HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Cary Grant: The Vault Collection
HTS Overall Score:67
Cary Grant has been a household name for over 70 years. Even today most young (er) people know who the suave man with the debonair smile was. He had made quite the living in film over his illustrious career, but a majority of his recognition and fame came from his movies in the 1940s and 1950s, however he had made a plethora of great films back in the 1930s (if you look at his film history, about HALF of his film were made from 1932 to 1939, before he got mega famous). Not all of them were bonafide hits like “Charade”, “Arsenic and Old Lace” or “North by Northwest”, and the spit and polish on “talkie” films weren’t always the greatest in comparison to more modern films, but this particular set encloses 18 of his better 1930’s films split into two volumes. The first set includes 9 comedies while the second another 9, but this time action and dramatic performances by the famed actor.
With 18 movies it’s kind of difficult to do a full description of each film without turning out to be 10 pages long, so this review will spot check certain ones and highlight what I feel are the best films of the bunch. What may strike you as odd is what happens when you look at the back of the case and read the years for the films. These 18 films span 1932 to 1936. Meaning he did 18 films in a FOUR year period back then! That’s right, 18 films in FOUR years. Something tells me that back then they didn’t take 6-8 months of shooting like they can nowadays. The funny thing is. This is not a completely accurate representation of his early years. In actuality (according to IMDB) the actor appeared in 25 films in those same four years (talk about a work ethic!).
Included in the set is his very first film. A movie that really isn’t a starring role, but still shows quite a bit of the tall actor in the romantic comedy “This is the Night”. It’s a cute piece, but nothing really THAT wild, except for the legacy of being the first movie that he really starred (or co-starred really) in. Still the man dominates the roll he’s been given, shouting and screaming as he’s found out his wife has had an affair, leading one to realize that the man’s magnetic personality was alive and kicking even in his first outing.
Grant was also no stranger to action films with “Devil in the Deep”, a thrilling film about a crazed Submarine Captain (Charles Laughton) who believes that Grant’s character has slept with his wife, even though it’s really another member of the crew played by a VERY young Gary Cooper. Also in the bunch is “The Last Outpost”, a WWI war film where Grant is caught in a bit of a love triangle with famed actor Claude Rains with a beautiful woman (played by Gertrude Michael). “The Eagle and the Hawk” is another fine film that really stands out of the bunch. Grant is playing a WWI Aviator who is caught up trying to help a fellow aviator make it back to reality after starting to break under the wartime pressure.
“She Done him Wrong” is the one and only Academy Award nominated film, starring Grant and Mae West (in their first performance together. The next is also in this set, “I’m No Angel”) where Mae West is a gorgeous nightclub singer who has to deal with vying suitors. One of whom is an escaped convict and the other is a member of the temperance board.
The rest of the films are some of the lower quality Grant films, but still, a Grant film is never BAD. “Big Brown Eyes” has him starring as a hardboiled detective, while he plays ANOTHER pilot in “Wings of the Dark” (albeit a blinded pilot unlike his character in “The Eagle and the Hawk”). They’re all fun films, and even though many are not AS good as his later career, they show us a glimpse into the makings of one of the biggest Hollywood stars on the planet. His debonair smile and dashing manners combined with natural good looks carries with him even as the man begins his acting career.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70345[/img]The 18 films in “Cary Grant: The Vault Collection” comes on 6 separate DVD-9 discs with exactly 3 films per disc. Initially I was MORE than a bit leery of them cramming 3 separate movies onto one disc, and while it’s not idea, it’s also not the travesty I was expecting. The films are no more than 90 minutes long each and many of them are barely a minute or so over 60 minutes, making the hours per disc really not bad at all. Especially considering all of them are famed at 1.33:1 which has side bars in black to reduce the compression issues. In short the discs look pretty good. None of the films have been given a ground up remastering, but have come from older masters and sources that may not have been in the greatest of conditions being that they ARE over 80 years old. A few of them look rather nice, with good grain structure and solid fidelity, but the majority of the 18 films in this set just look “good”. There’s plenty of heavy grain, and an overall softness to the image that is even soft for a DVD to this HD spoiled reviewer. Nothing looks overly compressed, except for some crushed blacks, and there’s some mild aliasing here and there on a couple of them, but other than that, these old 1930’s films look pretty solid.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70353[/img]As with the video, these Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks sound decent to good, with a couple of them sounding rather poor. For the most part the tracks are very good, with decently crisp vocals and good front soundstage replication, but about half of the included films seem to suffer from audio recording hisses with some crackling thrown in for good measure. Sadly most of this is related to being incredibly old recordings taken with equipment that was just coming onto the scene, especially due to the fact that balancing wasn’t as polished as it is in later years due being the start of the “Talking” picture era.
“Cary Grant: The Vault Collection” is a fun little collection of movies that starred one of America’s biggest heart throbs during his VERY young days. Grant is dashing as ever and the wide assortment of classic film stars is overwhelmingly fun. Grant didn’t really hit his stride until the mid 1940s, but there are some real gems in here, especially in the comedy set with “Kiss and Make Up”, “Wedding Present” and “She Done Him Wrong”. At the price of about $2.78 PER film, this is a set that really can’t be passed up for film fans, especially considering the fact that it holds 4 films that have never been available to own on any format till today. Solid Watch for sure.
Starring: Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Sylvia Sidney, Charles Laughton, Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott
Directed By: Various
Written By: Various
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
DVD Release Date: April 19th, 2016
Buy Cary Grant: The Vault Collection DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Check It Out
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