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Title: The Golden Year Collection

Movie: :4.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:

HTS Overall Score:82


Warner has really been knocking it out of the park lately with these catalog releases. No other major studio has been consistently putting out classics like these on a regular basis, and we’ve been privy not one, not two, not three but FOUR great boxsets full of classic releases in the last few months. Some of them have been filled with half and half previously released titles, and some that were just plain mediocre. This set has only ONE previously released title, “Gone with the Wind”, and the other four are all brand new to Blu-ray. Not only that, this boxset is stuffed with seriously top tier titles, as every single one is worth owning in my humble opinion. The movies are fantastic, the restorations are good to great (with one being a bit of an anomaly) and they certainly do substantiate the claim of 1939 being a “golden year”.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame :4.5stars:
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is one of the most revered and commonly replicated pieces of French literature. Victor Hugo wrote the famed piece about the issues of France and the evils he saw perpetuated by the people and the ruling class equally. It’s even gone so far as to have been replicated by Disney and given their bright and shiny polish. Ironically, even Disney couldn’t whitewash the brutal tale of pain and suffering, and it stands today as one of the darkest and grimmest animated movies that the mouse house has put out. I still firmly stand behind the opinion that this 1939 adaptation of the source material is the most visceral and gut wrenching versions of the tale. It’s painful to watch, not just because it’s a sad tale, but because how much of our own society we see in this centuries old tale.

We all know the basics, Quasimodo (Charles Laughton) is a hunchback living in 15th century France as the bell ringer of Notre Dame. He’s deformed, ugly and feared by the populace. The evil Villain Frollo (Cedric Hardwicke) is the nasty church/state head who tries to rule France with an iron hand. Then to complete the triangle is the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara). The gypsies are reviled and hated by the natural born Frenchmen, and abused at every turn, but for some reason Frollo can’t control his carnal desires and craves the gypsy woman. She, of course, spurns his affections and he sentences her to death.

Simultaneously Quasimodo is abused and despised for his features and his lack of social graces, leaving him the virtual outcast and 3rd party in this whole scenario. When he sees Esmeralda being framed for a crime that she didn’t commit in order to purge the city of the gypsies, he takes action and gives her sanctuary in the cathedral, setting up a blood bath of epic proportions that may save the gypsies, but certainly will horrify and repulse everyone at the evil mankind wreaks upon each other.

Every single iteration of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” takes liberties with the story, it’s pretty much a standard at this point. Disney white washed it a bit to modernize it for the 1990’s, and this version takes a slight twist by making Frollo not only a religious villain who can’t control his lusts, but also turns him into a though police type of character, mirroring the issues with 20th century Europe at the time, making him very much a Hitler archetype. He views the printing press as a way to destroy the crown, considering free thinkers and intelligent people to be the downfall of their precious and holy kingdom. Cedrick’s maniacal, yet coldly brutal portrayal of Frollo is both magnificent and horrifying at the same time. His penchant for death and murder is painted all over his face, not in some evil glee, but rather in a quiet and stone cold way that makes your spine tingle.

This particular version highlights the corruption and evil that was prevalent in 15th century French culture. No one is really a good person but Esmeralda. The French aristocracy is shown for their decadence and their complete and total desire to dominate others, but even Quasimodo is shown for the brutal character that he is, even though there are semblances of humanity left in him. His abuse at the hand of Frollo has left his warped and twisted, while he’s not a horrible person, those marks form the half hero half villain character that he really was. The movie is bone crunching and brutal in its portrayal of violence. It’s still very much tame 1939 violence, but the emotional impact that the black and white cinematography mixed with the unrelenting evil leaves you feeling emotionally drained and melancholy. The emotional involvement of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is unparalled in this set, making it one of my favorite movies of the collection. It’s extremely well done, and while it looks even more ancient than the other movies in the set, still goes a long way towards proving my opinion that black and white pictures carry a texture to them that some color films just can’t replicate.

Dark Victory :4.5stars:
Warner describes “Dark Victory” as a “Three hanky tear jerker”, and they certainly weren’t lying. If you have a dry eye at the end of the film then you either have no soul or made certain to stay away from those stinking onions. “Dark Victory” is a complete and utter surprise in the fact that it was nearly almost canned. The stage play 5 years earlier was an abysmal failure and pretty much no one at the studios had any desire to make the movie. David O. Selznick has acquired rights for the film, but was running into huge opposition over its creation and the vault seemed to be the only future for the dramatic movie. That is, until Bette Davis got a particular bee under her bonnet and hammered Warne into submission. Jack Warner himself didn’t even want to make the movie, but what do you do when one of your biggest superstars makes it her personal crusade to get the film done.

It’s not hard to see why Jack Warner didn’t think the movie would be a success. Back in 1939 a movie about a pretty young woman being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and tragically dying doesn’t seem to fit the bill considering this was the era of “hopeful” films. Even though I loved every minute of the film I really do understand why the trepidations were there. The movie brushes aside medical science for copious amounts of melodrama and wiping of eyes. Romance replaces logic and science and even some of the characters seem to exhibit some strange behaviors. Really the big unifying piece of glue is Bette Davis. Her portrayal as Judith is awe inspiring and incredibly nuanced. Every moment she’s on screen you’re captivated by her intricate and complex layers of emotions that get peeled back as her condition goes on.

Judith (Bette Davis) is a young socialite living up life to the fullest. She’s 23 years old, vivacious and has not a care in the world. That is until these random headaches she’s been having start interfering with her vision. Under the advice of her Dr. and her best friend Ann King (Geraldine Fitzgerald) she goes to see Dr. Fredrick Steele (George Brent), a highly skilled surgeon. It doesn’t take him long to diagnose her with Glioma, a malignant tumor in the brain. Performing surgery on the young woman he attempts to save her life, only to realize after the surgery that her case is too far gone. A recurrence will happen within the year and that one will most certainly claim her life.

The science of “Dark Victory” is rather pedantic and chuckle worthy considering today’s knowledge of the brain and of medicine, but back then it was filled with enough “Dr. Speak” to make everyone take it all in. Judith doesn’t know about her guaranteed recurrence and goes on to live her life as she sees fit, even falling in love with Dr. Steele. As with most secrets, they can be kept secret for only so long and Judith stumbles upon Dr. Steele’s diagnosis. Overcome with grief and anger, she naturally lashes out at everyone around her and spirals out of control. The real miracle that happens here is something that doesn’t happen to many people. Judith takes her grief, her pain and her limited lifespan and makes the best she can out of it. Letting come what may, she makes her new life (as short lived as it will be) with Dr. Steele and proves once and for all that our reaction to death is what we make of it.

As I said, what makes this movie is Bette Davis. Every time she’s on screen I can’t help but be drawn to her. I can see the melodrama perpetuated and the pseudo-science, but her portrayal of a woman faced with imminent death is fantastically nuanced and exquisite in every way. The constantly shifting emotions, the tears, the stages of grief and even her adaptation the final condition. Brent does a solid job as Dr. Steele and Geraldine is sweet as can be as Ann, but Bette is the standout star that really proved WHY Warner Brothers actually funded the final product.

Dodge City :4.5stars:
1939 is widely considered the birth of the blockbuster Western film. That’s not to say that there hadn’t been Westerns before that time, but that year marked the start of a new era. It was home to John Wayne starting off in “Stage Coach”, Errol Flynn starring in his very first western in “Dodge City”, the famed “Jesse James” with Tyrone Power and several more. This was back before westerns were really as highly regarded as they are today, and each one left its mark on cinema history.

Errol Flynn wasn’t exactly what someone would consider for a Western film, as the Ozzie actor was mostly a competitor to Tyrone Power, always the handsome swashbuckler, saving damsels in distress and his sparkling smile and pencil mustache making movie going ladies swoon everywhere. Luckily that same charm and charisma translates well to the Western genre, as the handsome cowboy does the same thing he does on the high seas. That is, make ladies swoon, punch out or shoot out bad guys and look good doing it.

“Dodge City” takes place just as the city gets its famous name from its founder, Colonel Dodge himself. Fast forward 6 years and it’s become a squalid hell hole, filled with debauchery, death and corruption. Known as the cattle capital of the nation its filled with corrupt villains and debauched cowboys who just want to fight, drink and cause trouble. Good folks are having a hard time holding on to their sanity and their lives as corrupt cattle boss and saloon owner Jeff Surrett (Bruce Cabot) sleazes his way throughout the city. The law has no chance as Surrett and his gang run them out of town one by one, leaving the people of Dodge City effectively under his dictatorial thumb. Enter in Wade Hatton (Flynn), a charming cowboy with herd of cattle to sell and a wagon load of people to protect. An old acquaintance of Surrett, the two warily acknowledge each other, but soon are at odds with one another when Hatton refuses to sell his steers to the shifty boss of Dodge City.

Things go from bad to worse when Hatton is privy to Surrett trying to hang one of his men without a proper trial or even proper reasoning (by western standards). Seeing the lack of law in the town, Hatton accepts the open job of town Sherriff. What follows next is your classic western story. Shaping up the town, he puts the fear of god into the criminals and soon sets the stage for an epic confrontation between the lawman and the lawless Surrett. Of course, along the way he has to woo the beautiful young Abbie Irving (Olivia De Havilland) and wink seductively to the camera, making every girl in 1939 tremble in excitement.

“Dodge City” and its like are filled with Hollywood western tropes. The good guy with the shiny sense of honor, the evil villain and the young girl that needs the cowboys help. It’s all there, but it wasn’t a cliché or a trope back then. In 1939 this was all a brand new genre and it turned the entire film industry on its ear. Now we may be inundated with many stories that take from these tropes, but this was ground zero for the American western. The bar room brawl was one of the biggest fights in Hollywood history, making use of Warner brother’s entire staff of stunt men as well as some absolutely fantastic fight choreography, many bits of which has been copied in bar room brawls all over Hollywood. “Dodge City” has pretty much everything you could want in a Western. There’s fights, gun battles, handsome cowboys, beautiful women, horse races and much much more. This is where it all began, and even over 75 years later, just as enthralling and exciting as it was when my grandfather was watching it.

Ninotchka :4.5stars:
“Ninotchka” is Greta Garbo’s very first comedy role and actually one of her very last films in Hollywood. Made in a sensitive time, “Ninotchka” was a delicate little comedy that poked more than a little fun at one of our own allies, Russia. Back then it was extremely sensitive and very much an experiment as America was having large issues with Russian Communism, but still technically friends with the nation during the WWII era. Director Ernst Lubitsch does a wonderful job at dancing around the more offensive (to the Russian people) moments and weaves together a fish out of water story that is both humorous and poignant at the same time.

Three goofy Russian ministers of trade have been sent to America to negotiate a deal for the communist confiscated jewels of a former duchess. Entranced by American culture, the three representatives spend more time in the royal sweet of a rich restaurant, drinking it up and having fun. On the verge of selling their jewels to a wealthy buyer, the three are foiled when Leon (Melvyn Douglas), a denizen of the deposed duchess, swoops in with a lawsuit and foils the sale. Out for his cut of the money, Leon wheedles himself into the good graces of the three stooges and sits back for an easy paycheck. Not to be out done, the Russian trade commission (headed by Razinin, played by famed horror movie icon Bela Lugosi) sends in Ninotchka (Greta Garbo), a hardnosed beast of a woman to come in and take care of business.

Running into Ninotchka by accident and completely unaware of the others identity, Leon is smitten with the beautiful ice queen and does his best to win over her heart. Upon realization that they are both on opposite sides, Ninotchka clams up and goes back to her job. The only thing is that Leon is not so easily dissuaded. Charming the pants off a snake, he hounds her constantly, doing his best to crack smile, gain a wink or even just a nod from the lovely, but detached Ninotchka only to have her go back to Russia. Still, that won’t stop a man in love, which leads to an epic plot to bring her back out of the mother land and back into his arms.

Ironically, the feelings are not one sided. Ninotchka feels the same love that Leon feels, but her love and duty to the only life she’s ever known is more powerful. There’s little glimpses into her psyche as you see the shell starting to crack, but it’s not until she moves back to Russia that you see the real ****** in the armor. She struggles between love of country and love of ideals with love of the heart and the conflict is real, especially when she lives in a country that believes love of country and devotion to duty is paramount. Which side will she choose? And can she satisfy two masters?

“Ninotchka” is an absolutely fantastic little comedy that utilizes Greta Garbo’s strict face to its full advantage. Garbo may actually laugh as the famed tagline says, but it’s not until the 2nd act. She’s a straight faced ice queen with seemingly few ****** in her armor. She believes fully in her duty to the mother land (even so far as saying about the mass executions and trials by the state “there will be fewer, but better, Russians”), and it’s that straight face that really sells the comedy. Ninotchka is a fish out of water, a true Russian in the land of capitalism and freedom. Much like Arnie in “Red Heat” every action he takes is wrong and she plays the straight man in this comedy about love. Melvyn Douglass is the guy who plays it fast and loose, charming her beyond belief and soon enough can make her giggle, then soon laugh. Once Ninotchka actually is comfortable to laugh, all those Soviet trappings come falling down and revealing the true woman within. Much of the humor comes from situational humor, especially relating to Ninotchka’s incompatibility with American culture, but the three denizens of Russian act as the three stooges, with enough stupidity and goofy humor to make the movie a true comedy. Delightful from beginning to end, the humor and poignancy of the social issue of the day still ring true and funny today.

Gone With the Wind :4.5stars:
Fact: Gone with the Wind won nine Academy Awards in 1940, including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Hattie McDaniel as Mammy), Best Director (Victor Fleming), and Best Picture. Fact: Gone with the Wind was nominated for an additional five Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Clark Gable as Rhett Butler), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton), and Best Music, Original Score (Max Steiner). Fact: Gone with the Wind won the 1989 People’s Choice Award for Favorite All-Time Motion Picture. Fact: Gone with the Wind is still one of the most celebrated classic films in the history of the industry. The portrayal of Civil War South, the costume design, and the technical achievements in colorization and use of coordinated equipment, to this day, still affect filmmaking, fashion, and literature, and that’s not the half of its influence!

But why? Sure, I’ll give the special effects, set, location, costuming, film editing, music, et cetera, kudos to the sky, but the story itself is so depressing. I’d never seen it before this release. I’d heard about it plenty, though. My mother warned me that I’d get annoyed with Scarlett O’Hara’s voice; my friends in college raved about the romance and epic quality of the film; Scarlett herself was discussed at length as either the most cold-hearted, mercenary human on the planet, or the epitome of a driven, clever, shrewd businesswoman. But no one ever told me that Rhett Butler’s famous line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a ,” was delivered at the END of the film. I always thought part of the movie was convincing him to give a .

Yet when I watched Gone with the Wind today, what struck me most was not the romance, not the glorious plantations, not the horror and devastation of war, and not the grand scope of the story. It was Scarlett herself, her interactions with all the people around her, as a tragic figure in true Shakespearean form. All Shakespeare’s tragic protagonists start at a height and gradually fall, or get torn down, to depths they didn’t know they could plunge. Lear was the king of Britain, but when he gave his kingdom to his daughters, they stripped him of his entourage, his dignity, and his sanity. MacBeth was the favorite of a Danish king, but a prophecy and an ambitious wife enticed him to murder. Titus Andronicus was the mightiest general of the Roman army, but he chose the wrong successor as emperor, and a prisoner queen took revenge on him and his family, even so far as to make him cut off his own hand. Hamlet lost friends, family, and his lover. Othello strangled the woman he loved. All of these, and practically every other principle character, end up killed by homicide or suicide. While Scarlett O’Hara doesn’t meet so grisly a fate, she does plummet from majesty to poverty, and then rises from starving waif to wealthy businesswoman only to plummet again, having practically everything stripped from her – her first husband, her home, her family, and her innocence all in the first act, and then her second husband, her friends, her reputation, her unborn child, her daughter, and finally, her third husband, Rhett, in the second act.

I feel both repulsed by and profoundly sorry for Scarlett. She seems to expect that people will forgive her no matter what she does. She treats emotional entanglement with a married man as something romantic and talks of running away with him as though it’s acceptable. She coerces, cajoles, manipulates, lies, cries, complains, and criticizes throughout the entire film, with only a few moments revealing her true heart. I think that’s what made me finally pity her. After all the fear and pain and misery she endured, physical and emotional, she and Rhett constantly allowed their pride to forbid forgiveness. There’s a moment when Scarlett wakes up in the morning after a night of passion with her husband Rhett, and she’s actually HAPPY about it, but when he comes in, he doesn’t seem to see the light in her eyes and the glow in her face; he sarcastically apologizes for his drunkenness and informs her that he’s leaving for London and taking their daughter with him. Immediately, the wall of self-preservation comes up to blot out her smile and her laugh. There’s another moment, when Rhett and the daughter return from London, where Scarlett shows such relief and joy at his return, but he makes a snide comment and the wall is thrown back up. Conversely, on Rhett’s side, when Scarlett has an accident and miscarries, she grows deliriously ill, and he worries and worries over her, hoping she’ll call for him, but no one ever comes to say she has. What kills me is that SHE DID CALL; the film shows her tossing and turning and saying his name, but no one actually goes to get him. I think that may have moo me off most. So much of their marital anguish and misunderstanding could have been avoided if one of them actually showed genuine compassion for the other despite his sarcasm or her dramatics.

Frankly, there were only two characters in the whole movie I liked. The first was Melanie Hamilton, later Melanie Wilks, the woman who married Ashley Wilks (Leslie Howard), the object of Scarlett’s long-suffering adoration. She’s the only truly kind person in the entire South, as far as I can tell. She constantly thinks the best of everyone; treats slaves, prostitutes, socialites, and plantation owners with equal respect; and defends those she loves from slander, even if the slander is true. I adored her every second she appeared on screen. Her compassion, gentleness, and wisdom were the perfect foil for Scarlett’s selfishness, conceit, and abuse of others. I cried hardest when she died. The second character I liked was Mammy, Scarlett’s sort-of nanny – a house slave. She’d lived with the O’Hara’s since before Scarlett was born, and when Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara died, she went with Scarlett and her second husband (whom she stole from her sister) to Atlanta and stayed with her even after the second husband died and Scarlett married Rhett. She always gave Scarlett the piece of her mind she needed to hear, and had no qualms about challenging her on her behavior. But she was also a mother to Scarlett, a nurse when she fell ill, a protector, and a guardian.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :4stars:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame :4stars:
The 1.37:1 AVC encoded disc looks excellent for its age. A nice layer of film grain covers the entire image and the black and white photography makes an already visceral film look even more foreboding and grim. The blacks are exceptionally deep and inky, sometimes a teensy bit TOO inky, as I noticed a little bit of crush throughout the film. Fine detail is very solid and while it can get a bit soft in some places, it still looks excellent for a majority of the film. Contrasts are solid and skin tones look natural, allowing me to give this transfer a solid recommendation.

Dark Victory :3.5stars:
“Dark Victory” is the weakest of the bunch in both audio and video. The 1.37:1 AVC encoded disc looks pretty solid, with strong black levels and a wonderful layer of natural grain, but there are some noticeable flaws. Focus can be a bit wonky, with some shots looking exceptionally crisp and clean, while others look blurry and a bit out of focus. There is some excessive softness over the whole film, and while there’s plenty of scenes that showcase some wonderful detail, those soft shots rob some of the fine detail from the image. There’s a teensy bit of flickering going on and certainly some print damage, but still the image looks quite pleasant and a definite increase over the old DVD by a very large margin.

Dodge City :4stars:
“Dodge City” was one of the few films that was given a three strip technicolor presentation and shot in color, which is a drastic cost increase from shooting in the more common black and white of that era. Re composited and remastered, “Dodge City” is leaps and bounds better than its DVD counterpart and looks a sight better than some of the other Technicolor films of that era *cough* Anchors Aweigh *cough*. Colors are strong and vibrant with a nice, well saturated, look to them. Fine detail is strong and even though it isn’t in score format, the 1.37:1 framing looks extremely natural and well defined, especially due to it being Technicolor. Blacks are strong and inky, with a little bit of crush, but the only real negative to the image is that there are a few out of focus shots and some mild softness to the image.

Ninotchka :4stars:
Shot in gorgeous black and white just as color was starting to take over, “Ninotchka” looks about as good as its going to get. The original negative was lost in the famed 1978 fire of the George Eastman house, but thankfully the studios had made a preservation copy during the late 60s. Finely tuned and well detailed, “Ninotchka” has a few moments of softness, and some funky issues with the lower bitrate, but otherwise looks fantastic. Black levels are nice and inky with plenty of shadow detail and more than enough fine detail amongst the beautiful blacks. Delineation is solid and contrast levels look extremely balanced, leaving me with a very satisfied feeling after watching the movie. It may not be a 100% perfect reproduction, but considering the elements at hand, it is more than good.

Gone With the Windl :4.5stars:
Warner Brothers has treated its catalog titles rather well in comparison to the other studios and their really IMPORTANT catalog titles with kid gloves, as we can see with “Gone with the Wind”. The 1.37:1 VC-1 encoded transfer is simply stunning to behold, with a nice layer of grain that doesn’t ever get in the way, with bold colors that are never too bright and some amazing detail. All of the period piece costumes are just rife with little details, buttons and folds in the ladies dresses that are so much more noticeable than my old double disc DVD of the film. You can even see the makeup on Clark a few times, which gave me quite a chuckle. The contrasts are well balanced throughout the film, giving the characters a very natural look, and the black levels are through the roof. No signs of crush or banding or any other dark level nasty to be sure. Even with 4 hours of material housed on one disc I didn’t see any macroblocking or other compression issues to speak of. Color me impressed.

Audio :4stars:


The Hunchback of Notre Dame :4stars:
All of these films sport a 1.0 Mono track recoded in DTS-HD MA and for a film that’s over 75 years old, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” sounds excellent. The vocals are clean and clear, with no audible distortions or hissing, even though I noticed that it was recorded a tad low, requiring me to bump my receiver up a tad. The soundstage has enough of a wide range to accommodate the roaring of the crowds, and the clash of metal against metal as the French soldiers make their rounds. It will never be a raucous surround track, but it was never meant to be either and does very well considering it only has one channel. Well done Warner, Well done.

Dark Victory :3stars:
The DTS-HD MA encoded mono track is solid, but really nothing impressive. Dialog is clean and clear and the ambient noises are mild, but come in when needed. This is mainly a drama so the focus is really just on the voices here, leaving it a bit more limited, especially for a mono track. The real issues stems from the fact that the track was recorded at an abnormally low volume point and when boosting that on your receiver the listener will notice an obvious hiss in the background. It’s not wild, but it is noticeable on all three setups I tried it on. A good effort and nothing wildly flawed, just an older track with some background noise.

Dodge City :4stars:
Another DTS-HD MA Mono track, “Dodge City” sounds boisterous and full of life. Utilizing only the single front channel, it does have its limitations, but the sounds of gunshots, horse hooves and other western film sounds come through clear as a bell. Ambient noises are well defined and vocals are crisp and always legible.

Ninotchka :4stars:
Recorded in 1.0 Mono in lossless DTS-HD MA, “Ninotchka” sounds excellent with strong vocal representation and good ambient sound in that front channel. As with the others, this is not a surround track and thus can’t be graded on use of the surrounds or the LFE channel, however there is no audible distortion of the track and the clarity of the monorail experience is excellent. Werner Heymann’s beautiful score flows nicely and blends quite effortlessly with the rest of the track.

Gone With the Wind :4.5stars:
“Gone with the Wind” is given its original Mono audio track in lossy Dolby Digital, but it’s also been given a 5.1 remixed track in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and while I love the mono track for the sake of being a purist, that 5.1 remix is quite spectacularly done. It’s a bit light on the surrounds, as most mono-5.1 tracks usually are, but the sound separation and detail in the directionality is quite impressive. Vocals are crystal clear and show no signs of fidelity loss due to the severe age of the movie in question, and I really loved the clean range the track was given. Many times an older movie will sound over compressed, or tinny due to several factors, but this one feels as if the highs are given plenty of breathing room to shine. Surrounds DO actually come into play, especially during the more aggressive battle scenes and even add some nice LFE punch to them. The balance and attention to detail in the track is nothing short of superb and gives you the sense of traveling back in time to another era in way that only a good movie track can.

Extras: :4stars:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
• NEW! The Lone Stranger and Porky – Vintage 1939 WB Cartoon
• Drunk Driving – Oscar® nominated Vintage 1939 MGM Short
• Theatrical Trailer
• Interview with Maureen O’Hara
Dark Victory
• Commentary by film historian James Ursini and CNN film critic Paul Clinton
• “Warner Night at the Movies”
• Theatrical Trailer
• NEW! Old Hickory - Vintage 1939 WB Short
• Robin Hood Makes Good - Vintage 1939 WB Cartoon
• Vintage Newsreel
• The Roaring Twenties Trailer
• 1939: Tough Competition for Dark Victory - Featurette
• 1/8/40 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast (Audio Only)
Dodge City
• Warner Night at the Movies
• Introduction by Leonard Maltin –Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer
• Vintage Newsreel
• Sons of Liberty – Vintage WB 1939 Academy Award®-Winning Short
• Dangerous Dan McFoo - Vintage1939 WB Cartoon
• Dodge City: Go West, Errol Flynn - Featurette
• The Oklahoma Kid Trailer
• NEW! Prophet Without Honor – Vintage 1939 Academy Award® nominated MGM Short
• NEW! The Blue Danube – Vintage 1939 MGM Cartoon
• Theatrical Trailer
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Presents1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year
• Breakdowns of 1939 – Vintage 1939 WB Short
• Sons of Liberty – Also on the Dodge City disc
• Drunk Driving – Also on the The Hunchback of Notre Dame disc
• Prophet Without Honor – Also on the Ninotchka disc
• Sword Fishing – Vintage 1939 WB Short
• Detouring America – Vintage 1939 WB Cartoon
• Peace on Earth - Vintage 1939 MGM Cartoon
• Trailers

Overall: :4stars:

Warner has done a good job of providing single releases of these movies as well as the big boxset, so you have the choice to buy all 5 in a heavily discounted set, or to pick and choose your favorites at will via the singles. Each and every one is worthy of a pickup in my opinion, so if you don’t already own “Gone with the Wind” or are just itching for the extra disc as well as the fancy packaging, then go ahead and grab the bigger boxset. It’s well worth every penny as both the movies and the technical presentations are worth our dollars. Must Buy.

Additional Information:

Starring: Bette Davis, Maureen O'Hara, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo
Directed by: William Dieterle : Edmund Goulding : Michael Curtiz : Ernst Lubitsch : Victor Fleming, George Cukor
Written by: Sonya Levien : Casey Robinson : Robert Bruckner : Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder : Sidney Howard
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 AVC / 1.37:1 AVC /1.37:1 AVC / 1.37:1 AVC / 1.37:1 VC-1
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS - HD MA Mono, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD Mono
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: Not Rated/Not Rated/Not Rated/Not Rated/Not Rated
Runtime: 117 minutes : 104 minutes : 104 minutes : 110 minutes : 233 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 9th, 2015

Buy The Golden Years Collection Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy The Hunchback of Notre Dame Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Dark Victory Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Dodge City Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Ninotchka Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Gone With the Wind Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Great Buy

More about Mike

2,072 Posts
Thanks for the review. I only have the "Gone with the wind" movie on DVD. From what I remember the DVD was full screen and the video transfer was very well done. I am sure this one is better since it is blu-ray.. Will check it out.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the review. I only have the "Gone with the wind" movie on DVD. From what I remember the DVD was full screen and the video transfer was very well done. I am sure this one is better since it is blu-ray.. Will check it out.
yup, GwtW was 4x3 fullscreen, and always will be considering that that's how it was filmed back in the 30s (widescreen wasn't common till the 40s. The difference between the DVD and these releases is staggering. especially with GwtW
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