Saturday, February 19, 2011

Warner Archive News

Terrific news for fans of Joel McCrea and Jacques Tourneur: a remastered print of STARS IN MY CROWN (1950) will be released next week by the Warner Archive.

The highly regarded film about a Western preacher costars Ellen Drew, Dean Stockwell, James Mitchell, and Lewis Stone.

The Archive has also remastered McCrea's THE OUTRIDERS (1950), a Civil War film costarring Arlene Dahl, James Whitmore, Barry Sullivan, and Claude Jarman Jr.

I was really delighted to learn that one of my favorite Robert Taylor Westerns, 1950's AMBUSH (reviewed here) is being released.

AMBUSH has some excellent location shooting and particularly good performances by Taylor and John McIntire as a pair of army scouts. The deep cast includes Arlene Dahl, John Hodiak, Jean Hagen, Don Taylor, and Leon Ames.

The DVD cover art for AMBUSH is fantastic! Kudos to the Archive for dropping the bland blue covers of their initial releases and designing attractive, eye-catching cases. I've been delighted to see the Archive respond to consumer requests with the regular releases of remastered titles along with the greatly improved cover art.

Now if only there were a way they could affordably include chapter stops, especially for musicals...and drop the prices. I'd be purchasing Archive DVDs at a much faster rate if they had a lower price point.

Returning to the upcoming releases, the Archive is also releasing Taylor's RIDE, VAQUERO! (1953) which costars Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, and Anthony Quinn.

Last year Moira Finnie wrote an excellent essay on the film for the TCM Movie Morlocks blog.

I'm delighted by the significant number of Taylor films now available from the Archive -- and hope ROGUE COP (1954) is coming soon.

But wait...there's more!

How about Tim Holt Western Classics, Vol. I? The set includes 10, count 'em, 10 of Holt's classic "B" Westerns, and is described by the archive as "first in a continuing series."

The Archive is having a sale this weekend for President's Day. It's not the most generous sale they've ever had -- $10 off a $50 order -- but heads up for anyone who would like to take advantage of the opportunity for some savings. The coupon code is "PREZ."

Update: Be sure to read Glenn Erickson's review of the recent Archive release of SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954); he gives raves to both the movie and the print.

His comments on the Archive DVD-R: "The 'remastered' transfer is terrific! One couldn't ask for anything better in a standard DVD release, as the picture is a knockout, with colors that leap off the's almost educational to see something so bright and gaudy, yet original and exciting looking. It's like seeing your first candy apple red hot rod, with lime green upholstery: now you know what was cool about the 1950s."

The entire review is very entertaining and certainly made me anxious to take a look at the copy I got last Christmas. Two more reviews of the DVD were linked in a roundup post last month. My 2009 review of the film is here.

Update: From Toby at 50 Westerns from the 50s: "I’m practically giddy as I type this. Just saw what’s coming from Warner Archives on Tuesday." He goes on to say of STARS IN MY CROWN, "I can’t recommend this picture highly enough. If I won the lottery, I’d buy you all a copy."


Blogger Melissa Clark said...

It's been a good time for Joel McCrea fans at Warner Archive lately. In addition to the Westerns you mentioned, a couple of his movies with Ginger Rogers were just released. (You probably already mentioned that -- nothing slips by you!) I ordered "Primrose Path" the other day and now I'm anxious to get "Stars in My Crown."

I've been watching a lot of McCrea movies on Encore Westerns lately, including one that also co-starred Dean Stockwell, "Cattle Drive." Kind of a Western version of "Captains Courageous." It was pretty cute.

Thanks for always keeping us up to date, Laura! :)

5:22 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi MC! Isn't it great news? :)

I did mention the McCrea/Rogers films a while back, although I didn't mention his name -- the releases were then held up a couple of months so I hadn't mentioned them recently. It's a good reminder for our fellow McCrea fans to check out PRIMROSE PATH and CHANCE AT HEAVEN.

CATTLE DRIVE is a very good movie! It has a great cast, too. (And did you notice who's in the photo of McCrea's otherwise unseen love?)

Happy to be able to spread the word about these great releases!

Best wishes,

12:10 PM  
Blogger KC said...

I love Stars in My Crown (1950)! Great news.

5:05 PM  
Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Hi, Laura - Have you seen the STARS IN MY CROWN trailer on the TCM Web site? It features Joel McCrea on his ranch. I know we're both looking forward to the ranch opening to visitors. At you can view nice video tributes to Joel and make a donation to the ranch's educational programs and preservation.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jane! I haven't seen the trailer yet, but somewhat ironically I ordered the DVD today, along with Robert Taylor's AMBUSH. Two of my favorite Western guys. :) I'm making a note to check out both the website and the ranch info tomorrow. Please let me know if you see further updates, as I'd like to notify readers when the ranch is close to opening -- as well as visit!

Thanks and best wishes,

PS Any chance you'll be at UCLA tomorrow night for CRY DANGER? :) Would be nice to say hello!

11:51 PM  
Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Hi, Laura - I'll be glad to keep you updated on the McCrea ranch opening. My husband drives by there on the way to work and is keeping an eye out. Thanks for the nice post today about the ranch. Oh, it would have been fun to see you at the film last night but I didn't attend because our family was celebrating my birthday! Hope to see you at a future screening or "back at the ranch"-- ! Best, Jane

8:55 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Happy Birthday, Jane!! That's a good reason to have missed the movie. :)

That's wonderful your husband regularly drives past the ranch. I'll look forward to hearing updates!

Best wishes,

8:57 PM  

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