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Win Yourself the Gift of Classic Cinema

Part of the joy of being a fan of cinema is discovering movies you didn’t know existed, especially if those are from a bygone age and have been very difficult to obtain for decades. This year, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has attempted to fix that by holding a “Voice Your Choice” survey with Home Theater Forum in which fans could vote for which classic film from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s should get a Blu-ray release. The results were astonishing, as nearly 80,000 votes were cast, leading Fox to elect to release both the winner AND the runner-up film from each decade, meaning eight classics are now available, as of December 3rd, for the first time ever in HD. And we’re giving all of them away to a lucky winner, just in time for the holidays. All 8 titles are available via FoxConnect, along with Cavalcade, the film that received the most write-in votes of any film.

The films in question are as follows:

Jesse James (#1)
(1939) Jesse James stars Tyrone Power as the most infamous bandit in the history of the West. Jesse James was a young Missouri farmer forced outside the law after ruthless agents for the transcontinental railroad kill his ailing mother and steal his family’s land. Together with his brother Frank (Henry Fonda), Jesse forms a gang of masked outlaws to strike back at the railroad company and the banks that have joined forces to swindle the oppressed farmers.

Call of the Wild (#2)
(1935) Jack Thornton has trouble winning enough at cards for the stake he needs to get to the Alaska gold fields. His luck changes when he pays $250 for Buck, a sled dog that is part wolf to keep him from being shot by an arrogant Englishman also headed for the Yukon.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (#1)
(1947) A romance between a young widow and a sea captain’s ghost weaves a magical tale of immortal love. Determined to live her life the way she wants, newly widowed Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) declines her straitlaced in-laws demand that she live with them and moves with her daughter (a young Natalie Wood) to the seaside into a cottage haunted by the handsome, blustering Captain Gregg (Rex Harrison). A deal is struck between the two in the wee hours of the morning allowing Lucy to stay in the house and the captain to materialize only in the master bedroom. As they gradually get to know each other better, Lucy’s spunk and stubbornness gains first the captain’s grudging respect, then his heart. But when another man woos Lucy, both must face that her future lies with the living, not in the spirit world.

The Black Swan (#2)
(1942) Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara cross romantic swords in this epic Oscar-winning swash buckler about a pirate determined to reform his thieving ways – after he steals one last heart! Recently reformed pirate Jamie Boy (Power) is supposed to be helping the new Governor of Jamaica, Captain Morgan, rid the Caribbean of black-hearted buccaneers. But when Jamie falls head over keel for the heavenly – but hotheaded – Lady Margaret (O’Hara), he gives caution the heave-ho, kidnaps Margaret and sets sail for the adventure of a lifetime! Packed with “action, excitement, thundering guns and a maiden in distress”

Carmen Jones (#1)
(1954) Powered by Georges Bizet’s grand music and Oscar Hammerstein II’s magnificent lyrics, this Americanized all-black version of the classic opera Carmen is “a dynamic superb show” with a positively “incandescent Carmen.” (Newsweek) Oscar-nominee Dorothy Dandridge stars in the title role, a passionate, sexy creature who lures Joe
(Harry Belafonte), a handsome soldier, away from his sweetheart (Olga James). Following a fatal brawl with his sergeant, Joe deserts his regiment with the sultry femme fatale. But Carmen soon tires of him and takes up with a heavyweight prize-fighter (Joe Adams). Triggering Joe’s tragic revenge. Helping to set the screen on fire are Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll, part of the “sensational troupe” that makes this jubilant musical film “hard to beat.”

Desk Set (#2)
(1957) Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) heads up the research department at the Federal Broadcasting Company, a major TV network. And she does her job very well, thank you very much. Assigned by the network president to introduce computers into some of the department’s functions, Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy) arrives at Bunny’s well-run division to observe daily activities. Unfortunately, however, Sumner is ordered to keep his mission secret. As a result, the whole staff believes they are being replaced. To make matters worse, there appears to be more than a little electricity between Bunny and Sumner, which upsets Bunny’s boyfriend Mike (Gig Young). As the tension mounts in the office, so do the laughs in this classic romantic comedy.

North to Alaska (#1)
(1960) John Wayne and Stewart Granger strike it rich in this rousing comedy-adventure set in the heyday of the Alaskan gold rush. When prospectors Sam McCord (Wayne) and George Pratt (Granger) hit the mother lode, George asks Sam to go to Seattle and fetch his sweetheart, Jennie, but she has already married someone else. Determined to bring George a new love, Sam invites a saloon dancer (Capucine) back to Nome as Jennie’s replacement.

The Undefeated (#2)
(1969) In the tumultuous aftermath of the Civil War, Union Calvary officer John Henry Thomas takes his heroic men west while southerner James Langdon takes his soldiers to Mexico. When their paths cross, they forge an uneasy friendship that is quickly tested as they get caught between Mexican rebels and the Emperor’s forces, and find themselves fighting side by side.

If these sound like something in which you would be interested, or if you’d like to make them the gift to a cinephile in your family, then leave us a comment below about which of those movies you’re most excited about. You must include a valid email address also, because we’re not gonna send a carrier pigeon to tell you you’ve won. All comments must be received by Friday, December 20th, 2013, so do not dawdle.

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  1. Brian Burkart says:

    The Black Swan, I’m a sucker for some swash buckling

  2. Steve Heron says:

    The one I would be most excited to watch would probably be Desk Set. It it’s hard to find movies with strong female protagonists today, let alone the 1950s, so it would be interesting to watch how they portray Bunny. Plus, it’s the only comedy on the list, all of the rest are either musicals, adventure films, or westerns. Plus with Spencer Tracey, Katherine Hepburn and even Gig Young, you know you’re in for a good time. Of course, they all intrigue me one way or another, but the one I’d pick up first would be Desk Set. (My other comments got swallowed.)

  3. Justin says:

    Both North to Alaska and The Undefeated would make great gifts for my dad, he’s been a lifelong John Wayne fan and just recently bought a Blu-ray player.

  4. Kate says:

    Ooh!! Desk Set is one of my favourite movies!!

  5. John Wayne in North to Alaska, all the way!

  6. Richard Kasoian says:

    Spaghetti westerns and vintage movies pull my family together every Christmas, to be able to have the hard copy high quality versions would mean so much to me.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Jesse James and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Those are both awesome! Great to see them in HD at last!

  8. Desk Set’s early computing gets my nerd humming.

  9. Abigail says:

    I used to get ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’ out of the library at least once a month from the ages of 8-12. I think my mother got sick of it, but I never have. I still watch it at least once a year, it is one of my all-time favorites!

  10. Daniella says:

    Desk Set sounds great!

  11. Nicole says:

    I’d have to say The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I’ve always loved that movie. Gene Tierney deserves more recognition than she gets these days. Plus, it’s got Natalie Wood, one of the best child actors ever.

  12. John Resotko says:

    My father was a big Maureen O’Hara fan, and we both shared a love of classic pirate films, so that one is high on my list.

  13. James Halcomb says:

    ‘The Black Swan’: the hat, the cape the attitude. What is a nerd supposed to aspire to, if not that.

  14. Melissa H says:

    Desk Set!!! This is one of all time favs. Hepburn and Tracy.. Such a great team. When ever it was on TV I’d watch it no matter where I came in.

  15. Melanie Jones says:

    I remember watching ‘The Black Swan’ as a kid always loved a good swash buckling pirate movie. They were always exciting to watch.
    But I must say my grandfather would be all over ‘The Undefeated’ HUGE John Wayne fan and I know this is one of his favourites. He is always watching a war/western movies.

  16. Sandy says:

    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I was ‘too cool’ to watch black and white movies for a while. When I finally saw this one, I became a fan of the ‘classics’.

  17. Vicki L. says:

    Call of the Wild and Carmen Jones both sound great!