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The Bette Davis Collection Vol.2 in May - Art & Specs added

Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of The Bette Davis Collection Volume Two for 30th May 2006. Following on the heels of the spectacular success of WHV's first Davis collection released last year, the studio has prepared another set of releases that are sure to please the huge fan base that still recognizes Miss Davis as one of the screen's great legendary talents.

Highlighting this new Collection are the revered 1962 thriller Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? newly remastered and available as a Two-Disc Special Edition and a new edition of the classic Jezebel, which earned Davis her second Best Actress Academy Award(R) and has been restored from the original camera negative and remastered for optimum picture quality. Also featured in the Collection are The Man Who Came To Dinner, Marked Woman and Old Acquaintance -- all making their DVD debuts. Old Acquaintance is making its long-awaited home video debut, having never been available in prior years on either videocassette or laserdisc. All three of these other films have been meticulously restored from their original nitrate camera negatives for superior presentation.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Two-Disc Special Edition will be available for $26.99 SRP, while the single disc titles will sell individually for $19.97 SRP. The price for the entire seven-disc Collection is $59.92 SRP.

The extensive bonus materials include an additional bonus disc containing the exclusive-to-the-Collection Stardust: The Bette Davis Story, a brand-new feature length documentary narrated by Susan Sarandon, which has been produced and directed by Emmy-winning documentarian Peter Jones (Goldwyn, Glorious Technicolor).

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) - The legendary dispute between rival divas Bette Davis and Joan Crawford fuelled the fire both on- and off-screen in Director Robert Aldrich's Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Its Grand Guignol story of an aging ex-vaudeville child star (Davis) waging a psychotic reign of terror over her crippled ex-movie star sister (Crawford) became a smash hit and nabbed Davis her 10th Academy Award nomination for her acid portrayal of the title role. Nominated for an impressive five Academy Awards (winning for Best Costume Design), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? is a mirthful masterpiece of the macabre.

DVD Special Features:

  • New 16x9 digital transfer from the original camera negative and restored audio elements (Enhanced for widescreen televisions)
  • Commentary by author and film historian , Charles Busch and film historian John Epperson (a/k/a "Lypsinka")
  • 3 fabulous documentary profiles of the movie and its 2 immortal stars:
    • Bette and Joan: Blind Ambition (A new making-of documentary)
    • All About Bette, Biographical profile, hosted by Jodie Foster
    • Film Profile: Joan Crawford
  • Vintage featurette "Behind the Scenes with Baby Jane"
  • The Andy Williams Show
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Languages: English & Français
  • Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Jezebel - Nobody is better than Bette when she's bad and Jezebel gave her a meaty role she could sink her teeth into. Davis plays Julie, a New Orleans beauty whose constant attempts to goad fiancé Pres Dillard (Henry Fonda) to jealousy backfire. One of the most powerful moments in the film is when Julie wears a scandalous red dress to the White Ball, a moment so powerful that audiences decades later vividly remember seeing Davis in that red dress, although the film itself is in black & white. Angry and disgraced, Pres breaks their engagement and leaves town. Julie is remorseful until Pres comes home --married to another woman.

Jezebel is also noted for its sumptuous sets and lavish costumes, Fay Bainter's Oscar-winning performance and William Wyler's vivid direction, highlighted by a horrifying recreation of a yellow fever epidemic. But the film's greatest strength is Davis, whose titanic talent has never been better displayed than in Jezebel and the film won Davis the 1938 Best Actress Academy Award.

DVD Special Features:
  • New digital transfer from the original nitrate camera negative and restored audio elements
  • Commentary by film historian Jeannine Basinger
  • New featurette Jezebel: Legend of the South
  • Vintage 1938 Warner Bros. musical short Melody Masters: Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra
  • Classic 1938 Warner Bros. cartoon The Mice Will Play
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)

The Man Who Came To Dinner (1942) - After a string of high-powered, emotional performances, Bette Davis took a rare back seat to another performer with the uncharacteristic role of an unflappable secretary in The Man Who Came to Dinner. Monty Woolley reprised his George S. Kaufman/Moss Hart Broadway triumph as the imperious "Sheridan Whiteside" in this delightful, lightning-paced farce. The Man Who Came to Dinner focuses on famed author Whiteside (Woolley), an esteemed critic who possesses a sharp mind and an acid tongue. While on a lecture tour in Ohio, Whiteside slips on some ice and is confined to the home of a bourgeois couple (Billie Burke & Grant Mitchell). He proceeds to plunge the household into complete chaos, ruling the place like a czar and meddling in everyone's love life. Davis's star wattage was seriously rivalled by Hollywood's "Oomph Girl," Ann Sheridan, who had one of the best roles of her career as a Broadway star (a thinly-veiled caricature of Gertrude Lawrence). In fact, the film was a veritable roman-a-clef, with Woolley's character a dead ringer for critic Alexander Woollcott, "The Great Schnozola" Jimmy Durante as "Banjo" (an on-the-mark takeoff of Harpo Marx) and Reginald Gardiner as "Beverly Carlton" (spoofing Noel Coward).

DVD Special Features:
  • New featurette The Man Who Came to Dinner: Inside a Classic Comedy
  • Vintage 1942 Warner Bros. Joe McDoakes comedy short , So You Think You Need Glasses
  • Vintage Warner Bros. musical short featuring the singing group Six Hits and a Miss
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)

Marked Woman (1937) - Warner Bros. was justifiably famous in the '30s for its series of gritty, hard-hitting male-centric gangster dramas ripped from the newspaper headlines (Little Caesar, The Public Enemy), but Marked Woman offered a rare depiction of the women victimized by the mob. Bette Davis (who won a Best Actress award for the role from the Venice Film Festival) plays Mary Dwight in a fictionalized account of the real-life prostitutes whose testimony put gangster Lucky Luciano behind bars.

Marked Woman marked the return to the screen by Davis, who waged a long battle against Warner Bros. in an effort to have greater control over her screen material. While she lost the battle, she won the war and the respect of the studio who greeted her return with this strong film. Davis tore into the role with all the passion at her considerable command and made audiences sit up and take notice. The picture is also notable as the fourth (of six) screen pairings of Davis with Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca, To Have and Have Not), who has a rare good-guy role (as a crusading prosecutor), since at this point in his career he was mostly playing vicious second leads in gangster yarns.

DVD Special Features:
  • New featurette Marked Woman: Ripped from the Headlines
  • 2 classic Warner Bros. cartoons:
    • Porky's Hero Agency
    • She Was an Acrobat's Daughter
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)

Old Acquaintance (1943) - Bette Davis's most notable Hollywood feud was with the volatile, beautiful and talented Miriam Hopkins (Trouble in Paradise, The Story of Temple Drake, These Three) whose abundant screen-stealing abilities caused sparks to fly during their first film together, The Old Maid (1939). Re-teaming the two temperamental actresses gives their onscreen chemistry together an electrifying jolt.

In Old Acquaintance, writer Kit Marlowe (Davis) possesses one thing all her own: literary acclaim. But the rest of her life is lived second-hand. Her melodramatic best friend Millie (Hopkins), who pens trashy potboilers, has the husband Kit loves and child Kit yearns to call her own. Yet through 20 years of friendship, Kit keeps her claws sheathed as volatile Millie smashes crockery and has the vapors. Then when Kit meets an exciting new man, Millie throws a tantrum - and the claws finally come out. Often hilarious and always moving, Old Acquaintance (remade as 1981's Rich and Famous) is the delicious tale of two lifetimes. Davis and Hopkins are simply magnificent as they love, blame, battle and forgive their way through a dead-on depiction of what we all gain - and lose - in a lasting friendship.

Long desired by film buffs, Old Acquaintance was one of a handful of truly great films that never made it to home video during the technology's first 25 years. WHV is proud to finally bring this beloved Davis classic to DVD for its home video debut, restored from its original nitrate film elements.

DVD Special Features:
  • Commentary by the film's director Vincent Sherman and Bette Davis Speaks author Boze Hadleigh
  • New featurette Old Acquaintance: A Classic Woman's Picture
  • Vintage 1943 Warner Bros. short Stars on Horseback
  • Classic 1943 Warner Bros. cartoon Fin'n Catty
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)

Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2005) - This new, in-depth documentary Stardust: The Bette Davis Story, narrated by Susan Sarandon, tells the whole dynamic story of the woman dubbed by film historian John Kobal as "the most starry of actresses, the most actressy of stars." Utilizing vintage film clips, TV interviews, newsreels, stills and reminiscences from stars and others who knew her, Stardust paints a picture of a powerhouse who survives personal and professional ups-and-downs that would have crushed mere mortals. It's not for nothing that Bette Davis's tombstone reads "She did it the hard way."

Produced by Turner Classic Movies and Warner Home Video, this new feature-length documentary is a stylistic triumph from Emmy-Award winning documentarian Peter Jones, who has gathered an impressive gallery of talents who knew and worked with Davis to share their thoughts including Jane Fonda, Gena Rowlands, James Woods, and her former lover and director Vincent Sherman. There is also an impressive array of rare artifacts from Davis' own memorabilia and keepsakes on display to truly tell the story of a complicated, yet brilliant and immortal talent whose qualities can never be equalled.







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