1939 was a very good year for film. The Russians and Germans didn’t invade Poland until September, the worst of the Great Depression was behind most Americans and Hollywood had made amazing technological advances since the launch of The Talkie a decade earlier.
It was the year of Gone With the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, Stagecoach, Of Mice and Men and The Wizard of Oz. And so many more, including director John Farrow’s Five Came Back, starring none other than Lucille Ball, along with Chester Morris, John Carradine, Allen Jenkins, Wendy Barrie and Joseph Calleia.
The film’s script was by Jerome Cady (Oscar nominated for Wing and a Prayer), Dalton Trumbo (Oscar winner for both The Brave One and Roman Holiday) and Nathanael West (whose landmark novel, “The Day of the Locust,” was published just weeks before Five Came Back opened theatrically).
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced that a newly remastered edition of Five Came Back will be making its long-overdue DVD debut on June 23.
Other film releases making their DVD bow on the same date include Banjo, Gypsy Colt, Hugo the Hippo and Lad: A Dog.
Lon Chaney, the man of a thousand faces, will also be the focus of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s June 23 DVD hit parade with the release of the Lon Chaney: The Warner Archive Classic Collection.
Included here are five of his classic silent film performances, plus his only “Talkie,” director Jack Conway’s 1930 film release of The Unholy 3.
Among the silent films in this set are He Who Gets Slapped, Mockery, The Monster, Mr. Wu and director Tod Browning’s original silent version of The Unholy 3.
Lastly, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced that on Sept. 21 director Sidney Lumet’s 1975 Oscar nominee for Best Picture, Dog Day Afternoon, will be getting a “40th Anniversary” makeover for release on Blu-ray.
Bonus features include commentary by director Sidney Lumet, the previously released four-part production featurette titled “The Making of Dog Day Afternoon” and a DVD bonus disc presentation of the 2009 documentary from Richard Shepard, I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale.