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1. Wuthering Heights
$29.99 list($19.95)
2. A Song to Remember
$14.99
3. Hotel
$39.95 list($19.98)
4. Deep in My Heart
$19.98 $14.72
5. Desiree
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6. The Dark Angel
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7. The Cowboy and the Lady
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8. Divorce of Lady X
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9. Scarlet Pimpernel
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10. These Three
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11. The Other World of Winston Churchill
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12. That Uncertain Feeling
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13. Wuthering Heights
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14. Berlin Express
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15. Beloved Enemy
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16. Lydia
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17. Scarlet Pimpernel
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18. Private Life Don Juan (Amazon.com
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19. The Scarlet Pimpernel
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20. Private Life of Henry VIII

1. Wuthering Heights
Director: William Wyler
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6302278929
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1416
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

One of the most compelling tragic romances ever captured on film, Wuthering Heights is an exquisite tale of doomed love and miscalculated intentions. Though only half of Emily Bronte's classic tale of Heathcliff and Catherine was filmed by director William Wyler, it lacks for nothing.

The story begins when a Yorkshire gentleman farmer brings home a raggedy gypsy boy, Heathcliff, and raises him as his son. The boy grows to love his stepsister Catherine, with catastrophic results. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon were perfectly cast as the mismatched lovers, with Olivier brooding and despairing, Oberon ethereal and enchanting. This won cinematographer Gregg Toland a much-deserved Oscar for his haunting and evocative depiction of mid-19th century English moors. (Quite a trick, as this was shot in California!) Though nominated for seven otherOscars, it won none of them, as it was released in 1939, one of the best years in Hollywood history and the same year as Gone with the Wind. Interestingly, the script was written by Charles MacArthurand Ben Hecht, best known for their witty 1931 flick, The Front Page. --Rochelle O'Gorman ... Read more

Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars How Can You NOT Like This Movie?!
You can never compare the movie to the book since a movie can't possibly incorporate ALL of the text from the author! William Wyler put together an excellent cast, fantastic, dark, moody scenes and beautiful music to turn out this brilliant film. The handsome and brooding Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), the ravishing and haughty Cathy (Merle Oberon) along with the stoic, dull Edgar (David Niven)and the rebellious and pathetic Isabel (Geraldine Fitzgerald) turn this into one of the most romantic, haunting love stories ever.

This movie will forever be considered, for me, the epitome of the romantic film. When Heathcliff carries Cathy to the window to look upon the moors one last time as she's dying, my heart swells and tears fill my eyes. It's simply stunning!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incomparable Feat of Cinematic Storytelling
I had the good fortune of seeing this film on a big screen at a New York cinema in the early seventies. Viewing a master print in a darkened theatre was one of the all-time highlights of my movie-going experiences. Yes, this is a truncated version of the novel, which I would urge anyone who hasn't already done so to read. It is on my personal top ten list for greatest novels ever. In my opinion this film is far superior to GWTW, which took home the oscar for best-picture in '39. Basically this is due to the source material. Wuthering Heights is great literature. GWTW was a best-seller, but not what one could call great literature. Catherine and Heathcliffe belong in the same literary company as Abelarde and Heloise, Dante's Paolo and Francessa, and Romeo and Juliet. I cant think of anyone who could have been better cast as Heathcliffe than Olivier. Merle Oberon also made for a highly believable Catherine. Flora Robeson also delivers a flawless performance. This is William Wyler's masterpiece. I didn't know until reading some of these reviews that this was filmed in California. I was certain it had to have been filmed on the English moors. If you want to see genius at work, by all means buy the video or the DVD. And if you ever get the chance to see it on a big screen, seize the opportunity. I'm not ordinarily the sentimental type. I can only recall two occasions when I openly wept at the conclusion of a movie. The first was when I saw "Old Yeller" at about eight-years-of-age, the second when I saw Wuthering Heights. I have seen it about five times since and I'll be damned if it doesn't always have the same impact.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure movie magic
Does it really matter that this was released in 1939? What about the cheap production values, weak set construction, dated acting, primitive cinematography and low-budget sound editing? No, the fact is that it still can't be done better today. Olivier, Oberon, Niven and Wyler made a movie masterpiece that stands up remarkably well today despite numerous TV broadcasts and big budget remakes. The original is still the best. Watch for yourself. Within just a few minutes you won't be able to stop.

5-0 out of 5 stars I am torn apart by my desire for you
"Not even you, Cathy, could keep us apart," says Heathcliff. And thus is the ill-fated romance of two childhood friends who end up with different paths in life yet are kept from true happiness because of the void left by the absence of the other. The passionate acting of the handsome Laurence Olivier is supplemented with a talented supporting cast, especially Geraldine Fitzgerald, who plays exquisitely the part of Isabella, the long-suffering wife of Heathcliff who wants her husband to love her as she is and who will never get her wish because he is consumed with passionate desire for her sister. Having read the original novel by Emily Brontë, I would consider this possibly the greatest romance I've ever seen as such passionate longing is rarely seen. "I cannot live without my life. I cannot die without my soul," says the tortured Heathcliff about his Cathy. 10/10. A+.

5-0 out of 5 stars Olivier at his BEST.
Perhaps I'm biased...I'm absolutely in love with Laurence Olivier's performance in any given role--defintely my favourite actour. But along with Max DeWinter in Rebecca, this is his greatest role. After a string of unsuccessful Hollywood pictures, he lands as Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's classic pre-victorian novel. As I got from reading the book, the story is creepy + drawn out, yet a superb portrait of everything I believe it intended to be--the "unrequited love" between Cathy and Heathcliff. It's definetely my most favourite love story in literature, surpassing even that of Rhett + Scarlett. Olivier's performance is genius. Nothing short of that. The cinematography is a perfect capture as every frame captures the tale to perfection. I shudder to think of Vivien Leigh as Cathy...yes, Vivien would have to be my favourite actress, but I worry that it would've become trapped in the "Larry + Vivien" slot of time..tsk. No less, I enjoy Merle Oberon's performance, however it's not what makes this the grand film that it is. Watch this, if for nothing else, to see the greatest cinematic performance from the greatest actour of the century, and for haunting cinematography. The b/w photography only captures the mood moreso. ... Read more


2. A Song to Remember
Director: Charles Vidor
list price: $19.95
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Asin: 630242500X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 1136
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The short life and passionate music of romantic composer Frédéric Chopin provide the foundations for this 1945 drama, which proved influential in its gaudy, undeniably watchable formula of historical exaggeration and shrewdly simplified motives for its principals.In an Oscar-nominated performance, Cornel Wilde presents the Polish native as a passionate nationalist driven by his love of his native country and his hatred of its czarist regime, a thematic focus that can be forgiven in light of the political backdrop at the time of the production.Already a prodigy in his native land, where he's mentored by a shamelessly scenery-chewing Paul Muni as Professor Elsner, Chopin flees to Paris where his flashing eyes, dark nimbus of curls, and florid technique earn him stardom, while his involvement with the writer George Sand (a beautiful Merle Oberon, even when draped in then-provocatively masculine garb) introduces a romantic crescendo.Still, the tortured pianist-composer pines for his homeland, frets about its political fate, and begins to wither under the rigors of his new career as ur-superstar; in a typically over-the-top but riveting image, we see drops of blood spatter across the keyboard as he thunders through a recital, gallantly ignoring his failing health to spread his music and, by extension, awareness of Poland's fate.Numerous subsequent musical dramas (including two more Song-titled biographies from the same studio) would ply a similar mix of grand gestures and larger-than-life emotions, yet the most interesting comparison to be made is with 1991's Impromptu, a more acerbic spin through the Sand/Chopin affair (and the Parisian demimonde including Alfred DeMusset, Franz Liszt, and Eugene Delacroix) directed by frequent Stephen Sondheim collaborator James Lapine. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent music and drama
Saw this film when I was a young gal. My friends and I gathered around the popcorn this past week and watched it-enthralled by the amazing finger placement by Cornell Wilde. So believable!
The composers during the Romantic period were God's gift to us, and their music will live on in our hearts.

If you haven't seen this one, don't miss it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Majesty of the Music
My sister and I were talking about music and got around to dicussing Chopin's Grand Polonaise. It is, beyond all others that I've heard and loved in my life, my favorite piece of music. My sister feels the same and remarked that she was surprised she did not have a copy of it. I mentioned that I have different renditions but not one that I'm 100% satisfied with. This movie came to mind and I said I would kill to hear it again as played in "A Song to Remember," which she instantly remembered and rhapsodised over. We agreed that there was no rendition of the Polonaise more sublime than the one in this movie. We were little girls then, are in our early 60's now, but never forgot this movie, Cornel Wilde or Chopin's Polonaise. Critics can say what they like about the unimportant inaccuracies of this old film, but it's burned into the emotional memory of those of us who saw and loved it in our childhoods. I'm putting in an order for my copy right now. You won't regret it if you put in yours.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Classical Musical
Although some liberties may have been taken with the actual life story of Frederic Chopin, the story is appealing. The optimum amount of music is interspersed with the story so that there is enough music, but not too much. Chopin is perhaps the finest composer of piano music ever and the majesty of his music lifts this movie to the heights of musical entertainment. I loved it when I was ten years old and I love it today at the age of 72. It is a wonderful inspirational movie and I personally wish it could be remade with today's technology.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Song to Remember
Well, I have not seen the video yet. But I will.

I saw this picture when it was a new film, 13 times. I remember exactly, because I had just turned 13 when it came out. (I'm now 69.)

When I saw this movie, I fell in love, total love, with Cornel Wilde and Frederic Chopin simultaneously. I had just started taking piano lessons the year before, and I became obsessed with Chopin's music, played in masterful fashion in the film by Jose Iturbi. Cornel Wilde also did a masterful job, pretending to be playing the piano. He was totally believable. And beautiful Merle Oberon was so good as George Sand, Chopin's lover and a great novelist of that time. Paul Muni was memorable as Chopin's teacher. But for me, the film was all about Cornel Wilde, Chopin, and Jose Iturbi. That wondrous music!

I have not been able to see this film since 1945, but I still remember it. Of course it is shamefully a Hollywood product, they take great liberties with the truth, but oh, when I was a 13-year-old, it was magical to me! Everyone on the screen vibrated, shone! The story grabbed me by the throat, I sobbed when seeing it the second time and all subequent times when Chopin made the decision to go to Majorca with George Sand, because I knew it was his doom. I sobbed when Chopin slogged through the torrential rain to attend his piano lessons, knowing that (according to the movie) he was going to "catch" tuberculosis later, and die far too young. I believe he was only 39 when he died. I sobbed when those telltale drops of blood hit the piano keys while he played his thunderous Polonaise, nobly protesting the czarist regime. Oh, the emotions! Oh, the drama!

Well, that's the way movies were made back then. The truth was ignored in the interest of a good profile or a dramatic plot device. The handsome/beautiful stars drove the story. The way the movie looked and sounded was more important than any historical accuracy. And this movie delivered: beautiful images and lush sound, in spades. I still remember it, after 57 years!

So, if you love Chopin, or Cornel Wilde, or Merle Oberon, you won't be disappointed in this film. The music is glorious, the actors are gorgeous, the scenery gets chewed to a fare-the-well. I'm gonna buy the VHS! Wish I had a DVD player, I'll bet it's fantastic in that format.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Song to Remember
My husband and I loved this video-- played it for our grandson (only 9 and an accomplished pianist) and he and his mom loved it too. The piano playing is so wonderful it brought tears to our eyes! ... Read more


3. Hotel
Director: Richard Quine
list price: $14.99
our price: $14.99
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Asin: 6300270904
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4897
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Description

Screen adaptation of Arthur Hailey's dramatic novel involving multiple characters and storylines simultaneously unfolding and intertwining inside a luxury hotel. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hotel - Where women are "ladies" and men are "gentlemen"
I love this movie! It's a wonderful escape back to an era when hospitality was in and everyone not only knew how, but were expected to "dress" (it makes me want to buy white gloves and hats just to do lunch).

Catherine Spaak and Merle Oberon are luminous in Edith Head gowns, although Catherine's posture is noticably askew (her mother should've reminded her to sit up straight). Rod Taylor's performance is marvelous, but somewhat restrained for his typical style. However, no one does a love scene with more tenderness than Rod, so it's small wonder Spaak would dump McCarthy's character for Taylor's regardless of money!

Melvyn Douglas is at his best as the curmudgeon hotelier (stroke and all), Kevin McCarthy is the takeover louse you love to hate and Karl Malden almost steals the entire movie as the hotel thief who just can't make a killing. There are also delightful performances by bit players throughout the movie; McCarthy's "oily" sychophantic male secretary and the hotel staff, especially the errant bell captain who's on the take.

The background music is sometimes annoyingly loud (the editors should have caught that!), but Carmen MacRae's all too brief appearances as the hotel saloon singer make up for any soundtrack problems. Carmen could "turn a lyric" as well as Ella!

With all of the sub-plots, you just can't wait to see what happens next and of course, what's not to love about a mostly happy ending.

My only complaint is the common mistake of mispronouncing New Orleans. If you've spent any time there, you already know it's pronounced New "Or-luhnz" not New "Or-leeeens". LOL

5-0 out of 5 stars Hotel...Two Hours of Distilled Style
I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the score to this movie described as "dreadful"! I turned on this movie shortly after it started, and probably would have turned it off if the wonderful score hadn't grabbed my attention. The music and the Technicolor beauty drew me in, and the complexly woven plot kept me watching intently, rather than just listening to the music! And the end was great; I thought it was triumphant; very uplifting! If you want to watch two hours of distilled style, a portrait of a bygone era when men still wore suits and hats, when style and luxury hadn't lost out to cheap plastic imitations, get this movie!

4-0 out of 5 stars Hotel - A reminder of movies made in more genteel times.
I seen this movie at least two times and found it very entertaining. Great subplots and characters. I felt the movie had a major undertone to it regarding personal service and hospitality versus non personal, efficiency,corporate driven profits which defines the hospitality business as it today.

The opening sequence was a very original one, and the character of the Duchess Of Lanbourne, may have been a thinly veiled characterization based in part on the Duchess Of Windsor (Wallis Simpson). The costumes worn by Merle Oberon in this film appear similar to the fashions worn by the Duchess Of Windsor herself during the late 1960's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Check-in at this "Hotel"
"Hotel", with its lavish sets, believable characters, and well-constructed plot, is one of the better movies I've seen this year. Always busy, always hosting important people, this hotel reminds me of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York for its grandness and the Peabody in Memphis for its homeliness. Karl's performance stole the show, while Rod's role and character were the most believable. To add a cherry on top (no pun intended), one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen stars as a used and abused French woman. Her performance was exquisite as well. And the sad ending makes you dread the real-estate business. SEE THIS MOVIE! (By the way, the score really wasn't that bad at all.)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Almost-Grand Hotel
"Hotel" is one of those maddening near-miss films that seem to define the film career of its star, Rod Taylor. Certainly, it seemed to have a great deal going for it - based on the bestseller by Alex Haley, with a strong supporting cast including Melvyn Douglas, Merle Oberon, Kevin McCarthy, Karl Malden, and Michael Rennie - but proved to be the blockbuster that wasn't.

Hampered by a dreadful score, choppy editing, and awkward plotting relative to its racial subtext, the film feels ponderous and uneven. Performances are uniformly fine, the production handsome, but all ultimately wasted in a lost cause. Even its brave departure from the book's sappy happy ending in favor of a more realistic, bittersweet finale fails to satisfy.

Fans of Rod Taylor ought to be used to this, the fine dramatic performance's ("Young Cassidy", "The Man Who Had Power Over Women"), the muscular action pieces ("Dark of the Sun"), and occasional comic turns ("The Liquidator") - all in films that didn't quite work (or just never found their audience). At least we have "The Birds" and "The Time Machine" to console us. ... Read more


4. Deep in My Heart
Director: Stanley Donen
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 630196778X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 17810
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Uneven (like most bios), but not without its rarities.
This film is a curiosity more than anything else. I rented it years ago and found it uneven at best. Like most of MGM's alleged 'composer biographies,' it distorts the details of the composer's actual life (in this case, Broadway stage/operetta afficionado Sigmund Romberg) and hangs all of his magnificent songs on an all-star coatrack. And there lies the attraction: seeing Gene Kelly in his only on-screen appearance with real-life brother Fred; seeing Jose Ferrer's bride Rosemary Clooney in her fresh-faced beauty and ear-delicious voice; watching grande dame soprano Helen Traubel sing "Aufwiedersen" to a dying Merle Oberon; and most of all seeing Ann Miller blend the Charleston with her signature tap dancing (I'm not kidding) and superbabe Cyd Charisse in probably the single most erotic dance performed on film: an Arabian Nights-influenced duet with James Mitchell to the song "One Alone." And how she moves in that all-lace, form-fitting gown is anyone's guess.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not So Deep
I'm conducting a wake for Rosemary Clooney (Born May 23, 1928. Died June 30, 2002.) I read "Girl Singer: an autobiography" and got the conveniently packaged "Songs from the Girl Singer: a musical autobiography " CD set. Like Girranimals, the similarly titled pieces have the same picture on the front so that the purchaser will know that they go together. I heartily recommend both. But I can only give a mid-depth recommendation to "Deep In My Heart." Perhaps this is because of reading Rosemary's book and determining that the Star, Jose Ferrer, was a real-life scoundrel to her. And it may also have to do with my unfamiliarity with the Sigmund Romberg oeuvre. The joy and spectacle of the "Specialty numbers" with guest stars including Gene Kelley, Ann Miller (how does she even WALK in those super-high stilletos - let alone do that dazzling dance?,)Merle Oberlin's "Camille"-like turn, Ferrer's Jolson-esque "Jazza Do" synopsis, and the piece de resistance: the "Mr. And Mrs." song and dance duet by Ferrer and his real-life newlywed bride, Rosemary Clooney, make this an Oldie worth renting, but I'm not going to rush to buy a copy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Such beautiful music!
This movie is a real pleasure to watch. Good, old-fashioned entertainment with lots of singing and dancing. Jose Ferrer is a surprisingly good song and dance man in this story of Sigmund Romberg, the man who wrote the music for The Student Prince, Desert Song, Maytime, and many others. There are production numbers from many of his shows featuring famos stars in cameos and a little romance, too. A heartwarming film for music lovers!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Music, Cast, and Film
A biography of Sigmund Romberg, the musical and operetta composer. Anything which features his music must have some good features, but this is superlative all the way around. Jose Ferrer is charming as Rommie, Merle Oberon gives a nice performance as his love interest, and the list of cameos is starry, with Rosemary Clooney shining in one number and the great operatice soprano Helen Traubel singing "Softly" as it must be, a touching plea full of torment, angst, and ultimately acceptance. Beautiful technicolor, good direction. Very amusing, filled with some of the best songs ever written, and beautifully performed and captured on film.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great dancing
The only thing good about the movie is the dancing. Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Ann Miller. They are 3 of the best dancers and you won't see anything like this again. ... Read more


5. Desiree
Director: Henry Koster
list price: $19.98
our price: $19.98
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Asin: 6301798961
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 903
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Overall Faithful Production
Although there are some historical inaccuracies [Napoleon did not surrender his sword to Desiree, and some other small "enhancements"], and Jean Simmons is something of a drawback to the film, it's definitely worth watching. Marlon Brando's performance manages to capture the historical idea of Napoleon very well- the great intensity of his personality, the underlying brilliance and insatiable ambition. Napoleon is both repellent and fascinating at the same time. One can understand how, at his best, he hypnotized almost the whole of Europe. But he is perfidious also, dismissive of the death and destruction he caused on his way to accomplish his aims. Really, the character of Napoleon and Marlon Brando's rendition of it is the only reason to watch this film. Jean Simmons' Desiree is lovely and winsome, but kind of vapid. One wonders what Napoleon and Bernadotte saw in her. Michael Rennie's performance is very good in his role as Bernadotte, and he is not overshadowed at all by the strength of Brando's performance. His scenes with Napoleon are wonderful. Until something better comes along [unlikely...] this is the one to watch for a period piece about Napoleon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overall worth watching
Having read some of the other reviews of this movie I felt compelled to submit my own. I have long been fascinated by Napoleon and I have read and watched just about everything on his life that I can get my hands on. I found Brando's portrayal of Napoleon subtle and powerful. After having seen at least a half dozen different actors play Napoleon in various movies, Brando's has always stood head and shoulders above the rest to me. The story is not entirely accurate, but all the main elements of the story are pretty close (except Napoleon surrendering his sword to Desiree). The costumes and sets are outstanding in a way that seems to be captured only in old movies. This is not an in-depth analysis of Napoleon's life, rather, it focuses on Desiree, a one-time fiance of Napoleon. While that story is interesting, I find myself waiting for the next Brando scene. Brando does a magnificent job capturing the eneregy and confidence of the young Napoleon, and the fatigue and desperation of the defeated Napoleon. Brando's scene when he considers Bernadotte's request to renounce his French citizenship is brilliant. The movie is almost worth this scene alone.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Things He Did For Love?
This was a great historical romance set amongst the ambitions of one man and the love he let get away. Get out your kleenex before you watch.

2-0 out of 5 stars What a terrible film!
Hard to believe that anyone could take this overly romantic nonsense seriously. It has little to do with history, even less with cinema. Most of the budget seems to have gone on the stars - the scenery looks cardboard, the costumes are probably left over from previous films, there is no sense of the era, much of the acting is way beyond being merely wooden. Lots of stiff, unconvincing dialogue - little spectacle (flags moving across the screen represent a battle). Of course, the film is based on a best-selling novel of the 50's and, by rights, should have focused on Desiree as played (uncertainly) by Jean Simmons. But the casting of Marlon Brando as Napoleon throws everything off balance. I have read a fair amount about Napoleonic history but none of those accounts revealed that the Emperor mumbled like a method actor. Indeed, Brando seems particularly uncomfortable with both his role and his costumes. Similarly, the ever-stiff Michael Rennie is...well, stiff. On the other hand, Merle Oberon was an inspired choice to play Josephine - if only they had remembered to write a part for her to play. The whole thing looks cheap and not especially cheerful. Napoleon deserves better. So does anyone who tries to watch this film.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining historical romance
I don't know a whole lot about Napoleon and his history, but I found this film thoroughly enjoyable. I was sitting around this afternoon and caught it on tv. Marlon Brando's performance as Napoleon really captivated me and I couldn't bring myself to change the channel so I ended up watching it all. It was very interesting. He was always in love with one-time fiancee Desiree but she is married and shows no intentions of betraying her husband. The scene in which Desiree's husband confronts Napoleon because he wants to renounce his citizenship and claim the Swedish throne is very striking. Excellent acting by everyone. There were a few things they never went back into, like we never see much else of her son. And they never say whether she cleaned up her Royal Princess act or told them to stuff it. Overall, I found this movie to be very entertaining. It's one of those rainy day historical romance classics. ... Read more


6. The Dark Angel
Director: Sidney Franklin
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303922252
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 44361
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Soap Opera From A Bygone Era
Although the 1935 version of THE DARK ANGEL was a remake of an earlier silent film, it too seems to have disappeared into obscurity--and what a shame! This movie will not appeal to fans of the current brand of Hollywood "love stories", where the hero and heroine (or same sex couples in some cases) slip easily into bed together after only just meeting, several car chases and shoot-outs ensue, and the plots remind you of the last Meg Ryan film you saw because they are all the same--and they are filmed in color. THE DARK ANGEL is from an entirely different era of film making: the glorious 1930s. A time when movies, particularly love stories, depended on a good script and good acting to keep the viewer watching, and if successful in both these areas, the viewer won't notice that the movie is in black and white. And what a wonderful job they did with this film! Although, like most films of the time, it may seem dated to modern viewers, this film is set twenty years earlier during World War 1, and deals with a love triangle between stoic Herbert Marshall, lovely and gracious Merle Oberon, and the always charming and very handsome Frederic March. When Oberon decides to marry March instead of Marshall, she finds there isn't time to get the proper licenses and such before the boys are shipped out to war. Instead, March and Oberon stage a faux wedding and spend an evening together in a hotel on their last night together. Whether they consumated their "union" or not is left up to the viewers imagination--today you'd see everything in graffic detail. Due to a misunderstanding, Herbert Marshall's character (who is March's superior officer) comes to believe that March has spent the night with a prostitute, and to retalitate he refuses March's request for a leave so he can marry Oberon. During an explosion, March is blinded. Afraid to be rejected by Oberon, he goes into hiding after the war and becomes a successful author of children's books. Oberon and Marshall believe him to be dead, and then decide to marry each other. Only then do the couple learn that March is still alive. Will Oberon go ahead and marry Marshall as planned? Will she take March back? Will self-pitying March have her? And will Oberon's obnoxious cousin gets what's coming to him? Sounds like a pretty juicy soap opera, and it is, only the acting, directing, and styling in every area is worlds away from the schlock you're liable to see today. If these vintage "weepies" are not to your liking, go ahead and pick up a Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan film and stare at the screen for 90 mind-numbing minutes and come out thinking you've seen quality acting and a good story. But if you can get past the black and white photography and slightly dated speech and acting style--and this is some darn good acting!--I highly recommend giving this one a watch. Yes, it's a "chick flick" from long ago, but it will leave you sad, happy, and in a romantic mood. Too bad it's "out of stock" at the moment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great 1930's film with Fredric March
Let me begin by saying I have recently discovered Fredric March. I am 40 yrs. old and never saw him in anything until this summer when I saw him in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". After that, I was hooked, and now I have collected over 40 of his films. This man is a wonderful actor that noone should miss. In this film Fredric March plays a man, Alan Trent, who came to live with his aunt and cousin Gerald Shannon(played by Herbert Marshall)in England when he was a boy. The 2 boys grew up together, and are close and great friends. They both happen to love the same girl, Kitty(Merle Oberon). Well, Fred wins Kitty's heart, and they want to be married before he must go to war, but due to circimstances beyond their control,they can't. Kitty spends the night with him before he leaves (they remain chaste), and this scene of them together is very well done. Unfortunately, Gerald gets the wrong idea about the evening Alan had, and later as his commanding officer at the battlefront, sends Alan on a dangerous mission instead of granting him leave so he can marry Kitty.Gerald believes he has died in action, and regrets that he sent Alan on the mission. I don't want to tell too much of the story...but Alan is not dead, only blind. Fredric March is a man of amazing talent. As a blind man, he is totally convincing. One of my favorite scenes is when he is alone in his hotel room, and he feels his way around. We see Fred's hands as he touches a wall lamp. When he stands by the door when the children come in, for two of them have never seen a blind man, it is the most touching and beautiful scenes I have seen Fred in. He was truly a beautiful man. I will say that this film ends happily, with all things right and as they should be. If you like WW1 timeframe movies ( I do), and if you like romances (I do), and if you like to gaze upon Fredric March as a handsome soldier and otherwise (I do), then this movie will in no way disappoint you. It is a hard to find video, but well worth it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Underated, Tasteful "Golden- Age" Hollywood Melodrama
The Dark Angel has become one of my favorite melodramas from this decade. With production design by Richard Day, cinematography by Greg Toland(future credit would include Citizen Kane), and strong performances from all three princples,The Dark Angel has many attributes worth viewing. Merle Oberon was convincing and sympathetic in this role that was a departure from her previous exotic fare and she was rewarded with a "Best Actress" nomination. Herbert Marshall's usual stalwart acting is somehow appropriate for his character. However, it is Fredric March that has the most compelling scenes in The Dark Angel, especially after he returns from World War I and recovers in a British Hospital that rehabilitates blinded soldiers. Although sentimental at times, I found this movie to be surprisingly well conceived and engrossing. ... Read more


7. The Cowboy and the Lady
Director: H.C. Potter
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 6302404118
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4693
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Remembering this movie after all these years.
I saw this movie as a young teenager, when black and white movies dominated weekends and rainy days! This was a romance that helped set the stage for all I find good in a romance: innocence, humor, drama, passion (the boat scene when he knew he had to marry her that night because of his passion for her), and the down home sweetness and good moral lessons shared, and a happy ending! A hunky leading man and a beautiful woman needing the love of a good man! Romance doesn't get any better than this. Great for the whole family!

4-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites!
It's not just the timeless story line here that I love, it's all the supporting cast too. Besides Cooper and Oberon, Walter Brennan again captures my heart as one of the finest. The scene in the unfinished house with the cowboys on their haunches "playing house" with Cooper is great. And the one on the boat to Galveston sums it all up. Watch this one close boys, it's what every woman wants!

4-0 out of 5 stars Ideal Gary Cooper Star vehicle
This is an old-fashioned star vehicle. Slender story, slender characterizations. But it is made highly entertaining by Gary Cooper's delightfully understated performance. An example of why Cooper is one of the half-dozen greatest stars of all time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, and senuous comedy......sweet and tender
This movie touched me so deeply.......the story line is much the same as today's romantic comedies, but without the graphic language and details. When Gary Cooper's character tells Merle Oberon's character..."When a man feels this way about a woman, it's time to get married".....there is no doubt what that means....and as the camera fades to the porthole...it left me sighing........ ... Read more


8. Divorce of Lady X
Director: Tim Whelan
list price: $6.99
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Asin: 6301394933
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 33639
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very cute movie!
This movie is one that shouldn't be taken seriously. It's a cute little romp about a girl(Merle Oberon) playing a joke on a naive gorgeous young lawyer(Lawrence Olivier). He easily falls in love with her but thinks that she is a wicked woman who's been married several times. She plays along and lets him think that it's true causing all kinds of funny chaos in the life of the love -struck lawyer. Lawrence Olivier looks especially dashing and handsome! This is a must see for any Olivier and Oberon fan and for anyone else who loves no brainer type flicks.

1-0 out of 5 stars ..and oldie does not mean goldie every time.
A manipulative girl and a spine-less man. She should have been used as a prototype for some major attack vehicle (the attitude, not the size) and he would have done well as a bathroom towel - soft and pliable and one can fold it any way one wants. Terribly afraid of dark stains, though. She decides first that she wants his bed (without him in it) and then him (with the bed). He does not decide anything.

I suppose one of the main reasons why Olivier became such a fantastic Shakespear actor was that he understood that otherwise he would have had to play in more stupid movies like that one. That was a very wise decision.

4-0 out of 5 stars Terrific little intellectual comedy
I cannot believe no one has reviewed this film yet! Okiday, where do I start? This is one of the best little-known movies out there...ranks right up there with *Stand-In* (Leslie Howard, Joan Blondell) as one of the best obscure intellectual comedies out there. Merle Oberon is the vivacious and mysterious "Lady X" that attourney Laurence Olivier becomes enamored of, and although she completely butchers her accent (SHE'S an American? Yeah, right), she still delivers a solid performance. Olivier makes a terrific naive young lawyer, and is completely captivating (and, may I add, pretty darn sexy). Hilarious mix-ups and such crap ensue. Not the greatest film ever made, but one of the most enjoyable, and a fabulous film all-around. By the way, contrary to the box art, the film is actually in color (at least the version I have on tape is, and you can tell when things are colorized).

4-0 out of 5 stars Great fun!
I have watched this movie three times. It never fails to make me laugh, and brighten my mood. True it is not a thought provoking plot, but if you want to sit back relax, and laugh this is the movie to watch. I had to buy it because I enjoy it so much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Silly! Amusing! Adorable!
Darlings, let not Leonard Maltin's little review turn you off. _Lady X_ is a fine piece of work, especially if you appreciate the more important aspects of the cinematic art form: namely, adorable actresses, marvellous clothing, and farfetched plotlines. It's frothy, a fine little trifle of a happy bon-bon, and you simply must see it. ... Read more


9. Scarlet Pimpernel
Director: Harold Young
list price: $3.99
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Asin: B00000FDUK
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 57233
Average Customer Review: 3.26 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"That damned elusive Pimpernel" finds a dashing embodiment in Leslie Howard, who has the steel to be an action hero and the wit to hide behind his alter ego: a British fop. Based on Baroness Orczy's novel, the story focuses on the efforts of this British dandy to aid members of the French aristocracy in escaping the guillotines of the French revolution. He also romances Merle Oberon, a beauty forgotten by recent generations, and engages in a wonderfully wicked duel of wits with the humorless enforcer for the French Republicans (Raymond Massey). If somewhat short on swashbuckling, it's long on the kind of costume drama that Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to do. Remade in 1982 for television, in an equally engaging version starring Anthony Andrews. --Marshall Fine ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars SINK ME! ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMS
My mother, who was a lover of great old movies, introduced me to this film years ago. At first I thought it dull and dry, being too much accustomed to the new special effects that were beginning to dominate film.

The more I watched it the more I came to understand that this film is one of the true classics ever made and features some of the greatest actors and actresses to ever grace the silver screen. It is now easily one of my very favorite movies.

Leslie Howard (Gone With The Wind) stars as Sir Percy Blakeney, a super hero of the French Revolution, who masquerades as a man who should be afraid of his own shadow. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Zorro stories were spawned in part by exposure to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Merle Oberon (Wuthering Heights), one of the great leading ladies of Hollywood, stars as Lady Marguerite Blakeney, a woman who holds a terrible secret about her past and wonders why her husband is a dandy. Rounding out the cast is Raymond Massey (East of Eden) who stars as the sinister Citizen Chauvelin.

A movie's greatness is shown in whether its remakes offer something new and revolutionary or copy it verbatim. The remake of this movie that aired in the late seventies/early eighties, was a complete copy of this 1934 classic. Don't waste any time on it and relish the classic performance by Howard, Oberon and Massey.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Movie vs. the Book
I would have liked this movie had I not read the book first. But once you read the book, you realize that this movie is a VERY poor adaption. The book is a lot more exciting and fun. And Leslie Howard was really miscast as Sir Percy Blakeney. He's too.....I guess depressing is the word. The point is that he doesn't do the character any justice. If you want "The Scarlet Pimpernel"....Read the Book.

5-0 out of 5 stars a very good film
This film has most everyting adventure romance, but also an underlying sadness as its during the French Revolution. Merl Oberon is beautiful does a great acting job and also Leslie Howard plays the Scarlet PImpernel so very very well. Hes very talented in all his films this I think is one of his best.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Decent Old Movie Gets Shortsheeted.
I had a tattered old copy of this movie on video for years that had finally begun to degrade due to the number of passes it had endured through the VCR. When I brought this DVD home I had such high anticipation to see the classic on a digital format, but was sorely disappointed to find out that Madacy Entertainment had shortened the movie by removing scenes from it. Now, why they had done this is unknown, but it was a great disappointment to both me and my wife.
I constantly wonder why the scenes aren't there (being in video post production myself), and often question whether the DVD has an error in it's encoding and is skipping the scenes, or if Madacy for some reason took the scenes out due to time constraints.
In spite of this flaw, the movie is still a classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story for Our Times
Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, I think, are in their most romantic roles ever.

This movie is based on the legendary story of the Scarlet Pimpernel, risen in a time of rampant Leftism (revolutionary France, set on social and political implosion) and burgeoise England (eventually saved only by the rise of Rev. Wesley).

My wife is one for early romantic movies, but I am the one who thinks the most romantic and tear-jerking scene (don't psychoanalyze me here -- I think I just love the play of raw courage vs. naivite) I have ever seen is in this movie. Holding Oberon by the shoulders in his palms, Howard stares her straight in the eyes, "What price did you pay?!!" he declares. This is the crux of their relationship.

The political savior, Howard, is in a much more subtle plot -- saving men, women, and children one at a time from the reach of hard-Leftists set on destroying stability in Europe militantly and in blood in order to rebuild the society under their own ideal.

Perhaps many people won't get it, but this movie is well worth the watching no matter by whom, a lesson for those who can think, and real entertainment for those who will not. ... Read more


10. These Three
Director: William Wyler
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 6302452953
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 30512
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant adaptation of Lillian Hellman's play
Although because of censorship problems, the screen adaptation of Hellman's play, couldn't be as faithful to the source, as the 1961 movie version, also directed by Wyler, anyhow this is an oustanding picture.

This because all it's about is the effect of a malicious lie in a group of people's lives, and I must say that watching both versions the other day on TCM, this is superior to the 1961 remake.

The children's performances are outstanding, especially brattish and malevollous Bonita Granville...the three leads (Hopkins, Oberon and McCrea) are excellent too....and so are Catherine Doucet, as the unbearable aunt Lily and Alma Kruger as Granville's grandmother.

Once more we must thank producer Sam Goldwyn, for trying to raise the american cinema's level by producing such great and high quality pictures, like this one, "Dodsworth", "Wuthering Heights", et al.

A truly powerful movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars When Children are Liars
That's the crux of the matter in "These Three", a story of three innocent adults whose reputations are ruined by a vindictive girl. Merle Oberon and Miriam Hopkins open a girls' school on Merle's grandma's old farm, which they handily renovate with the help of nearby neighbor, doctor Joel McCrea. Though they at first start out three comrades, it doesn't take long before Joel and Merle pair off, leaving Miriam to carry a torch--silently--for the handsome doctor. Everything remains aboveboard, though, as Miriam is a true friend to Merle.

A wealthy society matron decides to patronize the new school by sending her wayward granddaughter to be a pupil there; around the same time, Miriam's selfish old aunt swoops down to be an elocution teacher. Another little girl is at the school, too; a nicer girl, but one who has the misfortune to be caught by the bad girl stealing a bracelet. This is the bad chemistry set. When Miriam tries to give the useless aunt the brush off and send her to Europe, the angered older woman makes loud nasty insinuations that are overheard by the malcontent child, who then invents a wild story suggesting impropriety, and blackmails the thieving nice girl into corroborating the story, which is totally believed by the grandmother, who broadcasts it far and wide, causing the school to fold. The three innocents are forced to fight to clear their names against the word of a respected grand dame and two supposedly "innocent" children. Plenty of drama unfolds.

I was unimpressed when I first saw this years ago, but now having seen it again playing double feature at a revival hourse with another favorite movie of mine, I must alter my opinion. "These Three" is really quite a GOOD movie, with solid performances by all concerned. Merle and Miriam have each their strong points and Joel McCrea is a handsome hunk that anyone's best friend would pine for, too. The old grandmother brings an interesting dimension to the role, as she projects a woman truly believing herself to act for the good of children under the care of immoral persons. She's very effective. The real standouts, though, are the two little girls. Marcia Mae Jones is the little thief. This is the same girl who later appeared in the Shirley Temple movies, "Heidi" and "The Little Princess". The only other time I've seen her was in "Night Nurse", a pre-Code flick about Clark Gable's intention to murder the children of a hophead to gain control of her fortune (yeah, that's really the trashy plot of THAT one). She is the perfect foil to the evil girl, Bonita Granville. What an actress that kid is! I don't recall ever having seen her before or since, but that's everyone's loss. She brings more to her role than any of the adult stars--the venom she can display is truly frightening.

After you take in "These Three", I bet you'll wonder yourself about some of the little girls you know, as to whether they could ever be capable of the malicious lies spread in this movie--and who knows? Maybe they could!

4-0 out of 5 stars Telling Lies
Lilian Hellman's original story is watered down and made palatable to 1930's audiences in this tale of a mean little girl who ruins the lives of her teachers at the private school she attends. Merle Oberon and Miriam Hopkins are best friends and teachers at a school, and young Bonita Granville concludes that Hopkins has become involved with Oberon's boyfriend Joel McCrea. Granville has gotten herself into trouble, so she spreads the rumour to deflect her concerned grandmother's attention. Hopkins, Oberon, and McCrea are all fine, but it is Granville who takes the acting honours. She is vicious, mean, and completely believable and dislikeable as the young girl who needs a firm hand. Marcia Mae Jones as her weak accomplice, easily manipulated, is also convincing. The movie illustrates well how a lie can grow and damage the lives of those involved. The dialogue is terrific, and under director William Wyler's steady, dramatic hand, it moves along well.

5-0 out of 5 stars 1930's drama at its very best!
"These Three" tells the story of two teachers (Miriam Hopkins & Merle Oberon) who open and run a school for girls. But the lies of one of their students, played memorably by Bonita Granville, threatens to ruin their reputations and the reputation of the local doctor, Joel McCrea. This film is very effective and features screaming matches, blackmail and startling romantic revelations. This is one film you won't want to miss. Subsequent viewings make it more and more gripping!

5-0 out of 5 stars GOLDEN GOLDWYN GOODIE
THESE THREE is a remarkable film which carries an important message: just how damaging a lie can be. Miriam Hopkins has the most varied role of Martha which she performs with colour and vigour. Merle Oberon is surprisingly effective in the final scenes when her suspicions come to surface. Bonita Granville, in a performance which shocked many in 1936 is vicious as the selfish Mary; the sad eyed Marcia Mae Jones is great as the easily frightened Rosalie. The plot simply stems from Mary telling her grandmother (Alma Kruger) that she knows of 'ugly' things that go on in the school which is painstakenly run by Hopkins and Oberon. Does their mutual friend Joel McCrea do more than visit on occasion?........Margaret Hamilton has a great scene where she (a housekeeper,natch) smacks little devil Mary but good.(It is recorded that in 1936 audiences literally cheered in the theatre). How about a little fire, Scarecrow? ... Read more


11. The Other World of Winston Churchill
Director: Louis Clyde Stoumen
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: 6301771494
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 47182
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12. That Uncertain Feeling
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
list price: $12.99
our price: $12.99
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Asin: 630303943X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 34598
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars I'm "Certain" You'll Like This DVD!
If you have never seen That Uncertain Feeling, an unusual little gem by master director Ernst Lubitsch, you are in for a real treat - especially if you buy this wonderful DVD edition of the film made available by the Roan Group.

Merle Oberon portrays Jill Baker, a beautiful socialite who is bored to distraction by her dull, insurance-peddling husband(Melvyn Douglas) and develops a case of nervous hiccups. Her psychiatrist (Alan Mowbray) tries to get at the root of Jill's problem by exploring every avenue - "especially Park Avenue." During one of Jill's visits she encounters an eccentric pianist (played to wonderful excess by Burgess Meredith) and that's when the fun begins. The film is not without the famed "Lubitsch Touches" including one delightful scene in which pianist Sebastian seduces Jill by tickling the ivories on her piano.

That Uncertain Feeling is often run on television, but the copies I have seen had such awful image and sound quality they were virtually unviewable! At last, thanks to the Roan Group's excellent restoration and transfer of the film to DVD, we can see the film as it should be seen. We can finally appreciate George Barnes' rich black and white photography with its dramatic interplays of light and shadow, creating a mood reminiscent of the film noir style of the period.

And the image quality of this DVD is so stunning you can almost feel the textures of the silk and lace in Merle Oberon's magnificent gowns by designer Irene. This DVD is also nicely packaged with original advertising art, and comes with extras including background information on the film and its stars, and chapter stops that allow you to jump to specific scenes.

4-0 out of 5 stars WELL WORTH THE MONEY
The studio that puts this out is a little confusing. This double feature is from Triton/E-Realbiz.com. Also Slingshot is mentioned on the cover. I've been gobbling up these releases where I find them. For some reason Amazon is not stocking this.
Most of the reviews are a little old, but I'm still confused about their issues of quality. For the money it's pretty good. On "That Uncertain Feeling," I'd give the image a B- and the sound a B-. On Beat the Devil I'd give the image a B+ and the sound a B. Overall you get two intriuging, rewatchable and entertaining movies for a budget price.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lesser Lubitsch comedy -- still quite nice!!
A blithe screwball comedy from director Ernst Lubitsch about an "ideal" modern couple (known to their friends as "the Happy Bakers") whose marriage is on the rocks... Merle Oberon has a six-year itch; her husband (Melvyn Douglas) is a bit of a boob, an all right guy, but a bit obsessed with his work and at times inattentive. When Merle bumps into a free-thinking, artsy malcontent (a young Burgess Meredith, in a choice, juicy role), she falls in his arms and throws her marriage away. The story was originally filmed by Lubitsch in the silent era, but whether it's 1925 or 1941, the plot is still startlingly frank and modern: Douglas takes the affair and divorce in his stride, and even does a bit of fooling around on his own in a bid to get his wife back... The film features brisk, witty dialogue and a zippy start, and though it kind of loses a little steam midway through, it's still pretty fun. Several great character actors are in the cast, including Eve Arden and Sig Rumann... Maybe not the greatest Lubitsch film ever, but it's still a gas. Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars On eof the best films!
This is a very entertaining film. A rich an married socialite, with a devoted, but buisness minded husband, works selling insurance. The wife, Jill is neglected and wants some excitement and attention, as well as more romance. She turns to a self-centered man who plays the piano, and is said to be great in art. He says "Phooey," about practically everything. Husband and wife reconcile and all is forgiven. It's a really must see movie and is one of the best in my opinion.

Merle Oberon Melyvn Douglas are brilliant in it. They make a romantic, and comical couple at times. It deserves many many stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Routine, adventure and humor
This love story is original by the level of humor it contains. A wife can get bored in her married life by the lack of unforeseen events, by the routine of her husband's money-earning lifestyle. She might get attracted by some marginal artist or personality that seems to shine and glow with an unforeseeable life. But this attraction is only superficial and it gets boring in its turn by the total unpredictability of the new man and the film implies woman wants some stability and regularity. So the love affair comes to an end because of this conflict of psychological interests in the woman. Well done and very funny in many ways, though rather anti-artistic and anti-modern art.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU ... Read more


13. Wuthering Heights
Director: William Wyler
list price: $4.94
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Asin: 0792845986
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 9454
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars How Can You NOT Like This Movie?!
You can never compare the movie to the book since a movie can't possibly incorporate ALL of the text from the author! William Wyler put together an excellent cast, fantastic, dark, moody scenes and beautiful music to turn out this brilliant film. The handsome and brooding Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), the ravishing and haughty Cathy (Merle Oberon) along with the stoic, dull Edgar (David Niven)and the rebellious and pathetic Isabel (Geraldine Fitzgerald) turn this into one of the most romantic, haunting love stories ever.

This movie will forever be considered, for me, the epitome of the romantic film. When Heathcliff carries Cathy to the window to look upon the moors one last time as she's dying, my heart swells and tears fill my eyes. It's simply stunning!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incomparable Feat of Cinematic Storytelling
I had the good fortune of seeing this film on a big screen at a New York cinema in the early seventies. Viewing a master print in a darkened theatre was one of the all-time highlights of my movie-going experiences. Yes, this is a truncated version of the novel, which I would urge anyone who hasn't already done so to read. It is on my personal top ten list for greatest novels ever. In my opinion this film is far superior to GWTW, which took home the oscar for best-picture in '39. Basically this is due to the source material. Wuthering Heights is great literature. GWTW was a best-seller, but not what one could call great literature. Catherine and Heathcliffe belong in the same literary company as Abelarde and Heloise, Dante's Paolo and Francessa, and Romeo and Juliet. I cant think of anyone who could have been better cast as Heathcliffe than Olivier. Merle Oberon also made for a highly believable Catherine. Flora Robeson also delivers a flawless performance. This is William Wyler's masterpiece. I didn't know until reading some of these reviews that this was filmed in California. I was certain it had to have been filmed on the English moors. If you want to see genius at work, by all means buy the video or the DVD. And if you ever get the chance to see it on a big screen, seize the opportunity. I'm not ordinarily the sentimental type. I can only recall two occasions when I openly wept at the conclusion of a movie. The first was when I saw "Old Yeller" at about eight-years-of-age, the second when I saw Wuthering Heights. I have seen it about five times since and I'll be damned if it doesn't always have the same impact.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure movie magic
Does it really matter that this was released in 1939? What about the cheap production values, weak set construction, dated acting, primitive cinematography and low-budget sound editing? No, the fact is that it still can't be done better today. Olivier, Oberon, Niven and Wyler made a movie masterpiece that stands up remarkably well today despite numerous TV broadcasts and big budget remakes. The original is still the best. Watch for yourself. Within just a few minutes you won't be able to stop.

5-0 out of 5 stars I am torn apart by my desire for you
"Not even you, Cathy, could keep us apart," says Heathcliff. And thus is the ill-fated romance of two childhood friends who end up with different paths in life yet are kept from true happiness because of the void left by the absence of the other. The passionate acting of the handsome Laurence Olivier is supplemented with a talented supporting cast, especially Geraldine Fitzgerald, who plays exquisitely the part of Isabella, the long-suffering wife of Heathcliff who wants her husband to love her as she is and who will never get her wish because he is consumed with passionate desire for her sister. Having read the original novel by Emily Brontë, I would consider this possibly the greatest romance I've ever seen as such passionate longing is rarely seen. "I cannot live without my life. I cannot die without my soul," says the tortured Heathcliff about his Cathy. 10/10. A+.

5-0 out of 5 stars Olivier at his BEST.
Perhaps I'm biased...I'm absolutely in love with Laurence Olivier's performance in any given role--defintely my favourite actour. But along with Max DeWinter in Rebecca, this is his greatest role. After a string of unsuccessful Hollywood pictures, he lands as Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's classic pre-victorian novel. As I got from reading the book, the story is creepy + drawn out, yet a superb portrait of everything I believe it intended to be--the "unrequited love" between Cathy and Heathcliff. It's definetely my most favourite love story in literature, surpassing even that of Rhett + Scarlett. Olivier's performance is genius. Nothing short of that. The cinematography is a perfect capture as every frame captures the tale to perfection. I shudder to think of Vivien Leigh as Cathy...yes, Vivien would have to be my favourite actress, but I worry that it would've become trapped in the "Larry + Vivien" slot of time..tsk. No less, I enjoy Merle Oberon's performance, however it's not what makes this the grand film that it is. Watch this, if for nothing else, to see the greatest cinematic performance from the greatest actour of the century, and for haunting cinematography. The b/w photography only captures the mood moreso. ... Read more


14. Berlin Express
Director: Jacques Tourneur
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 630191399X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 43707
Average Customer Review: 2.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay but not an Oscar candidate.
Probably more interesting if you have actually been to or worked in Frankfurt. Unusual as you actually get to see inside Supreme Allied HQ, later V Corps HQ in Frankfurt now part of the University of Frankfurt (the former IG Farben Headquarters, where, among other things, Cyklon B poison gas used in the concentration camps was developed). Not particularly a bad film, but there are better.

2-0 out of 5 stars Boring, but interesting photography
This is an incredibly boring film, with lots of meaningless talk and talk. However, there are nice outdoor shots of Frankfurt in 1948, with all the post-war rubble all around. There were other films with scenes of Germany during this post-war period. One that comes to mind is Billy Wilder's "A Foreign Affair"; which is more interesting than this bland film, even though it is not one of Wilder's best. Another great film of this type is "The Third Man", but that has scenes of Vienna, not Germany.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dated but still gripping
Berlin Express was the first post war American movie to be shot on location in defeated Germany and the evocative location shots of bombed out townscapes and the depiction of a nation so economically and spiritually depressed that cigarettes are its chief currency and the spirit of resentment towards its conquerors still burns brightly are the most striking aspects of the picture.
The plot revolves around the attempts of dissident Germans,unwilling to accept the reality of their crushing defeat in World War two ,to foil the plans of a prominent politician to press ahead with unification plans and greater co-operation with the occupying Allied powers
Out to stop them are some of his travelling companions on the eponymous train--his secretary(Merle Oberon) an American nutritionist,an English teacher ,a Soviet military man and an individual whose nationality remains elusive(Charles Corvin)
The tale takes them to low cabarets and abandoned warehouses ,coming to a climax back on ther train with one of their number turning out to be a traitor

Strong performances by Ryan as the nutritionist and Walter Slezak as the politician keep things rolling along and some atmospheric direction by the under-rated Jacques Tourneur help sustain interest

The tension between the occupying powers and the mutual suspicion between the Soviets and the Western powers is put over succintly and well

The movie is over-relaint on voiceovers and has dated but still has interest.The Internet Movie Database puts this in its bottom 10 film noir list which is silly
Its neither that bad nor is it a film noir,but rather is a neat thriller with an optimistic ending and a belief in progress and the possibility of peace between nations It might be naive but it isn't noir ... Read more


15. Beloved Enemy
Director: H.C. Potter
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078311110X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 68185
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Beloved Enemy
Beloved Enemy is a fictional story based on when Britian occupied Ireland. It's supposed to be about the Irish
resistance.
Basic storyline:
The British are trying to put an end to the resistance, and
there is a particular Irish leader who they are trying to catch
and they don't even what he looks like. A British official comes, bringing his daughter with him. His daughter meets an Irish man who she falls in love with, but finds out he is the resistance leader her people are seeking to arrest. Their differences make it hard for them as she is closely watched. The two countries seek for peace and...
well, that's the basic story.
It's supposed to be about the resistance but I think it's mainly just a romance story. ... Read more


16. Lydia
list price: $14.99
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Asin: 6303347711
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13006
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful meditation on memory and love
Another film from the 1940's that remembers the turn of the century--in this case, after all the characters have grown old, they look back on their lives. Lydia, a headstrong girl, is wooed by a number of men, but there are always complications. Finally she meets a man who sweeps her away, but problems arise once again. What makes this film lovely is its recreation of another time, with its breathtaking winter scenes and evocative plays on memory. And Joseph Cotten and Merle Oberon are excellent, among others. ... Read more


17. Scarlet Pimpernel
Director: Harold Young
list price: $12.99
our price: $12.99
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Asin: B00001U0G0
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 10545
Average Customer Review: 3.26 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars SINK ME! ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMS
My mother, who was a lover of great old movies, introduced me to this film years ago. At first I thought it dull and dry, being too much accustomed to the new special effects that were beginning to dominate film.

The more I watched it the more I came to understand that this film is one of the true classics ever made and features some of the greatest actors and actresses to ever grace the silver screen. It is now easily one of my very favorite movies.

Leslie Howard (Gone With The Wind) stars as Sir Percy Blakeney, a super hero of the French Revolution, who masquerades as a man who should be afraid of his own shadow. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Zorro stories were spawned in part by exposure to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Merle Oberon (Wuthering Heights), one of the great leading ladies of Hollywood, stars as Lady Marguerite Blakeney, a woman who holds a terrible secret about her past and wonders why her husband is a dandy. Rounding out the cast is Raymond Massey (East of Eden) who stars as the sinister Citizen Chauvelin.

A movie's greatness is shown in whether its remakes offer something new and revolutionary or copy it verbatim. The remake of this movie that aired in the late seventies/early eighties, was a complete copy of this 1934 classic. Don't waste any time on it and relish the classic performance by Howard, Oberon and Massey.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Movie vs. the Book
I would have liked this movie had I not read the book first. But once you read the book, you realize that this movie is a VERY poor adaption. The book is a lot more exciting and fun. And Leslie Howard was really miscast as Sir Percy Blakeney. He's too.....I guess depressing is the word. The point is that he doesn't do the character any justice. If you want "The Scarlet Pimpernel"....Read the Book.

5-0 out of 5 stars a very good film
This film has most everyting adventure romance, but also an underlying sadness as its during the French Revolution. Merl Oberon is beautiful does a great acting job and also Leslie Howard plays the Scarlet PImpernel so very very well. Hes very talented in all his films this I think is one of his best.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Decent Old Movie Gets Shortsheeted.
I had a tattered old copy of this movie on video for years that had finally begun to degrade due to the number of passes it had endured through the VCR. When I brought this DVD home I had such high anticipation to see the classic on a digital format, but was sorely disappointed to find out that Madacy Entertainment had shortened the movie by removing scenes from it. Now, why they had done this is unknown, but it was a great disappointment to both me and my wife.
I constantly wonder why the scenes aren't there (being in video post production myself), and often question whether the DVD has an error in it's encoding and is skipping the scenes, or if Madacy for some reason took the scenes out due to time constraints.
In spite of this flaw, the movie is still a classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story for Our Times
Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, I think, are in their most romantic roles ever.

This movie is based on the legendary story of the Scarlet Pimpernel, risen in a time of rampant Leftism (revolutionary France, set on social and political implosion) and burgeoise England (eventually saved only by the rise of Rev. Wesley).

My wife is one for early romantic movies, but I am the one who thinks the most romantic and tear-jerking scene (don't psychoanalyze me here -- I think I just love the play of raw courage vs. naivite) I have ever seen is in this movie. Holding Oberon by the shoulders in his palms, Howard stares her straight in the eyes, "What price did you pay?!!" he declares. This is the crux of their relationship.

The political savior, Howard, is in a much more subtle plot -- saving men, women, and children one at a time from the reach of hard-Leftists set on destroying stability in Europe militantly and in blood in order to rebuild the society under their own ideal.

Perhaps many people won't get it, but this movie is well worth the watching no matter by whom, a lesson for those who can think, and real entertainment for those who will not. ... Read more


18. Private Life Don Juan (Amazon.com Exclusive)
Director: Alexander Korda
list price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000059ZXT
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 34379
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"There comes a time in a man's life when he needs rest, and I'm going to have it!" So says the aging Don Juan (Douglas Fairbanks), badly needing a vacation from his status as the world's greatest lover. And so it was with Fairbanks himself in this, his final film after decades of swashbuckling stardom. It was 1934--the Great Depression was in full swing, and Fairbanks wasn't faring much better; audiences grew weary of the adventures that made him a superstar throughout the 1920s. Here, Fairbanks's farewell takes the form of self-deprecating satire, showing Don Juan on a diet, getting a massage after a night of leaping from the balconies of bored wives and swooning maidens.

It's fun to a point, and although Fairbanks seems as tired as his character, he gamely pokes fun at his image while upholding its screen traditions. The film itself is '30s comedy at its stodgiest; veteran British producer-director Alexander Korda has all of England's filmmaking resources at his disposal, including sets and costumes as lavish as they come, and yet he seems to have no affinity for the humor. It's hit-and-miss, with Don Juan faking his own death to earn his much-needed rest. The plan backfires, naturally, forcing the still-vital lover to convince his true beloved (played by Merle Oberon) that he'll be faithful to the end. Clearly, the best way to appreciate The Private Life of Don Juan is to view it in the context of Fairbanks's stellar career; isolated from that legacy of screen charm and physicality, this movie badly needs Viagra. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very watchable and entertaining!
My first impressions of this 1934 comedy were all positive so I was surprised to read many negative comments in the reviews, but after watching it again in case I missed something, I still give it the same high rating I had originally intended. It seems to me that far too much emphasis has been put on Douglas Fairbanks, and that viewers who have enjoyed his 1920s swashbuckling silent films were disappointed to see him in quite a different role. I will bet that anyone who doesn't even know who Fairbanks was would enjoy "The Private Life of Don Juan" without giving the lead part a second thought because they have no preconceived ideas or expectations. Unfortunately, this is what happens to many actors who become well-known for a certain kind of role of film, and in many people's minds this image becomes synonymous with the actor. Perhaps we need to step back and view things more objectively and neutrally, seeing each performer only in context of the film in question.Ironically, the main theme of this film shows exactly this, namely the stereotyping of Don Juan who caused all the ladies of Seville to swoon and jealous husbands to challenge him to a duel, then returns after a 20-year absence only to find that the legend of the young Casanova has grown far bigger than he ever was. Even a book entitled "the Private Life of Don Juan" is published and read by swooning women who fantasize about this romantic ideal, and it all reminds me of real-life legends like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Kennedys, Princess Diana, etc who have been immortalized in the public's mind as far greater than any mere mortal could ever be! Apparently, the same fate has befallen Douglas Fairbanks, and maybe this was part of the reason he retired from acting after this film, realizing that the public wanted and expected the silent swashbuckler, not Fairbanks the actor.I simply could not find any fault in either Fairbanks's acting nor in any other aspect of this film. I've heard that silent screen stars often did not have the same appeal to the public in 'talkies', but in the case of Douglas Fairbanks, I can only assume it has to do with this phenomenon of stereotyping and unrealistic expectations. Every peformer in this film acted well, and Fairbanks suited the role of Don Juan perfectly, adding as much expression in his speech as he did non-verbally in earlier silent films. Although Don Juan is supposed to be getting fat and unappealing, I saw no such signs on Douglas Fairbanks himself, who appeared as slim and spritely as ever, so once again I have to wonder how much preconceived ideas can affect our judgement and perception if some viewers saw a tired, sluggish old man instead! Finally, this is not a Douglas Fairbanks film after all, rather a clever and well-presented film making light of some real and serious issues (the age-old problems between men and women concerning love and marriage, as well as stereotyping and making legends out of practically nothing!) and every performer and creative person behind the scenes deserves equal credit for this entertaining film.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sir Alexander Korda in Seville
Even by the often unstable conditions of the movie industry, Sir Alexander Korda (1893-1956)had quite a varied career. He started out in 1916 as pioneer director in his native Hungary, then emigrated to Austria in 1919, where he made the epic Samson and Dalila (1922), before ending up in Hollywood like so many talented figures from Central Europe. Although he was quite successful here--one of his hits was The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1927)--he was, I believe, ruined in the Market Crash of 1929 and returned to Europe. After a brief sojourn in France, he went to England and founded London Films in 1932.

Korda's London Films productions were the absolute antithesis of run-of-the-mill British movies at that time: cosmopolitan rather than provincial; literate rather than stagy; and often distinguished by an unusual visual flair. Nevertheless, precisely the things that made Korda's movies attractive to educated moviegoers in the 1930s are exactly the things that are likely to make them a deadly bore to present day viewers. The Private Life of Don Juan well illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of Korda's work as producer, especially in the casting. As one of the ladies of Seville, Merle Oberon looks photogenic enough and performs well, but as the aging Don Juan, the aging Douglas Fairbanks doesn't cut a happy figure, and his rather prosaic American enunciation clashes with the sculpted tones of British thespians. Moreover, the movie's coy attempts at risque humor, in contrast to the gutsy ribaldry of contemporary American pictures, come across today as the kind of stuff primarily intended to titillate someone's maiden aunt.

But Korda as a director is a rather different story--he may be the unique example in movie history of a producer whose best director was himself. Sadly, many of Korda's silent films have vanished, but the extant evidence from the 1930s suggests that Sir Alexander was on occasion capable of rivalling such masters of staging and composition of the 1920s as Lubitsch and Lang. Although The Private Life of Don Juan is not as effectively filmed as The Private Life of Henry VIII nor Rembrandt--his real masterpiece--it is still a stylish piece which exploits the scenic possibilities of 18th century Spanish architecture such as imposing facades, latticework, jalousies, wrought iron gates, and various structural decorations for all they are worth. One particularly impressive example of Korda's eye for composition is the scene of Don Juan's supposed funeral, with masses of black-garbed mourners juxtaposed against the neutral tones of the set, a scene that quite transcends the rest of this etiolated farce.

As might be expected in a Korda picture, the production values are first-rate. The delicious sets were designed by Korda's brother Vincent and the costumes by Oliver Messel; the great French cinematographer Georges Perinal did the photography; and the movies features quite a good score by Ernst Toch. As an added bonus, The Private Life of Don Juan includes one of the few screen appearances by Natalie Paley, a luminary of cafe society and Romanov princess who tried unsuccessfully to break into the movies.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Dull Farewell From Douglas Fairbanks
"The Private Life of Don Juan" emerged as a disappointing swansong for Douglas Fairbanks, even though he was appropriately cast in the title role. Directed by Alexander Korda, this 1934 production was a lackluster attempt to duplicate the success of Charles Laughton's "The Private Life of Henry VIII." To make matters worse, the aging Fairbanks had little enthusiasm for his sound films, with the exception of the light-hearted "Mr. Robinson Crusoe" (1932) -- which would have been a more appropriate farewell. Despite Korda's fine production values, "The Private Life of Don Juan" remains a flat and somewhat depressing "romantic satire." One wishes that Fairbanks had not made this film. ... Read more


19. The Scarlet Pimpernel
Director: Harold Young
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004Y87H
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27199
Average Customer Review: 3.26 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars SINK ME! ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMS
My mother, who was a lover of great old movies, introduced me to this film years ago. At first I thought it dull and dry, being too much accustomed to the new special effects that were beginning to dominate film.

The more I watched it the more I came to understand that this film is one of the true classics ever made and features some of the greatest actors and actresses to ever grace the silver screen. It is now easily one of my very favorite movies.

Leslie Howard (Gone With The Wind) stars as Sir Percy Blakeney, a super hero of the French Revolution, who masquerades as a man who should be afraid of his own shadow. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Zorro stories were spawned in part by exposure to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Merle Oberon (Wuthering Heights), one of the great leading ladies of Hollywood, stars as Lady Marguerite Blakeney, a woman who holds a terrible secret about her past and wonders why her husband is a dandy. Rounding out the cast is Raymond Massey (East of Eden) who stars as the sinister Citizen Chauvelin.

A movie's greatness is shown in whether its remakes offer something new and revolutionary or copy it verbatim. The remake of this movie that aired in the late seventies/early eighties, was a complete copy of this 1934 classic. Don't waste any time on it and relish the classic performance by Howard, Oberon and Massey.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Movie vs. the Book
I would have liked this movie had I not read the book first. But once you read the book, you realize that this movie is a VERY poor adaption. The book is a lot more exciting and fun. And Leslie Howard was really miscast as Sir Percy Blakeney. He's too.....I guess depressing is the word. The point is that he doesn't do the character any justice. If you want "The Scarlet Pimpernel"....Read the Book.

5-0 out of 5 stars a very good film
This film has most everyting adventure romance, but also an underlying sadness as its during the French Revolution. Merl Oberon is beautiful does a great acting job and also Leslie Howard plays the Scarlet PImpernel so very very well. Hes very talented in all his films this I think is one of his best.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Decent Old Movie Gets Shortsheeted.
I had a tattered old copy of this movie on video for years that had finally begun to degrade due to the number of passes it had endured through the VCR. When I brought this DVD home I had such high anticipation to see the classic on a digital format, but was sorely disappointed to find out that Madacy Entertainment had shortened the movie by removing scenes from it. Now, why they had done this is unknown, but it was a great disappointment to both me and my wife.
I constantly wonder why the scenes aren't there (being in video post production myself), and often question whether the DVD has an error in it's encoding and is skipping the scenes, or if Madacy for some reason took the scenes out due to time constraints.
In spite of this flaw, the movie is still a classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story for Our Times
Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, I think, are in their most romantic roles ever.

This movie is based on the legendary story of the Scarlet Pimpernel, risen in a time of rampant Leftism (revolutionary France, set on social and political implosion) and burgeoise England (eventually saved only by the rise of Rev. Wesley).

My wife is one for early romantic movies, but I am the one who thinks the most romantic and tear-jerking scene (don't psychoanalyze me here -- I think I just love the play of raw courage vs. naivite) I have ever seen is in this movie. Holding Oberon by the shoulders in his palms, Howard stares her straight in the eyes, "What price did you pay?!!" he declares. This is the crux of their relationship.

The political savior, Howard, is in a much more subtle plot -- saving men, women, and children one at a time from the reach of hard-Leftists set on destroying stability in Europe militantly and in blood in order to rebuild the society under their own ideal.

Perhaps many people won't get it, but this movie is well worth the watching no matter by whom, a lesson for those who can think, and real entertainment for those who will not. ... Read more


20. Private Life of Henry VIII
Director: Alexander Korda
list price: $14.99
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303241190
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 14245
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars good old movie
This is a really old movie but if you are a King Henry Vlll bluff you will like it. Charles Laughton makes a wonderful King Henry Vlll. I love all of the Charles Laughton King Henry movie and this one is great. For all King Henry Vlll fans. Worth buying.

5-0 out of 5 stars A charming, clever British comedy
Charles Laughton is typically wonderful in his broadly-played role as England's King, Henry the Eigth, who infamously married six different queens, divorcing or executing them as circumstances warranted. The script to this magnificent Alexander Korda production is a witty jab at English history buffs, touching only briefly on the supposed treachery of Ann Boleyn, concentrating instead on the preposterous emotional life of the lusty, capacious King. Laughton, as ever, is a marvel, skillfully presenting Henry at first as a thinly-cariacatured lout, and gracefully embuing him with gradual shades of pathos and humanity. Viewers who look to this film as historical drama are clearly missing the point: this is all about the cleverly-rendered script, which turns British schoolboy lessons on their heads, and on the classy ensemble acting, which admittedly may be hard to focus on with the lamentable quality of the current print (I'm writing in the year 2003; perhaps Criterion or some other class-act movie restoration company can correct this problem soon). Still, fans of early British cinema will enjoy this film a lot.

3-0 out of 5 stars Better if done in series like the 1970's version
This version was enrtaining and interesting, but it had flaws. If Katherine of Aragon was the first wife, why didn't they show her. The opening details said she was insignificant. That's unacceptable to me! The director needed a lot of fixing to do. I did like Binnie Barnel as Katherine Howard; she was adorable. Henry's grief on her death inspired a poem from me. If each wife was done in a series with each being at least 45 minutes, this movie would have rocked. But the sixth wife was done way out of character; Katherine Parr was a better woman in the 1970's series. This one was a nagging dog. Listen Katherine Parr (Everly Gregg), I don't know what I'm going to do with you!! *Points a finger at her* And as for the tall wife who said "I haven't had a new gown in a year I say to her. "You will be executed!" *Slaps her face. She holds her face in shock* And as for you, nurse! *Grabs the son out of her arms and gives it back to Henry. Then I punch the nurse in the nose* It doesn't matter if it was your charm, it's Henry's child none the less!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars LOVERS OF HISTORICAL DRAMAS SHOULD LOOK ELSEWHERE...
This is a somewhat disappointing historical drama, directed by Alexander Korda. While Charles Laughton does, indeed, give an excellent performance as Henry VIII, the film suffers from its screenplay, which chooses to focus on Henry's last five marriages, with emphasis on his fourth and probably least important marriage, that to Anne of Cleves. One has to wonder if her prominence in the film was due to the role being played by Elsa Lancaster, Laughton's wife at the time. The most important marriage, that to Katherine of Aragon, is dismissed as being of no interest. This is an amazing and absurd statement, given the fact that it was this marriage that ultimately set England on the path to Protestantism and the establishment of the Church of England. As a historical drama, the film leaves a lot to be desired, as it suffers from superficial treatment.

The film begins with the execution of Ann Boleyn, played by the lovely Merle Oberon, who, despite star billing, is only in the film for several minutes. The film then goes to the marriage to Jane Seymour, played by an actress with a thirties style hair bob. It is Jane who gives the King his heart's desire, a son and heir, before succumbing to death shortly after childbirth.

The film then segues into the marriage to Anne of Cleves, which role is played with comedic abandon by Ms. Manchester. This is followed by Henry's marriage to Katherine Howard, a young wanton who cuckolds the king with Thomas Culpepper, one of the King's Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber. The role of the hapless Thomas Culpepper is played by screen great, Robert Donat. Katherine Howard, as did Anne Boleyn, ends up losing her head on the chopping block for her treasonous transgression. Henry's last wife, Katherine Parr, is merely depicted as a loving and caring woman, watching out for Henry in his dotage.

The video itself is of very poor quality, with a lot of static which renders portions of the film's dialogue inaudible. It is also disconcerting to have many of the female cast wandering about the set with nineteen thirties style hair bobs, as this serves to have a jarring effect. For a better and historically more accurate picture of the wives of King Henry VIII, one would do well to view the BBC production, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", which is available on DVD and as a set of six video cassettes.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not historically accurate, but very funny
This movie pokes fun at all of Henry's wives and his ill temper.There is very little accuracy in the history, but still funny. ... Read more


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