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A few words about... Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted April 01 2006 - 09:22 AM

Warner's latest box set, Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory, gives us five M-G-M musicals new to DVD. Four Technicolor productions vary in image quality, while the fifth is early Eastman Color, CinemaScope and stereo.

The first two are of equal fine quality:

Summer Stock - 1950 - 3-strip Technicolor origination - A nice-looking comp of the three elements, which conform nicely, inclusive of transitions. A delightful film with an outstanding cast. The final appearance made by Ms. Garland in an M-G-M production. Her performance of "Get Happy" is worth the price of Technicolored admission.

Three Little Words - 1950 - 3-strip Technicolor origination - Again, the elements have been nicely put together, with proper color, densities, etc. This bio-musical of the team of Kalmar and Ruby, played by Astaire and Skelton remains great fun. Another quality production. There's probably an MOW waiting to made about the career of Vera-Ellen.

Before anyone asks the question let's visit the answer:

Can these films look better via Warner's Ultra-Resolution process?

Yes.

For the first two, one would receive an sharper, better image, with finer shadow detail. What we have, however, is more than acceptable.

From here the quality begins to fall:

Till the Clouds Roll By - 1946 - 3-stript Technicolor origination - Another in the series of bio-musicals (or musical biopics), this time the story of musical legend Jerome Kern, played by Robert Walker (Strangers on a Train). A huge production with many from the M-G-M stock company. For years this film was considered to be public domain, although derivative rights abound. I'm pleased that WB has finally gone back to original elements and released. The film looks fine in most sequences, but has registration problems during most transitions and some entire sequences. When it looks good, it looks great, when it doesn't...

Ultra-Rez could come in handy with Til the Clouds...

It's Always Fair Weather - 1955 - Eastman Color - CinemaScope - Looks fine for Eastman of this era. A film that I've always found a bit odd, and somehow outside of the mainstream of the M-G-M musicals, but a part of the legend, nonetheless.

Ziegfeld Follies - 1946 - 3-strip Technicolor origination - An important omnibus production from M-G-M. The original picture negatives for ZF were destroyed in a nitrate fire. The resultant transfer, derived from the extant black and white masters unfortunately, leaves much to be desired. Without spending a fortune, there is little that can be done. ZF offers a track re-mixed in stereo.

A quality package of classic musicals, for which the price is right. $37.75 delivered from Deep Discount.

Recommended.

RAH

"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 37 OFFLINE   Arnie G

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Posted April 01 2006 - 11:13 PM

I can't wait to get these. I'm glad Summer Stock looks good. I've had the laser for ages. It's a great Judy & Gene moviePosted Image
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#3 of 37 OFFLINE   JohnPM

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Posted April 02 2006 - 12:00 PM

"It's Always Fair Weather" has been running on one of the VOOM HD channels and looks very nice. The stereo sound is outstanding. Can't wait to get the DVD!

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#4 of 37 OFFLINE   CameronMcC

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Posted April 03 2006 - 06:49 PM

glad to see that this gets the seal of approval...

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted April 04 2006 - 10:40 AM

Anyword on any exra content?

#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted April 04 2006 - 01:48 PM

Thanks to Mr. Harris for his comments. I am fairly new to the classical musical genre and am looking forward to seeing these films.

It sounds like expectations should be kept in check with regards to what can be expected of some of the transfers. Warners can't be expected to spend $500,000 - $1,000,000 (or whatever an ultra-rez costs) for every Technicolor film that comes down the pike, but I'm sure they'll do the best they can.

Steve

PS - Russell, there is another thread that lists the extra content, of which there is plenty
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#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted April 05 2006 - 08:30 AM

Quote:
Russell, there is another thread that lists the extra content, of which there is plenty


Aha! I saw the "Official Press Release" thread, and it appears these discs are jammed packed with cartoons and shorts! Hmmm, let's see...

1. RAH recommendation
2. Each feature has significant bonus content
3. Can be had for under $50

I'm sold!

#8 of 37 OFFLINE   DaveK

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Posted April 09 2006 - 11:40 AM

Robert...

Will you be able to post pics from these movies soon???

Also, are there any numbers from Ziegfeld Follies whose picture quality look better than others?

I'll be happy if the quality for this movie looks as good as it's trailer (shown in both The Great Ziegfeld and Ziegfeld Girl DVDs).

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Corey

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Posted April 10 2006 - 11:49 AM

when WB releases these boxed sets, i wish they would include trailers of what boxed sets are coming in the near future.
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Little Darlings (1980), My Cousin Rachel (1952), The Deep Blue Sea (1955), The White Cliffs of Dover (1944), Born to Be Bad (1950), Ivy (1947), Reckless (1935), Springtime in the Rockies (1942), The Barretts of Wimpole Street

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   Jefferson

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Posted April 10 2006 - 12:22 PM

Jampacked with extras, this is a must buy for my collection.
For some this might seem an "also-ran" package,
but...for an obsessed fan like I am...it is heaven.

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Doug Bull

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Posted April 10 2006 - 04:09 PM

All the detailed extras on this set are on show over at DVD Times.
www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=59827

They look really exciting.

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted April 10 2006 - 10:57 PM

It's Always Fair Weather is a big favorite of mine - New 16x 9 widescreen transfer in 2.55:1 aspect ratio with soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 - plus bonus content, nice. That's the only one in this set I'm really interested in, hopefully it'll also be available seperately.

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#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Art_AD

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Posted April 13 2006 - 03:54 AM

I am very happy about these and the extras look great / are great as I have these on laser with many of the same extras but.............I hope Warner goes the extra mile, they seem to forget the laserdisc people. I have these already and will replace them with these and trade away my laser's but they seem to leave off some things. There are more songs that should be in the audio only section of Ziegfeld Follies but are not listed, I hope they are there. The laser disc also had the script to a proposed musical number which was not filmed and did not have a prerecording. I applaud the other extras on these discs as these have new mini docu's and It's Always Fair Weather as an alternate take for one of the musical numbers not scene before on video but I want to feel I have a complete package. I am not sure if Till The Clouds Roll by has audio only numbers that were prerecorded but have missing video that should be an audio only extra but I will check .

Some of Warner releases I am disappointed they did not include the laser items, for example:

Deleted Musical number on In The Good Old Summer Time DVD (although it was on the That's Entertainment DVD) There is also an audio only clip from this movie they could have put in.
Darkness into light short missing from Lust for Life DVD
Romance of Celluloid shorts from The Tarzan Laser discs, and The Shop Around The Corner that are on the laser.
There is s short about the filming of King Solomon's Mines missing from that DVD.
The Scarmouche laser from Criterion has a commentary from George Sidney & Stewart Granger I wish Warner put on their DVD.

Warner and their crew are great but I wished I felt better about some of my purchases (Of course I will buy each one but still...).

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Will Krupp

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Posted April 13 2006 - 04:58 AM

It's funny you mention "Last Night When We Were Young" from IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME. The clip included in the Judy Garland laser box looked so much better (and was more complete as it had the footage leading up to the song with on set-sound in which you can hear Judy getting stage directions) than the clip in the THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT III laser box. I was disappointed that the TE3 version was the one that made it to dvd and not the IMHO superior clip in the Judy box.

#15 of 37 OFFLINE   Art_AD

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Posted April 26 2006 - 02:45 AM

Here is my rant after seeing three of the five last night (for many hours into the night) all films look better than I've seen them all the shorts are a nice additions, but I have some thing to say about the mini documentaries, deleted scenes & audio outtakes.

Ziegfeld Follies: mini documentary is way too short for this film, glosses over many of the deleted scenes which they should have gone into in more detail. It feels like fluff, you can say these are meant for people all not the film fanatic. But (in my opinion) if your buying this film, you not the average dvd buyer who would buy this on impulse, your a fan. It could have been a hour long and gone into all the deleted material scenes by scene (at least the ones that where shot). There are many more audio outtakes that are not on the dvd ("Beauty" sung my James Melton the original finale, "The Pied Piper" by Jimmy Durante, Liza by Avon long (heard briefly in the mini docu), "A Cowboys Life" all included on the laserdisc but not here. They could have included the text to the deleted comedy sketches too. Also the menus for the deleted scenes need to be more descriptive, For example who is singing, who is the person singing to and where it would have been placed also it would be nice if they were heard over stills from the cut scene if any were taken. Here it is just a song title on menu, click and bam. It feels rushed and not properly documented / unfinished.

Summer Stock: Mini Docu was fine for this film. Feels like it covered all the bases. Nice to see Gloria De Haven & Carlton Carpenter. I do not remember seeing him on any added material before. The audio outake is also missing documentation. It is Phil Silvers and Gloria Dehaven singing and should have listed them.

Till the Clouds Roll By: Mini docu was also fine, but was missing any mention of this film being the first soundtrack issued by MGM records and was very popular (minor quibble). Maybe this was not mentioned as the soundtack has been one of missing unreleased from Rhino Records. The deleted scenes are missing documentation The should have mentioned (as they did on the laser, I THINK) that there is a long dialog period that is silent on the Garland song I remembered this was on the laser but some person seeing it for the first time may think something is wrong. Also missing is an audio outtake of "Bill" by Lena Horne.

So far would I say this is worth buying no question, of course but they need a little more polish.

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted April 26 2006 - 02:53 AM

I picked up the box yesterday and would like to know which of these films would be a good starting point?

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 26 2006 - 03:19 AM

I couldn't agree more about Warner not doing a complete job with the materials they have on hand with these musicals. This means, of course, that the laserdiscs will have to be kept since they contain extra material not ported over to the DVD.

I am grateful to them for releasing the films in the first place. The lasers for these films look wonderful, but I'm sure the DVDs will surpass them (I'm expecting my set in the mail today). However, gratitude aside, why not go the whole nine yards since these are probably the only DVD releases these films will ever have?

#18 of 37 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted April 26 2006 - 04:30 AM

The box collection is a terrific deal (3xJudy Garland; 3xGene Kelly; 2xRed Skelton;; 2xFred Astaire; 2xGloria DeHaven; 3xCyd Charrise; 2xLucille Bremer; 2xKeenan Wynn and "more stars than in the Heavens'), butZIEGFELD FOLLIES and IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER--because of their historical context in the history of the American musical film deserve commentaries. Does anyone know why the photography becomes grainy and blurry when Kelly, Dailey, and Kidd leave Tim's Bar? Every print that I've seen of this has it, and I'm almost beginning to believe it is deliberate.
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#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Haggai

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Posted April 26 2006 - 05:03 AM

Charles, I saw a screening of Fair Weather about a year and a half ago, where the shot you mentioned (plus the last shot of the movie, from the same angle) suddenly looked god-awful, though most of the rest of the print looked very good. I hope it isn't that dramatic a shift on the new DVD (haven't gotten my shipment in yet). Maybe it was deliberate, but also with some issue of badly preserved elements just for that one shot? I don't know if that even makes sense, but the huge shift in the print I saw was so massive that it couldn't possibly have been entirely deliberate.

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted April 26 2006 - 05:14 AM

Marco - I was standing there trying to make up my mind as to where to start off as well and decided to try the Ziegfeld Follies first - and I really enjoyed it, some great musical numbers in this film with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly ,Judy Garland and Lena Horne, the comedy skit with Red Skelton was quite funny too. Tried Summer Stock next and could not have been happier - a wonderful film. They're all quite good but these two seemed a great way to start off.