A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Warner Home Video will be releasing one of the more important classic collections of 2007 tomorrow.


    I received a copy today, and couldn't wait to preview them.

    The first thing that became obvious is the extremely high quality of the packaging, which only tells the most basic story of the planning, time and care that made this release possible.

    But then comes a problem of marketing reality.

    As shelf space, ever at a premium, gets used more and more by HD, BD and the annual multiple dip re-issues of Ferris Bueller, I don't want this set to become lost.

    Just as important, with huge amounts of dollars going into cleaning up these films, the studio needs to make their investment back...

    or we're not going to see more.

    The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection was a long time coming.

    With no extant original negatives (GEH fire - 1978), poor condition masters, and in the case of Babes in Arms, an even worse dupe, we're extremely lucky that this set has made it.

    While the quality of all four films are perfectly satisfactory, they are not pristine glorious black & white examples of the cinematographic art, and never will be again. They simply do not exist in any finer state. They have been beautifully cleaned, buffed and grain reduced (necessary in some cases). An occasional scratch is still in evidence. The tracks are fine.

    As an aside, the cut "My Day" sequence from Babes in Arms has been re-instated from 16mm source material, and it works beautifully.

    But what is important is that finally the home theater community has the ability to take home all four Rooney / Garland musicals -- some of the most important and highest grossing films of their day.

    Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941) and Girl Crazy (1943) make up the basic package.

    Add to that a wondeful mixture of extras, as well as a single disc with 25 of the most important Judy Garland musical numbers. Not a CD, but 25 songs on video.

    The price of admission?

    $35 on Amazon.

    If one ignores all of the extras, this works out to under $8 per title.

    So here's the pitch.

    You can help film restoration; help these releases keep coming; help Warner's classic wonderkind George Feltenstein sleep through the night; and generally make yourself feel better about life.

    Did I mention that your friends will like you better?

    Offers of steak knives and toasters? Sorry.

    Those cinephiles who know what these films are, and have viewed the dynamics of the players and the music in the past will have them tomorrow.

    I'm concerned about those who are sitting on the fence about this release, and have never seen them before.

    All I can tell you is that these are terrific upbeat musicals from the classic era. So please get off the fence and grab a copy.

    Because if Mickey & Judy don't sell in reasonable numbers, it can be virtually guaranteed that you won't be seeing any of the secondary titles any time soon.

    This is a great release of four terrific and important films.

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Awesome to read your review RAH, I've had this baby on pre-order, a blind buy, for the past 2 months. I was a "I wont watch musicals" guy (horror movie nerd thing [​IMG] ), until Warners did "Singing In The Rain" and I was curious to check out what the fuss was after reading your coloum on it, so thanks for that. [​IMG]

    Can't wait to get this one in my grubby mitts, as well as that "The Jazz Singer" set next month!
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Everything that I've heard about the new restoration of The Jazz Singer is extremely positive. Yet another release that is going to be something very special

    RAH
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Finally I will be able to retire the very worn out videotapes of these four classic musicals with these new DVDs. It HAS been a long time coming, and I couldn't more pleased to read RAH's comments about them.

    Pre-ordered months ago and now greatly anticipating their arrival.
     
  5. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I can't wait to grab mine. I'll probably pick it up at the "Deep Discount" B&M on my way home tonight.
     
  6. CineKarine

    CineKarine Supporting Actor

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    Thank you for your much valued input Mr. Harris. Always wonderful to hear from you.

    I ordered my copy the very day it was available for pre-order, looking forward to it anyday now [​IMG] These are indeed unforgettable films featuring some of THE greatest musical numbers ever put on film. Garland and Rooney remain my favorite musical twosome to this day. [​IMG]

    I've been under the Garland spell for two thirds of my life and the first film I actually saw of hers was Babes in Arms!
     
  7. Arnie G

    Arnie G Supporting Actor

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    I wasn't originally going to get this set but after Robert's plea, I will [​IMG]
     
  8. CineKarine

    CineKarine Supporting Actor

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    May I be so bold as to ask if this means the Warner classic releases are in peril right now? This last sentence above can't help but make me wonder if this is related in any way to the fewer classic announcements made recently. I'm such an optimist by nature, but even I get worried, when I read "we're not going to see more" [​IMG]
     
  9. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    What are the 25 bonus Garland numbers?
     
  10. Richard M S

    Richard M S Supporting Actor

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    Great post! These films are real treasures, and there is so much to enjoy here. I have seen all of these films many times. I have them on laser disc and vhs , but I still did not hesitate to pre-order this box set. I can hardly wait until it arrives!
     
  11. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    RAH, as always, your seal of approval is most appreciated. Haven't ordered the set myself, but it's numero uno on my birthday list (birthday's Oct. 11), so it'll be on my shelf soon enough.

    As for The Jazz Singer, that's going to be an essential purchase for me simply because of the significance of the title (which, as a film, I think we can all agree is hopelessly dated) and the surefire quality of the Warner package.

    Incidentally, have you gotten a look at Paramount's new Funny Face 50th Anniversary SDVD? I imagine we'll hear something from you at some point, but DVDBeaver ran a less-than-knowledgeable review from someone who didn't recall the original disc (which was seriously in need of restoration). It's one of my favorite musicals (and woefully underrated, I think), so I'm curious to hear your thoughts on how the new one stacks up (a la To Catch a Thief).
     
  12. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Lovely to hear. I've been earger for Jazz Singer since it was rumored a couple years ago. The list of specs (all those Viataphone shorts!) made this one of my highest anticipated releases.

    not to take away anything from this release mind you. I don't care for Mickey Rooney, but Judy Garland at this period was magic. To hear that these films have been done right (as per usual for Warners) is a bonus. And I well admit, that compilation of Garland numbers was a big selling point to. [​IMG]
     
  13. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    I'll definitely be ordering this on Friday. It's already in my Amazon shopping cart. So basically if this doesn't sell well, no Jane Powell, June Allyson, or Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
     
  14. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    I hope Warner didn't just recycle old Laserdisc masters like they have done for some other Judy Garland films...
     
  15. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Well, Mr. Harris did comment that these are the best these films have looked, and that based on the available materials they are even more impressive. So if they are laser masters they must be very well done and tweaked to this current finest state.
     
  16. ScottHM

    ScottHM Second Unit

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    I have to admit that I sat on the fence about this release for a long time. I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE the fold out cardboard packaging, particularly with overlapping DVDs.

    However, partially for the sake of getting more of these films released, I've gone ahead and ordered this set. But I can tell you that there have been other recent Warner classic sets that I've passed on primarily because of the packaging.

    ---------------
     
  17. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Supporting Actor

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    I've been in love with Judy for the past 30 years (I'm 40) and I've had this on pre order since day one. It does worry me about the gloom and doom comments made by Mr. Harris. I am VERY grateful to WB for bringing all these classics to dvd. I hope WB's expectations are not TOO high, I'd love to have all of these classics in my library but I do have a family to feed and clothe. My dvd spending habits have dropped dramatically but I do purchase classic movies that I absolutely must have and this is one of them. I'm also eagerly looking forward to the Andy Hardy set when it comes out.

    Scott, I share your sentiments about the overlapping dvds. I can't stand them! I would much rather have the slim cases. I loved the Astaire Rogers set!
     
  18. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    You mean like what they did with THE PIRATE? It actually looks worse than the restored Laserdisc. PRESENTING LILY MARS also wasn't granted a new video transfer. For such a long wait, I do hope these are new transfers. Even from the same film elements a transfer made today will far surpass what could be done 15 years ago for Laserdisc.
     
  19. Danny Burk

    Danny Burk Second Unit

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    Well, thanks to RAH's comments, I picked this up at Sam's Club today. I'm in no way a fan of Mickey, but I do like Judy, and they sound like fun films. Now, WB, *please* bring on more 30s films! [​IMG]
     
  20. Richard Matich

    Richard Matich Stunt Coordinator

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    I will be picking this set up as soon as I can [a week or so]. Thanks Robert Harris for telling us how much us buying this and others means to Mr. Feltenstien and WHV. I have only seen Babes In Arms but that was enough. Its wonderful. Anyone that enjoys the movies from the golden age of Hollywood will love this set. The on screen chemistry between Rooney and Garland is something to behold. [​IMG]

    This set is as good as on my DVD shelf. [​IMG]
     

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