Sunday, April 08, 2007

This Collection Makes Sense When You Think About It

While Fox's TV-on-DVD division is kinda messing up (see below), their producers of classic movies are doing some interesting work, for now. They've had some mis-steps, like the use of what many critics considered an overly dark transfer of The Gang's All Here, but they are releasing a lot of catalogue movies andthey almost always manage to include some newly-produced special features (unlike Warner Brothers, which often uses vault material like shorts and cartoons instead of producing special features).

However, unlike Warners, which markets its classic movie releases intelligently through print ads and cross-pollination with Turner Classic movies, Fox doesn't seem to give its classic movie releases much publicity, which leads me to wonder if they're making any money on these sets. Also, whereas Warner's George Feltenstein is pretty smart about figuring out which movies fans will want to buy, the Fox department seems to pick old movies almost at random, leading to a lot of rather unpopular movies being marketed as "classics."

On the other hand, this leads to some movies coming out that probably wouldn't otherwise. Case in point, Fox has set a July release date for The Joan Collins Superstar Collection, five movies from Joan Collins' years as a Fox contract player. Now, none of these movies -- The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, Sea Wife, Stopover Tokyo, Seven Thieves -- are great movies, or much-in-demand movies, and Joan Collins was not any kind of a "superstar" while she was at Fox (she would be the first to admit that she was mostly wasted by the studio), and name recognition seems to be the main basis for putting together this set. But still, it's great to get some of these movies, for various reasons.

For example, Rally 'Round the Flag is the great Leo McCarey's last comedy, and while the stars -- Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward -- did not respond well to McCarey's improvisatory style (this method of working must not have appealed to Newman very much), the supporting actors did, especially Collins, who's better and funnier here than she was usually able to be in her movie career.

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