Doris Day’s “Storm Warning” and “The Winning Team” movies debut on DVD in new Ronald Reagan boxset

August 15, 2006 1 Comment

On 15 August 2006, Warner Bros. (USA) release their 5-disc DVD set ‘Ronald Reagan – The Signature Collection’.

Like a bolt out of the blue and at a time when it seemed there were to be no new ‘Doris Day’ related releases from Warner Bros. (USA) you can now buy this fabulous Region 1 DVD boxset which features two more new-to-DVD films co-starring Doris Day.

‘The Signature Collection’ is another trailblazing DVD series from Warner Bros. (USA) released on the 15 August 2006. Each set is beautifully boxed and produced to the exceptionally high standards you’ve come to expect from the movie house. You only have to cast your mind back to their 8-disc set they issued in 2005 of Doris’s movies (The Doris Day Collection) to get a feel for this project.

The set celebrates the movie-career of former American President, Ronald Reagan and compiles five of his best pictures, including Knute Rockne All American (1940), Kings Row (1942) and The Hasty Heart (1949). The best bit is you also get two pictures which co-star Doris Day: Storm Warning (1951) with Ginger Rogers and The Winning Team (1952). Both DVDs feature original trailer and subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Ronald Reagan – The Signature Collection
Label: Warner Home Video USA
Order the Region 1 NTSC DVD set from amazon.com

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One Comments to “Doris Day’s “Storm Warning” and “The Winning Team” movies debut on DVD in new Ronald Reagan boxset”
  1. Allen-Pollock says:

    Released in the USA this boxed set offers good news to all Doris Day fans who have multi-regional machines on which to play Region 1 discs as it includes the two movies she shared with the actor who moved from Hollywood stardom to politics and ultimately President of the United States! It should be noted these two films are not singularly available.

    Warner Brothers movies had a reputation for hard-hitting socially themed films with their Thirties output encompassing a fair number of gangster-oriented stories which mirrored crime and mob action of the time. STORM WARNING, one of four Doris Day movies released in 1950, was a similarly brave venture about the Ku Klux Klan and whilst somewhat overwrought, it pulls no punches except for excluding black actors/characters from the equation. Such a stark, black and white drama was therefore a surprising film for Doris to be involved in but it was an opportunity for her to expand her acting capabilities in the way YOUNG MAN OF MUSIC partially did when released earlier the same year. Supporting Ginger Rogers and Ronald Reagan, Doris plays Lucy, newly married to good-looking but tough Hank (Steve Cochran). Ginger plays her hard-bitten sister, Marsha, a world-weary fashion-model who, paying a surprise visit to the small town in which Doris and husband reside, alights from the train and witnesses a brutal murder of a reporter. From then on, with Ronald Reagan ably playing a somewhat bland detective, the film allows a glimpse of a spell-binding and frightening situation where the influence of the Ku Klux Klan and subsequent mob action reaches a terrifying climax. Not wishing to be a spoiler, I will reveal nothing further about the plot except to confirm Doris does not sing. Ginger Rogers, one of Doris’ favourite actresses, has the best part and is excellent, with Doris well-cast in an appealing sympathetic role which calls for and receives convincing dramatic assurance. Steve Cochran always played tough roles to extreme during his brief Hollywood career and is believably repulsive in this film which also benefits from moody and atmospheric location work, with many night scenes adding to this claustrophobic melodrama. It’s a sombre, thought-provoking drama directed by Stuart Heisler which must have done much for Doris’ reputation within the studio as well as with fans.

    It has to be said that the biographical THE WINNING TEAM is not really a DORIS DAY film. I should qualify that statement with the comment any proficient actress at Warner Bros could have played the part of sympathetic fiancé/wife, Aimee, to telephone company engineer Grover Cleveland Alexander (Ronald Reagan) with designs on becoming a professional baseball player. Accepting that premise, although Doris received top billing, her part can only be viewed as subservient to the real star of the film, Ronald Reagan. His role naturally carries the film, and set around 1910, he has to portray the highs and lows of baseball fame, illness and subsequent fall from grace into the hopeless world of alcohol and depression with the resulting detrimental effect on marriage and family life until a return to glory at the World Series in 1926. At 41 years of age Reagan is rather too old for the part with his acting ability barely touching the dramatic needs of the role. However, Doris is on hand to heighten the film’s potential with a sensitive performance within the limits set by the part and her vivacity and great natural looks add much to the movie’s overall impact. She sings the Christmas song, OL’ ST. NICHOLAS within a pleasant family scene plus a few lines of that baseball anthem, TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL-GAME, with the underlying musical score including strains of I’LL STRING ALONG WITH YOU. However, despite giving her character personable charm, there‘s no escaping Doris’ lower status within the plot with the film’s pedestrian direction by Lewis Seiler, suggesting the continuing lull in the Day movie career and the feeling that Warner Brothers was merely exploiting her name in order to boost THE WINNING TEAM’s box-office viability. Released in 1952, it seems likely that after a promising start, Warner’s may have been finding it difficult to find movie scripts worthy of the Day talent especially after the preceding flag-waving STARLIFT, in which she played herself in an extended cameo role and the following dull musical escapade APRIL IN PARIS in which Doris sparkled despite less than thrilling script and supporting cast. Fortunately by 1953 and the release of BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON her career was back on track and she again dominated every film in which she appeared by sheer personality and undoubted talent.

    As an interesting footnote, in British cinemas where films with an American baseball background traditionally did poor box-office business, THE WINNING TEAM was released as the bottom half of a double-bill with top-billed WHERE’S CHARLEY? This movie was the screen adaptation of the stage musical and was filmed in England. Stars, Ray Bolger and Allyn Ann McLerie, subsequently appeared with Doris in APRIL IN PARIS and CALAMITY JANE respectively, as part of their Warner Bros. three-picture contracts negotiated as a package deal in order for the studio to obtain the movie rights of the show in which both had appeared. MY DARLING MY DARLING, the hit ballad from the show was recorded by Doris in company with frequent duet partner Buddy Clark.

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