Joy: Series 1
& Hardy: The Definitive Collection
(1927 - 37/MVD/Kit Parker Films/Sprocket Vault Blu-ray Set)/Reluctant
On The High Seas
(1948/*all Warner Archive Blu-rays)
B/C+/B/B/B Sound: B-/C+/B-/B-/B- Extras: C-/C-/B+/C-/C+
Main Programs: C+/C+/B/B-/B-
On The High Seas
Blu-rays now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
next are a set of comedies, old and new, but especially a set of
classics long overdue for restoring and saving....
start with David S. Ward's remake of Cannery
(1982) with Nick Nolte meeting Debra Winger in the tale of a
declining area he is still living in and she is visiting thinking it
is more alive than it is. With no more fishing or much canning going
on, the place is a dead spot with people left behind because they
have no means or energy to move on. Based on the John Steinbeck
book, a sort of romance starts to develop between them in this comedy
that reproduces the era in a decent way, even if it is a little more
surreal and clean than realistic.
supporting cast is not bad either, including Audra Linley (Mrs. Roper
from TV's Three's
and its spin-off) in a nice change of pace that shows what a good
actress she was, but the film is a mixed bag, trying to be in the
mode of The
(some of the same people are involved) and was part of a new retro
Hollywood cycle (including Scorsese's New
York New York
(despite its deconstructive intents), Coppola's One
From The Heart
and even the David Bowie film Absolute
all reviewed elsewhere on this site) and in this case, it is a
good-looking film that works its way into a predictable corner it
never gets out of. Pairing Nolte and Winger has its pluses, but the
film does not take full advantage of them.
John Huston narrate parts of the film seems like a last-minute add-on
that does not work or matter and it is an interesting failure at
best. It did not do well at the box office, but continues to be a
curio. Adding to the troubles at the time is that Rachel Welch was
the original co-star, but MGM decided to dump her, but she had
already signed. Not a smart move, Welch sued for millions of dollars
for contract violation and (still looking great at the time too) age
discrimination and won! That bad publicity and her many fans also
turned against the film, and it was gone from theaters soon after its
release. Oh well.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra, though it would have
been nice if Warner included the Tweety Bird cartoon Canary
(Amy Huberman) is a wallflower and she is having a tough time with
her life after just breaking up with her boyfriend. You would think
she would be happy to be suddenly promoted to be a (temporary) stand
in for her network's show, The
To attend and report various events and how to find happiness in
Joy: Series 1
is also a control freak, germaphobe, shallow and she depends on
others for her happiness. The only reason why she got her new
position at work is because she is the token blonde girl, but she is
a far cry from the real show hostess who is on emergency medical
leave. In truth, she is totally unhappy because she knows she at
fault for her breakup and she is totally jealous of her
ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend who is prettier, nicer and kinder than
her... and she somehow shows up at her news reports. Her reports on
happiness only make her feel worst (since she is faking it), however
this entertains the audience and get the ratings up (which make the
networks happy), but the people are happier not because of her, but
because they realize they are not as miserable as her.
series was like a mix of Legally
crossed with Pee-Wee Herman with a British/Irish accent in this Irish
TV production. It was a comedy, but I found it a bit depressing
making fun of stereotypes, relationships and females. And while the
main character is at fault for her actions she is also a bully, but
you don't feel sorry for her, the series seems to make you laugh at a
bully being bullied. Extras include trailers and behind the scenes
next is a set that promised a great deal and delivers even more, far
more, than I expected.
sad split has developed in recent decades where singular comedy
figures (Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Chase, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton,
even W.C. Fields) while comedy teams are treated as if they are
secondary and do not get as much respect or scholarly attention like
The Three Stooges (whose point was to trash snobs), The Marx Brothers
(taking snobs on on their own turf), Abbott & Costello (better
than they get credit for these days), Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis
(Paramount has been holding their films hostage to an extent) and any
other classic team you can name.
many of the silent comedy legends did not make it into the sound film
era as we wish they had (save Chaplin, still making silent films
years after everyone else moved to sound), the Three Stooges were
still making shorts elsewhere with Ted Healy, but two longtime comedy
stars had already became a hit late in the silent era: Stan Laurel
and Oliver Hardy. Backed by the Number One studio in Hollywood (MGM)
at the Number One comedy studio in Hollywood and maybe the world (Hal
Roach Studios), the duos synergy was an instant hit and they became a
huge worldwide sensation.
& Hardy: The Definitive Collection
collects a nice helping of their classic
films from 1927 to 1937 that shows them at their best, funniest and
hold up even better than I expected. I had not seen some of these in
eons, but I am impressed by their boldness, the way they go out of
their way for laughs (making most of today's comedy look very lazy by
comparison) and the amazing, innovative ways they pulled off many of
their sight gags, including sight gags few would dare to try today.
Even some of the tricks using cinematography is unusual ways still
then they are hilarious without trying and have a rare natural talent
hardly anyo0pne in cinema history ever had. Using the promo
highlights with some additions, here is what you get in this
4-Blu-ray disc set...
PREMIERES! Laurel and Hardy's legendary 1927 silent "pie fight"
film THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY makes its video debut after being
"lost" for 90 years! The only reel of L&H bloopers and
out-takes, THAT'S THAT!
short comedies BERTH MARKS (1929 and 1936 (with more sound)
versions), BRATS (1930 and 1937 (with more sound) versions; I like
the older copies of each a little more), HOG WILD, COME CLEAN, ONE
GOOD TURN, HELPMATES, THE MUSIC BOX (the legendary Academy Award
winning "piano moving" short), THE CHIMP, COUNTY HOSPITAL,
SCRAM!, THEIR FIRST MISTAKE, TOWED IN A HOLE, TWICE TWO, ME AND MY
PAL, THE MIDNIGHT PATROL, and BUSY BODIES in addition to the feature
films SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST (which includes the team's
famous soft shoe dance routine).
HOURS of EXCLUSIVE extras - 2,500 rare photos and studio documents,
audio and film interviews with L&H co-workers, 12 original music
tracks saved form glass acetate records and trailers plus a full
restoration of their one surviving color film (they are in the
opening of an industrial film promoting timber), THE TREE IN A TEST
Excellent, informative Audio Commentaries by L&H historians Randy
Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann.
short averages 20 minutes a piece and tend to be the best work
overall, with the longer films being a bit experimental and has the
team trying to figure out how to go longer narratively, et al. I
like them too, with Music
lasting 40 minutes as the longest short and being the best of the
at 68 minutes and West
at 64 minutes. No matter the running time, the work is priceless,
the extras here extensive and this is easily one of the best sets of
the year. Nice to see Laurel & Hardy and their legacy finally
get the respect they deserve.
(1958) is one of the legendary director's lesser-known films, but one
of his most interesting as a classy couple (Kay Kendall (in sadly one
of her last films before her untimely death) and Rex Harrison (the
inspiration for the voice of Stewie on the massive animated TV hit
as well as the stage and future big screen My
and original Dr.
films) have huge plans for her daughter (Sandra Dee in more than her
usual teen romance fluff film) to be in the top of the social
register in London, but it is not going to; go smoothly since she is
not interested in all that prestige pomp and is interested in a young
guy (John Saxon, being positioned to be a future big lead actor
before becoming a genre film legend instead) who is a drummer and not
a Dow Jones expert.
Lansbury also shows up as a non-stop talking society woman who drives
everyone nuts and has her moments. The result is a film with more
ups than downs, a few more laughs than expected and more amusing
moments that work than you might think. Even when the film has off
moments, something additionally interesting is always turning up to
offset that, so it is definitely a film worth taking a look at. Nice
it is being reissued in such a fine new, restored edition.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
we have the impressive big screen debut of no less than Doris Day,
Michael Curtiz's Romance
On The High Seas
(1948) with Day as a singer named Georgia (in surprisingly great form
here) pretending to be a woman aboard a ship who happens to have
stayed home unknown to her husband, who has a spy on the ship spying
on his 'wife' who Georgia is now substituting for!
the fun with mistaken identity there, the infamous Oscar Levant shows
up to play piano and sing, Jack Carson, Janis Paige, Don DeFore round
out the main cast, Busby Berkley delivers the big musical numbers (he
directs them) and through legendary co-writers Jule Styne and Sammy
Cahn, we get several new songs, including the classic ''It's
that continued to cause Day's star to rise and is also remembered as
the song Bugs Bunny sang (with altered lyrics to reflect his love of
carrots) taking a shower under a short-lived waterfall in one of the
most successful Bugs short animated cartoons ever made... Rabbit
and later casually when battling Count Bloodcount (Abracadabra vs.
Hocus Pocus) in Transylvania
Too bad they are not included here as extras.
do include an Original Theatrical Trailer, menu access specifically
to all the songs in the film you can click to to see and hear,
classic Warner animated short Hare
and live action short Let's
Sing A Song From The Movies.
In the meantime, you can read about other films she made later in
this DVD set of hers we covered years ago (and hope all arrive on
Blu-ray at some point) for your reference:
for playback quality, which is impressive across all the Blu-rays.
The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Cannery
looks good and accurate, shot by the legendary Sven Nykvist, A.S.C.,
with some nice, consistent color (from MetroColor) and slight
softness to communicate a nostalgia. I holds up well and is one of
the highlights of (re)watching the film, rarely showing its age.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Debutante
was also processed in MetroColor, but was shot in the older
CinemaScope format, so it has some permanent distortions and soft
spots inherent to those older lenses. With that said, we get many
great shots and impressive compositions from a time when the scope
frame was still considered a gimmick by many (it took decades before
that thinking ended) and has been restored to look as good as it ever
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Seas
was produced in dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor version of the film and this restored version
looks like it often with some demo shots and shows the effort and
money on the screen. Detail is fine, so alignment of the strips
worked out well for the age of the material. Nice!
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on all three Warner
Archive releases have also been cleaned up without ruining the sound
and I doubt they will ever sound better, though Debutante
is actually offered in the artificial stereo format known as
Perspecta Sound (often used on large frame VistaVision films) and is
worth playing back in various surround formats to see if you can get
even better sound.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfers on all the Laurel
films, shorts and semi-long feature film, can show the age of the
materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous
releases of the film that I have ever seen. Save a few film prints,
their work has never looked better, all shot on nitrate film of the
time, some shots might be flawed or softer than others, but very
often, the image is sharp, clean and clear. That means the acting,
physical comedy and set-ups are more vivid and have greater impact,
resulting in it all being even funnier. Fans will be shocked and the
PCM 2.0 Mono across most of the films sound impressive for their age.
Needless to say it makes all the older copies of these films,
especially in low-def formats, obsolete.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Joy
has a little motion blur more often that one would like, while the
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is joke/dialogue-based and not that
strong, but passable.
order any of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Cannery
On The High Seas,
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Joy)