Li'l Abner Studio: Paramount Year: 1959 Rated: NR Length: 113 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, Anamorphic Audio: Dolby Digital English Mono English Subtitles Closed Captioned Special Features: None S.R.P..: $14.99, USD Release Date: April 19, 2005 It’s been many years since Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip was a feature in local newspapers across America. I remember reading this strip in the Seventies, shortly before it ceased publication. As a youngster, most of the satire went right over my head, and I’m sure I was under appreciative of the humor. I do remember the look of the strip, though - and the movie Li’l Abner recreates it nicely. The production design is wonderfully eccentric. Though stagey, it represents Dogpatch well. The costumes and characterizations seem dead on, as well. While the story is corny and dated, the design, characterizations, and musical lyrics by Johnny Mercer are what make this film work. My favorite production numbers, “Jubilation T. Cornpone” and “The Country’s in the Very Best of Hands” are worth the price of the disc, alone. You’ve got to listen to the lyrics on these! The residents of Dogpatch are distraught when their beloved town is deemed the most useless community in America, and is chosen by the government as a test site for the A-bomb. This not only means the end of Dogpatch... it also means the end of tradition - the end of Sadie Hawkins Day! Them’s fightin’ words! The residents of Dogpatch rise to the challenge, searching for something to call the community useful and get the government to call off the bombing. The film features wonderful performances by Stubby Kaye (Marryin Sam), Peter Palmer (Abner Yokum), Leslie Parrish (Daisey Mae), Howard St. John (Gen. Bullmoose), Stella Stevens (Apassionata von Climax), Billie Hayes (Mammy Yokum), Joe E. Marks (Pappy Yokum), Bern Hoffman (Earthquake McGoon), Al Nesor (Evil Eye Fleagle), William Lanteau (Available Jones), and of course, Julie Newmar as Stupefyin’ Jones. Video Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the print is very clean for a film of its age - only an occasional speck can be seen. Very good sharpness and detail prevail for most of the film, with an occasional scene that exhibits a touch of softness. Contrast is excellent, with solid black levels and bright, restrained whites. Detail remains in both shadows and highlights. Colors are beautifully saturated, if a touch inconsistent. At times, skin tones seem on the cool side - at other times, skin tones are more accurate. The transfer does a wonderful job of showing off the eccentric color and texture of the production design. Aside from some mild inconsistency in color, I have no complaints. Audio The audio is brought to you in a Dolby Digital mono track on two channels. Frequency response is excellent. Dialog is consistently clean, clear and intelligible. Music is well represented in mono, with acceptable detail throughout the range of frequencies. A mild background hiss can be heard, but even at its most noticeable, it is hardly worth complaining about. Special Features None. Final Thoughts While not one of the classics of Broadway, Li’l Abner is an imaginative recreation of the comic. Great production design and some excellent Johnny Mercer lyrics are the highlight of the film, which is well represented in this DVD release.