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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories Collection



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#1 of 1 Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter

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  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted June 29 2010 - 08:22 AM

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BOB HOPE

Thanks for the Memories Collection



THANKS FOR THE MEMORY

Studio: Universal  (Original Theatrical Release by Paramount)

Original Release: 1938

Length: 1 hour 19 mins

Genre: Romantic Comedy


Starring: Bob Hope and Shirley Ross

Directed By: George Archainbaud



THE CAT AND THE CANARY

Studio: Universal  (Original Theatrical Release by Paramount)

Original Release: 1939

Length: 1 hour 15 mins

Genre: Horror Comedy


Starring: Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard

Directed By: Elliott Nugent



THE GHOST BREAKERS

Studio: Universal  (Original Theatrical Release by Paramount)

Original Release: 1940

Length: 1 hour 25 mins

Genre: Horror Comedy


Starring: Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard

Directed By: George Marshall



NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

Studio: Universal (Original Theatrical Release by Paramount)

Original Release: 1941

Length: 1 hour 31 mins

Genre:  Comedy


Starring: Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard

Directed By: Elliott Nugent



ROAD TO MOROCCO

Studio: Universal (Original Theatrical Release by Paramount)

Original Release: 1942

Length: 1 hour 23 mins

Genre: Comedy with Music/Hope and Crosby


Starring: Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour

Directed By: David Butler



THE PALEFACE

Studio: Universal (Original Theatrical Release by Paramount)

Original Release: 1948

Length: 1 hour 31 mins

Genre:   Western Comedy


Starring: Bob Hope and Jane Russell

Directed By: Norman McLeod



ALL FILMS

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Color/B&W: Black & White on all films except THE PALEFACE

Audio:   English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Rating:  Not Rated (Appropriate for all ages)


Release Date: June 15, 2010



Rating: 3   

Over the course of his long career and life, Bob Hope became a Hollywood institution, entertaining audiences  via stage, radio, television and cinema.  He also became a dependable institution for American soldiers, as he entertained them in the field during World War II as well as in Korea, Vietnam and during Operation Desert Shield.  So it’s refreshing to be able to look back to the beginnings of his cinematic career with a set like the current one under inspection:  the Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories Collection.  To be fair, this is not a completely new collection for DVD.  Three of the films in this set (The Ghost Breakers, Road to Morocco and The Paleface) have previously been released as part of the Bob Hope Tribute Collection, and they are carried over to this collection, along with multiple special features that were part of the earlier releases.  Three more Bob Hope films have been added to the mix (Thanks for the Memory, The Cat and the Canary and Nothing But the Truth), along with their theatrical trailers.   With the inclusion of The Cat and the Canary and Nothing But the Truth, this collection gives Hope fans the complete trifecta of Bob Hope/Paulette Goddard comedies.


Fans of Bob Hope will likely want to pick this collection up for the latter three movies, although the purchase will be more automatic if they don’t already own the prior DVD release.    The movies (with the exception of The Ghost Breakers) are all presented in completely acceptable full-frame transfers with mono sound.  And I should note that some care has been taken with the packaging, which  includes two pages of biographical and trivia notes.



VIDEO QUALITY   3/5 (2/5 for The Ghost Breakers)

The Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories Collection is presented in clean black and white prints in the full frame 1.33:1 ratio for the first five films, and then a clean 1.33:1 color print for The Paleface.  From what I can ascertain, the transfers for two of the three prior releases are used again here.  Having looked at a parallel thread here at the forum, I can see that a different transfer was used for The Ghost Breakers, which is noticeably darker and murkier than the previously available DVD.   I have no idea why this happened, but I have to acknowledge that this is both strange and disheartening.  Aside from this problem, my sense of these transfers is that they are completely presentable, particularly for films around 70 years old.   Given that I did not expect a significant restoration here, these prints do the job quite well.    



AUDIO QUALITY 3 /5

All six films in the Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories Collection are presented in an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix that presents the dialogue, music and songs in a pretty clear and clean manner.   




SPECIAL FEATURES  3/5

The Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories Collection helpfully ports over all the extras from the prior releases of The Ghost Breakers, Road to Morocco and The Paleface, and adds to them the theatrical trailers for the three additional films in the collection.


The special features are broken down as follows by disc and by film:



Disc 1:


THANKS FOR THE MEMORY

Theatrical Trailer (Full Frame, 2:08)



THE CAT AND THE CANARY

Theatrical Trailer (Full Frame, 3:31)



 

Disc 2:


THE GHOST BREAKERS

Theatrical Trailer (Full Frame, 2:17)


Entertaining the Troops: Bob Hope and the USO  (Full Frame, 6:21) – This is a brief featurette from 2001 discussing Bob Hope’s USO work, including clips from his appearances in the field and from some of the other materials on these discs.


Command Performace 1944(Full Frame, 6:49) – Here we have nearly 7 minutes of clips from an Army Navy Magazine reel of Bob Hope’s Command Performance radio show.  There’s some great stuff here, including appearances by Betty Hutton, “Sweater Girl” Judy Garland and Lana Turner cooking up a porterhouse steak by request.


Hollywood Victory Caravan(Full Frame, 19:45) – This short film, made to help sell War Bonds, features many Paramount stars of the day, including Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.  It’s more interesting as a time capsule now, capturing the contract stars at the time, and showing a side of Hollywood we don’t get to see very often.


Photo Gallery(Full Frame, 3:07) – This is a series of promotional and on-set photos from The Ghost Breakers.


As noted before, all of these extras were assembled for the prior release of The Ghost Breakers on DVD.




NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

Theatrical Trailer (Full Frame, 2:01)




Disc 3: 


ROAD TO MOROCCO

Theatrical Trailer (Full Frame, 2:15)


Bob Hope and the Road to Success  (Full Frame, 14:15) –  This featurette focuses on the “Road” movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby,  with some clips from the movies and discussion of the amount of ad-libbing happening on the set.


“Road to Morocco” Sing-A-Long(Full Frame, 2:11) – This is a karaoke feature, where the song from the movie is played while the lyrics appear in subtitles for the viewer’s convenience.  I really need to recommend not using this feature after midnight at full blast for the home theater system or your own vocal chords.


Photo Gallery(Full Frame, 3:07) – This is a series of promotional and on-set photos from Road to Morocco.


As noted before, all of these extras were assembled for the prior release of Road to Morocco on DVD.



THE PALEFACE

Theatrical Trailer (Full Frame, 1:51)


Entertaining the Troops: Bob Hope and the USO  (Full Frame, 6:21) – This is a brief featurette from 2001 discussing Bob Hope’s USO work, including clips from his appearances in the field and from some of the other materials on these discs.


Command Performace 1945(Full Frame, 5:07) – Here we have just over 5 minutes of clips from another Army Navy Magazine reel of Bob Hope’s Command Performance radio show. 


“Buttons & Bows” Sing-A-Long(Full Frame, 2:08) – This is another karaoke feature, where the song from the movie is played while the lyrics appear in subtitles for the viewer’s convenience.  My earlier note about caution with the late night crooning still applies.


Photo Gallery(Full Frame, 3:07) – This is a series of promotional and on-set photos from The Paleface.


As noted before, all of these extras were assembled for the prior release of The Paleface on DVD.




Subtitles are available in English.   Full chapter menus are available for all 6 films, which is a relief after some of the prior collections I have seen that did not have this feature.




IN THE END...


The Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories Collection is a pleasant way to revisit an old friend in some very nice movies from back in the day.  One could wish that all the films in the collection were new to DVD, but this is still a nice package, particularly for Bob Hope fans who may have missed the prior release.  There is a caveat, in that the new transfer for The Ghost Breakers is inferior to the earlier one from the prior DVD, but the presence of three previously unavailable vintage Hope classics should make this an easy purchase for Hope fans.


Kevin Koster

June 29, 2010







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