Warner Bros. continues its celebration of 90 years in the business that is called Show with another fine collection of 20 of their hand-picked films with a theme. This time around the theme is (show of jazz hands) Musicals! Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Musicals covers an impressively massive span of time for any studio (especially considering the collection includes works by some studios that didn’t fare as well, like MGM, whose older classics were absorbed by WB). Even for someone like me, who doesn’t consider herself a fan of musicals (my eyes honestly glaze over titles like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or The Music Man), this is a pretty stupendous collection that challenges even the most ardent musical fan to NOT find something they like.
The collection starts with 1927’s first famous “talkie” (or should it have been called a “singie”?) The Jazz Singer, followed by The Broadway Melody of 1929 (the first talkie to win Best Picture), released just a year later. There are many classic hits, like A Star Is Born (the Judy Garland version, of course), Camelot, and rah-rah Yankee Doodle Dandy.
What is fun about the collection are not the classic musicals like Singin’ in the Rain (which is totally worthy, don’t get me wrong), but the goofy, quirky, and sometimes subversive films that made the cut: From Elvis at his peak in Viva Las Vegas, to the bisexuals in Nazis Germany in Cabaret, to cross-dressing Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria, to freakin’ John Waters’ original Hairspray. We’ll even throw in Gene Wilder in a purple coat with singing about candy with creepy little orange men.
And, come on, who would balk at owning The Wizard of Oz, fer crying out loud? That film is such a stupendous American icon, that it is in a class by itself, seriously.
The discs all appear to be the latest DVD releases, and as the WB has been taking pains to soup up older releases (for instance, it is the 70th anniversary Wizard of Oz disc from 2009), that I’d expect the technical quality of the films to be top notch.
The box set, which has three cases housing the DVDs of 20 films, also includes a booklet with a page for each film, describing its place in musical and movie lore.
Here is the full list of movies included in the DVD box set:
* The Jazz Singer (1927)
* The Broadway Melody (1929)
* 42nd Street (1933)
* The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
* The Wizard of Oz (1939)
* Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
* An American In Paris (1951)
* Show Boat (1951)
* Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
* Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
* A Star Is Born (1954)
* The Music Man (1962)
* Viva Las Vegas (1964)
* Camelot (1967)
* Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
* Cabaret (1972)
* That’s Entertainment (1974)
* Victor/Victoria (1982)
* Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
* Hairspray (1988)
Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Musicals was released on DVD on February 12th, 2013. Find the collection at the WB Shop (click here) and join Warner Bros. in their 90th Anniversary celebration on their Official Facebook page (find it here).