Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Boxed Set Review: Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection

The Warner Bros. Romance Classic Collection is a true delight. It's a time machine that transports you to a bygone era and fills you with nostalgia. If you expect a gourmet meal you'll be disappointed, but if you expect delicious candy, you will be thrilled. This boxed set captures the youthfulness of the early '60s with films that spoke to the youth of that generation. It's the living end! Also, the films have been digitally remastered giving them a visual vibrancy that age had once taken away. I just spent a lovely weekend watching the movies in the set.

It contains 4 films starring '60s heartthrob Troy Donahue. First there is Palm Springs Weekend (1963), a hilarious madcap sex comedy geared towards the college-bound. Then it is followed by three coming-of-age stories marking the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time writer/director Delmer Daves teamed up with actor Troy Donahue, the first being A Summer Place (1959). There is Parrish (1961), a soap about a young man torn between three women in Connecticut's Million-Dollar-Mile. Then there is Rome Adventure (1962), a fun escapist movie about a young New England librarian who flees to Italy to find love. Finally there is Susan Slade (1960), a soap about an unmarried young woman who holds a secret that could destroy her romantic and social life. Posts on each of the films are to come.

I find that a lot of classic film fans don't like the movies from the '60s, which in my opinion is an utter shame. Such wonderful movies have came out of this era. It is important to regard these films within the context of the time they came from. Sex comedies and coming-of-age soap operas were escapist vehicles for teenagers and young adults in the '60s. They spoke directly to young audiences in ways that films from previous decades hadn't been able to.

I would recommend this boxed set to anyone who has an open mind and is willing to give films from the 1960s a try. They are all fun and enjoyable to watch. My only complaint about this boxed set is that all the films star Troy Donahue, someone who I've always thought was just bleh. But it is made up for with the likes of such fine personalities as Angie Dickinson, Connie Stevens, Suzanne Pleshette and Stefanie Powers.

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  1. Well, as you know I'm one of those 60's shy-aways. They always just make me so sad at the loss of quality that is exhibited. They can't even be compared to the incredible films of the 40's. Now, there are some exceptions - the Jim Hutton / Paula Prentiss films being some.

    That said, I'm willing to give these ones you wrote about a chance, because you and I often agree about films. I love it how you said that Troy Donahue is "bleh." I call people that too!

  2. I don't know why films of the 60s don't get any respect. There were great musicals such as The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady, the Paul Newman and Warren Beatty films. Many classics came out of this decade. I don't know about Troy Donahue, but I will certainly have to check out this boxed set.

  3. The '60s aren't my favorite decade, but I thought this set looked like fun and picked it up. Haven't opened it yet, so I'm glad to hear a thumbs up from another viewer. :)

    My daughter who is studying in England leaves for a visit to Rome tomorrow. Maybe I should watch ROME ADVENTURE in honor of her trip (grin).

    I'm also planning to get the Natalie Wood set which has '60s films. I always liked her.

    Best wishes,

  4. Casey- I see what you mean. Why don't you try something like A Patch of Blue? It's an excellent film, well-written, starring Sidney Poitier and Shelley Winters and socially relevant to that period. It's a drama but it has light-hearted moments.

    Robby - We need to make the '60s cool again! Let me know what you think of the set.

    Laura - I hope your daughter has fun in Rome! Rome Adventure is a perfect tie-in. I have the Natalie Wood collection too and will be reviewing that boxed set fairly soon! Stay tuned.

  5. I was definitely very 60's-averse for quite a while, but I've accidentally caught a few movies from that era and might have even liked them. I'll definitely try to check out a few of those films if I get the chance.

  6. Rome Adventure sounds the best to me- I just added it to my Netflix list. I'm an escapist movie fanatic :) I've always like pre-60's movies the best, but lately I've found a few that I really like. I love the sex comedies, like the Doris Day/Rock Hudson films, and I just fell in love with Sunday in New York last year, and now it's my go-to movie when I'm feeling low. Your recommendations never fail, so I'm looking forward to the movies in this set. Just watched Leave Her to Heaven & really enjoyed it (thanks!)

  7. Raquelle,
    The only film I'm familiar with in this bunch is A Summer Place, which I remember as a beautiful romantic film with a fantastic score by Max Steiner.

    The theme became an even bigger hit than the movie itself and can still be heard in an elevator near you.
    If you aske me, I prefer Percy Faith's rendition.

  8. Princess - I was too. I'm glad I got over it because it's such a fun decade of movies. Let me know what you think of these.

    Kate - I'm posting a review on Rome Adventure tomorrow in case you want to learn more about it.

    I'm glad you liked my recommendations. However, I like almost everything I watch, so I'm sure I'll recommend a dud one of these days.

    Jonas - Watch for my next two posts. I talk about music in two of the movies. An homage to you!


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