Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Deanna Durbin: The Collection (1936)

Deanna Durbin: The Collection (1936)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

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Overall Package

    Firstly, this mammoth - though not complete - collection is most attractively presented in its hat box, lined with "Deanna Durbin" imprinted gold cloth. It is disappointing that there is no documentary, no trailers, or the "cut" songs. Perhaps some future release will remedy this. Quality varies from disc to disc, with only one, HERS TO HOLD, quite bad. The other eighteen titles range from satisfactory to truly excellent, with the majority of the transfers very pleasing. There would appear to be little or no real restoration work, but almost all of the prints are clean and undamaged. Deanna Durbin was a true "superstar" before the word was invented - and then used indiscriminately.This is a rare opportunity to appreciate the talent and the phenomenon that was, and is, Deanna Durbin. The "Mothers Day" price reduction makes this an extremely good buy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, March 31, 2008
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Three Smart Girls (1936)

Three Smart Girls (1936)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Gallery-Photo-Ten black and white publicity stills without sound.
Scene Synopsis-A list of ten scenes - no thumbnails or sound.
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1936
Running Time 80:36
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henry Koster
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Charles Winninger
Binnie Barnes
Alice Brady
Barbara Read
Ray Milland
Mischa Auer
Ernest Cossart
Lucile Watson
John 'Dusty' King
Nella Walker
Hobart Cavanaugh
Nan Grey
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Walter Jurmann
Bronislau Kaper
Charles Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   


" ... the 1940s sweetheart, Deanna Durbin!" 

    Roadshow's local release of The Deanna Durbin Collection at the end of last year is cause for rejoicing by the many fans of this iconic musical star whom many consider to be the best soprano ever to achieve film stardom. Deanna Durbin made twenty-one feature films in her career, all for Universal, and nineteen of those are included in this handsomely hat-boxed set. Two 1940 films are not included, It's A Date and Spring Parade. The rights to It's A Date were purchased by MGM and remade in 1950 as Nancy Goes To Rio with Jane Powell. Spring Parade possibly had a similar fate. This release of the remaining nineteen films, from Three Smart Girls (1936) to For The Love of Mary (1948),  provides "26 hours of nostalgic movie musical entertainment", and fills a gap in DVD musical film history.


    Deanna Durbin was just fifteen when Three Smart Girls, her first film for Universal, was released. She had been contracted by MGM for a feature that was eventually cancelled, but she did make a short musical film for that studio, Every Sunday, which teamed her with another young singer MGM were testing, Judy Garland. Louis B. Mayer signed Judy to a long term contract, but let Deanna go. After success on Eddie Cantor's radio show, Universal cast the young soprano in Three Smart Girls and assigned director Henry Koster to coach the hopeful starlet. Deanna delivered a performance that instantly endeared her to audiences who flocked to her films. The receipts from Deanna Durbin's first two films reportedly saved Universal from bankruptcy and by the time she was twenty-one Deanna Durbin was Hollywood's top box office earner. In 1948, after thirteen years and twenty-one films for Universal, Deanna Durbin turned her back on her career and retired to France where she still lives, repeatedly refusing to be coaxed back into the limelight.

 
    The Oscar nominated script for Three Smart Girls by Adele Comandini and Austin Parker is a mix of screwball comedy and sentimental family fare concerning the three Craig sisters, Joan (Nan Grey), Kay (Barbara Read) and the youngest Penny (Deanna Durbin), who live in Switzerland - beside a lake, where else?- with their divorced mother, Dorothy (Nella Walker) and housekeeper Martha (Lucile Watson). The girls' father, Judson (Charles Winninger) lives in New York and has not seen his daughters for ten years. The girls read in the paper that their father is planning to marry Donna Lyons (Binnie Barnes). Penny suggests a plan to go to New York to stop the marriage, drag their father back to Switzerland and reunite their parents. With Martha's supervision and financial help the "shock troops" set sail for the United States where they soon discover that Donna is a blonde gold-digger who has definite plans for their father. Major scheming is the order of the day and complications and confusions abound, hilariously involving mistaken identity between Lord Michael Stuart (a very young and handsome Ray Milland) and Count Arisztid (the always amusing and not so handsome Mischa Auer). 


   This trivial fluff comes from a time in movies when the most used adjectives were "gay" and "grand", and black Americans only appeared as porters, maids and shoeshines. There is a particularly offensive moment involving a maid who dares to contribute to a discussion and is rebuffed with a sharp, "Who asked you?" These historical oddities aside, Three Smart Girls is an attractive and entertaining showcase for its young star, and Henry Koster directs with assured style, managing to encourage a delightful performance from his fledgling songbird. Although the film is squarely placed on the fifteen year-old's shoulders, she is provided with formidable support by a gallery of great supporting players including Alice Brady, Hobart Cavanaugh and Franklin Pangborn, with a very brief appearance by Dennis O'Keefe. Although her screen persona - as well as her dentures -  is not quite refined in this her first feature, Miss Durbin is surprisingly natural and unaffected, and her singing is glorious with Gus Kahn and Bronislau Kaper providing two new songs for the film, "My Heart Is Singing" and "Someone to Care for Me", which became instant "hits". In addition Deanna sings "Il Bacio" ("The Kiss") by Luigi Arditi  and a couple of operatic arias.


    Joe Pasternak produced Three Smart Girls and he did everything to showcase the new star. The importance to Universal of Deanna Durbin and her first film is evident in every frame, and at Oscar time their efforts were rewarded with three nominations, including one for Best Picture. The opening credits end announcing "Universal's new discovery Deanna Durbin", and we hear a soaring soprano voice as the title dissolves into a close-up of Deanna singing "My Heart Is Singing". She is on a sailing boat in Switzerland with her two sisters - some quite nice location work combined with rear projection. As the plot takes us through hotel suites, nightclubs, Park Avenue apartments and Newport estates the sets are very impressive and glamorous, and the women's costumes are attention grabbing. Binnie Barnes wears one number that would look fantastic on any red carpet! Ensuring that everything complements the new star, Pasternak went on to produce the soprano's next five films, until he was lost to MGM where he went on to showcase the talents of that studios soprano songbirds, Jane Powell and Kathryn Grayson.
    So successful was Three Smart Girls that Deanna Durbin went on to play Penny Craig in two other films. This release of the films of this great star of the 40s is long overdue, and this first feature in the set is a delightful introduction to a fresh, natural, vibrant talent that can still thrill after seventy years.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering the age of this film - over seventy years - this is a very satisfactory transfer.
    There does not appear to be any major restoration work, although reel cues have been removed and the entire length of the film is free of any debris.
    The final reel does have a split second of image wobble (74:58) and a brief scratch (76:43), but these are the only blemishes detected .
    The image is steady and is presented in a 4x3 transfer with 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    With the exception of the inevitable soft-focus 1930s closeups, the image is sharp and clear, with a very pleasing grey scale - non glaring or flaring whites with deep blacks and everything in between.
    There is a fair amount of grain, but this is not distracting and is soon lost in the generally pleasing image.
    A very small amount of aliasing was noted, principally on a striped T-shirt in the opening sequence (05:18).
        
    The disc is single layered.
  
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The seventy-two year old audio is in very good shape.
    There is only one audio track, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording, which was Oscar nominated.
    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct or any sync problems.
    There is barely detectable background hiss, and no pops, crackles or dropouts.
    The reproduction of the music is, of course, way below the quality of today's recordings, but the excellent orchestrations are full and undistorted. A slight edge of distortion only appears on some of Deanna Durbin's vocals, but this is being very picky.

    There are no subtitles on the disc.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles, there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick also contains small reproductions of the Stills Gallery.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    All menu screens are 4x3.
    
    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills of the three girls, with music from the credits of the film.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.
        Stills Gallery : Selecting this option gives access to ten very nice quality black and white publicity stills, again without sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    In Region 1 Three Smart Girls is only available as one of six Deanna Durbin films included in the two-disc Deanna Durbin : Sweetheart Pack. That version does contain the following extras not found on the disc from the local nineteen title set.
    Subtitles : English for the Hearing Impaired
                   Spanish
                   French
    Original Theatrical Trailer/Teaser : (00:58) This does not feature any live action, just a couple of portraits of the star, orchestral background music, and blurb extolling the delights of Deanna Durbin "coming soon to this theatre", including a quote from Eddie Cantor. An interesting little oddity.
    The nineteen title box set has not been released in Region 1, although it was released in Region 2 in 2003 - not sure about the hat-box - where it is more than double the Australian price.

Summary

    Undoubtedly Deanna Durbin was one of Hollywood's greatest musical stars, yet she is today relatively forgotten. Here is a rare opportunity to travel back seventy years and see a fledgling, unspoilt talent showcased in a first rate 1930s family/screwball comedy, presented in a good transfer of a clean print with pleasing sound. Nostalgia unlimited!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, March 03, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

100 Men and a Girl (1937)

100 Men and a Girl (1937)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1937
Running Time 80:30
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henry Koster
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Leopold Stokowski
Adolphe Menjou
Alice Brady
Eugene Pallette
Mischa Auer
Billy Gilbert
Alma Kruger
Frank Jenks
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Charles Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, STOKOWSKI CONDUCTING SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   


" We got the money, we got a sponsor, we got a contract. All we ain't got is Stokowski!"

    The second movie in Roadshow's local release of the nineteen disc The Deanna Durbin Collection is 100 Men And A Girl. Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1937, this hugely popular Universal film followed the teenage soprano's star making debut in Three Smart Girls. After the release of this second vehicle Deanna Durbin's salary was doubled to $3,000 a week plus a $10,000 bonus for each feature. 100 Men And a Girl is a joy of a film, with sentiment, comedy, glorious music and a glittering star at its centre.

     
    The Oscar nominated script introduces us to John Cardwell (Adolphe Menjou), an unemployed musician, and his daughter Patricia/Patsy (Deanna Durbin). One evening he finds a purse containing some money, which he keeps, and leads Patsy to believe that he has found employment playing in Leoplod Stokowski's orchestra, paying their back rent with the money from the purse. When Patsy visits the concert hall where her father is supposed to be playing she uncovers the deception, confronts her father and resolves to return the purse to its owner. Patsy finds the owner, Mrs Frost (Alice Brady) entertaining high society. (Trivia time ! When Alice Brady is first seen she is seated beside a very glamorous Bess Flowers, the famous queen of Hollywood extras. Looking very elegant in black, Bess even gets a couple of lines later in the scene.) Patsy wheedles a reward from Mrs Frost, and with it repays the "missing" money. Patsy ends up singing for the guests - the lovely A Heart That's Free - and tells Mrs Frost about her out-of-work father, and all his similarly unemployed musician friends. The idea of starting her own orchestra is born, with Mrs Frost sort-of agreeing to be patron. Complications arise ! Mrs Frost goes "overseas", Mr Frost (Eugene Pallette) knows nothing about any orchestra and is not interested. After much teenage angst from Deanna, the whole idea of the "symphony orchestra of unemployed musicians" has no hope of coming into being unless they can find a famous, promotable image to attach to their enterprise. Patsy's eyes widen. "Mr Stokowski!"


    The remainder of the film concerns Patsy's endeavours to obtain the famed conductor to agree to help, for one night, "one hundred men and a girl". Problem! The great man is committed to conduct in Europe, but from the very outset we know how it all will end. This is a 1930s fairytale, a fairytale that a world recovering from the Great Depression needed and wanted to hear. Universal's producer, Joe Pasternak, tells the heartwarming, but never cloying, story with economy - just over eighty minutes - and uses the best resources the studio had to offer. The original score, which did win an Oscar, is at times arrestingly lovely. The sets are excellent, from theatres and plush apartments, to boarding houses and basements. The script is tight, often very funny, and the lighting and camerawork are excellent. For its time the sound recording is outstanding - another Oscar nomination. The climax of the film has the unemployed musicians, having invaded Stokowski's house, ranged on the stairs of his house, playing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, Stokowski conducting from the top of the stairs mentally "pushed" on by Deanna, with the camera excitingly capturing it all. It is exhilarating.


    For the second time Deanna Durbin was directed by Henry Koster. Most commentary insists that the teenager's acting was "limited" - but this is not a heavy drama. Under Koster's direction she delivers a performance that is dramatic enough at times, funny a lot of the time, charming and - the most surprising thing about Deanna Durbin - so natural and unaffected. Just look at her entrance on the stairs as she greets Adolphe Menjou (her first close-up revealing the slightly straightened dentures), a wonderful minute or so that she spends sharing a chair with Mischa Auer (26:00), and her agony at Mrs Frost's party when all she wants is food while the hostess insists that she sing.


    Once again Pasternak and/or Koster have Miss Durbin surrounded by a throng of tried and true professionals. Adolphe Menjou is excellent, charming, subtle and never maudlin in a father role that could be so corny. Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Mischa Auer (in this he is outstanding) and Billy Gilbert are always welcome screen faces. Finally there is Frank Jenks as the cab driver who has a couple of great "bits" as he drives the fareless Deanna around the city. You probably don't know Frank Jenks by name, but you will definitely know the face.


    The film has loads of beautiful music. Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Verdi and Liszt, all conducted by Stokowski. In addition there is the delightful It's Raining Sunbeams and the previously mentioned A Heart That's Free. This movie comes from an era when movie audiences were regularly treated to music that had endured the test of time, and when the general population knew the names of great conductors, pianists, dancers and singers. Sad how today's technology has narrowed the cultural awareness of the "general public".


    No apologies for this film. That 100 Men And a Girl is almost seventy years old has no bearing whatsoever. This is a first rate movie from the past starring one of the loveliest young talents ever projected onto the silver screen.
    
   .

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering the age of this film - over seventy years - this is a very pleasing disc.
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1
    
     It would appear that a relatively good print of the movie was available and considered to be adequate for transfer to disc, without any restoration work. The result is an image that has a very pleasing "cinema" look. I would think that this is exactly how the projected film appeared to audiences when it was first released.
    The image is rock steady for the entire film.
    With the exception of the occasional soft-focus close-up the image is pleasingly very sharp, clear and with little grain. This is an improvement on Three Smart Girls, although that title looked quite good.
    Shadow detail is very good, there is no low level noise, and there is a very nice grey scale. There are no flaring whites and blacks are solid.
    The only aliasing seen was very early in the film on a theatre rail and backs of seats (01:57).
    Reel cues are still in evidence and the start of each new reel accompanied by a slight "thud" on the soundtrack.
    There are minor film artefacts - a little debris, and a few scratches - but no damage to the film itself.
    
    The disc is single layered.

    There are no subtitles on the disc.
  
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The over seventy year old audio track is remarkably good, allowing total enjoyment of the musical feast provided.
    There is only one audio track, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording, which was Oscar nominated.
    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct and no sync problems. Deanna Durbin's visuals match the pre-recorded vocals perfectly.
    There appears to be no doctoring of the soundtrack at all. As a result there is a very slight background noise, with the rare crackle or pop. These comments made, the quality of the sound is extremely good, sharp and vibrant. I would rather have these very slight "imperfections", which are in no way distracting, than lose the dynamism of the sound on this disc. I was quite shocked by the presence of the piano introduction to It's Raining Sunbeams - and then came the Durbin voice, with absolutely no distortion. There are no dropouts.
    The reproduction of the music is outstanding. Deanna Durbin's soprano, piano and symphony orchestra all sound tremendous - loud, clear and undistorted.
 

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles, there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick also contains small reproductions of the Stills Gallery.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    


        
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral music from the credits of the film.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.
        Stills Gallery : Selecting this option gives access to ten very nice quality black and white publicity stills, again without sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    There is no current release of 100 Men And A Girl in Region 1.
    
    The nineteen title box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. However, unlike the local situation, the individual titles are also available separately.

Summary

    This is a rare treat. A film packed with comedy, music, great players, tight script - and a great star. I was never a Deanna Durbin fan - but I am now. Combine this with very pleasing, though unrestored, image and sound and you have a nostalgic eighty minutes to treasure.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Thanks Garry! - Byron Kolln (HELLO FOOLS! Read my Bio!) REPLY POSTED
R2 Durbin Boxset - REPLY POSTED

Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Mad About Music (1938)

Mad About Music (1938)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Gallery-8 STILLS, POSTER and SHEET MUSIC COVER
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1938
Running Time 91:56
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Norman Taurog
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Herbert Marshall
Gail Patrick
Arthur Treacher
William Frawley
Marcia Mae Jones
Helen Parrish
Jackie Moran
Elisabeth Reardon
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Harold Adamson
Jimmy McHugh


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   


" ... the 1940s sweetheart, Deanna Durbin!" 

    After appearing in the MGM one-reeler Every Sunday in 1936, featured alongside another young hopeful, Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin was dropped by Metro. Radio success on the Eddie Cantor Show  led to Deanna's signing by Universal, where she literally became an "overnight star". Judy, undoubtedly the greatest female entertainer of the last century, became a  teenage workhorse at MGM, shuttling from movie to movie, supporting others, waiting for her major breakthrough. Mad About Music is the third film featured in Roadshow's  release of The Deanna Durbin Collection,  a boxed set containing nineteen of the twenty-one movies Durbin made at Universal. The sixteen-year-old soprano is showcased looking and sounding like the major star she had become. Judy had to wait.


    Gloria Harkinson (Deanna Durbin) attends a school in Switzerland. Her father died when she was an infant, and her mother is Gwen Taylor (Gail Patrick) a famous Hollywood movie star. Gwen, urged by her agent "Dusty" (William Frawley), has concealed her teenage daughter's existence, afraid that she will lose her fans if they realise she is old enough to have a fourteen year-old daughter. Gloria, "robbed" of both parents, invents a big game hunter father, forging letters from Africa, which she reads to her schoolgirl friends, as well as to her teachers. Caught up in her ever-widening web of lies - fingers firmly crossed when telling them - Gloria finds herself at the railway station waiting for the invented arrival of her invented father. Watched by her fellow schoolgirls, including friend Olga (Marcia Mae Jones) and enemy Felice (Helen Parrish), Gloria is cornered. In desperation she thrusts her welcoming bunch of flowers at a well dressed gentleman alighting from the train (Herbert Marshall), who is accompanied by his manservant Tripps (Arthur Treacher). The astonished recipient of the flowers turns out to be Richard Todd, a composer - convenient - and the plot then revolves dizzily around the subterfuge Richard becomes part of, aimed at saving Gloria's face at school. We are taken from Switzerland to Paris, and back again to Switzerland for the finale, which finds Gloria with two parents, a youthful romance and a song to sing. I won't spoil the outcome, but I think you will be way ahead of the events on the screen. Nothing like fulfilling the hopes and expectations of an adoring audience!


    This is very light, fluffy stuff with less plot substance than Miss Durbin's previous hit, 100 Men And A Girl. Universal, however, were doing the right thing by their songbird bucket of gold. Joe Pasternak again produces and the other ingredients are first class. Deanna looks most attractive, slimmer and maturing into a lovely young woman. The sets are excellent, even if the overly quaint exteriors of the Swiss school look like a very large stage set and the village streets are straight from Universal's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Frankenstein. Deanna has a new director, Norman Taurog (1938 Oscar nominee for Boys' Town) and she emerges from the film with yet a third natural and charming performance. Herbert Marshall is the consummate gentleman and works beautifully with Miss Durbin in their charming scenes together. As the aspiring young beau, Tommy, Jackie Moran is most effective and there is excellent work, as you would expect, from Arthur Treacher, William Frawley (I Love Lucy) and Gail Patrick.


    Musically the film is extremely strong, with three new songs by Harold Adamson and Jimmy McHugh. Deanna's first song is her major hit, I Love To Whistle, sung as she and about twenty other "young ladies" ride pushbikes through a "Swiss" country lane. The original 78 rpm recording was a BIG hit on "The Hit Parade" when the film was first released. It is reprised twice in the film, once with the Cappy Barra Harmonica Ensemble (octet)  in a Swiss inn and then on a train as Gloria tries to find Richard . The song is even worked into the "dramatic" action of the film. Then we have Chapel Bells, beautifully sung by the star with "daddy" at the piano and for the finale A Serenade to the Stars. In addition there is Gounod's Ave Maria, Deanna accompanied by The Vienna Boys' Choir, gloriously sung and photographed.


    Movies such as Mad About Music are of a different time, a time with different sensibilities and values. In talking about these films we feel invited us to use adjectives like "charming", "delightful" and "endearing" - words which seem to have gone from our vocabulary, words that are dated and definitely not "cool". I am delighted to be totally "uncool" and admire the charming pleasures of this film and its endearing - and talented - young star, whom I've only just come to appreciate.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering the age of this film - over seventy years - the movie looks very good indeed.
    The film is presented in a 4x3 transfer, with the opening credits slightly reduced to prevent any written information on the extremes of the image being lost. The screen then reverts to 1.33:1 full screen, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    There has obviously been some clean-up done on the print, as there are no cue marks in evidence. In fact I noticed only one film artefact, a scratch which appeared for a second down Marcia Mae Jones' face (26:25). The image throughout is very clean and clear, with a minute jump/cut (11.50) due to damage - maybe one frame.
    The image is totally steady for the length of the film.
    The picture is bright and detailed, with a wide grey scale. Blacks are deep and solid while the is no flare on the whites.
    Apart from soft-focus close-ups, the picture is pleasingly sharp - the small printing in the credits is easily legible - with barely noticeable grain, no low level noise and good shadow detail. No aliasing noticed at all..
           
    The disc is single layered.
  
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The seventy-two year old audio is in very good shape.
    There is only one audio track, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct or any sync problems.
    There is a small amount of background hiss/crackle in some sections of the film, but barely noticeable. There is one pop (11:50) accompanying probably one missing frame, but no dropouts.
    The reproduction of the music is, of course, way below the quality of today's recordings, but the excellent orchestrations are full with only a small amount of distortion occurring in the loudest orchestral and vocal passages.
 

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles, there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick also contains small reproductions of the Stills Gallery.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with music from the credits behind.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.
        Stills Gallery : Selecting this option gives access to eight black and white publicity stills, a poster reproduction and the front of the sheet music for I Love To Whistle. No sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    There is no current release of Mad About Music  in Region 1.
    There is a Region 2 release of the nineteen disc Deanna Durbin Collection, which is priced at more than double that of the Australian release.
    Region 2 does have individual titles from the box set available separately.

Summary

    Deanna Durbin's third Universal feature completed the hat trick. Three excellent examples of 1930s big studio expertise, each delivering top flight entertainment with the young star at their centre growing in stature with each new release. Good print with OK sound.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

That Certain Age (1938)

That Certain Age (1938)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1938
Running Time 96:47
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Edward Ludwig
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Melvyn Douglas
Jackie Cooper
Irene Rich
Nancy Carroll
John Halliday
Jack Searl
Grant Mitchell
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Jimmy McHugh
Charles Adamson
Charle Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   


" I wish there was a navy for girls to join!"

    The fourth movie in Roadshow's local release of the nineteen disc The Deanna Durbin Collection is That Certain Age. When the film was released in the United States in October 1938 its star was still sixteen and on her way to being the highest paid woman in America. On paper That Certain Age sounds like any other "teenagers putting on a show plus adolescent crush" movie from the Golden Age. However Universal continued to present their blossoming young star in productions that were immaculate, and the result is a movie that is as fresh today as it was in 1938.


    Handsome glob-trotting star reporter Vincent Bullitt (Melvyn Douglas) has just returned from an overseas assignment, world weary and exhausted. The publisher of his newspaper, Gilbert Fullerton (John Halliday) insists that Vincent needs a good rest and invites the exhausted journalist to his country estate for peace, quiet and recreation. Gilbert and Elizabeth Fullerton (Irene Rich) have an adolescent daughter, Alice (Deanna Durbin), who is in the midst of rehearsals for the local teenagers' annual theatrical event, directed by  Kenneth Warren (Jackie Cooper), who has a crush on Alice. When the arrival of the tranquillity seeking Vincent threatens their show, a plan is devised to get rid of the guest. After a very amusing sequence in which the teenagers attempt to convince Vincent that his room is haunted, Alice develops a crush on the considerably older Vincent and what happens from then on is totally predictable, right through to the finale with the opening night of the show. But, as the song says : "It's not watcha do, it's the way that ya do it!".


    Starting with an original story by F.Hugh Herbert (Sitting Pretty), the fast moving screenplay resulted from a collaboration between Bruce Manning, Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder. The opening scene in the publisher's office reflects the state of the world in 1938 with references to The League of Nations, war and peace, culminating with Douglas saying "the world's getting old". After this bit of social and political comment the screenplay makes the occasional reference to the world situation, with Cooper joining the navy, but for the most part it is amusing, often funny and avoids being overly sentimental. The scenes between Douglas and Durbin are clever and amusing, while those between Durbin and Cooper are fresh and sweet.


    Under the guidance of a new director, Edward Ludwig, Deanna Durbin is at her most appealing, looking lovely and sounding fantastic. Has there ever been another soprano whose diction is so clear and natural? Just listen to My Own, which was a HUGE hit at the time. Every word is as clear as a bell! In addition, her acting talents have been vastly under appreciated. Perhaps in the 1930s her naturalness was regarded as gauche and awkward, but today it is just this underplaying, this often off handed delivery that makes her lines ring true. She was a very accomplished young actress - at least in this kind of fare.


    The remainder of the cast is excellent. Melvyn Douglas is flawless. What an actor he was, finally winning an Oscar twenty-five year later for Hud. Irene Rich, who had been a big star in the silent era, looks wonderful in the Vera West gowns and young Juanita Quigley is a great "Butch". Jackie Cooper is amazingly good as the love smitten Kenneth, the kind of role that in other movies of the 30s and 40s often turned into overplayed maudlin sentimentality. Then in the final minutes we get a glimpse of the still startlingly pretty Nancy Carroll, another much-loved star of the silents. Trivia: Bess Flowers, Queen of the Hollywood extras, once again appears in high society (73:20).


   Jimmy McHugh and Hugh Adamson returned to write the new songs for Deanna, which include the forgettable That Certain Age and Be a Good Scout as well as the two gems, You're As Pretty As A Picture and My Own, the last with exceptionally lovely closeups. Melvyn Douglas even does an a capella duet of Daisy with Deanna on a tandem! The classical offerings this time round are Juliet's Waltz from Romeo and Juliet (Gounod) and Les Filles de Cadiz (Delibes). There is even more musical pleasure in the original score by Charles Previn, beautifully orchestrated by Frank Skinner. Listen to the lovely underscoring of a short sequence for "Butch" (62:00 to 62:50) and the pool scene with Jackie Cooper's great shot - pre CGI (around 48:00).


     I had read the outline of this movie and thought : "Here comes the dud!" Was I wrong! Every ingredient of this family fluff is perfection. There is a nod or two to the clouds building on the horizon, but That Certain Age is wonderful, feel good entertainment.
    
    
    
   .

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This film is seventy years old and the transfer looks exceptionally good. A friend came into them room while I was watching the movie and said, "Wow! That looks good!"  
     The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1
    
     There has been some cleaning-up of the image, as no reel cues are in evidence.
     There is the occasional white fleck (33:00) but it was difficult to find a film blemish.
     The image is very steady and has a pleasing "film" look, like seeing an "old"  black and white movie projected in a cinema.
     With the exception of slightly soft-focus close-ups, the image is pleasingly very sharp, clear and with little grain.
     Shadow detail is very good, there is no low level noise, and there is a very nice grey scale. There are no flaring whites and blacks are solid.
     This would be the best overall image yet seen in this collection, at times a pleasure just to look at.
    
    The disc is single layered.
  
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The seventy year old audio track is remarkably good, allowing total enjoyment of the musical feast provided.
    There is only one audio track, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording, which was Oscar nominated.
    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct and no sync problems. Deanna Durbin's visuals match the pre-recorded vocals perfectly.
    There appears to be no doctoring of the soundtrack at all. There is at times a very slight background rumble, only audible at high volumes. I was more aware of the rumble when it stopped. There is also the occasional crackle or pop.These comments aside, the quality of the sound is extremely good, sharp and vibrant, the original musical scoring sounding most attractive. There is very slight distortion on the loudest vocal passages, but I would rather have these very slight "imperfections", which are in no way distracting, than lose the dynamism of the sound on this disc.
     There are no dropouts.
    

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on That Certain Age - there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for That Certain Age contains small reproductions of five stills and a publicity sheet.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral music from the credits of the film.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    There is no current release of That Certain Age in Region 1.
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Individual titles, including That Certain Age, are available separately.

Summary

     A combination of "let's put on a show" and the teenager infatuated with the older man genres, That Certain Age is great entertainment. Deanna Durbin and Melvyn Douglas are perfect together and the rest of the cast are excellent, as are the production values. This is a definite ten and a "must see" for anyone who loves movies.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, March 10, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Reduced price -

Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)

Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1939
Running Time 83:45
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henry Koster
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Charles Winninger
Nan Grey
Helen Parrish
Robert Cummings
William Lundigan
Nella Walker
Ernest Cossart
Felix Bressart
Bess Flowers
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Charles Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Action and dialogue in credits.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The fifth movie in Roadshow's local release of the nineteen disc The Deanna Durbin Collection is Three Smart Girls Grow Up, released by Universal in March 1939. The young star had turned seventeen at the end of 1938 and had achieved enormous popular success, with audiences clamouring to see this sequel to Deanna's initial hit, Three Smart Girls. Not up to the standard of her "debut" movie, nor the intervening other three, Three Smart Girls Grow Up did deliver the maturing young star doing what she did best - which evidently included whistling - and that was more than enough for her ever increasing multitude of fans.


    The movie opens with a truly delightful and imaginative behind credits sequence, which has the camera dollying along a hallway of the Craig mansion in front of the three girls who are striding eagerly along, dressed in full party gear. Here once again are the three Craig daughters, Penelope/Penny, the youngest (Deanna Durbin), Joan (Nan Grey) and Kay (Helen Parrish replacing Barbara Read). Their parents Judson and Dorothy (Charles Winninger and Nella Walker) are announcing the engagement of Joan to Richard Watkins (William Lundigan), much to the distress of Kay who is also in love with the handsome Richard. Little Miss Fixit, Penny, seeks a "tall, dark and handsome" young man for Kay and finds a prospect in fellow music student, Harry Loren (Robert Cummings). Penny invites Harry to dinner - an amusing lesson sequence with their music teacher played by Felix Bressart - and here he meets her two sisters. Penny repeatedly tries to manoeuvre Kay and Harry together, but there's a major problem. It is not Kay that Harry is attracted to but Joan, and Joan reciprocates! Penny is outraged at Richard's flirting with her engaged sister, and orders him out of the house. As he is indignantly storming out the door there is a truly hilarious sequence involving two coats, two hats, Richard, Mr Craig and Binns the Butler, played to perfection by Ernest Cossart. This becomes a welcome running gag through to the end of the movie.


    Despite the calamitous end to the dinner party everything is resolved happily at the final fadeout, due to the constant meddling of Little Miss Fixit - a stereotype Deanna Durbin came to loathe. This should be the lightest fluff and nonsense, but the screenplay by Bruce Manning and Felix Jackson dwells a little too long on the romantic angst of the girls. The star acquits herself well and injects as much bounce and verve as the screen will contain, but the scenes with the three girls do let the film down. Nan Grey is a very attractive blonde, but Helen Parrish,  normally cast as a very glamorous vixen, here is distinctly drab for most of the film's length. Deanna seemed to work better in her earlier films with an older, more experienced male partner, such as Herbert Marshall, Adolphe Menjou and the wonderful Melvyn Douglas. Indeed, her most effective scene in this film is with the then fifty-five years young Charles Winninger to whom she sings The Last Rose of Summer. Winninger is at his best in his reactions to her. This is a very touching scene, and Deanna is once again beautifully photographed by Joseph Valentine. Robert Cummings injects some considerable humour into the proceedings - as well as playing piano admirably. William Lundigan just stands around and looks handsome. Nella Walker partners Winninger effectively , and Bess Flowers, The Queen of the Hollywood Extras, appears as a secretary, even getting lines, six of them! (78:35)


    For this film no new songs were commissioned, the producer, for the fifth time Joe Pasternak, falling back on the light classical repertoire. As well as the truly beautiful The Last Rose of Summer (Thomas Moore / Richard Alfred Milliken) we are offered Invitation to the Dance (Weber / Henderson), La Capinera (The Wren) (Sir Julius Benedict) and, for the finale, Because (Edward Teschemaker / Guy D'Hardelot). I found Because spoilt by the continual cutting away to action in order to resolve the plot. A strange production decision which must have aggravated audiences in 1939. The musical experience is rounded out by the always attractive score by Charles Previn and the usual accomplished arrangements of Frank Skinner.


    Progressing through this mammoth - though not complete - collection, it is fascinating to watch the talented soprano maturing from film to film. Three Smart Girls Grow Up is a mild disappointment after the exceptional pleasures of the four previous films, but the star herself does not disappoint. In 1939 young girls were buying Deanna Durbin dress-up dolls and the movie-going world was still in love with its lovely teenage soprano.

   .

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This film is almost seventy years old and the transfer looks exceptionally good making for a very satisfactory viewing experience.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    The image is mostly sharp and clean  with no low level noise, a very small amount of grain and a very pleasing grey scale. Blacks are deep and there are no flaring whites.
    There is the occasional dark scene in the girls' bedroom at night (17:00 for example) when the image does become distinctly murky, but these are rare and brief.
     I was not aware of any film-to-video artefacts. No aliasing, even on Venetian blinds.
    Film artefacts are limited to the intermittent white fleck, but there is nothing that is distracting.
    There has been very slight damage with in the last reel maybe one or two frames lost (71:30).This is very minor and I had to go back to check that my eyes weren't playing tricks.

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
  

 
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sixty-nine year old audio track is in very good condition.
    There is only one audio track, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct and no sync problems. Deanna Durbin's visuals match the pre-recorded vocals perfectly.
    There appears to be no doctoring of the soundtrack at all. There is at times a very slight background rumble which is barely audible. There is also the occasional crackle or pop. These comments aside, the quality of the sound is extremely good, sharp and vibrant, the original musical scoring sounding most attractive. There is very slight distortion on the loudest vocal passages, but I would rather have these very slight "imperfections", which are in no way distracting, than lose the dynamism of the sound as a whole.
     There are no dropouts.
    

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on Three Smart Girls Grow Up - there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for Three Smart Girls Grow Up contains small reproductions of eight stills and one poster.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
   

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral music from the credits of the film.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    There is no current release of Three Smart Girls Grow Up in Region 1.
    
    The nineteen title box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Three Smart Girls Grow Up is also available separately, as well as being included in the five disc set The Deanna Durbin Collection : Box 2 along with First Love, Can't Help Singing, The Amazing Mrs Holliday and For the Love of Mary.

Summary

     Three Smart Girls Grow Up is a bit of a disappointment after the outstanding quality of the four preceding movies. Nevertheless, this is still great entertainment with enough high spots to make you forgive the occasional dull patches. Deanna Durbin continues to delight and Robert Cummings and Charles Winninger add to the enjoyment. A very good transfer with good sound.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

First Love (1939)

First Love (1939)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1939
Running Time 80:56
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henry Koster
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Robert Stack
Eugene Pallette
Helen Parrish
Lewis Howard
Leatrice Joy
June Storey
Frank Jenks
Thurston Hall
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Charles Previn
Johannes Strauss


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    The sixth movie in Roadshow's local release of the nineteen disc The Deanna Durbin Collection is First Love. Released by Universal in November 1939, just one month before her eighteenth birthday, First Love gave the young soprano her first screen romance, and a hugely publicised first screen kiss which was literally headline news around the world. Audiences flocked. Usually dismissed by the "experts" in derogatory terms,  First Love is a totally captivating retelling of Cinderella in 1939 dress and one of the best young romance movies ever made.


    The movie opens with the graduation ceremony at a girls' school, with all the graduates being collected by parents to return to their homes, except one. Constance / Connie Harding (Deanna Durbin) is an orphan and is going to live with her wealthy uncle, James F. Clinton (Eugene Pallette), her aunt Grace (Leatrice Joy) and cousins Barbara (Helen Parrish) and Walter (Lewis Howard). With the exception of  Uncle James this is a pretty unlikeable and twitty bunch. At least the servants they employ are sympathetic.


    At the local country club Connie encounters horse-riding rich boy Ted Drake (Robert Stack) and is smitten. A big party/ball is to be held. Connie doesn't have a suitable gown! The kindly servants come to the rescue!  Barbara doesn't want her to go! Connie has to be back by midnight! She has an escort of six policemen on six white motorbikes! Connie waltzes with the princely Ted and flees at midnight, losing a slipper on the stairs! Sounds familiar? This is a delightful retelling of Cinderella and to criticise it for being "unoriginal" - as many "experts" have - is ludicrous. It is a beautiful modern - 1939 modern - fairytale from beginning to end and the old story is told lavishly by Universal.


    Deanna Durbin is a wonderful Constance - I'll have to get out my thesaurus to find more adjectives for her -  looking lovely and singing gloriously. Huge world-wide publicity was made of Deanna's upcoming "first screen kiss" in this film and the search for the "prince" who was to deliver it was almost on a par with the "search" for Scarlett O'Hara. The lucky young man was twenty-one year old Robert Stack in his first film. Later to find huge television success as Elliot Ness in The Untouchables, Robert Stack here is almost unbelievably blonde and handsome, the perfect prince for the young screen musical princess. The entire ball sequence is worth multiple viewings, but the waltz segment is one of the most romantic things I've ever seen. The set , the music, the costumes, the Oscar nominated photography, in fact every element is perfect, including the young couple waltzing. The imaginative isolation of the lovers from the throng astonished me. A truly great sequence and movie history.


    The supporting cast give excellent performances with the exception of  Kathleen Howard as the schoolmarm Miss Wiggins. This performance would have been old hat in 1939. That aside the rest of the cast are great. Eugene Pallette with his inimitable walk and voice is fun as the only sane voice in the Clinton Family, Leatrice Joy is batty and enjoyable as the astrology-obsessed aunt and Lewis Howard has good moments as the dissolute son. Helen Parrish, so dreary in Three Smart Girls Grow Up, here does what she does best, playing glamorous sourpuss to the hilt, and looking beautiful. There is a host of character reliables such as Frank Jenks (the cab driver in 100 Men And a Girl), Thurston Hall and Marcia Mae Jones as well as the collective-fairygodmother  servants, who contribute much warmth to the proceedings. The female domestics are played by Mary Treen, Dorothy Vaughan and Lucille Ward, while "George the Butler" is Charles Coleman and the chauffeur is Jack Mulhall. These are all sterling performers whose faces we know, but whose names are rarely heard.


    The film's musical highlights were Amapola, Home Sweet Home, One Fine Day from Madame Butterfly and Spring In My Heart (Johannes Strauss), so beautifully sung and staged in the ball sequence. Three new songs are also listed in the booklet accompanying the boxed set, but these are not in the film. The original score by Charles Previn, another Oscar nomination, once again enhances a Durbin film.


    The production team led,  for the sixth time, by Joe Pasternak, topped previous Durbin vehicles and Henry Koster's direction deserves high praise- we'll forget Miss Wiggins. I don't know where the major credit should go for the entire ball sequence, whether to Koster, Pasternak or Director of Photography Joseph Valentine. Whoever is responsible, that sequence is perfection.


    What a sensation First Love  must have been in 1939.
    
    
   .

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Transfer Quality

Video

     First Love looks startling. This film is almost seventy years old and this transfer is a pleasure to watch. I have seen better transfers of 30s movies, in meticulous restorations, but this looks almost as good.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    The image is extremely steady, with a tiny amount of wobble in the credits,  sharp and clean and with no low level noise. I tried to see grain, but gave up. The picture is smooth and beautiful to look at.
    The grey scale is outstanding, with deep, solid blacks and whites without a hint of flaring - as in the heroine's white cape.
     I was not aware of any film-to-video artefacts. No aliasing, even on Venetian blinds.
     Film artefacts are limited to the intermittent white fleck, and one instance of positive flecks (43:30). This is being very critical of what is a beautiful transfer.
     Reel cues were noted late in the film.
    
    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
       
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sixty-nine year old audio track is in very good condition.
    There is only one audio track, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct and no sync problems. Deanna Durbin's visuals match the pre-recorded vocals perfectly.
    There appears to be no doctoring of the soundtrack at all. There is at times a very slight background rumble, barely audible. I was more aware of it when it stopped. There is also the occasional crackle or pop. These comments aside, the quality of the sound is extremely good, sharp and vibrant, the original musical scoring sounding most attractive. There is very slight distortion on the loudest vocal passages, but I would rather have these very slight "imperfections", which are in no way distracting, than lose the dynamism of the sound as a whole.
     There was one dropout during the opening Universal logo music (00.11).
    

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on First Love- there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for First Love contains small reproductions of five stills.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
   

Menu    
   

    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral music from the credits of the film.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    There is no current release of First Love in Region 1.
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price.First Love is also available separately, as well as being included in the five disc set The Deanna Durbin Collection : Box 2 along with Three Smart Girls Grow Up, Can't Help Singing, The Amazing Mrs Holliday and For the Love of Mary.

Summary

     First Love is one of the best of its genre. A classic story given a classic treatment, with an iconic star partnered with a handsome prince who himself was to become an iconic star of TV. A fantastic movie in a sparkling transfer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Nice Girl? (1941)

Nice Girl? (1941)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1941
Running Time 93:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By William A. Seiter
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Franchot Tone
Walter Brennan
Robert Stack
Robert Benchley
Helen Broderick
Ann Gillis
Anne Gwynne
Elizabeth Risdom
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Charles Previn
Stephen Foster


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Walter Brennan delivers mail in 90 second take.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    By 1940 Universal had established a regular pattern of releasing two Deanna Durbin features per year. Sadly the two offerings for 1940, It's A Date and Spring Parade, the latter containing two of the sopranos biggest hits Waltzing In The Clouds and It's Foolish But It's Fun, are not included in Roadshow's local release of the nineteen disc The Deanna Durbin Collection. It's A Date, which also featured Walter Pidgeon and Kay Francis, was purchased from Universal by MGM and remade in 1950 as Nancy Goes To Rio with Jane Powell and Ann Sothern. I suspect that there is a similar explanation for the absence of Spring Parade, the movie which reunited the soprano with two men with whom she had previously worked so well, Robert Cummings (Three Smart Girls Grow Up) and Mischa Auer (100 Men And A Girl). These are unfortunate holes in the Durbin catalogue, but we pick up again with Nice Girl?, released in February 1941, a piece of joyous light entertainment which has Deanna, no longer a bouncy teenager, blossoming finally into lovely young womanhood. Deanna was out of the mansions of most of her previous films, living in small town USA, older, more knowing, ready for the 40s ... and ready for a man.


    The movie opens with a ninety second take, behind the credits, of the postman, Hector Titus (Walter Brennan), walking through the main street of  "small town" USA delivering the mail. This single take is very nicely executed and introduces us to the parochial setting of the screenplay, by Richard Connell and Gladys Lehman, based on Phyllis Duganne's play of the same name. In the grand tradition of American cinema, the plot concerns three young females, this time three sisters, Deanna Durbin, Anne Gwynne and Ann Gillis, daughters of Professor Oliver Wendell Holmes Dana (Robert Benchley). The Professor is visited by a New York representative of a Scientific Foundation, Richard Calvert (Franchot Tone), much to the delight of the three girls. Calvert is soon to return to "the wilds of Australia" to complete his studies there, and entertains the girls with stories of his previous encounters with the Australian pygmies !?! Deanna decides to test her newly found womanly charms on the older man, and potentially risqué situations develop, to the embarrassment of Calvert and the potential destruction of Deanna's small town reputation. The modern young woman ultimately comes to her senses and returns to the brawny arms of her small town beau (Robert Stack),  reuniting the star with her waltzing/kissing partner from First Love. William A. Seiter, who had directed It's A Date the previous year, handles everything with the lightest of touches, and this, combined with the charm and ingenuousness of Durbin, partnered beautifully by the urbane sophistication of Francot Tone, resulted in a delightful, insubstantial entertainment. Released prior to the USA's entry into World War II, there are one or two references in the script that reflect the state of the world in 1939, such as when Benchley looks down the lens and meaningfully says "we are a free people". This, and the patriotic finale, aside, the general tone is as light as a cloud.


    Every cast member is first rate, with Brennan - in 1941 to win his third Oscar - nicely teamed with Helen Broderick as the object of his affections. Excellent work also from Elizabeth Risdon, Nana BryantAnn Gillis as the youngest man-hungry sister and famed radio and literary wit Robert Benchley ( father of Jaws author Peter Benchley) as Professor Dana. Robert Stack successfully modified his glamour boy looks by getting greasy and handsomely wearing a singlet. Franchot Tone's scenes with Miss Durbin are sharp and funny, and anyone who persists in believing that she "can't act" should take a look at one little instance from this film, from around 38:34. She is so fresh and seemingly spontaneous. Was it written? Directed? Improvised? It is impossible to tell.


    The musical offerings are exceptional. There is the cute Perhaps, when we first see Deanna as she tends to the animals, Beneath the Lights of Home, corny, but the soprano looking great with her 1940s Betty Grable curls on her forehead, Old Folks at Home, most beautifully sung, staged and photographed - Joseph Valentine again -with Deanna singing from a pontoon, and the patriotic finale I Give My Thanks to America. In the UK an alternate ending featured There'll Always Be An England, photographed in extreme close-up. Happily this print of the film features both songs. What an impact this ending must have had on English audiences. From 1939 to 1942 Deanna Durbin was the number one female box office star in the UK. She was also Winston Churchill's favourite actress, the English wartime leader regularly requesting private screenings of her films prior to their release.


    In Nice Girl? Deanna Durbin blasts into the 40s. The movie is a refreshing combination of family and romantic comedy with Deanna moving effortlessly into young adulthood. With a moving nod to then current world events, Nice Girl?  provides ninety minutes of pure escapist entertainment.
  
    
   .

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Nice Girl? was made approximately sixty-eight years ago. This transfer looks exceptionally good making for a very enjoyable viewing experience.
    
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    The image is steady, very sharp and clean  with no low level noise.
    There is a very small amount of grain and a very pleasing grey scale. Blacks are deep and there are no flaring whites.
    The image is not quite up to the excellent quality of First Love, but it is still extremely good.
  
    The only film to video artefact I observed was some aliasing on Franchot Tone's tie (25:55).
    Film artefacts are limited to the intermittent white fleck, but there is nothing that is distracting.
    Reel cues are still evident, so this appears to be a print that just happens to be in very good condition.
    

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is also in very good condition.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct and no sync problems. Deanna Durbin's visuals match the pre-recorded vocals perfectly.
    There appears to be no doctoring of the soundtrack at all. There is at times a very slight background rumble which is barely audible and does not intrude at all.
     There is also the occasional crackle or pop, but these comments aside, the quality of the sound is extremely good, sharp and vibrant, the original musical scoring by Charles Previn sounding most attractive. There is only the slightest distortion on the loudest vocal passages, but I would rather have these very slight "imperfections", which are in no way distracting, than lose the dynamism of the sound as a whole.
     There are no dropouts.
    

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on Nice Girl? - there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for Nice Girl contains small reproductions of four stills.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with audio of Deanna Durbin singing a few bars of There'll Always Be An England from the film's finale.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    There is no current release of Nice Girl? in Region 1.
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Nice Girl? is also available separately or in The Deanna Durbin Collection : Box 3, which also includes Hers to Hold, Up In Central Park, It Started With Eve and His Butler's Sister.

Summary

     Nice Girl? has the freshly "grown up" Deanna Durbin as the predatory young woman, after older man Franchot Tone, with hunky young Robert Stack back home waiting for her.A joyful romantic comedy plus musical entertainment for a world under the cloud of war. An extremely good transfer with good sound.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

It Started with Eve (1941)

It Started with Eve (1941)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1941
Running Time 86:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henry Koster
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Charles Laughton
Robert Cummings
Guy Kibbee
Walter Catlett
Margaret Tallichet
Catherine Doucet
Bess Flowers
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Anton Dvorak
Peter Illytch Tchaikovsky
Charles Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It Started With Eve was somewhat of a departure for Deanna Durbin. For the first time since her debut, Universal's top star was not solo billed above the title, instead sharing the card with second billed Charles Laughton and, in slightly smaller typeface, Robert Cummings. This reflected the fact that the September 1941 release was not so much "a Deanna Durbin movie", but rather an ensemble romantic comedy which also happened to feature three musical outbursts from the young soprano. In her first nine movies, under the production guidance of Joe Pasternak, Deanna Durbin had developed from a vocally precocious adolescent into an assured young screen actress; warm, lovely and womanly. It Started With Eve has her sparring with two formidable talents ten and twenty years her senior, but unfortunately this was the last Durbin movie to have Pasternak's name in the credits.

    Its origins in a story by Hans Kraly, a German screenwriter who until the early 30s had worked with Ernst Lubitsch, the screenplay by Leo Townsend and playwright/screenwriter Norman Krasna moves with easy assurance from the rather sombre opening into romantic comedy, knockabout farce and overt sentimentality. All of these variations in tone are handled adroitly in the intelligent and spare script, and under the seemingly effortless direction of Henry Koster.

    Jonathan Reynolds (Charles Laughton) is a cantankerous millionaire who is on his deathbed. His son, Jonathan Junior (Robert Cummings) is soon to marry Gloria Pennington (Margaret Tallichet) and the "last wish" of the old curmudgeon is to meet his would have been daughter-in-law. Unfortunately she is not available, so Junior runs out into the streets to find a convenient substitute, coming back with hat-check girl Anne Terry (Deanna Durbin - looking gorgeous), promising her $50 for her deathbed performance. The "dying" old man takes quite a shine to Deanna - who wouldn't - and the next morning announces to everyone's astonishment : "I'm hungry!" The curmudgeon has had a miraculous recovery, but the problem is that Junior's fiancee is about to arrive on the scene, accompanied by her pearl-twirling "mother" (Catherine Doucet). The old man totally approves of his son's fiancee, but it's the wrong girl! To conceal his deception, Junior has to re-enlist Anne's services. Anne is an aspiring singer, and after two years of New York rejection she is returning home to Shelveyville, her ticket purchased with Junior's $50. Junior rushes to the station and after an amusing, and extremely well played scene at the train, Anne returns to continue the deception. Sit back and enjoy the complications, the comedy, the sentiment, the music and the inevitable happy ending.

    Performances are faultless. Charles Laughton's scheming, kindly old fox is Laughton at his most endearing, with the possible exception of Witness for the Prosecution. Playing much older than his forty-two years, a surprisingly slimmer Laughgton - the script makes several references to his character's weight loss - is perfect throughout, whether in the deathbed scene, the comedy or the sentimentality. His reaction to Durbin's Goin' Home is remarkable, as are the magnificent close-ups in that sequence (74:09).Various pieces of Laughton "business" throughout the film are truly memorable, whether its stretching his legs getting out of bed, doing a little jig across a room or nightclubbing doing the La Conga with a stunningly glamorous Deanna. Laughgton's performance is the core of this film, and his is rightly the final image of the film, not the customary fade-out close-up of the smiling, singing Deanna.

    As I said, Deanna Durbin looks gorgeous in this film. Modern, smart and beautiful. She performs with warmth and ease with Laughton, and is a great partner with Cummings in the comedy scenes. This is a multi-faceted role and she pulls it off with charm and apparent ease. Though not a musical there are thankfully three opportunites for Deanna's character to sing and these do become highlights. There is the previously mentioned Goin' Home (Dvorak), Clavelitos (Valverde) - What diction! Talk about tripping lightly on the tongue! - and When I Sing (Tchaikovsky). The last piece has a fun introduction from Deanna at the keyboard, and it looks as though she really could play. Robert Cummings is at his thirty-year-old best here. Charming, fast, funny and slightly befuddled, he made a great comedy partner for Deanna in their three films together.

    The remainder of the supporting cast is extremely strong, with wonderful Guy Kibbee as the dithering Bishop Maxwell and Walter Catlett as the prissy Doctor Harvey. Briefly appearing as a nurse we have Clara Blandick, Auntie Em from The Wizard of Oz, and a nightclubbing ubiquitous Bess Flowers, who gets one line. Seeing  Laughton out on the town with Durbin, the Queen of the Hollywood Extras beautifully enunciates : "Is he still alive?".

    Top script, top production, top direction, top cast, top performances - It Started With Eve is a must see movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer of this sixty-seven year old film is a knockout, a black and white visual treat.The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.

    The image is steady, razor sharp and clean with no low level noise.There is a minute amount of grain and a beautiful grey scale. Blacks are deep and there are no flaring whites.

    The image is at least on a par with the excellence of First Love.The only film to video artefact I observed was some very occasional aliasing on a bannister (36:00), some cigars (40:36) and Robert Cumming's overcoat (46:00).The only film artefact I noted was the very occasional white flick. I progressed frame by frame to find some.It is a thrill to see such an outstanding film in almost immaculate condition.

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is also in very good condition.

    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.

    The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct and no sync problems. Deanna Durbin's visuals match the pre-recorded vocals perfectly.

    There appears to be no doctoring of the soundtrack at all. As a result there is at times a very slight background rumble, only audible at high volumes.

    There is also the occasional crackle or pop, but these comments aside, the quality of the 1941 sound is exceptional. Deanna Durbin's vocals sound great, loud, clear and undistorted. Orchestrations are vibrant and clear, and the original musical scoring by Charles Previn sounds most attractive. Listen to the delightful few seconds accompanying Charles Laughgton on the stairs (39:10).

    There are no dropouts.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.

    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on It Started With Eve - there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for It Started With Eve contains small reproductions of four stills.

    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.

    There are no subtitles.

Menu

    All menu screens are 4x3. The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral audio. The options are Play Film or Scene Index. Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    In Region 1, It Started With Eve is included in the two-disc Deanna Durbin: Sweetheart Pack. The other titles are Three Smart Girls, Something in the Wind, First Love, Can't Help Singing and Lady on a Train.

    The nineteen-title box set is also available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. It Started With Eve is also available separately or in The Deanna Durbin Collection: Box 3, which also includes Hers to Hold, Up In Central ParkNice Girl? and His Butler's Sister.

Summary

    It Started With Eve is one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Charles Laughton is superb and it also just happens to star an adorable Deanna Durbin. A beautiful black and white image with very good sound.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Friday, March 14, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943)

The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category DRAMA WITH MUSIC None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1943
Running Time 93:21
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jean Renoir
bruce Manning
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Edmond O'Brien
Barry Fitzgerald
Arthur Treacher
Harry Davenport
Grant Mitchell
Frieda Inescort
Elizabeth Risdon
Bess Flowers
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Giacomo Puccini
Fritz Kreisler
Charles Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It Started With Eve was in cinemas world wide in 1942 and Deanna Durbin's star was high in the cinematic heaven, yet a new Durbin film did not appear until February 1943, and that was The Amazing Mrs Holliday. In 1942, for the fourth consecutive year, Universal's soprano was the UK's number one female box office star, and a seven day "Deanna Durbin Festival" was held throughout the entire Odean cinema chain. This was, and remains, a unique event. Why then was Mrs Holliday so long in making its appearance?

    Producer of all previous Durbin features, Joe Pasternak, as well as her usual director Henry Koster, had joined Universal's Hollywood operations in 1936 at the same time as the then teenage soprano. After helming ten Durbin productions, Pasternak was enticed away from Universal by MGM, where he immediately began working his magic on Kathryn Grayson's films, starting with Seven Sweethearts. Deanna Durbin was outraged that Universal would let "her" producer escape and in protest went "on strike" for a year, a year which coincides with her first marriage. When she did return to work it was on her terms, which included respected French Director Jean Renoir -  Deanna was always a Francophile - and that the film should be a drama, not a musical. The result was The Amazing Mrs Holliday, a troubled cinematic mess that on its release credited regular Durbin writer Bruce Manning as director, with nary a mention of Jean Renoir. It seems that at some stage late in the production Renoir discovered that Universal was adding "musical highlights" to his movie, and, with that, Jean was gone.

    In the hodge-podge of a screenplay by Frank Ryan and John Jacoby, Ruth Kirke (Deanna Durbin) is an American school teacher who went to China as an infant with her missionary parents. It's World War II and we meet Ruth as she is attempting to smuggle nine children out of Japan-threatened China into Singapore. In desperation, and with the help of seaman Timothy Blake (Barry Fitzgerald), she smuggles herself and the children onto a ship bound for San Francisco. Discovered by the ship's magnate owner, Commodore Thomas Holliday (Harry Davenport), Ruth is promised by the Commodore that, once on American soil, he will adopt the children thus allowing them to stay in the United States. Unfortunately the ship is torpedoed by the "Japs" and sinks, along with, evidently, the Commodore and one of  Ruth's young charges. Once arrived on the doorstep of the Commodore's San Francisco mansion Ruth meets his snooty relatives. Ruth - urged by Timothy - realises that the only way she can ensure the children's security is to lie that she had married the Commodore - Harry Davenport - prior to the sinking. The "dead" magnate's son turns up, Tom Holliday (Edmund O'Brien), there is a tediously unfunny dinner scene with a wilfully errant cherry, and Ruth tells Tom of her China experience in messy but well staged flash-backs. Ruth finally confesses her deception to Tom, who insists she must leave the house, the children remaining with him. A significant script inconsistency has Deanna sticking around long enough to sing another song to the children, and Tom allows her to stay yet a few more days to attend a presentation. At the function two unexpected faces turn up. The Commodore and the kid! Ruth must now marry the aged Commodore, but she loves his son, and he loves her back. A surprise announcement by the Commodore, and a few fainting relatives and it's "the end".

    Deanna Durbin does well with the material she has, and looks most attractive, whether in refugee garb or glamorous gowns. She is surprisingly effective in the flashback sequences which leads one to speculate that the project could have been more successful had it been told chronologically and more simply, rather like an earlier The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, with brave Deanna leading the children through dreadful dangers, singing This Old Man, or some other catchy little marching song as they make their way to safety. Where, oh where was Joe Pasternak? At MGM, that's where.

    Deanna's romantic interest is provided by a barely adequate Edmund O'Brien. Although O'Brien was to become an efficient character actor when still quite young, and won an Oscar for The Barefoot Contessa, here he is miscast and lacklustre. Barry Fitzgerald is wasted, and has a few embarrassing moments when he is supposed to be a crying baby. Someone involved with this production had a very odd sense of humour. Even Arthur Treacher as the Butler has some awkward moments, as do Frieda Inescort and Elisabeth Risdon providing the remainder of the magnate's relatives. One of the tricks of the director, whichever one he was, seems to be "when in doubt, have everyone faint!". Of the supporting players, the children come off best. They are generally likeable and natural, with just the occasional peek at the camera. Bess Flowers appears as a reporter and has one line.

    The musical interludes, which so offended Jean Renoir, are hardly worth their screen time. Included are The Old Refrain, Visi d'Arte from Tosca and, most effectively, Mighty Like a Rose. For some reason the recording of Miss Durbin's lovely soprano is not as clear as in the previous titles.

    What a disappointment this highly anticipated release must have been for Durbin deprived fans! At its best this is mediocre melodrama, with a few interesting flashbacks thrown in, and ultimately one for only the dedicated fans of the star.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer of this sixty-seven year old film is clean and generally provides a pleasing viewing experience. The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1. For the opening credits the image has been slightly reduced to avoid cutting off any of the written information.

    The image is steady, quite sharp and clean with no low level noise. There is a minute amount of grain and a very good grey scale. Blacks are deep and there are no flaring whites. On three occasions there is some brief and slight water or emulsion damage, initially at 05:12. There is a small piece of debris at the top of the image at 06:48, but apart from this the only film artefacts are the occasional white fleck.

    The image is not up to the standard of First Love or It Started With Eve, but it is clean, quite sharp and generally more than satisfactory.

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered. 

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is also in good condition.

    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording. The dialogue is clear and sharp with not one syllable indistinct and no sync problems. Deanna Durbin's visuals match the pre-recorded vocals perfectly.

    There appears to be no doctoring of the soundtrack at all. As a result there is at times a very slight background rumble, only audible at high volumes. There is also the occasional crackle or pop, but these comments aside, the quality of the 1941 sound is generally good.

    Deanna Durbin's vocals are not as sharp and clear as in the best of the transfers in this set, and there is some distortion on the loudest vocal passages. Orchestrations are mostly sharp and clear, and the original musical scoring by Charles Previn sounds most attractive. There are no dropouts.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet. Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles (no gallery on The Amazing Mrs Holliday) there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for The Amazing Mrs Holliday contains small reproductions of six stills.

    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover. There are no subtitles.

Menu

    All menu screens are 4x3. The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral audio taken from the film's opening credits. The options are Play Film and Scene Index. Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 1 has no current release of The Amazing Mrs Holliday. The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. The Amazing Mrs Holliday  is also available separately.

Summary

    The Amazing Mrs Holliday is a strange mixture of a film, neither comedy, drama nor musical. Deanna Durbin is always a welcome presence, but the production lets her down, from the script to the choice of leading man. Despite the good transfer and OK sound, this one is only for the Durbin completists.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Deanna Durbin box set - REPLY POSTED

Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Hers to Hold (1943)

Hers to Hold (1943)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic comedy/dram None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1943
Running Time 90:02
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frank Ryan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Joseph Cotten
Charles Winninger
Nella Walker
Ludwig Stossel
Gus Schilling
Evelyn Ankers
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Irving Berlin
Cole Porter
Charles Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Frequent social smoking : War time.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Hers To Hold was the third time Deanna Durbin was to play Penny Craig, the "smart girl" of 1936 who "grew up" in 1939. However, in 1943 the world was at war and the movies reflected those tumultuous times. Perhaps hedging their bets, Universal surrounded Miss Durbin with the tried and true, but were brave enough to venture into a more socially responsible film world. As a result Hers to Hold is an at times uncomfortable mix of romantic comedy and romantic drama, with quite a lot of "home front" footage thrown in. Nevertheless there are ingredients here that make this a worthy film experience - despite the condition of the print.


    The screenplay, by Lewis R. Foster out of a story by John D. Klore, has rich young woman Penny Craig (Deanna Durbin) enjoying all that money can buy. Penny still lives with Father and Mother (Charles Winninger and Nella Walker once again), while the other two, never seen "girls" have married. Also dwelling in the Craig mansion is Binns, the Butler, (Ludwig Stossel replacing Ernest Cossart). Penny meets, and falls in love with, flyer Bill Morley (Joseph Cotten), taking a job on the production line in an aircraft factory to prove her love and do her bit in the war effort. Bill, a fatalist about his future,  resists serious attachment, and after romantic interludes on beaches, in cars and elsewhere, he breaks up with Penny. So the scene is set for heartbreak, reunion and farewell, this movie evidently being a triple hanky piece in 1943. The first section of the film is pure romantic comedy fluff, with Deanna back in the comfort zone of her earlier films. To the credit of all concerned, the shift to romantic drama is seamless and it is only the lengthy factory segments that fracture the movie. Almost documentary in their execution - apart from the accelerated race by the star to get back to work on time - these sections are a tribute to the war effort of the wives, mothers and girlfriends back home, who staffed the factories while their men were "overseas". Some of the footage is fascinating with Deanna, wide-eyed, awestruck and proud, admiring the construction work. Watching a plane being craned cross the workplace floor Deanna is informed, "That's a B 17". "Oh! A flying fortress!" she replies in wonder. Such emotional  flag waving - for want of a better term - was common in films of the early 40s. It is commendable and historically interesting, but the narrative does suffer. One of the great things about all art is that in some way it must reflect its time. I wonder what the future will make of the current popular obsessions that are reflected in movies - violence, vulgarity and cars.


    Deanna Durbin's performance has all her usual qualities - humour, naturalness, charm and warmth. She glides through the early scenes effortlessly, at her mature mischievous best, and then handles the later emotional scenes with surprising depth. She also looks beautiful, slim and trim ,whether in Adrian gowns or factory overalls. A huge contributor to the success of this movie lies in the performance of Joseph Cotten, one of the very best Hollywood actors of the 40s. (In the same year the actor appeared brilliantly in what many consider Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, Shadow of a Doubt.) Tall, handsome and possessed with a beautiful speaking voice, Cotten always was able to present a calm, suave exterior, while at the same time suggest dark, psychological depths. He is wonderful in the early comedic scenes, so unusual for him, and then makes the film's transition into a more serious mode totally inevitable. Miss Durbin is at her very best working with the him. The publicity shot on the cover of the disc's slick says it all.


    There was not a dud in the supporting cast. Charles Winninger is so much better than when in his "old trouper" routine at MGM, Nella Walker partnering him with charm and grace. Gus Schilling contributes valuable comedy as Cotten's buddy, while Evelyn Ankers has some effective moments as an old flame.


    Musically Deanna proved that she still had what it takes. There is a fiery Seguidilla from Carmen, Kashmiri Love Song, God Bless America, an exciting Begin the Beguine and, to most popular acclaim, one new song in Say a Prayer for the Boys Over There - Oscar nominated, but beaten by You'll Never Know.


    Not a great movie by any means, Hers to Hold remains a sentimental "weepie" with considerable entertainment value, despite the documentary element. The mixture of romantic comedy and drama works remarkably well, due to the personalities and considerable talents of the two stars.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Now for the bad news. This transfer of Hers to Hold is a major disappointment.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    Although there are no actual missing frames, every other conceivable kind of damage or flaw seems to be present.
    There is hardly one frame that does not have some form of debris.

    The film seems to be compiled from a number of sources.
    Reel one begins with considerable damage, with bad scratches (09:38) and numerous  noise reduction problems (13:28).
    The second reel is alarmingly "washed out", but does have less debris.
    The third reel has some major debris problems on the right hand edge of the screen from 56:20 to 57:00. I initially thought a mouse was climbing up my plasma screen!
    At 57:00 there is a relatively short lived bout of the shutter jitters.
    There is more major debris again at 58:08.
    During Reel 4 the image is cleaner but not as sharp. In addition the image continually moves in and out of focus.
    In the last reel the screen frequently becomes extremely dark, with the edges of the image disappearing into blackness. I haven't seen this sort of thing since the very early days of  TV with telecine prints of old movies, or in very bad  transfers of old "public domain" movies.
    
    The image is watchable, but only barely. At least the film is all there.
    
    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
     
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is also disappointing.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    The dialogue is clear, more a tribute to the actors of the time than to the quality of the disc.
    There are no sync problems.
    The sound on the first reel is harsh and has distortion on all loud passages.
    The second  "washed out"  reel has louder, brighter and clearer sound, but there is still distortion on loud passages.
     Distortion mars all vocals. I am sure that Begin the Beguine was an exciting interlude, but not with this sound.
    There is constant background "rumble" and  frequent crackles and pops.

    There are no dropouts.

 

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on Hers to Hold - there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for Hers to Hold contains small reproductions of seven stills and one poster.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu

    
        
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 1 does not have a current release of Hers to Hold.
    
    The nineteen title box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Hers to Hold  is also available separately or in The Deanna Durbin Collection : Box 3, which also includes It Started With Eve, Up In Central ParkNice Girl? and His Butler's Sister.

Summary

     Hers to Hold is a moderately successful wartime "weepie" weighed down, assessed today, by too much patriotic footage. The two stars work extremely well together, Deanna Durbin shining in her work with the superb Joseph Cotten. The poor quality of the print would make this one to miss. That's unfortunate, because there are some good things here.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, March 17, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

His Butler's Sister (1943)

His Butler's Sister (1943)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1943
Running Time 89:40
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frank Borzage
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Franchot Tone
Pat O'Brien
Akim Tamiroff
Alan Mowbray
Walter Catlett
Else Janssen
Evelyn Ankers
Frank Jenks
Sig Arno
Hand Conreid
Florence Bates
Roscoe Karns
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music H.J. Salter
Victor Herbert
Giacomo Puccini


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, 1940s sophisticated males + cigars
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    His Butler's Sister was the third Deanna Durbin release in 1943, and her thirteenth film for Universal. In contrast to the first two films for the year, in this one there was not one word which referred to a world at war. There is in place a preface, obliquely and humorously sidelining wartime rationing, which introduces our story, "a fable of the day before yesterday". His Butler's Sister is total escapist entertainment, and one of the best from the Deanna Durbin Collection, the nineteen disc set released by Roadshow.


    The movie opens on a speeding New York bound train. "The Sunshine Twins from Texas" ( Iris Adrian and Robin Raymond) knock on an apartment door. The door opens and the Twins break into a rousing song and thumping dance of  Is It true What They Say About Dixie?, an impromptu audition for unsuspecting Broadway composer Charles Gerard (Franchot Tone). Also on the train is aspiring singer from Centreville, Indiana, Ann Carter (Deanna Durbin) on her way to New York to visit her "millionaire" half-brother, Martin Murphy (Pat O'Brien). We first see Ann in a very nicely executed dolly shot as she makes her way through the train to the dining car. There she overhears that her idol Charles Gerard is on the train. Determined to audition for Gerard, Ann mistakenly finds herself auditioning for a travelling salesman, "the girdle man". From the station, the real Gerard overhears the voice , not knowing its owner.


    Ann arrives at Martin's penthouse address on Park Avenue, only to find that he is the butler, and that he works for - wait for it - Charles Gerard! Martin, it seems, had sent a thousand dollars of a gambling win to Ann, who "naturally" assumed he had become a millionaire. Having spent the thousand on clothes, Ann is penniless in New York and sees Gerard as a very convenient stepping-stone to success. Martin, also broke, allows Ann to stay one night. The next morning Gerard arrives home and, seeing Ann cleaning under one of his two grand pianos, assumes that she is the new maid, a misunderstanding that Ann finds convenient and that Martin accepts. In the apartment building's service elevator, on her way to the market and looking like Little Red Riding Hood, Ann meets four butlers and a chauffeur (Akim Tamiroff, Alan Mowbray, Hans Conreid, Sig Arno and Frank Jenks). That evening Gerard throws a party with Ann doing her maidly duties and he finds himself becoming attracted to the new maid. From this situation fairly predictable confusions and misunderstandings develop, all leading to the ending we know must  inevitably come. The screenplay by Samuel Hoffenstein and Elizabeth Reinhardt holds no surprises, but the action is fast, the lines clever and witty and Miss Durbin is given logical opportunities to break into song, from the early train "audition" to the thrilling finale at the elaborately chandeliered Butler's Ball.


    Under the direction of Frank Borzage (History Is Made At Night) Deanna Durbin has never looked lovelier. Bright, funny and warm she dominates the screen, her musical numbers being amongst her best. The attractive new song is In The Spirit of the Moment (Bernie Grossman and Walter Jurmann), sung to "the girdle man" on the train, and reprised vocally and orchestrally through the film. Then there is Victor Herbert's When You're Away, beautifully sung at the piano by Durbin with that miraculous diction. The finale is an absolutely stunning Nessun Dorma from Turandot (Puccini), sung in English as None Shall Sleep, but the musical highlight occurs one hour into the film, at a birthday celebration for Popov (Tamiroff). In the setting of a Russian restaurant Deanna Durbin sings a five-and-a-half minute medley of songs, in Russian, that  is visually and aurally breathtaking. Gowned to perfection by Adrian and photographed sensitively by Woody Bredell, particularly in the close-ups, the soprano looks every inch a screen goddess, and her singing is fantastic.
In the second of their three films together, Franchot Tone is immaculately charming and dashing as the sophisticated Gerard, and Pat O'Brien pretty much does his normal "thing" as the Butler brother. It's the young lady's film, and they are pretty much just there to accommodate her, which they do very nicely.


    The supporting cast is to die for. The talented quintet of male servants mentioned earlier are wonderful, with Tamiroff shining in his birthday sequence. There is also Walter Catlett as a producer intent on giving Deanna "perz and poisonality", Else Jensen as Gerard's maid, the lovely Evelyn Ankers as a Long Island girlfriend, Florence Bates and Roscoe Karns. Quite a line-up!


    His Butler's Sister is delightful nonsense and first class entertainment.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This print of His Butler's Sister, and its transfer, are very good indeed.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.

    The image is sharp, even the close ups looking very good, with very little grain, clean and clear.
    Shadow detail is pleasing, notably in the night scene as the couple walk along "Park Avenue".
    There is no low level noise.
    The black and white image is quite a pleasure to watch, many shots looking like pages from a coffee table book. The blacks are deep and solid, there is no flaring on the whites, and the entire grey scale is reproduced beautifully.

    Artefacts of any kind were very rare.
    Aliasing was noted only once, on a top worn by Deanna Durbin (77:25).
    Problems arising from noise reduction were difficult to find, only two noted, both on faces (52:10 and 71:34).
    There is the rare white fleck - barely noticeable - but only one small piece of film debris was seen, for a second at the bottom of the frame(73:39) .
    Reel cues are still evident.

   The quality and condition of this print and its transfer make it a pleasure to watch.
    
    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
     
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is also very good, possibly the best so far in this collection.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    The dialogue is clear, without any sync problems. The vocals are also in perfect sync.
    
    There is a very slight hum in the first reel, which disappears at 11:02.
    At times a background rumble can be detected, but you really have to put your ear to the speaker to hear it.
    There is very little crackle, at times absolutely none.
    
    Deanna Durbin's singing voice is very nicely reproduced, loud, rich, clear and without distortion - even on the loudest and highest notes. No doubt this contributed to the impact of the superb vocals in this film.
    The final reel has a little too much bass, evident in the orchestrations, but this is easily adjusted. For the most part the background score is extremely attractive and clever. The Russian flavoured sections are most attractive, and the night-time street strolling sequence very clever as the orchestral underscoring ends beating in perfect time with the lovers' footsteps (68:45). As the couple move into the building the solo violin dominates, all very nicely reproduced.
    .

    There are no dropouts.

 

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on His Butler's Sister - there are no other extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer. The reverse of the slick for His Butler's Sister contains small reproductions of six stills, one lobby card and the sheet music for When You're Away.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
        Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 1 does not have a current release of His Butler's Sister.
    
    The nineteen title box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. His Butler's Sister  is also available separately or in The Deanna Durbin Collection : Box 3, which also includes It Started With Eve, Up In Central ParkNice Girl? and Hers to Hold.

Summary

     His Butler's Sister  is a delight of a movie packed with comedy, romance, music, one great star, two reliable leading men and a magnificent cast of supporting players. That it looks and sounds so good just adds to the sheer pleasure of experiencing it all.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Christmas Holiday (1944)

Christmas Holiday (1944)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1944
Running Time 88:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Siodmak
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Gene Kelly
Richard Whorf
Dean Harens
Gale Sondergaard
Gladys George
David Bruce
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music H.J. Salter
Frank Loesser
Irving Berlin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, In smoke filled low life social settings.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc boxed set Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced a price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

   

"Love ... was her crime!
"Love ... was her punishment!"

     Released on 7th June 1944, the day after D Day, Christmas Holiday must have come as quite a shock to the movie going public. Released for the US Summer holidays, traditionally the time for "family" films, with a holiday title and with two musical stars, Deanna Durbin an established screen singing favourite and Gene Kelly fresh from his success with Rita Hayworth in the Technicolor musical smash Cover Girl, surely here was a wholesome treat designed for the fans of  both stars. This was not the case. Christmas Holiday is a psychological drama which touches upon subject matter taboo in films of the 40s, and showing its two stars as fans had never before seen them.


    Based on Somerset Maugham's novel, and "written for the screen" by Herman J. Mankiewicz, the movie opens with a Christmas Eve officer school graduation ceremony. Grimly the young men are told that they will all serve in different ways, "some by living, some by dying", an ominous phrase that echoes through to the end of the film. The new officers have ten days leave before shipping out, and Lt. Charles Mason (Dean Harens) is off to San Francisco to propose to his girlfriend, Mona. Mason and Lt. Gerry Tyler (David Bruce), who have become "pretty good pals", are admiring the engagement ring when Mason receives a telegram from his girl telling him that she has married someone else. Gerry tries to persuade Mason to fly with him to New York and then on to Lake Placid,  he "wants to see (him) in snow shoes". But the jilted Mason is intent on his original destination, muttering that "they're not gonna get away with it".


    Mason's plane to San Francisco is caught in a storm and is forced to make an alternate landing "just outside New Orleans". Staying in a New Orleans hotel until the flight can be resumed, Mason meets reporter Simon Fenimore (Richard Whorf) who suggests a visit to a dive on the edge of town run by Valerie de Merode (Gladys George). In this sleazy 1940s movie version of a brothel, Mason sees trashy looking "singer" Jackie Lamont (Deanna Durbin) gently warbling Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year. Valerie "introduces" the two, who eventually end up in Mason's room for the night - to be more exact, "rooms". He has the bed while she has the sofa. (It was 1944!) Through their time together Jackie tells Mason her story. Her real name is Abigail Minette, notorious wife of convicted murderer Robert Manette (Gene Kelly). In flashback sequences, not arranged chronologically, we see the young couple's  married life living with Robert's mother (Gale Sondergaard), their meeting, delicate romantic courtship, marital strife and ultimately the circumstances that led to Robert's justified conviction. Christmas Day brings the news that Manette has escaped. Having learned about his wife's new life, employed at the "dive", Manette is out to make her pay. The film moves, as they say, inexorably towards a climax that has real emotional punch.


    I have not read the original work by Somerset Maugham. Unsurprisingly it evidently contains overt themes of homosexuality and incest. This was not acceptable in the Breen dominated Hollywood of the 40s, but subtle and intelligent movie makers such as Robert Siodmak, aided by Mankiewicz's screenplay, could imply through images and subtle references what could not be explicitly portrayed. The actors, in particular Kelly, are deprived of meatier material to explore, but the audience is still able to work out what is really going on. The pretty-faced innocence of  Harens as Mason, the verbal play between the two lieutenants, the always excellent Gale Sondergaard's ominous presence, the uneasy nature of Richard Whorf's character and performance, all work towards creating an atmosphere of a world where the unspeakable lurks threateningly just beneath the surface. Art is indeed an artifice, that which is not natural, and perhaps the strictures which were enforced on filmakers in this period contributed towards the production of so many artistic triumphs.


    The two stars are astonishing. The first sight of Deanna Durbin, world weary, heavy lidded, over painted, and sexily gowned in black satin. This can't be the girl last seen a few months earlier in His Butler's Sister. But this is not the a star doing her "thing". This is a true dramatic performance. It is a jolt when we come to the first flashback and there is the "old Deanna" glowingly optimistic in her new marriage. Even the songs are not used as "numbers". Never using the full force of her voice, Durbin soulfully delivers the lyric of Frank Loesser's, new then and now standard,  Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year, and later sweetly and romantically coos Irving Berlin's timeless ballad  Always into Kelly's ear. (I have since played Durbin's 78 release of Always, and it is not a patch on the beautiful performance in this film.)  These two songs, one old and the other new, tellingly comment on the unfolding drama.


    Not coming into the film until about half an hour in, Gene Kelly is excellent. From his next film, Anchor's Aweigh,  Kelly's trademark smile and Irish charm dominated his screen persona. Here the smile and charm cloak much darker depths, and Kelly conveys this despite the necessarily disinfected nature of the screenplay. No doubt he is aided here by having Gale Sondergaard as his mother, but much of the credit has to go to Kelly.


    Robert Siodmak directs the entire film with assurance and style, and an unerring eye for detail. Famed for his contribution to the film noir genre, most notably with The Killers and Criss Cross, Christmas Holiday is often referred to as film noir, but the fit is not comfortable. There are noir elements, such as the monotone voice-over narration  (this time female) and the general look of much of the film, the play between shadow and light being crucial thematic imagery. However the customary male narrated, pessimistic, fatalistic, philosophical cynicism of film noir is lacking. The romantic element is too strong for the film itself to be called film noir. What we do have is a very strong - especially for its time - psychological drama, which at times teeters on the edge of melodrama, more akin to another Siodmak work, The Spiral Staircase.


   The director of photography is Woody Bredell, who had captured Deanna Durbin so beautifully in His Butler's Sister. Once again the close-ups are photographic art, whether of the harshly detailed,  overpainted "trampish" Durbin or the glowingly lovely woman hugging her husband at the piano as she sings Always. This piano close-up  is followed by a striking shot with the young couple in the foreground , darkly lit, with Sondergaard seated in the midground watching them intently. Also there are at least two extremely interesting pieces of crane work of some description. One has the camera panning over an expansive concert hall audience, with layers of balconies, finally coming to rest on the top tier where we see the two strangers who are about to meet. The other is smaller in scale when Durbin and Kelly are wining in a New Orleans restaurant. They are at first seated at their table on the  upper, iron-laced verandah. As the camera tracks/pans they get up, walk along the verandah down an iron spiral staircase and onto the dance floor into dialogue medium close-up. Very interesting stuff. Just clever and showy? Maybe, but isn't that what Kelly's character is all about.


    Apart from being a most unusual and interesting film, Christmas Holiday is also a totally engrossing drama that had me glued to the screen until the final frame, where story, performance, music and imagery merge with tremendous emotional impact.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This print  of  Christmas Holiday shows its age, but there is nothing that  detracts from the enjoyment of the film.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.

    The print used appears to be undoctored, without any restoration. Reel cues are still in evidence.
    

    The image is sharp, even the close ups looking very good.
    Shadow detail is  pleasing, notably in the many night scenes. Shadow and light are crucial to the film's imagery, and the transfer reproduces the original picture very nicely.
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with just a few cases of low level noise noted.
    The black and white image is quite a pleasure to watch, with almost no grain, deep solid blacks and no flaring in the whites.
    The overall grey scale is excellent.
    The play of shadow and light is crucial to this film, and happily the transfer satisfies. The blacks are deep and solid, there is no flaring on the whites, and the entire grey scale is reproduced very nicely.
   
    Film artefacts are quite frequent throughout the film, but these are limited to white flecks and the occasional scratch. There is nothing major and nothing that intrudes.
    There was only one minute spot of debris, too small to make a note of.

    This is an unrestored print of the film, with consistent quality from reel to reel. It is basically in good, clean condition and delivers a solid, reliable and enjoyable image. .

      
    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    

  
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on this unrestored print is also quite satisfactory, with some problems but  loud, clear and without distortion.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    There are no sync problems.
    
    
    At times a background rumble can be detected, but you really have to put your ear to the speaker to hear it.
    There is a small amount of crackle throughout much of the film, which for some reason gets louder with the vocals.
    Reel changes are accompanied by a small "pop", and there are a few others throughout the film.

    The clarity of the sound on this film more than compensates for the problems of  "crackle and pop" referred to.The human voice is produced sharply and cleanly - in dialogue and song.
    The background orchestrations sound very impressive, rich and full, and reaching full impact in the film's final moments.
    This is a lovely score, combining original music with the two great songs used to such effect in the story.
    
    There are no dropouts.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles, there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.
       Stills Gallery : The gallery contains ten black and white production stills from the film in very nice quality.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    Region 1 does not have a current release of Christmas Holiday.
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Christmas Holiday  is also available separately.

Summary

     Christmas Holiday  is an engrossing eye-opener. Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly do what they had never done before, or ever did after. Some will enthusiastically call it film noir, but, regardless, it remains a taut, gripping psychological drama, suggesting dark depths only to be hinted at in 1944. Deanna sings two popular standards, but not as you would expect. The print shows its age, but the image is sharp and clean and the audio likewise.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Can't Help Singing (1944)

Can't Help Singing (1944)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1944
Running Time 86:38
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frank Ryan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Robert Paige
Akim Tamiroff
David Bruce
Leonid Kinskey
June Vincent
Ray Collins
Andrew Tombes
Thomas Gomez
Clara Blandick
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Jerome Kern
E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

        Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

   

"Here is the miracle musical of all time!
The joyous, glittering cavalcade of Cal-i-for-ni-ay!"

     The American musical took a giant leap forward in 1943 with the opening of Oklahoma! on Broadway. Rodgers and Hammerstein had wanted Deanna Durbin to play Laurey, but Universal refused the loan-out. Perhaps to compensate, Universal commissioned a brand new musical for Miss Durbin from Jerome Kern, the composer of the musical theatre's previous giant leap, Show Boat. The result was Can't Help Singing, released Christmas Day 1944. Although it is no Oklahoma!, Universal's musical is an undeniably colourful affair with four major assets : the score, the outdoor photography, Deanna Durbin and glowing Technicolor.
    The weakest aspect of this film is its screenplay. Based on a novel, The Girl of the Overland Trail, it concerns a spirited young lady, Caroline Frost (Deanna Durbin) who lives in 1847 Washington with her senator father (Ray Collins) and her aunt (Clara Blandick). Ignoring her father's wishes Caroline "goes west" to follow her lieutenant beau (David Bruce) in order to marry him. En route - in a public bath house - Caroline meets Johnny Lawlor (Robert Paige) who is soon to replace the lieutenant in Caroline's affections. After being hoodwinked out of $500 in a deal to buy a wagon, and having her trunk stolen by two fortune-hunting scallywags (Akim Tamiroff and Leonid Kinskey), Caroline and Johnny join a wagon train heading for Cal-i-for-ni-ay. Not much happens on the way, except that Caroline and Johnny fall in love. When they finally arrive in California everything is resolved in farcical operetta style, with Caroline having beaux coming out of her ears before the final clinch with her one true love.This very skimpy plot owes more to Eueopean operetta than to the maturing American musical, particularly in the rather tiresome antics of Tamiroff and Kinskey, despite their energetic playing.
    The decision to film mainly outdoors and in Technicolor accounts for much of the pleasure of this film. With only a handful of exceptions, scenes are shot under the open skies and not on a soundstage. The results are a frequently spectacular image on the screen, both in content and quality. What looks like The Cotton Blossom from Universal's 1936 Show Boat, is seen in full Technicolor splendour. Deanna Durbin's first song is sung while driving a buggy and pair along an open road, without one projected background. In a later song she walks through a glade of pines, then up a hill to finally end up singing from the very brink of the Grand Canyon. Another scene fnds the wagon train resting by a river and dozens of travellers doing their laundry in a beautiful meandering stream. Covered wagons - I counted fifty - wind through glorious countryside. This and much, much more all in superb Technicolor and a stunning print.
    This was the only colour film made by Deanna Durbin. Make a small allowance for the Technicolor makeup of the 40s and she looks terrific. Buxom, corsetted, pert and slim she wears the gowns of the period with easy style. All those gowns in one trunk! Her songs are great, whether driving the buggy in the title song, in a bathtub for the reprise, or standing on the brink of the Grand Canyon. That song, Any Moment Now, is the musical highlight. After strolling, singing through the trees, she walks up a hill the towards the canyon. As she stands on the very edge, for the last eight bars it is all stops out! The tempo slows, the orchestra builds, a heavenly choir comes in, bells chime and she soars thrillingly to the climax of the song. A fabulour musical moment.
    The disc's cover incorrectly credits this as being Jerome Kern's last score. His last was actually for Fox's Centennial Summer in 1946.The  score for Can't Help Singing , with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg (The Wizard of Oz), contains six songs of varying merit. Any Moment Now is a lovely ballad, as is More and More crooned by the star as the lovers lie beside a soundstage lake. The title song is a pleasant and hummable tune, and the chorus song and dance number, Swing Your Sweetheart, is pleasant enough. The two "rousing" ensemble numbers Cal-i-for-ni-ay and Elbow Room are unimaginative and dull, made even more so by boring staging. Deanna marches through one, and everyman and his dog sways through the other. Real amateur musical society "choreography". The "chorus" even mime badly, hardly seeming to know the words.The Kern songs are woven through the very attrractive underscoring, with snatches from the odd "European" folk song thrown in for the scallywags.
    Robert Paige, whom I suspect was dubbed, is an OK leading man, but looks distressingly like Gomer Pyle at times. It's a pity that the soprano couldn't have been given a male costar with a voice to match hers, or to at least come close it.Beside Tamiroff and Kinskey, competent character players do their usual thing - Ray Collins, Clara Blandick, June Vincent and Thomas Gomez. David Bruce, as the lieutenant who is initially pursued by Deanna, has very little to do.Bruce was impressive in a small role in Christmas Holiday and it's a pity he has so little here.
    Direction by  Frank Ryan is efficient, if unable to inject any vitality into the comic buffoonery, or the crowd scenes. The smaller scenes that concentrate on Durbin and Paige are usually handled extremely well. There is one scene that has him carrying her across a field, talking with the camera tracking very close to them.The whole thing was unusual, attractive and humorous. Maybe the photography by Woody Bredell and W. Howard Greene should get the credit. Bredell had been responsible for the photography of Deanna Durbin's  previous two films, His Butler's Sister and Christmas Holiday, in which she had been photographed so memorably.
    Can't Help Singing is not one of the great screen musicals.Just sit back enjoy the scenery, the amazing quality of the photographic image, the star and her voice.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This print  of  Can't Help Singing could hardly be better. It is one of the best examples of 1940s Technicolor yet seen on DVD.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.

    The image is steady, sharp, without grain and clean.
    Detail is exceptional, from the faces in the numerous busy crowd scenes to intricacies on the period costumes.
    Shadow detail is  excellent , the night scenes looking exceptionally detailed.
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with no instances of low level noise.
    There is a split second of aliasing on the edge of a wagon (42:43), but that's all.

    Blacks are solid, whites do not flare, and every conceivable colour of the rainbow is produced subtly and beautifully.
    Skin tones are very true, and there is no fluctuation of colour from beginning to end.

    Film artefacts are almost totally absent. A few white specks appear in the blue skies, and there are two instances of debris (40:20 and 48:28), but otherwise the image looks pristine.
    Reel cues are removed, although there is one cue at the end of the film.

    This is an absolutely stunning Technicolor transfer. I have in my library a number of much ballyhooed "restorations" that, although good, are not a patch on this.

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio which accompanies this great print is also very pleasing, with minute, relatively unimportant imperfections.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    All dialogue is crystal clear and the clarity of Deanna Durbin's soprano diction is exceptional.
    There are no sync problems - apart from extras who don't know the words of songs.

    There is a very slight low level "rumble", which is noticeable only at high volume levels. I preferred to have the music room-filling and did not find this background sound distracting.
    There is a rather noisy "pop" which I suspect came from a reel change (48:16). The volume level increased at this point, suggesting the reel change, but there was not the slighest colour or quality shift in the image.
    There is very little crackle on the soundtrack, even played at high volume.
    
    Generally the sound is loud, sharp and without a trace of distortion - even on Deanna Durbin's vocals..

    The background orchestrations sound sharp, rich and full, with individual instruments clearly coming through in many passages, often to highlight the visual comedy (21:55).
    The orchestral accompaniment to the vocals is similarly rich and full, most outstandingly at the end of  Any Moment Now.

    There are no dropouts.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - there is no gallery on Can't Help Singing - there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick has small reproductions of nine stills and the cover of the title song's sheet music.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises two stills from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with two further stills and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    In Region 1 Can't Help Singing is included in the Deanna Durbin : Sweetheart Pack. Other titles in this pack are Three Smart Girls, Something In the Wind, First Love, It Started With Eve and Lady On A Train.
    This Region 1 release includes the original theatrical trailer of Can't Help Singing with picture and sound quality almost as good as the film itself. (02:16

    In Region 2 there are three choices available . The film is included in the nineteen titles box set at more than double the Australian price.It is also included in  Deanna Durbin : The Collection Box 2, along with Three Smart Girls Grow Up, First Love, The Amazing Mrs. Holliday and For the Love of Mary, as well as being available separately.

Summary

     Can't Help Singing is a colourful, spectacular,  generally entertaining western musical with enough romantic and musical highs to compensate for some dated comedy lows and a weak sceenplay.It really is enough to just sit there and look at the magnificent technicolor image - and listen to Deanna Durbin.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Lady on a Train (1945)

Lady on a Train (1945)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy thriller None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1945
Running Time 90:34
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Charles David
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
David Bruce
Ralph Bellamy
George Coulouris
Dan Duryea
Edward Everett Horton
Patricia Morrison
Elizabeth Patterson
William Frawley
Allen Jenkins
Jacqueline De Wit
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Miklos Rosza
Cole Porter


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Nightclub society smoking
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set  Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

   

" It's Deanna ... on a man (Oh! Man!) Hunt !"

     Another big surprise in the Deanna Durbin box set! Lady On a Train is an excellent comedy thriller. It has murder, suspense, comedy, sex, glamour, three songs and a top production. The comedy thriller is a difficult genre, requiring a style that today's moviemakers never seem to have. This sharp little movie is a lesson in how to do it.


    Start with a good script. From a story by Leslie Charteris, creator of The Saint, Edmond Beloin and Robert O'Brien, writers for Jack Benny, produced a screenplay that was fast and witty, witty not only in the actual dialogue but in the entire structure of the plot. It bounces from incident to incident , from comedy to suspense and back again with enormous energy. The story opens in a train on an elevated New York track. A young lady (Deanna Durbin) is intently reading a thriller, The Case of the Headless Bride by Wayne Morgan. The train grinds to a halt and, through the train window and the window of a building adjacent to the track, she witnesses a brutal murder. Once at Grand Central Station she hurries to the police station but the desk sergeant (William Frawley) does not believe her story - seems she's a thriller addict. The young lady, we now know she is Nikki Collins, decides to turn detective and tracks down the thriller author Wayne Morgan (David Bruce) to enlist his "professional" assistance. Here she is again rebuffed. Nikki uncovers the identity of the murdered man - in a very funny scene I will not spoil - and in the dark of night goes to his eerie mansion. From this point Nikki becomes involved with the alternately spooky and nutty relatives, masquerades as the dead man's nightclub singer girlfriend, finds herself in death threatening situations, and finally unmasks the dastardly culprit. To give away details would be mean, as there is so much pleasure in watching them unfold. This is a terrific, tight script.


    Get the right cast. Who would have though that this was material for Deanna Durbin? She is delightful. Blonde and beautiful, kittenish and sexy, she is a wonderful lady in distress. There are three musical "numbers". She croons Silent Night over the phone to her father, photographed by Woody Bredell looking like a Playboy covergirl - in 1945 it would have been "looking like a Petty girl". She performs the cute Give Me A Little Kiss (Pinkard / Turk / Smith) in a nightclub setting looking and sounding like a seductively sexy 40s big band singer, and then there is a full voiced Night and Day, again in the nightclub and happily including the verse to this Cole Porter classic. The songs, however, are incidental and not an important feature of the movie. They just happen to be so darn good.


    David Bruce is very good in this film. After impressing in Christmas Holiday and a thankless small role in Can't Help Singing, he finally has the male lead and he carries it off perfectly. At times like a young William Powell, he is extremely funny, very good in the physical comedy, and makes a handsome romantic partner for Durbin. Also worth singling out are a young Dan Duryea with some very funny lines as "Cousin Arnold" , Ralph Bellamy as "Cousin Jonathan", a cat stroking George Coulouris, Morgan's society model girlfriend Patricia Morrison (Broadway's Kiss Me Kate star), Elizabeth Patterson's extremely odd "Aunt Charlotte" and, by no means least, Edward Everett Horton as Deanna's New York "guardian". A quality cast with no exception.


    Produced by Felix Jackson, Miss Durbin's second husband, production values are top. There is some clunky rear projection of the heroine walking along railroad tracks, but this was 1945. Compensating for this there is some unexpected location work on the track, using a double. Mansion sets, nightclubs, apartments all look great, as do the costumes. Direction by Charles David, who was to be Miss Durbin's third and final husband - until his death in 1999, is slick, fast and inventive, whether in the comic or the suspenseful scenes. Photography was first class, with Woody Bredell excelling in every shot, from extreme glamour close-up to mountains of grain in a warehouse.

 The musical score is by a master, Miklos Rosza. As well as the nerve tingling suspenseful and dramatic passages, Rosza has supplied some extremely humorous and whimsical underscoring for the many comic scenes in the film.


    A totally unexpected pleasure. If you enjoy movies like The Thin Man series, I totally recommend this to you. It's fast, funny and suspenseful and, if you were buying a ticket, it would be worth the price of admission to see this blonde, sexy and beautifully funny Deanna.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This release of Lady on A Train provides a very good print of the film, with a similar soundtrack.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    The titles have been slightly reduced to accommodate all of the written information.

    The print used appears to be undoctored, without any restoration. Reel cues are still in evidence.
    
    The image is steady and sharp, even the close ups looking very good, with almost undetectable grain.
    Shadow detail is  pleasing, notably in the many night scenes.
    The transfer reproduces the original picture very nicely. Blacks are deep and solid - the "creepy" scenes look very good - and the whites do not flare.
    The grey scale is very good and makes for a most attractive black and white image.
     
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with just a few cases of low level noise noted.
    

    Film artefacts are also hard to find, apart from the occasional white fleck.
    As stated above, reel cues are still in place, but there is no damage at the ends of reels. There is a slight jump during the opening Universal trademark.
    There may have been some slight sprocket damage, resulting in a momentary jitter of the image (24:50) and a negative scratch was seen for a few seconds (28:40).
    Not one trace of debris was noted.
    

    This appears to be an unrestored print of the film, with consistent quality from reel to reel. It is basically in good, clean condition and delivers a solid, reliable and enjoyable image. .

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on this unrestored print is very pleasing, with not one major problem.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    There are no sync problems.
    
    
    At times a background "rumble" can be detected, but you really have to put your ear to the speaker to hear it.
    There is a small amount of crackle throughout some scenes, while in others there is a total background "silence".
    No "pops" were heard, even at the reel changes.

    The clarity of the sound on this film is extremely pleasing. The human voice is produced sharply and cleanly - in dialogue and song. There is no trace of distortion.
    Miklos Rosza's  background orchestrations sound very impressive, full and detailed, with individual instruments clearly defined. This is an imaginative score, suspenseful and dramatic at times, and humorous and playful at others. The quality of the mono sound makes it possible to really enjoy Rosza's music.
    
    There are no dropouts.
 

   

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on Lady On A Train - there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick has small reproductions of seven stills from the film, and the sheet music cover for Silent Night, Holy Night.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises one still from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with another still and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    Region 1 has released Lady On A Train in the Deanna Durbin : Sweetheart Pack along with Three Smart Girls, Something In the Wind, First Love, It Started With Eve  and Can't Help Singing. This issue has thumbnails for the Scene Selection screen on Lady On A Train.
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Lady On A Train  is also available separately.

Summary

     Lady On A Train  is a tight, taught comedy / thriller. Expertly written and produced it is a delightful, sometimes suspenseful, romp that hits the bullseye with every shot. A surprising entertainment treat and a real audience pleaser.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Because of Him (1946)

Because of Him (1946)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category RomCom w Music None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1946
Running Time 84:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Wallace
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Charles Laughton
Franchot Tone
Helen Broderick
Donald Meek
Stanley Ridges
Charles Halton
Bess Flowers
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Miklos Rosza
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Tosti / Whyte / Melville


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Sophisticated social settings.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set  Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

   

" You and I always seem to be going out of bedrooms facing photographers."

     The only Deanna Durbin film to be released in 1946 was a minor effort which harked back to her earlier, but superior, films. Because of Him is a romantic comedy with a New York theatre setting, in which Deanna rather ruthlessly strives to get her break on Broadway. Although she works most attractively in the film it is Charles Laughton, playing her theatrical idol , who scores most highly.


    Kim Walker (Deanna Durbin) is a stagestruck young woman currently working as a waitress in a New York restaurant. Aided by her co-worker friend, Nora (Helen Broderick), Kim tricks her idol, famous actor John Sheridan (Charles Laughton), into putting his signature to a letter she has written recommending her to Broadway producer Charles Gilbert (Stanley Ridges). Presenting herself at Ridge's office, Kim also meets playwright cum director Paul Taylor (Franchot Tone), who sees her as just another pushy, ruthless, aspiring young actress. While Sheridan is out of town on a fishing trip, with Nora's help and to the distress of the absent actor's manservant, Martin (Donald Meek), Kim holds a party in the actor's apartment to celebrate her casting in Sheridan's next venture. While the party is in progress Sheridan makes an unexpected return, but he saves Kim's face by going along with her deception. After walking her home Sheridan dashes Kim's hopes of immediate stardom in his new play. The next day newspapers carry an erroneous report that the aspiring actress has made a suicide attempt. Taylor and Sheridan both think that the twice rejected young wannabe has attempted to take her life "because of him". Sheridan, however, soon  recognizes the "ham" in Kim's emotional state, and softens towards her, finally urging her to try again "in a couple of years". While Sheridan is on the phone a dejected and rejected Kim gently sings Danny Boy. Sheridan's heart softens and she is in the play! Author/director Taylor incorrectly assumes that Sheridan has given Kim the role because of a romantic involvement. Rehearsals are tense, with Taylor constantly critical of the inexperienced leading lady. Sheridan is incensed and explodes, resulting in director Taylor's walking out. Before the play opens Taylor demands that his name be removed as author of the play. During rehearsals Sheridan falls in love with Kim, but then realises that it is Taylor that she really loves. Opening night sees Taylor in the wings to see Kim's triumph, realising his earlier folly. In an extremely silly and unrealistic on-stage ending, all is resolved.


    The screenplay was written by Edmund Beloin from his original story co-authored with Sig Herzog. Though not up to his script for Lady On a Train, Beloin has written a workmanlike backstage Broadway yarn about a stagestruck young actress, which is pretty familiar territory. There is nothing fresh or original in the Deanna Durbin and Francot Tone characters. Perhaps Durbin's Kim is a little more conscious of her own ruthlessness than is the norm in these light pieces, but Tone's character is totally without surprise and the same can be said for his performance. Perhaps by 1945 he had played too many of these roles. After a few offbeat parts, Miss Durbin is here in familiar territory and she brings her usual freshness and directness to everything she does. She  looks lovely, darker haired, after the glamorous blonde in Lady On A Train, and  beautifully photographed in extreme close-up for Danny Boy. Photographer here is Hal Mohr, new to a Durbin film. The three musical "numbers" have the soprano bursting into song for no apparent reason. Lover (Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart) has Durbin dueting prettily with her own recording and Goodbye (Tosti) is very awkwardly staged in a hotel corridor, elevator (Bess Flowers is one of the other passengers), lobby and, finally, revolving door. Though it is a bit incongruous Danny Boy is a treat, with Deanna at her most tender, sounding and looking wonderful, with a subdued Laughton as audience.


    Laughton does "steal" the film. His performance is pure ham but thoroughly enjoyable. He has some great scenes, most notably when he tutors Deanna Durbin in the art of fainting. There are also some nice moments shared with the always welcome Donald Meek, a man most appropriately named.


    Direction by Richard Wallace is fast paced and efficient, and production values are up to the usual standard of a Deanna Durbin feature. Mikos Rosza once again was responsible for the attractive music, which is lighter than his customary works, the main title theme being a little reminiscent of  Alfred Newman's  All About Eve opening.


    Because of Him is a light, generally forgettable backstage Broadway fairytale. It makes for pleasant enough entertainment, but there is little to distinguish it apart from the participation of Laughton and Durbin - and her performance of Danny Boy.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This release of  Because of Him provides a generally good print of the film, with a similar soundtrack.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    The print used appears to be undoctored, without any restoration, although there are no reel cues.
    

    The image is pleasingly sharp, the close ups looking particularly good, with almost undetectable grain.
    Shadow detail is good, notably in the evening New York street scene.
    The transfer reproduces the original picture very nicely. Blacks are deep and solid and the whites do not flare.
    The grey scale is very good and makes for a most attractive black and white image.
     
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with just a few cases of low level noise noted.
    There is at times a very slight telecine wobble while aliasing was noted only once on Franchot Tone's jacket (48:28).
    

    Apart  from the occasional white fleck, there are a few instances of film damage.
    A quite distinct scratch appears for approximately one minute, starting at 07:00.
    There are further scratches, though more briefly, at 24:52, 43:28 and 62:15.
    There is evidence of damage and repair at 20:00, although the flow of image and sound is not disturbed.

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
   
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on this unrestored print is very pleasing, with not one major problem.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
     Dialogue is clear and sharp, with every syllable distinct. There are no sync problems.
    
    
    There is a small amount of crackle throughout some scenes, while in others there is a total background "silence".
    No "pops" were heard, even at the reel changes.

    The clarity of the sound on this film is extremely pleasing. The human voice is produced sharply and cleanly - in dialogue and song. There is no trace of distortion.
    Miklos Rosza's  background orchestrations sound very impressive, full and detailed, with individual instruments clearly defined.
 

    There are no dropouts.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles,  there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick for Because of Him has small reproductions of a poster and eight stills from the film.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises one still from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with another still and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.
       Stills Gallery:  Selecting this option gives a new screen with a new still, with no sound. From this screen there is access to  a gallery of nine black and white publicity stills and one poster.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    There is no current release of Because of Him in Region 1.
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Because of Him  is also available separately.

Summary

     Because of Him   is definitely a minor entertainment. Although its ninety minutes pass quite pleasantly, there is nothing that is particularly memorable apart from Laughton's enjoyably hammy performance and Durbin's hauntingly lovely Danny Boy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

I'll Be Yours (1947)

I'll Be Yours (1947)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category RomCom w Music None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1947
Running Time 89:24
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By William A. Seiter
Studio
Distributor
Universal-Internatnl
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Tom Drake
William Bendix
Adolphe Menjou
Walter Catlett
Franklin Pangborn
William Trenk
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Frank Skinner
Walter Schumann
Emmerich Kalman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Social. Heroine always refuses.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set  Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

   

" In this town it don't matter who owns the dress, it's who wears it!"

     Writer and director Preston Sturges is an acknowledged genius of 1940s Hollywood. With huge successes such as The Miracle of Morgan's Creek and The Lady Eve to his credit, it is sad to see his name as writer of such an undistinguished piece as Deanna Durbin's 1947 release, her first under the new Universal-International logo, I'll Be Yours. Using a play by Molnar as inspiration, Sturges had tackled the subject matter previously in The Good Fairy in 1935. You feel that he should have left well enough alone.


     The plot concerns one Louise Ginglebusher (Miss Durbin) from smalltown Cobleskill, headed for New York, fame and fortune. Louise arrives at Grand Central Station, loses her hat in the street, has it returned by a bearded young man (Tom Drake) and settles down for a goulash lunch at a diner staffed by Wechsberg (William Bendix). The young man with the beard turns out to be George Prescott a struggling lawyer who is a regular customer at the same diner. Louise has a letter of introduction to Mr Buckingham (Walter Catlett), movie theatre owner, and lands a job as usherette. Leaving the theatre late at night Louise is pestered by a stage door wolf, and, seeing Wechsberg nearby, she pretends that he is her husband. In their friendly stroll to Louise's lodgings, Wechsberg invites Louise to crash a party where he is to be a waiter. At the party, after her phony invitation is exposed, Louise pretends to be an entertainer, leading her to be forced into singing. When the millionaire host, J. Conrad Nelson (Adolphe Menjou), hears her he whisks her up forty-six floors to his apartment, offering her fame, fortune and  undying affection. To escape the clutches of the rich old wolf, Louise pretends, once again, to be married, but this time to the impoverished, bearded lawyer. She tells Nelson that she couldn't possibly leave her destitute lawyer/husband, so the millionaire meatpacker  proposes that he employ the struggling Prescott as his lawyer. Once Prescott is established and successful, Louise will be able to "divorce"  her "husband" and marry Nelson. Louise accepts the "proposal", plunging herself into an ocean of deception.


    This is all frankly immoral nonsense and needs the delightful insanity of the screwball comedy, which it does not have. William A. Seiter's direction is capable enough, but there are opportunites for comedy in many scenes that the director doesn't seize. Deanna Durbin, though no Carole Lombard, proved in Lady on a Train that she had a real flare for comedy and here she alone brings some lightness to the procedsings. She is beaurtifully dark-haired and tries to bring some effervescence to her scenes. William Bendix also performs well, with material that does not make the best of his character or situations, while Walter Catlett gets every ounce of fun out of his duet with Deanna in their scene and The Cobleshill High Song. Not so much fun, though, from the other two males, who are distinctly dreary. Posturing Adolphe Menjou gives his usual performance and seems miscast as a meatpacker, no matter how wealthy a meatpacker, while poor Tom Drake is just that, POOR Tom Drake, looking and sounding miserable. Drake's boyish good looks graced many MGM movies, whether cuddling Lassie or boy-next-dooring Judy Garland in Meet Me In St Louis, but there is little charm here, just the occasional grimace of a smile. That dreadful beard does finally come off, but the damage has been done long before then. There is a list of actors who could have made something of this role, but Drake just seems to mouth the words, breathlessly.


    Thankfully Miss Durbin gets four opportunities to sing, and they are all well staged and flow fairly naturally from the script. First there's the bit of nonsense with Walter Catlett, then an exciting Grenada which so impresses Menjou, later Walter Schumann's  new song, It's Dream Time, sung during a romantic canoe ride in Central Park, and finally a very brief Love's Own Sweet Song. The Schumann song is particularly attractive, with only harmonica and choral backing. (Does anyone else remember The Voices of Walter Schumann?)


    This is a distinctly disappointing offering. Considering its origins, and a couple of the ingredients, more could have been expected. Deanna Durbin tries hard without much help and the result is barely  passable entertainment. Silliness without the screwball wit and style becomes just that, silliness.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a generally an extremely good transfer of  I'll Be Yours.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.

    The print used appears to be undoctored, without any restoration, although there are no reel cues.
    There is an almost negligible amount of film damage.
    

    The image is steady and sharp, even the close ups looking very good, with almost undetectable grain.
    Shadow detail is  pleasing, notably in the scene with Durbin and Bendix walking through the "New York" streets, and the dialogue on her stoop (26:20).
    The transfer reproduces the original picture very nicely. Blacks are deep and solid and the whites do not flare.
    The grey scale is very good and makes for a most attractive black and white image.
     
    I was not aware of any film to video effects.
    

    Film artefacts are very few.
    There is the occasional white fleck, and  the rare scratch.
    One vertical full frame scratch lasts for a few seconds (25:25) while there are smaller instances later in the film (50:51).
    There is one large mark on Deanna Durbin's face very briefly (40:17).
    No film debris was noted at all.
    

    This appears to be an unrestored print of the film, with consistent quality from reel to reel.It is basically in good, clean condition and delivers a solid, reliable and enjoyable image.
    

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
     
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on this unrestored print is very pleasing, with not one major problem.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    There are no sync problems.
    Dialogue is loud, sharp and totally intelligible, with not one lost syllable.
    There is no distortion, even on the soprano vocals.
    
    
    There is virtually no background noise on the film. The sound stage is very quiet indeed.
    One "pop" was detected (23:03) which I suspect originated from a reel change.
    The sound level dropped at a point which I suspect was another reel change (50:22).

    The clarity of the sound on this film is extremely pleasing. The human voice is produced sharply and cleanly - in dialogue and song. Even the "choir" in It's Deam Time was very nicely reproduced, without any distortion.
    
    Frank Skinner's  background music, and the orchestrations by Walter Schumann  sound most attractive, full and detailed, with individual instruments clearly defined.
    
    There are no dropouts.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on I'll Be Yours - there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick has small reproductions of seven stills from the film.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises one portrait of Deanna Durbin, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with another portrait and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    Region 1 has no current release of  I'll Be Yours.
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. I'll Be Yours  is also available separately.

Summary

     I'll Be Yours  is a disappointing romantic comedy. Where it should be light and zany, it is stodgy and dreary. Deanna Durbin is fine, but two of the men weigh it down. The songs, as would be expected, are welcome highlights. Generally very good picture and good sound.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Something in the Wind (1947)

Something in the Wind (1947)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1947
Running Time 85:16
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Irving Pichel
Studio
Distributor
Universal-Internatnl
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
John Dall
Donald O'Connor
Charles Winninger
Helena Carter
Margaret Wycherly
Jean Adair
Jan Peerce
Jacqueline De Wit
The Williams Brothers
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Johnny Green
Leo Robin
Giuseppe Verdi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Male star smoke frequently.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set  Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

     The merger of Universal and International Pictures in November 1946 saw a major shake-up on the old Universal lot. A number of former Universal regulars were dismissed, but retained were Deanna Durbin, still the studio's reigning queen , and young dancer comedian Donald O'Connor. The teaming of the two young stars in Something in the Wind - Durbin still only twenty-five after nineteen movies, and O'Connor twenty-two - was a bright idea, even if their on-screen interaction ended up being minimal.


     After bright big-band orchestrated credits, we meet lady disc jockey Mary Collins (Deanna Durbin), playing and singing her theme, The Turntable Song. Mary lives with her aunt, also named Mary Collins (Jean Adair). Donald Read (John Dall), the stuffy grandson of a recently deceased tycoon, believes that young Mary was the mistress of his dead grandfather - it is of course the older Mary who was the paramour. Grandma Read (Margaret Wycherly) orders her two grandsons, Donald and cousin Charlie (Donald O'Connor) to kidnap the girl and bring her to their home in order to "sort things out". The outraged Mary plays along with their mistake regarding the dead old man's love life, and asks for a million dollars for herself "and the baby". The usual deceptions and misunderstandings ensue and it all should be good fun, and generally is. The situation is silly and unbelievable and the performances suitably over the top. Also involved are mischievous Uncle Chester (Charles Winninger) and Donald's socialite fiancée, Clarissa ( beautiful Helena Carter), with whom Charlie is smitten. The story by Charles O'Neal and Fritz Rotter, is enjoyably ridiculous, and the screenplay by William Bowers and Harry Kurnitz generally exploits the silliness to the full. Irving Pichel's direction pitches everything at just the right level, until he allows things to bog down a little in the last twenty minutes with the two old ladies. Ten minutes trimmed would have been no loss.


    Here, for once, Deanna Durbin is not presented well on screen. Frequently frumpily dressed, and with unflattering shorter hair, she looks at times quite matronly. In some scenes, such as the fashion sequence, she looks great, but elsewhere that's not always the case. Her singing remains faultless, and composers Johnny Green and Leo Robin have provided a handful of  songs, not all great, but containing three standouts. The opening The Turntable Song, a big hit in 1947, gives the movie a great start, and the naughtily sexy You Wanna Keep Your Baby Lookin' Right is a treat. The title song is melodic, rhythmic and beautifully sung by Deanna, with a little assistance from The Williams Brothers, one of whom was "Andy". Johnny Green's orchestration in this number is terrific. Green's talents enriched many great musicals, mostly at MGM, and here he provides a musical backing more modern than in the earlier movies in this set. The Durbin musical program is filled out by It's Only Love, forgettable and not attractively photographed,  and the rather ordinary Happy Go Lucky and Free. There is also a smartly staged duet with Metropolitan Opera star Jan Peerce, playing a cop, of Miserere from Il Trovatore.


    A pity some of the exuberance of Donald O'Connor didn't transfer to Deanna, but she really isn't given the opportunity. With seemingly unlimited energy O'Connor bounds through dialogue, songs, pratfalls, a short Cary Grant impersonation and a ballet spoof. His highlight is the song and "dance" I Love a Mystery, a somewhat repetitive precursor to his unforgettable Make 'em Laugh from Singin' in the Rain. Also good, surprisingly so, is John Dall. An actor mostly remembered for his homosexual murderer in Hitchcock's Rope, Dall makes an attractive romantic lead, moving from his stuffy early scenes into the lighter situations very smoothly.


    In August 1947 Universal International released  Something in the Wind, and ahead lay very different futures for the two top-billed stars. Donald O'Connor was to make six films co-starring him with Francis the Talking Mule before moving on,  while Deanna Durbin was to have just two more starring roles before, at twenty-six, going into total voluntary retirement. In August of '47 they rewarded their audiences with this amusing piece of  harmless fun.

   .

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This release of Something in the Wind provides a very good print of the film, with a similar soundtrack.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
    The titles have been slightly reduced to accommodate all of the written information.

    The print used appears to be undoctored, without any restoration. Reel cues are still in evidence.
    

    The image is steady and sharp with a very small amount of grain.
    Shadow detail is  very good, with the transfer reproducing the original picture very nicely. Blacks are deep and solid and the whites do not flare.
    The grey scale is most attractive, producing a pleasing black and white image.
     
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with just a few cases of low level noise noted.
    Aliasing was seen on Deanna Durbin's jacket in a couple of scenes (20:02 and 57:06).
    

    Film artefacts are also hard to find, apart from the occasional white fleck.
    As stated, reel cues are still in evidence (37:45 for instance). There is no damage at the end of reels.
    
    Not one trace of debris was noted.
    

    This appears to be an unrestored print of the film, with consistent quality from reel to reel. It is basically in good, clean condition and delivers a solid, reliable and enjoyable image. .

    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
      
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on this unrestored print is very pleasing, with not one major problem.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    There are no sync problems.
    
        
    There is very little background noise on the disc, the soundstage generally being extremely quiet.
    There is very little crackle and an occasional "pop" (35:46 , 60:0465:02), but nothing that is distracting.
    

    The clarity of the sound on this film is extremely pleasing. The human voice is produced sharply and cleanly - in dialogue and song.
    Johnny Green's orchestrations, and the background score, are reproduced very attractively.
    
    There are no dropouts.

 

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on Something in the Wind - there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick has small reproductions of three stills from the film.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises one portrait of Deanna Durbin, with the orchestration from the film's credits.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with another Durbin portrait and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 1 has released Something in the Wind  in the Deanna Durbin : Sweetheart Pack along with Three Smart Girls, Lady on a Train, First Love, It Started With Eve  and Can't Help Singing. This issue has two extras which we do not get in Region 4. These are:

Featurette : (10:22) This I suspect was made to be shown to exhibitors to "sell" Universal-International's product. A fascinating oddity.
                                On screen writing  announces the coming of "an old friend with a startling new personality".
                                We then are given Deanna Durbin's The Turntable Song in its entirety.
                                Then comes the announcement  " ... and Donald O'Connor in his first screen appearance since leaving the service".
                                This leads into the complete I Love a Murder Mystery number.
                                We then get a section of Something in the Wind, and finally the complete You Wanna Keep You're Baby Lookin' Right.

                                The quality is almost as good as the feature, with a little damage towards the end.

Trailer : (02:34) This is the complete original theatrical trailer, with an introduction by Donald O'Connor. It is very interesting to see that the female star was being hailed as        
                         having a "sensational new singing style", a sign that post-war audiences were tiring of the "old" Deanna and that Universal-International were repackaging her.

                         
    
    The nineteen titles box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Something in the Wind  is also available separately.

    If you don't want the complete nineteen disc set, the Region 1 Sweetheart Pack is a good buy, with some of the better titles and at least some extras.

Summary

     Although the leading lady does not always look physically comfortable, she performs very nicely in the musical numbers, particularly those which show the "new" Deanna. This is a light piece of nonsense, with a better than average bunch of songs and a "go for broke" bravura performance from Donald O'Connor. Generally good fun in a transfer that looks and sounds attractive.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

Up in Central Park (1948)

Up in Central Park (1948)

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Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1948
Running Time 83:48
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By William A. Seiter
Studio
Distributor
Universal-Internatnl
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Dick Haymes
Vincent Price
Albert Sharpe
Tom Powers
Hobart Cavanaugh
Thurston Hall
Howard Freeman
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Sigmund Romberg
Dorothy Fields
Johnny Green


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set  Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

   

" The folks look so rosy and healthy and gay
The democrats tell you they all get that way
From eating Republicans three times a day!"

     Sigmund Romerberg and Dorothy Fields had a moderate hit on Broadway in 1945 with Up In Central Park. Romberg (The Student Prince, The Desert Song) had written another melodic score, and the rights were snapped up by Universal for Deanna Durbin. Technicolor photography was to commence in December 1946, but production was delayed until October of the next year - in black and white. Sepia evidently was considered, probably to enhance the period feel, but this idea was also dropped. Fred Astaire was approached to direct, but he was not interested. When the movie opened audiences also were not interested. It seems that Up In Central Park was a potentially good idea that went wrong.


    The plot centres on the crooked political dealings of Boss Tweed (Vincent Price) in 1870s New York. Tweed, acknowledged as being the most infamous political boss in U.S. history (the same character was played by Jim Broadbent in Scorsese's Gangs of New York) pays immigrants for their votes. Two new arrivals are Timothy Moore ( Albert Sharpe) and his daughter Rose (Deanna Durbin). As reward for his support of Tweed, Timothy is made superintendent of Central Park. Hovering in the wings, or lurking in the shrubbery, is reporter John Matthews (Dick Haymes) on a mission to expose Tweed's corruption. Matthews meets Rose "promenading" in the park and is smitten. Not knowing who Rose is, Matthews tricks information out of Timothy regarding the ultimate destination of park birdlife - Tweed's dinner table. Matthews publishes, Rose is furious, Timothy is fired and so it goes. Actually the plot is interesting and unusual, certainly so for a musical, and the script is fast and humorous. So, where did things go wrong?


    Universal bought the Romberg/Fields musical for Durbin and then removed all but two of the original songs! There was a third Broadway song filmed, the Durbin/Haymes duet Close As Pages in a Book, but preview audiences did not like the number and it was cut before the film's release. So we have an iconic soprano and one of the great crooners of the 40s, starring together and with precious little to sing. Inexplicably two pointless ballets, well staged by Helen Tamiris,  are retained from the Broadway production. From her first movie Deanna Durbin acted with conviction and vitality, but here she does not seem interested. When she should be filled with Irish temper and fire, all we get is a waspish pout. She makes not the slightest attempt at an Irish brogue, the lines screaming for this natural lilt. It is, indeed, a strange experience to listen to dialogue and hear in your head how it should be played, with not one of the three principals even getting close. There is fun and wit in Herbert Fields' dialogue, but you have to ignore the actors to find it. Dick Haymes is totally miscast in a role that requires masculine energy, while he seems to be struggling to stay awake. Vincent Price does give some life to his character, but it is entirely the wrong life. He is effete, devious and slyly attractive where he should be ruthlessly dynamic. Oh, for the likes of Robert Preston


    Director William A. Seiter bore some responsibility for Tom Drake's performance in I'll Be Yours, and here he seems incapable of directing even the simplest piece of visual comedy with any sense of style or timing. The producer was to have been Miss Durbin's husband, Felix Jackson, but their marriage was headed for a 1948 divorce and Karl Tunberg took charge. Production values are not what was to be expected from a Deanna Durbin vehicle, with the exterior sets of New York streets and Central Park looking underpopulated, cramped and confined. Some interiors, such as Tweed's salon, look like bad stage sets but at least the leading lady's gowns and period hairdos are attractive.


    Musically what is there is quite good  - but there is precious little. Deanna has a very attractive opening number with Oh Say, Do You See What I See?, neatly staged on deck before the immigrants dock. Carousel in the Park is prettily staged on a very small carousel, with the romantics working well together. The only singing left for Haymes is When She Walks in the Room, a clever, pretty song, rather boringly staged. Deanna gets a brief operatic bit, auditioning for "grand opera" once again, with Pace, Pace Mio Dio from La Forza del Destino (Verdi). Background and ballet scoring by Johnny Green is attractive, but there is very little vocal music indeed, with at least three on screen dialogue music cues, and no song to follow - but we do have those two "ballet" numbers. Very odd.


    Up In Central Park was one of those projects which could have, should have, worked but ultimately failed, commercially and artistically. In 1948, Judy Garland, the girl who had shared the screen with Deanna Durbin in the 1936 one reeler Every Sunday Afternoon, had her only MGM box office flop, The Pirate. Judy's movie, which had also had its production problems, was an artistic wonder. It's a shame that Universal-International could not present their biggest star in a more worthy effort.


    This is a very tired and uninspired treatment of what might have been an interesting, intelligent, witty musical. With half-hearted production, direction and performance there isn't much left except the basics of a decent script and what remains of the original Romberg/Fields score.
        
    
   .

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This release of Up In Central Park provides a very good print of the film, with a similar soundtrack.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
     
    The image is steady and sharp, even the close ups looking very good, with almost undetectable grain.
    Shadow detail is  pleasing, notably in the night scenes in the park.
    The transfer reproduces the original picture very nicely. Blacks are deep and solid and the whites do not flare.
    The grey scale is very good and makes for a most attractive black and white image.
     
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with just a few cases of low level noise noted.
    Aliasing occurred on a vest (32:18) but that was the only instance.
    There were slight problems with noise reduction, mainly on the intricate interior furnishings (40:04, 51:30, 81:30).
    

    Film artefacts are totally absent. I could not see one white fleck or one piece of debris.
    Reel cues have been removed, and there is no damage at the ends of the original reels.
    
    
    The film is consistent in its quality from reel to reel.
    It is in good, clean condition and delivers a solid, reliable and enjoyable image.
    
    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
       
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is very pleasing, with not one major problem.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    There are no sync problems.
    Dialogue is always totally clear and easy to understand.
    There is no distortion on voices, spoken or singing.
    
    There was a very slight hum during the second reel, but apart from this the sound stage is remarkable quiet for a film sixty years old.
    There is a only the very rare  crackle or "pop".
    
    Johnny Green's orchestrations sound very impressive, full and detailed, with individual instruments clearly defined.

    There are no dropouts.
 

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on Up In Central Park - there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick has small reproductions of six stills from the film.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises one portrait of Deanna Durbin from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with another portrait and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    Region 1 does not have a current release of Up in Central Park.
    
    The nineteen title box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. Up in Central Park  is also available separately.

Summary

     Up In Central Park is a disappointing musical. Disappointing because one would have hoped that for once Deanna Durbin would have been presented as the star of a work with a full theatrical score, written by experts in the fields of operetta and musical comedy. This movie disappoints in almost every respect. The disc looks extremely good and the sound is fine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Friday, March 28, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Three Smart Girls (1936) | 100 Men and a Girl (1937) | Mad About Music (1938) | That Certain Age (1938) | Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) | First Love (1939) | Nice Girl? (1941) | It Started with Eve (1941) | The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) | Hers to Hold (1943) | His Butler's Sister (1943) | Christmas Holiday (1944) | Can't Help Singing (1944) | Lady on a Train (1945) | Because of Him (1946) | I'll Be Yours (1947) | Something in the Wind (1947) | Up in Central Park (1948) | For the Love of Mary (1948)

For the Love of Mary (1948)

For the Love of Mary (1948)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Nov-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category RomCom w Music None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1948
Running Time 86:46
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frederick De Cordova
Studio
Distributor
Universal-Internatnl
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Deanna Durbin
Edmond O'Brien
Don Taylor
Jeffrey Lynn
Ray Collins
Hugo Haas
Harry Davenport
Louise Beavers
Griff Barnett
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Frank Skinner
Rossini


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Social - but only the men.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    Good news for those contemplating buying the nineteen disc set  Deanna Durbin : The Collection! Roadshow have announced an April price drop to $150 "for Mother's Day".

     Deanna Durbin's first movie, Three Smart Girls, was only intended to be a "B" picture, but on its release at the end of 1936 Universal found that they had a hit movie and an "A" star who was in a few years to be the highest paid woman in America. Twelve years later Miss Durbin's final film, under the new Universal-International banner, was For The Love of Mary another decidedly "B" movie. Happily, though, for the last public appearance of this iconic not yet twenty-seven star, this is a happy screen event, and an ultimately fitting final chapter to her movie life.


    The scene is present day, 1948, Washington - by courtesy of some location footage, using a remarkably good look-alike for the star, and some effective rear projection. Mary Peppertree (Deanna Durbin) is a new telephonist at the White House. Happily chatting on the phone, Mary entangles her romantic life with Washington politics, even involving a never-seen-on-screen President. On the romantic side there is naval officer Lt. Tom Farrington (Edmond O'Brien), legal representative Phillip Manning (Jeffrey Lynn) and fish conservationist island-owner David Paxton (Don Taylor). Senior political figures are Harvey Ellwood (Ray Collins) and Justice Peabody (Harry Davenport) , while Mary's father Timothy Peppertree (Griff Barnett) is a doorman at the White House. Also on hand at a Washington eating establishment are would-be United States citizen Gustav Heindel (Hugo Haas) and his cook - what else?- Bertha (Louise Beavers). The plot involves cooling romances, new love interests, hiccups - or hiccoughs - and their cures, a desk bound sailor who wants active service, US naval bases on a private island, an immigrant studying to be a citizen ... once you have the characters you can write the story yourself. Oscar Brodney's original screenplay takes nothing seriously - he was later to write Tammy and the Bachelor amongst others - and everything moves along at a cracking pace. It is the lightest, whispiest fluff, despite the political setting, but it is in hands that know exactly how fluff should be handled.


    In the late 1940s Universal-International had become a much leaner and younger operation. New, younger stars were on the horizon such as Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson, and behind the camera there were also younger talents. Producer Robert Arthur and director Frederick De Cordova were of that breed, young, fast and efficient with a sure eye on what the public wanted. In a few years what the public wanted was the De Cordova directed Bedtime for Bonzo and Bonzo Goes To College, but sadly in December 1948 the public didn't seem to want Deanna Durbin. For The Love of Mary was not a box office success, but seen today it is a fast, economical comedy that is smart and up to the (1948) minute. Top-billed, Miss Durbin's personality is exploited to the full. Back to her dark, long hair and looking lovely, smartly dressed and every inch the modern miss, wearing the lengthy "new look", she is completely comfortable in the romantic nonsense. The males on offer are a nicely varied trio, with Don Taylor especially good as the eager, earnest young man with ideals. Here was a young actor who knew exactly how to play a role like this, an ability he made use of in a lengthy career as a director. Jeffrey Lynn is smooth and charming, nicely balanced by the comfortable sexuality of Edmond O'Brien in his more "earthy" encounters with the delectable Deanna. Sterling support also from Harry Davenport, Miss Beavers, Ray Collins and Hugo Haas.


    There is also a welcome lightness to Deanna Durbin's musical numbers, staged simply but effectively by Nick Castle. Always physically simple in her vocal performances, Deanna Durbin looked uncomfortable when "choreographed" artificially - the hands on the hips Carmen in Hers to Hold comes to mind. Here Castle's natural staging works well, particularly in the Viennese Waltz number, where Castle has her serving the customers in the restaurant as she sings, punctuating a word with the flourish of a napkin or some other natural move. Also attractive is the "around the piano" setting of I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen and On Moonlight Bay. The operatic offering, which was to be the last on screen vocal for the star, is a comically staged Largo Al Factotum from The Barber of Seville. A humorous, excitingly sung,  happy - though wet - finale to Deanna Durbin's singing career.


    It should be noted that one sung was cut from the film. Deanna Durbin recorded and filmed John Rox's Big, Wide Wonderful World. In the following year, 1949, this same song became a huge hit for popular recording star Buddy Clark. You have to wonder whether For The Love of Mary might have found greater public acceptance had this future hit been left in. The slick for the disc included in the Durbin box set, and the enclosed booklet, both list this song as still being in the film. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, the number was included in the previous Universal VHS release of For The Love of Mary. It is a shame that the two "cut" numbers, Big Wide Wonderful World and Close As Pages In A Book from Up In Central Park, were not included as "extras" in this sadly bare bones collection.


    For The Love of Mary is a well written, well directed, well acted romantic comedy - smart, witty and, for its time, sexy. It is also where one of the truly great screen careers ended.


    
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Transfer Quality

Video

    This release of For The Love of Mary provides a very good print of the film, with a similar soundtrack.
     
    The image is presented in a 4x3 transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the original presentation having been 1.37:1.
     

    The image is steady and sharp, even the close ups looking very good, with almost undetectable grain.
    Shadow detail is  pleasing, notably in the romantic night scenes, on the front porch and in the park.
    The transfer reproduces the original picture very nicely. Blacks are deep and solid and the whites do not flare.
    The grey scale is very good and makes for a most attractive black and white image.
     
    Film to video effects were difficult to find, with just a few cases of low level noise noted.
    Aliasing was observed briefly on a park rail (34:52), a switch board (67:08) and a slatted door (85:35).
    There were slight problems with noise reduction, mainly noticeable on small furnishings.
    

    Film artefacts are almost non existent. It was difficult to spot a white fleck and there was not one piece of debris.
    Reel cues have been removed, and there is no damage at the ends of the original reels.
    
    
    The film is consistent in its quality from reel to reel.
    It is in good, clean condition and delivers a solid, reliable and enjoyable image.
    
    
    There are no subtitles and the disc is single layered.
    
    
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is very pleasing, with not one major problem.
    There is only one language, English, in a Dolby Digital 2.0 reproduction of the original mono Western Electric Noiseless Recording.
    There are no sync problems.
    Dialogue is always totally clear and easy to understand.
    There is no distortion on voices, spoken or singing.
    
    
    The sound stage is remarkably quiet for a film sixty years old.
    There is a only the very rare  crackle or "pop".
    
    Frank Skinner's orchestrations are light and unremarkable, but they are cleanly and satisfactorily reproduced.
     

    There are no dropouts.


    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The box set of nineteen movies on nineteen discs contains a Sixteen Page Souvenir Booklet.
    Apart from this booklet and the Stills Galleries on five of the titles - no gallery on For The Love of Mary - there are no extras on the entire nineteen discs, not even a trailer.
    The inside of the cover slick has small reproductions of one lobby card and six stills from the film.
    The picture disc reproduces the title's cover.
    There are no subtitles.

Menu    
   

    
    All menu screens are 4x3.
    

    The main menu design is extremely basic. The screen comprises one portrait of Deanna Durbin from the film, with orchestral audio.
    The options are :
        Play Film
       Scene Index: Selecting this option gives a new screen with another portrait and a list of ten scenes. No thumbnails, no sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    

    Region 1 does not have a current release of For The Love of Mary.
    
    The nineteen title box set is available in Region 2 where it is more than double the Australian price. For The Love of Mary  is also available separately.

Summary

     For The Love of Mary  is an expert piece of romantic comedy nonsense, with a Washington setting that lends a bit more interest and substance to the slick silliness. There are three  musical highlights from its star in her last ever public appearance, at age twenty-six.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
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