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Blu-ray Review Kismet Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Richard Gallagher, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. Message #1 of 32 Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2019
    Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I have to give Warner Archive great thanks and tremendous respect for the care it has given to the musicals it has released. Gypsy, Billy Rose's Jumbo, Hit the Deck, and now Kismet have all featured spectacular picture and sound.

    I can only hope that we'll get more gems from the MGM musical library through this extremely worthy and much appreciated alternative to Warner Home Video.
     
  3. JoelA

    JoelA Producer

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    I agree totally.This blu ray presentation is spectacular! Kismet was never one of my favorites until now as this transfer gave me a whole new appreciation for this film. I strongly recommend picking this up along with the other titles Matt mentioned in the above post in support of WAC, so they'll continue to release other gems from the vault to rediscover in a whole new light.
     
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  4. Virgoan

    Virgoan Supporting Actor

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    There is a kind of splendor in the production design....not gaudy, no...even a little sparse. The "Night of My Nights" number is both beautiful and economical in the numbers of people who actually make up the processional.

    The icing on this musical cake is the splendiferous conducting/arranging by Andre Previn of the classical-turned-Broadway-musical score and the sumptuous orchestrations of Conrad Salinger.
     
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  5. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    That is an excellent point.
     
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  6. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    If only Fox would give the same kind of loving attention to its MOD program!
     
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  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Ain't THAT the truth!
     
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  8. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I don't have the Blu-ray yet, and there haven't been any screen caps posted anywhere, but I believe Kismet is presented in its original 2.55:1 aspect ratio, as was the DVD.
     
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  9. Message #9 of 32 Apr 14, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    I've just started watching my blu-ray of this wonderfully silly 1955 movie again. Amazing restoration of this colorful and tuneful bit of Hollywood cotton candy. From the review....

    "Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    Kismet has never been as highly regarded as some other MGM musicals of the fifties, but it is an enjoyable romp thanks largely to an exuberant performance by Howard Keel and excellent singing by Ann Blyth, Vic Damone and Dolores Gray. The Warner Archive has done a superb job of bringing the film to Blu-ray with a magnificent transfer and outstanding sound."

    PS The CinemaScope lenses for this movie are better than those for movies of just a year before. No CinemaScope "mumps".
     
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  10. Message #10 of 32 Apr 14, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    What an good director Vincente Minelli was. I've seen several of his movies, but several others I've missed....

    1943 Cabin in the Sky: ?? I don't think I've seen this one.
    1943 I Dood It: ?? Ditto
    1944 Meet Me in St. Louis: A
    1945 The Clock: B
    1945 Yolanda and the Thief: ?? Haven't seen it, but apparently it has some very surreal musical numbers with Fred Astaire.
    1946 Undercurrent:?? A film noir starring Katherine Hepburn and Robert Mitchum? Sign me up. Apparently this movie was a big hit.
    1948 The Pirate: A- Wow! Really fun.
    1949 Madame Bovary: ?? I don't think I've seen this one.
    1950 Father of the Bride: B A great cast has some good moments, but not quite my cup of tea.
    1951 Father's Little Dividend: B Ditto
    1951 An American in Paris: A+ His greatest film.
    1952 The Bad and the Beautiful: A- Very good behind-the-scenes Hollywood drama. Not quite Sunset Blvd, but really good.
    1953: The Band Wagon: A- Really fun.
    1954 The Long, Long Trailer: B+ Fun when I saw it 40 years ago. I Love Lucy on wheels?
    1954 Brigadoon: B+ Surreal and silly, but worth the trip imho.
    1955 The Cobweb: A I love this fast-moving mental health drama! I wish it could be restored.
    1955 Kismet: B+ Really silly. But fun.
    1956 Lust for Life: A- This movie is slow but very good.
    1956 Tea and Sympathy: B Flawed but somehow still kind of good. Censorship means that the main point of this story may have been lost.
    1957 Designing Women: ?? Haven't seen it
    1958 Gigi: A-
    1958 The Reluctant Debutante: ?
    1958 Some Came Running: ?
    1960 Home From the Hill: ?
    1960 Bells Are Ringing: ?
    1962 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? What the heck is this one?
    1962 Two Weeks in Another Town: ? Apparently butchered by the studio?
    1963 The Courtship of Eddie's Father: ? Glenn Ford and Shirley Jones! I saw the later tv show when I was a kid.
    1964 Goodbye Charlie: ?
    1965: The Sandpiper: ?
    1970: On a Clear Day You can See Forever: A
    I love this surreal Barbra Streisand musical.

    Wow. I've missed more than a dozen movies from one of my favorite directors. I wish someone would put out a boxed set of his movies, but since that's not going to happen I guess I need to rent the ones I can find from amazon.
     
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  11. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Cinematographer

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    Purely personal opinion, but I find his 'Meet Me in St Louis' and 'Gigi' his masterpieces. The first has a very good Blu ray transfer .. 'Gigi' is acceptable but could be a lot better. I'm hoping for a better transfer one day down the track.
    Thanks for the hard work in compiling that list. It shows what an important player Minelli was.
     
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  12. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    Boy, would I LOVE to see On a Clear Day You Can See Forever on blu-ray. Sigh. A couple of years ago when Paramount suddenly put out War and Peace, I thought maybe they were going to start putting out catalogue titles again. But no. :(
     
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  13. Message #13 of 32 Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Does anyone know if the cut sequences from On a Clear Day survive? I wonder if this is a movie that Criterion would consider doing?

    http://barbra-archives.com/films/clear_day_streisand_11.html
     
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  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    If ONLY Robert Goulet had been cast as the psychiatrist instead of Yves Montand. To hear those songs sung in his powerful and caressing baritone would have been swoon-worthy. For me, Montand practically ruins the movie.
     
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  15. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    Thanks for that list. I never realised this before but there's only one film of his I haven't seen: I Dood It.
     
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  16. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    If you feel like it, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts and/or ratings of the films. Do you have any favorites in the post Gigi period, for instance? I've seen almost none of those. And from back in the 1940s what is Yolanda and the Thief like?
     
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  17. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Minnelli had many big hits throughout his career, but Kismet wasn't one of them. With a fairly lavish budget for the time of more than $3 million, Kismet's modest box office resulted in lots of red ink for MGM in 1955. From wikipedia....

    "According to MGM records the film earned $1,217,000 in the US and Canada and $610,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $2,252,000."

    Amazingly, Minnelli directed another big movie in 1955, the totally different mental health drama The Cobweb, starring Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Gloria Grahame, Charles Boyer, etc. Has anyone else seen this one? I really like it. But even budgeted at $2 million, this was another expensive flop once advertising and overhead costs were included. From wikipedia....

    "According to MGM records, the film earned $1,385,000 in the US and Canada, and $593,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $1,141,000."
     
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  18. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    My appreciation for/frustration with Yolanda and the Thief has always been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is imbued with Minnelli's exquisite palette of Technicolor - a fantasia that, at times, almost seems to favor the gaudy tone of a 2oth Century-Fox musical, rather than one made at MGM. Also, it has some of the most stunning set design of any musical made at Metro. Just look at Bremer's absurdly surreal - and wonderful - bathroom, or the magnificent B&W squiggle tiled floor for 'Coffee Time', which really heightens the equilibrium-offsetting electricity of Astaire and Bremer's dance number. Pure Minnelli. Pure Metro-Goldwyn-Magic!

    But the chemistry between Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer just isn't there. Bremer, who is undeniably gorgeous to look at, is glacial cool and never really warms to Astaire's advances. Worse, the story is a rather sickening take off of the vignette Astaire and Bremer played from Ziegfeld Follies - a con artist out to take advantage of a naive young rich girl. Herein, the ruse is further complicated by Bremer believing that Astaire is her guardian angel, sent from heaven. Therefore, any love affair just seems to be severely screwing with the space/time continuum and the laws of man and God. Of course, they get together at the end, after Bremer gives her head a good shake and realizes Astaire is, in fact, mortal.

    Finally, for a musical in general, and one made at MGM in particular, the score is lousy. There are only 5 songs here, and all of them are forgettable. 'Coffee Time' is the best executed and really gives Astaire a chance to show off. His ballad, 'Yolanda' is melodic, and Astaire, of course, acquits himself nicely of its easy-going lyric. But singing of romantic love when you are supposed to be 'an angel' is about as unromantic a premise as you can get - and doing it on a harp, no less.

    In spite of all this, I own and frequently watch Yolanda and the Thief. It's a gorgeous film to look at if you don't care about plot, and it would make a very fine Blu-ray release from WAC, as the DVD from them looks as though it has had some restoration work done to revive its Technicolor palette. Otherwise, it is a footnote in Minnelli's career.
     
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  19. Message #19 of 32 Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Thanks, Nick, for that detailed and perceptive review. Did they get a song out of it for one of the That's Entertainment movies? Or maybe there's one lurking on youtube. Anyway, with all the good Minnelli movies out there that I still haven't seen, this seems like maybe one for me to skip for now.

    Two Weeks in Another Town from 1962 was released by Warner Archive last year on blu-ray. Apparently the studio cut major stuff out of this movie before release, but the footage must be lost since it wasn't included on the blu-ray. I can't find a review of this blu-ray here, but it seems like it's a not very successful return to the behind-the-scenes of movie-making subject.
     
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  20. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I often append very brief opinions about films in various threads but I don't regard myself as a reviewer. I don't split Minnelli's work into pre and post Gigi and I don't have a favorite period but you're missing out if you don't familiarise yourself with his later films..

    Yolanda And The Thief is essential viewing for anyone who loves musicals and anyone who is interested in the "look" of films. The dancing is excellent and Lucille Bremer is one of the two most vivacious female dancers in movies. The other of course being Rita Hayworth. The story line does not appeal to everyone which is why the film does not have a major following but I would not be without my DVD-R of this film. I'd love Warner Archive to release this on Blu-ray disc.
     
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