Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New on DVD: Universal Cinema Classics

There are some interesting DVD releases from Universal's Cinema Classics line today: THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932), CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1940), and HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1942).

These films have previously been released as part of boxed sets, but are now available as single-title releases.

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS, which stars Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, and Charles Laughton, is also part of the 5-film Cecil B. DeMille Collection, released in 2006. It's worth noting, for those who are interested, that Amazon has had the DeMille Collection on sale for $20 twice in the past few months, so those who would like to own the bigger set should keep an eye on that listing. The set also includes CLEOPATRA, FOUR FRIGHTENED PEOPLE, THE CRUSADES, and UNION PACIFIC.

CHRISTMAS IN JULY (which I reviewed in 2008) and HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO can also be found in the seven-film Preston Sturges Collection, also released in 2006.

CHRISTMAS IN JULY stars Dick Powell and Ellen Drew; this was one of a couple excellent early '40s comedies Powell starred in when he was in the midst of transitioning from singing star of the '30s to tough guy roles of the late '40s and early '50s. (I also recommend his 1944 comedy-fantasy IT HAPPENED TOMORROW.) HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO stars Eddie Bracken and Ella Raines.

When Universal rereleased the DeMille set's CLEOPATRA (1934) on DVD in 2009, some excellent bonus features were added. However, as far as I can tell at this juncture, today's releases do not appear to have any extras. I'll update this post if I learn otherwise.


Blogger grandoldmovies said...

Thanks for the info -I was hoping Universal wld release Sign of the Cross the same way it did Cleopatra, w/lots of extras - but there seems to be no point releasing it singly and then not including anything else, not even a commentary; there's so much to talk about w/this great movie.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad I could pull together the info here. Like you, I was disappointed re the apparent lack of extras on the SIGN OF THE CROSS single-title release, when they did such a good job on CLEOPATRA'S reissue!

Best wishes,

7:52 PM  

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