National*)/The French Way
(1945/MVD/VCI/Sprocket Vault Blu-ray)/GoBetweens:
Right Here (2017/Umbrella
Region Free PAL Import DVD)/The
Hot Heiress (1931/First
Parade (1931/*all Warner
C+/B-/C+/C/C Sound: C+/C+/C+/C/C Extras: C-/D/C+/D/D Main
Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia, can only play on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K
Blu-ray players that can handle the PAL DVD format, while Broadway
can only play are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
our next music titles, mostly dramatic feature films, for you to know
McDonald's Broadway Hostess (1935) has Wini Shaw in the familiar tale
of a singer who becomes successful because a gangster type named
Lucky (Lyle Talbot here) backs her, resulting in success as a lounge
singer of torch songs of the day, but another guy (Phil Regan) falls
for her while she is still happy with her shady manager. However,
he's actually interested in another woman (Genevieve Tobin) while
Lucky's nitwits go for the fortune of another women.
to say this gets complicated and there is enough music to include it
here, but it may not be enough for many to consider it a true
Backstage Musical, especially with all the melodrama and
backstabbing. However, it is not a bad film (Miss Shaw was already a
stage star) and it is worth a look.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
de Baroncelli's The French
Way (1945) has Josephine
Baker singing, again in a backstage capacity, but is it a musical?
Especially since despite being in more progressive France after
leaving the U.S. and racism behind, she still plays a maid here?
Yes, her fortunes increase as she owns a nightclub, which is why we
get music, but the question remains.
what we get of this film that has been lost and was shot in 1940
(WWII and the Nazi Occupation delayed it and it as almost destroyed
forever), it does show how talented Baker was and what we missed when
she left. This VCI/Sprocket Vault Blu-ray edition is restored as
much as possible, running 74 minutes-long. Take away the music and
Baker and it is pedestrian, but with what we get, it is worth a look,
despite its limits.
are sadly no extras.
Stenders' The GoBetweens:
Right Here (2017) is a
solid, smart, detailed documentary of the rise and slow fall of one
of Australia's most important music groups, a Punk Rock Band that
went through several changes, never had a major charted hit anywhere,
still built a serious fan following and are now recognized as the
groundbreaking group they are. The story starts in the late 1960s,
really picks up when they have it together by the mid-1970s, then
start to have all kinds of issues with various record labels and
personal (and personnel) issues keep sabotaging them.
gives us a look inside their lives (the interviews are extensive,
like the vintage footage), the chronologically-told tale is easy to
follow without being shallow or flat, the members get personal and it
also gives us a look inside the Australian Music Industry we don't
see or hear enough of. The band landed up helping to shape and
create the identity such music from that country has today.
one runs a rich 95 minutes-long and is here from Umbrella
Entertainment out of Australia in a Region Free PAL-format (the U.S.
has NTSC, so check your player) import DVD that plays well and is
worth getting. I had only heard a few of the band's songs, and
usually in parts. Their time for discovery/rediscovery is LONG
overdue and some of these songs are remarkable.
minutes of interviews are the only extras, but too bad they could not
fit a collection of all their music videos that show up in the film.
Badger's The Hot Heiress
(1931) is a charming film that has moments where the people break out
in music, but for its short 79 minutes, you may feel it is not
enough. However, I liked the songs and leads Ben Lyon (a poor
riveter building skyscrapers in New York City) and
Munson (a loving rich gal) who fall for each other until class
separation gets in the way. They have great chemistry and why they
did not go on to become bigger stars or were not paired together in
something bigger is sad. However, they are very good here and a
great reason to catch up with this little gem.
also liked, the sets, set-ups, supporting cast and humor. It has a
nice, smooth energy to it that has it moving along nicely and better
than most full, early musicals of its time. A young Walter Pidgeon
also shows up, so serious film fans will want to see this one.
are very sadly no extras.
we have Lloyd Bacon's Manhattan
Parade (1931) is the
veteran director;s backstage drama that also has some music, but it
is enough to be a full musical, especially with the melodrama and
more backstabbing in this tale of dark goings on in the Great White
Way of the time? Winnie Lightner is the manager of a costume company
when corrupt men and condescending men (her husband (Walter Miller)
has her go back and take care of her kid!!!) show up to ruin her
life, though he is up to no good.
bit cliche-ridden, the cast (including Charles Butterworth, Dickie
Moore and the team of Smith & Dale) help keep things moving
along, but the result is an uneven film that has dated a bit, though
some parts are more racy as the Hollywood Production Code had not
kicked in yet. That makes it a curio for serious film fans and other
interested in it, which is why it is good to have it in print.
are sadly no extras.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on French can show the age of the materials used, but
this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film,
or clips used and
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white image transfer on Broadway is
better than the same on Hot and Manhattan, which can
definitely show the age of the materials used, looking rough at times
and could look better. Otherwise, all are watchable and well shot.
All three also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono that is down a few
generations, so be careful of high volume playback and volume
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on GoBetweens offers some
older film and analog videotape footage (with the usual flaws
including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape
scratching, PAL & NTSC cross color, faded color and tape damage),
but that all looks good otherwise and the new HD-shot footage matches
in just fine, though some of the graphics added later in text form
are not as clear as they could be. Sound is here in lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound, but I liked the
Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to find
to order the Broadway
Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: