For, Nov. 7, 2014

Fans of Bing Crosby may find themselves tempted to plunk down the cost of a pricey new box set of the crooner's early movies, no less than 24 on 13 discs, ranging from "College Humor" — his second starring role in 1933 — to his 1949 musical adaptation of Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

"Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection" is a fairly comprehensive look at two decades of Der Bingle's film career — but there are no titles here that haven't been released previously.

Even a PBS "American Masters" biography, "Bing Crosby Rediscovered," will be available as a stand-alone title in December.

So if you have most of these singly or in other sets, you may be less tempted.

Still, it's nice collection, neatly packaged in three boxes, organized as films from the1930s, from the 1940s and the Hope & Crosby "Road" farces … well, four of them. (There were seven.)


Most of the movies here are breezy musical comedies, including "We're Not Dressing" (with Carole Lombard and Burns & Allen), "Mississippi" (W.C. Fields), "Sing You Sinners" (Fred MacMurray, Donald O'Connor), "Rhythm on the River" (Mary Martin, Basil Rathbone), "Holiday Inn" and "Blue Skies" (both with Fred Astaire), "Going My Way" (Crosby's Oscar-winner), "Here Come the Waves" (Betty Hutton), etc.

Lots of fun to be had for fans of old movies, and for fans of Crosby in particular … though, as mentioned, all are also available individually and in smaller sets previously released.


And it does seem a shame that Universal, which owns all of Crosby's Paramount films, couldn't bring in some of his never-before-released titles, like the original "Big Broadcast" (his first starring role) or "She Loves Me Not" (with a great comic performance by Miriam Hopkins) or "Anything Goes" (with Ethel Merman and a terrific Cole Porter score) or "Dixie" (with Dorothy Lamour), etc.

All of these — and others — would fit the box set's motif but would provide fans with a reason to be more interested because they'd find movies that they've never before been able to collect.