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A Decade of Missing Musicals - The 50s.

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Doug Bull, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    There are many who regard the 50s as the greatest decade of the Hollywood Musical.
    Let's not forget that there were also many wonderful and memorable Musicals produced in 30s and 40s as well.

    I'm not sure why the musicals of the fifties are held in such high esteem.
    Was it the star power, the music talents, Widescreen and other technical advances?
    My guess is all of those, plus more.
    For me it could well be the fact that I grew up during that decade.
    Yes I love all musicals, especially those from the fifties.

    There are still a number of these memorable Musicals that are missing on DVD or Blu-ray.
    Will we see any of these? Some maybe, but probably not all, which is most regrettable.

    Here are some Hollywood Musicals from the 50s that deserve, at the very least, a DVD release.

    "The Merry Widow"
    "Let's Dance"
    "Porgy and Bess"
    "Where's Charley?"
    "The Vagabond King"
    "The Desert Song"
    "You Can't Run Away From It"
    "St Louis Blues"
    "The Farmer Takes a Wife"
    "Aaron Slick From Punkin Crick"
    "Beau James"
    "Somebody Loves Me"
    "The Stars Are Singing"
    "The French Line" (European cut in 3D)
    "Here Come The Girls"
    "Those Redheads From Seattle"(3D)
    "So This Is Paris"
    "Walking My Baby Back Home"
    "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes" (filmed in the UK)

    Frankie Laine and Dick Haymes made a few musicals for Columbia and any of those would be most welcome.
    and please give us new studio releases of these two PD titles. "The Seven Little Foys"
    and "New Faces" ( although Fox archives would probably dish up a pan and scan disaster)

    Notice the number of Paramount titles on that list. Does that say something?

    There were a small number of entertaining British Musicals produced in the fifties and most of these have found their way onto DVD.(in the UK at least)
    The latest one just announced features Errol Flynn no less. ( he made a couple of British musicals and was dubbed of course, although he did do his own singing in Warner's "Thank Your Lucky Stars"
    Here is that upcoming DVD. kingsrhapsody.jpg
    British company Network video has been releasing many of these rare British Musicals and the DVD quality so far has been excellent.

    Bottom line to the Studios: Please give us these Musicals.

    Doug.
     
  2. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    I agree, Doug. The benefit of magnetic recording and multi-channel 35mm stereophonic sound is a big plus.
     
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  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks for compiling this list. I'd certainly love to see many of these released even if they're not all great musicals.
     
  4. ljgranberry

    ljgranberry Second Unit

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    I'd love to know the status of "Porgy and Bess." I know there have been issues with the Gershwin estate, but they have allowed it to be screened at some film festivals. One thing I would like clarification on: the film is in the National Film Registry - does anyone know if the Library of Congress does any kind of restoration work on the films they vote into that list? I fear like so many films of the 1950's, this one may require a Robert Harris to save it before it's too late.
     
  5. JoelA

    JoelA Screenwriter

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    Excellent list Doug! As Matt said, not all of these films are great, but they are fun and entertaining. A number of updates for you thanks to WAC's Facebook page- The Merry Widow (1952) and The Desert Song (1953) are going to be released through the Archive. No set dates yet. I believe they have commented that Where's Charley? (1952) has rights issues to be cleared which is precluding a release in the near future. When asked about The French Line (1954) they said there are no updates regarding release status. I'm sure The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953) will be released through Fox Archives eventually.

    I can add a few more to your list-

    About Face (1952)
    The Strip (1951)
    Everything I Have is Yours (1952)
    Latin Lovers (1953)
    Mr. Imperium (1951)
    Remains to Be Seen (1953) Really a "semi-musical", but a fun little B & W film that has rights issues, so WAC can't release it at this time.
     
  6. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    The rights issues for WHERE'S CHARLEY has been cleared per a Facebook post by WAC. However they said they are hunting for decent elements. I have also heard that Samuel Goldwyn Estate has come to an agreement for PORGY AND BESS. I don't know the condition of the elements though but feel that the Goldwyn Estate did not allow then to get in too bad if shape.
     
  7. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    There are 9 Paramount titles on my list.
    What's the best we can hope for? Olive maybe? or will they suffer the fate of complete extinction.

    Four of the titles listed elsewhere did at least make it to Laserdisc.
    All had reasonably decent transfers.
    "Let's Dance", "The Farmer Takes a Wife", "Here Come the Girls" and "Everything I Have is Yours"
    Thankfully I've kept them all.

    Doug.
     
  8. SeanAx

    SeanAx Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw a rare screening of "Porgy and Bess" at a film festival in 1999. It was a newly-struck 70mm print, shipped from Germany I believe, screened at Seattle's Cinerama where it was spread wide over the curved screen. It was a special one-off screening and reading my notes, I find this: "The entire credits of Porgy and Bess, completely in German, were topped only by the three screens of introductory explanation, resulting in pockets of whispering translations by a German speakers scattered throughout the auditorium."

    Here's more on the rights complications, though this article is a couple of years old:
    http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/why_you_cant_see_porgy_and_bess
     
  9. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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    you guys sure know your movies.

    i like and know a lot of old movies. but few of these rang a bell with me.

    at least not by the title.

    and i tend to like musicals. some of them rank high on my list of liked movies.

    fiddler on the roof, the king and i, singing in the rain, mary poppins are 4 that immediately come to mind.
     
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  10. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Desert Song will likely become available through a multi-disc set including the other versions. Hopefully that comes out soon.

    The French Line is on hold until WHV makes a decision on whether or not it will release this and other films on 3-D blu-ray. Every other 3-D film is also held off the WAC for the time being.
     
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  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I would love to see a box of Desert Song versions. I've never seen the first two.

    I hope Warners will make the right decision about those 3D films. They deserve to be seen properly as they were originally intended.
     
  12. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Premium
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    With 3D as mainstream as it now is, there really is no reason to release something like The French Line unless you do so in 3D. The film's only claim to fame is the chance to see Jane Russell in 3D. Other than that, it has little to offer. A 2D release would be a waste of time and money.
     
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  13. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    That's encouraging news Joe.
    At least they are thinking about it.
    I only hope that House of Wax and Dial M for Murder sold well for them.

    I've started a new thread for "The French Line" in the 3D section of 'Blu-Ray' Discs.

    Doug.
     
  14. cinerama10

    cinerama10 Second Unit

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    Which version of Merry Widow? I got the Lana Turner version when it came on dvd.You can get Porgy And Bess on ebay but it is a shorter version. Even the 70mm film (which I saw) was much shorter than the original opera on which it was based.Despite its stunning cast ,the film was not a success.
    I also have In The French Line and Those Redheads From Seattle on dvd.. TRFS is a favourite musical of mine.It is indeed due for a bluray release.
     
  15. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    The thread is clearly about Musicals of the 50s. :blink:

    I will not and neither should anybody else help finance the bootleg trade.
    Can you prove to us that those DVDs you mentioned are genuine studio sanctioned releases.
    Certainly they have never been officially released on DVD in the USA, Australia or the UK.

    I have seen bootleg Asian DVD copies sold at various markets in Melbourne and have had to be restrained by my Wife, not to get into a brawl over them.
    Those people make me sick to my stomach. (as do those who knowingly support them)

    Doug.
     
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  16. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    That PORGY AND BESS on EBay is a bootleg. I will wait until Warner or someone puts out a legit release with a great transfer and hopefully on Blu.
     
  17. cinerama10

    cinerama10 Second Unit

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    It's one of the most boring of all the fifties 3D films- can't see it being released on bluray in 3D.
     
  18. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    It does have its fan base for the title and is controlled by Warner's, which right now is the lead company in 50's 3D Blu-rays. I would like to see it. But then again it's up each person on what they like and want to see.
     
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  19. JoelA

    JoelA Screenwriter

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    Thought I'd give this thread a bump since it appears that Warner Archive will be releasing a number of these titles on Nov. 17th-


    The Merry Widow (1952)

    Everything I Have is Yours (1952)

    Latin Lovers (1953)

    The Girl Most Likely (1957)


    And, of course, Deep in My Heart (1954); blu-ray on Nov. 10th.
     
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  20. Robin9

    Robin9 Screenwriter

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    . . . and I'm buying all five of those discs! I'm very pleased indeed.
     
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