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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Skits > Slapstick > Satire > Military > Music > Drama > Cable TV > Action > Heist > Mystery > Murder > Le > Bob Hope Salutes The Troops (1963 - 1995/Time Life DVD Set)/Divorce: The Complete First Season (2016/HBO Blu-ray Set)/A Girl In Every Port (1952/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)/How To Steal A Million (1966/Fo

Bob Hope Salutes The Troops (1963 - 1995/Time Life DVD Set)/Divorce: The Complete First Season (2016/HBO Blu-ray Set)/A Girl In Every Port (1952/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)/How To Steal A Million (1966/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Ladies Of The Jury (1932/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)/The Rounders (1964/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The How To Steal A Million Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while The Rounders Blu-ray, plus the A Girl In Every Port and Ladies Of The Jury DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Here's a new, very wide-ranging set of comedies for you to know about...



Bob Hope Salutes The Troops (1963 - 1995) is a new set from Time Life that differs from other Hope releases on the subject with this new DVD set. The Pointer Sisters, Marie Osmond and Ann Jillian join Hope in the Middle East in 1991 show, Ann-Margret, Rosie Greer and the Golddiggers join him for a 1969 USO Christmas run, Hope's wife Dolores, Frances Langford and Patti Thomas are in a show about his WWII tour from 1995, Janis Paige, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Jill St. John and Anita Bryant (minus any homophobia or orange juice) assist in a 1965 Christmas tour, a 1963 Christmas tour brings out no less than Lana Turner, Les Brown, Bryant & Paige, a 1972 Christmas tour offers the underrated Suzanne Charny, Don Ho, Brown and Jill St. John again (!) and finally, a 1971 Christmas special has Lola Falana, Redd Foxx, Fran Jeffries, Brown and several of these have beauty pageant contest winners.


Politics aside, these shows across this 3-DVD set are well made, edited and know how to show off the highlights of what became a special institution thanks to Hope going out there and delivering year after year. I'm more often impressed than not with what we get and these sets are worth releasing as the archive obviously has more where this is coming from. Not bad at all.



Divorce: The Complete First Season (2016) is the new HBO series with Sarah Jessica Parker trying to have a new hit TV show with a difference, more serious in tone than her previous comic works and with an assist from Director Jesse Peretz, the music video maker who helmed some of the best episodes of HBO's hit Girls. Backed by the likes of Thomas Hayden Church and Molly Shannon among others, the show definitely has its moments and you can experience it at its best via this new Blu-ray set.


However, the 10 episodes here are a mixed bag with some good moments and more than a few down, flat ones. I have to wonder if the show will thus pick up next season (doing well enough to get renewed) or just drone on in this direction. Fans of Parker will be particularly happy to see her back, but I this could have even been better if the makers took some more time.



Chester Erskine's A Girl In Every Port (1952) has Groucho Marx without any of his brothers at RKO in a would-be comedy that would turn out to be his last lead role in any film, though he then made amusing, even strange cameos in other films for the rest of his career. Paired with William Bendix, this should have been a winner on them alone, but the screenplay (by the director) is very stale and even Groucho's delivery is lacking, but even he could only di so much with what he is handed here as they play Navy guys in trouble and trying to get in trouble with women like Marie Wilson and Fat Wray.


Warner Archive has issued the film on DVD for fans and completists, but it fell flat, but Groucho at least had You Bet Your Life going for him, so all was not lost. Joel McCrea, Don DeFore and Gene Lockhart also turn up, but this never gets better after the first reel establishes the problems this one has.



William Wyler's How To Steal A Million (1966) has the pairing of Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole in a witty heist film, one that has a following and did decent business and one we reviewed on DVD years ago at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/1896/How+To+Steal+A+Million


I want to preface things bu saying I was not expecting another Charade or Arabesque, or anything else, or even for Wyler to be Hitchcock or Stanley Donen, but I always thought the film was a little too lite despite its ability to look good and be pleasant. Wyler's daughter identifies the film as 'fluff' (high class at that) on the disc's audio commentary and she is correct, but I thought that despite the fact that the leads have the expected chemistry, the film does not deliver to the fullest extent it could have and Mr. Wyler (whose films as recent as 1955's Desperate Hours still holds up as strong and smart) may have played it too lite here.


Thus, this perpetual curio has been issued as a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray via Fox, showing that the approach did limit its audience in the long term to some extent. Still, it is a good, fun-enough tale of art fraud and the stars look great. Everyone should see this one at least once.



Lowell Sherman's Ladies Of The Jury (1932) is my personal favorite on the list with Edna May Oliver as a woman sequestered to be on a jury for a murder trial and turns out to be the one who refuses to believe the accused is guilty. A really hilarious comedy that was more groundbreaking, influential and innovative than it may be remembered for, she is a hoot (as she always was) and the film (despite being a short 64 minutes) gets better and better as it moves along and also has some mystery and suspense to it just the same.


Warner Archive has released this little RKO gem (and minor classic?) on DVD with an early turn by Ken Murray, soon on his way to comedy immortality (especially as a huge radio comedy star) and the rest of the cast (mostly unknown or sadly forgotten) are great here at every turn in what is almost a forerunner of the Screwball Comedy. Way ahead of its time, this one is worth going out of your way for.



Burt Kennedy's The Rounders (1964) is a lite comedy of a semi-sitcom sort (they got to do jokes here they could not do on TV yet due to censorship) and the result was a bigger hit than the quality of the film might allow, but this style of humor also helped Cary Grant have a big hit with the much-bashed Operation Petticoat around the same time. This one casts Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford as old cowpokes trying to heard some tough steers. The comedy makes those animals characters in themselves (in the Mr. Ed era) and the results are as mixed.


Warner Archive has decided to issue this MGM hit on a restored Blu-ray and no doubt it is fine enough that you won't miss any jokes due to poor playback. The leads have some chemistry and we get turns by Chill Willis and Sue Ane Langdon that help, but the script is just not that good and with so many more Western comedies that were better after, it only holds up so much. The result is a curio Western fans and fans of the stars should at least check out, but the rest of you should only expect so much.




The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Divorce has all some bad footage with detail issues and shaky camera work with some motion blur, but some of this might actually be the style of the show. Hard to tell, but it should not be like that.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Million and Rounders are both full color 35mm shoots using real anamorphic Panavision lenses. They can both can show the age of the materials used, but these are mostly superior a transfer to all previous releases of the films. Million has some color that is a bit off (note the opening paintings in the credits are flat until the cut, when the real color kicks in for a few seconds) and has color by DeLuxe. Rounders has MetroColor and it is a better presentation of that format, even more so than I expected.


The 1.33 X 1 image on the Hope set has film footage off of older videotape that has stability issues and even shimmers, while the actual analog videotape footage offers flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage. This is watchable otherwise, but the material need some restoration work in the future and the filmed materials (the majority of what we see here) could be fixed up for HD release.


The 1.33 X 1 black & white image on Port and Jury are from well-shot 35mm films, but they can be soft and have print damage kore than one would like. Jury more so being older, yet I like the look of that film in particular.



The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Divorce is the best sounding release here being the only new one, but is well mixed and presented as you would expect from HBO, so this is its highlight, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix on Million places a solid second place sonically and better than the 1.0 Mono track also supplied, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Rounders is more compressed and aged-sounding than I expected. Wonder if this is the best it can sound?`


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on all three DVD releases are obviously going to show their age, but the Hope audio fares better than the two RKO films, which are a little rougher and sometimes harder to hear, so be careful of high playback volumes and volume switching.



Extras are not included on every release here, but Million has a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray disc adds a feature length audio commentary track by Eli Wallach & Catherine Wyler (Director William Wyler's daughter), an Isolated Music Score, Audrey Hepburn: The Fairest Lady featurette and an Original Theatrical Trailer, the latter of which is also the only extra on Rounders. That leaves us with Divorce offering Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds audio commentary on select episodes.


To order the How To Steal A Million Blu-ray limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and many more great exclusives while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/


...and to order The Rounders Blu-ray, Girl In Every Port DVD and Ladies Of The Jury DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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