Studios get more creative in running with the packs

DVD sets not just for stars, directors

Always on the lookout for new ways to market catalog titles, studio DVD divisions are coming up with increasingly inventive themed collections now that star and director sets have pretty much been exploited.

Warner Home Video — which has a litany of collections of films by the likes of Oliver Stone, Stanley Kubrick, Clark Gable and James Dean under its belt — has released a series of quirky collections aimed at eclectic film buffs. Among them: "Forbidden Hollywood Collection," consisting of such pre-Code films as "Baby Face" and "Red-Headed Woman," and three boxed sets of film noir classics.

Next up: "Literary Classics Collection" (March 6), a five-disc set featuring films based on literary masterpieces. It includes 1962's "Billy Budd," with Terence Stamp in his film debut; the 1950 Gregory Peck starrer "Captain Horatio Hornblower"; the '49 adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"; the '48 version of "The Three Musketeers," with Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, Gig Young and Vincent Price; and the '37 and '52 screen versions of Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda."

"It's like being a kid in a candy store when it comes to creating these collections," said George Feltenstein, Warner senior vp theatrical catalog marketing. "With such a large library of great films, themes and categories just naturally fall into place."

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment also is in the business of compiling themed collections after releasing scores of sets featuring the films of such notable actors and directors as Michael Douglas, Robert Altman and, in a more contemporary vein, "celebrity packs" of movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney.

Themed collections from Fox include a set of romantic comedies called "The Ultimate Chick Flick Collection," which include "The Banger Sisters" and "Ever After"; and "The Shakespeare Collection," featuring three modern films based on the famed playwright's works: Michael Hoffman's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" and Julie Taymor's "Titus."