Grace Kelly Collection (DVD)


Fans of Grace Kelly will be impressed to see what Warner has in store for them with the release of the Grace Kelly Collection. It’s a compilation of six really important and notable films from Kelly’s acting career, spanning a four year period where she was quite the cinematic heavy hitter. The only caveat to the release is the omission of “Rear Window,” which I think would have topped a great set, but that’s not to say this box set isn’t a heavy weight in its own right either.

Starting off the list is John Ford’s 1953 Academy Award nominee “Mogambo.” Kelly stars alongside Ava Gardner and Clark Gable in what is a remake of 1932’s “Red Dust”; a romance adventure in where Gable becomes the object of affection between two women, all the while travailing the harsh African jungles, trying to survive and make if back to civilization. One of the soapier of the films in the set, it’s a worthwhile drama if only for the strong performances by Kelly and Gardner. “Dial M for Murder” is the sharp 1954 Alfred Hitchcock murder mystery based on the stage play in where Kelly, as character Margot, becomes the prime target of murder by her husband and a neighbor whose aware of her affair with a local crime writer. After an elaborate plan to murder Margot and make it look like an isolate incident, the incident spirals out of control when Margot kills her intended culprit in self defense.

Prompting an investigation by a local detective, Hitchcock spins a web of deceit and an almost inescapable situation that he’s very talented in devising. It’s a very clever adaptation filled with surprises. Among the special features in the DVD are “Hitchcock and Dial M and 3D: A Brief History, and the 1954 Theatrical trailer. 1954’s “The Country Girl” stars Bing Crosby as an ex-actor and alcoholic whose dependence on his wife Georgia (Kelly) creates a rift among the crew working on his first film project in years. It’s a tad misogynistic, but taken in its context, a solid drama. 1954’s “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” stars William Holden (along with an all star cast) as a troubled soldier given a three day shore leave to reunite with his wife (Kelly) and kids, only to introduce his troubles with the military, which involve disobedience and a violent streak.

Faced with his eventual return and involvement with a deadly mission involving an attack on the Bridges at Toko-Ri, prompting a heroic attack, and sacrifice for battle. Overly patriotic and more an elegy on the heroism of the military, “The Bridges of Toko-Ri” is dated, but still worth the watch, if only for Holden and Kelly’s strong turns. 1955’s “To Catch a Thief” is one of the more iconic and notable films from Alfred Hitchcock, where he displays his love for espionage and deceit, side stepping horror completely. Grant plays ex-cat burglar John Robie, who learns that a new cat burglar is stalking Paris and he’s being put to blame for the spree of thefts. Fleeing the authorities, he retreats to Paris to meet up with old friends, and pursue the cat thief. While there, he romances gorgeous Frances Stevens (as played by Kelly), all the while trying to prove his innocence and save his reputation.

Garnering powerhouse dual roles from Cary Grant, and Grace Kelly, “To Catch a Thief” is one of the more sophisticated and broadly appealing romance thrillers from Hitchcock’s career, and is mainly suited for folks that love the amalgam of sub-genres. Among the features are a commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, Laurent Bouzereau”; there’s also ”Writing and Casting To Catch a Thief,” “The Making of To Catch a Thief,” “Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch a Thief: An Appreciation,” and finally “Edith Head: The Paramount Years.” Topping off the set is 1956’s “High Society,” the raucous musical starring Kelly alongside Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Crosby is musician C.K. Dexter Haven who learns that his ex—wife Tracy is getting re-married.

Intending to win her back, he ventures to her wedding to steal her back, prompting a rivalry with her new husband, and an undercover reporter, as played by Sinatra. It’s a simple and fun romance musical with Kelly shining among her co-stars. The DVD features “Cole Porter in Hollywood: True Love,” the MGM cartoon short “Millionaire Droopy,” a newsreel entitled “Gala Premiere for High Society,” and the radio ads and theatrical trailer for “High Society.” The DVD set itself contains the documentary “Princess Grace De Monaco: A Moment in Time” which explores the final television interview with Grace Kelly by Pierre Salinger. As an added bonus, there’s an envelope filled with lobby cards from the films within the box set.