James Stewart: In The Frame

29/10/2007
  |  Buy to Own: 29/10/2007
  |  699 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC

Synopsis

This set contains six films starring James Stewart. In 'You Can't Take It With You' (1938), Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore) is an eccentric who retired from the rat race thirty years ago and now uses his fortune to encourage his family and friends to pursue their interests. While Vanderhof paints (badly), other family members make fireworks, party masks and practice ballet. The only comparatively normal relative is Alice (Jean Arthur), Vanderhof's granddaughter, who works as a receptionist for businessman Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold). Alice is in love with Kirby's son, Stewart (Stewart), but matters are complicated when it transpires that Kirby wishes to purchase and demolish Vanderhof's mansion in order to build on the land. In 'Mr Smith Goes To Washington' (1939), Stewart plays the naive Jefferson Smith who is chosen to replace a recently deceased senator. He heads for Washington full of idealistic dreams of serving his country, looking forward to working with his idol: senior senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). Upon his arrival, he is ridiculed in the press for his gullibility, but with the aid of his secretary, Saunders (Jean Arthur), he begins to realize that the world of politics is a cut-throat one full of double dealing. When he discovers that Paine is working on a scheme for a new dam which will only profit him and his cronies, Smith sets out to expose the man he formerly idolised. Stewart plays a vengeful cow-herder in 'The Man From Laramie' (1955), who arrives in New Mexico determined to find the man who was responsible for the killing of his brother who was shot down by Apaches armed with automatic rifles. Stewart is looking for the man who sold them to the Indians. This is one of five classic westerns Stewart made with director Anthony Mann. In 'Anatomy Of A Murder' (1959), smalltown lawyer Paul Biegler (Stewart) courts controversy when he agrees to defend army lieutenant Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara), who is facing charges of murder. It is alleged that Manion killed a bartender whom he believed to have raped his wife (Lee Remick), and the evidence assembled by the hard-headed big city prosecutor Claude Dancer (George C. Scott) seems to confirm this. Nevertheless, Biegler believes in his client and does his best to prove his innocence. Stewart plays the marshall of a small town in 'Two Rode Together' (1961). He doesn't do much to earn his badge, preferring to take money for illicit dealings. He is persuaded by Richard Widmark to rescue a group of 'Whites' who were kidnapped by the Commanche Indians . However, when they do finally rescue two people and bring them back to the town, they are less than welcome. 'Bell, Book And Candle' (1958) is a light-hearted tale of beatnik sorcerey in 1950s Greenwich Village. When modern-day witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) first sets eyes upon publisher Shepherd Henderson (Stewart), she knows right away that he's the man for her and casts a spell to make him fall in love with her. Trouble is, Shepherd is already engaged to be married - and to an old enemy of Gillian's as well.