WHV Press Release: James Stewart: The Signature Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    “Stewart today is less movie star than cultural icon, a gracefully aged embodiment of values and traditions our nation holds dear…”
    - Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia
    JAMES STEWART:
    THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION

    THE FBI STORY
    THE NAKED SPUR
    THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS
    THE STRATTON STORY
    And a Double-Feature DVD
    THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB/FIRE CREEK
    (First-Time Widescreen Video Debut for Both Films)

    Debut on DVD August 15 from Warner Home Video

    Outstanding Performances by Co-stars Henry Fonda, Robert Ryan, Vera Miles, June Allyson and Agnes Moorehead add Lustre to Collection

    Burbank, Calif., May 15, 2006 – On August 15, Warner Home Video honors one of America’s most beloved actors and classic Hollywood leading men with the James Stewart: The Signature Collection. Six of Stewart’s films -- all new to DVD -- are being released in the five-disc collection: The FBI Story, The Naked Spur, The Spirit of St. Louis, The Stratton Story and a double feature DVD that features two irresistible pairings of Stewart and his dear friend Henry Fonda: The Cheyenne Social Club/Firecreek, both available for the first time on video in widescreen presentations. This superb collection presents Stewart in a variety of different roles that underscore his incomparable versatility as an actor and features Stewart in powerful performances opposite a star-studded array of screen favorites including Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, June Allyson and Agnes Moorehead. The DVDs also include expert commentaries, theatrical trailers for each film, and a bevy of vintage comedy shorts, classic cartoons that have become the distinctive hallmark of Warner Home Video classic DVD presentations. This impressive assemblage of Stewart at his best will sell as a collection for $49.92 SRP, with all titles available individually for $19.97 SRP.

    Third on the American Film Institute’s “25 Greatest Male Screen Legends” list, James Stewart was the movies' quintessential Everyman, an all-American performer who turned his easygoing persona into one of the most successful careers in film history. Stewart, in fact, was anything but the typical Hollywood star: Gawky and tentative, with a folksy stammer and "aw-shucks" charm, he lacked the dashing sophistication and swaggering heroism of his era’s other major actors. Yet because Stewart never lost touch with his humanity and projected an uncommon sense of goodness and decency, several generations of moviegoers found him immensely likable and endearing. Stewart’s career spanned five decades, during which he appeared in more than 80 feature films.

    Born May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pa., James Maitland Stewart first performed as an assistant magician when he was a child and in his prep school’s senior play. While studying civil engineering at Princeton, Stewart befriended Josh Logan, who then headed a summer stock company, and the young man agreed to appear in several plays for the director. After graduation, Stewart joined Logan's University Players, a troupe whose membership also included Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan. Stewart and Fonda traveled to New York City in 1932 with a Logan production that moved to Broadway, where Stewart subsequently began appearing in small roles. On the recommendation of columnist Hedda Hopper, MGM scheduled a screen test and soon Stewart was signed to a long-term studio contract. He debuted onscreen in 1935’s The Murder Man, starring Spencer Tracy, followed by another small performance the next year in Rose Marie.

    Stewart's first prominent movie role came courtesy of Miss Sullavan, who requested he play her husband in the1936 melodrama Next Time We Love. Speed, one of six other films he made that year, was followed by another major performance as Eleanor Powell's love interest in the musical Born to Dance, in which Stewart warbled Cole Porter’s Easy To Love to his leading lady. For 1938's classic You Can't Take It With You, Stewart teamed for the first time with Frank Capra, the director who guided him during several of his most memorable performances. They reunited a year later for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stewart's breakthrough picture which cemented the all-American personality which made him so adored by fans.

    Mr. Stewart was nominated for five Best Actor Academy Awards® -- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Harvey (1950) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). He received two Oscars® -- one for The Philadelphia Story; the other, a 1985 Honorary Award “for his fifty years of memorable performances, for his high ideals both on and off the screen, with the great respect and affection of his colleagues.”

    In addition to the films in WHV’s new collection, other memorable Stewart roles include
    You Can't Take It with You (1938), The Mortal Storm (1940), The Shop Around The Corner (1940-available on DVD from WHV), Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and The Man from Laramie (1955).

    Always a patriot, Stewart enlisted in the Air Force in 1941, putting his acting career on hold while completing 20 missions as a bomber pilot during World War II. Other than Ronald Reagan, who served as Commander-In-Chief as the President of the United States, Stewart has the highest military ranking of any actor in history.


    The FBI Story (1959)
    Stewart portrays one of J. Edgar Hoover’s finest and Vera Miles co-stars as his steadfast wife in this salute to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The colorful career of Agent Chip Hardesty (Stewart) covers 1924 to the late ’50s. Along the way he tangles with everything from the Ku Klux Klan to a bomber who commits mass murder for insurance money. His fiercest exploits come in the ’30s when he stares down a gun barrel at Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Ma Barker and John Dillinger. From two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Don Whitehead’s bestseller and directed by veteran Hollywood hit maker Mervyn LeRoy.

    Special Features:
    •Theatrical trailer
    •Languages: English & Français
    •Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)


    The Naked Spur (1953)
    “Plain arithmetic: Money splits better two ways instead of three,” smooth-talking outlaw Ben Vandergroat reasons to his captors, three bounty hunters thrown together by chance. They’re taking Ben to justice in Abilene, but he has other ideas. If he can set the men against each other – play on their greed, their fears, their vanities – he may be able to make his break to freedom.

    In the third of his five landmark Anthony Mann-directed westerns, James Stewart stars as the relentless leader of bounty hunters caught in the snare of the hunted (Robert Ryan). Tough, tense, and towering as tall as its breathtaking Colorado Rockies setting, The Naked Spur is simply “one of the best Westerns ever made” (Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide).

    DVD Special Features:
    •Vintage short Things We Can Do Without
    •Classic cartoon Little Johnny Jet
    •Theatrical trailer
    •Languages: English & Français
    •Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

    The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
    On May 21, 1927, the world changed. “Lucky Lindy” landed outside Paris. And people who previously talked about the limitations of air travel suddenly dreamed of its limitless possibilities.

    The Spirit of St. Louis is six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder’s recreation of the struggles and success of Charles A. Lindbergh, the pioneering flyboy who, like test pilots and astronauts to follow later, had the “right stuff” of aviation heroism. Lindbergh fan James Stewart, himself a pilot, sought the role but was initially turned down. But his persistence paid off, as Stewart added Lindy to his gallery of indelible portrayals of American heroes. He and Wilder together manned the cockpit of a stirring epic entertainment.

    DVD Special Features
    •New digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements
    •Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
    •The Spirit of St. Louis Premiere
    •Vintage Joe McDoakes comedy short So Your Wife Wants to Work
    •Classic cartoon Tabasco Road
    •Theatrical trailer
    •Languages: English & Français
    •Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

    The Stratton Story (1949)
    Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton is an affable long drink of water with an easy, whip like delivery and a pitch so unhittable the young phenom racks up consecutive 15-win seasons. But Stratton’s greatest victory doesn’t come on the green diamonds of our national pastime.

    Stewart portrays Stratton, who loses a leg in an accident just as his career is on the rise…and whose triumph over despair and disability leads him to pitch again. Stewart signed on for the role when he realized the film would be an inspiration to injured World War II GIs. The film still inspires. Awarded an Oscar® for Best Motion Picture Story, directed by Sam Wood (The Pride of the Yankees) and supported by a top cast that includes June Allyson, Agnes Moorehead, Frank Morgan and real-life ballplayers, The Stratton Story is sports biography at its best. The pairing of Allyson and Stewart was so successful, that they appeared together again in 1954’s
    The Glenn Miller Story and Strategic Air Command (1955).

    DVD Special Features:
    •Vintage Short Pest Control
    •Classic Cartoon Batty Baseball
    •Audio-Only Bonus: Radio Show with Stewart and Allyson
    •Theatrical trailer
    •Languages: English & Français
    •Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)

    The Cheyenne Social Club (1970)/Firecreek (1968)
    They can be tough as leather. Or as down-home as any pair of good ol’ boys. Either way, there’s a sense of warm respect between Henry Fonda and Stewart, the two stars whose off-camera friendship goes back to their days as struggling actors and roommates. The Cheyenne Social Club [Side A] casts them as saddle-weary Texans who, surprised to find they’ve inherited a Wyoming bordello, feel honor-bound to defend it against a gun-wielding gang. Gene Kelly produced and directed this mix of fun and Western action. Next comes a firestorm of character-driven excitement in Firecreek [Side B]. Fonda plays an outlaw preying on small towns, and Stewart is the jittery, $2-a-month part-time lawman who must find the courage to stop him.

    Special Features:
    •First-Time Widescreen home video debut [16x9 2.4:1] for both movies
    •Vintage The Cheyenne Social Club featurette The Good Time Girls
    •Theatrical trailers
    •Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature films only)

    Turner Classic Movies Marketing Support
    Marketing support will come from a Turner Classic Movies cross promotion, generating major on-air, on-line, and direct marketing efforts to traditional classic film consumers, including an on-air tribute to James Stewart.


    JAMES STEWART: THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION
    Street Date: August 15, 2006
    Order Due Date: July 11, 2006
    Collection: $49.92 SRP; Individual Titles $19.97 SRP
    All films are in Color; The Stratton Story is in Black & White
    Cheyenne Social Club is rated PG, All other films are Not Rated
    Cheyenne Social Club/Firecreek
    Run Time: 103 Minutes/ 103 Minutes
    Widescreen version presented in a “letterbox” widescreen format preserving the “scope” aspect ratio of their original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs
    The FBI Story
    Run Time: 149 Minutes
    Widescreen version presented in a “letterbox” widescreen format preserving the “scope” aspect ratio of their original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs

    The Naked Spur
    Run Time: 91 MinutesSpirit of St. Louis
    Run Time: 135 Minutes
    Widescreen version presented in a “letterbox” widescreen format preserving the “scope” aspect ratio of their original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs

    The Stratton Story
    Run Time: 102 Minutes
     
  2. Opi

    Opi Stunt Coordinator

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    I already preorder this set at Amazon.
    Sadly there are no audio commentaries at all ...
    I like those commentaries and wonder why they added none.
    Listen to that with Jimmy Stewart on WINCHESTER 73 - it's really worth your time !
     
  3. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Maybe we've been spolt by Warner Bros but I would have expected a more extensive set of extras for this set. I'm a huge James Stewart fan but I'm rather on the fence with this collection because they are not amongst his best films and a good collection of extras might have swung it more favorably.
     
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Extras? They had me at "The Naked Spur" and "Spirit of St. Louis". It would be nice to see some extras with historical background on Lindbergh, though.

    Regards,
     
  5. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Ditto; everything else is just gravy.
     
  6. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    Re: commentary - I loved the Winchester '73 commentary. Is this the only one James Stewart recorded?
     
  7. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I would have loved a commentary on "The Spirit of St. Louis". Too bad I won't get my wish.
     
  8. Opi

    Opi Stunt Coordinator

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    @Michael Streeter
    AFAIK yes, it was recorded for the Laserdisk release.
    I have no knowledge of any other commentary recording.
    BTW - the commentary is falesly reported as "Interview with James Stewart" on the back of the DVD case.
     
  9. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Surely Cameron Crowe would've had some Billy Wilder interviews that could've been used.

    Having said that, the film only gets a brief mention in Crowe's Wilder book.
     
  10. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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  11. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Maybe Wilder's memory was muted by the fact that his head must have been spinning when he made it. Wilder directed three feature films that were released in 1957 by three different studios. Also, the production on "Spirit of St. Louis" was difficult, with the active production lasting nine months, and it turned out to be a box office flop.

    Regards,
     
  12. ChrisRose

    ChrisRose Stunt Coordinator

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    I fear Warner's starting to skimp on extras...judging by this set, and the upcoming Motion Picture Masterpieces box. Perhaps they're just releasing too many dvd boxsets at once and should slow down a bit (believe me, I never thought I'd say that - I do want more movies on dvd asap).

    Still, I'm a bit concerned that the quality will begin (has begun?) to suffer if they don't take enough time to think about everything that could possibly be included to enhance/support the movie. I know some people don't care about bonus features, but I'd hate to see an obvious, related extra omitted through carelessness or a rushed job... (ie: "Hollywood Goes To Town" premiere footage, which appears to be missing from the upcoming Marie Antoinette dvd)
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Sorry, but I rather have the films on dvd then wait on bonus material. There is no way I want them slowing down and missing opportunity to get me as many films on dvd as possible. If the PQ of the presentation is not being compromised then I want Warner to continue releasing product as fast as they can.
     
  14. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    lets not forget that jimmy stewart gets another set next year. the digital bits said that the mortal storm was in production and GF said carbine williams was getting considered.

    would also love to have:
    -the shopworn angel
    -born to dance (it's high time we had some eleanor powell)
    -come live with me (a delightful comedy with hedy lamarr)
    -of human hearts
     
  15. widescreenforever

    widescreenforever Stunt Coordinator

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    any one happen to know if Shenandoah is in stereo or only mono ????
    upc - 025192262029
    thanks
     
  16. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD with Stewart and Claudette Colbert is one of the greatest screwball comedies (screenplay by Ben Hecht and Herman J. Mankiewicz). It's over-looked and uderrated because of the similarity to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
     
  17. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    does WB own the rights?
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, it's an old MGM release from 1939.
     
  19. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    ^^ do u think they would release it over come live with me? because i've seen that on tcm regularly.
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    If there is another Stewart box I think it's going to be in it.





    Crawdaddy
     

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