Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Collections

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Matt
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#26 Post by Matt » Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:56 pm

Michael wrote:But anyway, I'd loved the movie more if it had more numbers with the more entertaining people - Cyd and Dolores, of course.
I've seen this a few times and Cyd and Dolores' numbers are still about the only things I remember. I love Dolores' over-the-top soap commercial (pleeeeease rememberrrrrr) and "Baby, You Knock Me Out" is perfection.

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devlinnn
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#27 Post by devlinnn » Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:24 pm

I might be reading way too much into it, but It's Always Fair Weather really plays out beautifully the ups and downs of the Donen/Kelly relationship, both personal and professional. A group of people brought together through fate, are tied to each other by profession that leads to deep friendship, then, well, as they say - people change. Comden and Green, Kelly and Donen, the swapping of lovers and wives, all under Freed's big shed. What a time...

Kelly's rampant ego at this point does bring the film down a notch in comparison to the other A-musicals, but I kind of love it more because of these faults. Life and art is messy, f***** up and out-of-control, just like I imagine the Donen/Kelly situation to be at this point in time. But how they forgot to include a Cyd/Gene number is a cruel mystery....

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Matt
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#28 Post by Matt » Sun Jul 15, 2007 7:58 pm

Just realized that Belle of New York is one of the three Arthur Freed-produced musicals I've never seen. After I watch that and get around to watching the tape of The Subterraneans a certain poster was very kind to send me, I'll only have the elusive Summer Holiday remaining.

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foggy eyes
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#29 Post by foggy eyes » Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:19 pm


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Matt
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#30 Post by Matt » Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:46 pm

Just finished watching That's Dancing! That Eleanor Powell box set needs to come out now.

The Pirate looks just a wee bit dark to me. I'm sure Warners did they best they could short of an Ultra Resolution remaster, but the whole transfer just looks every so grimy. I know color tones are intentionally muted (you can see that from stills of Judy in costume), but it has an overall dark haze that you don't see in, say, Easter Parade, another MGM musical shot by Harry Stradling the same year. Have I mentioned that it looks dark?

I'll see if I can post a comparison from this disc and from That's Entertainment, Part II or something.

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david hare
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#31 Post by david hare » Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:24 pm

I think the Pirate looks totally goddam awful. It was always intentionally conceived with darker tones like the browns and greens but this print looks like shit. As did the last TCM outing. THe whole thing requires not only ultra rez for 3-strip alignment but complete remastering for a new interpositive into something even vaguely resembling Technicolor.

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Lino
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#32 Post by Lino » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:37 pm

Matt wrote:Just finished watching That's Dancing! That Eleanor Powell box set needs to come out now.
I KNOW! That's where I fell to my knees and said, Eleanor Powell is a goddess and I want to see ALL her movies right NOW! And you can imagine the time I've been waiting for that to happen because I already know That's Dancing by heart from watching it all these years now.

I really hope the Powell set comes out this year in time for Christmas.

Matt, what's the DVD like? Still haven't got it yet.

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Matt
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#33 Post by Matt » Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:04 pm

Lino wrote:Matt, what's the DVD like? Still haven't got it yet.
It's good. Like when they released the That's Entertainment films on DVD, all of the clips have been restored/remastered (except for maybe a couple licensed from other studios). You would not believe how phenomenally good the clip from Lubitsch's So This Is Paris looks. Most of the films featured in the film have already been released on DVD, so it's not as much a taste of things to come as the That's Entertainment set was. There were a couple of films shown only in brief montages that I did not recognize and wish I could see more of. I also want to see the ones I could recognize that have not been released like Honolulu with Eleanor Powell (I know the rest of the film will not live up to her wild "hula" sequence, but I still must see it) and Give a Girl a Break which has the dance duet with Debbie Reynolds and Bob Fosse (who also choreographed the dance) as well as Marge and Gower Champion.

The accompanying featurettes are really just one ancient VHS-mastered electronic press kit and are pretty useless except for laughing at Kim Carnes' sequinned Chuck Taylors as she films the video for the theme song.

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Matt
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#34 Post by Matt » Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:36 pm

Here is a cursory comparison for The Pirate. The first image in each pair comes from the trailer included on the disc (which was cut from alternate takes, so there are no exact frame matches); the second image comes from the film itself on the DVD.

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Image

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Image

Image

On the whole, the film transfer is very sharp and, with the exception of what appears to be some fading of the yellow layer in the element used for the transfer (see the last pair of images especially), pretty accurate in color. The problem is that is just seems too dark overall. Still, it's not nearly as bad as the transfer on Fox's The Gang's All Here, which looked very bad in captures but was not vomit-inducing while watching the movie. I'll watch and enjoy The Pirate but am a little upset that it wasn't transferred with the same care as most of the other MGM Technicolor musicals.

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tryavna
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#35 Post by tryavna » Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:46 pm

Darkening seems to have become Warner's primary sin of late -- at least for its "restored" releases. I've been complaining for months about the "corrected" day-for-night photography on The Searchers, which renders those scenes nearly indecipherable. But upon rewatching The Wild Bunch recently, I was surprised by how dark that film now looks on DVD. With what you've said (and showed) about The Pirate, I see no reason to stop being concerned about this -- and the fact that nobody seems to be calling them out on it.

Then again, other studios can be just as bad. Sony also "corrected" the day-for-night shots in their release of Major Dundee. (Sorry, but only westerns are popping into my mind as examples.)

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Matt
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#36 Post by Matt » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:54 pm

Now this is Technicolor:

Image

Image

It's been a dog's age since I've seen Royal Wedding. I'd forgotten what a leap of faith is required to believe the 51-year-old Fred Astaire as the brother of the 21-year-old Jane Powell. And I've seen the "dancing on the ceiling"/"You're All the World to Me" sequence a billion times and, of course, I know how the effects are achieved, but it still amazes me every time. Astaire's grace smooths over all the seams and it really does seem magical.

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david hare
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#37 Post by david hare » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:30 am

The Pirate, following so close on the heels of the "new" Rio Bravo seems to demonstrate that Warner has regrettably adopted the "Fox Dark" school of 21st Century Technicolor transfers.

This is fascinating to compare with some recent Paramount revisits like To Catch a Thief and the Two Tashlin Lewis/Martin titles Arists and Models and Hollywood or Bust which are absolutely terrific. As will be - hopefully - the October re-issue of Funny Face.

I keep asking myself through all of this - where the hell is George Feltenstein? He never would have allowed such muddy, gloomy new transfers to go out. I am REALLY pissed off with this version of the Pirate. If ever a Freed movie needed a splendid transfer to coax the best out of a relatively sombre palette (and indeed a highly complex Porter score) this is it.

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Lino
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#38 Post by Lino » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:07 pm

Matt wrote:
Lino wrote:Matt, what's the DVD like? Still haven't got it yet.
It's good. Like when they released the That's Entertainment films on DVD, all of the clips have been restored/remastered (...) There were a couple of films shown only in brief montages that I did not recognize and wish I could see more of.
That reminds me of something I've been wishing they'd done when the That's series began to come out on DVD: a trivia subtitle track, that would indicate which film we are seeing as the movie played. That would prove to be very useful.

BTW, has anyone seen On Your Toes? I want to see that one so badly!

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Matt
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#39 Post by Matt » Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:02 am

Just to follow up: Words and Music also looks a touch dark (but who cares, it's Words and Music [though I do love June Allyson's "Thou Swell" number]). The Belle of New York, on the other hand, is a real eye-popper, even though the palette is fairly muted. It also sounds really good. I imagine this is all due to the film being fairly unpopular and so having all necessary elements in very good condition.

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Matt
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#40 Post by Matt » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:01 am

I finally finished this set up, holding the Lanza films until last because I thought they would be dreadful. I was happy to be proven (at least mostly) wrong. They are inconsequential and pretty much identical in plot, but fairly enjoyable. There's no arguing with Lanza's talent and showmanship, and J. Carrol Naish provides ample comic relief. I'm still not crazy about Kathryn Grayson's voice (it has a grating nasal quality), but she can belt 'em out. It was also nice to see a very young and almost unrecognizable Rita Moreno in The Toast of New Orleans. Both of these films look great and the documentary on Lanza, while made on the cheap, is informative and unexpectedly moving.

So, even though I bought this set thinking I would only keep The Pirate, it turns out I'm keeping all of the discs and The Pirate is the disappointment (but only because of its color issues).

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Belmondo
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#41 Post by Belmondo » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:18 am

Matt wrote:I finally finished this set up, holding the Lanza films until last because I thought they would be dreadful. I was happy to be proven (at least mostly) wrong. They are inconsequential and pretty much identical in plot, but fairly enjoyable. There's no arguing with Lanza's talent and showmanship, and J. Carrol Naish provides ample comic relief. I'm still not crazy about Kathryn Grayson's voice (it has a grating nasal quality), but she can belt 'em out. It was also nice to see a very young and almost unrecognizable Rita Moreno in The Toast of New Orleans. Both of these films look great and the documentary on Lanza, while made on the cheap, is informative and unexpectedly moving.

So, even though I bought this set thinking I would only keep The Pirate, it turns out I'm keeping all of the discs and The Pirate is the disappointment (but only because of its color issues).
I am VERY glad to hear this - because of the prevoiusly mixed comments I had decided to put the individual titles in my Netflix queue, but I got tired of looking at the phrase "very long wait", so I just bought the set.

I suppose we should all be pleased to see that these movies have a "very long wait" for rental; sometimes I get the depressing feeling that fans are passing on at the same rate as the greatest generation who made these wonderful movies.

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Matt
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#42 Post by Matt » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:15 pm

Belmondo wrote:I suppose we should all be pleased to see that these movies have a "very long wait" for rental; sometimes I get the depressing feeling that fans are passing on at the same rate as the greatest generation who made these wonderful movies.
It may be more depressing than you think: "very long wait" usually means that Netflix bought very few copies of that particular DVD and it's only shipping out of a few distribution centers.

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devlinnn
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#43 Post by devlinnn » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:33 am

I don't think it was the second gin talkin', but I doubt I'd be the only 'straight' gent here to find Stanley Donen pretty damn sexy and cool chattin' to Mr. Osborne on the Royal Wedding disc. Effortlessly charming, honest and direct, I'd give a million dollars to look this good in my 40s, let alone my 80s. The beard, the gaunt, the sunnies and jacket - no fuckin' wonder his films still sweat and pulse with the vigor a 18-year-old trickster jumpin' at loose bait on hot summer nights.

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Highway 61
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#44 Post by Highway 61 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:14 pm

Damn, I had the exact same reaction watching that interview. Every time I shop now I look for a camel-colored jacket, but I've yet to find anything (that I can afford) that equals Donen's elegance and cool.

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#45 Post by starmanof51 » Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:03 pm

I'm walking away from this set coming to the conclusion that Royal Wedding is my favorite, which I hadn't entirely expected going in. Belle of New York is underrated as well - not great, but better than its trifling reputation.

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starmanof51
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Classic Musicals From the Dream Factory Vol.3

#46 Post by starmanof51 » Mon Dec 10, 2007 4:00 pm

Before Dancing with the Stars,

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Belmondo
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#47 Post by Belmondo » Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:42 pm

Thank you for the complete info. This is where I generally show up and grumble about the lack of commentary tracks. However, the two commentaries on the previous box set (for THE PIRATE and WORDS AND MUSIC) didn't really do it for me and this set sounds interesting on its own merits.
These "so-called" second tier musicals have much to recommend them and my classic musical shelf is getting as long as my film noir shelf - get ready for the essay on how traditional values were being upheld on stage one and undermined on stage two at exactly the same moment!

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Lino
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#48 Post by Lino » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:43 pm

Not that I'm complaining (all the movies here are great and I feel very tempted to spring for the whole set) but just where is that Eleanor Powell boxset we were promised at this year's chat? I really hope it's still happening.

Even the boxset's cover artwork is not so shabby.

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zedz
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#49 Post by zedz » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:34 pm

Lino wrote:Not that I'm complaining (all the movies here are great and I feel very tempted to spring for the whole set) but just where is that Eleanor Powell boxset we were promised at this year's chat? I really hope it's still happening.
With the four Powell films herein, maybe this set has superceded it? After this, a Powell-dedicated set is likely to look rather depleted.

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starmanof51
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#50 Post by starmanof51 » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:41 pm

zedz wrote:With the four Powell films herein, maybe this set has superceded it? After this, a Powell-dedicated set is likely to look rather depleted.
I think that's fairly certain. It also (along with last month's A Date With Judy) pretty well scotches any Jane Powell set as well.

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