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Olive Films' July DVDs sizzle. Stay in, cool off and watch Agnes Moorehead age

Olive Films' July titles sizzle
Olive Films' July titles sizzle
Author's collection

The dog daze of July?
Too hot to go out?

Stay in, cool off and pop in these wonderful just-released Olive Films. They sizzle!

Operation Petticoat (1959)
Screen legends Cary Grant and Tony Curtis ship out for laughs and adventure in one of the most hilarious comedies to ever hit the high seas. The U.S.S. Sea Tiger is on its last legs until the handsome skipper (Grant) and his ingenious, if slightly unethical, junior officer (Curtis) scavenge the parts and supplies needed to put the sub back into action. Forced out to sea prematurely by an enemy air attack, the sub leaks and limps along until five stranded Army nurses come aboard and initiate their own renovations. From one mishap to another, the sub ends up a blushing pink, making it a target for both Japanese and American forces. The two dashing stars lead an all-star supporting cast that includes Joan O’Brien, Dina Merrill, Gene Evans, Dick Sargent, Arthur O’Connell, Gavin MacLeod, Madlyn Rhue and Marion Ross. Wonderfully directed by the legendary Blake Edwards and beautifully shot in color by the great Russell Harlan.

So This Is New York (1948)
Legendary Richard Fleischer directed this 1948 comedy based on Ring Lardner’s novel The Big Town and adapted for the screen by Carl Foreman and Herbert Baker. The film follows a rube, Henry Morgan, on a journey as he uses his recently obtained inheritance to take a trip to 1910’s New York with his wife (Virginia Grey) and sister-in-law (Dona Drake). Along the way, he encounters numerous eccentric characters including a drunken jockey, a sleaze ball millionaire and a devious stage actor–all scheming to court his sister-in-law in order to gain a slice of the inheritance. The cast includes comic legends Rudy Vallee, Bill Goodwin, Hugh Herbert, Jerome Cowan and Leo Gorcey. This is New York was the maiden voyage for producer/director Stanley Kramer and radio humorist Henry Morgan’s first film.

Good Sam (1948)
Sam (Gary Cooper) is a department store manager and a devoted family man. Unfortunately for Sam, no good deed goes unpunished. When Sam loans the family car to the neighbors ... he gets sued when they have an accident.
When he invites his brother-in-law for a visit–much to the dismay of Sam’s wife (Ann Sheridan)–the man stays around for six months. Sam is even willing to loan his own family savings to a young couple so they can start their own business and have a baby. Eventually, Sam learns why nice guys finish last when he himself needs someone to turn to! Legendary director, Leo McCarey directed this dark comedy with gorgeous black-and-white cinematography by the great George Barnes.

Caught (1948)
Caught is a tale of Leonora (Barbara Bel Geddes), an aspiring carhop who meets and marries a mysterious millionaire, Smith Ohlrig (Robert Ryan). Soon after the wedding, Laura realizes she’s trapped in a loveless marriage with a ruthless workaholic husband who torments her with twisted mind games. Unable to obtain a divorce from Smith, she moves out of the mansion and goes to work for a dedicated doctor, Larry Quinada (James Mason). The two quickly fall in love but the romance comes to an abrupt halt when Leonora learns that she is pregnant with Ohlrig’s child. Legendary director Max Opuls (Max Ophüls) and the top-notch cast masterfully navigate the ensuing complications through atmospheric cinematography by Lee

The Lost Moment (1947)
This is a thriller in the tradition of Rebecca and the only film directed by actor Martin Gabel. Robert Cummings stars as Lewis Venable, an energetic American publisher in search of the lost love letters of an early 19th century poet. Under a false name, Lewis rents a room in a mansion from Juliana Borderau (Agnes Moorehead), a former lover of the dead writer. Overseeing the eerie mansion is Juliana’s near- psychotic niece, Tina (Susan Hayward), who mistrusts the publisher from the very onset. It soon becomes clear to Lewis that the mansion harbors horrible secrets, however, he intends to collect the lost letters at any cost. Art director Alexander Golitzen and set decorators Russell A. Gausman and Ken Swartz make great use of the haunting Venetian mansion. The incredible makeup used to make Agnes Moorehead appear 105 years-old created quite a stir in 1947, as it became the subject of many magazine articles. The Lost Moment was shot in glorious black- and-white by Hal Mohr from an adapted screenplay by Leonardo Bercovici and based on the Henry James’ best- selling novel The Aspern Papers.

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)
Things seem to be going swimmingly for Mr. Peabody (William Powell)–then one day his life takes a whimsical turn. While fishing, he snags a beautiful mermaid (Ann Blyth). In a flight of youthful fancy, the stodgy Bostonian falls for the mermaid and takes her to a pond at his villa. The seemingly harmless crush creates all sorts of comical mix-ups! When Mr. Peabody’s jealous wife’s car (Irene Hervey) is found abandoned, the discovery leads the police to believe he bumped off his own wife! Irving Pichel directed this whimsical comedy with an uproarious screenplay by legendary Nunnally Johnson.

Armored Attack (1943)
When the school year ends, five friends from a small Ukrainian village decide to travel to Kiev. Their trip is cut short when German aircraft attack and their town falls under occupation. While many escape to the hills to form an anti- Nazi resistance group, a German doctor, Dr. Otto Von Harden (Erich von Stroheim), begins to use the children for medical experiments and as sources of blood transfusions for wounded German soldiers.
Directed by Lewis Milestone, this story of valiant resistance stars Dana Andrews, Anne Baxter and Walter Huston as the Russian doctor who discovers the nefarious German plot. This disc includes the original theatrical cut, The North Star, which runs 30 minutes longer and preserves Milestone’s initial version of the film before these politically-motivated changes were made.

Arch of Triumph (1948)
In 1938, Paris has become a haven for refugees trying to escape growing Nazi power. Charles Boyer plays Dr. Ravic, a German surgeon practicing med- icine illegally in France. Always one step away from being discovered and sent back to Germany, he seeks revenge on his enemy, a Nazi officer (Charles Laughton), who tortured him. One night, he saves Joan Madou, played by Ingrid Bergman, a woman cast adrift after the death of her lover. He finds her a job singing at a nightclub, and eventually they begin an affair, only to be separated when Ravic is found out and deported. Lewis Milestone’s adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel is an atmospheric tale of romance and revenge set among the rising tensions of a continent at the brink of war.

Forever Female (1953)
After aspiring playwright Stanley Krown’s (William Holden) new play is optioned, his producer (Paul Douglas) insists he rewrites the script to allow his middle-aged ex-wife (Ginger Rogers) to play the lead role, that of a 19-year- old ingénue. But the role wasn’t meant for her, and despite constant changes, Krown’s play can’t seem to win over critics. Irving Rapper directs this charming update to J.M. Barrie’s play Rosalind. A sly showbiz satire, Forever Female also features Pat Crowley in her Golden Globe winning performance as Sally Carver, the young actress who wants nothing more than the lead part for herself.

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