One of the things I find most thrilling about movies is that they are timeless. Watch a movie and you can see the same performance your grandparents watched when it was first released. We will never know what it was like to hear Jenny Lind sing or see Sarah Bernhardt on stage, but we can watch Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, and John Wayne at their very best. That is why I am so happy about Warner Brothers opening up its archive to make available for the first time some of their treasured releases.
Take a look at the listings and you are sure to find some favorites you have not seen in years and some very worthwhile surprises. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s only screen credit was for “Three Comrades,” a heartbreaking drama set in pre-WWII Germany with an incandescent appearance by Margaret Sullavan. There are biographies of Thomas Edison (with Spencer Tracy), Abraham Lincoln (with Raymond Massey), and “An Affair to Remember” co-stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr re-team in “Dream Wife,” about a diplomatic advisor assigned to assist on the upcoming wedding of her former beau to an Asian princess. One of Warren Beatty’s most arresting early performances is in a little-known film called “All Fall Down,” co-starring Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Angela Lansbury, and “Shane’s” Brandon de Wilde. And Burt Reynolds appears in “Angel Baby’ with Salome Jens, who is mesmerizing as an evangelical preacher. Some are available for on demand download as well as on DVD and many have clips available online. Desson Thomson talked to NPR’s Scott Simon about some of the highlights of the collection. I will be highlighting some of my other favorites in upcoming posts.
Turner Classic Movies’ Robert Osborne likes to quote Lauren Bacall about old movies: “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.” These films are not all classics, but there is something there for everyone.