top of page

The Latest Blu-ray & DVD Releases: September 2019

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Whether you’re seeking to build a library filled with great fashion-in-film moments or classic essentials, here’s a selection of DVDs and Blu Rays with late August and September 2019 releases:

Magnificent Obsession (1954)

The Criterion Collection

on DVD and Blu-ray, released 8/20/19

Starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson

Directed by Douglas Sirk

Costumes by Bill Thomas

List price: $39.95, available at

Criterion and Shop TCM

Douglas Sirk specialized in films that didn’t skimp on melodrama or a lush look, and Magnificent Obsession is an ideal example (starting with the title). Rock Hudson plays Bob Merrick, a playboy who only cares about the latest diversion he can create for himself, but when he wrecks his speedboat on a lake one afternoon, his negligence inadvertently causes the death of a local doctor, who suffered a heart attack and needed the life-saving equipment that was sent to Merrick instead. Jane Wyman plays the doctor’s widow, who not only finds out Merrick’s identity, she suffers her own accident while running away from him, and is rendered blind as a result. Merrick decides to mend his ways and become a doctor — might he be able to save Wyman’s character down the road? This is a Douglas Sirk film, in the same soapy tone as Imitation of Life and Written on the Wind, so it’s a pretty sure bet.

In addition to the film’s high-definition digital restoration, features include the 1935 version, starring Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor, also newly restored, as well as a 2009 interview with Robert Blees, screenwriter of the 1954 film, and a 2008 interview with filmmakers Alison Anders and Kathryn Bigelow, in which they discuss Sirk’s influence. If you’re ever in the mood for a tear-jerker drama laced with camp undertones, you can’t do better than a Sirk film.

Jezebel (1938)

Warner Archive Collection

on Blu-ray, released 8/27/19

Starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda

Directed by William Wyler

Costumes by Orry-Kelly

List price: $21.99, available at WB Shop

It may be the most-discussed gown in a black-and-white film: the scandalous red dress that Bette Davis’s Julie wears to the Olympus Ball, where custom dictates that unmarried women only wear white. Her stubbornness ultimately costs her the love of her fiancé, played by Henry Fonda. Of course, the dress in Jezebel wasn’t really red — that color would have appeared too pale on black-and-white film, so the design by Orry-Kelly was actually a bronze hue, which achieved a deep tone that correctly communicated Julie’s shocking decision. Davis picked up the second of her two Academy Awards for Jezebel (she was nominated 11 times), while this William Wyler film was also famously arose out of Jack Warner’s desire to not only capitalize on the popularity of Gone With the Wind, but also beat that film, released in 1939 by rival David O. Selznick, into theaters.

This new remaster includes various featurettes and shorts, but the best addition is the commentary track by renowned film historian Jeanine Basinger. Turn on her audio and enjoy her insights while viewing the lush sets and costumes and Davis’s powerhouse performance.

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Kino Lorber

on DVD & Blu-ray, released 9/3/19

Starring Sir Alec Guinness

Directed by Robert Hamer

Costumes by Anthony Mendelson

List price: $19.95 and $29.95, available at

KL Studio Classics

This is the film that made a star of Sir Alec Guinness — and why not? It’s a tour-de-force performance in which he takes on eight roles in this story of a member of nobility, played by Dennis Price, who finds himself too deeply positioned on the succession chart; driven largely by revenge, he decides to murder the eight members of his family who stand between him and a dukedom that comes with a fortune. Guinness’s characters span both age and gender, from Henry, an amateur photographer, to an elderly reverend and Lady Agatha.

Features include an audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, film historian and editor in chef of Diabolique magazine, an introduction by filmmaker John Landis, and an interview with Douglas Slocombe, cinematographer on Kind Hearts and Coronets. Ultimately this is pretty much a perfect film by Ealing Studios, which specialized in this type of British black comedy in the years following World War II, with two other notable examples also starring Guinness: 1951’s The Lavender Hill Mob and 1955’s The Ladykillers. Kind Hearts and Coronets also is listed on the British Film Institute’s top-100 list of British films, following (from fifth to first) 1946’s Great Expectations, 1935’s The 39 Steps, 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia, 1945’s Brief Encounter, and in the number-one position, 1949’s The Third Man.

Dial M For Murder 3D (1954)

Warner Archive Collection

on Blu-ray, released 9/10/19

Starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Costumes by Moss Mabry

List price: $21.99, pre-order at WB Shop

Made just as the 3D fad was waning, Dial M For Murder was Hitchcock’s only venture into the technology. It’s the story of the married Margot Wendice, played by Grace Kelly in the first of her three Hitchcock films, who’s accused of murder after killing an intruder sent by her husband, played by Ray Milland, a professional tennis player who decided to rid himself of his philandering wife while also availing himself of her fortune.

It’s fun to watch this classic in its 2D version and notice the moments Hitchcock specifically planned with 3D in mind, such as Milland’s finger on the rotary dial of a telephone, a call he’s making to set his wife’s murder in motion, and most especially when Kelly’s hand reaches out in desperation to search for the tool that may save her life. Nearly all of the action takes place in the couple’s (surprisingly tiny) London apartment, and the costumes by Moss Mabry include a spectacular red lace dress with matching bolero that Kelly wears in an early scene.

This restored version is based on the original negative and is tailor-made for those who have invested in a Blu-ray 3D player, though a restored 2D version is also included if 3D films don’t rank high enough in your library to warrant the investment in a 3D player. And Dial M For Murder has never been a film that’s too reliant on its 3D gimmicks — and make no mistake, 3D was a gimmick when it originally arrived in theaters. For many classic-film fans, the combination of Hitchcock and Grace Kelly is more than enough to make this a favorite.

The Letter (1940)

Warner Archive Collection

on Blu-ray, released 9/24/19

Starring Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall

Directed by William Wyler

Costumes by Orry-Kelly

List price: $21.99, pre-order at WB Shop

“With all my heart, I still love the man I killed!” It’s one of the great lines in classic films, yet what's so admirable about Bette Davis is that while you see the conflict within her Leslie, a married woman who has killed a man who turns out to be her lover, this reveal toward the end of the film still surprises. It also nicely bookends the gunshots that famously ring out at the very start of The Letter. Based on a 1927 play by W. Somerset Maugham, expanded from his own 1926 short story, The Letter also stars Herbert Marshall as Leslie’s too-trusting husband. This new remaster is notable not only for its look but also for the alternate ending included as a feature; for fans of vintage radio programs, two Lux Radio Theatre adaptations, both starring Davis and Marshall, are also included. For Davis fans, The Letter is a must-have.

bottom of page