Once again Warner Archive has a pretty robust slate of new to blu-ray releases for this month, including the blu debut of two films from legendary screen couple Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. I’ll be focusing on those two titles, but I will make mention towards the end of some welcomed deep catalog cuts that are also getting their blu debut this month.
The pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, which began in 1942 with“Woman of the Year” and ended in 1967 with “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner,” is one of the all-time screen greats. The pair’s chemistry on-screen wasn’t just confined to their work on a film. Hepburn fell in love with Tracy and the two began an affair that lasted till Tracy’s death (itwas an open secret).
Warner Archive brings their third and seventh films to blu-ray this month. 1945’s “Without Love” is another instance where Hepburn was paired with material based on a play written by Phillip Barry, who also wrote “Holiday” and “The Philadelphia Story.” All of which Hepburn played in on stage and screen, the latter of which was responsible for giving her career a shot in the arm and ending her reputation as “box office poison.”
Every rental in Washington D.C. is full and new to town inventor Pat Jamieson (Tracy)
finds himself sharing a cab with a well to do drunk (Keenan Wynn). This leads to Jamison
spending the night at Wynn’s relation’s home. The relation is Jamie Rowan (Hepburn), who
agrees to let Pat stay at the house while it’s up for rent. Pat is in DC to do work for the war
department, and he promptly sets up shop in the basement.
“Without Love” has a great cast and a solid script. Lucille Ball also appears in the film
and it was adapted for the screen by Donald Ogden Stewart, who adapted “The Philadelphia
Story.” But I found the film to be OK. I had never heard of it till I saw the blu-ray. There was a
lot that I liked about the film, but it didn’t do anything specular for me. However, it’s another
great classic on blu-ray that looks fantastic. But I didn’t need to tell you that, right? Warner
Archive has a reputation for putting only the best looking masters they can out on blu-ray. It’s
another great effort from them.
1952’s “Pat and Mike” on the other hand, is an absolute delight. Heavyweights all around
with this one, a script by the wonderful duo of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, with direction by
George Cukor. Opportunistic sports promoter Mike Conovan (Tracy) is wowed over when he
sees the incredible golf chops of college faculty member Pat Pemberton (Hepburn). Mike decides
he wants to sign Pat.
As Pat begins the Mike brand of training, conditioning, and tournaments, they interact
with palooka boxers, mobsters, and start to fall in love. The film is a joy to watch and Warner
Archive’s new blu-ray of “Pat and Mike” looks great. A sharp, rich, detailed black and white image. Fans of this delightful film will be more than pleased with this wonderful new blu-ray edition.
A pair of deep catalog titles also comes out this month from Warner Archive, Norah
Ephron’s 1996 comedy “Michael” starring John Travolta, and “Clara’s Heart” an underseen 1988
drama starring Whoopi Goldberg. Both films look great, but you knew that was coming as again,
it’d be shocking for a Warner Archive blu-ray to NOT look great. All four films can be found at
www.wbshop.com/warnerarchive. Give the titles a look, I’m sure you can find one you’d love to
add to your library. See you next week.