After, dare we say, years of speculation, Fox has finally thrown their hats into the MOD ring with a lineup of vintage titles from their vaults. The program is called Fox Cinema Archives, and if the initial offerings are any indication, expect the selection to be diverse and very movie fanatic-oriented.
Highlights of the first 35—count ‘em—titles to be unleashed include:
Rings on Her Fingers (1942): Henry Fonda is a shnook ready to spend his life’s savings on a boat, and Gene Tierney is the lingerie saleswoman enlisted by swindlers to bilk him out of his cash. This delightful comedy in the mold of The Lady Eve was directed by Rouben Mamoulian (The Mark of Zorro).
Diplomatic Courier (1952): Crackerjack spy thriller with Tyrone Power as an undercover agent out to snag a stolen document with secret plans for a Russian invasion of Yugoslavia. Patricia Neal, Lee Marvin, Michael Ansara and Charles Buchinski (Bronson) also star while Henry Hathaway (True Grit) helms.
Sweet Rosie O’Grady (1943): Betty Grable was all the rage when she (and her famous gams) starred in this fizzy romp set in the Gay ‘90s. She plays an ex-burlesque performer who moves to England to become a serious singer and hitch a wealthy suitor. Blowing her cover is a tabloid reporter (Robert Young) who takes a liking to her. Reginald Gardiner and Adolphe Menjou also star; Irving Cummings (My Gal Sal) directs.
Pulling from the Fox vault is a tantalizing prospect for movie fanatics. But what this program has in mind may confound some expectations.
For example, there is The Foxes of Harrow (1947), starring Rex Harrison as a womanizing gambler and Maureen O’Hara as his long suffering wife in antebellum New Orleans; Dangerous Years (1947), a juvenile delinquent drama about the consequences of youths robbing a warehouse with Billy Halop, Scotty Beckett, and 21-year-old Marilyn Monroe making her screen debut as a waitress; The Perfect Snob (1941), with Charlie Ruggles finding comic complications when he heads to Hawaii to look into his daughter’s engagement to an older guy; The Raid (1954), with Van Heflin, Lee Marvin, Peter Graves, Richard Boone and Anne Bancroft in an underrated western about Confederate soldiers who escape a Union prison with plans to cause trouble in Canada; and Suez (1938), a highly fictionalized account of the building of the Suez Canal with Tyrone Power and Loretta Young.
Also on the docket are a couple of titles that had previously been solely available as part of sets: Frontier Marshal (1939) with Randolph Scott as Wyatt Earp and Cesar Romero as Doc Holliday (plus Ward Bond and Lon Chaney, Jr.); and Love is News (1937), starring Tyrone Power, Loretta Young and Romero (which was eventually remade as the aforementioned Sweet Rosie O’Grady; and That Wonderful Urge, featuring Power (again) and Gene Tierney.
And that’s just the tip of the mighty Fox stone logo, folks. You’ll find goodies from Clifton Webb’s third go-round as Mr. Belvedere in Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951) to William Powell in The Baroness and the Butler (1938) to the Paul Muni-Gene Tierney historical actioner Hudson’s Bay (1941). A comprehensive list of the first 35 offerings from the program can be found here.