irish-American inspired choice to portray another son-of-Eire showman, George M. Cohan and Cagney¹s performance remains a favorite seven decades later. And there’s no slouching in his stellar supporting cast, with Joan Leslie and Walter Huston ably leading the way. And now the film – and its music – may be enjoyed as never before thanks to this pristine high definition 1080p Blu-ray Disc presentation that’s as close to a first-run 35mm viewing as possible this side of a time machine. Michael Curtiz directs at the full height of his considerable directorial powers (Casablanca was his next film) with a script by Robert Buckner and Edmund Joseph. Special Features: Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1942 with Casablanca trailer, 1942 newsreel, Warner Bros. short “Beyond the Call of Duty”, Warner Bros. vintage cartoon “Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid”; James Cagney in wartime short “You, John Jones”; Yankee Doodle Dandy theatrical trailer; Let Freedom Sing!: The Story of Yankee Doodle Dandy documentary; audio commentary with Warner Bros. historian Rudy Behlmer; “John Travolta remembers James Cagney” featurette; audio-only extrasradio show and pre-recording session outtakes/rehearsals; vintage Warner Bros. cartoon “Yankee Doodle Daffy”. Note: the animated cartoons also presented in 1080p HD!
ST. LOUIS KID (1934) James Cagney and Allen Jenkins play a pair of truckers with a penchant for trouble running the Chicago-St. Louis route. After getting into a fender-bender with a lovely local (Ann Reid) and a scrape with a milk syndicate man (Addison Richards) the pair get pinched and are hauled before the bench. Sensing the local Judge’s (Arthur Aylesworth) sympathies lie with the local dairy farmers, Cagney’s Eddie Kennedy hops on a soapbox and sets off a labor dispute. As the farmer’s go on strike against the big city combine, Eddie’s political larking leads to murder and kidnapping. Directed by Ray Enright.
DEVIL DOGS OF THE AIR (1935) James Cagney and Pat O’Brien follow-up their patriotic paean Here Comes The Navy with another salute for different branch of the armed forces, specifically the high-flying daredevils of the USMC. Based on a story by John Monk Saunders (Dawn Patrol, Ace of Aces, Wings), Devil Dogs of the Air sees Pat O’Brien playing Lieut. Bill Brannigan, a pilot trainer for the USMC Reserve Aviator program, entice his buddy, hot-shot barnstormer Tommy O’Toole (Cagney) to give the service a shot. Brannigan quickly rues his choice as Tommy makes a barrel roll for his best girl (Margaret Lindsay). But the cocky O’Toole has a lesson in comeuppance coming, one that may cost Brannigan more than his wings. Also starring Frank McHugh. Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
THE IRISH IN US (1935) A Warner Bros. all-star ensemble is on hand for this stout-hearted salute to Irish America. Pat O’Brien, Frank McHugh and James Cagney play a trio of Irish-American siblings (Pat is a cop, Mike is a fireman, and Danny is a fight promoter, naturally), who squabble over all things save their love for their saintly and salty Ma (Mary Gordon). While Danny makes another run at the big time with wannabe pugilist “Carbarn” Hammerschlog (Allen Jenkins), Pat sets his sights on the Captain’s daughter (Olivia de Havilland). But Danny and daughter meet cute and sparks fly, and the tension may just drive the family apart. Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
BOY MEETS GIRL (1938) A prime example of that most rarified of sub-genres, the screwball screenwriter comedy, Boy Meets Girl is a riotous lampoon of Hollywood’s back lots and those that work there. Pat O’Brien and James Cagney play a pair of screen scribes (supposedly a satirical take on Ben Hecht and Charlie McArthur, whose off-screen antics were almost as legendary as their wordsmithing) who inhabit the sound stages of a major studio. Desperate to make a screen sale and avoid real work, the pair pitch the universal outline of Boy-Meets-Girl, Boy-Loses-Girl, Boy-Gets-Girl to a trio of dubious studio stooges, Frank McHugh as a talent flack, Dick Foran as a cowboy star hack, and Ralph Bellamy as an ivy-league, empty suit studio chief. When Susie, their favorite studio girl, is revealed to be in a single state of maternity, the demented duo conspire to make their pitch a reality. O’Brien and Cagney like you’ve never seen (and Bellamy like you have!). Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
TV’s Texas Twister
BRONCO: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (1959-60) Bronco Layne (Ty Hardin) continues to crisscross the Wild West in the second season of his rip-roaring adventures. The ³Texas Twister² isn¹t looking for trouble, but his flying fists aren¹t shy about ending it should it come his way. This 5-Disc, 20-Episode collection sees Bronco¹s Civil War espionage exploits come back to haunt him, solving a murder mystery, getting caught in a range war defending Quakers, take refuge in a town run by the lawless, come between notorious outlaws Cole Younger (Richard Coogan) and Jesse James (James Coburn), play undercover outlaw to a crew of 19th century delinquents (including Joel Grey), and team-up with Pat Garrett (Rhodes Reason and Billy the Kid (Stephen Joyce). Riding the range with Bronco are notable guests Adam West, Alan Hale, Yvonne Craig, Troy Donahue, Warren Oates, and a very young Mary Tyler Moore.
Award Winning Non-Fiction Film
ONE LAST HUG: THREE DAYS AT GRIEF CAMP (2014) More than 1.5 million children in America are grieving the premature loss of a parent. The Emmy®-winning (Outstanding Children’s Program – 2014) documentary One Last Hug follows three heartbreaking but ultimately empowering days at Camp Erin, a bereavement camp that offers children who lost loved ones the support they need to deal with their grief. Founded by baseball great Jamie Moyer in memory of Erin Metcalf, a fan who died of cancer at 17, the free, weekend-long retreat is staffed by grief-support professionals and volunteers. Through group meetings, walks in the woods, and a scavenger hunt for rocks painted with words like ³Anger² and ³Confused,² campers are encouraged to come out of their shells and process their emotions, sharing their feelings with other grieving kids. The weekend culminates in a Luminary Ceremony, where children light floating lanterns in honor of their deceased loved ones, and are given the chance to say a final goodbye. Directed by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky, One Last Hug is an inspiring look at the indelible effect that sharing, friendship and emotional support can have on children dealing with extraordinary loss. 16×9 Widescreen
NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection, WB Shop.com, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.