Mike’s Picks: ‘The Awful Truth’ and ‘Singing Guns’

The Awful Truth

Criterion, Comedy, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy.
1937. If anything, it’s Irene Dunne who owns the greatest of all screwball comedies — playing off a perfect supporting cast and displaying a no-holds-barred wacky streak, but the likely selling point these days for director Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth is its status as the movie that “invented” the Cary Grant of our dreams.
Extras: There aren’t as many extras in number as we sometimes get on Criterion releases, but McCarey disciple Molly Haskell penned the booklet essay, and the equally great Gary Giddins gets close to half-an-hour to expound upon a subject he also knows exceptionally well: McCarey’s style. Criterion has also included a brief Dunne audio interview by James Harvey and a remarkable visual essay on Grant’s pre-Truth career. There’s also a 1939 “Lux Video Theatre” show with Grant where Claudette Colbert stands in for Dunne.
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Singing Guns

Kino Lorber, Western, $19.95 DVD, $24.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Vaughn Monroe, Ella Raines, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond.
1950. Singing Guns has a few things going with it, few of which have to with a plot that asks us to believe that a wanted outlaw (just by virtue of having shaved his beard) could be hired in dim bulb fashion as lawman by the same community that’s pursuing him.
Extras: Kino has brought back Republic encyclopedia Toby Roan back for another commentary, and he substantially helps out with location primers and backgrounders on the technical specs.
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