Warner Announces Barbara Stanwyck Signature Collection

July 25, 2007

It barely took a month before corporate America caved to the pressure of my blog. It was June 15 when I posted this blog, inquiring as to the whereabouts of a Barbara Stanwyck box set. While the relative lack of reaction to my post left me to think that my crack reporting skills on this critical topic had shocked all my readers into silence, it turns out that I had actually inspired them to go out and picket the studios and get some petitions signed. Now, barely a month later, Warner has issued this press release from July 23, announcing a Stanwyck signature collection coming out this October. The films to be included released are:

  • Annie Oakley (1935)
  • East Side, West Side (1949)
  • Executive Suite (1954)
  • My Reputation (1946)
  • To Please a Lady (1950)
  • Jeopardy (1953)

Barbara Stanwyck is probably my favorite classic actress, but I must confess that I have not seen any of these films. That is not to say that they’re bad. There’s a representative mix of genres here, including a sample of Stanwyck’s work in westerns (Annie Oakley) and film noirs (Jeopardy). Also, you have some real star power in here, with stars such as Clark Gable, William Holden, Van Heflin, Ava Gardner, and James Mason appearing in these films. In particular, Executive Suite looks like it might be a real winner, as it’s difficult to go wrong when you have Robert Wise directing a Ernest Lehman script. Certainly, a quick perusal of some of the bulletin boards from around the Net show that many people are euphoric over the news of this release.

I must admit, however, that I’m not completely sold. While I trust the word of other Stanwyck fans that these are good films, I can’t shake the feeling that this signature collection lacks some of the punch of some of its predecessors. Unfortunately, Warner’s more recent releases in the signature line have been veering in this somewhat watered-down direction. Nonetheless, at least Warner has tried to cater to classics fans the ways certain other ones have not (e.g., Paramount seems to care very little about its classics list).

All the same, this is good news to know that a Stanwyck collection is coming out. As I mentioned in my other blog, the rights to her films are scattered across numerous studios. On the one hand, this is bad, since it makes it so difficult to assemble a nice looking set. On the other, perhaps that means other studios will soon be following suit, which means that this Warner set coming out in October might be just the beginning. . .

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