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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Romance > Mistaken Identity > Business > Marriage > Faith > African American > Slapstick > Milita > All In A Night’s Work (1960/Paramount/Warner Archive)/From This Day Forward (2012/Image DVD)/Kilroy Was Here (1947/Monogram/Warner Archive)/Meddling Mom/Sweeter Side Of Life (Hallmark Telefilms/Gaiam

All In A Night’s Work (1960/Paramount/Warner Archive)/From This Day Forward (2012/Image DVD)/Kilroy Was Here (1947/Monogram/Warner Archive)/Meddling Mom/Sweeter Side Of Life (Hallmark Telefilms/Gaiam Vivendi DVD)/On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970/Paramount/Warner Archive)/Reality (2012/Oscilloscope DVD)/Slightly Single In L.A. (2010/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/What If…? (2007/First Run DVD)


Picture: C+/C/C/C/C+/C/B-/C     Sound: C+ (Kilroy: C)     Extras: D/C-/D/D/D/C+/C-/D     Main Programs: C/C-/C+/C & D/C/C+/C-/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The Work, Kilroy and Day DVDs are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Now for a group of comedies to consider, and most were sadly not so funny…



Joseph Anthony’s All In A Night’s Work (1960) reunites Vicente Minnelli’s Some Came Running co-stars Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine in a mistaken identity comedy about a CEO who dies with a smile on his face and when found by a house detective (Jack Weston) sees a named woman he cannot identify in a towel and investigates.  Martin inherits his company due to blood relations, but he never knew the man.  From there, the script (co-written by future TV sitcom king Sheldon Leonard) has some sexual innuendo and some humorous moments, but they never really work and what might have has aged badly 53+ years later.


Gale Gordon, Cliff Robertson, Charles Ruggles, Norma Crane and Mabel Albertson have amusing character turns, but the film was never great despite trying to be classy comedy and MacLaine did better that year in The Apartment (se the Blu-ray review elsewhere on this site), so all we have here is a slight curio back in print.


Too bad, because this is a fine cast.  There are no extras.



Leon and Essence Atkins should have far more chemistry in the Tyler Perry-inspired relationship comedy, Roger Melvin’s From This Day Forward (2012), but it plays too much like a predictable sitcom, is shot that way, edited that way, has way too many stagy indoor shots, an awful laugh track and is predictable beyond belief.  It is also badly directed, badly directed and the timing is way off.


Sadly, the camera likes the actors, so there is much easy room for improvement here, but this too often looks like a rough cut of an intended release and I got one chuckle out of its 88 minutes.  Even the faith-based angel was not overdone.  Too bad.


A Photo Gallery is the only extra.



The big surprise on this list is a little B-movie from low-budget Monogram Pictures called Kilroy Was Here (1947) in which Jackie Cooper (in the middle of his long career past playing Jackie in the classic Our Gang/Little rascals series) is a military guy who constantly gets picked on for having the real last name of Kilroy, but he is not the legend who is a hero and paints his logo pre-graffiti style all over the world.  However, now out of the military, he tries to get into a college and the results are a wreck.


Jackie Coogan (the fellow child actor who later became Uncle fester on the legendary TV series The Addams Family) is in prime form, getting his good friend into trouble starting with trying to con his way into a college when Kilroy is short a half-credit and telling everyone he is the real Kilroy!


Coogan gives a really good comic performance here totally unexpected in such a film, but along with some fun and funny moments, this curio will more than surprise anyone who goes out of their way to see it.  The great journeyman director Phil Karlson helmed this one and for a man usually known for his crime films, he handles comedy just fine.  At a healthy 69 minutes, you’ll have more laughs than you might expect.


There are no extras.



Gaiam Vivendi has issued an odd double feature of Hallmark Channel Telefilms in Meddling Mom and Sweeter Side Of Life on a single DVD.  Mom is actually watchable as Sonia Braga decides to spy on her daughter, who is about to get married and has some good humor and never insulted my intelligence like Sweeter did with its anti-Feminist formula.  Tony Plana is also good here and so is the unknown cast.  Wow, Hallmark finally landed a watchable telefilm!  Unfortunately, the other one (divorcee finds happiness by cooking!) is the worst entry on this whole list and should be avoided completely!


There are no extras.



In speaking of Vicente Minnelli’, he helmed On A Clear Day You Can See Forever in 1970 and in an unusual musical (from the stage), Barbra Streisand plays a woman with a smoking problem who finds it too easy to be hypnotized by a Professor (Yves Montand) who might be able to help her, but the less she smokes, the more she suddenly seems to have ESP and then, she starts to imagine she is other women from the past.  This includes some elaborate fantasy sequences.


The songs here are mixed with the title song being the most memorable and yes, Mr. Montand actually sings!  Still, the film has not aged well and despite have a few good moments, it is just not that great.  Acting turns by Mabel Albertson (again!), Bob Newhart, Larry Blyden, Pamela Brown, Roy Kinnear, John Richardson, an up and coming Jack Nicholson, Elaine Giftos and Simon Oakland sending up his Psycho image a bit does make this one an interesting curio, but not a great film.


There are no extras, but why no Blu-ray?



As a follow-up to his seriously acclaimed drama Gomorrah, Matteo Garrone’s Reality (2012) is a sometimes dark comedy and indictment of the shallow side of gaudy contests, commercialism and the evil we know as so-called reality TV.  In this film, Luciano (Aniello Arena) is a family man living a good happy life when he gets the fever, but does not even need to go to Las Vegas for it. 


With visions of grandeur, he decides he will enter and compete to be on the new Italian version of the endlessly obnoxious U.S. reality contest TV show Big Brother (I wonder if Garrone picked that one for Orwellian reasons) and he is suddenly finding new happiness and joy in his life.  Of course, this is making everyone else miserable and the visuals make constant contrast with old and new Italy versus the empty glare and hoopla over the TV show.


At its best, the film manages to indict the false promises and ugly bubble of lies and self-destruction such shows promise.  It is not just The Price Is Right offering money for a game, but shows like this where they lock you into a house to capture, ruin and sell your soul.  The film and script are an amusing indictment, but it never goes far enough and therefore, the results (amusing as they can be along with the fine performances here), are nonetheless predictable and miss the mark.  Still, I can see why Garrone took a break form the more serious last film, but he picked the wrong subject and this is never the satire it could have been either.  Still, it is ambitious and worth a look if you like his directing or the subject matter.


Extras include a new interview with Director Garrone, Original Theatrical Trailer, Deleted Scenes and three featurettes: Dreams Are My Reality, Inside Reality and Profile Of Aniello Arena.


For more on Garrone, try this link to the Criterion Blu-ray of his film Gomorrah:





I had some hope that Christie Will’s Slightly Single In L.A. (2010) might be a smart all-gal comedy like the HBO series Girls, but instead, the total opposite.  Focusing on a gal named Dale (Lacey Chabert), cross a bad Hallmark Channel TV movie (like the one above) with an equally bad dud from Lifetime, mix them with a Nickelodeon series about obnoxious teens, then allow for MTV and “reality TV” obscenity with some of the dumbest dialogue all year and you get this near total disaster.


There are a few signs of very brief hope early on that this might get good, but it rings phony, dishonest, lame, formulaic, plastic, predictable and goofy in the worst possible way with a cast of mostly unknowns who talk more at each other than anything else.  Kip Pardue shows up as the possible best guy for her and being the only name male actor here, guess what happens?


Chris Kattan also shows up here bored and unfunny.  Maybe if he showed up as John Oates, that could have saved things…. But maybe not.


Extras in this great slipcase packaging include a Meet The Director featurette where she tries to explain what she did here (yeeeee) and an Original Theatrical Trailer.



Last but definitely not least is the other big surprise on this list, Léa Fazer’s What If…? (2007), a French comedy about the comical relationships of professional workers in a major whiter collar law firm, a set up in bad Hollywood films that seems like a yuppie formula that will not die and these days, lose millions of dollars per release.  In this case, the characters are honest, mature, intelligent adults who really do work hard and are not unlikable idiots who all seem to have their jobs via the Peter Principle.


Instead, we get actual character development, honest relationships, realistic interaction and that all makes the comedy work.  I was honestly shocked and surprised this was not idiotic and why this was not a bigger hit in its time is a big mystery, unless it was just too smart for wide release, something you would have never hear dup to the 1970s.  Though the cast is made of unknowns, they are really good and that is way I definitely recommend this film, also known as Notre Univers Impitoyable.


There are no extras.




As harsh and mixed as it can look, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on L.A. is the best-looking presentation on the list by a hair being the only HD presentation and because the makers did not make more visual errors.  I just found it to be shot generically and we get way too many indoor shots, which I can also say about the very soft, anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Forward, whose bad TV sitcom editing approach makes it almost as visually backward as L.A.!


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the Work and Forever DVDs tie for second-best presentation and were both originally three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor theatrical releases, which you can see here at times.  That leaves the 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Kilroy and anamorphically enhanced presentations on the rest of the DVDs as soft as Forward, disappointing all around, though at least Kilroy has the excuse of being the oldest film here at 66 years old and counting.  They ought to consider a Blu-ray for it.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is on L.A. is not only more towards the front speakers than I would have liked, but dialogue is so unevenly recorded that much of it sounds far more compressed than it should, so every other lossy Dolby Digital presentation on DVD here (save the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Kilroy, which is a generations down and too quiet for its own good, so be careful of volume switching and loud levels despite how clean it is) can match that DTS-MA.  The rest of the Dolby DVDs are weak 5.1 mixes, save Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Work and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on What.




To order The Work, Kilroy and Day DVDs, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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