Sets feature three bygone superstars


Several films starring three legendary actors - Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando and James Dean - arrived recently on DVD.

Universal's "The Gary Cooper Collection" ($27) features five entertaining films that the lanky star made for Paramount. In 1933's ribald comedy Design for Living, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, Cooper shows his sophisticated side as a struggling painter in Paris.

In 1935's lush romantic fantasy Peter Ibbettson, he plays an architect who enters into an affair with his married former childhood sweetheart; 1936's thriller The General Died at Dawn finds Cooper as an American in China trying to smuggle funds to help downtrodden Chinese.

Cooper, Robert Preston and Ray Milland are brothers in the French Foreign Legion in William Wellman's stirring 1939 epic Beau Geste; and in 1935's Oscar-nominated adventure The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, he is nearly perfect as a British soldier in India.

"The Marlon Brando Collection" ($27), from Universal, is a disappointment. Three of the four films have previously been on DVD: 1963's political thriller The Ugly American (the best of this lot); 1967's A Countess From Hong Kong; and the bizarre 1968 thriller The Night of the Following Day. The new one is the pedestrian 1966 western The Appaloosa.

"The Complete James Dean Collection" (Warner Home Video, $50; $27 each) features the three films that Dean starred in before his death at age 24: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. Rebel is being offered in a new two-disc set. East of Eden made Dean a star. The two-disc set includes a new documentary, Forever James Dean, a screen test, two lengthy deleted scenes and astute commentary.

Coming Tuesday

Hitch, A Dirty Shame, Rory O'Shea Was Here, Brother to Brother

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