The David O. Selznick Collection (2012) – By Philip Smolen

It is impossible to fully estimate the impact David O. Selznick had in Hollywood. This one great man was at the epicenter of its rise to prominence in the 1930s. As a producer, he guided Hollywood through its Golden Age and was responsible for some truly classic motion pictures that still shine brightly in 2013 including (“King Kong” (1933),”David Copperfield” (1935), “The Prisoner of Zenda” (1937) and most famously “Gone with the Wind” (1939). Even after he semi-retired from active film producing, Selznick continued to advise young filmmakers on their projects like Alan J. Pakula (“To Kill a Mockingbird” [1962]) and John Frankenheimer (“Bird Man of Alcatraz” [1962]). He worked tirelessly on improving the film industry until his death in 1963.

Kino Classics has put together a fabulous collection of five of David O. Selznick classic films on DVD and Blu Ray which are must haves for all serious Cinephiles. These movies have all been authorized from the estate of David O. Selznick. This compilation includes these amazing movies:

1. A FAREWELL TO ARMS (1932) –
Still the definitive adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s famous novel. American Gary Cooper falls in love with Nurse Helen Hayes during World War I. They find happiness despite the brutality of war and the bitter jealousy of Cooper’s commander (the great Adolph Menjou). A rousing, passionate film that hasn’t lost any of its power.

2. BIRD OF PARADISE (1932) –
Joel McCrea plays sailor Johnny Baker who falls overboard and is saved by island princess Luana (Dolores del Rio). They fall into a forbidden affair and Johnny must rescue Luana from a jealous rival and an exploding volcano. Made before the introduction of the Hayes code, this is an eye-opening movie and its underlying theme of eroticism was a very bold statement for the 1930s. And keep an eye out for a young Lon Chaney, Jr. in a minor role as Thornton.

3. A STAR IS BORN (1936) –
Fredric March is Norman Maine, a movie star who is on his way down. He meets and falls in love with neophyte Janet Gaynor who longs to be a starlet. They fall in love, and through March, Gaynor becomes famous. While her star rises, his falls. This wonderful movie features incredible tough dialogue from Dorothy Parker and won Academy Awards for Best Story and Best Cinematography. A stand-out motion picture that is as moving now as it was 77 years ago.

The delightful Freddie Bartholomew (still the best child actor ever) Is raised by his loving but poor mother (Dolores Costello) in New York when he is summoned back to England by his grandfather the Earl of Dorincourt (C. Aubrey Smith) to become his heir. Bartholomew uses all his New York wiles to help out his American friends and break the ice between his grandfather and his mother. This touching and endearing classic never fails to bring a tear to my eye by the final credits. It’s wonderful.

5. NOTHING SACRED (1937) –
One of the great madcap screwball comedies. Fredric March plays a newsman who’s demoted to writing obituaries after one of his ambitious schemes is exposed by his editor. Carole Lombard is a woman visiting New York who thinks she’s dying because she’s been mistakenly told by her wacky doctor (the incomparable Charles Winninger) that she has radium poisoning. When March hears of her condition, he’s determined to tell the entire city about Lombard’s plight. If you ever wanted to know where Howard Hawks got his inspiration for some of his madcap comedies, look no further than this classic. This is a brilliantly funny movie with classic scenes that have been copied unsuccessfully in many inferior films.

If you’ve grown up watching these films on TV you know how poorly they’ve held up over the decades. But these DVDs from Kino have all been mastered from original nitrate 35mm prints that were preserved by the George Eastman House Motion Picture Department, one of the largest moving image archives in the United States. All five of these Selznick classics look stunning, and the soundtracks are crisp and clean. If you know someone that constantly has their TV locked into Turner Classic Movies, then this is the collection for them. It finally does justice to the films of David O. Selznick, one of the truly great American film pioneers.

For more information on the David O. Selznick Collection, please go to: