Title: The Ronald Reagan Signature Collection
Silent or Talkie: Talkie
Warner Brothers has released the incredible Ronald Reagan Signature Collection box set. The 5-DVD set includes “Kings Row”, “Knute Rockne – All American”, “The Hasty Heart”, “Storm Warning” and “The Winning Team” and a great assortment of bonus features. Below you can find short reviews of each film, and the extras that each contain.
Kings Row (1942)
Set at the turn of the century, this film focuses on the picturesque town of Kings Row. To those who simply visit is it nothing short of perfection, a beautiful place to raise one’s children. But in reality it is smoke and mirrors camouflaging something less desirable. Centered at first around Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings), polite almost to a fault, Kings Row soon reveals its standout character in Drake McHugh (Ronald Reagan). McHugh is wealthy and irresponsible. As a tragedy and a shocking town conspiracy come to light, McHugh and Mitchell are left to face themselves as men. Ann Sheridan (of “They Drive By Night” fame and others) plays Randy Monaghan, an innocent woman with the best of intentions who is soon caught in the middle. In this tale of hopes and dreams, the sinister balance of murder and insanity threaten all who inhabit Kings Row. DVD special features include: a fantastic Commentary; WB Shorts and Cartoons – Shoot Yourself Some Golf (1942), Fox Pop (1942); and the Theatrical Trailer.
Storm Warning (1951)
Marsha Mitchell (Ginger Rogers) is a dress model who stops to visit her sister (played by Doris Day) and stumbles across a vicious crime at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. The streets are dark and secluded, and only the street lights shining down on the rain-covered asphalt enable her to witness the act. Shaken, she returns to her sister’s house only to find that her brother-in-law is one of the perpetrators. A young District Attorney named Burt Rainey (Ronald Reagan) is determined to bring a case against the Klan, but Mitchell is his only witness. Torn between protecting her sister and doing the right thing, she experiences a rollercoaster of obstacles and is finally forced to choose a side. DVD special features include: Interactive Menus and the Theatrical Trailer.
Knute Rockne- All American (1940)
“Go in there and win just one for the Gipper.” This now famous line of dialogue belongs to an even greater piece of cinema history – the famous half-time speech Knute Rockne gives to his losing team, quoting George “The Gipper” Gipp. Ronald Reagan plays Gipp, a real-life football star who faces an incredible battle with Pneumonia. Knute Rockne (played brilliantly by Pat O’Brien) is the legendary coach of the Notre Dame Football team, whose determination for victory and influence over his young players was often the only push they got in life. The film follows Rockne from his childhood in Norway to becoming a Notre Dame player himself and then eventually a coach who assembled one of the greatest college teams in all of history. A true testament to overcoming the odds, this 1940 classic is revered by both football fans and classic movie collectors alike. Years later, in his political career, Reagan revitalized his famous saying: “Win this one for the Gipper”. DVD special features include: a Commentary; WB Short and Cartoon – Teddy, The Rough Rider (1940), Porky’s Baseball Broadcast (1940); a December 1940 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast and the Theatrical Trailer.
The Hasty Heart (1949)
Set in 1945 Burma, The Hasty Heart is a more somber affair. The war is over, and the soldiers have realized that after being away from home for so long, the day has finally come to return. All of them, except one. Corporal Lachlan “Lachie” MacLachlan (played by Richard Todd) has sustained an injury to his lower back. The injury is severe enough to warrant surgery, which he undergoes. As time passes, MacLachlan slowly recovers, but finds it disheartening to watch his fellow soldiers getting ready to leave. The damage is far more serious than he was led to believe; the wound destroyed one of his kidneys and rendered the other very weak. With his time running short, the head nurse places him in the company of others who are waiting to return home. One of those men is “Yank” (played by Ronald Reagan), an American soldier who joins the others in concealing MacLachlan’s fatal condition. “Lachie” does eventually find out and turns against his newfound “friends”, who still attempt to show him the power of friendship. DVD special features include: a Commentary by Vincent Sherman; WB Shorts – So You Want to Be in Pictures (1947), For Scent-imental Reasons (1949) and the Theatrical Trailer.
The Winning Team (1952)
The 2nd Ronald Reagan-Doris Day collaboration of the set, The Winning Team stars Ronald Reagan as Grover Cleveland Alexander, another real-life sports hero. However, this time the game is baseball. Starting out as a telephone worker, Alexander plays only as a hobby until he is recruited by the Philadelphia Nationals. As a minor league player, he is hit in the head by a ball and suffers double vision, a condition that continued to plague him throughout his life. His rise to stardom is cultivated by his impressive winning record and the support of his wife Aimee (played by Doris Day). “Alex the Great” is traded twice after playing for the Nationals, first to the Chicago Cubs, during which World War I comes along. Alexander is sent to war, where his double vision surfaces once again. The condition worsens, and he turns to drinking as a way of dealing with his illness. The alcoholism soon gets out of hand and his wife struggles along with him, determined to weather the storm. Soon after, he is traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. It is during his time with the Cardinals that manager Frank Lovejoy (played by Rogers Hornsby, an actual Major League Baseball player and manager) takes him under his wing and makes possible his amazing comeback. DVD special features include: the Theatrical Trailer.
In summary, Warner Brothers, Ronald Reagan Signature Collection is not only a must have for Reagan aficionados, but for lovers of film.
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