(2017/Morrissey/Umbrella PAL Import DVD)/Les
Original Cast Recording
(1943/Universal Music/Decca CD)/Paris
Opera (2017/Film Movement
DVD)/Seven Brides For
(1954/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray Set)
C+/B/X/B-/B- Sound: C+/B-/B-/B-/B- Extras: D/C/C/C+/B
Main Programs: C+/C+/B-/B/C+
import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia and can only play on Blu-ray & DVD
players that can handle the PAL video format, while Les
Brides For Seven Brothers
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
for our latest group of music releases, all of which happen to be
tied to the stage in one way or the other...
(2017) is a biopic on the singer Morrissey (Jack Lowden) from his
start as a music lover to musician and world music icon, controversy
and all. Now available as a PAL-format import DVD from Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia, we recently reviewed the Blu-ray edition
in the U.S. at this link...
think the film has some good moments, but I was not always convinced,
felt it was uneven overall and did not convince me of its period very
much, though the attempt to explore the life of a music icon who is
anti-meat, openly gay and STILL wants to fight with everyone he can
in and out of the world of music is worth the effort to take on.
you are interested, you now have a new choice on how to view it, but
this edition has no extras or even a menu.
(1957) is the last MGM film and musical to have Gene Kelly as its
lead, another sad sign of the studio's Musicals unit winding down,
but the film is not awful, but offers a very mixed experience with
some great actors, odd dancing, money on the screen and uneven
script. It also has music by Cole Porter who personally worked on
the film, the last one he would ever do so on.
dynamic Kay Kendall plays a woman who just wrote a tell all book so
scandalous, she is being sued for defamation of character by friends
and enemies alike, so we see what happened in several versions in
flashback being explained in court as the court case rages on.
Kelly, Mitzi Gaynor, Tania Eig, Jacques Bergerac and a scene-stealing
Patrick Macnee (TV's The
as a lawyer deeply covering every angle with every question and
observation he can come up with.
results are mixed, the choreography by Jack Cole (Kismet,
most of Marilyn Monroe films, all reviewed elsewhere on this site)
offers a more gritty, hard (not Hip Hop hard, but still) and
toned-down dancing that is atypical of most MGM Musicals, so it makes
for a very different feel throughout, but an interesting change of
course just the same. Some numbers work, others not as much.
Archive has issued this interesting, key work on Blu-ray in as
restored an edition as possible and it plays back very well. More on
that below, but this one is worth seeing for any serious fan of
films, big production, Musicals or the actors involved. You won;t be
sorry, even when it does not always gel.
Porter in Hollywood: Ca C'est L'Amour,
hosted by Taina Elg; Vintage Cartoon Flea
and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
we have a reissue of the classic 1943 release of Oklahoma!:
Original Cast Recording,
though it may have been originally issued in several vinyl discs
before being brought together later as the album we have here in a
fine Universal Music/Decca CD edition. The Rogers & Hammerstein
classic (some of the songs, like the title song and ''Oh,
What A Beautiful Morning''
are undeniable classics and the choreography by Agnes de Mille
(interpreted later in the 70mm feature film by Michael Kidd) was very
groundbreaking and innovate for its time. For more on the musical
and later versions, try these links...
Todd AO 70mm & Cinemascope hit theatrical film version
Hugh Jackman HD-shot stage version
had never heard the entire original cast version and have to admit
that they really set up the way this sounds, feels and its pace,
which is impressive 75 years later. Cheers to Betty Drake, Alfred
Garde, Jean Roberts, future movie star Celeste Holm and company had
the energy to bring this to life, with no one having any idea how
enduring this would all be. Considering WWII was still raging, that
they could concentrate and pull this off is a big plus and they all
need and deserve a big thank you for making this work so well.
Though it is not my favorite musical and some songs work better than
others, no doubt this is an important work in the musical theater and
looking back, more important than ever in some ways. Glad to see it
get this kind of respect.
booklet with two new essays on the classic, along with five bonus
tracks on the CD are the extras.
go backstage behind of the world's greatest cultural institution, The
Palais Garnier, which is home to Paris Opera and has been since 1875.
Directed by Jean-Stephane Bron and starring Stephane Lissner, The
takes audiences on a dramatic behind the scenes look at just one
(insanely busy) season inside the opera house.
interesting to candidly see behind this world, as we don't often get
to see the inner workings of a modern day opera theater like this
very often (or at least not as often as we get behind the scenes
looks at TV and Movies) and just how much goes into it.
Informational, funny, and engaging, The
will hit on high marks with fans of ballet and opera first and
by the Director
with the Director
Short Film: Les
Paris Opera Trailer
Brides For Seven Brothers
(1954) was a massive hit for MGM at a time when the Hollywood Musical
was peaking and about to go into decline. The tale of a proper woman
who knows manners (Jane Powell) meeting with a loud-mouthed man
(Howard Keel) and his six other unsophisticated brothers, then trying
to teach them enough manners to integrate into polite society and
even find women is amusing, but also has its cliches and stereotypes.
With that said, this is not my favorite musical and far from Donen's
best work, but it is consistent if nothing else and I doubt a better
feature film version could have been made.
of the songs stay with me, but this new Warner Archive Blu-ray double
set despite its tech shortcomings, is loaded with extras and
annihilates the old, obsolete DVD edition not worth bothering with at
Michael Kidd did the choreography here too.
on Disc One include another outstanding, feature length Audio
Commentary track by Stanley Donen (Recorded 2004), "MGM
Theatrical Short Subject shot in CinemaScope and Color, featuring the
M-G-M Symphony Orchestra, led by Johnny Green, playing a medley of
eleven well-known songs used in some of the studio's best-known
musicals (remastered in 1080p HD, 16x9 2.55 X 1 anamorphic aspect
ratio with 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio), Documentary "Sobbin'
Women: The Making of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,"
hosted by Howard Keel (Produced 1996, updated and revised 2004, here
in low definition), Radio City Music Hall Premiere - July 22, 1954
(low def) and "MGM's 30thAnniversary" (1954 MGM Newsreel,
Two is strictly devoted to a rarely-seen version of Seven
Brides for Seven Brothers
that was cut down on the sides to be shown in flatter widescreen
projection (1.85, 1.75, 1.66), here in 1.77 X 1 as alternate
Widescreen Version (here also in 1080p HD) for theaters that did not
have the screen size for early, wider CinemaScope and.or the money to
show that version. MGM was going to be sure everyone saw the film
and they'd get their money back on the film, no matter what. It
for the technical performance on these discs. Brides
is here in decent 1080p 2.55 X 1 and 1.77 X 1 digital High Definition
image presentations, but both versions tend to be a little soft and
lack some detail. On the plus side, this was among the films that
MGM exclusively shot of a few years on Ansco 35mm color negative, a
great film format that competed with the best Kodak, DuPont, Agfa,
Pathe and other companied of the time were producing and eventually
led to MGM making their own color films with their MetroColor lab.
However, this was so early on into their Ansco contract that they
still had Technicolor issue dye-transfer,
three-strip 35mm prints (now VERY valuable if you have a good one)
that looked great.
Warner (who own all MGM film to about 1986) apparently did not have
any Technicolor prints (or ones in great shape) or an Ansco (or even
dupe negative) that was in first generation shape, so they had to
work with what they had to save and restore the film. The results
are not as prime as I had hoped and does not replace Brigadoon
(reviewed on Warner Archive Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) as the
best example of Ansco Color on home video, but this is still the best
I have ever seen the film, so fans should be happy enough. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on both framed versions of
the film off of the surviving 4-track magnetic soundmaster materials
with traveling dialogue and sound effects is as well mixed and
presented as can be, though sonic limits are in the original
recording that cannot be totally overcome. Still, it sounds fine and
is also the best you will likely ever hear the film.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Les
is the visual champ here with its superior MetroColor (with MGM
abandoning Technicolor at this point) and Director
of Photography Robert Surtees, A.S.C., (The
uses the very widescreen frame to its fullest extent because he knows
how. By this time, MGM stopped using Ansco Color/Anscochrome 35mm
negative and switched back to Eastman Color/Kodak color film. The
transfer will surprise viewers too. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1
lossless sound mix on the film also comes from a 4-track magnetic
soundmaster with traveling dialogue and sound effects, sounding a
little better than Seven
but not enough to totally surpass it. Still, a fine upgrade and the
best the music has sounded to date.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on England
is not bad and being in PAL and not U.S. NTSC has its advantages, but
it cannot match the previously-reviewed Blu-ray. Wonder if a 4K
edition will show up from somewhere? The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is
also not bad, but a lossless track would have been preferred.
is resented in an
an anamorphically enhanced, standard
definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy
Dolby Digital 5.1 French surround mix and English subtitles, the film
looks and sounds as good as can be expected on the format. The music
is always front and center, and sounds fantastic with classical and
opera both playing a big part in the film.
Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to find
to order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Les
Brides For Seven Brothers,
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo & James