XenForo Template Guys and Dolls Deluxe Edition Release Date: April 25, 2006 Studio: MGM Studios Year: 1955 Rating: Not Rated Running Time: 2h29m Video: 2.55:1 anamorphic (Special Features 1.78 anamorphic) Audio: English DD5.1, English DD3.0, French DD5.1, Spanish DD5.1 (Special Features: English DD2.0) Subtitles: English, French, Spanish TV-Generated Closed Captions: English Menus: Non-animated Packaging/Materials: Single disc keepcase with cardstock slipcover that holds the case and collectible book MSRP: $24.96 The Feature: 4.5/5 I didn’t attend a single high school football game, but you could always find me at the drama department’s latest production. “Guys and Dolls” came in my senior year, preceded by other popular fare like “Camelot” and “Hello Dolly.” Over time I’ve seen the Hollywood productions of those musicals – and now finally “Guys and Dolls” – but have found nostalgia to be a powerful thing. A film musical may be absolutely perfect and have won an armload of awards, but it will never beat the memories of friends and classmates on stage. With that said, Joseph Mankiewicz’s “Guys and Dolls” is a crowdpleaser – an accomplished production filled with hum-worthy songs, masterful dance sequences and solid vocal and dramatic performances. Gambler Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) is looking to start up another session of his infamous floating crap game, but is short on startup funds and feeling pressure to give it up from both the authorities and Adelaide (Vivian Blaine), his fiancee of 14 years. Undaunted he makes a bet with fellow gambler Sky Masterson that Masterson cannot persuade any woman to join him on a trip to Havana, Cuba. Of course it’s Detroit who gets to pick the target and he picks Sgt. Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons), a missionary for a Salvation Army style organization. Masterson manages to win the bet, using a combination of gambler charm and sincerity, but falls in love with her – and she with him - in the process. Returning from their trip, a misunderstanding separates them until he is able to prove the depth of his feelings in the only way he knows how. The parallel love story between Detroit and Adelaide is played more for laughs, with Detroit unable to finalize the marriage and Adelaide suffering from a psychosomatic cold as a result. But their scenes together have their share of touching moments, as their love is genuine despite the delayed nuptials. Finding Brando in a musical remains as surprising today as it probably was in 1955, especially as “Guys and Dolls” followed his legendary performance in “On the Waterfront.” But whatever limitations he may have had vocally he made up for with acting prowess. Sinatra is the other side of the coin, standing out as the strongest vocal performer in the cast, but less natural as an actor. Of the two female parts, the role of Adelaide is the more interesting - though a bit cartoonish - with Brown being fairly straight and narrow (except when under the influence of several Dulce de Leches). Blaine and Simmons provide solid performances regardless. Music and lyrics (Frank Loesser) are the most enduring part of the production, as with any quality musical. “Guys and Dolls” gets an excellent start with “Fugue for Tinhorns,” a syncopated ode to horse racing and the gamblers who love it. Other standout numbers include the romantic duet “I’ll Know,” the rousing “The Oldest Established” and the males’ lamentation “Guys and Dolls.” Dance choreography (Michael Kidd) is also topnotch, with a stage-influenced opening sequence depicting New York hustle and flow, two sexy numbers at Adelaide’s nightclub (featuring the Goldwyn Girls), and Masterson’s climactic bet in the sewer, set to “Luck Be A Lady.” Those who enjoy musicals will find plenty to appreciate in “Guys and Dolls.” Songs will stay with a viewer well past the initial viewing and will certainly inspire repeated play. For those of us whose first exposure to a musical was through a high school production, nothing will likely replace those fond memories but the quality of a Hollywood production like “Guys and Dolls” may make them fade just a little. Video Quality: 3/5 The Deluxe Edition’s video quality improves on the release from 2000 with a 16:9 anamorphic transfer and better shadow detail. Unfortunately, the new transfer’s overall color and contrast is flatter, lacking the vibrancy of its predecessor. The new transfer is also softer, though neither has signs of edge enhancement. Based on this post from HTF member Jeff Krispow, the picture has also been “zoomboxed”, resulting in a lack of headroom in many shots. Audio Quality: 3/5 (5.1 track); 4/5 (3.0 track) The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track seems to be a carryover from the first release. Surround activity is minimal, perking up in the musical numbers, but still not particularly noticeable or purposeful. The integration of the mains and center channels could be more seamless as well – the separation between the component speakers is a bit obvious at times. The Dolby Digital 3.0 (original audio) track is preferable in this regard, though is also more tightly focused toward the center compared to the 5.1. Dialogue and vocal performances are overall clear and intelligible. Low frequency effects are nonexistent. Special Features: 4/5 • A Broadway Fable: From Stage to Screen (51m23s): History of the film featuring interviews with Joseph Mankiewicz’s son, Frank Loesser’s family, choreographer Michael Kidd and Samuel Goldwyn biographer A. Scott Berg. The documentary has two parts (“The Goldwyn Touch” and “From Stage to Screen”), which can be played in sequence or individually. An informative and interesting piece with some good anecdotes. • More Guys and Dolls Stories (7m44s): Outtakes from the documentary, which also can be played in sequence or individually.Adelaide: Inspiration for the song revealedBrando Dance Lesson: Kidd’s experience working with BrandoGoldwyn’s Career: A brief career biography of Goldwyn by BergOn the Set: Joseph Mankiewicz’s son shares his experience being on setRehearsing Adelaide: Kidd’s experience working with Sinatra on the “Adelaide” scene• Musical Numbers: Six scenes pulled from the film for easier repeated play. Includes: “Fugue for Tinhorns” (1m38s)“I’ll Know" (4m57s)“Guys and Dolls” (3m22s)“Adelaide” (3m30s)“Luck Be A Lady” (3m10s)“Sue Me” (3m10s)• Photo Gallery: Production stills and publicity shots. • 72-page Collectible Scrapbook: A quality book containing brief histories of Samuel Goldwyn, writer Damon Runyon and the film, along with photos and reproductions of materials used in the original promotion. Recap and Final Thoughts The Feature: 4.5/5 Video Quality: 3/5 Audio Quality: 3/5 (5.1 track); 4/5 (3.0 track) Special Features: 4/5 Overall Score (not an average): 3/5 Owners of the original release will be disappointed the Deluxe Edition’s video quality trades one set of problems for another. The special features are worthwhile, however, so fans may want to add it to the collection for this reason alone. For first time purchasers, it’s the better choice overall, though not the obvious one it could have been. Equipment: InFocus Screenplay 4805 fed a pixel-mapped, 854x480 signal from a Bravo D1 DVD player. Audio evaluation is based on an Onkyo TX-SR502 6.1 AVR running JBL N26 mains, JBL N24 surrounds, JBL N-Center, and Dayton 10" subwoofer.