Exciting news for vintage movie fans! Warner Home Video announced today that that Clarence Brown’s all-star aviation drama “Night Flight” (1933) will be released on DVD on June 7. Unseen in any format since 1942 because of rights issues, this David O. Selznick production stars Clark Gable, Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy, Robert Montgomery and brothers John and Lionel Barrymore. Set in South America, it’s based a novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupèry (“The Little Prince”).
“Only MGM, with their incredible ‘more stars than there are in the heavens’ slogan, could assemble a cast like this one,” says George Feltenstein, WHV’s senior vice president, theatrical catalogue marketing. “This remarkable film boasts the same kind of overwhelming star power the studio deployed for success in creating ‘Grand Hotel’ and’ Dinner at Eight.’ Movies with more than one big star are commonplace in our industry now, and have been for years, but in the 1930s, having more than two big stars in one movie was very rare, which makes this film a true cinematic treasure.”
It was announced a couple of months ago “Night Flight” will be showing at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival in April. I confirmed over the weekend that the TCM fest has also booked another Holy Grail of long-unavailable films, Edmund Goulding’s “The Constant Nymph” (1943).
News that the movie’s half-century rights logjam had finally been cleared broke on the Warner Archive Collection’s Facebook page, a pretty good tipoff that it, too, will be available on DVD this year. Like “Night Flight,” “The Constant Nymph” has never been shown on TV in the United States, and possibly anywhere.
Joan Fontaine was Oscar nominated for her role as a 14-year-old schoolgirl smitten with a composer (Charles Boyer) who marries her cousin (Alexis Smith) in this romantic drama, which also features Peter Lorre, Charles Coburn and Eleanor Parker. The third screen version of Margaret Kennedy’s novel, this Warner Bros. production has a score by the celebrated Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
The TCM festival will also be showing a new restoration of Clara Bow’s very rarely seen final film, Frank Lloyd’s “Hoopa-La” (1933), by the Museum of Modern Art. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a DVD on that one. The film is owned by Fox, which apparently has no plans for a DVD release of another restored film it controls that was shown at last year’s TCM festival, “The Story of Temple Drake” (1933).