O. Henry's Full House DVD
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Produced in 1952
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Five Oscar winning directors, impressive star power - Monroe, Laughton, Widmark - and the high gloss of 20th Century Fox’s golden age make this an irresistible package, writes Anthony Nield.
With their combination of wit, social commentary and slyly ironic endings, the short fictions of the American author O. Henry can often read like episodes of The Twilight Zone shorn of their fantastical underpinnings. Indeed, watching O. Henry’s Full House - 20th Century Fox’s anthology feature of 1952 which brought together a quintet of the author’s tales - is a little like watching five such episodes back-to-back. Each story is granted a 25-minute running time; each is in possession of terrific production values; and each plays host to a familiar face or two - Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark, the list goes on...
Fox put their all into Full House, employing some of their most celebrated writers and directors (every single one had at least one Oscar nomination to their name) and making use of some of Henry’s most beloved works. The Cop and the Anthem finds Laughton playing Soapy, a homeless man fruitlessly trying to get himself arrested for the winter so that he’ll have a roof above his head. In The Clarion Call two old pals - a murderer and a detective - meet up in less than friendly circumstances. The Last Leaf tells of an ageing artist who must produce one final work of art to help a dying young woman. The Ransom of Red Chief (directed by Howard Hawks) sees a pair of con men outsmarted by their infant kidnap victim. And The Gift of the Magi is a touching Christmas tale of a couple who are very much in love but can barely make ends meet.
Alternately sweet, silly, serious and sentimental, the overall mix is a highly satisfying one. Add to this the high gloss of 20th Century Fox’s golden age - not to mention the impressive star power - and it’s hard not to fall for Full House’s charms. A great movie package deserves a great DVD package and we get one of these too. This extras-packed edition finds room for two documentaries on Henry, an audio commentary from his biography plus a pair of wonderfully jaunty silent comedies based upon his stories. Girls, a campus-set romp from 1927, is particularly delightful.
Anthony Nield on 18th July 2012
Author of 9 reviews
John Steinbeck introduces a quintet of five of O. Henry's most celebrated stories from his New York Period (1902-1910) in this anthology film whose stars include Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Baxter, Richard Widmark, Fred Allen and Farley Granger. Each film has a delicious twist in the tail.
Contains The Cop and The Anthem (Henry Koster): A tramp (Charles Laughton) decides to spend winter in a nice warm jail cell – only to find it impossible to get arrested! Guest stars Marilyn Monroe.
The Clarion Call (Henry Hathaway): A cop (Dale Robertson) discovers an old friend (Richard Widmark) is a murderer - an old friend to whom he owes a big debt.
The Last Leaf (Jean Negulesco): An artist (Gregory Ratoff) must find a way to help a young girl dying of a broken heart and her desperate sister (Anne Baxter & Jean Peters).
The Ransom of Red Chief (Howard Hawks): Two city slickers (Fred Allen & Oscar Levant) decide to kidnap a country boy for ransom. After all, kids are easier to control - aren’t they?
The Gift of The Magi (Henry King): On Christmas Eve, an impoverished young couple (Farley Granger & Jeanne Crain) decide to buy each other Christmas presents they can’t possibly afford.
Publisher: Odeon Entertainment
Length: 113 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Cat No: ODNF367
Format: DVD Colour
- Commentary by Dr Jenny Lind Porter
- The Life and Writing of O’Henry Featurette
- Stills Gallery
- 2 Additional O. Henry Shorts
- Collector's Booklet.