29 December 2009

The Christmas Haul

It's been a rather unproductive December around these parts, I know. First and foremost, I hope your end-of-the-year holiday was happy (or merry, or joyous, or whatever modifier you prefer). Secondly, I'm off from work this week (as I was most of last week). Sitting around with little to do is kind of like reliving where I was last year, only with money. Speaking of which, I got a DVD player for Christmas, and proceeded to spend said money establishing the beginnings of a classic film DVD collection (after spending three days snowed-in at my parents' house, that is).

The first artifact to catch my eye at the local Barnes & Noble franchise was TCM's Buster Keaton Collection. It won't come as much of a surprise to anyone who knows me that I grabbed this set as much for Keaton's leading ladies as for the Great Stone Face himself -- the collection features Spite Marriage (1929), co-starring Dorothy Sebastian, and Free and Easy (1930), co-starring Anita Page. Well worth the price of admission, I'd say. Also included is The Cameraman (1928), Buster's first picture under contract at MGM.

Next up was the three-disc deluxe edition of The Jazz Singer (1927), the first major talking picture in the history of cinema. This is one hell of a package -- all manner of neat little Vitaphone shorts are included, as well as a few surviving excerpts from the lost Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929). On top of that, the set comes with all sorts of other little goodies -- photos, reproduction programs, etc. This is definitely a must-have for classic movie nerds.

Finally, I could pass up the chance to nab a copy of TCM's Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 2. This set contains five pictures: The Divorcee (1930) and A Free Soul (1931), both starring Norma Shearer, Three on a Match (1932) with Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak, Bette Davis and (briefly!) Humphrey Bogart, Female (1933) with Ruth Chatterton and George Brent, and Night Nurse (1931), featuring Barbara Stanwyck in a nurse's outfit (and yes, that is as sexy as it sounds).

Next on the wish list: The Busby Berkeley Collection.

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