This second volume of Bette Davis films is a treat for her fans. It includes MARKED WOMAN, JEZEBEL, THE MAN WHO CAME FOR DINNER, OLD ACQUAINTANCE and a two-disc special edition of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE plus a feature-length documentary on the life and career of one the screen's most admired actresses.
MARKED WOMAN is a gangster film unusually focused on a female figure and with Humphrey Bogart. It tells the story of a club hostess that seeks revenge from a gangster.
JEZEBEL was Davis second Oscar-winning performance. It's the story of a southern belle and is with OLD ACQUAINTANCE my favourite of the lot. The latter is the story of rivalry and friendship between two women in the course of twenty years. Co-staring (and overacting) with Davis is Miriam Hopkins, but the film is mostly Bette's.
The same can not be said of THE MAN WHO CAME FOR DINNER, which is an ensemble piece adapted from a broadway play, and where Davis has an unusual subdue performance compared with leading actor.
And then there's BABY JANE. Anything said about it might spoil what is one of the greatest gothic films, with great performances from both Davis and Joan Crawford. Nowadays most people talk about the film in relation of the feud between the two actresses, but it still stands on its own.
All discs are full of extras - probably more than last year's volume one - there are three commentaries, including one with director Vincent Sherman in OLD ACQUAINTANCE, all films have featurettes, the best of which has to be JEZEBEL's and most have trailers. But BABY JANE has the most extras, including a vintage Joan Crawford interview and my personal favourite, a profile of Davis presented by Jodie Foster called ALL ABOUT BETTE.Read more ›
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After Waiting in the U.K for over a year for this set to be released in Europe I decided that I should just buy the R1 set anyway and hope it plays on my DVD Player, I'm so glad I did as it does with no problem at all.
This collection like Vol 1 is excellent and packed with rarities but somehow I cant help thinking there are some classics missing though.
Classic Bette Movies that in my opinion should be considered for future release are
"The Great Lie" "The Sisters" with Errol Flynn "A Stolen Life" "The Old Maid" with Miriam Hopkins
all of which show Bette performing at her very best, lets hope these are released in some future set.
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This package represents excellent value for money when you price up the individual films.
The extras are many and interesting. Each of the four older films has a new featurette about the film, and a cartoon (I kid you not), which helps to evoke the period when the films were made.
The most recent film 'Whatever...' is a two disc set packed with extras, including a lengthy feature about Bette's career, narrated by Jodie Foster. There is yet another disc with yet another 88 min profile of Bette, narrated by Susan Sarandon.
These discs play on region 2 machines as well. I advise anyone who enjoys classic drama films to buy it. The picture quality is outstanding, and the sound is good, considering the age of the films.
I wont say much about the films, but just look at her eyes in 'Jezebel' when she realises that her old beau has married. That is what Kim Carnes sang about. Bette Davis is a one-off.
There is a Volume 3 due out in 2007 featuring five more films: 'All This And Heaven Too' 'Dangerous' 'The Corn Is Green' 'Watch On The Rhine' 'In This Our Life'
I can hardly wait.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Don't fret21 April 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
WB has already said that next year we will get Bette Davis Volume 3 with:
-All This and Heaven, Too
-The Corn Is Green
-Watch on the Rhine
-In This Our Life
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A paradise for Bette Davis fans8 July 2006
Stephen H. Wood
- Published on Amazon.com
If you are not sure whether you like Bette Davis, rent THE BETTE DAVIS COLLECTION: VOLUME 2 and watch STARDUST: THE BETTE DAVIS STORY, which is a brand-new 90 minute documentary from Turner Classic Movies. It offers lovely film clips, insightful commentary from fans like Gena Rowlands and Ellen Burstyn, and just enough comments on Miss Davis' personal life to not be obtrusive. It is an excellent starting point for Volume 2, or Volume 1 for that matter.
DAVIS: VOL 2 is a strange collection that goes all the way from the gripping crime drama MARKED WOMAN (1937) to the Grand Guignol WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962). Along the way it includes one outright masterpiece (1938's JEZEBEL) and a Monty Woolley stage comedy (1942's THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER) that is totally out of place in this set, and a neglected Davis treasure (1943's OLD ACQUAINTANCE).
Where does one begin? THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER has Bette Davis top-billed as secretary to acid-tongued Monty Woolley, who is really the star here as Sheridan Whiteside. This brilliantly written (the Epstein brothers) and directed (William Keighley) comedy preserves Woolley's stage role and the Broadway hit. It is Christmas season in Ohio, when Whiteside slips on the icy front steps of ditzy Billie Burke's modest home. Laid up in a wheelchair for an indeterminate time, Whiteside turns Burke's house into his chaotic own (complete with penguins and an octopus in an aquarium!) and demands that her staff serve his every whim at all times. It is a masterpiece of a performance by Woolley, surrounded by a top supporting cast. It is a wonderful and hilarious comedy. But it is not in any way a Bette Davis vehicle. I might have chosen THE GREAT LIE (1941), with Oscar-winning Mary Astor instead.
Excluding STARDUST, we are left with four outstanding Davis movies that are all worth seeing, if not the masterpieces that are in VOLUME ONE. In chronological order, MARKED WOMAN is a chilling crime drama with Bette as one of several dance hall "hostesses" to mob boss Eduardo Ciannelli. Humphrey Bogart gets to play a D.A. this time and wants Davis to confess against Ciannelli, who carves up her face (fortunately in an off-screen room with horrendous crimes) when she does that. Modern Hollywood could take a lesson from this movie in terms of off-screen violence being much worse than on-screen. Since this film was made under the Hays censorship office, we know Ciannelli and his henchmen will go to prison at the end. But how and by whom? There are half a dozen "hostesses" along with Bette. MARKED WOMAN packs a wallop and really holds up well.
William Wyler's JEZEBEL is the true masterpiece of this boxed set. In 1850's New Orleans (sets and costumes are just flawless), Davis' Julie is a free-spirit who has everyone gasping when she goes to the all-white Olympus Ball in a red dress with fiance Pres (Henry Fonda in a skillfully unpleasant performance). He is disgraced and she soon has no fiance. One year later, Fonda is married...to Margaret Lindsay, who tries to be nice to Davis. Bette has contempt for both of them. Davis won a Best Actress Oscar for this complex performance, which many see as her Southern belle consolation for not being cast as Scarlett O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND, which went into filming only months later. Watch Davis' Julie and try to visualize her as Scarlett. Fay Bainter is superb and won Supporting Actress for JEZEBEL, which has been impeccably crafted by the always reliable Wyler. This movie is a meticuous treasure that ends flamboyantly, with New Orleans on fire with yellow fever in 1854. Though a gorgeously photographed B&W movie, one can actually visualize oranges and reds and yellows.
OLD ACQUAINTANCE, directed by Vincent Sherman (who does audio commentary with film scholar Boze Hadleigh), is a John van Druten stage drama . Van Druten scripted with Leonore Coffee. It is a neglected treat with Davis battling on- and off-screen with rival Miriam Hopkins. When Hopkins' Millie goes into temper tantrums, Davis' Kit underplays and smiles. They are well matched as novelists. Millie is the Danielle Steel of her age who writes a book a month, while Davis goes for well-crafted and slowly-written works of art. The two fight and make up and fight again over maybe twenty years in a very good movie about the power of friendship. Maybe they hated each other's guts off the set, but both Hopkins and Davis are superlative as Kit and Millie. The audio commentary here is a real treat. Trivia note: George Cukor did a 1981 remake of this, with Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen, called RICH AND FAMOUS. The 1943 original is way better.
With a second disk of juicy bonuses that include feature-length biographies of both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? may be the most popular movie in this collection. It certainly has Bette in a chilling field day performance that actually gave me nightmares after watching it in a night bedroom alone. The two actresses play opposite sisters, living in a 1962 Hollywood mansion. (The B&W interior set decoration is magnificent.) Davis is the grotesque Baby Jane, who torments crippled Crawford as Blanche; both sisters dream of a screen comeback. Did the actresses fight much on the set? Bette has said somewhere on this DVD set (maybe in STARDUST) that BABY JANE was a low-budget B&W movie shot in only three weeks so "there was no time for a feud. Maybe if the schedule were three months if would have happened, but not here." There is a twist ending and an unforgettable supporting performance by Victor Buono. The movie is as dark and frightening as they come and got Davis her TENTH Oscar nomination. That is what set off the feud--when Davis got nominated and not Crawford also. But it was after the movie was completed. BABY JANE is an unforgettable Hollywood Gothic masterpiece. Have fun with it!
Once again, the movies in huge 6-disk THE BETTE DAVIS COLLECTION: VOLUME 2 are MARKED WOMAN (1937), JEZEBEL (1939), THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942), OLD ACQUAINTANCE (1943), WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962), and the magnificent new documentary STARDUST: THE BETTE DAVIS STORY (2006). It is quite an assortment; and it comes with a generous array of bonus cartoons, short subjects, and conversations with film scholars. I think the lady would approve To quote her in ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)--"Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night!"
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Collection of Bette Davis Classics- It's Volume 2 Darling!25 April 2007
Forrest C. Hopson
- Published on Amazon.com
I, like many other die-hard Bette Davis and classic movie buffs, have awaited this release mainly for the DVD debuts of, "The Man Who Came To Dinner" and "Old Acquaintance," both great Davis films. I was very pleased to see that the film "Jezebel," which was Davis' calling card for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Selznick's "Gone With The Wind" had undergone a beautiful job of remastering! The "2 disc Special Edition" of the ultimate pairing of legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford puts icing on the cake with "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" I wasn't too familiar with "Marked Woman," however, it's an interesting film and is a nice addition to the set. Also included is the 2005 documentary entitled, "Stardust; The Bette Davis Story," which shines some light on Davis' career -and some nice footage of her classic films.
"Marked Woman" (1937)
Mary Dwight (Bette Davis) works as a hostess at the Club Intime run by ruthless gangster Johnny Vanning (Eduardo Ciannelli). When one of her "clients" is murdered prosecutor David Graham (Humphrey Bogart) questions Mary but she won't cooperate and Vanning is acquitted. When Mary's sister Betty (Jane Bryan) is killed by one of Vanning's thugs she decides to spill the beans and is beaten into disfigurement. At her bedside all the witnesses agree to testify.
Set in antebellum New Orleans during the early 1850's, this film follows Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) through her quest for social redemption on her own terms. Julie is a beautiful and free spirited Southern belle who is sure of herself and controlling of her fiancé Preston Dillard, (Henry Fonda) a successful young banker. Julie's sensitive but domineering personality--she does not want so much to hurt as to assert her independence--forces a wedge between Preston and herself. To win him back, she plays North against South amid a deadly epidemic of yellow fever, which claims a surprising victim.
"The Man Who Came To Dinner" (1942)
Sheridan Whiteside, (Monty Woolley) an eccentric and acid-tongued radio lecturer, is disabled on the doorstep of a prominent Ohio family and must remain confined to the unwilling family's home for a few days. Discovering what he believes to be problems within the household, Sheridan ("Sherry") discovers his leg is fine. Bribing the doctor to declare him unfit to leave for a few weeks, Sherry hatches a plot to fix all of the household's problems, including his loyal secretary Maggie Cutler (Bette Davis) who has just discovered her true love Bert Jefferson (Richard Travis). Lots of fun here with great performances by the entire cast which also include Ann Sheridan, Billie Burke, and the wonderfully comic Jimmy Durante.
"Old Acquaintance" (1943)
Established serious author Kit Marlowe (Bette Davis) inspires hometown pal Millie Drake (Miriam Hopkins) who writes a trashy novel published with Kit's help. Millie's husband Preston (John Loder) leaves her. Ten years of trashy novels later Millie tries to reconcile, but Preston is marrying another. Millie accuses Kit of husband stealing. Later Kit learns of Millie's daughter Diedre's (Dolores Moran) affection for Rudd, (Gig Young) whom Kit was thinking of marrying. Kit blesses their union and makes up with Millie.
"What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" (1962) -2 disc Special Edition-
Two aging film actresses live as virtual recluses in an old Hollywood mansion. Jane Hudson, (Bette Davis) a successful child star, cares for her crippled sister Blanche, (Joan Crawford) whose career in later years eclipsed that of Jane. Now the two live together, their relationship affected by simmering subconscious thoughts of mutual envy, hate and revenge. Spiteful pranks and bitchy dialogue make this one a jewel in the "Crown of Camp!"
"Stardust: The Bette Davis Story" (2005) -documentary-
Covering the early and later parts of the legendary star's vast film career, "Stardust" captures the allure of Davis in her early films and goes on to show her courage and in-your-face attitude which mesmerized her fans and made her a box office draw even in her golden years. Some of the material can also be seen on Disc 2 of the `What Ever Happened To Baby Jane" DVD, however, there is enough in "Stardust" to make it a nice addition to the set, as well.
A rumored "Bette Davis Collection: Volume 3" is supposedly in the works and set for release this year, however, nothing official has been announced of the titles to be included or the date of release. Hopefully a box set entitled "The Joan Crawford Collection: Volume 2" will accompany Davis third box set release -there's a lot of Crawford classics still awaiting a DVD release, as well. But until then, enjoy this "Volume 2 collection of Davis classics, it will sit well next to your Volume 1 set of your Classic DVD Library.
40 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Old Vol 2 set better deal27 Jan. 2008
Gary Cooper Fan
- Published on Amazon.com
You may want to buy the old Vol 2 box set before it goes out of print for this new edition released on April 1st. The previous Vol 2 lists 7 discs (4 single disc movies, 1 double disc SE movie and 1 dvd containing the Bette Davis story. That box set is currently selling on Amazon for 39.99. This new box set will run you 53.99 and only has listed 6 discs, which might mean they have excluded the disc containing The Bette Davis Story. So for 14 dollars more you can buy this set minus a disc or pick up the old set while it is still in print that contains an extra dvd in the collection. The original box Vol 2 box set is 5 stars but this one I am only giving 1 star for the increased price and the loss of a dvd to the collection. Below is the box set you might consider picking up over this one:
The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 2 (Jezebel / What Ever Happened to Baby Jane Two-Disc Special Edition / The Man Who Came to Dinner / Marked Woman / Old Acquaintance / Stardust: The Bette Davis Story)
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Why the same old Bette Davis Films??6 Mar. 2009
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I wish that whomever puts these compliations together would show some more imagination. Although they are wonderful films, I have seen Jezebel, Dark Victory ad nauseum on TCM. And why pray-tell did they include that boring, preachy, insufferable Watch on the Rhine on Volume III? What I'd like to see in a Bette Davis compilation is maybe Dangerous, Fog Over Frisco, Ex-lady, The Dark Horse or even the camp classic, Beyond the Forest. Or at least these films should be issued in a single release DVD. Additionally, somebody needs to restore her break though vehicle, Of Human Bondage--all the versions currently in release are awful, and need to be restored. I think Davis's early career needs to be better documented.