Hello, Dolly! (1969)
|Year Of Production||1969|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (72:53)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||ene Kelly|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Case||Six-Sided Star Clamp|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.20:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Hello Dolly is a simple movie, but a successful one - it won three Oscars, and it is easy enough to see why.
Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) is the widow of Ephraim Levi. She manages to make ends meet by arranging things (furniture, daffodils, lives...). Her speciality is arranging introductions between people rich enough to pay and people they might like to marry (this musical was derived from The Matchmaker). She has introduced the wealthy Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) to the beautiful Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew), a milliner. She is called in when Vandergelder's niece Ermengarde (Joyce Ames) has had the poor taste to fall in love with an artist - Vandergelder wants Dolly to baby-sit Ermengarde while he proposes to Miss Molloy. Dolly has other ideas - she has decided that she'd rather marry Vandergelder's money herself. She wreaks havoc to get her way, including inciting Vandergelder's two shop clerks, Cornelius Hackl (a young Michael Crawford) and Barnaby Tucker, to neglect their duty and head into the city for a day of fun.
Even if you've not seen this film, you are very likely to have heard the theme song. I was rather surprised to discover that Louis Armstrong's contribution is only a small part of the song (impressive, but only a small part) - it's a huge production number, with massed male voices singing for the most part, and Streisand's voice soaring over them in parts - it's worth watching the movie for this number alone!
This was one of the last of the old-style musicals - grand in scope, with a large cast and huge musical numbers. It's very easy to believe that it cost over $20 million (in 1969 dollars!) to make this movie - the costumes, the extras, the huge parade sequence, and the utterly over-the-top sequence in the restaurant (love the long waiter dance numbers).
By the way, I recommend you pay attention to the opening sequence - the beautifully choreographed percussive effects of feet on the sidewalks. Nice stuff. Unsurprising to discover that this film was directed by a certain Gene Kelly.
Barbra Streisand is utterly superb for this role - she carries off the outwardly confident but inwardly unsure character with great aplomb. Walter Matthau looks a little awkward singing, but the curmudgeonly character is one he manages extremely well. Michael Crawford manages Cornelius Hackl well enough (there are moments that a bit of Frank Spencer peeks through, and his singing is a bit breathy yet). The supporting cast are uniformly good; a little bit of overacting here and there never spoils a musical.
This movie is fun. No big moral. No huge pathos. Just simple fun, and good entertainment.
|1. Just Leave Everything to Me|
2. It Takes a Woman
3. Out There
4. Put On Your Sunday Clothes
5. Ribbons Down My Back
|7. Before the Parades Passes By|
8. (We Got) Elegance
9. Love is Only Love
10. Hello, Dolly!
11. It Only Takes a Moment
12. So Long Dearie
This is a widescreen musical, so it is good to see that this film is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. IMDB claims that the original aspect ratio was 2.20:1; 2.35:1 is quite close.
The picture is rather good: fairly sharp (quite sharp in close-ups), with good shadow detail and no trace of low-level noise.
Colours look a touch faded, particularly on reds. There's no oversaturation and no colour bleed, but there's no absolutely fully-saturated colours, either. The colours are attractive and easy on the eyes, but they are just not as vibrant as you might expect in a modern film. After all, this film is 33 years old (and it doesn't look a day over 30 years old).
There are plenty of film artefacts, but they are tiny ones - little flecks and spots, the occasional scratch (very fine vertical scratches can be seen at quite a few points). There's some aliasing and moire - see 41:24, where there's serious moire on the chair. There's some heavy-handed edge enhancement on a couple of scenes, but it's not too offputting. There's background shimmer, but it is only light.
There are subtitles, lots of subtitles. The subtitles include the song lyrics, which I like. They are clear, easy to read, accurate, and well-timed.
The disc is single-sided (nice picture label!), and RSDL-formatted. The layer change is placed at 72:53; this is at the start of the intermission, which is sensible, and it is not particularly noticeable.
The only soundtrack on this disc is labelled on the case as Dolby Digital 4.0 English. There are a variety of 4.0 layouts. This one is L-C-R-S. That is, there are left front, centre front, right front, and surround tracks - the rears share a single (mono) track, and the subwoofer gets nothing (it's not needed for this).
The dialogue is clear, and there are no audio sync issues during the dialogue. There are some tiny sync issues with the singing, but they are lip-syncing, so that's understandable. On what is the last song before the finale we get Walter Matthau singing Hello, Dolly - I'm not convinced that it is his voice. Doesn't really matter. The real treat is the big number - Hello, Dolly in the restaurant. Louis Armstrong only gets about 30 seconds or so, but we get Barbra Streisand's voice swirling around his vocals - marvellous stuff, and well worth watching the movie for all by itself.
The surrounds get very little to do, but that's no real problem. The subwoofer gets nothing to do, but it isn't missed - there are no shots fired, nothing blows up, and there no monster footsteps or starships going into warp drive..
|Surround Channel Use|
The menus are static and silent. At least they are easy to operate.
This (rather long) trailer is presented in widescreen. It makes it quite clear that the video for the movie could have been rather worse than it is...
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc is not yet available in Region 1. We get another musical before R1 - cool!
Hello, Dolly is an entertaining musical presented rather well on DVD.
The video quality is good, but far from perfect.
The audio quality is rather good.
The most basic extra (a trailer) is all we get.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|