Alice Faye first entered the list of top ten box-office stars in 1938, and it was movies like Sally, Irene, and Mary that put her there (also Alexander’s Ragtime Band which was a huge hit that year). This was the kind of film that Faye became known for: light and bouncy with just enough song, dance, comedy, and romance to please all comers. There is a great supporting cast around to help out, and she is paired with her then-husband Tony Martin as her love interest which likely also brought in lots of patrons.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 480I/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 25 Min.
Package Includes: DVDAmray case
Disc Type: DVD-R
Release Date: 04/16/2013
Sally Day (Alice Faye), Irene Keene (Joan Davis), and Mary Stevens (Marjorie Weaver) are working as manicurists, but their real love is the stage. The trouble is that every time an opportunity seems to present itself as their big break, something goes wrong. Every time their theatrical agent 'Gabby' Green (Fred Allen) makes headway in raising money for a show, someone like a blustering baron (Gregory Ratoff) or a jealous heiress (Louise Hovick) gums up the works. But then Mary inherits a broken down riverboat, and that gives the gang an idea to turn it into a floating nightclub featuring them as the floor show. But the only way to raise money for needed renovations to the boat will have to come from the baron or the heiress.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
The Fox production factory has made sure that each of its three title ladies have one or more specialties during the film, and they all make the most of their opportunities. Alice Faye gets a great swinging number with “When I Think of Music” to start the show and later gets a wonderful broken-hearted ballad “This Is Where I Came In” in which her contralto is at its mellowest. Comedienne Joan Davis has a funny knockabout number with “Help Wanted: Male” while the lovely Marjorie Weaver gets a terrific tap solo (choreographed by the legendary tap master Nick Castle) in the midst of the film’s most elaborate production number “Minuet in Jazz,” a routine well directed by William A. Seiter that allows Weaver to be seen dancing in full figure. Tony Martin’s piercing tenor is heard to good effect in both his solo “Sweet as a Song” and his melting duet with Alice “I Could Use a Dream” while Jimmy Durante as a street sweeper who somehow gets roped into being a co-producer does one of his specialties “Hot Patatta.” If the screenplay by Harry Tugend and Jack Yellen wraps everything up too neatly and too quickly, that’s typical of the plots of these fluffy musicals of that period.
There is palpable chemistry between Alice Faye and Tony Martin (not all real-life married couples radiate it on screen, but they do), and Faye certainly gets the majority of screen time and attention as the good-natured girl willing to sacrifice true happiness for the sake of the show. Joan Davis makes the most of what she’s given and blends well when the three ladies warble a few bars of the opening number (they also sing well together later when paired with the young Brian Sisters). As their scheming agent, Fred Allen brings his radio motormouth to the screen (he’s even billed as “Radio’s Fred Allen”) in an effective-enough performance, and Jimmy Durante plays his usual exasperated albeit affable self as sanitation official Jefferson Twitchel. Gregory Ratoff pushes a bit too hard as the amorous baron out to find a bride (it doesn’t seem to matter which girl he’s putting the moves on), and Louise Hovick (yep, that’s Gypsy Rose Lee going by her given name) is a rather stone-faced, monotone-voiced adversary with Alice for Tony Martin’s affections. Eddie Collins takes his teeth out (not a pretty sight) to play the captain of the dilapidated riverboat.
The film is presented in its 1.33:1 theatrical aspect ratio. While grayscale is more than adequate (in fact, the black levels are quite nice), the print used for the transfer is fairly heavily spotted with some damage here and there, too. There is moiré to be seen on occasion, and the cue markers for reel changes are quite noticeable. The film has been divided into chapters every ten minutes so there are 9 chapters present on the disc.
Video Rating: 3/5 3D Rating: NA
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound mix is decoded by Dolby Prologic into the center channel. Though the audio track has been encoded at excessive volume levels requiring a manual adjustment from the listener to avoid serious distortion, the fidelity of the film is surprisingly good. The many songs and background score have a nice resonance, and there is very little hiss, crackle, or pops to intrude into the listening experience. Dialogue is always discernible and is never overwhelmed by sound effects or the background score.
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
There are no bonus features with Fox’s made-on-demand discs, not even a trailer.
Special Features Rating: 0/5
Sally, Irene, and Mary is an enjoyable bit of fluff from the beginnings of Alice Faye’s years as Fox’s leading musical superstar. While the film is in no more than acceptable condition, fans of the many stars of the film will likely be delighted to have this somewhat forgotten musical gem once again available for purchase.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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