Chris Hicks: 'Best of Bogart' Blu-ray includes 4 of his greatest films

Published: Saturday, March 29 2014 1:30 p.m. MDT

“The Last of Mrs. Cheyney” (Warner Archive, 1937, b/w, $18.95, trailer).

“The Bride Wore Red” (Warner Archive, 1937, b/w, $18.95, trailer).

“Our Blushing Brides” (Warner Archive, 1930, b/w, $18.95). These three Joan Crawford pictures are among her lesser-known titles, but the first two especially are well worth seeing. “Cheyney” is a comedy-drama co-starring William Powell and Robert Montgomery, with Crawford as a jewel thief in London falling for one of her victims. “Bride” has fake sophisticate Crawford pursued by a peasant (Franchot Tone) and a rich playboy (Robert Young). In “Blushing,” Crawford is one of three shopgirls looking for a rich Mr. Right.

“The Big House” (Warner Archive, 1930, b/w, $24.95, three versions, one in French with English subtitles, one in Spanish with English subtitles). This set has three versions of the same film, the classic 1930 prison picture that laid out the template for all that followed. Chester Morris has top billing but Wallace Beery steals the show in this tale of a prison designed for 1,800 that is housing 3,000 and ready to burst. Robert Mongtomery’s here as well. The other versions were filmed on the same sets with French- and Spanish-speaking actors, respectively. The French version stars a very young Charles Boyer.

“The Girl in the Empty Grave” (Warner Archive, 1977, $18.95). The first of two TV-movie pilots for an unrealized series that cast Andy Griffith as Abel Marsh, police chief of a small California town in the mountains. Here he’s investigating the murder of a couple whose daughter supposedly committed suicide, but then she shows up. James Cromwell is Griffith’s deputy. (The second film, “Deadly Game,” is also available on the Warner Archive website.)

“Passion Flower” (Sony Choice, 1986, PG-13, $18.95). Bruce Boxleitner is an American businessman in Singapore who falls for a married femme fatale (Barbara Hershey), which puts a target on his back when the husband is murdered. Nicol Williamson co-stars as Hershey’s art-smuggler dad.

“And So They Were Married” (Sony Choice, 1936, b/w, $18.95). Unhappy single parents (Melvyn Douglas, Mary Astor) are thrown together at a snowbound lodge during Christmas. A romance reluctantly blossoms, but their kids are determined to sabotage the relationship. OK comedy might have been better if it had focused more on the couple and less on the kids.

“The White Squaw” (Sony Choice, 1956, b/w, $18.95). May Wynn stars in this B-movie Western as a white woman reared by Indians who learns about her real father after his death as he leaves half of his considerable acreage to her. Naturally, a ruthless landowner wants it for himself.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." Website: www.hicksflicks.com

Email: hicks@deseretnews.com

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