DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Long, Long Trailer

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, May 4, 2006.

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  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]The Lucy and Desi Collection. Included in the collection are Too Many Girls (1940), Forever, Darling (1955), and the feature film, The Long, Long Trailer (1954). Forever, Darling and The Long, Long Trailer will be available individually while Too Many Girls is exclusive to the collection. Individual titles list for $14.97 while the collection lists for $29.92. It should also be mentioned that the collection now comes with Warner's promised use of clear Slimcases (with dual sided cover art-inserts) to house the individual discs. Chapter lists are visible through the clear cases. Their implementation is appreciated and long overdue as the shelf space saved is substantial.

    Tacy and Nicky (played by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) are about to be married. Tacy announces the notion of making a trailer their home. Initially, Nicky scoffs at the idea but they eventually attend the annual trailer show, as Tacy spots a dreamy looking trailer. It is long - very long. It comes fully equipped with a kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom and hall closet and can be had for a mere down payment of $1700. Needless to say, Tacy talks Nicky into buying it and soon after, the expenditures start. Nicky is forced to buy a new, heavier car to haul the trailer not to mention, the required coupler which needs to be bolted to the car. Soon after, Tacy and Nicky are married and hit the road on their honeymoon. Along the way they run afoul finding themselves in a host of embarrassing predicaments including a disgruntled cop (played by Keenan Wynn), getting stuck in a muddy quagmire, a near demolition of a family member's house, and a life threatening climb up an 8,000’ mountain top. Before the honeymoon ends, the pair find even their marriage is in jeopardy.

    Vincente Minnelli directs in a manner keeping the film as breezy as possible, as he moves from one awkward comic incident to another. The slapstick comedy is derived from the inexperienced Desi trying to handle the trailer. The film was a commercial success despite using rehashed material from their show and offering nothing fresh. Your likeness for the film will be dependent on your appreciation of the couple and their "I Love Lucy" series. And even though much of the material is wafer thin, it is interesting to see America's favorite TV couple in one of the few feature films they made.

    The Feature: 3/5
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    Video:
    Presented in the standard AR of 1.33:1 (from Academy), this transfer is rather a mixed bag - sometimes looking fine, but other times looking like a muddy mess. Most obvious here are the colors which looked faded and unstable, no doubt due to the dreaded Ansco filming process. At times, colors looked vibrant, but more often than not, looked pale and washed out. Skin tones looked pasty and inconsistent. In one particular scene, Desi is wearing a bright red sweater which bleeds badly. Blacks were fine, and contrast levels were also satisfactory.

    Image detail was rather disappointing as the film lacked fine detail. There was a moderate amount of rather coarse film grain which did offer a textured look to the film. Marks and blemishes were noticeable, but never to the point of being distracting. Authoring also seems to have been handled fine as edge enhancement was non existent and the film was free of compression issues.

    Video: 3/5
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    Audio:
    Not much to speak of in the audio department. Presented in DD Mono, this track does what it needs to do - no more, no less. The soundtrack was basically clean and only a slight hint of hiss was noticeable throughout. No other noisy distractions were evident. Fidelity seemed fine and was not at all compressed or muffled. Most importantly, dialogue was always bold and intelligible. Nothing to speak of in terms of heft or punch. Not a bad track at all considering the limitations of the period.

    Audio: 3.5/5
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    Special Features:
    A couple of interesting inclusions starting with:

    Ain't It Aggrevatin'?. This is a 1954 B&W MGM short which chronicles life’s little pet peeves. The short is in nice shape. Duration: 8:18 minutes

    Next up is a MGM Technicolor animated short, Dixieland Droopy which was directed by Tex Avery. The short is in reasonably good shape. Duration: 7:43 minutes

    And finally, the Theatrical Trailer is included which is in fairly raw, if not slightly rough, shape. Wait till you see the colors here compared to the film itself. Duration: 3:08 minutes.

    Special Features: 3/5
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    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



    Final Thoughts:
    Originally an MGM film produced by Pandro S. Berman, the studio spared no expense, assigning their best behind-the-camera artisans and allowing, director Vincente Minnelli to helm this project with the Midas-touch team of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The Long, Long Trailer is an enjoyable little film and an entertaining vehicle (pun intended) for Lucy and Desi where the pair got the opportunity to ride the popularity wave of the period. It's not however, one of the best comedies to come out of the '50's. Your appreciation for the film will likely be on par with your appreciation of the hugely popular, groundbreaking TV series, "I Love Lucy", as the film is, in essence, a 96 minute episode of the series - only filmed in color. Minelli's genius is visible here and there, especially in the timing of some of the scenes, but one has to admit that The Long, Long Trailer is one of his minor works and lacks the ambition of such masterpieces as Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), Father Of The Bride (1950), An American In Paris (1951), The Bad And The Beautiful (1952) and The Band Wagon (1953). Still, a film well worth seeing, filled with a few hilarious moments, if not just to see the decades biggest television stars appear in a feature film.

    The transfer is not one of the best of Warner's recent classic efforts however, given the nature of the process, we have to cut Warner some slack here. The supplements are interesting inclusions and fans of television's most beloved couple, will want to take a ride in one TV's earliest RV's excursions as this sunny, light-hearted comedy is at it's innocuous best. The price of this collection alone, makes this an attractive proposition.

    Overall Rating: 3/5 (not an average)
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    Release Date: May 2nd, 2006
     
  2. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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    As I recall, MGM did print "The Long, Long Trailer" on 16mm Technicolor for non-theatrical rental and television syndication, and it would be interesting to see what one of these would look like in comparison to the DVD.

    http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/
     
  3. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    Apparently, it was printed in Technicolor for 35mm release prints as well. It carries a Filmed in Ansco, "Print by Technicolor" credit which, at the time (February 1954), meant dye transfer release prints. The problem, according to Fred Basten's book GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR, is that these prints (made before Kodak's improved matrix stock was available) were seldom as sharp as color positive Eastman prints.

    I, too am disappointed in the dvd image. The television prints that aired in the late 90's on TCM seemed sharper and more colorful (at least to my memory and it wasn't that long ago.) It's the one in the set that I was most looking forward to and the only one I have seen so far. I know that Ansco color is problematic, but the KISS ME KATE dvd is beautiful. The old TV prints of TRAILER were pretty good too.

    I'm THRILLED that the box set contains slim cases, but I have to say I absolutely HATE the artwork on all three. Ugly.

    Can't wait to see TOO MANY GIRLS again..it's been years.
     
  4. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I've been waiting a long time for this. My wife and I watch this every Valentine's day, and we've had to watch my old ld til now. It's a shame this isn't a pristine looking dvd, but I'm betting it's got to look better than the ld.
     
  5. John Skoda

    John Skoda Stunt Coordinator

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    I REALLY like the new packaging Warners is doing on these. Would like to see it become the new standard. Printing dual-sided inserts and using clear slimline cases gives addtional space for artwork and a printed chapter list (inside) without them having to print a separate insert. Plus the cases take up less space on the shelf. Bravo!

    That said, yes, the artwork here is pretty ugly, but I would guess that it's all based on original advertising art. Although the TOO MANY GIRLS art must be from a rerelease done after I LOVE LUCY.
     
  6. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    While I enjoyed this movie, I thought Desi was given all the funny lines and stunts...I didn't feel Lucy was the funny one here. Still, an enjoyable film.

    Will, believe it or not, that is original artwork, I have the pressbooks for these.
     
  7. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    i think warner brothers will start using these slim cases when they do signature collections that are either large or movies that are exclusive to a set.
     
  8. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

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    Being a 1954 release, I was surprised to see an OAR of 1.33. Did theaters originally show it this way? I've seen other MGM titles from 1953 and 1954 and they had wider OAR's.

    I agree that the image was a disappointment. I broke out my LD to compare them, and there was no noticeable improvement. At least they didn't severely windowbox the openning credits this time around.
     
  9. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Put me down as one who hates the slim cases. I don't keep box sets in a box. I throw away the box and put the individual titles alphabetically on their shelves. I'm seriously considering buying the individual releases of Long Long Trailer and Forever Darling for the keepsake cases or are they going the slime, excuse me, I mean slim route, too?
     
  10. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    well you might be in trouble for some of WB's future collections.
     
  11. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I applaud Warners for the slim cases. Long overdue. I wish other studios would follow suit.

    Thanks for the review Herb. I haven't had a chance to watch my set yet. These should be fun films to watch and the addition of the bonus shorts/cartoons will make it all the more enjoyable.
     
  12. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    The ONLY little tiny complaint I have about the Warner slim cases is that I think they are over-compensating in reducing the font size on the spine.

    For the most part, their traditional lettering fits perfectly onto a slim-case spine on the WB's I've converted. The titles on these spines are smaller than they need to be.

    Otherwise, I love the clean fresh look of the clear slim (and they FEEL much nicer than the traditional 14mm's too...sigh, I think I'm in love)
     
  13. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    i'm pretty sure the esther williams and jean harlow sets will be using the slim cases and definately for the andy hardy, maisie, and dr. kildare sets.
     
  14. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Sony's been using those for quite a while now. As far as I'm concerned at this point, anyone who doesn't is just annoying. [​IMG]
     

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