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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Classic WB Film Blu-Ray Giveaway: From Garbo to Tandy



Although regular readers might think that Warner Brothers Archive's catalog is limited to "lost" '70s Hanna-Barbera cartoons, such as "Goober and the Ghost Chasers" and "The Funky Phantom" , this ginormous collection extends to a wide variety of enduring and cult television programs and films.

Examples from my extensive WB Archive collection include the film noir classics "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" and "The Public Enemy." A recent addition is the high camp series "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.," which stars Stefanie "Mrs. H." Powers as a hip '60s superspy. The equally campy film "Torch Song Trilogy," which stars Matthew Broderick and Harvery Fierstein, and features very cute bunny slippers is on my wishlist.

WB Archive's sibling company Warner Brothers Home Entertainment (Home) is contributing to the effort to collect some of the best films ever made  by offering blu-ray versions of several classic films. I look forward to this chance to watch enhanced versions of these productions that I enjoyed so much either on PBS or Turner Classic Movies (TCM). 

My only negative comment is that the sets do not include introductions by the bodaciously awesome TCM host Robert Osborne. I would sacrifice the left anything off my anatomy to discuss classic movies with this gregarious filmophile.

Home is celebrating this next step in its evolution by sponsoring a give-away  bundles of three of the Best Picture winner blu-ray titles in this group. They have allocated two sets to me, and contest details follow the descriptions of the prize package films.

The first title is the 1932 film "Grand Hotel" in which Garbo, and just about every other mega-star of the period, speaks. I do not recall if Joan Crawford makes an issue about wire hangers or dirty bathroom floors but am sure that she does not warn anyone about initiating unlawful carnal knowledge with her

This highly superior inspiration for Neil Simon's "Suite" films, "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Hotel," and "Hotel Babylon" tells the dramatic tales of the guests and staff of Berlin's Grand Hotel.

The second equally good film is 1942's "Mrs. Miniver." All that needs to be said about this must-see film is that it tells the tale of an ordinary English housewife who closely follows the principle of "Keep Calm and Carry On" despite experiencing horrible tragedies during World War II.

The lighter 1989 film "Driving Miss Daisy" rounds out the set. This truly modern classic  always has me think of my favorite "In Living Color" sketch "Riding Miss Daisy."  It has also often inspires me to be rude to friends who give me rides and to refer to a need to "make water" on virtually ever road trip.

This charming tale of mid-20th century small town Southern life depicts the evolving friendship between feisty Jewish widow Daisy Werthan, played by Jessica Tandy, and her black driver Hoke, played by Morgan Freeman. 

Hoke is thrust (pun definitely intended) on Miss Daisy after age-related infirmities make it unsafe for her to drive. This aspect of the film evokes memories of my grandmother, who would leave parking lots through entrances if they were closer than the exits and would ignore stop signs that she did not feel like obeying.

In honor of both the wide range of titles in the Warner Brothers catalog, and the recent DVD release of V1 of the "Police Academy" animated series, I will award a blu-ray bundle of "Grand Hotel," "Mrs. Miniver," and "Driving Miss Daisy" to the two people who email me the best response to the question of which of these three films would make the best cartoon series and why.

Replies must be no more than 50 words and be received by 12:00 p.m. EST Friday January 25, 2013.