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Stanley Kramer Film Collection (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner / Ship of Fools / The Member of the Wedding / The Wild One / The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T) (Bilingual) [Import]
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The STANLEY KRAMER FILM COLLECTION highlights five movies that exemplify the issues and emotions that drove Kramer, a pioneering independent producer who made nearly forty films in the 1950s and 1960s. This new six-DVD boxed set includes five movies (GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, SHIP OF FOOLS, THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING, THE WILD ONE, and THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T), some of which have never been available on DVD before. The sixth DVD is a supplemental disc to DINNER in celebration of the movie's 40th anniversary and only available in this collection. Mr. Kramer directed two of these movies himself. The Collection comes in a sturdy box. The DVDs sit together on three double-disc trays that fold together to form a "book," and a leaf in the book is give for each set of two DVDs. The book itself is decorated with photos and lists the special features on each disc. When folded, it fits inside an outer slipcase. There is also a single-sheet insert that has the film summaries and a special note about Stanley Kramer from his widow Karen Kramer (married from 1966 until his death in 2001). These are all brand-new packages redesigned to fit the box and filled with extra features. Each disc includes a short but sweet video intro by Mrs. Kramer which sets the scene for the movie, gives a small amount of background info and notes where it appeared in Kramer's career history. Each disc also has extra supplemental material specific to that particular movie.
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These movies star; Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Sydney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh, Ethel Waters, George Segal, Julie Harris, Brandon de Wilde, Mary Murphy, Peter Lind Hayes, Jose Ferrer, Lee Marvin, plus others. "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T" are in color. "Guess Who's..." and "Ship of Fools" are in Widescreen format (16:9) and the rest are fullscreen.
Overall this is a must have for anyone adding to their collection or fans of these actors/actress'.
The Member of the Wedding (1952) was directed by Fred Zinnemann and stars Broadway legend, Julie Harris, in her film debut. Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding was first published in 1946. A successful theatrical adaptation opened on Broadway in 1950 starring Harris, Ethel Waters, and Brandon deWilde who then reprised their roles in this film.
Frankie Adams (Harris) is a lonely twelve-year-old in a Southern town. She has no friends and spends all of her time with the family's Black housemaid, Berenice (Waters), and her young cousin, John Henry (deWilde), who lives next door. Frankie deeply yearns to make a connection, to find the "we of me," and decides she will leave town with her newlywed brother and his wife. Her plans go terribly awry and Frankie must adapt.
This is a deeply moving story of loneliness and connection. Many aspects of McCullers' own life are captured in the story. Julie Harris, who was twenty-five-years-old at the time of the filming, gives a remarkable, although overstated, performance that earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Waters is superb. Zinneman's direction is solid and the Alex North score is quite good.
The Member of the Wedding is a wonderful adaptation of the novel and I'm thrilled to finally have a copy on DVD. I was very much looking forward to the commentary by McCullers' biographer, Virginia Spencer Carr (The Lonely Hunter), but was disappointed. Carr offers only scant insight into McCullers, the novel, and the film. A few of her comments are even erroneous (e.g., the wedding was to take place at Winter Hill - the wedding takes place at Winter Hill in the novel but in the film the ceremony takes place at Frankie's house). However, we must keep in mind the late Professor Carr recorded her commentary while in her late-seventies.
Trivia alert: Hugh Beaumont, who portrays the wedding minister in an uncredited role, would later star in the successful television series, Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963).
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