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Black Widow [DVD] [1954] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Ginger Rogers , Van Heflin , Nunnally Johnson    DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £4.47
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Black Widow [DVD] [1954] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + I Wake Up Screaming [DVD] [1941] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney, George Raft, Peggy Ann Garner
  • Directors: Nunnally Johnson
  • Writers: Nunnally Johnson, Hugh Wheeler
  • Producers: Nunnally Johnson
  • Format: Black & White, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Mar 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010KHOSA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,738 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ginger Steals The Show 27 Jan 2009
This is a 1950s film noir that's not a film noir- it's filmed in bright technicolour but has the usual noir content-flashbacks, murder,femme fatale-Ginger Rogers steals the show as a domineering Broadway actress- George Raft,Van Heflin and gorgeous Gene Tierney also star-and you won't guess who the murderer is until the last 10 minutes of the movie.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
"To put the kindest face on it," says forceful Broadway theater queen Carlotta Marin about Nanny Ordway, a young woman found hanging in the bathroom of Peter and Iris Denver's apartment, "the girl was a little horror...a transparent. syrupy little phony with about as much to offer a man as Coo Coo the Bird Girl. Not even Peter with all of his radiant innocence about women could have been stirred for one instant by that dingy little creep."

"Lotty," says Peter, "the girl is dead."

"I know. And that's precisely why I refuse to speak harshly of her."

And with that we find ourselves in the middle of Black Widow, a murder mystery about ambition, obsession and regret. It might be subtitled The Life, Ambitions and Death of Nanny Ordway. Please note that elements of the plot are described. Since it also is about theater people, Black Widow features some stylish dialogue, some clever performances and some back-biting relationships. And since the movie is based on a mystery written by Hugh Wheeler (under the pseudonym of Patrick Quentin), we have a story of uncomfortable psychological possibilities with at least two believable murder suspects and a story that, to my way of thinking, is satisfying and a bit sad.

But is Black Widow a first-class movie? Not exactly, but it's a lot of fun if you like older movies.

Nancy Ordway, "Nanny" (Peggy Ann Garner), is a 20 year-old want-to-be writer when she arrives in New York City knowing only an aging uncle who acts on Broadway when he can get jobs. Nanny has a way of moving up in the world. Before long she's met Peter Denver (Van Heflin), a successful producer, whose wife, Iris (Gene Tierney), is a beautiful and famous actress. Iris will be out of town for a few weeks.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Black Widow - Good viewing 22 July 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The plot was good and, I thought, unpredictable as to the killer's identity. Kept you guessing right up to the end. The cast was terrific particularly Ginger Rogers. You are so used to Ginger singing and dancing that you forget her serious acting ability. I heartily recommend this film to all.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film Noir 20 May 2013
By john
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Saw this when I was a kid and wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered. I wasn't disappointed. Great story, well acted.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
64 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fun mystery set in the theatre world 11 Dec 2007
By Film Buff Chris - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Black Widow" is an entertaining 1950s murder mystery set in the world of theatre, and written and directed by Nunnally Johnson, who made a number of good movies at that time ("How to Marry a Millionaire," "Night People," "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," "The Three Faces of Eve"). It stars Van Heflin, Gene Tierney, Ginger Rogers, George Raft, and Peggy Ann Garner as sort of the Eve Harrington of the cast.

(Amazon's habit of listing the cast alphabetically is very misleading. Mabel Albertson has a small part, Reginald Gardiner plays Ginger Roger's husband. But Harry Carter and Richard H. Cutting play policeman, listed on, but they are also "uncredited" in the film! So it's totally misleading to see those names at the top of the page.) (Note: this complaint has been corrected on this page, but I decided to leave it because I do note the same issue in other listings, where unknown actors in tiny roles are listed because they're first in the alphabet.)

So that little parenthetical complaint aside, it's a small but fun film. The milieu of theatre is entertaining, with Peggy Ann Garner someone on the way up (or hoping to be), and managing to hang out with successful writers and actors, and starting to seduce several of them. Heflin is the serious husband/playwright and a bit of a patsy, Tierney is the "good wife," and Ginger Rogers is fun as the grande dame actress who annoys everyone a bit. Peggy Ann Garner was the little girl so good in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." This is one of her adult roles, and she does a good job. It's not a classic, but an entertaining B film with some A list stars and some good dialogue from Mr. Johnson. I'm glad it's going to be out on dvd.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glossy And Stylish Murder Mystery Set Against New York's Glamourous Theatre World 13 April 2008
By Simon Davis - Published on
What a joy it was to discover that this rarely seen 1950's murder mystery set against the glamour, ambition and back stabbing ruthlessness of New York's Theatre world was finally making it to a DVD release! Often mistakenly referred to as a "Film Noir", "Black Widow", really doesn't fit that bill at all, saturated as it is in glorious colour photography, dazzling costumes, and larger than life characters that are far removed from the types normally associated with the "Noir" genre of movie making. Aside from that minor point "Black Widow", is tremendously entertaining and boasts a superb cast of actors and actresses from Hollywood's Golden Age in a story in some respects in a similiar vein to the legendary "All About Eve". It has the added twist of a murder mystery complete with plenty of Red Herrings thrown in for good measure that really does keep you guessing if you haven't viewed the film before. One of the great surprises of "Black Widow", for me was seeing the sublime Ginger Rogers in one of her most showy,( and I might add very non-traditional for her) later roles from the time when her film career was beginning to wind down. This role for Ginger couldn't be further removed from the beloved characters she famously brought to life at RKO Studios in the 1930's opposite the legendary Fred Astaire. She is a bitchy delight here as the catty and acid tongued "Margo Channing-like", Diva who among a cast including Van Heflin, Gene Tierney, Reginald Gardiner, and Otto Kruger, is a suspect in the murder of aspiring young writer Peggy Ann Garner in the very heart of New York's elite and glamourous Theatre world...........
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not noir, but not bad 30 Mar 2008
By R. Gale - Published on
First, although this is part of the Fox Noir series, it's not noir. It's shot in color, brightly lit, mostly done on stages, and has no "hard boiled" or low life characters. It's a slick "Who done it," and a reasonably enjoyable one. You can read some of the other reviews for more details on the story and cast. Fox gives us a nice bunch of extras in this DVD -- good commentary and two nice featurettes on Gene Tierney and Ginger Rogers. It's far from a classic, but it's a pleasant way to spend an evening.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Black Widow" Without A Lot of Bite.... 11 Aug 2008
By Spinner - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Its really difficult to hate any film with a stellar cast such as Ginger Rogers, Gene Tierney, George Raft and Van Heflin. For that matters, its difficult to hate any of their individual films. Bring them together for one picture and "hate" might be a strong word, but "indifferent" fits the bill. "Black Widow" feels more like a Cinemascope experiment than a cohesive and engaging film. Cinemascope was brand spanking new and you could tell that 20th Century Fox was attempting to churn out as much product as possible in every genre possible. No matter if the material was particularly engaging or the scripts particularly good, the studio seemed to think the public would embrace anything that was spread out on the Cinemascope canvas. "Black Widow" is testament to this. At 94 minutes there is very little here other than a scenery chewing performance by Ginger Rogers, an understated and misused Gene Tierney and a campy story line that can't quite find its footing, even after its predictable conclusion. What does it have going for it? Lush cinematography, gorgeous colors and excellent 1950s chic sets do a lot to keep the viewer glued to the screen. Also, look out for an unusual Ginger Rogers role. She plays against type which serves the plot beautifully.

The DVD of this film is really extra special with not one but two mini-docs about Ginger Rogers and Gene Tierney. Also included is an isolated film score, an interactive pressbook, commentary and an "over the top" trailer that will leave you howling. It is really an excellent group of extras. The picture quality is truly luminous and the soundtrack is well spaced and exceptionally clear.

Movie **1/2
DVD ****
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IN THE BEST WHO-DUNNIT TRADITION 26 Jun 2008
By BRUCE MCDONALD - Published on
Younger viewers would be unfamiliar with the type of story telling which needs a little concentration and attention to plot development. Black Widow leads us into a situation few of us would want to experience. Being involved more and more deeply in something out of our control, finally being suspected of murder. I saw this movie when it was released over 50 years ago and it still holds interest for me today.
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