A Hitchcock classic, Dietrich in a Lubitsch comedy, and a Doris Day favorite are among this month’s highlights.
Fantastic costumes and gorgeous settings can be discovered in abundance with this quartet of films available this month:
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Costumes by Edith Head
A famed cat thief who’s wrongly accused, and a gorgeous blonde who’s determined to both help him and win his love — one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most celebrated films is being re-released in a newly remastered print from a 4K film transfer. Whether you love To Catch a Thief for its stunning south-of-France locations, the fab Edith Head costumes or the fantastic chemistry between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, this is a must-have for any film fan’s library. Features include a commentary track by Hitchcock historian Dr. Drew Casper and a “Filmmaker Focus” spotlight by Leonard Maltin. To Catch a Thief is also among the first releases by Paramount Presents, a new label created to celebrate classics via a curated selection of releases (with plans to also show the same films on the big screen in theaters — stay tuned for developments there).
KL Studio Classics
Starring Marlene Dietrich and Herbert Marshall
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Costumes by Travis Banton
If you’re seeking a lighthearted Marlene Dietrich film featuring some fantastic costumes, definitely add Angel to your list. Travis Banton’s designs for Dietrich were always dazzling, but never more so than this story of a diplomat’s wife who decides her husband isn’t paying her enough attention, which leads to a dalliance in Paris — and this being a Lubitsch comedy, of course it’s soon revealed that the husband, played by Herbert Marshall, is an old friend of the dalliance, played by Melvyn Douglas. This new 4K master includes a commentary by historian Joseph McBride, author of How Did Lubitsch Do It? For fashion-in-film fans, this is a must-see title — you’ll surely be longing for several of Banton’s costumes for yourself.
Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
Starring Doris Day and James Cagney
Directed by Charles Vidor
Costumes by Helen Rose
List price: $17.99 on Blu-ray, at Shop TCM
Love Me or Leave Me scandalized some of Doris Day’s fans, who were put off by this film, in which she smoked, drank and wore costumes that belied her good-girl image. But Day wanted to tackle this role, a fictionalized story of real-life singer Ruth Etting, who was practically bullied into stardom by her husband, gangster Marty Snyder, a role that garnered an Academy Award nomination for James Cagney. (Though it’s undeniably one of her best performances, Day unfortunately was not given a nod — her only Oscar nomination came for 1959’s Pillow Talk.) Of course, another reason to watch Love Me or Leave Me is for the terrific costumes by Helen Rose, including the sensational and now-iconic blue dress seen here — perhaps back in 1955 some fans might have thought it showed too much leg? But today it consistently ranks as a favorite among Day’s still-loyal fans.
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)
Cohen Media Group
Starring Ava Gardner and James Mason
Directed by Albert Lewin
Costumes by Beatrice Dawson
Screen Chic covered the release of this gorgeously restored 1951 film when it arrived in theaters in February, and now you can enjoy this beautiful, haunting story at home. With an assist by Martin Scorsese, who owns an original print, in 2019 Cohen Media Group undertook a painstaking restoration of this Albert Lewin classic, the story of a beautiful, sultry woman who wins the hearts of men but never really falls in love — until she meets a mysterious boat captain one evening. Filmed in Spain and at London’s Shepperton Studios, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is simply a stunning film, not only because of its dazzling seaside locations and Ava Gardner’s lovely costumes by Beatrice Dawson, but also largely due to the work of legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff, a two-time Oscar winner for 1947’s Black Narcissus and 1960’s Sons and Lovers. In addition to the 4K restoration, features on this two-disc set include a cool restoration comparison, alternate opening credits, and a second (and equally haunting) Lewin feature, 1957’s The Living Idol.