Entertainment :: Movies

Spencer Tracy: TCM Greatest Classic Legends

by Ed Tapper
Contributor
Tuesday Oct 30, 2012
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Most vintage film buffs are opinionated about their favorite stars; but none would deny that Spencer Tracy was one of the greatest of movie actors. Remarkably versatile, his dry humor immortalized films like "Father of the Bride," and his classic comedies with Hepburn. Yet it was in dramas like Fritz Lang’s "Fury" that his intensity and sincerity illuminated the screen.

Reflecting the diversity of the actor’s filmography, TCM’s new DVD box, "Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection; Spencer Tracy" includes four vastly different films of varying genres. The set opens with the 1937 adventure "Captains Courageous," in which Tracy plays a Portuguese fisherman who takes under his wing stranded rich boy Freddie Bartholomew. Kipling’s story is enlivened by a colorful cast. Tracy won an Oscar for his portrayal, as he did the following year for "Boy’s Town."

No stranger to the frock, Tracy assumed priestly duties in several films, but none more memorable than the sentimental drama "Boy’s Town." As the crusading Father Flanagan, he ultimately succeeds in creating a haven for wayward youths like rebel-rouser Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney.)

Most vintage film buffs are opinionated about their favorite stars; but none would deny that Spencer Tracy was one of the greatest of movie actors

In the realm of horror, Tracy assumes the title roles in the atmospheric "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." In addition to his stellar performance, the film boasts the unique casting of Lana Turner as the debutante and Ingrid Bergman as the barmaid.

Superior to, but less known than its box-mates, is the 1955 "Bad Day at Black Rock." Though filmed in widescreen and in color, this unrelenting "dark horse" is often considered a film noir. Spencer investigates a racially motivated murder in the Southwest, challenged by evil Robert Ryan and his despicable henchman. Sumptuously cast, "Bad Day..." never flags.

Considering the high level of Spencer Tracy’s cinematic oeuvres, it is difficult to release an inferior collection of his films. Those in the new TCM set, issued in excellent quality, and with pleasant extras, are well worth adding to your collection.

TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Spencer Tracy
DVD
$21.99
www.TCM.com

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