For, Aug. 1, 2014

Warner Archive continues to roll out great old movies on DVD that have never been released on home video, or which were once on VHS but have been long out of print.

This week brings us no less than six 1950s movies starring Glenn Ford, who excelled at playing an everyman in most of his films, often caught up in distressful situations not of his own making. All of these films are good and some of them are terrific.

Perhaps the best is the earliest, "The White Tower" (1950), a thriller set in the French Alps with gorgeous color cinematography, as Ford, Alida Valli, Claude Rains, Oscar Homolka, Cedric Hardwicke and Lloyd Bridges all attempt to scale a treacherous mountain for their own personal reasons.

My favorites, however, are the two films noir, "Trial" (1955, b/w), with Ford as a novice defending a Mexican-American falsely accused of rape, and "Ransom!" (1956, b/w), with Ford and Donna Reed as parents of a kidnapped child (this was the basis for Ron Howard's 1996 film of the same title starring Mel Gibson).

Also, "Torpedo Run" (1958), an unusual World War II thriller with Ford as a submarine commander on the hunt for a Japanese aircraft carrier that led the raid on Pearl Harbor, even though it is accompanied by a transport ship with his wife and child on board. Ernest Borgnine co-stars.

"Young Man With Ideas" (1952, b/w) is a comedy-drama with Ford as a Montana attorney who loses his job and relocates his family to Los Angeles. But while studying for the bar exam he is mistaken for a bookie who shares his party line.

"Imitation General" (1958, b/w) is a farce that was a big box-office hit for Ford. He plays a master sergeant in France during World War II when the general commanding his outfit is killed. Through convoluted circumstances, Ford takes over the general's identity to organize the troops. Red Buttons co-stars.