Grace Kelly is the embodiment of classic Hollywood. She was stunningly beautiful, she was an amazing actress, and she had an amazing, all be it short, career. She starred in eleven films between 1951 and 1956. This collection presents five of those.
Each of these films is worthy of a full review each in of themselves, but this is a box set review, so I’ll do my best to some up each of these in one paragraph.
The box set starts us off in 1953 with Mogambo, starring Kelly, Clark Gable and Ava Gardner in Kelly’s first feature film. Set in the wild African safari, Mogambo tells the story of a rugged trapper, Victor Marswell and the love triangle he gets trapped in with two beautiful women: the American Eloise Kelly (Gardner) and the British, and married, Linda Nordley (Kelly). The interesting thing about this film is that it’s a remake of a film Gable starred in thirty years early called Red Dust, thus making this Gable’s Thunderball, and while Thunderball was a probably a big mistake for Sean Connery, Mogambo is pretty good. I haven’t seen the original, so I can’t compare the two, but watching these three actors play against one another is fantastic. Their presence and performances help make this otherwise acceptable film interesting.
Next we move on to 1954 with the war film The Bridges At Toko-Ri. This seems an interesting choice for this set as Kelly is hardly in it at all. Instead the film focuses on Lt. Hary Brubaker (William Holden), a pilot who must embark on a near suicide mission to blow up a group of key bridges during the Korean War. Before the big mission he gets to spend a little time in Japan with his wife, Nancy (Kelly), but other than it’s all about Holden. This film seems to focus more on military procedure than drama. The last fifteen minutes packs more drama into it then the rest of the film. It’s these last few minutes that makes this otherwise fairly dull film worth sitting through, and this is coming from a huge Holden fan.
Next up we have Dial M For Murder, also 1954. This was Kelly’s first of three films with director Alfred Hitchcock, each of these three easily being the best three films she made. Dial is especially chilling, one of the finer films in Hitchcock’s long and great career.
After that we have Kelly’s crowing achievement, 1955’s The Country Girl,the only film that Kelly won an Academy Award. I’d never heard of this film going into this box set, and I’m really glad now that I’ve seen it. This film was amazing. Kelly stars again with Holden in this drama also starring Bring Crosby. I’d never seen Crosby play a character like this before, broken and weak, it was quite shocking. Holden plays Bernie Dodd, a stage director who wants to hire Frank Elgin (Crosby) to be in his next play even though the producer is against it because Frank is known to be a bit of a drunk. Bernie instantly clashes with Frank’s wife, Georgie (Kelly) over what each of them thinks is best for Frank. Along the way Bernie and Georgie fall for one another and Georgie must choose between the two men. Kelly certainly derserved to win for this film and if not for Marlon Brando winning for On The Waterfront I would have pegged Crosby as a shoe in, he’s that good in this.
Up next we have Kelly’s third pairing with Hitchcock, this time along side Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief. Her second film with Hitchcock is Rear Window, which, sadly, is not included in this set. I’ve actually previously reviewed Thief twice before, ones in 2007 and 2009, read the later review here. If you don’t want to read the review, this is an amazing movie and if you haven’t seen it you totally should.
Lastly we have 1956’s High Society, which was Kelly’s last film before retiring from film and marrying the Prince of Monaco. Here she teams once again with Bing Crosby and also stars with Frank Sinatra. If ever there is need of an actress to play a character where three men fall in love with her, Grace Kelly is your gal. It is very easy to believe that Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and John Lund have fallen in love with this woman. In this film you also get the battle of the crooners with Bing and Frank, which is pretty great. And if all that’s not enough for you, Louis Armstrong is in this film too and you get to see him play and that’s pretty awesome.
All-in-all this is a very solid collection. I would gladly sub Bridges for Rear Window, but other than that, this is a great set. If you’re a Grace Kelly fan and you don’t have these films, this is a great way to snatch them all up in one go.
To Catch a Thief and High Society are presented in a widescreen format while the others are presented in full screen. High Society is in 5.1 Surround sound, To Catch A Thief is in Dolby surround, the rest are in mono. These are great presentations of all these films. They all look and sound great.
There are special features for Dial M For Murder, To Catch a Thief and High Society, but all of these are available in previous individual releases of these films. You get nothing new. This set does come with a collection of post cards that are pretty cool. There is also the seventh and last disc which contains a documentary about Grace Kelly, Princess Grace De Monaco: A Moment In Time (51 min.).
Again, if you love Grace Kelly and don’t own any of her films yet, this is a great place to start.
Warner Bros. presents Grace Kelly Collection. Various directors and writers. Starring: Grace Kelly et al. 7 films on 7 discs. Running time: 696 minutes. Rating: PG. Released: July 29, 2014.
Tags: alfred hitchcock, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Dial M For Murder, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Grace Kelly Collection, To Catch A Thief