A Few Words About A few words about...™ Billy Rose's Jumbo -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For me, in an odd way, viewing Jumbo is a bit of a sad experience, which has nothing to do with the film or the Blu-ray presentation.

    While there were musicals after Jumbo, for all intents and purposes, Jumbo was the final true M-G-M musical. There really weren't any more like it.

    The look of it, even in Eastman color, the orchestrations, and the entire technical staff behind the production, were as extraordinary as any put together in the past. But Jumbo was the end of an era.

    By my comments, I don't mean to say that Jumbo is one of the great M-G-M musicals. It's not. But it's a beautiful, fun and entertaining film that has a certain place in history.

    It's a gorgeous film to look at -- almost 3D on this new Warner Archive Blu-ray, with a full rich track in DTS-HD MA 5.1. It's the kind of track that, in its own way, screamed...

    M-G-M!

    Jumbo, is of course, one of a small group of "big top" movies produced over the decades. Most weren't very good. One won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but was never one of my favorites.

    What Jumbo offers, aside from the ever perky Doris Day and an appearance by the great Smiler Grogan, late of the vaudeville team of Clayton, Jackson & Grogan, is the music of Rogers and Hart, and the cinematography of William Daniels, which as noted appears almost 3D-like in this presentation.

    Jumbo is based upon the Billy Rose's play of the same name, which ran on Broadway during 1935-36. The play is based, in part, upon the life story of a quite extraordinary elephant.

    Born in 1861 in the French Sudan, he spend time in a Paris zoo, before being purchased at age 20 by P.T. Barnum. Jumbo traveled as a major attraction with the circus for only four years, until he met his unfortunate end after being struck by in locomotive in Canada in 1885. His skeleton resides at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.

    As far as I know, Jumbo and Doris Day never actually met.

    Jumbo is a quality film, presented with the finest of quality on WB's new Blu-ray.

    Image - 5

    Audio - 5

    Recommended

    RAH
     
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  2. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Have this on back order from Amazon and am impatiently waiting for it to be available again there...thanks for the positive review, Robert!!! :thumbs-up-smiley:
     
  3. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Really, Robert. You know how sensitive Miss Day is about her age! :lol:
     
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  4. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    I received mine recently and it looks (and sounds) great.
     
  5. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    Tracking info says mine should be here by Tuesday. I can't wait to watch it on blu.
     
  6. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Have to admit this is one I wouldn't necessarily have gravitated to, but I believe RAH has succeeded in coaxing another twenty from my wallet.
     
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  7. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Don't think you will be disappointed.
     
  8. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Mine is now prepared and ready to be shipped from Amazon.

    Amazon appears to have got stock in nice and early on this Warner Archive disc.

    I'm really looking forward to it.
    I can still remember how good the 4 track Stereophonic Sound was when I first saw it back in it's original release.
     
  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I got my notice from Amazon today, too. Hope to have it by the weekend so I can watch it then.
     
  10. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    Know the feeling.

    I first saw this at a trade screening in summer of 1962, about 6 months before release. It was the Fox screening room in Des Moines, IA, which as you might imagine was optimized for CinemaScope and 4-track magnetic.

    The crowd was mostly old-time theater men who knew their film. There was a sense of nostalgia and loss about that picture. I remember they liked the film, brought back a lot of memories, but they didn't know how to sell it to a crowd then expecting West Side Story or something.

    Today, I think everyone in that room is gone except me (I was 17 at the time) and my former boss, who is now 94 and still active in the business. The Fox screening room is long gone, indeed the entire film row ("High Street") is now a hospital parking lot, including the Iowa Film Depot. The entire business is different, not just the films. Bookings are done from Chicago, and "film delivery" is now shipping a hard drive rather than trucks.

    I know of one theater in Des Moines still running film (the Varsity, an art house, I used to work for them). I haven't checked lately, they may have installed digital, but they were very frugal.

    Thanks for your review. My copy is on order. I have had the LD for some time and it is good, but very glad to hear Warners has done their expected job with this title.

    Cheers to all of us old-timers who remember this film theatrically.
     
  11. Everett Stallings

    Everett Stallings Supporting Actor

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    This was the perfect Movie for The Irvington theatre, where I went as a kid. I remember SRO many times had to stand in back to wait for seats!
     
  12. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    Though I was only six in 1962, I don't remember "Billy Rose's Jumbo" in theatres. However, I do remember "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" a couple of years later. I always considered that the last of the old-school M-G-M musicals though that one was also part of the Broadway-to-Hollywood stampede of the day, more than an old-school M-G-M musical.

    I discovered Jumbo on television and have always loved it. It's never gotten the recognition it deserved. I was very happy with the DVD included in the Doris Day Collection and I'm very happy with its upgrade to BluRay.
     
  13. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    Although not one of the better MGM musicals, perhaps Warners will now work backwards and release Seven Brides, Three Little Words and High Society amongst many others. I haven't checked but don't recall Jumbo being on the musicals poll.
     
  14. JoelA

    JoelA Screenwriter

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    Agreed Keith. Would love to have Seven Brides in blu, but I'm sure it will require an extensive and expensive restoration before it's blu worthy. Received notification about Jumbo from Amazon and am looking forward to watching it as well, especially after reading Mr. Harris' enthusiastic comments.
     
  15. John Skoda

    John Skoda Stunt Coordinator

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    MOLLY BROWN was MGM musicals adapting to changing times--MGM goes roadshow.One of the best things about JUMBO is the arrangements by Conrad Salinger, whose last film this was. If you look on the back of the soundtrack album for MOLLY BROWN, they list the people involved in those arrangements and I think there are eight names! And the results were still a bit underwhelming. Salinger's loss was definitely felt by MGM.
     
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  16. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    I love the arrangements for The Unsinkable Molly Brown. I think they're infinitely better than their Broadway counterparts.
     
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  17. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Received notification that my copy of Jumbo will be in stock by Wednesday Oct. 30th at Amazon...looking forward to seeing this in a state-of-the-art home theater presentation...
     
  18. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    In their review of JUMBO, Variety said it would be a goldmine and a classic to be reissued generation after generation.

    Well, not quite.

    I just wanted to say that I agree with those who'd vote for THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN as being the last of the oldtime MGM musicals. It doesn't matter that it was based on a Broadway musical ... so were GIRL CRAZY and ON THE TOWN and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN and SHOW BOAT and KISS ME, KATE and ROSE MARIE and THE STUDENT PRINCE and BRIGADOON and SILK STOCKINGS and many, many others.

    Come to think of it ... so was JUMBO!
     
  19. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Well both JUMBO and THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN were directed by Charles Walters and Roger Edens was also involved in both, more with JUMBO though. However I consider JUMBO as the end of the MGM musicals because, to me, it has the MGM feel more than Molly for some reason. Maybe it's the Busby Berkley thing. But I could argue that HELLO DOLLY was the last MGM musical even though it was made by Fox.
     
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  20. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Double post. Sorry
     

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