Updated: Nov 1, 2019
Are you passionate about French films, a soapy noir story, a classic film about Hollywood, or anything with Bette Davis’s name above the title? Then these November releases were put together with you in mind:
Naked Alibi (1954)
Starring Sterling Hayden and Gloria Grahame
Directed by Jerry Hopper
Costumes by Rosemary Odell
Naked Alibi doesn’t rank among the most celebrated examples of film noir of all time, but try telling that to fans of the genre — or of Gloria Grahame, who is her sultry best in this story of a police chief, played by Sterling Hayden, who pursues a murder suspect and becomes understandably distracted by Grahame’s bad-girl-in-a-bar. And not unlike the suspect Hayden is chasing, the dress Grahame wears for most of the film, designed by Odell, is also a killer. Features on this edition include a new audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1959)
Starring Jeanne Moreau and Gerard Philipe
Directed by Roger Vadim
Costumes by Gladys de Segonzac
If you’re a fan of the 1782 novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos or Dangerous Liaisons, the 1988 Stephen Frears film starring Glenn Close and John Malcovich — or Valmont, the 1989 Milos Forman film starring Colin Firth and Annette Bening — then you’ll want to add this one to your collection. Roger Vadim set this version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in modern-day France, adding new layers of meaning as he updated the story to portray Jeanne Moreau’s Juliette de Merteuil and Gerard Philipe’s Vicomte de Valmont as a sophisticated, swinging couple who treat love like a game — until one of them meets someone who’s just too compelling. Among the best reasons to own this film? Its terrific score, by jazz legend Thelonious Monk. Indeed, this edition features an isolated music track, as well as an audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger. A terrific new take on a story that never gets old with new interpretations.
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Warner Archive Collection
Starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Costumes by Helen Rose
Hollywood can be unrelenting in telling its own tales, an idea that’s especially true of The Bad and the Beautiful, the fictional story of Jonathan Shields, a director who never realizes who he’s hurting in his quest to make great movies. Turner plays an alcoholic actress who misconstrues Jonathan’s motives, while Gloria Grahame almost steals the film (and won an Oscar) in a great supporting role as the Southern-belle wife of writer Dick Powell. This brand-new 4K restoration from the original camera negative also includes the feature-length documentary, “Lana Turner … A Daughter’s Memoir.” Helen Rose also took home an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for The Bad and the Beautiful, a gorgeous film that’s among the best in showcasing the highs and lows of Hollywood’s dream factory.
Now, Voyager (1942)
The Criterion Collection
Starring Bette Davis and Paul Henreid
Directed by Irving Rapper
Costumes by Orry-Kelly
One of Bette Davis’s best and featuring perhaps the greatest makeover scene of all time, Now, Voyager tells the story of Charlotte Vale as she goes from frumpy to glamorous, with the help of psychiatrist Claude Rains, and then promises her heart to the married Paul Henreid. Featuring classic costumes by Orry-Kelly (don’t miss the symbolism of Charlotte’s butterfly cape) and with a great supporting cast, Now, Voyager deserves to be in the library of every film fan. This edition is highlighted by a new, restored 4K digital transfer, with special features that include archival interviews with both Davis and Henreid, as well as a new interview with costume historian Larry McQueen. If you know someone who’s a classic-film fan, this is a holiday gift they’re sure to love.
All About Eve (1950)
The Criterion Collection
Starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costumes by Edith Head and Charles LeMaire
This story of Broadway legend Margo Channing and what happens when the seemingly innocent Eve Harrington ingratiates herself into the star’s life consistently ranks as a favorite among Bette Davis fans — and to think she got the part only when Claudette Colbert had to bow out due to a back injury. Almost 70 years after All About Eve’s release, we can’t imagine anyone but Davis in the role. One condition of Davis taking on the part: Edith Head had to be the one to design her costumes, resulting in a dress — for the “Fasten your seatbelts” party scene — that tops the list of film’s most iconic designs.
This 4K digital restoration includes two audio commentaries from 2010, with one of them featuring actor Celeste Holm, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s son, Christopher Mankiewicz, and author Kenneth L. Geist. Other features include a new interview with costume historian Larry McQueen, documentaries highlighting the life and career of Mankiewicz, and the 1951 radio adaptation. Seven decades after its release, All About Eve continues to distinguish itself as one of the wittiest, most biting scripts (by Mankiewicz) ever written. Don’t miss it.