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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: It Happened At The World’s Fair (RECOMMENDED).

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, Jul 29, 2004.

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  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    It Happened At The World’s Fair





    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1963
    Rated: Not Rated
    Film Length: 105 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
    Audio: DD Monaural
    Color/B&W: Color
    Languages: English & French
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Indonesian.
    MSRP: $14.97
    Package: Keepcase





    The Feature:
    On August 3rd, Warner Brothers will release six of Elvis Presley’s MGM made films to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rock ‘n’ Roll celebration. The titles to be released individually are: Spinout (1966), Harum Scarum (1965), Double Trouble (1966), Speedway (1968), Elvis’ final film with MGM The Trouble With Girls (1969) and the featured film, It Happened At The World’s Fair (1963).

    In addition, on August 24th, Warner will release Elvis Presley: The Signature Collection which will contain the following six titles: It Happened At The World’s Fair (1963), Harum Scarum (1965), Spinout (1966), Speedway (1968), Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Jailhouse Rock (1957). In a recent email that I received from WB, they confirmed the last two titles (already released by WB), will simply be current versions (snapper cases and all) added to the set. The boxed set will retail for $49.92.

    The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair is the backdrop for this fun loving film.

    Mike Edwards (played by Elvis Presley) is a freelance pilot taking jobs wherever he can to earn enough to open up his own flying business. His partner and co-pilot Danny Burke (played by Gary Lockwood), is a man who hasn’t met a game of chance he didn’t like and has drained all of the pair’s funds including their most recent paycheck. Things only get worse when the sheriff seizes their plane, grounding both of them. Forced to find work, the two hitch a ride with an apple farmer on his way to Seattle to deliver a load and to take his seven year old niece, Sue-Lin (played by Vicky Tiu), to the World’s Fair. After arriving in Seattle, Danny sets out to locate old friends against Mike’s wishes. Mike enjoys a day at the fair with Sue-Lin when her uncle must make an unexpected delivery. As the two spend their day exploring the fair, Mike also spends his time exploring the opposite sex.

    When Sue-Lin’s uncle disappears the next day, Mike takes over caring for the child, much to his partner’s chagrin. While Mike concerns himself with finding Sue-Lin’s uncle and romancing an attractive but untrusting nurse he met at the fair, Danny concentrates on a scheme to make some money ….but at what price?

    Directed by Norman Taurog, It Happened at the World's Fair was his fourth of nine Elvis movies. What helps this film along is the actual events taking place in around the fair which was mostly filmed at the 1962 World's Fair and the 21st Century Exposition in Seattle, Washington. Unlike many of the King’s rather common pedestrian Elvis vehicles, this film is superior due to a plot with some substance and an opportunity to see a different side of Elvis. Simply put, this reviewer feels comfortable stating this film is among his very best.

    As we might expect, there is a healthy assortment of music to accompany the film (ten titles to be exact) including such numbers as: Happy Ending, Relax and a title that went gold, One Broken Heart For Sale. And, you’ll also get to see a very young Kurt Russell who appears in an uncredited role as the kid who kicks Elvis in the shins, years before he starred as The King in the famous 1979 TV biopic and 3000 Miles To Graceland.

    The Feature: 4/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Video:
    Absolutely gorgeous - near perfect. Presented in its OAR of 2.35:1 (enhanced widescreen), this transfer is amazing. Similar to the other Elvis titles, and considering the MSRP price point, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. This transfer is a vision of beauty.

    The color palette literally came alive. Colors were strikingly vibrant and were saturated to near perfection (a couple of instances, reds were slightly bleeding). The skin tones were also very accurate looking. Blacks were jet black, while whites were contrasted nicely always looking crisp and clean.

    The overall level of image definition was as sharp as a tack with only a couple of occasions of very slight softness, which I’m confident wasn’t transfer related. There was a slight but appropriate amount of very fine film grain that was present throughout the film resulting in an image that was very film-like with an amazing sense of dimensionality.

    During the dinner scene atop the Space Needle, there were a few light specks, other than that, the image was solid and was free of any shimmer or jitter. There were only a couple instances of dust and dirt blemishes as the print was virtually immaculate. The transfer was free of any compression errors or haloing.

    Absolutely beautiful, falling just short of perfection. This transfer gets a near perfect score…!!!

    Video: 4.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Audio:
    Presented in DD Monaural, this soundtrack does a better job than you might imagine. Similar to the video portion of the transfer, this mono track is about as good as it gets.

    The entire track is free of any hiss or other distracting anomalies such as popping or cracking. The overall tonality of the track is natural and I would certainly describe it as slightly forward.

    There are a number of scenes at the fair and during several flights which show off a range better than average. Once again, the music sounds great during the many songs that are played by The King that accompany the film.

    Finally, dialogue was always exceptionally bold and clear throughout the entire film.

    Super job… Remember, mono tracks can sound great too. A great example of a mono track that just doesn’t get much better than this!!

    Audio: 4.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Special Features:[*] Once again, the lone extra, an Elvis Trailer Gallery. There are five trailers included starting with: Jailhouse Rock (1957), It Happened at the World's Fair (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964), Tickle Me (1965) and Harum Scarum (1965). All of the five trailers included are in good shape. Note: Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock, will appear in the upcoming Signature Collection set, although the Allied Artists film, Tickle Me remains on the shelf.

    With this upcoming wave of Elvis discs, all of the extras are basically the same in that they all just feature trailer galleries. Considering the material the studio must have relating to Elvis’ music and films, the lack of significant bonus material is somewhat disappointing, but presumably accounts for its lower than average MSRP.

    Special Features: 2.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



    Final Thoughts:
    Over the course of thirteen short years, Elvis cranked out thirty one full length feature films. Unfortunately, many of them are rather forgettable. It Happened At The World’s Fair is an example of one of his better films which allows Elvis’ gentler and compassionate side to show through. Here, he’s not the rebellious tough talkin’ cool guy he played in so many of his other pictures. The film is not high art, but it is a wholesome entertaining flick, that delivers its fair share of good music and a whole lot o' fun.

    When these screeners arrived, never in a million years would I have imagined any of them garnering a “Recommendation”… well, I was wrong. Once again, Warner Brothers comes through with a presentation that’s simply outstanding and delivers an extraordinarily reasonable disc that is sure to please any fan of The King. And on top of everything else, it’s a pretty enjoyable movie too…!

    Overall Rating: 4/5 (not an average)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Recommended..!!




    Release Date: August 3rd, 2004
     
  2. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Good review Herb. Sharp-eyed viewers should look for the Cinerama theater marquee in the background when they're riding on the monorail. It's been a while since I saw it, so I don't remember which film is playing.

    I've always been curious to know how much of the fairgrounds are still standing. Anyone know?

    There's an interesting story behind one of my favorite songs from this film. "They Remind Me Too Much of You" was written by Don Robertson as a song for Elvis, and not specifically for the soundtrack. The films producer, Ted Richmond, liked it so much that he added a scene to the film just so he could include this beautiful song. It's a nighttime sequence with Elvis and the little girl on the monorail, and it's the only time in an Elvis film where a complete song is not lip-synced, but meant to illustrate his thoughts and contemplation. ("I Need Somebody to Lean On" used a similar techinque in VIVA LAS VEGAS.)
     
  3. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Well-Known Member

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    Bob, I was going to mention that very scene in the review. The static camera shot as the music plays in the darkened monorail, was really a very touching scene. The highlight of the film.
     
  4. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    It's too bad that the Elvis movie formula (as orchestrated by Colonel Parker) dictated that nearly every film had to have a soundtrack album. That required from 10 to 14 songs for each score. It was certainly a case of quantity over quality.

    The formula had worked to perfection with BLUE HAWAII in 1961. The single ("Can't Help Falling in Love") proceeded the soundtrack, and the album proceeded the film. Each release served to promote the other and, for a time, the process worked to great success. However, changing times and the increasing demand on writers for good material led to a steady decline in quality. The songwriters had to submit several songs for each musical sequence, and then Elvis would select the one that he wanted to record. In many cases, he didn't want to do any of the songs submitted. It's too bad he didn't exercise more artistic control over his career.
     
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Well-Known Member

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    I love classic Elvis movies. Glad to hear this one has a reference transfer. I'll add it to the collection!

    BTW, saw Vive Las Vagas on the mall here in DC projected via 35mm last summer. Boy was it stunning...made you realize just how much better than DVD a *good* 35 mm print can be. too bad the DVD of that titles is so bad!!!

    -dave [​IMG]
     
  6. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    David, that new 35mm print from the Warner Brothers vault looks fantastic. We ran it last year in New Jersey, and it looked like dye-transfer Technicolor! Is it possible the DVD included in the new Signature Collection box set is a re-master of this title?

    I had heard that NBC did a full-blown restoration of LOVING YOU, working from the original YCM separation elements. Is this true, and how good does the current DVD look?
     
  7. Jayson Wall

    Jayson Wall Member

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    The LOVING YOU DVD looks good....yet the color on NBC’s 35mm TV dye transfer print (which Jeff ran last year at his Tech fest in LA) was much better (duh!). “Teddy Bear” leaps from the screen in 35-tech, but on the DVD it kind of lays there. That aside, the DVD is best I’ve ever seen this flm on TV....

    To my understanding, WB has 2 newer prints of “Viva Las Vegas” in the vaults---the print I saw at LACMA a few years ago was drop-dead gorgeous ...and this was the first time I’ve ever seen an Elvis film in a theater. I was struck how much presence he had on the screen---you couldn’t take you eyes off of him....well, until AM showed up!

    Here’s hoping this WB set sells well enough to release the other MGM titles (like “Girl Happy”)

    JW
     
  8. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Well-Known Member

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    It's definitely a no brainer to wait and buy the upcoming box set, rather than the titles separately. What I don't understand is why they didn't remaster Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas (I already have those titles). Just the same, the price point of the box set is the same or cheaper than the new titles sold separately, so i might as well buy the former and sell or give away my copies of JR and VLV.

    And yes, Loving You does indeed look and sound great. I'm also glad they maintained the openning Paramount and VistaVision titles.
     

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