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    Young At Heart Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray

    Apr 21 2014 01:05 PM | Timothy E in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    If Young At Heart were produced today, one could easily imagine Alex Karpovsky(Girls) playing the role of the cynical music arranger Barney Sloan, played in this film by Frank Sinatra. Sinatra and Doris Day co-starred in Young At Heart, a seemingly forgotten musical drama produced by Warner Brothers in 1954. The excellent cast also included Ethel Barrymore(Pinky), Gig Young(Teacher's Pet), Dorothy Malone(Written On The Wind), Robert Keith(Men In War) and Alan Hale, Jr.(Gilligan's Island).

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Other
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
    • Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 57 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: Amaray
    • Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 04/08/2014
    • MSRP: $29.95

    The Production Rating: 3/5

    Gregory Tuttle(Robert Keith) is a musician with 3 daughters also musically inclined, played by Doris Day, Dorothy Malone, and Elisabeth Fraser. Alex Burke(Gig Young) is a composer visiting the household who finds himself the object of desire of all 3 daughters, at least until the arrivals of Bob Neary(Alan Hale, Jr.) and Barney Sloan(Frank Sinatra). Melodrama ensues as the Tuttle girls find love, marriage, and the complications that arise inevitably in this type of film.

    Young At Heart is a remake of Four Daughters(1938) with Sinatra taking over the role originated by John Garfield. At the time, Sinatra was hot off of his Academy Award winning role in From Here To Eternity. Sinatra insisted, as a condition of playing the role, that his character not suffer the same demise as his counterpart in Four Daughters. Sinatra also used his clout to have Charles Lang(Sabrina, One-Eyed Jacks) removed as director of photography(Lang wanted to do multiple takes) and to have Doris Day's manager/husband Martin Melcher banned from the set.

    Young At Heart is a serviceable melodrama with an excellent cast that is not given the most challenging material. The result is a film that stands out much more for its cast, and its musical numbers, than for its screenplay. Young At Heart benefits from its title song, which was a hit by Sinatra before being included in this film, as well as his rendition of Someone To Watch Over Me. This was Doris Day's final film as an exclusive contract player with Warner Brothers, and she also sings several numbers.

    Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    Young At Heart appears on Blu-ray in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio that includes a sliver of footage visible more at the top and bottom of the frame than was the recommended aspect ratio, which I would guess to have been 1.85:1. The film frames well in this aspect ratio without revealing boom mikes and spotlights. Colors are perhaps a touch less vibrant than they ought to be, owing to the Warner Color process used on this film. Still, the colors do not appear overly faded.

    It appears that the original Warner Brothers shield logo may have been cut off the print in the film's changes of ownership over the years. The Warner shield appears in its correct place at the beginning of the film(even if this film is not owned anymore by that studio), but the video quality is initially very poor until the logo fades out and the title fades in, at which point video quality improves dramatically.

    Some sharpening has been applied, which is most apparent in its absence during the dissolves, which have the same type of baked in opticals as other Warner films from the mid-1950s. (Seven Men From Now is a good example of another film with this feature.) Much of the film seems excessively grainy compare to many other films from the 1950s, but thankfully the grain has not been scrubbed away at the expense of fine detail. (Just admire the detail evident in the wallpaper designs inside the Tuttle home.) The level of film grain fluctuates throughout the film, with many scenes seeming to have little or no grain at all.

    Audio Rating: 3/5

    The audio is in mono DTS-HD MA. For all that, the audio is surprisingly good. There is a richness of seemingly high fidelity sound during the musical numbers that approaches the quality of stereo, and there is little if any background hiss in the audio. Volume levels remain consistent with dialogue consistently audible.

    Special Features: 0/5

    This release has no special features.

    Overall Rating: 3/5

    Young At Heart is an adequate if unexceptional melodrama that is elevated by the high level of acting talent in its cast and the songs by Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. The video and audio reproduction are good but not great. Even if its stars were worthy of better material, Young At Heart is worth seeking out for the performances by Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, and the other members of the cast.

    Reviewed by: Timothy E
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    6 Comments

    Photo
    Keith Cobby
    Apr 22 2014 07:56 AM

    My copy of this great film arrived today and although, as Timothy E reviews above, the image is not perfect it is much better than I expected based on the DVD and television appearances over the years. I may be mistaken but I don't think the AR is 1.66:1, more like 1.78:1.

    Photo
    Richard Gallagher
    Apr 22 2014 04:32 PM

    It aired on TCM two weeks ago, and from Tim's review I'm guessing that the TCM presentation is from the same transfer as the Blu-ray. The Warner logo is very soft-looking but that changes immediately when the title appears.

    Photo
    Mike Frezon
    Apr 22 2014 05:00 PM

    The Warner's logo is a little worse than just "soft" on this Blu, Rich.  It is flat-out filthy.  There had to be something better available to use. 

     

    As Timothy notes, the PQ in this film fluctuates throughout...with an emphasis on the presence of grain throughout most of the film (a bit too much for my taste).  But some sections of the film looked pretty good. 

     

    I told this story in the Olive thread.  My wife--who is usually not one to notice (or certainly to comment on) the PQ or SQ of a film--said to me after the film started, "I thought you were only buying films nowadays that had been fixed."

     

    "Whaddya mean by fixed?"

     

    "You know, they clean up the picture so that it looks good.  This looks lousy."

     

    Methinks she has just been spoiled by the majority of good-looking Blus that we've been watching on my 55" Panasonic Plasma. 

    Photo
    Richard Gallagher
    Apr 22 2014 06:24 PM

    The Warner's logo is a little worse than just "soft" on this Blu, Rich.  It is flat-out filthy.  There had to be something better available to use. 

     

     

    In that case, I'm inclined to believe that TCM has a better transfer than the one which Olive used, but I'd have to compare the two to be sure. The logo on the TCM transfer is set against a blue sky with white clouds, with "Warner Bros. Pictures" across the shield and the word "Presents" immediately below it.

    Richard,

    Did TCM show a widescreen print 2 weeks ago? Last time I checked, some time ago, it was the usual 1.37 ratio, so I gave up on it.

    In that case, I'm inclined to believe that TCM has a better transfer than the one which Olive used, but I'd have to compare the two to be sure. The logo on the TCM transfer is set against a blue sky with white clouds, with "Warner Bros. Pictures" across the shield and the word "Presents" immediately below it.


    Interesting. The last time I saw this on the big screen (at LA County Museum of Art) they had a gorgeous print with the original logo intact, which was a WB shield superimposed over the opening shot of the film, the street scene of the Tuttles' street.