Between its own film library and the pre-1950 titles it distributes from Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has one of the largest collections of classic motion pictures yet to be released on home video. Well, get ready, movie buffs, because this week Universal swung open the vault doors and released 12 much-requested titles–from the 1930s up to the 1970s–as DVD singles, and Movies Unlimited is proud to be your exclusive source for these vintage gems. From comedy to romance, fantasy to drama, there’s something sure to please fans of all ages and types. Here’s what you can find:
40 Pounds Of Trouble (1963) – Winning comedy, based on Damon Runyon’s “Little Miss Marker,” stars Tony Curtis as a gruff Lake Tahoe nightclub manager saddled with an alimony-seeking ex-wife, a singer in search of a husband, and an indebted friend’s mischievous daughter. Highlighted by a whirlwind chase through Disneyland, the film co-stars Suzanne Pleshette, Claire Wilcox, Larry Storch; Norman Jewison’s directorial debut.
Back Street (1941) – Skillful adaptation of the tearjerking Fannie Hurst novel features Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan as star-crossed lovers Walter Saxel and Ray Smith. Years after their marriage plans are sabotaged, the pair are reunited in New York City. When Ray discovers that Walter is now married to another, she agrees to become her mistress in order to remain a part of his life. With Richard Carlson, Frank McHugh, Tim Holt.
The Black Cat (1934) – Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi teamed up for the first time in director Edgar G. Ulmer’s macabre chiller that borrows the title (and little else) from Poe. A Balkan castle, built over a WWI graveyard, is the site for a bizarre battle of wills between psychiatrist Lugosi and devil-worshipping cult leader Karloff. With David Manners, Jacqueline Wells.
Blue Collar (1978) – Tired of just getting by, a trio of Detroit assembly line workers (Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto) decide to loot the office of their union local. They find little cash, but lots of evidence of corruption amongst their leadership. Their decision to run a blackmail with their findings, though, might have them paying more than dues. Paul Schrader’s exciting, underrated debut as writer/director co-stars Ed Begley, Jr., Cliff De Young.
Death Takes A Holiday (1934) – In this offbeat fantasy-romance, the basis for 1998’s “Meet Joe Black,” the Grim Reaper grows tired of his “job” and comes down to Earth, taking the form of a handsome prince, to learn why humans fear him. Complications arise when “Prince Sirki” falls in love with one of his fellow guests at an Italian villa. Fredric March is mesmerizing in the title role; with Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing.
Five Graves To Cairo (1943) – In a remote oasis hotel in the Sahara Desert, British soldier Corporal John Bramble (Franchot Tone) impersonates a servant in order to get information from the inn’s newest “guests”: invading Afrika Korps tank troops and their commander, Gen. Irwin Rommel (Erich von Stroheim). Things get tricky when Bramble learns the servant was really a German spy, in this WWII espionage tale from director/co-writer Billy Wilder. With Anne Baxter, Akim Tamiroff.
A Foreign Affair (1948) – Caustic comedy from Billy Wilder set in post-WWII Berlin, where dignified congresswoman Phoebe Frost’s (Jean Arthur) investigation into black-market influence on occupying GIs brings her in close contact with handsome Captain John Pringle (John Lund). The problem is that Pringle is involved with nightclub singer Erika von Schlutow (Marlene Dietrich), whom Phoebe learns has ties to former Nazi officials.
Games (1967) -Diabolical thriller starring Simone Signoret as an immigrant saleswoman with psychic powers who is asked to devise strange games for kinky Manhattan socialites James Caan and Katharine Ross to play. One of the capers, involving a delivery boy, turns deadly and leads to a series of frightening events. Don Stroud, Estelle Winwood co-star; Curtis Harrington directs.
It Ain’t Hay (1943) – When cab driver Lou Costello accidentally kills an old man’s horse by feeding it candy, he and pal Bud Abbott try to find a replacement steed. The animal they “pick up” at a racetrack, however, is a champion racer named Tea Biscuit, in this riotous comedy based on a Damon Runyon story. With Cecil Kellaway, Eugene Pallette, Shemp Howard.
No Time For Love (1943) – When elegant newspaper photographer Claudette Colbert gets sent to cover a tunneling project below the Hudson, her presence causes an on-site dust-up that costs average-Joe laborer Fred MacMurray his job. Feeling responsible, she offers him a position as her assistant, with conflict and romance sure to develop. Ilka Chase, June Havoc, Richard Haydn co-star; Mitchell Leisen directs.
Saskatchewan (1954) – Impressively filmed adventure from director Raoul Walsh featuring Alan Ladd as Thomas O’Rourke, Canadian Mountie raised by Indians who tracks down Sioux Indians trying to persuade other Northwestern tribes to fight the white man following Little Big Horn. Shelley Winters is O’Rourke’s romantic interest, saloon gal Grace Markey; with Robert Douglas, J. Carrol Naish, and Jay Silverheels.
You Never Can Tell (1951) – An eccentric millionaire leaves his fortune to his beloved German shepherd…and after the dog is poisoned, the estate trustee (Peggy Dow) is blamed. In pup purgatory, the pooch’s wish to clear her and track down his real killer is granted when when he’s reincarnated as a human private eye named Rex Shepherd (Dick Powell)! Entertaining fantasy-comedy co-stars Joyce Holden, Charles Drake.