DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Matchmaker (Recommended)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Jan 17, 2005.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]

    The Matchmaker



    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1958

    Rated: NR

    Length: 100 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono

    Subtitles: English

    Closed Captioned

    Special Features: None

    S.R.P. $14.99


    Release Date: January 18, 2005

    The Matchmaker is a 1958 film adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s hit Broadway play, which was later adapted again, to become the well known classic musical, “Hello, Dolly!”.

    This 1958 film version by director Joseph Anthony finds matchmaker Dolly Levi (Shirley Booth) trying to arrange a marriage for herself - to middle-aged widower and shopkeeper Mr. Vandergelder (Paul Ford). Vandergelder has his eyes on young Irene Molloy (Shirley MacLaine), who, in turn, has her eyes on Vandergelder’s chief clerk, Cornelius (Anthony Perkins). You can see where this is going...

    This is a lighthearted farce with funny and solid performances all around, as well as a wonderful period feel. Solid direction, wonderful art direction and some genuinely funny moments add up to a wonderful classic film.

    The Transfer
    The film is beautifully rendered in black and white, in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Contrast is outstanding. Black levels are solid, while retaining detail in the shadows. Whites are bright and neutral and never bloom. The image is nice and sharp, with no evidence of sharpening or compression artifacts. It’s a detailed, richly textured film with a very fine grain structure. Only an occasional fleck of dust mars the print, which is in excellent shape.

    The audio is monaural, delivering a good range of frequencies. Dialog is natural sounding, and music is well represented. A faint hiss can occasionally be heard during quiet scenes if the volume level is increased to a higher than comfortable listening level.

    I’m impressed with this transfer. Well done.

    Special Features
    There are no special features.

    Final Thoughts
    This classic film is very well represented in terms of audio and video quality, which is impressive enough that I couldn’t ask for anything more. With a suggested retail price of $14.99, you’ll see street prices as low as $10. At that price, this little gem is hard to pass up.

    Recommended.
     
  2. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Thanks for this review Scott. Last night I watched The Matchmaker. First, I'll start by pointing out that I am one of the few huge fans of the film HELLO DOLLY. I have always felt that regardless of Streisand's age (which IS a problem, especially when she sings about coming back after all these years), I still think it's one beautifully produced musical. So after seeing Carol Channing live as Dolly twice and the movie about fifteen times (I am a huge fan of composer Jerry Herman's scores), plus a touring production with Sally Struthers, I was excited to see The Matchmaker.

    I was very impressed with the video transfer. This was stunning black and white on my Sony VPL-11HT projector (at about 160") and may well be one of the best looking B&W widescreen movies I have yet seen on dvd. I was a little disappointed that it was mono, since it was widescreen and Vistavision, but aparently that's the way it was, or it is a lost track. Quality of the mono track was good, but stunning picture.

    As for the movie itself, I guess HELLO DOLLY spoiled me. It was interesting to see what they had done with the screenplay, as this play later was changed in many places. Still, I found this enjoyable and enjoyed the performances. Anthony Perkins seems too layed back, and actually so did Dolly, though the interpretations later changed when it was re-written for Broadway. The thing that I liked better here was that Horris was able to show some affection at the end, which is really necessary to believe the story, and Walter Matthau wasn't, in my opinion, able to show any feelings for Dolly at the end of the musical, it doesn't click.

    All in all, a good classic, the start of the Dolly legend, I thought it was a decent film with a great transfer. Would have need nice to include the trailer.
     
  3. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    It was a mono film, always. Why does that disappoint you?
     
  4. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    I grew up with Dolly, too, and i love it.
    But I consider THE MATCHMAKER a different animal.
    It is small scale, rather than lavish, and it is dripping with charm.
    The performances are gentle and lovely, and I hope more people will give this movie a chance.

    This has become one of my favorite 'gems'...something i show people that i am pretty sure they have never seen.

    My disappointment lies only in wishing it was in color.
    The art direction and the music are lovely...
    and the performances are a revalation.
    Shirley MacLaine
    puts *TO SHAME* the vapid lifeless Marianne McAndrew from the musical. (never heard from Marianne again, gee...wonder why?)

    Robert Morse (the only holdover from the stage version of MATCHMAKER) is nothing short of adorable.

    And Shirley Booth? a very *correct* Dolly...in age, and interpretation. Listen to her monologue in the hack, toward the end of the film. Beautifully done.

    Magical.
     
  5. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    DOLLY'S Marianne McAndrew did resurface in Russ Meyer's THE SEVEN MINUTES.
     
  6. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    I watched it last night, and it is indeed one of the best black-and-white transfers I've ever seen. In fact, I'd say it's in the top ten of black-and-white transfers in terms of sharpness and clarity, contrast, and smoothness. It just shows you that others besides Warner Bros. (who are the only ones who seem to get this sort of praise) are doing incredible work. Bravo.

    And you can put me in the category of people who hate the film version of Hello, Dolly! For me, it's one of the most wrong-headed charmless film musicals ever made. I do love the Broadway show, and was surprised at how much of The Matchmaker's dialogue is used verbatim with no changes at all.
     
  7. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    "It was a mono film, always. Why does that disappoint you?"

    Arthur, just because stereo sounds better, and in that year many widescreen films were stereo....no other reason.
     
  8. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    Robert, that's an interesting conversation on its own. There is something about black and white films and stereo that just doesn't work for me. I know many black-and-white Fox films of that era were in stereo, and they've always bothered me, even when I was young. Don't know why, really. In any case, the original mono of The Matchmaker has superb fidelity and is wonderful. What a great, great DVD it is. Looking forward to Carrie (the Wyler film), and the other Paramount I picked up, A New Kind of Love.
     

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