The Controversial Classics Collection Hits DVD

ON

On May 10, Warner Home Video will debut DVDs of seven groundbreaking motion pictures, released in America over three decades from the ’30s to the ’60s that had dramatic social impact, changed attitudes and brought important political and social reforms. WHV’s The Controversial Classics Collection will include A Face in the Crowd, Blackboard Jungle, Fury, Bad Day at Black Rock, Advise and Consent, The Americanization of Emily and I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. All seven new-to-DVD titles will be available individually for $19.97 SRP or in a Gift Set for $79.92 SRP.

These films, which all took on hot button — some even taboo — topics such as prison injustice, racial tension, juvenile delinquency, homosexuality, mob violence as well as political corruption in Washington, the military and the media, caused America to take notice and do something about the issues the movies raised. Each film features either a commentary or documentary examining the film’s historical context and political impact.

About The Movies and Their Impact

Blackboard Jungle (1955)
Richard Dadier, a new teacher at inner city North Manual High, is a man eager to make a difference. Topics such as racial and sexual tensions, gang violence and apathy were topics Blackboard Jungle tackled 50 years ago that are still hot-button issues in schools. Glenn Ford as Dadier clings to his ideals and pays a price vying with teen misfits led by Vic Morrow and, in a star-making performance, a young Sidney Poitier.

Featuring Bill Hailey’s classic “Rock Around the Clock,” the film is often remembered as being responsible for the breakthrough of rock ‘n’ roll to the media and consumer mainstream. Richard Brooks (In Cold Blood) directed, based on Evan Hunter’s best seller.

DVD special features include:
” Commentary by co-stars Paul Mazursky and Jamie Farr, Glenn Ford’s son Peter Ford and Assistant Director Joel Freeman
” Droopy Cartoon Blackboard Jumble
” Theatrical Trailer
” Languages: English & French
” Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Andy Griffith made a stunning movie debut as Lonesome Rhodes, whose meteoric rise to TV fame is paralleled by his plunge into booze, sex and political corruption. From On the Waterfront’s Academy Award® -winning collaborators, director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg, A Face in the Crowd reflects the authenticity of filmmakers who know the media world from the inside out. Lee Remick also made her screen debut in this film which featured cameos from Mike Wallace, Walter Winchell, Betty Furness, Bennett Cerf and Burl Ives as themselves.

DVD special features include:
” New documentary Facing the Past – An all new retrospective with new interviews with stars Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and screenwriter Budd Schulberg
” Theatrical Trailer
” Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

Fury (1936)
Joe Wilson, a wrongly jailed man thought to have died in a blaze started by a bloodthirsty lynch mob, is alive. Now, Joe aims to ensure his would-be executioners meet the fate Joe miraculously escaped. Spencer Tracy is Joe, Sylvia Sidney is his bride-to-be and Fury lives up to its volatile name with its searing indictment of mob justice and lynching. In his first American film, director Fritz Lang (Metropolis, The Big Heat) combines a passion for justice and a sharp visual style into a landmark of social-conscience filmmaking.

DVD special features include:
” Commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, with interview excerpts of director Fritz Lang
” Theatrical trailer
” Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

Bad Day at Black Rock (1954)
Spencer Tracy (a 1955 Best Actor Oscar® nominee for this film) plays World War II veteran John J. Macreedy, who keeps his own counsel about why he’s come to Black Rock and who keeps his wits about him when confronted with threats and violence. John Sturges (The Great Escape) directed; Robert Ryan, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin are among the town’s thugs and other denizens.

DVD special features include:
” Commentary by film historian Dana Polan
” Theatrical trailer
” Languages: English & French
” Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

Advise and Consent (1962)
Three years after Anatomy of a Murder, Otto Preminger examined the body politic in Advise and Consent, a story of power and procedure where deals become extortion, closets reveal skeletons and careers are crushed. It was also one of the first mainstream films to deal with homosexuality. History buffs may think they recall real-life counterparts to the characters depicted while movie fans can revel in a rare array of star power: Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon, Don Murray, Gene Tierney, Peter Lawford, Franchot Tone and Charles Laughton in his final role.

DVD special features include:
” Commentary by film historian Drew Casper
” Theatrical trailer
” Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

The Americanization of Emily (1964)
Julie Andrews and James Garner headline this earlier milestone from screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky (Network) and director Arthur Hiller (also teamed later on The Hospital). Garner plays Charlie Madison, a U.S. Naval officer stationed in London, who cares nothing about glory. That attracts war widow Emily Barham (Andrews), who’s had her fill of seeing men go to war and never return. But the pair’s culture-clash romance is in peril when Charlie sees that the line to become the Navy’s first defunct WW II hero forms behind him.

DVD special features include:
” Commentary by Director Arthur Hiller
” Featurette Action on the Beach
” Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Surround Stereo
” Theatrical Trailer
” Languages: English & French
” Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Paul Muni gives a joltingly realistic performance in this powerhouse classic directed by Mervyn LeRoy (Little Caesar), based on autobiographical writings by chain-gang escapee Robert E. Burns. Like many ’30s crime sagas, this deals with gritty realities. Yet it also stands apart as a film that made a difference, igniting protests that led to vital penal reforms and Burns himself received a commuted sentence.

DVD special features include:
” Commentary by film historian Richard B. Jewell
” Vintage musical short 20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang
” Theatrical trailer
” Subtitles: English, French & Spanish