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The David O. Selznick Collection: Kenneth Turan's DVD pick

June 7, 2012 |  4:00 pm

If you know David O. Selznick's name, you probably think of him as the man behind "Gone With the Wind." But even before that classic, he was one of Hollywood's top producers, and Kino Classics, in collaboration with the George Eastman House, is releasing a series of his best-known films called the Selznick Collection.

Top of the list is "A Star Is Born." This is not the celebrated Judy Garland version but an earlier, 1937 edition of this inside-Hollywood story starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March and directed by William Wellman.

Another Wellman film, also starring March, is 1937's caustic screwball comedy "Nothing Sacred," in which the actor plays a cynical reporter (is there any other kind?) who interacts with a lively lady played by the great Carole Lombard.

Having more literary origins is 1932's "A Farewell to Arms," starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes and taken from the Ernest Hemingway novel of World War I. The director is Frank Borzage, one of the screen's peerless romantics.

Finally, there is King Vidor's "Bird of Paradise," starring Joel McCrea and Delores Del Rio. This is the kind of film where a footloose sailor in the South Pacific falls in love with the lovely daughter of a fierce island chief. Throw in a volcano and a Max Steiner score and you're in business.


John Huston's 'Let There Be Light' online

'Untamed' Joan Crawford, 'Dangerous' Bette Davis

Swashbuckling good films from '30s, '40s: Kenneth Turan's DVD pick

— Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

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