Saturday, June 01, 2013

Boxed Set Review: Best of Warner Bros. 100-Film Collection

I've recently had the opportunity to review a special limited edition boxed set, the Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection, which was released earlier this year.

As the title implies, it's a huge set, which I've been enjoying exploring over the past month. 22 of the films in the set are Best Picture winners, an impressive number. In addition to the 100 movies, the set includes two new documentaries, TALES FROM THE WARNER BROS. LOT and THE WARNER BROS. LOT TOUR. A brief promotional video for the set on YouTube previews the set and the documentary.

Knowledgeable film fans will want to know at the outset that this 90th Anniversary gift set is not a "true" Warner Bros. set; it includes a great many MGM films to which Warner Bros. now owns the rights, making it really a Warner Bros.-MGM boxed set.

The movies thus range from Warner Bros. titles such as THE JAZZ SINGER (1927), THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), MILDRED PIERCE (1945), A STAR IS BORN (1954), and THE SEARCHERS (1956), to MGM entries including THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940), MRS. MINIVER (1942), SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952), SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954), GIGI (1958), and BEN-HUR (1959).

There's also a dash of RKO in the collection, with CIMARRON (1931) and CITIZEN KANE (1941) among the titles in the set.

Classic film fans such as myself will already have many of the films in the set, given that it includes "the best of the best," with titles such as THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), and CASABLANCA (1942) among the films included in the collection.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised to realize how many films in the set I didn't already own, or have only owned on VHS.  A few of the interesting movies not previously on my DVD shelves: GRAND HOTEL (1932), MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935), THE GREAT ZIEGFELD (1936), YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942), and TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948).

"Later" films in the set I've wanted to see and can now catch up with include BULLITT (1968), UNFORGIVEN (1992), L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997), and THE NOTEBOOK (2004).

Some of the movies in the set aren't "my" thing but have been enjoyed by other family members. For instance, a couple of my kids loved watching THE SHINING (1980) the other night! A number of movies were recently removed from our Netflix queue due to the fact they're included in the set.

It strikes me that this 100-film set would make an especially nice gift for a wedding, graduation, or house warming, providing the foundation for a collection for people just starting out. It would be an especially good choice for those who are interested in a mix of films from every decade from the '20s on up until a couple of years ago.

The set is limited to 40,000 numbered copies. It contains 100 movies on 55 double-sided discs, which are attractively presented in two books. Postcards and a poster featuring Warner Bros. movie posters are included as well.

The books are really beautiful, and my entire family has enjoyed paging through them and choosing movies. My only issue with this format is that while some of the discs slide right out, others are quite a tight fit. With just a bit of the disc showing in each sleeve and movies on both sides of the disc, carefully removing some of the DVDs from the books was more of a challenge in some cases than is probably good for the discs.

On the other hand, it's excellent news that the discs I spot-checked have some or all of the special features from earlier releases. THE PUBLIC ENEMY, originally a single-disc release, comes with all its original extras, including a Robert Sklar commentary and the "Warner Night at the Movies" lineup of extras.

Films which had multi-disc releases, such as THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), and SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954), retained some extras from the deluxe editions, including commentary tracks.

I searched the set packaging and didn't uncover a listing of extras, so it's a bit of a treasure hunt in that regard, with the viewer needing to check disc by disc to see what's included.

Films in the set which I have previously reviewed in other formats include THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931), 42ND STREET (1933), DARK VICTORY (1939), CITIZEN KANE (1941), MILDRED PIERCE (1945), VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964), SUPERMAN (1978), THE BODYGUARD (1992), and THE BLIND SIDE (2009).

Most of the movie titles are listed at the WB Shop, although the last five titles seem to be missing from the page. They are THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), THE HANGOVER (2009), THE BLIND SIDE (2009), SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009), and INCEPTION (2010).

In addition to the WB Shop, this set can also be obtained from other sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Thanks to Warner Bros. for providing this collection for review.


Blogger LĂȘ said...

What a cool set! Yet I've watched many of the movies, and the classics are the ones that call more my attention, it'd be great to have a set with nice books and extras and, I imagine, the price of the set is probably smaller than buying all 100 movies separetely.
Thaks for the review! Kisses!

4:08 PM  
Blogger James Corry said...

I certainly hope that "Seven Brides" will see a Blu-ray release soon!


6:09 PM  

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