Bette Davis & Joan Crawford Collections (R2) in August

Warner Home Video have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of The Bette Davis Collection (£34.99 RRP) and The Joan Crawford Collection (£29.99 RRP) for 22nd August 2005. Available exclusively from HMV these sets feature seven films never previously released on DVD in the UK plus fully restored prints from original camera negatives and enough featurettes, commentaries and documentaries to satisfy the most ardent fan.

The Bette Davis Collection will feature Mr. Skeffington as well as a new edition of the Davis classic Dark Victory, which has been restored from the original camera negative and remastered for optimum picture quality. The box set also includes two other archetypal Davis essentials, the unforgettable Now Voyager, restored from the original negative, and The Letter which includes an alternate ending.

Included in The Joan Crawford Collection are the first-ever home video release of The Damned Don't Cry, plus Crawford's triumphant role opposite John Garfield in Humoresque and her 1947 Warner Bros. classic Possessed, along with her performance opposite Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel.

The Bette Davis Collection

Mr. Skeffington (1944) New to DVD
Bette Davis earned her eighth Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as Fanny Skeffington. Backed by Claude Rains (Notorious, Casablanca) as her devoted husband, glorious costumes and a lush Franz Waxman score, Davis takes what might, in lesser hands, have been just a woman's picture and turns it into art. This is the original full-length 147 minute version of the film, which was cut by 20 minutes a few weeks after its initial release.

DVD Special Features include:
  • Commentary by the film's Director Vincent Sherman
  • New Featurette Mr. Skeffington: A Picture of Strength
  • Theatrical Trailer

Dark Victory (1939) New to DVD
This new presentation of Bette Davis's bravura, moving, but never morbid performance as Judith Traherne, a dying heiress determined to find happiness in her few remaining months, has been fully-restored from the original negative for this DVD. Dark Victory remains a three-hankie classic and was Davis' biggest box-office hit yet, garnering Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Actress and Original Score.

DVD Special Features include:
  • New Digital Transfer from Restored Picture and Audio Elements
  • Commentary by Film Historian James Ursini and CNN Film Critic Paul Clinton
  • New Featurette 1939: Tough Competition for Dark Victory
  • Theatrical Trailer

Now, Voyager (1942) New to DVD
A tender love story, a taut psychological drama, an inspiring tale of physical and spiritual transformation, Now, Voyager is all three. It's also a Bette Davis career milestone, resulting in her sixth Best Actress Oscar nomination as spinster Charlotte Vale, who defies her domineering mother (fellow Oscar nominee Gladys Cooper) to discover love, heartbreak and eventual contentment. A stunning transfer from the original negative.

DVD Special Features include:
  • Max Steiner scoring session music cues
  • Cast career highlights
  • Theatrical trailer

The Letter (1940) New to DVD
Directed by William Wyler (Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday), this classic film noir, based on the play by W. Somerset Maugham, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and a Best Actress nod for Bette Davis.

DVD Special Features include:
  • New digital transfer from restored picture & audio elements
  • Lux Radio Theatre broadcast featuring performances by Davis and Marshall
  • Alternate ending

The Joan Crawford Collection

Humoresque (1946) New to DVD
In this acclaimed and profound exploration of desire, Crawford plays socialite Helen Wright, a character torn between selfless love and selfish impulses. John Garfield (The Postman Always Rings Twice) matches her as the driven genius. Directed with panache by Jean Negulesco, and featuring an amazing score by Franz Waxman, Humoresque was a box-office smash, a worthy follow-up for Miss Crawford after winning her Oscar for Mildred Pierce. has been fully restored from the original camera negative for this release.

DVD Special Features include:
  • New Featurette The Music of Humoresque
  • Theatrical Trailer

Possessed (1947) New to DVD
Joan Crawford co-stars with Van Heflin and Raymond Massey, and re-teams with producer Jerry Wald from her Academy Award-winning performance in Mildred Pierce. She claimed a 1947 Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the tempestuous, mentally unstable Louise. This film convinced even the skeptics that Crawford was a great actress.

DVD Special Features include:
  • Commentary by film historian Drew Casper
  • New Featurette Possessed: The Quintessential Film Noir
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Damned Don't Cry (1950) New to DVD
This film is the first of three collaborations between Joan Crawford and director Vincent Sherman. Crawford brings hard-boiled glamour and simmering passion to the role of Ethel Whitehead, a woman who moves from the wrong side of the tracks to a mobster's mansion and on to high society, one man at a time. A hidden gem, this marks the first home video release of this unforgettable motion picture.

DVD Special Features include:
  • Commentary by the film's director Vincent Sherman
  • New Featurette The Crawford Formula: Real and Reel
  • Theatrical trailer

Grand Hotel (1932)
Berlin's plushest hotel is the setting where "nothing ever happens." A lonely ballerina (Greta Garbo), her jewel-thief lover (John Barrymore) and an ambitious stenographer (Joan Crawford) prove the contrary. In this great screen drama, the glitz and glitter of Berlin's opulent Grand Hotel comes alive with its star-studded guests and employees.

DVD Special Features include:
  • Checking Out: Grand Hotel featurette
  • Hollywood premiere of MGM's Grand Hotel (1932 newsreel)
  • Just A Word Of Warning (1932 Theatre Announcement)
  • Nothing Ever Happens (1933 Vitaphone Short)

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