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Blu-ray Review A Few Words About A few words about...™ - State of the Union -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Between 1942 and 1967 Katharine (aka Katherine) Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made nine films together, and each is worth your time.

I wonder if that some sort of record?

State of the Union is directed by Frank Capra, which is a good thing.

One thing that confuses me about this film is a discussion that occurs about five minutes in between Van Johnson and Adolph Menjou, wherein Mr. Menjou complains that if Mr. Johnson is going to put his name in the papers, he should spell it correctly, as he always gets it wrong.

I've always wondered if there's an inside joke within the main title sequence, which here begins with a lion roaring on track, but nary a sight of one.

In those titles, Miss Hepburn's first name is spelled Katherine. Obviously incorrect, and something that made her cranky. I'm not believing that whomever set up the MT sequence, followed by those who QC's it, didn't make note. And hence the query for my thinking it's a joke.

Note: Just checked Name Above the Title for any guidance, and found none, but did learn that the female lead had gone to Claudette Colbert, who at the last moment insisted that she would only do the film if she never worked after 5PM. Miss Hepburn, who had been running lines with Tracy, took over the next day.

Universal's Blu-ray, which arrived in 2021 works nicely in projection. It appears to be from a master. There are fine scratches, and some minor wear here and there, but it doesn't seem to be a very recent transfer. Decent grain structure, good gray scale, nice blacks. But nothing special. It's workmanlike and serves it's purpose, and certainly
worth nine bucks.

Image - 3.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

Recommended

RAH


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Thomas T

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Between 1942 and 1967 Katharine (aka Katherine) Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made nine films together, and each is worth your time.
One can only assume you haven't seen Sea Of Grass (1947) ;)

As Spencer Tracy's mistress, Angela Lansbury appears to be playing a woman in her late 30s or early 40s. You'd never guess that Ms. Lansbury was only 23 years old at the time but she was almost always playing much older women than her real age.
 

Robert Harris

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One can only assume you haven't seen Sea Of Grass (1947) ;)

As Spencer Tracy's mistress, Angela Lansbury appears to be playing a woman in her late 30s or early 40s. You'd never guess that Ms. Lansbury was only 23 years old at the time but she was almost always playing much older women than her real age.
I have. Aeons ago. Recall it being b/w. Should have it on DVD. Did I miss something?
 

David Weicker

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I have this blu-ray, and I've always enjoyed this film.

It is too bad that the original studio logo wasn't used for this particular blu-ray (considering it is the only other Liberty Films title).

As for nine quality films together being a record, not quite. Fred and Ginger made ten. Powell and Loy made thirteen (plus one cameo).
 

Thomas T

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I have. Aeons ago. Recall it being b/w. Should have it on DVD. Did I miss something?
It's their worst film. Absolutely nothing to recommend. It has the ambitions of an Edna Ferber generational epic like Giant or Cimarron but Elia Kazan's lack of interest is obvious. It needs the melodramatic punch he brought to East Of Eden. What we get is pretty soggy.

I'm sure there are others who would disagree (even the worst movies have their fans). I own it but only because I'm a Tracy and Hepburn (as a team) completist. I do enjoy all their other movies.
 

RMajidi

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This film is not among Mr Capra’s most celebrated works. It has deficiencies and reaches for a lot more than it manages to grasp.

It also happens to be a favourite in our household.

Based on a play by the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse (their surnames contributing to the name of the latter’s daughter, Lindsay Crouse. If you’ve not seen her core-shaking cameo in The Verdict, then stop wasting your time reading this post and please go see that instead).

Lindsay and Crouse are better known for works like The Sound of Music, Arsenic and Old Lace and a bunch of other musicals and comedies. Where then did State of the Union come from?

Coming shortly after the end of WWII and the formation of the United Nations, this film bravely explores some lofty, global themes - ones which I’ve not seen examined so readily in other films of this or later eras.

In the opening exchanges with her father, Angela Lansbury grabs you by the collar and manhandles you awake. You know that if nothing else good comes from this movie, Ms Lansbury’s scenes alone will be worth the watching. Thankfully, a lot more comes from this movie.

My favourite of Van Johnson’s performances - his character steadily grows on you (well, me) as the story progresses, and clearly has already won over the magnificent Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch of the West) long before we enter the story.

I read recently that Adolph Menjou and Katharine Hepburn were polar opposites in their political views and detested each other so much that they refused to speak to one another on set, outside of script dialogue. Well, if that’s true, then it only served to enhance their crackling screen exchanges.

The lofty aspirations of this film are mostly articulated by Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy), a significantly flawed character, lacking the unimpeachable moral integrity of Mr Capra’s more celebrated leading roles. This characterisation seems to embody the film’s (Mr Capra’s?) view of America itself: an imperfect, yet noble entity that strives beyond its shortcomings to reach for much higher ideals.

Mr Capra is renowned for his views towards - or at least his aspirations for - his beloved adopted homeland. His films tend to highlight the principles which shape and animate the lives of its citizens. Mr Smith Goes to Washington took that further to also examine the strength of the machinery of its governance in the face of powerfully corrupt forces. State of the Union takes this a further step to contemplate America’s role on the world stage, its possibilities and responsibilities.

In keeping with the subject matter, the film itself then seems fitting as an imperfect vehicle aiming far higher than it manages to scale, but reaching some impressive vistas in the attempt.
 
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Robert Harris

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This film is not among Mr Capra’s most celebrated works. It has deficiencies and reaches for a lot more than it manages to grasp.

It also happens to be a favourite in our household.

Based on a play by the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse (their surnames contributing to the name of the latter’s daughter, Lindsay Crouse. If you’ve not seen her core-shaking cameo in The Verdict, then stop wasting your time reading this post and please go see that instead).

Lindsay and Crouse are better known for works like The Sound of Music, Arsenic and Old Lace and a bunch of other musicals and comedies. Where then did State of the Union come from?

Coming shortly after the end of WWII and the formation of the United Nations, this film bravely explores some lofty, global themes - ones which I’ve not seen examined so readily in other films of this or later eras.

In the opening exchanges with her father, Angela Lansbury grabs you by the collar and manhandles you awake. You know that if nothing else good comes from this movie, Ms Lansbury’s scenes alone will be worth the watching. Thankfully, a lot more comes from this movie.

My favourite of Van Johnson’s performances - his character steadily grows on you (well, me) as the story progresses, and clearly has already won over the magnificent Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch of the West) long before we enter the story.

I read recently that Adolph Menjou and Katharine Hepburn were polar opposites in their political views and detested each other so much that they refused to speak to one another on set, outside of script dialogue. Well, if that’s true, then it only served to enhance their crackling screen exchanges.

The lofty aspirations of this film are mostly articulated by Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy), a significantly flawed character, lacking the unimpeachable moral integrity of Mr Capra’s more celebrated leading roles. This characterisation seems to embody the film’s (Mr Capra’s?) view of America itself: an imperfect, yet noble entity that strives beyond its shortcomings to reach for much higher ideals.

Mr Capra is renowned for his views towards - or at least his aspirations for - his beloved adopted homeland. His films tend to highlight the principles which shape and animate the lives of its citizens. Mr Smith Goes to Washington took that further to also examine the strength of the machinery of its governance in the face of powerfully corrupt forces. State of the Union takes this a further step to contemplate America’s role on the world stage, its possibilities and responsibilities.

In keeping with the subject matter, the film itself then seems fitting as an imperfect vehicle aiming far higher than it manages to scale, but reaching some impressive vistas in the attempt.
Ms Crouse knocks it so far out of the park in Verdict, that ball was never seen again.
 

jayembee

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So this came out last year? How on earth did I miss it?

It's not my favorite of the Tracy/Hepburn films -- or of Capra's -- but definitely worth having. The only problem I have with it (and I'll probably get some blowback for this) is that I can't imagine how Matthews (Tracy) could want to step out on his wife (Hepburn) for Thorndyke (Lansbury). But, hey, different squids for different kids.
 

Josh Steinberg

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So this came out last year? How on earth did I miss it?

It was one of those small batch Universal discs from already existing masters that come with no bonus features or menu design, probably wasn’t widely stocked in retail outlets (if at all). It wasn’t well promoted and I’m not even sure if it was offered for review by the studio. I picked it up a while ago, but definitely after it had already been out so it snuck by me too. It’s certainly better than any VHS or DVD copy I might’ve seen before (it was one of few films my grandmother had on tape so i have vague memories of seeing it at a young age and of course not understanding a thing).
 

David Weicker

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Powerhouse Indicator have just announced they will be releasing this in March


No indication on which ‘version’ they use
The original release with proper logo/titles, but minus some scenes, or the reissue with new logo/misspelled titles, but added scenes
 

Garysb

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I like the Indicator cover as it looks like poster art . Tracy and Hepburn appear younger on the cover than they appear in the film which is not unusual for poster art. I agree the source for the film is probably the same as the US release as it mentions it is remastered as opposed to other films stating that they are from a 2 or 4k restoration or new restoration. The MGM logo probably is not even put back. The list price for this limited edition is 3 pounds cheaper than the "Remember The Night" limited edition which I guess means there is less here.

1673555842422.png
 
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Nick*Z

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So this came out last year? How on earth did I miss it?

It's not my favorite of the Tracy/Hepburn films -- or of Capra's -- but definitely worth having. The only problem I have with it (and I'll probably get some blowback for this) is that I can't imagine how Matthews (Tracy) could want to step out on his wife (Hepburn) for Thorndyke (Lansbury). But, hey, different squids for different kids.
Favorite Tracy/Hepburn teaming still remains MIA on Blu-ray. That would be Adam's Rib.
 

jayembee

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I like the Indicator cover as it looks like poster art . Tracy and Hepburn appear younger on the cover than they appear in the film which is not unusual for poster art. I agree the source for the film is probably the same as the US release as it mentions it is remastered as opposed to other films stating that they are from a 2 or 4k restoration or new restoration. The MGM logo probably is not even put back. The list price for this limited edition is 3 pounds cheaper than the "Remember The Night" limited edition which I guess means there is less here.

Indicator uses the term "Limited Edition" for the initial edition of pretty much every single-title release. There's no fancy packaging, and after the LE (usually 3000 copies) sells out, they release a "Standard Edition" which appears in the same packaging. Generally, the only difference is that the LE contains a booklet.

Sometimes, they'll have a more substantial "Limited Edition" that comes in a slipcase, and often has two or more cuts of the film, and a larger batch of extras, and a more substantial booklet. And they're individually numbered.

The four titles they've announced for March are all in the former category of LE.
 
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