Judge Daryl Loomis has a variety show in the works. It features singing and dancing, but mostly crying...lots of crying.
Our review of The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume 1, published February 17th, 2010, is also available.
"A man pleads guilty to a felony, you can't buy him out. There ain't that much money."—Big Jake
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:
Adventure on Happiness Street:
Sign of the Zodiac:
Hong Kong and Little Joe:
Yanqui Go Home:
Little Big Mouth:
A Man's Game:
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.
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.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
• Bonus Episode
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