MGM-UA Musicals- New Titles and Anamorphic Re-issues please

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug Bull, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    With the pending success of "Chicago" and a sudden upsurge in the upcoming releases of Musical Titles on DVD, it would be a nice gesture if MGM could revisit 2 highly successful Movie Versions of former Broadway Hits.

    "Guys and Dolls" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" were both given poor, barebones, non Anamorphic treatment by MGM in the infancy of DVD.(let's not forget 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" as well)

    Like many others, I refuse to buy Non Anamorphic versions of Widescreen Films, so I have had to endure not having DVD versions of these titles in my collection.

    MGM are revisiting "West Side Story" and giving it SE Status, so surely it is not too much to ask that they re-visit the previously mentioned titles and give them at the very least a decent remastered Anamorphic transfer.

    I believe that the Original Stereo tracks for "How to Succeed" maybe lost, but it would be great if a search for them could be carried out. Is it possible that a Stereo print exists somewhere?

    Other MGM-UA Musical titles that so far have been neglected and are missing on DVD are,
    "Man of La Mancha"
    "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm"(MGM or Warners?)
    "The Night they Raided Minsky's"
    "Goodbye Mister Chips"(MGM or now Warners?)
    "Alice's Restaurant"
    "Song of Norway"
    "The Great Waltz" (1972 version)
    "Tom Sawyer"
    "Huckleberry Finn"

    and 2 titles that were announced, but never made it to Laserdisc, the highly collectable, if cheaply filmed version of Phil Silver's Broadway hit, "TOP BANANA" and the colorful and lavish Jane Russell Cinemascope Musical "GENTLEMEN MARRY BRUNETTES"

    Who now owns these RKO Titles,???( I very much doubt it would be Warners, as I'm not sure that they ever belonged to Turner)
    "Two Tickets to Broadway"
    "Bundle of Joy"
    "The Girl Most Likely"
    "The French Line"

    I'd sure like to have those titles on DVD.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    All pre-1986 MGM, all RKO not distributed by Universal, and all Warner Bros. films are with WHV.

    The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm might not happen any time soon. The 3-panel negative is beyond repair due to water damage...

    I guess if Warner was to find a 3-panel print in Technicolor (it looks like most of the prints were done in dye-transfer) and then clean it up the best they can, it would be good for DVD.
     
  3. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Thanks Patrick,
    I remember that "The Girl Most Likely", which I believe was the last Film made at RKO, was released by Universal after RKO closed shop.
    So how about it Universal?
    Anamorphic Widescreen and Stereo, sounds pretty good to me.

    I wonder about the rights to "Bundle of Joy" though.
    Is it possible that Debbie Reynolds may have some control over it?
    It seems to have vanished along with "The French Line" (Is it caught up with the Howard Hughes estate?)

    I seem to remember that Image was going to release "Bundle of Joy" on Laserdisc some time back, but it never eventuated, so it's doubtful it would belong to Universal or Warners, if Image were intending to release it.
     
  4. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying are being re-promoted by MGM (along with the new Special Edition of West Side Story) on April 1. They've reduced the price to $14.95 each, but there is no notation that a new transfer has been performed on these two titles. Sorry!
     
  5. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    I'm suprised "Man of La Mancha" wasn't in the promotion since it is back on Broadway and was produced by the same production team as "West Side Story". The widescreen Laserdisc looked pretty good. The film isn't as bad as it's reputation. I'll admit I disliked it when I first saw it but it kind of grew on me and now ranks as one of my favorites (It's very adult in theme and beautifully acted)
    If MGM marketing is listening : This is a great tie-in opportunity, Man of La Mancha will most likely be nomintaed for best Broadway revival come Tony time. It may even win.[​IMG]
    Doubt there is much interest in "How 2 Succeed" but Damn! I know a lot of folk (including myself) who won't buy a pan n' scanned "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" Shame on MGM [​IMG]
    "Song of Norway" is an anchor bay title which was to be released the first half of this year (Don't know if it will happen though) The film was said to have been semi-restored for the DVD but I can't confirm the rumor.
    Both versions of "Goodbye Mr. Chips", "Brother's Grimm" and "Great Waltz" belong to Warners.
     
  6. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Those rko musicals are all owned byTurner, ergo Warners now has them.
    The Lack of Man of La Mancha is very surprising.
    Turner also has Goodbye Mr Chips. There was a ten minute making of done at the time of the film. The laser was supposed to include it, but didn't. TCM has also been showing a twenty five minute distributor reel that has alternate orchestrations and a song cut from the film (When I was Younger).
    Guys and Dolls has always looked and sounded good in all of its video versions, both panned scanned and letterbox - until the DVD- what was once bright and colorful has now gone all grey and ugly looking and the sound is deader than a doornail.
    When How to succeed was going to be released on Laser, I had a chance to talk to the director david Swift. There was ONE stereo print (which MGM looked for) used at Radio City music Hall. It was also the only print that had the now missing Coffee Break number. Radio city complained that the film was a little bit too long to show with their Rickettes show. UA supplied a new MONO print with the Coffee Break number cut. UA then conformed all other prints to match the Radio city print, so all other prints are cut and mono.
    I was at Radio City opening week and went to the film after shopping with friends - from the look of the poster, we thought we were at a new comedy. We didn't know it was a musical. We got there late and had to sit right up front. The film starts and we were surprised it was stereo - this, at a time when there were hardly any stereo films!
    More shocks were to come. The credits end and then Robert Morse goes right into a song. We were thrilled. We were at a stereo musical!!
    I would love to see this uncut stereo print again, but they don't have it. The Laserdisc cover had the cut Coffee Break number on it - and the number is on the soundtrack CD.
     
  7. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Thanks for the info Joe.
    If the original Stereo print for How2 is gone, what about the scoring session tapes? Could it be possible they still exist?

    Was there ever a European Stereo print made?

    Cable ran "The Girl most Likely" here recently and although it was only Pan and Scan, it still looked to be in good shape, Color wise.
    It's a highly enjoyable Musical with Jane Powell looking more gorgeous than ever, it also has good catchy songs by Martin and Blane ( Meet me in St Louis)and some great energetic dancing thanks to Gower Champion's imaginative Cheoreography.

    I'm still of the opinion that it may belong to Universal.

    Fingers crossed that it might appear on DVD one day.
     
  8. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Doug, Trust me - Turner owns Teh Girl Most LIkely. How can it be pan and scan when it is a flat, not scope film.
    Now is the time for Paramount to give us the uncut stereo Half a sixpence.
    How tu succeed was UA and I doubt they kept the scoreing sessions tapes. If they have them, they are probably in unmarked boxes in some unknown warehouse, but you never know. When MGM/UA remixed Hawaii for stereo laserdisc, all they had was mono tapes which they rechanneled for stereo for the disc. This past year, they found the original stereo session masters. They are being worked on for an ultimate release of the near complete score, later this year, by Varese Sarabande
     
  9. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Doug, the European print of How 2 Succeed deleted many of the musical numbers. American themed musicals never did well overseas (except for West Side Story/Sound of Music) and in many instances the scenes were shot twice, once with the song, once without.

    Plus How 2 Succeed was dated before it opened and was never a big hit on screen (lack of star names may have contributed to this fact).
     
  10. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Thanks Joe,
    You are right about "The Girl most Likely" not being Scope.
    I seem to remember seeing it in Widescreen during it's original theatrical release here in OZ.
    For that reason I have always regarded it as a Widescreen movie.
    It is now obvious that like many non scope films in the late 50s, it was run masked at the time.

    For those that don't own the rare original Capitol Soundtrack LP recording, a CD Reissue is due for release very shortly.

    Martin Blythe said just a couple of weeks ago that both "Li'l Abner" and our favourite, often requested title, "Half a Sixpence" were NOT under consideration at this time.

    Let's hope that he changes his mind.

    "Half a Sixpence" is available on VHS (UGH!) in the UK, but I'm pretty sure it's only 4:3 and Mono.

    Greg,
    Thanks for the info on the horror treatment of Musicals in Europe.
    At least to my recollection it has never happened here in Australia at Studio Level.
    Theatre Managers have taken it on themselves at odd times to cut musical numbers from some Films in order to get extra screenings in.
    Also many unscrupulous Projectionists would remove musical numbers for their own Private collection. ( I know, because I attended countless home screenings of removed items over the years)

    I remember, many, many moons ago (at the tender age of 15) when I worked for the local branch of United Artists, one Cinema mistakenly returned the complete "Street Scene" Musical intro from Fox's"How to Marry a Millionaire"to us, obviously removed from it's theatrical exhibition somewhere. ( I did the right thing at the time and returned it to Fox)

    To keep this thread on track, I again request Anamorphic reissue DVDs of "Guys and Dolls","How to Succeed" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"
    and first time DVD Releases of,
    "Man of La Mancha","Top Banana" and "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes", all from MGM.
     
  11. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    "Alice's Restaurant" was released a while ago by MGM/UA on DVD.


    Anyone know if these titles are being worked on (I've heard rumors but nothing offical yet):

    Damn Yankees
    Bells are Ringing
    Mame
    My Sister Eileen
     
  12. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    I've heard nothing on My Sister Eileed. Hope Columbia does it along with the uncut Pepe that was recently shown in L.A. and the Fred Astair/Rita Hayworth musicals they own.
    Warners has wanted to remix Mame for stereo but can't find all of the right vocal takes. (half of the takes on the stereo soundtrack album don't match the film). The sad thing is that right now, there are no more plans for Doris day musicals.
    I'm told that Damn Yankees is caught up in rights problems - if they could find the stereo albummaster minus all the reverb, they could use it to remix that film for stereo too.
    Don't know about Bells Are Ringing. It needs some major restoration as the color is shot to hell. Hope they include the TWO outtake numbers they have - Is it a Crime and My Guiding Star.
     
  13. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    Assuming WB owns the rights now, I wish MGM's PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981) would see the light of day on DVD. [​IMG]
     
  14. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Patrick,

    The 1993 book "Technicolor Movies" by Richard W. Haines says all the IB Tech prints of Brothers Grimm have been lost.
     

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