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Case Number 25555: Small Claims Court

Buy Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Romance at Amazon

Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Romance

Jezebel
1938 // 103 Minutes // Not Rated
Gone With The Wind
1939 // 233 Minutes // Rated G
The Philadelphia Story
1940 // 112 Minutes // Not Rated
Casablanca
1942 // 102 Minutes // Rated PG
Mrs. Miniver
1942 // 133 Minutes // Not Rated
Now, Voyager
1942 // 118 Minutes // Not Rated
Annie Get Your Gun
1950 // 107 Minutes // Not Rated
A Streetcar Named Desire
1951 // 125 Minutes // Rated PG
Rebel Without A Cause
1955 // 111 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
1958 // 108 Minutes // Not Rated
Splendor In The Grass
1961 // 124 Minutes // Not Rated
Doctor Zhivago
1965 // 200 Minutes // Rated PG-13
A Touch Of Class
1973 // 106 Minutes // Rated PG
A Star Is Born
1976 // 140 Minutes // Rated R
The Goodbye Girl
1977 // 110 Minutes // Rated PG
The Bodyguard
1992 // 129 Minutes // Rated R
You've Got Mail
1998 // 120 Minutes // Rated PG
Two Weeks Notice
2002 // 102 Minutes // Rated PG-13
The Lake House
2006 // 98 Minutes // Rated PG
Nights In Rodanthe
2008 // 97 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Released by Warner Bros.
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // April 17th, 2013

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Editor's Note

Our reviews of Academy Collection: The Envelope Please, Volume 1 (published March 8th, 2010), The Best of Bogart Collection (Blu-ray) (published April 7th, 2014), Best of Warner Brothers: 20-Film Comedy Collection (published July 14th, 2013), The Bette Davis Collection (published June 20th, 2005), The Bodyguard: Special Edition (published March 14th, 2005), The Bodyguard (Blu-ray) (published March 26th, 2012), The Bodyguard / The Bodyguard 2 (published August 22nd, 2008), Casablanca (published September 26th, 2000), Casablanca: Special Edition (published August 18th, 2003), Casablanca (Blu-ray) 70th Anniversary Edition (published April 5th, 2012), Casablanca (HD DVD) (published December 18th, 2006), Casablanca: Ultimate Collector's Edition (published December 10th, 2008), Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (published May 8th, 2006), The Complete James Dean Collection (published June 6th, 2005), Doctor Zhivago (2002) (published December 4th, 2012), Doctor Zhivago: Special Edition (published December 6th, 2004), Doctor Zhivago (Blu-Ray) (published May 4th, 2010), Gone With The Wind: Special Edition (published November 15th, 2004), Gone With The Wind: Ultimate Collector's Edition (published November 30th, 2009), Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection (published November 15th, 2010), The Lake House (published October 2nd, 2006), Mrs. Miniver (published March 8th, 2004), Mrs. Miniver (Blu-ray) (published January 28th, 2013), Natalie Wood Collection (published February 11th, 2009), Nicholas Sparks DVD Collection (published February 3rd, 2014), Nights In Rodanthe (published February 10th, 2009), Nights In Rodanthe (Blu-Ray) (published February 10th, 2009), Now, Voyager (published December 4th, 2001), The Philadelphia Story: Special Edition (published April 18th, 2005), A Star Is Born (1976) (published December 22nd, 2006), A Star Is Born (1976) (Blu-ray) DigiBook (published February 22nd, 2013), A Star Is Born (1954) (Blu-ray) (published June 30th, 2010), A Streetcar Named Desire (published April 30th, 1999), A Streetcar Named Desire (Blu-ray) DigiBook (published April 23rd, 2012), A Streetcar Named Desire: Two-Disc Special Edition (published May 2nd, 2006), TCM Greatest Classic Film Legends: Bette Davis (published April 21st, 2011), TCM Greatest Classic Film Legends: Marlon Brando (published April 14th, 2011), TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Best Picture Winners (published February 19th, 2009), TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Romance (published March 24th, 2010), TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Romantic Comedies (published February 18th, 2009), TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Romantic Dramas (published February 19th, 2009), Two Weeks Notice (published May 22nd, 2003), You've Got Mail (published July 6th, 1999), and You've Got Mail (Blu-Ray) (published February 2nd, 2011) are also available.

The Charge

"I wish I didn't love you so much."

The Case

The most surprising thing about the Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Romance is how broad its definition of the word "romance" really is. The standard-def box set compiles twenty films released between 1938 and 2008 that cover just about every sort of romance under the sun. Here, you'll find screwball romance, historical romance, domestic romance, sci-fi romance, literary romance, musical romance, forbidden romance, situational comedy romance, doomed romance, jaded romance, old-fashioned romance, modern romance, and even some films that don't really seem to contain all that much romance, honestly. While it's too scattered to offer much of a genre commentary (aside from the noteworthy fact that the earliest films are among the best and the most recent films are among the worst), it does offer an opportunity to take a generally enjoyable journey through some of the gentler chapters in the famed studio's history.

The collection is neatly divided into three sections, with each section being housed inside its own plus-sized DVD case (all three cases are contained within a fairly standard cardboard box). The first section—labeled "Timeless Love"—is generally the most satisfying, despite the fact that it contains the thoroughly overrated Gone with the Wind (an impressive technical achievement, to be sure, but time has not been kind to its portrait of the antebellum south). Elsewhere, however, you're treated to gems like the marvelous comedy The Philadelphia Story (featuring crackerjack early performances from Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart), the absorbing Bette Davis vehicles Jezebel and Now, Voyager, the stirring wartime drama Mrs. Miniver (one of the most effective and moving propaganda flicks of the WWII era, and one that feels unique due to its emphasis on the domestic side of things) and the incomparable Casablanca (surely one of the greatest love stories of all time, but also so much more than a mere love story).

The next batch of flicks ("Unforgettable Affairs") kicks off on an old-fashioned note, with the cheerful musical Annie Get Your Gun. It's a light, fluffy romp that offers an amusingly sanitized portrait of Calamity Jane (it's especially fun when you contrast it to Deadwood's take on the character), but it's charming enough. However, things take a turbulent, method-y turn afterwards, with such groundbreaking dramas as A Streetcar Named Desire (featuring a smoldering, moody Marlon Brando), Rebel Without a Cause (featuring a smoldering, moody James Dean), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (featuring a smoldering, moody Paul Newman) and Splendor in the Grass (featuring a smoldering, moody Warren Beatty). All terrific flicks, though the momentum slows a bit when the set concludes with the sprawling Doctor Zhivago (in many ways, it's David Lean at his best and worst).

The biggest and most problematic section is "Modern Romance," which has a smattering of good, bad and ugly to dig through. A Touch of Class and The Goodbye Girl are satisfying little light comedies about grown-up romance, but the 1976 A Star is Born is the least interesting incarnation of that particular tale (I'll stick with the stormy, heartbreaking Judy Garland/James Mason version). Still, it's a masterpiece in contrast to drippy, bland affairs like The Bodyguard (which has a memorable Whitney Houston soundtrack and little else of value) and Nights in Rodanthe (a typically irritating Nicholas Sparks adaptation). Two Weeks Notice manages to avoid drippiness, but the Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock rom-com is fairly formulaic and forgettable. However, not all the new stuff is a waste of time: You've Got Mail is one of Nora Ephron's most effortlessly charming flicks, and The Lake House remains an underrated, sensitive slice of romantic sci-fi.

So, the ratio of good-to-bad is fairly impressive in terms of the actual films which are included. However, whether you should purchase this set depends on what kind of home video collector you are. If you've made the transition to hi-def, it's worth noting that quite a few of the films included in this set are already available on Blu-ray, so you may prefer to seek them out that way. If you're a DVD collector, odds are you already own quite a few of these (Warner Bros. has simply repackaged older releases, many of which have been reviewed on this very site). If you don't mind the overlap, $90 isn't a terrible price, but I imagine many folks will already have something from this collection.

Since a number of these titles have already been reviewed here, I won't bother with individual audio/video breakdowns, but let's run down the special features included.

Jezebel: an audio commentary from historian Jeanine Basinger, two featurettes ("Jezebel: Legend of the South" and "Melody Masters: Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra"), an animated short ("The Mice Will Play") and a trailer.

Gone with the Wind: An audio commentary from historian Rudy Behlmer.

The Philadelphia Story: Another Jeanine Basinger commentary and some trailers.

Casablanca: A great Roger Ebert commentary, a Rudy Behlmer commentary, some featurettes ("Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of" and "Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic") , an introduction by Lauren Bacall and some trailers.

Mrs. Miniver: Two vintage shorts ("Mr. Blabbermouth" and "For the Common Defense"), archival footage of Greer Garson accepting her academy award, a stills gallery and a trailer.

Now, Voyager: Scoring session music cues and a trailer.

Annie Get Your Gun: A Susan Lucci intro, musical outtakes, audio recording sessions and a trailer.

A Streetcar Named Desire: A commentary with Rudy Behlmer, Karl Malden and Jeff Young, and some trailers.

Rebel Without a Cause: A commentary with historian Douglas L. Rathgeb and a trailer.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: A commentary with historian Donald Spoto and a trailer.

Splendor in the Grass: An animated short ("Beep Prepared") and a trailer.

Doctor Zhivago: A commentary with Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger and Sandra Lean and a documentary ("Doctor Zhivago: A Celebration").

A Touch of Class: Nothing.

The Goodbye Girl: Nothing.

A Star is Born: A commentary with Barbara Streisand, wardrobe tests, deleted scenes and a trailer.

The Bodyguard: A featurette ("Memories of The Bodyguard"), a Whitney Houston music video and a trailer.

You've Got Mail: A commentary with director Nora Ephron and producer Lauren Shuler Donner, some featurettes ("Delivering You've Got Mail," "You've Got Chemistry," "HBO First Look: A Conversation with Nora Ephron" and "Discovering New York's Upper West Side") and an isolated score track.

Two Weeks Notice: A commentary with Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock and director Marc Lawrence, a featurette ("HBO First Look: The Making of Two Weeks Notice"), some deleted scenes and a trailer.

The Lake House: Deleted scenes and a trailer.

Nights in Rodanthe: Nothing.

Overall, a decent supply of supplements, with the film historian commentaries standing out as a particular highlight.

Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Romance is inevitably a mixed bag—and I'd be considerably more excited if it were being offered in hi-def—but there are far more hits than misses included in this collection. Cuddle up with your significant other and dig in.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Genres

• Comedy
• Concerts and Musicals
• Drama
• Historical
• Romance
• Romantic Comedies
• War

Scales of Justice, Jezebel

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Jezebel

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Release Year: 1938
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Jezebel

• Commentary
• Featurettes
• Animated Short
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Gone With The Wind

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, Gone With The Wind

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 233 Minutes
Release Year: 1939
MPAA Rating: Rated G

Distinguishing Marks, Gone With The Wind

• Commentary

Scales of Justice, The Philadelphia Story

Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, The Philadelphia Story

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Release Year: 1940
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Philadelphia Story

• Commentary
• Trailers

Scales of Justice, Casablanca

Judgment: 100

Perp Profile, Casablanca

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 1942
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, Casablanca

• Commentaries
• Featurettes
• Introduction
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Mrs. Miniver

Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, Mrs. Miniver

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 133 Minutes
Release Year: 1942
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Mrs. Miniver

• Vintage Shorts
• Archival Footage
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Now, Voyager

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Now, Voyager

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 118 Minutes
Release Year: 1942
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Now, Voyager

• Music Cues
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Annie Get Your Gun

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile, Annie Get Your Gun

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Release Year: 1950
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Annie Get Your Gun

• Introduction
• Musical Outtakes
• Recording Sessions
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, A Streetcar Named Desire

Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, A Streetcar Named Desire

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Release Year: 1951
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, A Streetcar Named Desire

• Commentary
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Rebel Without A Cause

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, Rebel Without A Cause

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 2.55:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Release Year: 1955
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks, Rebel Without A Cause

• Commentary
• Featurette
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Judgment: 95

Perp Profile, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 1958
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

• Commentary
• Featurette
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Splendor In The Grass

Judgment: 83

Perp Profile, Splendor In The Grass

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
Running Time: 124 Minutes
Release Year: 1961
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Splendor In The Grass

• Animated Short
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Doctor Zhivago

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Doctor Zhivago

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 200 Minutes
Release Year: 1965
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks, Doctor Zhivago

• Commentary
• Documentary

Scales of Justice, A Touch Of Class

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, A Touch Of Class

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
Running Time: 106 Minutes
Release Year: 1973
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, A Touch Of Class

• None

Scales of Justice, A Star Is Born

Judgment: 78

Perp Profile, A Star Is Born

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, A Star Is Born

• Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Wardrobe Tests
• Trailers

Scales of Justice, The Goodbye Girl

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, The Goodbye Girl

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, The Goodbye Girl

• None

Scales of Justice, The Bodyguard

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, The Bodyguard

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, The Bodyguard

• Documentary
• Music Video
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, You've Got Mail

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, You've Got Mail

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, You've Got Mail

• Commentary
• Featurettes
• Isolated Score

Scales of Justice, Two Weeks Notice

Judgment: 75

Perp Profile, Two Weeks Notice

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks, Two Weeks Notice

• Commentary
• Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, The Lake House

Judgment: 88

Perp Profile, The Lake House

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, The Lake House

• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer

Scales of Justice, Nights In Rodanthe

Judgment: 75

Perp Profile, Nights In Rodanthe

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks, Nights In Rodanthe

• None








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