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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Stand-Up > Skits > Military Tour > Domestic Comedy > Satire > Hollywood > Filmmaking > Mystery > Br > Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops (1970, 1971, 1951/Time Life DVD)/Father Of The Bride (1950/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Hail, Caesar! (2016/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Haunted Honeymoon (1940/MGM/Warner

Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops (1970, 1971, 1951/Time Life DVD)/Father Of The Bride (1950/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Hail, Caesar! (2016/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Haunted Honeymoon (1940/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)

Picture: C-/B/B & C/C+ Sound: C+/B-/B & C+/C+ Extras: C-/C/C/C- Main Programs: C+/C+/C+/C

PLEASE NOTE: The Father Of The Bride Blu-ray and Haunted Honeymoon DVD are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and both can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a new group of comedy releases for you to know about...

Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops offers three programs of the comic legend entertaining the troops, all on one DVD. Though the first two serve as pro-Vietnam War propaganda, the talents involved were trying to do their best to show support no matter the politics. The 1970 program has Hope joined by Romy Schneider, Miss World Eva Rueber-Staier, a very well-spoken Neil Armstrong and Connie Stevens in fine form. The 1971 show includes Johnny Bench, Bobbi Martin, Lola Falana, Gloria Loring, Miss United Kingdom Yvonne Ormesy, Miss World Jennifer Hosten and a particularly spectacular appearance by Ursula Andress. The 1951 Korean War/Cold War show proves he had the act together early with Connie Moore and The Nicholas Brothers.

An illustrated paper foldout with more info on these shows is the only extra, but the shows are worth a good look, so check it out if you can.

Vincente Minnelli's Father Of The Bride (1950) is the original domestic comedy genre classic with Spencer Tracy preparing to marry off daughter Elizabeth Taylor, but having major anxiety over it. A big hit in its time, it later inspired an awful remake (which itself had an even worse sequel!) but I am not such a big fan of this original in the first place. The acting and directing is fine, the money is on the screen and its good for what it is, but I always found the humor obvious and predictable, a product of its time. Could this have been funnier then? I don't know.

Joan Bennett, Don Taylor and Billie Burke are among the solid supporting cast and everyone should see this one at least once for themselves, but it is a curio to me more than anything else and now we have a nice Blu-ray upgrade of the film.

Extras include two newsreels that tie into the film's release, Wedding Bells for Movie Star Elizabeth Taylor and President Truman Meets Father Of The Bride.

The Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar! (2016) is the duo's return to the darker side of the Classical Hollywood period that led to Barton Fink (1991), still one of the best films they ever made. Not a sequel and only vaguely connected by taking place at a studio of the same name (Capitol Pictures), with the title happening to be the same as a Biblical epic the studio is trying to finish with their biggest star (George Clooney), who gets kidnapped! This throws that production out of whack, but they have others that are barely working out (Scarlett Johansson as a singing swimmer, Alden Ehrenreich as an action cowboy, Channing Tatum in another musical about dancing sailors) as the studio chief (Josh Brolin) is near a nervous breakdown status himself.

I wanted to like this and parts are fun, but unless you have a great knowledge of film like certain critics and might, you may get too lost and the mixed response to the film makes sense. It is worth a look, but don't expect too much, though more big name stars show up. I'll let you see whom for yourself.

Extras include four Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes: Directing Hollywood, The Stars Align, An Era Of Glamour and Magic Of A Bygone Era.

Arthur B. Woods' Haunted Honeymoon (1940) is not as supernatural as it sounds, a comedy where Dorothy L. Sayer's famous detective Lord Peter Wimsey (Robert Montgomery) and writer/girlfriend Harriett Vale (Constance Cummings) get married! So they go on their honeymoon (but bring their butler!?!) thinking everything will be nice, pleasant and peaceful, right? Wrong! Of course, being who they are, another dead body turns up, this time in a basement and off they are trying to solve the murder after the worst possible interruptous they could imagine.

Despite being a big mystery fan and glad to see a British production, this falls surprisingly flat throughout, the leads have limited chemistry and nothing much interesting really happens after a long 99 minutes. Still, you can see for yourself.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

The Hope programs were all shot on 16mm film, but the makers are using old video masters that are introducing way too much shimmer from the (analog?) videotape sources throughout. Sometimes it is not so bad, but these all need new HD masters from the original sources.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer of Bride rarely shows the age of the materials used and is from superior 35mm camera materials. There are plenty of great shots throughout, if not all the time. MGM put the money out for their film stocks.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Hail is a brand-new, all 35mm film shoot by the legendary Roger Deakins, A.S.C., B.S.C., using Kodak's incredible Vision 3 negative stocks. The choice is to have some scenes (like the movie sequences) look great, others more restrictive and some in a single monochromatic color to enough of an extent that the work here is more complex than it appears. Despite some demo shots, one too many of the toned-down shots held the film back for me. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image DVD is really soft, so be aware it is not your DVD player should you play that one.

The 1.33 X 1 black & white image on Haunted actually is the best-looking DVD here with a decent print and once again, that glossier MGM black & white stock comes through. There are flaws and signs if age, but it looks as good as expected.

The DVDs sound equally good with the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Hail weaker than expected and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Hope and Haunted clearer than expected, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Hail Blu-ray is much moire like it, well mixed and presented, even in quiet dialogue moments making it the sonic champ here. That leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Bride the second-best sonic presentation here and as warm and clean as can be expected for a film its age.

To order either of the Warner Archive releases covered here, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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