There's isn't a clunker to be found in this batch of Academy Award-winning golden oldies, all on DVD for the first time, and just in time for Oscar season.
"Lust for Life" (Warner, 1956, not rated, $19.97). Kirk Douglas is superb as tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh in director Vincente Minnelli's lavish, colorful production, adapted from the Irving Stone biographical novel and filmed on location in France.
Douglas was nominated for an Oscar but didn't win; Anthony Quinn did win as best supporting actor for his vivid portrayal of Van Gogh's friend, the famed painter Paul Gauguin — and he's only onscreen for eight minutes!
Extras: Widescreen, audio commentary, trailer, language options (English, French), subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.
"Johnny Belinda" (Warner, 1948, not rated, b/w, $19.97). Jane Wyman won her Oscar for this sensitive melodrama, of the kind relegated to TV movies these days. Wyman is great as a misunderstood deaf mute, as is Lew Ayres as the doctor who tries to help her through several crises. Fine small fishing-village atmosphere.
Extras: Full frame, short film, trailer, subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.
"Kitty Foyle" (Warner, 1940, not rated, b/w, $19.97). Ginger Rogers successfully changed her image from dancer/comedienne and Fred Astaire's partner to Oscar-winning dramatic actress in the role of a down-to-earth working-class woman. Most of the film is told in flashbacks as she recalls her failed marriage and tries to decide if she wants to run off with her ex again, since his family opposed the marriage the first time.
Extras: Full frame, two cartoons, two radio versions (with Ginger Rogers), trailer, subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.
"The Good Earth" (Warner, 1937, not rated, $19.97). Paul Muni is so good in this high-quality adaptation of Pearl Buck's novel that you'll soon forget he's not really Asian, in the story of a poor Chinese farmer who takes an ex-slave as his wife (Luise Rainer), and the trials and tribulations that ensue. Rainer won an Oscar as the long-suffering wife, as did the cinematography. Amazing production values for the time.
Extras: Full frame, musical short, newsreel, trailer, language options (English, French), subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.
"Captains Courageous" (Warner, 1937, not rated, b/w, $19.97). Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for one of his best roles, as a sweet-natured Portuguese sailor in this rich adventure adapted from Rudyard Kipling's story. The sailor rescues a spoiled rich kid (Freddie Bartholomew) and teaches him about life and values. Fabulous cast includes Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Mickey Rooney, John Carradine.
Extras: Full frame, short film, cartoon, radio promo, trailers, subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.
"Cimarron" (Warner, 1931, not rated, b/w, $19.97). This early-sound epic Western won Oscars for best picture and best screenplay, and fans of the genre will likely enjoy it. But it hasn't dated very well, and some of the performances are quite stiff or overly flamboyant. Primarily for film buffs.
Extras: Full frame, musical short, cartoon, subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.