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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Shirley Temple Collection - Volume 1

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Osadciw, Sep 2, 2005.

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  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    THE SHIRLEY TEMPLE COLLECTION

    VOLUME 1





    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Collection SLP: US$29.98, CDN$41.98
    Each SLP: US$14.98, CDN$16.98

    HEIDI

    Film Year: 1937
    U.S. Rating: G
    Canadian Rating: G
    Film Length: 88 minutes
    Genre: Family
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    Colour/B&W: B&W and Colourized option
    Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Closed Captioned: Yes

    CURLY TOP

    Film Year: 1935
    U.S. Rating: G
    Canadian Rating: G
    Film Length: 75 minutes
    Genre: Family
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    Colour/B&W: B&W and Colourized option
    Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono[*] Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Closed Captioned: Yes

    LITTLE MISS BROADWAY

    Film Year: 1938
    U.S. Rating: PG
    Canadian Rating: G
    Film Length: 70 minutes
    Genre: Family
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    Colour/B&W: B&W and Colourized option
    Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono[*] Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Closed Captioned: Yes





    Release Date: August 30, 2005.



    Collection Rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Starring: Shirley Temple, Jean Hersholt, John Boles, Rochelle Hudson, Arthur Treacher, Mary Nash, Jane Darwell


    Shirley Temple was America’s sweetheart. The girl with the long golden locks and dimples has charmed audiences since being a movie star at the age of four. She could dance, sing, and act and make the audiences demand more from her. Her films will be remembered as early family classics because they are still popular today. FOX has released the first wave of these Shirley Temple classics as The Shirley Temple Collection: Volume 1; they are three films in a box set or available separately and they include a commemorative bracelet with a charm for each film. The films included in this set are Heidi (1937), Curly Top (1935), and Little Miss Broadway (1938).

    Heidi is my second favourite title of the three. It’s about a little girl (guess who?) who has been orphaned and is been sent to the Swiss Alps by her cruel aunt to live with her grandfather whose she’s never met. Her grandfather is a hermit to the town and one who has disassociated himself with his family for years because of his dislike towards certain in-laws. But this grumpy old man cannot be stubborn long enough to Heidi as she quickly warms him up to her and to the rest of the town. But one day, to the grandfather’s horror, Heidi has been stolen by her aunt to sell to a family whose sick daughter needs a companion to play with. Grandfather is on a quest to find Heidi before she gets sold to the Gypsies (!!!). Everyone in the family will love this movie and I especially love Arthur Treacher’s performance as Andrews the Butler. There is NO ONE in the world that plays a better butler than this guy. This movie is worth picking up just to see Treacher.

    Treacher is also a butler in a minor role in Curly Top. Not surprisingly, Shirley Temple is Elizabeth, an orphan, but this time she’s a little bit of a trouble-maker in a cute kind of way. She’s liked by Edward Morgan, a very wealthy trustee who donates money to the orphanage. He decides he wants to adopt the child but Elizabeth won’t go with him unless her older sister Mary comes with her. Conveniently for Edward, he’s already met Mary and has got an eye for her but never really lets her know it. So as time goes by Edward feels pressure to tell Mary his feelings because of other suitors in the picture. But his outright denial of his feelings complicates the matter and it’s up to Elizabeth to play matchmaker. Oh my goodness! This one is definitely my favourite of the three.

    Little Miss Broadway is my least favourite because I found it less interesting. Shirley Temple is (can you guess?) Betsy the orphan and is adopted by a hotel manager who rents rooms to performers who aren’t doing so well. But his job, the hotel and all of its tenants are threatened to be ejected after the hotels owner, a woman with a witch personality and no heart, decides she wants to close the hotel because of the noise they make and the back rent they owe her. With a climatic performance in a courtroom at the end of the film, Betsy does her best to lighten the hearts of the judge and the hotel owner to save the hotel.

    All three films have Temple’s singing and dancing, squeaking and waddling, dimples and pouty faces. These movies are delightful to watch and funny too. They are great titles for family viewing or to bring back memories for those of us who watched them as a child. Each movie has a restored black and white picture and colour version.


    [​IMG]
    HEIDI: VIDEO QUALITY
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    CURLY TOP: VIDEO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    LITTLE MISS BROADWAY: VIDEO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The video quality of these titles is amazing when compared to what was previously available on any format, including DVD. The image is much sharper and has fewer artefacts, although artefacts still exist but not in distracting amounts. The most rough looking title is Curly Top and it is also the oldest, but still it does look great despite the aged appearance. Curly Top’s film is a little blurry and darker around the edges and has the most artefacts on screen. Yet, the center of the image is wonderful looking – it’s detailed and has acceptable contrast. It’s not as good looking as Heidi and Little Miss Broadway, both titles which are almost reference quality. Little Miss Broadway is the best looking of the three. I am so impressed that this 1938 title is as clear as it is. Fine details can be made out in the background and foreground objects and contrast is excellent. The same applies to Heidi; it has an equally stunning image albeit a few more artefacts are seen. If these little specs were removed these would be even more brilliant looking editions of these films – and it’s not that they aren’t already.

    The aspect ratio of these films is 1.33:1 and the colour and black and white versions of these films are on separate layers on the DVD-9. You can select what version you want to view when the disc is first put in the player or later in the DVD menu. A charming sound of chimes wraps around you in Dolby Surround when the transition from black and white to colour happens on the menu. Cute. I found the colour version to look thick and pasty; those are the best words I can think of to describe it. These colour versions are based on the restored black and white versions because the when viewing both versions, they looked identical aside from one being in colour.


    [​IMG]
    HEIDI: AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    CURLY TOP: AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    LITTLE MISS BROADWAY: AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Like the video, Curly Top’s audio is not up to par with the other titles, although it is very close. The sound has more background noise and the occasional click and pop that is slightly more than what Heidi has and much more than Little Miss Broadway if comparing them directly. Fidelity is limited on these mono recordings and dialogue and music lack the roundness of today’s recordings and it exhibits a bit of strain.

    The original mono recordings are paired up with a stereo version. The only one worth listening to in stereo is Heidi because it actually has discrete left-right effects when called for and dialogue is placed in the center where is should be. There is even a better sense of space around the dialogue. While the mono audio is hard and focussed dead center, some people may prefer Heidi’s stereo soundtrack. Like most stereo repurposing efforts, it sounds just a hair thinner in the midrange than the mono recording does. The other two films, Curly Top and Little Miss Broadway, have disappointing fake stereo soundtracks that sound like the rest of FOX’s so-called stereo audio options. The dialogue and effects are out of focus across the soundstage even though it sounds wider than the mono audio track. My advice for these titles: stick to the mono soundtrack option.


    [​IMG]
    SPECIAL FEATURES [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Rather than pumping each disc full of special features, the selling features of this collection is the remastering of each films in black and white and the newly created colour versions. Both of these restored options are special in my opinion because never before have we been able to view these titles with the quality we can see them in now. So if you are looking for a feature beyond this, you will only find theatrical trailers. The trailer for Little Miss Broadway is missing the text and the voiceover.


    IN THE END…

    These remastered and restored editions of three enchanting Shirley Temple films will be hard to pass up for fans especially at such a low price. I’m grateful to FOX for making the black and white version of these films the main focus and the colour option (as valuable for some it is) as the “special” option. Fans and film preservationists will love the restoration on the black and white. For those who have difficulties watching black and white, and I assume that it is mostly the youth and not the avid film viewers on HTF, the colour versions will be a great way to raise interest in these Shirley Temple classics.

    Michael Osadciw
    05.09.03
     
  2. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Thanks for the review! I was thinking of picking this up for my Mom's birthday and now I see no reason to hesitate. [​IMG]
     
  3. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review. My grandmother recorded a bunch of these when I was a really young kid. I have some fond memories. I may have to pick this up. [​IMG] Nice review. Much appreciated. [​IMG]
     
  4. Nick Eden

    Nick Eden Stunt Coordinator

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    Just looked at a couple of seconds of Broadway and Curly Top and am pleased that they look nothing like the earlier Shirley Temple releases which had the severe shadowing/ghosting.
     

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