The Joan Collins Collection

The Joan Collins Collection
Joan Collins is primarily known for her dastardly role in Dynasty, and on evidence of this five-film set, that’s how it’s going to stay. With the exception of one spirited comedy the set is comprised of mediocre-to-poor filler films that largely marginalise the star of the collection. That exception is Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!, a zesty romp in searing Technicolor with Paul Newman fending off the mistrust of spouse Joanne Woodward, as well as the advances of lonely housewife Collins. There’s plenty of satire about NIMBYs who want to stop the arrival of a top-secret army installation, with the nuttiness flying fast and furious. Next to that, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing can’t help but seem a letdown — it recounts the famed turn-of-the-century case of a showgirl (Collins) romanced by an older man (Ray Milland) but ultimately wed to a possessive bully (Farley Granger) who does the unthinkable. The perversity of the story is hard to ignore but director Richard Fleischer does his best to miss it, and while Milland and Granger acquit themselves admirably, Collins can’t quite inspire the requisite affection. Meanwhile, Sea Wife is a turgid melodrama, with the star as a nun trapped with three others on a life raft and none knowing her identity. Richard Burton falls for her virtue but she can’t reveal her calling. It’s not only bad but has supporting characters that run the gamut from tedious to annoying. Stopover Tokyo is another snoozer, this time with Robert Wagner trying to stop the assassination of the American High Commissioner in Japan; in between daring escapes he romances an airline clerk played by Collins. Not only does the film fail on its own terms but it dates badly, with all sorts of smiling "Oriental” types standing in for Japan’s citizenry. Finally, Seven Thieves has her once again as a second banana in a casino heist planned by Edward G. Robinson and overseen by a reluctant Rod Steiger — all goes to plan until a major character dies. The movie is of a genus you hardly see anymore but it’s so drab and lifeless you can’t really savour the novelty. Extras include commentaries for each movie by film historian Aubrey Solomon, as well as a smattering of photo galleries, original trailers, interactive press books, vintage press releases and restoration comparisons. (Fox)