Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


I’ve been watching a lot of classic movies lately, and the more I watch, the more I want to watch. About six months ago, it occurred to me that this is eminently do-able. Motion pictures have been around for over a hundred years, and enough classics have accumulated in that period of time that you can theoretically watch a masterpiece whenever you pop a DVD in your player.

That being said, it is with great enthusiasm that I tell you about “The Bette Davis Collection Vol. 3, a 6-disc box set from Warner Home Video available on DVD starting April 1. There is much to recommend this collection, but the thing I love most about it is that you can feel the care that went into packaging it. This is a box set for movie lovers made by movie lovers.

There are six vintage Bette Davis movies in the box:

  • In This Our Life (1942) – Davis and Olivia de Havilland in a drama about a young woman who ruins her sister’s life by running off with her husband. Directed by John Huston.

  • The Old Maid (1939) – Based on Edith Wharton’s novel about two sisters in love with the same man during the Civil War. He dies after fathering an illegitimate child to Davis, who then must pose as the child’s “old maid” aunt.

  • All This, and Heaven Too (1940) – The Oscar nominated story of a schoolteacher accused of abetting a murder.

  • The Great Lie (1941) – Davis plays a woman who agrees to raise her romantic rival’s child, only to be caught off-guard when the presumed-dead father makes a surprise return.

  • Deception (1946) - Davis plays a concert pianist torn between her husband and her composer.

  • Watch on the Rhine (1943) – The Oscar nominated drama with Davis and Paul Lukas being pursued by Nazis.

    All of the movies have been fully restored. They look and sound better than they ever have. You can also see that they showcase their subject’s wide range of performances. Davis remains one of the seminal screen icons, and judging from the work on display here, it’s easy to see why.

    All that would be enough to make “The Bette Davis Collection Vol. 3” worth buying, but what really puts this set over the top is the inclusion of an innovative (and ecstasy-producing) DVD experience known as “Warner Night at the Movies.” This feature aims to recreate the authentic film-going experience of the era when these movies were released.

    Each disc is accompanied by vintage cartoons, newsreels, and trailers from the year the individual film was released. You can watch just the movie itself, or you can opt to watch all the add-ons before the feature presentation. I grew up in a time when such pre-show attractions were no longer in use, so being able to recreate that feeling is as educational as it is fun. Also, the quality of the bonus material is first rate. I especially like some of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons that are included.

    The discs additionally contain new featurettes, archival radio dramatizations, and audio commentaries from film scholars. Anyone who loves classic cinema will relish each and every bonus to be found here.

    “The Bette Davis Collection Vol. 3” is a first-class set all the way around. If you love great old movies, then this is something you’ll absolutely want to have in your collection.

    Special Features list:

    In This Our Life:

  • Commentary by film historian Jeannine Basinger
  • Vintage newsreel
  • Technicolor patriotic short "March On, America!"
  • Technicolor musical short "Spanish Fiesta"
  • Classic cartoon Who’s Who in the Zoo
  • Trailers of In This Our Life and 1942’s Desperate Journey

    The Old Maid:

  • Vintage newsreel
  • Technicolor historical short "Lincoln in the White House"
  • Howard Hill sports short "Sword Fishing"
  • Classic cartoons "The Film Fan" and "Kristopher Kolumbus"
  • Trailers of The Old Maid and 1939’s Confessions of a Nazi Spy

    All This, and Heaven Too:

  • Vintage newsreel
  • Technicolor patriotic short "Meet the Fleet"
  • Classic cartoons "Hollywood Daffy" and "Porky’s Last Stand"
  • Trailers of All This, and Heaven Too and 1940’s Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet
  • Audio-only bonus: Radio show adaptation with the film’s stars

    The Great Lie:

  • Vintage newsreel
  • Broadway Brevities short "At the Stroke of Twelve"
  • Oscar-nominated Technicolor Sports Parade short "Kings of the Turf"
  • Hollywood Novelty short "Polo with the Stars"
  • Classic cartoon "Porky’s Pooch"
  • Trailers of The Great Lie and 1941’s The Strawberry Blonde


  • Vintage newsreel
  • Oscar-winning Technicolor Sports Parade Short "Facing Your Danger"
  • Technicolor Specials Short "Movieland Magic"
  • Classic cartoon "Mouse Menace"
  • Trailers of Deception and 1946’s A Stolen Life

    Watch on the Rhine:

  • Career profile Bette Davis: A Basically Benevolent Volcano
  • Commentary by film historian Bernard F. Dick
  • Technicolor patriotic short "March On, America!"
  • Musical short "Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra"
  • Classic cartoon "The Wise Quacking Duck"
  • Trailers of Watch on the Rhine and 1943’s Mission to Moscow

    Check out the official website: The Bette Davis Collection Vol. 3

    Or purchase it online here

    The Bette Davis Collection Vol. 3 - Own it on DVD April 1

  • Return to The Aisle Seat