Anne Baxter and Erich Von Stroheim in Five Graves to Cairo
TCM Spotlight - Turner Classic Movies and Universal Studios Home Entertainment began collaborating on DVD releases of classic films sometime in 2009 and has these collections have featured such stars as Marlene Dietrich, Joel McCrea, Audie Murphy, and Cary Grant. In addition to re-release of such classic collections of rarely seen films from the 1930s; and the 1941 and 1961 film versions of Fannie Hurst‘s Back Street.
This October 15th, two 1940s classic films by directory Billy Wilder will be made available exclusively via the TCM online shop. Wilder, one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of his era, two of his films Five Graves to Cairo (1943), and A Foreign Affair (1948), are coming to DVD for the first time.
Released as part of the TCM Vault Collection, the two-disc Directed by Billy Wilder set includes the wartime espionage thriller Five Graves to Cairo (1943), starring Franchot Tone, Erich von Stroheim, Anne Baxter and Akim Tamiroff, and the delightfully cynical comedy A Foreign Affair (1948), with Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich and John Lund.
Five Graves to Cairo (1943) Franchot Tone star as a British corporal who goes undercover in a Cairo hotel to infiltrate the inner circle of Field Marshal Rommel (Erich von Stroheim) and expose his plans to the Allies. Anne Baxter and Akim Tamiroff run hotel in this exciting film that showcases Wilder and coscreenwriter Charles Brackett’s skill at balancing drama, action and humor. Five Graves to Cairo earned Oscar® nominations for its art direction-interior decoration (Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegté and Bertram C. Granger); cinematography (John F. Seitz) and film editing (Doane Harrison).
A Foreign Affair (1948) stars Jean Arthur as a prim Congresswoman who gets caught up in the decadence and black market world of post-war Berlin. Marlene Dietrich, who plays Arthur’s rival for the affections of an Army captain (John Lund), shines with performances of the songs “Ruins of Berlin” and “Black Market.” The screenplay by Wilder, Charles Brackett and Richard L. Breen earned an Oscar® nomination, as did Charles Lang‘s outstanding cinematography.
The 1940s marked an important transition in Billy Wilder’s career, one that saw him emerge as one of Hollywood’s most talented writer-directors. Wilder won Oscars® for writing and directing the 1945 Best Picture winner, The Lost Weekend. The two films in TCM and Universal’s Directed by Billy Wilder DVD set are reflective of Wilder’s astringent wit, piercing intelligence and attraction to controversial subject matter that yielded some of his finest work during this decade.
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