Warner releases Motion Picture Masterpieces

Warner Home Entertainment is putting some of Hollywood’s early classics to DVD for the first time, both individually and part of the new box set Motion Picture Masterpieces.

Marie Antoinette (1939)

M-G-M spared no expense to display the grandeur and revolutionary fervor of 18th-century France that marked this motion picture which captured four Academy Award nominations (Best Supporting Actress & Actor, Art Direction and Original Score). Norma Shearer returned to the screen after a 2-year absence due to the premature death of her husband, renowned producer Irving Thalberg — who had actually developed the project for his wife before he died. Shearer went on to give one of the greatest performances of her career in the decades-spanning title role. Tyrone Power plays opposite her, John Barrymore is crafty Louis XV and Robert Morley was Oscar® -nominated as Louis XVI. Painstakingly restored from its recently discovered original camera negative, this remastered edition brings back the film’s original ‘road show’ presentation including Overture and Exit Music.

The DVD contains the shorts The Great Heart and Another Romance of Celluloid and a trailer.

David Copperfield (1935)

Warner Home Video’s new presentation is another beautiful restoration and remastering effort that brings new life to a film that, for decades, has looked grainy and washed out. As always, Warner Bros.’ archivists embarked on a worldwide search for the best available elements, and here the original nitrate camera negative was located, allowing a full photochemical film restoration and preservation to create the new video master. The result is a tribute to the hundreds of people who contributed their skills and talents to the first DVD release of this beloved classic.

The disc contans shorts, a cartoon, radio promos and a trailer.

Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Like the arrows she launches at an archery target during an elegant lawn party, Elizabeth Bennet’s wit is pointed and unerring. “If you want to be really refined, you have to be dead,” she says, skewering the imperious airs of her hosts. Greer Garson plays the spirited Elizabeth, one of five Bennet sisters hoping for matrimony. Laurence Olivier plays Darcy, whose arrival at a nearby estate sets their maiden hearts aflutter. Elizabeth and Darcy find reasons to view each other with disdain, setting in motion a velvet struggle of pride and prejudice, perception and reality, forgiveness and love. The lavish adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel won an Oscar for Best Art Direction.

The DVD deatures the short Crim Doesn’t Pay, a cartoon and the theatrical trailer.

A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
Ronald Colman (The Prisoner of Zenda, A Double Life) stars as Sydney Carton – sardonic, dissolute, and destined to redeem himself in an act of courageous sacrifice. “It’s a far, far better thing I do than I’ve ever done,” Carton muses at that defining moment. This is far, far better filmmaking, too: a marvel of uncanny performances top to bottom, eye-filling crowd scenes and lasting emotional power.

On the disc are cartoons, a short, excerpts from the radio adaptation and a trailer.

Treasure Island (1934)
The unforgettable stars of 1931’s The Champ reunite in this rousing adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale. Jackie Cooper is Jim Hawkins, a lad living the kind of adventure every child dreams about. Treasure map in hand, Jim and his backers set sail for realms and riches unknown aboard the Hispaniola. But the notorious, one-legged Long John Silver (Wallace Beery) has signed on to the voyage by posing as a cook. Will the treasure fall into his scheming grasp? Will the Hispaniola soon be flying the dreaded skull and bones?

The dsic contains an early 3-Strip Technicolor short along with a cartoon and trailer.

On October 10th, the titles will arrive for $19.97 each or the much cheaper box set which will carry all five titles for $49.92.

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