On June 19, Warner Home Video will showcase a different side of the "First Lady of Television" with the release of the Lucille Ball Collection. Those who 'love Lucy' may be surprised to learn that Ms. Ball had nearly 20 years of big-screen credits prior to launching the TV show that made her a household name, and WHV will debut on DVD five of the films she made from 1940 through 1974: Critic's Choice, Dance Girl Dance, Du Barry Was a Lady, The Big Street and Mame. In addition, Best Foot Forward will be available separately for the first time nationally. All the films will include special features such as Oscar® nominated vintage short subjects, featurettes and classic cartoons. Packaged as a collectible gift set, the five-disc Lucille Ball Collection will sell for $49.92 SRP, with individual titles and Best Foot Forward available for $19.97 SRP.

About the Star:

Lucille Ball (1911-1989) was born in upstate New York and was raised by her grandparents when her father's death forced her mother to work several jobs. A responsible but restless teenager, Lucille left school at 15 for the Broadway stage. Initially unsuccessful, she became a Hattie Carnegie model which led to her first movie role as a singing and dancing "Goldwyn Girl" in 1934's Roman Scandals. Under contract with RKO and later MGM, she appeared in more than 50 films, which, in addition to the ones in this collection, include Stage Door, Having Wonderful Time, Room Service, Without Love, Sorrowful Jones, Fancy Pants,Yours, Mine and Ours, and Facts of Life. She made three films, also available through WHV, with Desi Arnaz, her on- and off-screen husband of 20 years: Too Many Girls (the one on which they met), The Long, Long Trailer and Forever Darling.

Ball's major career success came in 1951 when she teamed with Arnaz to turn their hit radio show, "My Favorite Husband" into one of the most popular TV situation comedies of all time. I Love Lucy, on the air initially for six years through 1957 and now widely seen in reruns, was followed by two other successful series, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy along with a number of other television specials Ms. Ball made. Known to millions as the ditzy redhead Lucy Ricardo, the savvy Ms Ball also pioneered (with Arnaz) TV filming techniques still utilized today and was the first woman to head her own film studio. Her many awards include four Emmys®, induction into the Television Hall of Fame and a lifetime achievement medal from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

About the Films:

Critic's Choice (1963):

Lucille Ball and Bob Hope shine in this comedy from the Broadway hit by Ira Levin (Deathtrap). Tossing inspired throwaway lines right and left, Hope is New York theatre critic Parker Ballentine, who loves writing pointed reviews that close insufferable plays. But there's a new show in town - by his redheaded wife (Ball). Is it bad? Parker better think twice before he writes this time. Rip Torn, Jim Backus and Marilyn Maxwell co-star.

DVD Features:

- Vintage comedy short Calling All Tars with Bob Hope [1935 WB Short]

- Oscar-nominated cartoon Now Hear This [1963 WB Cartoon]

- Theatrical trailer

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English (feature film only)

- Run Time: 100 minutes

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940):

Directed by Dorothy Arzner, classic Hollywood's sole major female director in the '30s and '40s, this backstage musical has been embraced by fans for its feminist sensibilities as well as its powerful storytelling. Ball and Maureen O'Hara star as two very different types of women who are in the same chorus line. Judy (Maureen O'Hara) is a serious dancer, willing to suffer for her art, but while her friend Bubbles (Lucille Ball) loves to dance, she's equally interested in paying the rent. To do that, she swaps her ballet shoes for a G-string...and turns patrons' fantasies into dollars as burlesque sensation Tiger Lily White. Ball exhibits terrific onscreen chemistry as she vamps onscreen - and grabs the heart with her cynical acceptance of being a woman in a man's world.

DVD Features:

- Vintage comedy short Just a Cute Kid [1940 WB Short]

- Classic cartoon Malibu Beach Party [1940 WB Cartoon]

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English (feature film only)

- Run Time: 89 minutes

Du Barry Was A Lady (1943):

Lucy stars with Gene Kelly and Red Skelton in this glittery, tune-filled bon-bon featuring lavish sets and costumes, a supporting cast of wags and wits (including the inimitable Zero Mostel) and three Cole Porter songs from the original Broadway smash: Friendship, Katie Went to Haiti and Do I Love You? With Ball playing the glamorous nightclub chanteuse May Daly, who's transformed into Madame Du Barry opposite Skelton as King Louis XV this is fabulous and fun musical comedy from Hollywood's Golden Era.

DVD Features:

- Oscar-nominated Pete Smith specialty short Seeing Hands [1943 MGM Short]

- Classic cartoon Bah Wilderness [1943 MGM Cartoon]

- Theatrical trailer

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English (feature film only)

- Run Time: 101 minutes

The Big Street(1942):

This gutsy, touching melodrama was produced from a Damon Runyon story, the man who wrote Guys and Dolls. Ball and Henry Fonda play brilliantly against type -- Fonda poignant as a timid small-timer and Ball impressive as an icy vixen with an ego twice the size of her soul. Lucy plays haughty nightclub singer Gloria Lyons, a gold digger who doesn't have time for anyone without money, including Little Pinks (Henry Fonda), the busboy who adores her. All that changes when Gloria is paralyzed after a mobster knocks her down the stairs, and she's forced to see what and who really matter.

DVD Features:

- Vintage musical short Calling All Girls [1942 WB Short]

- Classic cartoon The Hep Cat [1942 WB Short]

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English (feature film only)

- Run Time: 88 minutes

Mame (1974):

This lavish 1974 screen version of the beloved Broadway musical stars Lucille Ball as a high-living grande dame who's outlandishly eccentric and, when suddenly faced with raising an orphaned nephew, fiercely loving. Veterans of the New York stage original join her: Beatrice Arthur as best friend Vera, Jane Connell as prim governess Agnes Gooch, choreographer Onna White and director Gene Saks. As Mame's husband Beauregard, Robert Preston (The Music Man) sings Loving You, written specially for the film. Jerry Herman's songs, from It's Today to We Need a Little Christmas and If He Walked into My Life, rank among the best show tunes ever.

DVD Features:

- Vintage featurette Lucky Mame

- Theatrical trailer

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English (feature film only)

- Rating: PG

- Run Time: 131 minutes

Best Foot Forward (1943):

Ball portrays herself as the attention-seeking glamour girl who accepts an invitation to the prom from a Winsocki Military Institute cadet as a publicity stunt. Costars June Allyson, Nancy Walker and Tommy Dix recreate their Broadway roles, and Harry James and his band play at the prom to make this a snappy frolic.

DVD Features:

- Vintage musical short The Knight is Young, with June Allyson [1938 WB Vitaphone Short]

- Classic cartoon One Ham's Family [1943 MGM Cartoon]

- Theatrical trailer

Technical Specs:

- Subtitles: English (feature film only)

- Run Time: 99 minutes

- Rating: PG

Evan Jacobs