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A few words about... Fox's "Marquee Musicals"


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#1 of 45 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 09 2006 - 07:15 AM

On February 21, Fox Home Video will inaugurate yet another in its series of high-end classics, and will begin their offering of "Marquee Musicals" with three popular titles, thus far missing from DVD.

Week-end in Havana, a 1941 Technicolor production starring Alice Faye and Carmen Miranda is probably the best film of the group, and looks quite acceptable for a three-strip production, with pleasant color and stability, although color flickering in occasionally noticeable in neutral areas.

The 1944 Pin Up Girl with Betty Grable also has nice look to it, with just a bit of color fringing, which should not get in the way of one's enjoyment.

These are both short, fun productions typical of the period for Fox.

The newest of the three (1955) is Fred Astaire's only Fox musical vehicle, the oft-remade (this is the fourth version) Daddy Long Legs, here offered in a quality transfer of its original CinemaScope 2.55:1 format and four track stereo. Anything that helps to complete the works of Mr. Astaire on DVD is great news in my book.

All three come with audio commentaries and other extras which deliver much more than their under $15 street price.

Although not the best titles in the library, the Marquee Musicals collection is a wonderful beginning and portends great things to come from Fox. I look forward to the next titles.

Recommended.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 45 OFFLINE   Paul Borges

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Posted February 09 2006 - 09:14 AM

Thanks Mr. Harris. I thought Daddy Long Legs was only in Stereo 2.0. Are you saying that it is actually also available in Dolby Digital 4.0?

And are the other two only available in fake stereo?

#3 of 45 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted February 16 2006 - 05:17 AM

The only English soundtrack listed is 4.0 channel and it sounded pretty good even though intially I was only using the 2 channel output on the processor. I'll have to try the 4 ch. tonight. I thought the picture looked quite nice although I only managed to get through half the movie so far. It mentions some included lobby cards but I only found one - not a great loss if some are missing, I guess. It's great to have musicals like this released and the 2.55 oar is nice to watch. One more off the wish list.

#4 of 45 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted February 16 2006 - 08:07 AM

Paul

The other two titles are fake stereo but they don't sound much different than the mono version. The mono is more focussed of course, whereas the stereo sounds spread slightly, but the imaging is still in the middle of the speakers (unlike the past releases where the sound splashed everywhere).

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#5 of 45 OFFLINE   Paul Borges

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Posted February 16 2006 - 09:56 AM

Thanks Michael. That's good to hear.

#6 of 45 OFFLINE   ChristophNestel

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Posted February 17 2006 - 11:32 PM

There's something I wonder about the new Fox musical releases exspecially PIN UP GIRL. There is an outtake musical number existing named "This is it !" performed by Betty Grable, a chorus and the Charlie Spivak orchestra. This outake can be found on Image Entertainments HIDDEN HOLLYWOOD I, which is a compilation of highly interesting footage from Fox musicals which ended up on the cutting room floor.

It seems that this outtake is not included on the new PIN UP GIRL dvd. That's a pity, because imho it's one of the finest songs "from" the picture. In addition, the presentation of these kind of outtakes on the Image dvds is not completely satisfying: you often have to stand voice overs at the beginning of the songs and title information superimposed during the film clips shown.

Why is Fox not including those priceless outtakes on the dvds of the concerning movies ? That would be the most natural thing to do - the more, as already a good master of the clip is existing. It was the same shame with THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS. "Anything you can do I can do" (the outake is the only way seeing Ethel Merman performing that song on film) was also not on the dvd but on HH II, with the intro voice-overed.

I think these outtakes belong to the movies and Fox seems to have a large variety of such footage - much more than was shown on the two HH discs. And that Fox really could do better they proved with ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND, which included all the outakes in a perfect voice over free and title names superimposed free quality.

I believe there are also deleted musical numbers existing from WEEK-END IN HAVANNA. So why neglegting the possibilty of presenting these great musical gems ? Perhaps Mr. Harris with his insider knowledge may enlighten the absence of this footage on dvd ?

BTW: Does anybody know, if footage of the Russell/Monroe outake musical number "When The Wild, Wild Women Go In Swimmin` Down In (Bimini Bay)" from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES is still existing (a short glimpse of this performance can be seen in the theatrical trailer) ? And in addition seems to have been a version of "Anyone here for love" sung by Russell together with a girl group. Finally "Diamonds are a girls best friend" was re-shot in CinemeScope for a Fox promotion reel - this footage must exist and I suppose I'm not the only one who's longing to see it. So why has it not been included on the Diamond Collection dvd ?

#7 of 45 OFFLINE   Joe Caps

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Posted February 18 2006 - 03:48 AM

I am also disturbed that fox is not including their filmed outtakes.
I would love to see them release Rose of washington square starring Alice Faye and Al Jolson. Fox dose have ALL of the cut numbers from this film including three with Faye and three with Jolson.

#8 of 45 OFFLINE   RafaelPires

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Posted February 18 2006 - 03:54 AM

I read in the Dvd Savant review that the "This is it" number is included in the dvd. Has Anyone already checked it? My dvd hasn't arrived yet.

#9 of 45 OFFLINE   Vincent-P

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Posted February 18 2006 - 03:55 AM

I work in inventory at a Best Buy and I looked at this when it came the other day. It did say something on the back about there being an outtake, but I don't remember of what. I would believe that it is the same outtake DVD Savant says it is.

#10 of 45 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted February 18 2006 - 07:35 AM

The VHS has the outtakes from ROSE OF WASHINGTON SQUARE. That film was out of circulation for many years because of a suit by Fannie Brice with respect to the similarities between her life and the film. It certainly foreshadows FUNNY GIRL, although I think that Tyrone Power is superior to Omar Shariff in the Arnstein part.

Fox Movie Channel has been showing CALL ME MISTER recently in a print that certainly cries out for a Technicolor restoration. Directed by Lloyd Bacon reuninited with his choreographer Busby Berkley from 42ND STREET, CALL ME MISTER has a very eclectic cast: Betty Grable, Dan Dailey, Dale Robertson, Benay Venuta, Danny Thomas (in a rare film appearance), Jeffrey Hunter, Richard Boone, Jack Kelly, Harry von Zell, and an uncredited Bobby Short perfoming "Going Home Train." I think that--other than THE GANG'S ALL HERE--this is Busby Berkeley's only contribution to a Fox film.
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#11 of 45 OFFLINE   ChristophNestel

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Posted February 18 2006 - 11:24 AM

That's great to hear that the outtake finally seems to be included. I couldn't imagine, as none of the announcements for the upcoming disc mentioned it; not even the DVD Times.

#12 of 45 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted February 18 2006 - 11:59 AM

Why hasn't ANYONE mentioned The Gang's All Here? Of all the classic Fox musicals of the 40s, this should've been brought to DVD first!!! What gives? I wanna see Carmen Miranda's tutti-fruitti hat, and Alice Faye's musical salute to the polka dot!
Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#13 of 45 OFFLINE   RafaelPires

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Posted February 18 2006 - 12:40 PM

Charles, I think The Gang's All Here will be in the second wave of the Marquee musicals series, since its trailer is included in the Pin Up Girl dvd, and there were rumours, since last year, that the film war being restored for a dvd release.

I love this movie and think that it represents, along with That Night in Rio, the best work Carmen Miranda did in Hollywood.

So, please, Fox, take That Night in Rio under consideration. Alice Faye, Don Ameche and Carmen Miranda, what a winning team!!

#14 of 45 OFFLINE   Greg_M

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Posted February 18 2006 - 05:33 PM

How is Fox releasing the Marquee musical series, is it three titles every three months or what?

#15 of 45 OFFLINE   ChristophNestel

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Posted February 18 2006 - 08:54 PM

Fully agree: THE GANG'S all here is one of my favourites, too. And don't forget the music of Benny Goodman and is band in sparkling Technicolor !

#16 of 45 OFFLINE   Joe Caps

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Posted February 19 2006 - 12:10 AM

I wish Fox would get around to announcing aa second wave in this series. They have announced a ton of ctalog titles for May, but no musicals.

#17 of 45 OFFLINE   Porter Faulkner

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Posted February 19 2006 - 03:26 AM

THAT NIGHT IN RIO is a technicolor masterpiece with fantastic songs. Worth purchasing alone just for the sensational opening sequence that features three songs and lasts about 11 minutes. It should definitely be considered for the next wave along with THE GANGS ALL HERE

#18 of 45 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted February 19 2006 - 11:28 AM

THAT NIGHT IN RIO is a remake of a 1935 Fox picture called FOLIES BERGERE that starred Maurice Chevalier, Merle Oberon, and Ann Sothern. It was subsequently remade in 1951 as ON THE RIVIERA (also great Technicolor) with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, and Corinne Calvert. Each was an outstanding film that reflected the talents, the styles, and the music of their respective decade. Put them all together and that would make a memorable collector's set. I'm surprised that more studios don't "bunch" remakes with the originals. Fox could do a HOUSE OF STRANGERS trilogy (with BROKEN LANCE and THE BIG SHOW; KISS OF DEATH with THE FIEND WHO WALKED THE WEST and the Nicholas Cage remake; CONEY ISLAND with WABASH AVENUE; LOVE IS NEWS with SWEET ROSY O'GRADY and THAT WONDERFUL URGE; THE RAINS CAME with THE RAINS OF RANCHIPUR). I'm also surprised that they don't use the mini-movie remakes from "The 20th Century Fox House" as special features.
Charles Hoyt

#19 of 45 OFFLINE   RafaelPires

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Posted February 19 2006 - 12:07 PM

Charles, Three Blind Mice, starring Loretta Young, Joe McCrea and David Niven is another movie that was remade as musical, the first time in 1941 as the wonderful Moon Over Miami, and in 1945 as the delightful Three Little Girls in Blue.

Tin Pan Alley was remade as I'll Get By

and I Wake up Screaming as Vicky

#20 of 45 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted February 19 2006 - 01:03 PM

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE had been made previously under the title of FRONTIER MARSHALL in 1934 and 1939.And it was remade in 1953 as POWDER RIVER. John Ford's FOUR MEN AND A PRAYER was "westernized" as FURY AT FURNACE CREEK. YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME was at least a "thematic" remake of ORCHESTRA WIVES. Betty Grable's MEET ME AFTER THE SHOW was a remake of HE MARRIED HIS WIFE (1940). SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES is a remake of SECOND HONEYMOON (1937). WHEN MY BABY SMILES AT ME is a remake of two Paramount films (THE DANCE OF LIFE and SWING HIGH, SWING LOW), but I believe that Fox owns the property nand the official prints. They are bringing out LILIOM on the new Fox version of CAROUSEL, but it's the Fritz Lang French version (1934), already available from Kino. I was hoping that it would be the 1930 version directed by Frank Borage.
Charles Hoyt