Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

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

Released 17-Apr-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Main Menu Audio
Introduction-Susan Lucci
Listing-Cast & Crew
Outtakes-4
Audio-Only Track-There's No Business Like Show Business
Awards
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1950
Running Time 103:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:03) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By George Sidney
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Betty Hutton
Howard Keel
Louis Calhern
J. Carrol Naish
Edward Arnold
Keenan Wynn
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Irving Berlin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Annie Get Your Gun has a standard disclaimer in its credits: "Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual firms, is purely coincidental". Interesting. The central characters in this musical are Annie Oakley (Betty Hutton), Frank Butler (Howard Keel), and Buffalo Bill (Louis Calhern). Let me see now, I wonder if they bear any resemblance to the real-life people called Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, and Buffalo Bill? Well, the real-life Annie Oakley was a renowned sharp-shooter, who married Frank Butler, and worked in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. And in this film, we have a sharp-shooting Annie Oakley keen on marrying Frank Butler, and working in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show - nope, no similarities there, other than coincidental ones...

    If you haven't seen this film before, that's unsurprising - it has been out of circulation since 1973, and it has not been available on video before this. Suddenly, it appears on DVD, nicely restored, and with some outstanding extras. I was curious about this film, because my mother used to sing songs from it when I was young. I hadn't realised how many songs from this movie I recognised; as usual, I was surprised to learn that certain songs originated here. Did you realise that this is the origin of There's No Business Like Show Business? Yup, the theme for that cartoon show started here.

    The musical Annie Get Your Gun was a stage play by Rodgers and Hammerstein first, but the music and lyrics for the film version are credited to Irving Berlin. The screenplay is credited to Sidney Sheldon (I hadn't realised he wrote screenplays). I won't go into all the details of how it came to pass - they are covered in some of the extras, save for one small item they glossed over. The reason they give for Judy Garland leaving the production is "ill-health" - I suppose that's the standard showbiz euphemism for drug and alcohol problems...

    I do have some problems with this movie. It displays a number of attitudes which are far from politically correct today. We must understand that this film is a product of its times - it was released in 1950, after all. Annie is depicted as slavishly besotted with Frank Butler at first sight, which is bad enough, but the attitude towards Native Americans is really off-putting. Actually, I guess we're seeing the view from the 1950s of the attitudes manifest in the previous century. If you can get past this, the musical itself is rather good - except for the number I'm an Indian Too.

    Howard Keel starred in many of my favourite musicals, including Kiss Me Kate and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He has a magnificent voice, and he gets plenty of opportunity to show it off in this musical. Betty Hutton is not quite as impressive a singer, but she performs with great gusto. Their duets, particularly Anything You Can Do, are highlights of this film.

    This film makes very interesting viewing placed beside Bronco Billy - it depicts the hey-day of Wild West shows, just as Bronco Billy depicts their gradual demise.

    It is also interesting to see how many mistakes about Native American culture it is possible to pack into one sequence - the I'm an Indian Too sequence is amazing in that respect (as well as being more than a little offensive).

    I guess the real meaning of that disclaimer on the credits is that this movie make no claim of historical accuracy - it's merely intended as entertainment, and it succeeds admirably at that.

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

Track Listing

1. Colonel Buffalo Bill
2. Doin' What Comes Naturally
3. The Girl That I Marry
4. Can't Get a Man With a Gun
5. No Business Like Show Business
6. They Say It's Wonderful
7. My Defences Are Down
8. I'm an Indian Too
9. I've Got the Sun in the Morning
10. Anything You Can Do

Transfer Quality

Video

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is consequently not 16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical ratio was 1.37:1 (the Academy ratio), so this is very close.

    The image is quite attractive, sharp, with very good shadow detail, and no low-level noise. There's some mosquito noise on backgrounds, but it's not strong. There are moments when the brightness fluctuates a little - perhaps a mismatch between one shot and the next?

    Colour is off, but still quite satisfying. It's the Technicolor process, so blues are a little strong (but beautiful to look at). On this film, more than most, reds seem a bit variable - some of them come out more crimson than red. There's one scene where the same dress seems crimson in one shot and red in the next. Greens come out a little dull, but rich. There's no over-saturation or colour bleed.

    There are very few film artefacts indeed - the restoration has done a superb job of removing them. Unfortunately, the sharpness of the transfer means that there's quite a lot of aliasing, and heaps of moire on some of the finely checked outfits. You can see some of the worst examples during the first song, around 1:50. There are no visible MPEG artefacts.

    There are both subtitles and captions in English. The subtitles are clear, easy to read, and well-timed - they are quite accurate, and they include the lyrics for the songs, which I like.

    The disc is single-sided, RSDL. The layer change comes at 48:03. It comes after the end of a song, when Betty Hutton is standing still. It is not particularly noticeable, and not at all disruptive.

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

Audio

    There is one mono soundtrack, in English.

    Dialogue is easy to understand. The dialogue demonstrates perfect sync, but there are some fairly obvious glitches in some of the singing - maybe miming was a less-developed art in 1950? The most obvious comes in They Say It's Wonderful. It doesn't detract from enjoyment of the musical, though.

    Irving Berlin's contributions include some memorable songs - There's No Business Like Show Business, You Can't Get a Man With a Gun, and Anything You Can Do are the ones that stick in my memory.

    This is a mono soundtrack - no surrounds, no subwoofer required.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static with music (can you guess which song they chose?).

Cast and Crew

    A two page list of the major players, that's all.

Special Introduction by Susan Luci (4:41)

    This is quite interesting, but it has been attached to the front of the movie, too. This is just another way to view it. Well worth watching the first time, because it puts this movie in context.

Outtakes

    This is not quite what you might expect. It does include one deleted song: Let's Go West Again, but the other three scenes are different versions of scenes that do appear in the film. The first two are versions of Doin' What Comes Naturally (5:43) and I'm an Indian Too (3:51) filmed with Judy Garland. These make it quite clear how much changed in the production design and costuming between the Judy Garland and Betty Hutton versions. The other song is Colonel Buffalo Bill, but with Frank Morgan as Buffalo Bill, rather than Louis Calhern - this scene was shot shortly before Frank Morgan died.

Full-length Recording: There's No Business Like Show Business

    This is a purely audio recording - the display remains on the menu while it is playing.

Awards

    A single page reporting the one Oscar and Photoplay Gold Medal.

Theatrical Trailer (2:36)

    A classic 50s trailer - big writing across the picture, big voice narration. The artefacts on this trailer make it very clear the amount of effort that went into the restoration.

R4 vs R1

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

    The listings for the Region 1 disc make it sound identical to this one. All the extras are present on both discs, and it sounds like they've been accorded equally good transfers. The R1 does have French subtitles, but I'd not rate those a highly desirable feature. Seems like you'll be doing fine with either version.

Summary

    This is an entertaining musical that clashes with a few modern sensibilities.

    The video quality is good, but does show its age in lacking colour fidelity.

    The audio quality is rather good - much better than I'd expect for a mono track of this age.

    The extras are interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, March 15, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Origins of songs - Khai L (My biodegradable bio)