The Bette Davis Collection; the Joan Crawford Collection
Warner Home Video. $50 for each collection, $20 for an individual film
Bette DAVIS and Joan Crawford were two of cinema's biggest female stars, racking up 200 pictures between them, along with three Oscars and 13 Academy Award nominations.
The two also nursed a bitter rivalry, which came to a head when they made "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" in 1962.
Crawford once said of Davis, "I resent her. She's a phony, but I guess the public really likes that." And Davis remarked upon learning of Crawford's death in 1977: "You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good.... Joan Crawford is dead. Good!"
Fireworks aside, these collections, each featuring five films, show the grandes dames of drama at their best. Five of the 10 films are new to DVD, while one is a reissue.
Here are the titles new to DVD:
Crawford followed up her Oscar-winning turn in 1945's "Mildred Pierce" with this delicious 1946 melodrama.
The actress plays a wealthy married socialite who falls for a handsome, driven violinist (a sexy John Garfield) who is obsessed with music. Oscar Levant and a young Robert Blake also star in this box office hit, which features an evocative score by Franz Waxman. Isaac Stern supplied Garfield's violin playing.
Extras: the trailer and a documentary on "The Music of Humoresque."
Crawford received her second best-actress nomination for one of her most sympathetic performances in this well-crafted 1947 film noir romance. She plays a mentally unstable woman who is obsessed with a charismatic young man (Van Heflin).
Extras: the trailer; a retrospective, "Possessed: The Quintessential Film Noir"; and passionate commentary from Drew Casper, professor at the USC School of Cinema and Television.
The Damned Don't Cry
Crawford is every inch a star as the tough, sexy and hard-boiled heroine of this 1950 drama about a woman from the wrong side of the tracks who becomes involved with a wealthy mobster (David Brian) and transforms herself into a society matron.
Extras: the trailer, the featurette "The Crawford Formula: Real and Reel," and fun commentary with the film's director, 98-year-old Vincent Sherman.
Sherman directed Davis in this lengthy 1944 romantic drama -- he had an affair with her, just as he did with Crawford -- for which she received a best actress Oscar nomination for her role as the beautiful, vain Fanny Skeffington.
Claude Rains was also nominated for an Oscar as her dignified husband.
Extras: the trailer; the featurette "Mr. Skeffington: A Picture of Strength"; and commentary from Sherman, who discusses his affair with Davis.
Though this 1939 Davis blockbuster has been released before on DVD, this reissue has been restored from the original camera negative. Davis picked up an Oscar nomination as an heiress with a brain tumor who finds love and happiness before she dies.
Extras: the trailer; the featurette "1939: Tough Competition for Dark Victory"; and affectionate commentary from film historian James Ursini and CNN film critic Paul Clinton.
Davis gives a brave, no-holds-barred, again Oscar-nominated performance in this 1952 drama, in which she plays a washed-up Hollywood star.
Extras: the trailer and the mini-documentary "How Real Is the Star?"
-- Susan King