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The Bette Davis Collection Vol.2 comes to DVD from Warner Bros.
06/13/06

By Frankie Dees

Originally appeared on monstersandcritics.com on Jun 9, 2006

The second Bette Davis collection to be released from Warner Brothers following Volume 1 released last summer, this seven-disc set includes a nice amalgam of a few well-known classics as well as some of her more obscure titles.

Warner Brothers once again shows other studios how to show reverence to their studio titles by supplying these pictures with impressive re-mastering and an ample supply of extras. This collection includes a new 2-disc set of What Happened to Baby Jane (previously released in a no-frills 1-disc version), Jezebel, Marked Woman, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Old Acquaintance and the 90-minute TCM documentary Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (exclusive to this set).

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? is director Robert Aldrich's film about an aging ex-vaudeville child star who wages a psychotic reign of terror over her crippled ex-movie star sister. The film stars rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as the battling sisters. Bette Davis achieved her 10th Academy Award nomination for her role as the titular Baby Jane.

The 2-disc set is loaded with special features that include a commentary by Charles Busch and John Epperson (Lypsinka), 3 Documentaries of the movie and it?s two stars, a vintage featurette Behind the Scenes with Baby Jane and an Andy Williams excerpt featuring Bette Davis.

Jezebel was Warner Brother's immediate answer to the Gone with the Wind novel which was a huge success even before the film adaptation. Bette Davis shines as a plotting Southern belle in a role that won her the 1938 Best Actress Academy Award. Davis plays Julie, a Louisiana belle who tries to exact vengeance on her ex-fianc Pres Dillard (Henry Fonda) after he breaks of their engagement and leaves town. It is efficiently directed by William Wyler.

Special Features include a commentary by Film Historian Jeannine Basinger, a new featurette Jezebel: Legend of the South, a vintage musical short Melody Masters; Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, a classic cartoon The Mice Will Play?and the theatrical trailer.

Old Acquaintance tells the story of author Kit Marlowe (Bette Davis) who has success and literary acclaim and also the jealousy of her best friend Millie Drake (Miriam Hopkins) who pens romantic trifle and has a husband and child that Kit yearns to call her own. It is a comedic and honest tale about the trials and tribulations of a long-lasting friendship.

Special Features include a commentary by Director Vincent Sherman and Bette Davis Speaks author Boze Hadleigh, a new featurette Old Acquaintance: A Classic Woman's Picture, the vintage short Stars on Horseback, a classic cartoon Finn Catty and the theatrical trailer.

The Man Who Came To Dinner is about an eccentric author Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Wooly) who while on a lecture tour in Ohio, slips on the front porch of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (Grant Mitchell and Billie Burke) and ends up confined to their home for a couple weeks along with personal secretary Maggie Cutler (Bette Davis). Plunging their household into an uncontrollable mayhem, he becomes a meddler and a source of comedic mischief in this delightful farce that stars Bette Davis in a role fairly unconventional for her.

Special Features include a new featurette The Man Who Came to Dinner: Inside a Classic Comedy, a vintage Joe McDoakes Comedy Short So You Think You Need Glasses, a classic cartoon Six Hits and a Miss and the theatrical trailer.

Marked Woman is the real-life story of a group of prostitutes who put a notorious gangster behind bars. Bette Davis plays Mary Dwight as the courageous hooker with a heart of vengeance who becomes marked by standing up to viscous mobster Johnny Vanning. Humphrey Bogart in a rare nice turn at this point of his career plays a ambitious prosecutor who assists the ladies in putting Johnny Vanning behind bars.

Special Features include a new featurette Marked Woman: Ripped from the Headlines, 2 classic cartoons Porky's Hero Agency and She Was an Acrobat's Daughter and the theatrical trailer.

Also included in the set is the 90-minute TCM documentary ?Stardust: The Bette Davis Story that details the young ing nue's entry into Hollywood in the early thirties and Hollywood's less than ecstatic reaction. Bette Davis was known to be short, slight and unglamorous but she soon grew to be one of Hollywood's greatest leading ladies with 10 Oscar nominations and 2 Best Actress Oscars achieved throughout her great career.

The Bette Davis Collection Vol. 2 is now available at Amazon. As of yet, there is not a release date for the set in the UK. Visit the DVD?s database for more information. Over the next few weeks, M&C will also be posting reviews by Frankie Dees for each title that is available in the set.