No Room for the Groom (Directors Suite) (1952)

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Released 21-Apr-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Interviews-Cast-Interview with star Tony Curtis
Trailer-Four Directors Suite trailers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1952
Running Time 78:56 (Case: 869)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Douglas Sirk
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Tony Curtis
Piper Laurie
Don DeFore
Spring Byington
Lillian Bronson
Paul McVey
Alden 'Stephen' Chase
Lee Aaker
Jack Kelly
Frank Sully
Case Custom Packaging
RPI Box Music Frank Skinner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    We know him today as the King of melodrama, the one auteur who was able to fashion social dramas into an art form in the 1950s. Douglas Sirk was born in Germany to Danish parents in 1900. He started his film career in Germany in 1922 but was forced to leave by 1937 due to his political views and his Jewish wife. It wasn't until the 1950s, in association with Universal Pictures, that he would come to make films for which he is greatly renowned for today.

    The melodramatic style that Sirk developed focused on plots where characters had social constraints to their desires and actions. They challenged social conventions of the time and often women were at the centre of his films. It wasn't just in his plots that Sirk developed a recognisable reputation, his collaboration with cinematographer Russell Metty, with his distinct use of Technicolor, helped to define Sirk's pictures. Together Metty and Sirk worked on seven films. (Although quite ironically Metty won his only Oscar for cinematography on a film where the director, Stanley Kubrick, sharply disagreed with his cinematography, yet was credited for his work on Spartacus due to contractual reasons.)

    At the time that Sirk made his films he was largely dismissed by critics as a woman's director, making films that dealt with women's issues that were largely domestic and unimportant. It was in the late 1960s, with the support of the Cahiers du Cinema French critics and others like Andrew Sarris who began to re-define the value of Douglas Sirk to the development of cinema. Sirk has greatly influenced the career of German New Wave director Rainer Werner Fassbinder and contemporary directors such as John Waters, Todd Haynes, Wong Kar-wai and Quentin Tarantino.

    No Room for the Groom was an early attempt at a screwball comedy for Sirk. At the time (1952) it was just another picture, with Tony Curtis in his first lead role and Piper Laurie in her first starring role at the age of 20. The plot had characteristic Sirkian elements which he developed in his films later on. Curtis plays Alvah Morrell, a young man in the army who elopes to Las Vegas to marry his housekeeper's daughter, Lee (Piper Laurie). He is unable spend his honeymoon with his wife due to illness and soon after he is sent on army service for 10 months. When he returns home he finds that his mother-in-law has let all her relatives stay in his house and he still can't manage to find any time to spend alone with his wife. This is basically the main plot of the film, except for the addition of the character of Herman Strouple (Don DeFore), a wealthy business man who wants to use Alvah's land for his business affairs. What will Alvah do, especially since his wife works for Mr Strouple?

    At 78 minutes in length, the film is short, not allowing enough time to develop the characters and add more tension to the plot, as mentioned by Tony Curtis in his interview in the extra on the DVD. However, it is an interesting introduction to Sirk's melodramatic style which he would develop soon after in films like Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, There's Always Tomorrow and Imitation of Life.

    No Room for the Groom is the first film in a 9-disc Box Set released by Madman's Directors Suite label in April 2010 to honour Douglas Sirk as a filmmaker. This is a significant release on DVD of Sirk's works, and Michael D will provide our readers with a full review of the contents of this Box Set in the coming month.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    No Room for the Groom has been ported in Region 4 from the Carlotta Region 2 French 2008 release of the film onto DVD. These are the only two releases of the film onto DVD so far.

    The Aspect ratio is 1:33:1 full-frame, not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    The transfer is adequate. The main presentation takes up 3.67 gb of a 4.75 gb DVD with an average bitrate of 6.36 m/b per sec. This PAL transfer shows some interlacing at times (which appears as a slight 'combing' effect), as well as some minimal film grain.

    The Black-and White photography is relatively consistent in tone, neither bright, dull or distinctive the cinematography is evidence of the standard budget for the film.

    Film artefacts are rare, with lines across the screen and white, negative artefacts and some reel change markings showing occasionally.

    Unfortunately there are no subtitles with this release.

    There is no RSDL change as the film is presented on the first layer of the DVD disc.

Video Ratings Summary
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Audio

    The score by Frank Skinner is consistent with standard Hollywood scores for comedy films of the early 1950s.

    There is one audio track on the DVD. This is an English soundtrack encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 kbps.

    Dialogue is usually clear, there may have been once or twice when I struggled to decipher dialogue, maybe due to the mix of the soundtrack with background noise. There are occasional clicks and pops in the soundtrack also.

    Music by Frank Skinner is comedic in tone, in line with the theme of the movie. Skinner would develop more melodramatic scores on Sirk's films in the 1950s, although his reputation as a film composer grew at this time as he was previously known for his horror scores in the late 1930s on films such as Son of Frankenstein.

    There is no surround channel usage as the main soundtrack is in mono.

    The subwoofer is not utilised either.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
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Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Interview with star Tony Curtis (10:20)

This interview was made for the French Carlotta release of the film in 2008. Tony Curtis recollects his experience on the film, his admiration for Sirk as a decent director who got more out of Curtis and Laurie as actors due to his guidance and their inexperience, his development of his film career at this point (as this was his first starring role), the immaturity of Piper Laurie and the standard nature of the plot for the film. Curtis also discusses his relationship with the movie business and his love for acting. This interview is presented in a 1:85:1 aspect ratio, not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

Directors Suite Trailers

Four Directors Suite trailers are included for Ohayo - Good Morning by Yasujiro Ozu, Latcho Drom by Tony Gatlif Mon Oncle and Playtime by Jacques Tati.

R4 vs R1

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

    As mentioned, No Room for the Groom was previously released by Carlotta in Region 2 in France in 2008 on DVD. This release also included the 1952 Douglas Sirk feature Has Anybody Seen My Gal? as a double-disc release. It includes two interviews with the main cast, Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie. The interview with Tony Curtis is available on the Region 4 release by Madman Directors Suite label as an extra.

    The inclusion of No Room for the Groom on the Douglas Sirk: King of Hollywood Melodrama Box Set represents the first release of the film onto DVD in an English-speaking Region.

Summary

    No Room for the Groom is a light-hearted screwball comedy which introduces the audience to some Douglas Sirk motifs (such as character desire in conflict with social convention) with which the great director would become famous for in later films in the 1950s. Sirk would retire from filmmaking in America by 1959, returning to live in Europe in Switzerland, but not before making a significant contribution to cinema. It is this contribution that will be reviewed in Sirk's other eight films on the Douglas Sirk: King of Hollywood Melodrama Box Set in the coming month.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Monday, May 17, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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