CineSavant Column

Saturday October 28, 2023



We got an announcement about December Blu-ray releases from The Warner Archive Collection. The playlist leans toward remastered classics, hinting at even better fare ahead for collectors.

Garbo talks! in Anna Christie (1930), delivering her first screen dialogue — the release also contains an HD restoration of the German language version directed by Jacques Feyder. That’s followed by the first Johnny Weismuller Tarzan epic Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932), and  Luise Ranier in the Oscar winner The Great Ziegfeld (1936).

From the 1940s comes Errol Flynn in Raoul Walsh’s Gentleman Jim (1942),  and Jennifer Jones in Vincente Minnelli’s Madame Bovary with Van Heflin (1949).

The two more recent offerings are Kenneth Branagh’s A Midwinter’s Tale (1995), and Brenda Blethyn in the comedy Saving Grace (2000).

Those vintage MGM and Warners films are all remastered in 4K, and the WAC has given each a battery of extras. Anna Christie would seem the next instalment in an ongoing series of Greta Garbo pictures. With MGM’s Thin Man series now out on Blu, we’re hoping that Tarzan, The Ape Man is the beginning of the MGM Weissmuller series, with the incomparable Tarzan and his Mate next in line. The digital remasters have been so good, these WAC releases feel like watching the movies for the first time.

We keep hoping for more Bogart & Cagney and are ready for more Bette Davis as well. We surmise that Raoul Walsh’s classic The Roaring Twenties has some kind of legal obstruction, or it would have seen a Blu-ray ten years ago. George Feltenstein hinted that ‘some film made during WWII was going to get a big restoration, with a longer version coming out.’  That sounds like new scenes or footage for a well-known classic — and we can’t guess what that might be.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson