Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Young Mr. Tracy

Spencer Tracy spent the first few years of his Hollywood career under contract at Fox, meaning that his movies don't show up as often as those of people who worked at MGM or Warners. I've commented on Fox Movie Channel's programming before, and wish they'd do a better job opening up their library. But it's not just that they don't show the movies on FMC so often; a lot of those Fox movies aren't on DVD either.

I bring this up because I watched Tracy's The Power and the Glory this morning on FMC. I was not one bit surprised to see that it's not on DVD, so I won't go into a discussion of the movie, other than to say it's currently scheduled again for May 2 at 9:00 AM ET; I'll probably write a post in the run-up to that airing.

One film of Tracy's from his Fox days that is available on DVD is Up the River, which also has a very young Humphrey Bogart; it was released last December as part of the massive box set of John Ford's work at Fox. That is the only one of Tracy's Fox films other than The Power and the Glory listed in the FMC site's rotation; in fact, it's airing immediately before The Power and the Glory on May 2, and once before that, at 7:30 AM ET on April 24.

Having said that, however, I was surprised to learn, in doing research for this post, that his one early non-Fox movie, 20,000 Years in Sing Sing, made by Warner Bros. who had Tracy on loan, and who paired him for the one and only time in his career with Bette Davis, is also not available on DVD.

It's not until Tracy got to MGM, and started making more prestigious movies like Fury with Fritz Lang, or the disaster epic San Francisco, that he starts showing up on DVD. In keeping with my comments about what I'll blog about, I'd like to point these two out, as well as Tracy's next MGM film, Libeled Lady, since MGM put all of them out on DVD, and they are all well worth watching despite being three very different movies. (In fact, I already blogged about Libeled Lady back on March 15.)

Fox and Warner Home Video have some work to do.

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