DVD Verdict
Home About News Blu-ray DVD Reviews Upcoming DVD Releases Contest Podcasts Forums Judges Contact  

Case Number 19183

Buy The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume 2 at Amazon

The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume 2

E1 Entertainment // 1960 // 312 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daryl Loomis // June 30th, 2010

• View Judge Loomis's Dossier
• E-mail Judge Loomis
• Printer Friendly Review


Every purchase you make through these Amazon links supports DVD Verdict's reviewing efforts. Thank you!




 

All Rise...

Judge Daryl Loomis has a variety show in the works. It features singing and dancing, but mostly crying...lots of crying.

Editor's Note

Our review of The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume 1, published February 17th, 2010, is also available.

The Charge

"A man pleads guilty to a felony, you can't buy him out. There ain't that much money."—Big Jake

Opening Statement

When we last left Barbara Stanwyck (Stella Dallas), the beautiful and talented host of The Barbara Stanwyck Show, she was explaining what we had to look forward to in the next episode of her show. But it wasn't to be. Instead, E1 decided to split the single season of the program into two parts. It's an obvious gouge of consumers, especially since the large percentage of the market for Stanwyck obscurities lives on a fixed income. Nevertheless, here we have The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume Two, the final twelve episodes of the Emmy Award winning series, presented for the first time on DVD.

Facts of the Case

The Golden Acres:
Stanwyck stars as Avis Fleming, an ambitious businesswoman who supports her two doltish brothers. When her old flame returns with a lucrative financial opportunity, she wants to strike. When it turns out that pulling the trigger means screwing over an old family friend, however, it's time for her brothers to stand up for themselves.

Adventure on Happiness Street:
Stanwyck returns as intrepid importer Josephine Little, who uses one of her smuggling connections (Robert Culp, I Spy) to secure medicine for an American doctor who runs a free clinic in Hong Kong. The crooked smugglers send tainted medicine instead, however, and Josephine must struggle to make things right or ruin her good name.

High Tension:
A woman (Stanwyck) is taking her deaf son to Phoenix when their bus runs afoul of some downed power lines. There is a wreck, the boy is thrown from the bus, and the bus has become electrified by the wires. Can the woman make the bus safe before her son tries to get back to his mom?

Sign of the Zodiac:
A widow (Stanwyck) goes with her sister-in-law (Joan Blondell, Gold Diggers of 1937) to see a fortune teller (Dan Duryea, Scarlet Street) to try to alleviate some of her grief. What the seer reveals, however, is a history of jealousy, lies, murder, and answers to questions that nobody wanted asked.

The Choice:
There's a escaped killer on the loose! Bar owner Amanda Prescott (Stanwyck) gets pretty freaked out when a guy who matches the killer's description shows up demanding a drink. She tries to keep him cool and do what he says, but just as he starts getting agitated, another guy shows up who also matches the description, and Amanda must decide who to trust.

Frightened Doll:
Hazel Wexley (Stanwyck) is a small town girl who has been in the city way too long. She wants to go back to Nebraska to restart her life the way it should have been, and finds an opportunity when a man she's talking to dies with a sack full of cash. She's trying to get out of town as fast as she can, but a couple of mobsters are out looking for their money.

Hong Kong and Little Joe:
In this unaired episode, the first Josephine Little story, the character is set up as much more of a crook than who she would prove to be in the episodes that ran. In it, the importer is in Hong Kong with her Chinese attendant (Anna Mae Wong, Piccadilly) trying to make a fast buck and teach some people a lesson at the same time.

Yanqui Go Home:
Stanwyck stars alongside Dana Andrews (Hot Rods to Hell) as an expatriate couple in Mexico, forced to leave as the revolution nears. As they start to head back to the States, their car is commandeered by banditos in need of a getaway car.

Little Big Mouth:
Journalist Nellie Bly (Stanwyck) is in Oklahoma to write an expose on the exploitation of native populations. There, she meets a widowed doctor and his young daughter, a precocious and way overstressed nine-year-old affectionately known as Little Big Mouth.

Assassin:
Louise Forest (Stanwyck) has been caught embezzling over twenty grand from her company and tries to repay the money. When Louise discovers, however, that an assassin (Peter Falk, The Bloody Brood) has been hired to killer her, she realizes that she isn't the only corrupt one around the office.

The Hitch-Hiker:
The heir to a fortune has suddenly died, and the family matriarch wants to take custody of her grandson, fathered out of wedlock with a maid. When attorney Maggie McClay (Stanwyck) picks her up trying to get out of town with the baby, she decides to risk home and career to help the woman keep her child.

Big Jake:
Detective Jake Sloan (Andy Devine, The Man who Shot Liberty Valence) is a great cop with a huge heart, both emotionally and medically. When a safe is broken into and a man he knows didn't do it confesses, both those problems threaten to do him in.

A Man's Game:
A female saloon owner (Stanwyck) is forced to become sheriff when her customers, including the former sheriff, start getting shot by outlaws and all the men are too big of cowards to step up.

The Evidence

As with any anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show has its ups and its downs, but the show ended better than it started. None of the episodes in Volume 2 quite reach the level of quality of the best of the first, but there's a more consistent level of quality with considerably less hokum than Volume 1 had.

Strictly from a historical perspective, this series has plenty of value. With late career work from B-movie favorites like director Jacques Tourneur (Night of the Demon) and actors Robert Culp, Joan Blondell, and Dan Duryea, even if it isn't as good as their early work, fans can revel in this rarely-seen material. There's a little bit of everything here, from comedies, to noir-ish bits of crime fiction, to adventure dramas, all designed to showcase the skills of Barbara Stanwyck. She's one of the great ones, and her work is mostly very good in these episodes. When she's running a scam or kicking some jerk in the knee, she's at her best, but she sometimes falls into an earnestness that rings a little false. Even when the stories are at their worst, though, the series is well-produced and consistently fun.

E1's two-disc set of The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume Two performs about as well as the first collection. The image quality is inconsistent episode to episode, but only a couple are that bad. Little if any restoration has been done on them, so it's about as good as can be expected, never perfect, but always watchable. The sound is definitely more consistent, if not necessarily better, but the dialog is always clear enough. The only extra is that unaired episode, but at least it's something.

Closing Statement

Sure, she's done better work than this, but Barbara Stanwyck is always a pleasure to watch. Great guest stars and solid stories make The Barbara Stanwyck Show recommended viewing.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Give us your feedback!

Did we give The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume 2 a fair trial? yes / no

Share This Review


Follow DVD Verdict



DVD Reviews Quick Index

• DVD Releases
• Recent DVD Reviews
• Search for a DVD review...

Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 78
Extras: 40
Acting: 90
Story: 84
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: E1 Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 312 Minutes
Release Year: 1960
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Classic
• Drama
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Bonus Episode

Accomplices

• IMDb








DVD | Blu-ray | Upcoming DVD Releases | About | Staff | Jobs | Contact | Subscribe | Find us on Google+ | Privacy Policy

Review content copyright © 2010 Daryl Loomis; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.