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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Slapstick > Screwball > Legal > Music > Folk > Industry > Politics > Nazis > WWII > Teens > Cars > Relati > Danger - Love At Work (1937/Fox Screen Archive DVD)/Inside Llewyn Davis (2013/Sony DVD)/Margin For Error (1943/Fox Screen Archive DVD)/Tomboy (1985/Crown International/Scorpion DVD)/Welcome To The Jun

Danger - Love At Work (1937/Fox Screen Archive DVD)/Inside Llewyn Davis (2013/Sony DVD)/Margin For Error (1943/Fox Screen Archive DVD)/Tomboy (1985/Crown International/Scorpion DVD)/Welcome To The Jungle (2013/Universal Blu-ray)

Picture: B- (DVDs: C+) Sound: B (DVDs: C+) Extras: D/C/D/C/C- Films: C+/C+/C+/C+/C-

Here are more comedies to be in the know about...

Otto Preminger's Danger - Love At Work (1937) is a curio simply based on the fact that it has a charming Jack Haley in fine form only two years before big screen immortality as The Tin Man in the 1939 Wizard Of Oz, falling for Ann Southern in her early prime in this tale where h I a lawyer trying to get her and her family to sell some property for big money until his further investigation turns up that they are being swindled as the land is even more valuable!

John Carradine, Mary Bolan, CC. Clive and Edward Everett Horton are among the fine supporting cast in this sometimes Screwball Comedy (it certainly has the zip and energy of one) that shows a rare side of Preminger as well. No, it is not always successful and some moments seem like a TV sitcom, but this is worth seeing for what does work and that includes some politically incorrect humor with wit you will not see anymore.

There are no extras.

The Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) is the duo's attempt to tell a semi-factual tale of the period in New Tour City before Bob Dylan shows up and after the classical 1950s Folk period started to dim. Oscar Issac is the musician (he carries the film well) and title character trying to get his debut album marketed and sold, one that has the title of the film. This is not easy and includes a rough relationship (the underrated Carey Mulligan), a wacky old Jazz guy (John Goodman) and other unusual characters with some barely sane ones and a cat!

I liked the feel, humor and sometimes music here, but its 104 minutes are a little uneven and inconsistent. No doubt it is wroth a look (including a reference to Harry & Tonto, showing the Coen's usual good taste), yet I did not totally feel like were in the world built simply because it did not go far enough with the music or was serious enough despite some good humor. Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake (in a subtly amusing turn), F. Murray Abraham (back in top form), Ethan Phillips, Adam Driver and Max Casella make for a solid supporting cast and Director of Photography Bruno Delbonnel (who shot this on film) delivers his best outright visuals since Bogdanovich's underrated The Cat's Meow (2001, no puns intended).

The only extra is Inside Inside Llewyn Davis making of featurette.

Otto Preminger's Margin For Error (1943) is the oddest entry on the list, based on a stage play by writer (and later known for entering Washington politics and leaning Right for the time) Claire Boothe Luce send up (even acknowledging at least in the film if not the play; not knowing if they knew the extent of the genocide of The Holocaust) of the Nazis and noting Concentration Camps. I want to give it one leeway as I would Chaplin's 1940 masterwork The Great Dictator, but this is not in the same class.

A pre-TV Milton Berle is a cop sent to protect a top Nazi official (Preminger) as the political situation becomes more intense and things are about to get worse. This is mostly a comedy, though some dark things happen and some will be more amusing than some will feel comfortable with (Berle and Preminger would be villains a few decades later on the 1960s TV Batman series, though not in the same episodes) and will remind some of the later TV hit Hogan's Heroes.

This all makes it a mixed film to see and WWII was not over when Fox released this in theaters, so it becomes a unique time capsule and key film of that period when Hollywood Went To War and was among the reasons the original studio system slowly fell apart. It is anti-Nazi (and anti-Axis all the way) making for a sort of propaganda film as comedy and sometimes working. Joan Bennett has the female lead role, another plus for the film.

There are no extras.

Herb Freed's Tomboy (1985) centers around race cars as a young female driver (Betsy Russell) gets involved with her male idol (though with a clich├ęd twist) that we reviewed when originally issued on DVD by the now defunct BCI Eclipse and has surfaced elsewhere, but the film from the Crown International catalog needed an upgrade. Through a new HD transfer, Scorpion has issued this on DVD we're covering here, as well as a Blu-ray.

Crown was one of the last companies making what would have been seen as driven fare in the 1970s, taking advantage of home video as well as the screens still out there. This is not a great film, but an amusing, interesting one and Russell was an iconic star of the period, of a cult one not many remember. Ad the amusing car angle and this this is also worth a look.

Extras include a TV Spot, trailer for this and other Scorpion releases, Katarina's Kat's Meow look at the film and Interview with lead star Betsy Russell.

Last and least is Rob Meltzer's Welcome To The Jungle (2013) is yet another bad film trying o send up advertising, commercialism, corporate culture and like Syrup and In A World..., does a hideous job. In this one, a group of office people land up stuck on an island and even worse, Jean-Claude Van Damme shows up in one of his worst-yet performances. Adam Brody leads the bored, unfunny cast and appearances by Dennis Haysbert cannot save this dud.

Except for some slight potential and a few moments that are simply not as bad as the whole thing, this barely misses our lowest rating, but it came close... real close.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds Behind The Scenes/Deleted Scenes.

Being the only Blu-ray here, you would expect the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Jungle to be the best performer here visually and it is, but by only so much as the color looks odd, the editing is lame and this is not a great or even good-looking presentation. Therefore, not that far behind and tying for second/last place are the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Davis which looks a little too watered down versus what it should look like (and does in HD), the 1.33 X 1 black and white image on the Work and Error in the Classical Hollywood style (both deserving Blu-rays) and the upgraded from a new HD master (and also on Blu-ray) anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Tomboy outperforming all previous DVD editions.

Sound is the same story with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Jungle sounding much better than it deserves to, but yet another winner from Universal Blu-ray. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Lewis should be richer and stronger, but not on this DVD, so only expect so much and it is a quiet film at times and therefore, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Tomboy and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Work and Error sounding as good as they are ever going to in the format can more than compete.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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