The Warner Archive Collection presents rare and beloved films from throughout the history of cinema. (Often rescuing films from obscurity and introducing them to new audiences). Recently, Warner Archives has released a variety of titles on DVD for the first time. The result? A cinematic celebration unlike no other. Take a look at some of the Warner Archive titles that have been unleashed from the vaults with hopes of finding a place in your home video library.
The intrepid teenage girl sleuth of countless books by pseudonymous author Carolyn Keene was portrayed by Bonita Granville in four Warner Bros. films, all featured in this collector’s set. Nancy and her boyfriend Ted (series regular Frankie Thomas) investigate a wealthy widow’s disappearance in “Nancy Drew–Detective” (1938). John Litel co-stars. Next, the coed crimesolver turns journalist as “Nancy Drew…Reporter” (1939) and winds up solving a poisoning case. An old family friend is accused of murder, and Nancy and Ted try to expose the real killer, in “Nancy Drew…Troubleshooter” (1939). And two old ladies, some crooks, a mansion filled with secrets, and Nancy and Ted all add up to a crackling whodunit in “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” (1939).
The pitching skills of small-town fireman Smokey Joe Grant (Joe E. Brown) got him a major league offer from the St. Louis Cardinals…but his heart remained in the engine house, and getting to the World Series was secondary to getting patents on his screwball firefighting devices. Between his lack of focus–and a gold digger (Lilian Bond) out to steal him from his hometown girl (Evalyn Knapp)–will his career in the bigs get snuffed out? Signature jock comedy for the Big Mouth co-stars Guy Kibbee.
Amiable NYC steeplejack “Hap” Harrigan (Ben Lyon) chased a runaway rivet through the nearby penthouse window of debutante Juliette Hunter (Ona Munson)….and, yes, sparks flew. Will the welding hold, however, once he finds he’s less sure-footed in high society then on high steel? Engaging early musical co-stars Walter Pidgeon, Thelma Todd, Inez Courtney, Holmes Herbert; Rodgers and Hart score includes “Nobody Loves a Riveter,” “You’re the Cats,” “Like Ordinary People Do.”
The first talkie adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s timeless chiller garnered Fredric March an Academy Award for his efforts as the Victorian London physician who sought to understand the duality of human nature…and whose self-experimentation unleashed his hideous–and murderous–alter ego on a helpless populace. Director Rouben Mamoulian’s thrilling, effects-filled adaptation also stars Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert. Restored version includes scenes censored after the film’s premiere.
MGM’s lavish and colorful adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel follows adventurous young provincial noble D’Artagnan (Gene Kelly) as he encounters romance and intrigue when he joins royal guardsmen Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young), and Aramis (Robert Coote) to fight injustice in the court of France’s King Louis XIII. Swordplay and thrills galore with Lana Turner, June Allyson, Angela Lansbury, Frank Morgan, and Vincent Price.
The first of the humor-leavened Agatha Christie adaptations casting Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple series finds the septuagenarian sleuth witnessing the strangling of a woman on a passing train. Concluding that the corpse had been ejected onto local manor grounds, she gets hired as a maid to search for the body…and finds that one resident’s murderously jockeying for the entirety of her employer’s will. Arthur Kennedy, Muriel Pavlow, James Robertson Justice, Joan Hickson co-star.
When seismic tremors cause the birth of a new volcano in Mexico, a team of geologists heads to investigate. They soon discover to their shock that the quake has rent a path to the surface world for a swarm of giant–and hungry–prehistoric scorpions. Creepy-crawly creature feature offers monsters by stop-motion maestro Willis O’Brien (“King Kong”); Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas star.
Miss Jane Marple (Margaret Rutherford) takes to the seas, as she’s piped aboard a onetime battleship repurposed as a reform school that instills nautical discipline in wayward boys. Can she scuttle the plans of the unknown killer targeting officers and crew? Engaging whodunit, Rutherford’s fourth and final go-round as Agatha Christie’s spinster sleuth, also stars Lionel Jeffries, Joan Benham, Francis Matthews, Bud Tingwell, Stringer Davis.
When an wealthy old recluse with a morbid fear of cats is found dead–with a kitty roaming the house–the unflappable Miss Jane Marple (Margaret Rutherford) has her suspicions about his heirs…and enrolls in the tony equestrian club run by the deceased’s prime suspect nephew (Robert Morley). Rutherford’s second outing as Christie’s spinster sleuth, adapted and repurposed from a Poirot tale, co-stars Flora Robson, Stringer Davis, Finlay Currie, and Charles Tingwell.
When an aging ex-actress was murdered, all thought her lodger was guilty…except holdout juror Miss Jane Marple (Margaret Rutherford), who wound up forcing a mistrial. Engaging (as you’d expect) in her own investigation, the trail leads to a repertory company…which she joins in order to flush the killer out. Third Christie whodunit for Rutherford, reworked from a Hercule Poirot mystery, co-stars Ron Moody, Dennis Price, Megs Jenkins, Stringer Davis.
Clare Booth Luce’s celebrated play receives a sterling treatment from director George Cukor and an all-star (and all-female) cast. Soap opera and screwball comedy collide as Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) finds her marriage in trouble when shopgirl Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford) gets friendly with her man, while scandal maven Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell) spreads the word. Features a fashion show sequence shot in color. With Joan Fontaine, Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland, Marjorie Main.
The death of a media mogul leaves the top three executives of his company battling it out for control, in director Fritz Lang’s gritty film noir tale that exposes the seamy underbelly of the news world. The competition boils down to which man will be able to break the story of “The Lipstick Killer,” a serial murderer who targets young women. Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, Vincent Price, John Barrymore, Jr., George Sanders, and Ida Lupino star.
Which of these do you want to add to your movie archives? Let us know!