DVD REVIEWS: Featured Actress Collections

The Bette Davis Collection Warner, 5 discs Movie •••• Picture/Sound •••• Extras •••½ The Joan Crawford Collection Warner, 5 discs Movie •••• Picture/Sound ••• Extras ••••
Films New to DVD: Mr. Skeffington (1944) and The Star (1952). New restoration: Dark Victory (1939). Recent restorations: The Letter (1940), Now, Voyager (1942). New to DVD: Humoresque (1946), Possessed (1947), The Damned Don't Cry (1950). New restoration: Mildred Pierce (1945). New edition: The Women (1939).
Notable Directors Edmund Goulding (Dark Victory), William Wyler (The Letter). George Cukor (The Women), Jean Negulesco (Humoresque), Michael Curtiz (Mildred Pierce).
Acting Style or Stylish Acting Charming chameleon: submerges herself in the drama, adapting her looks, mannerisms, and personality to fit the role. Plays a remarkably wide range - often within the same film. Go for glamour: talks, acts, and poses for camera, not for fellow actors or the part. Remains restrained until the big scenes, when she lets rip with desperate sobs, shrieks, and wringing of hands - all fabulously.
Oscar Nods Nominations: All five. (Also six more, including wins for Dangerous and Jezebel.) Nomination: Possessed (and Sudden Fear). Win: Mildred Pierce.
Fears Losing her youth or independence. Losing her man or mind.
Melodr- amatics Boozing! Adultery! Murder! Terminal Disease! Suicide! Murder! Insanity!
DVD Quality Picture: clean and luminous. Deep blacks, bright whites, and a wide range of grays. All have plenty of detail, particularly Now, Voyager, which has beautiful textures. Sound: clear and full. Picture: bright, crisp, with excellent contrast. Sound: clean and robust, most noticeably in Humoresque, where the lush violin and piano solos are strong and resonant without any distortion.
Extras Commentaries: Mr. Skeffington and Dark Victory. Featurettes: three. Also: alternate ending and two Lux Radio versions of The Letter, scoring session. Commentaries: Possessed and Damned. Documentaries: one feature-length. Featurettes: five. Also: alternate sequence, Crawford trailer gallery.