Of Pete Smith Specialties, Vol. 1
(4 DVD Set)/Bronco Billy
(1980/Blu-ray/both Warner Archive)/Carol
Burnett Show: 50th
Anniversary Edition (Time
Life 21-DVD Box Set)/Plus
C+/B/C+/B-/B- Sound: C+/B-/C+/B-/C+ Extras: D/C-/B+/C-/C-
Main Programs: B-/C+/A-/C/B-
Best Of Pete Smith
DVD and Bronco
Blu-ray are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
are a new set of comedies, mostly classic, worth knowing about and
often revisiting, and they're new to you if you've missed any of
start with a set of live-action shorts that MGM produced for decades
and remain one of the most successful such series of the pre-TV era.
Best Of Pete Smith Specialties, Vol. 1
has been issued with 75 (!) of the shorts on 4 DVDs, meaning you'll
be able to overdose and fetishize every moment of these programs
meant for entertainment at movie theaters before the big feature that
try to play like special interest documentaries while being narrated
to be comical and funny in the 1930s and 1940s.
can get repetitive in style and some are better than others, but many
are amusing and they are all family safe, then they all look very
good for their age as they come out of MGM's lab. This set might not
be to everyone's taste, but I found it enjoyable and had seen just
about all of them at least once. Its a nice set for something
are no extras.
(1980) is one of his smaller scaled hits, playing the title character
running a rodeo in modern times as a tribute to the long-running
tradition. This comedy is not bad and has aged well, including in a
few ways I was not expecting. However, it is being issued on Blu-ray
by Warner Archive because it has not held as popular as some of his
other films and because it is part of a creative run that is now
tainted by a big breakup.
all the films Woody Allen and Mia Farrow made together, some of the
best works both ever made, Eastwood was with Sondra Locke and they
too had a creative synergy that marked some of their best films.
Like Allen & Farrow, Eastwood and Locke had a breakup that was
very public, a bit ugly and actually landed up in court with Locke
winning a lawsuit against he and Warner too lengthly to get into, but
films like this got lost in the shuffle.
plays a lady of means who suddenly meets everyone connected with the
tent show they have and gets involved in unexpected ways. She and
Eastwood had nice chemistry (all the harder then to think they broke
up so bad) and even with a few cliches, this is a film that holds up
enough and is worth a look. The Western was on the ropes (you could
think of this as a contemporary Western to some extent) and this
happened to arrive the same year as Michael Cimino's Heaven's
killed big budget Westerns for a very long time, with Eastwood (a
good friend of his since Cimino directed Thunderbolt
with and for Eastwood a few years ago, his directing debut (reviewed
elsewhere on this site) so that how concentrated any relevant
production in the dying genre had become.
the film is how good it looks and its solid supporting cast including
Scatman Crothers, Geoffrey Lewis, Sam Bottoms, Bill McKinney, Dan
Vadis, Woodrow Parfrey, Walter Barnes, Merle Haggard as himself and
even some of Eastwood's children at the time. It is worth a look for
all those interested and makes for a great Blu-ray demo Visually.
Trailer is the only extra.
we have an expanded box set version of The
Carol Burnett Show: 50th
this time offering 21-DVDs including these 10 we covered on their own
a while ago at this link:
set included guest appearances by Jim Nabors, Imogene Coca, Mel
Torme, Bobbie Gentry, George Gobel, Sid Caesar, Ella Fitzgerald,
Bernadette Peters, Nancy Wilson, Martha Raye, Soupy Sales, Lucille
Ball, Rita Hayworth, Pat Carroll, Cass Elliott, Diahann Carroll,
Nanette Fabrey, Ray Charles, Pearl Bailey, Melba Moore, Carl Reiner,
Steve Lawrence, The Jackson 5 (in their final years before leaving
Motown), Roddy McDowall, Dinah Shore, Helen Reddy, Neil Sedaka, Ben
Vereen and Rock Hudson. Another great 10 disc set subtitled 11
Years - Together Again has
some of those names back, but adds Eddie Albert, Bob Newhart, Chita
Rivera, Don Rickles, Burt Reynolds, Leslie Ann Warren, Don Adams,
Gloria Loring, Phyllis Diller, Gwen Verdon, Andy Griffith, Vikki
Carr, Flip Wilson (including a spoof of the original Mission:
to see), Ruth Buzzi, Jack Jones, Lily Tomlin, The Pointer Sisters,
Dick Van Dyke, Sammy Davis Jr. Petula Clark, Madeline Kahn, Paul
Sand, Peggy Lee, Hal Linden and Stiller & Meara.
is an amazing line-up you will not see the equivalent of today, the
shows hold up extraordinarily well, all episodes are uncut unlike
what you see in half-hour syndicated packages, each episode has great
surprises and laughs and they never grown tired or get old. They
just impress and get better with age, including the Final
which gets its own DVD with a bunch of extras. All discs have
interview segments, behind the scenes featurettes and sometimes bonus
skits. We also get another great high quality booklet in the box
that matches its size and length, this time covering each season
cleverly, two pages at a time.
love the show, it never fails to amaze and this is the second such
box set and it is as strong as the great Lost
set, reviewed elsewhere on this site.
Chan and Andrew Rhymer's Plus
(2019) is a very unfunny comedy about romance and marriage that will
make you ask, it took two people to direct this? Jack Quaid and Maya
Erskine star as friends who might have been more for the last few
decades, who suddenly have to endure a sudden series of weddings when
a ton of their mutual friends start tying the know within a
surprisingly small period. This wants to be a comedy, but its more
like a video sleeping pill.
they get married? Viewers will want to quickly fire for a divorce
form watching the long, long, long, long 99 minutes that tend to
pander tot he audience, play in that fictitious world where everyone
needs to get married or they are alone and worthless (wait, that is a
subsection of real life, right?) and that means this 'plus' is a real
minus. Haircut 1-- anyone?
Deleted Scenes and unnecessarily Extended Scenes are thankfully the
we have the original Topper
(1936) directed by Norman Z. McLeod, with Constance Bennett and Cary
Grant as a couple who love to party in high society as part of that
society, when they wreck their ever-valuable car and get themselves
killed. However, they are still around as ghosts (not going to
heaven yet?) and land up helping, while having some fun with, the
title character (Roland Young in greta comic form) who is married and
dealing with all kinds of issues himself.
Burke is his wife a few years before Wizard
immortality, plus then actress Hedda Hopper turns up along with
Arthur Lake, Eugene Pallette and Alan Morbray. The result is an
influential hit comedy classic that also inspired two sequels, a TV
version and more than a few imitators. Everyone should see this one
at least once.
for all three Topper
films are the only extras, but the sequels are reviewed elsewhere on
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Billy seems
like just a new, high quality HD master Warner just did, which we've
come to expect from the Archive collection, then you keep watching
and you start getting shots of excellent, outstanding color (and not
just during the tent shows) that can be stunning, demo quality and
even above the rating I am giving the film. There are still flaws
and spots that hold it back a bit, but it is stunning.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Plus
is a generic HD shoot at best that has more detail issues and flaws
then expected, so forget any dreamlike wedding movie, while the 1080p
1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on
Topper might have some flaws from aging, but looks pretty
decent for tis age and that it likely did not come from the original
camera negative. It can more than compete with Plus.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Plus
has an inconsistent soundfield, is very talky and not very
impressive, so it is no surprise that the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Billy
can actually more than compete and is in much better shape than
is here in PCM 2.0 Mono and cannot help but show its age.
1.33 X 1 black & white image on the Smith shorts looks very good
throughout since they were all transferred from first-rate 35mm film
materials, so no problems here. The
1.33 X 1 color image on the Burnett
DVDs are once again, in great shape for their age and the old NTSC
format, remastered as well as possible, but we do get minor analog
videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine
flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage in
parts. Otherwise, it is up to al the great previous sets and singles
we have covered to date.
DVD sets offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound that is fine for
their age, but I bet we'd get a little more quality out of potential
lossless encodes. Otherwise, they play fine.
order either The Best Of Pete Smith DVD and/or Bronco Billy
Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive