Saturday, May 21, 2011

Warner Archive News: Four Daughters Collection

There was an especially welcome release from the Warner Archive this past week, the Four Daughters Movie Series Collection.

The Collection consists of FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938), FOUR WIVES (1939), and FOUR MOTHERS (1941), along with an unrelated film starring the identical cast, DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS (1939).

The films can either be purchased as a set, at a discounted rate, or individually. FOUR DAUGHTERS is a remastered upgrade of a 2009 Archive release. DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS was also remastered.

The FOUR DAUGHTERS series tells the story of musician Adam Lemp (Claude Rains) and his four beautiful daughters, played by Priscilla, Rosemary, and Lola Lane, plus Gale Page. Their love interests are played by John Garfield, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Dick Foran, and Eddie Albert. May Robson is the girls' aunt.

This is a wonderful series of films which I think becomes even more enjoyable as it continues. As I wrote in a 2008 review of FOUR MOTHERS: "FOUR WIVES and FOUR MOTHERS are particularly good, as sequels go, because each film feels as though it's simply picking up where the last one left off, with no jarring changes in cast, sets, or tone. The use of the same 'bits of business' from one film to the next, along with the recurring use of music, provides a strong sense of continuity."

DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS tells a different story, but served as an excuse to reunite director Michael Curtiz and all 10 lead cast members of the popular FOUR DAUGHTERS. One film historian wrote that DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS is "neither a sequel nor a remake, but a unique mixture of paraphrase and elaboration." Although I love the Lemp series as a whole, in some ways I preferred DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS to the original FOUR DAUGHTERS film.

There's more information on the history of this excellent series in my reviews for FOUR DAUGHTERS, FOUR WIVES, FOUR MOTHERS, and DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS, all of which were originally posted in 2007 and 2008.


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