Anne Bancroft was a fantastic and mesmerizing actress in just about everything she starred in and this collection release from Shout Factory has some of her greats, a few more notable than others.
The Anne Bancroft Collection
Shout Factory | NR – 810 min. – $79.97 | December 10, 2019
Date Published: 12/18/2019 | Author: The Movieman
Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
|Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) — Pilot Jed Towers (RICHARD WIDMARK) encounters the beautiful Nell Forbes (MARILYN MONROE) while staying at a hotel in New York City. Jed pursues Nell, initially thinking she’s a woman of means, but comes to learn that she is actually a babysitter when her child charge, Bunny Jones (DONNA CORCORAN), interrupts a conversation between the two. Soon Jed becomes worried about Nell’s mental stability when it appears the woman is physically threatening Bunny.
The Miracle Worker (1962) — Blind and deaf after suffering a terrible fever as a baby, young Helen Keller (PARRY DUKE) has spent years unable to communicate, leaving her frustrated and occasionally violent. As a last chance before she is institutionalized, her parents (INGA SWENSON, ANDREW PRINE) contact a school for the blind, which sends half-blind Annie Sullivan (ANNE BANCROFT) to teach Helen. Helen is initially resistant, but Annie gradually forms a bond with her and shows Helen ways of reaching others.
The Pumpkin Eater (1964) — Jo (BANCROFT) leaves the banality of her marriage to second husband Giles (Richard Johnson) to wed her screenwriter lover, Jake Armitage (PETER FINCH), but insists her new husband adhere to her strict marital ideals. Though their relationship is passionate, Jo, now a mother of six, begins to feel stifled in her role as a doting homemaker — and increasingly isolated from Peter, who is filming on location in Morocco. Jo’s sanity is shaken when it seems Peter is not being faithful.
The Graduate (1967) — Benjamin Braddock (DUSTIN HOFFMAN) has just finished college and, back at his parents’ house, he’s trying to avoid the one question everyone keeps asking: What does he want to do with his life? An unexpected diversion crops up when he is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (BANCROFT), a bored housewife and friend of his parents. But what begins as a fun tryst turns complicated when Benjamin falls for the one woman Mrs. Robinson demanded he stay away from, her daughter, Elaine (KATHARINE ROSS).
Fatso (1980) — Dominick DiNapoli (DOM DELUISE) is a man who loves food and is overweight as a result. After an obese cousin dies due to health problems, Dominick’s sister, Antoinette (BANCROFT), sets out on a mission to help him lose weight. Although he has a hard time trying to slim down, Dominick finds inspiration when he meets and falls for shop owner Lydia (CANDICE AZZARA). Can he get up the courage to ask her out, or will he go back to the comfort of overeating?
To Be or Not To Be (1983) — Frederick Bronski (MEL BROOKS) and his adulterous wife, Anna (BANCROFT), are a pair of hammy actors running a low-rent theater in Warsaw, Poland. When the Nazis invade, the Bronskis find their theater becoming a makeshift refuge for local Jews and a gateway to the Polish underground. Using their limited acting skills, the members of the theater troupe attempt to deceive the Nazis and lead an escape. Meanwhile, a Polish pilot (TIM MATHESON) thinks he has found a spy in England.
Agnes of God (1985) — Dr. Martha Livingston (JANE FONDA) is a court-appointed psychiatrist sent to evaluate Sister Agnes (MEG TILLY), a young nun whose infant has been found strangled. With Agnes claiming a virgin conception and having no memory of giving birth, Livingston must distinguish between the lies and the nun’s perception-altering faith. Complicating her investigation, Livingston continually clashes with the overbearing Mother Miriam Ruth (BANCROFT), who insists that Livingston leave Agnes alone.
84 Charing Cross Road (1987) — New York City bibliophile Helene Hanff (BANCROFT) writes to the London bookshop Marks & Co in search of some titles she has not been able to turn up locally. Store manager Frank Doel (ANTHONY HOPKINS) responds politely to her chatty letter, and over the course of two decades, a deep, long-distance friendship evolves. Based on Hanff’s epistolary memoir and its later two-person stage adaptation, the film version incorporates new characters, including Doel’s wife, Nora (JUDI DENCH).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
|This 8-disc release comes housed in an extra-wide Blu-ray keep case and a matted slip cover. Inside is a nice 20-page booklet with essays on each film as well as one on Bancroft’s career. Here is the breakdown on the features included (note: no features were included for Agnes of God and 84 Charing Cross Road):
Don’t Bother to Knock
The Pumpkin Eater
To Be Or Not To Be
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Generally speaking, each of these movies, which are shown in their respective aspect ratios and 1080p high-definition transfers. Many of them have been previously released in HD already and are likely the same exact transfers, but even so, that’s not a bad thing as for the most part, they do look great with sharp detail and the black & white (for her earlier films) and colors were well preserved with the original film grain still present.|
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|Each film come with DTS-HD Master Audio tracks (1.0 for Don’t Bother to Knock, The Pumpkin Eater, Fatso, 84 Charing Cross Road; 2.0 for The Miracle Worker and Agnes of God; and 5.1 for The Graduate and To Be or Not To Be) and each one is fairly impressive for their age, outputting clear dialogue and, in the case of The Graduate, some decent depth when it came to music and scores.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Anne Bancroft was a fantastic and mesmerizing actress in just about everything she starred in and this collection release from Shout Factory has some of her greats, a few more notable than others with the biggest one being The Graduate. At the right price, this might be worth picking up, especially if you didn’t already own these.