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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Music > Jazz > Australia > Comedy > Radio > Rock Music > Musical > Backstage > Romance > Showtunes > Pop > Dingo (1991/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Pump Up The Volume (1990*)/My Dream Is Yours (1949*)/On Moonlight Bay (1951*)/Show Boat (1951/MGM/*all Warner Archive Blu-rays)/The Tremeloes: The Comp

Dingo (1991/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Pump Up The Volume (1990*)/My Dream Is Yours (1949*)/On Moonlight Bay (1951*)/Show Boat (1951/MGM/*all Warner Archive Blu-rays)/The Tremeloes: The Complete CBS Recordings 1966 - 72 (MVD/Grapefruit/Cherry Red U.K. CD Box Set)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Dingo Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia and can play on all 4K & Blu-ray players, while the other four feature film Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Next up are five restored feature films that all feature music prominently, including three classic musicals, plus a fine, long overdue collection of one of the most underrated rock music acts well remastered...

We'll start with Rolf de Heer's Dingo (1991) with Colin Friels (a big star in Australia who sadly never became known in the U.S.) as a man who finds a love of jazz and trumpet when he sees a popular musician (the mighty, legendary Miles Davis in his only dramatic film role) playing an impromptu show at a small, local airport where he lives out in the outback.

Though we have seen some of the melodramatic moments in some other films (including the recent restoration of Young Man With A Horn with Kirk Douglas from Warner Archive, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and it can still be gritty, but the main point is the love of Jazz music and the film does a fine job of putting that front and center. David helped make the score with Michel LeGrand and it is very well composed and recorded. The film captures Jazz and the love of it.

It also has points to make about life, love, music and being honest from where you come from and are coming from. This may be de Heer's best film, but one that describes a much larger audience and I hope this new restoration helps that happen as this is worth a good look for those interested.

Extras trailers for three de Heer films (including this one), on-camera interviews with de Herr and lead actress Helen Bundy and a rushes reel of footage form the film with audio commentary by de Heer explaining the production further.

Next, Christian Slater stars in Pump Up The Volume (1990), which surprisingly hasn't had a Blu-ray release until now. The film is a bit dated in some regards, but its point is still poignant. This is also a defining role for Christian Slater and worth watching for his performance alone.

Slater plays Mark Hunter, a new teenager in his small Arizona town who is quiet in school, but in his free time is a pirate radio DJ named Hard Harry, who sends out messages of free speech and inspiration to his fellow high school classmates. In this pre-internet tale, Harry inspires his fellow classmates with monologues on sex, drugs, music, and later exposes a corrupt school principal. As Mark grows in popularity among his peers, he also finds love, and eventually ends up a local hero.

The film also stars Andy Romano, Scott Paulin, Mimi Kennedy, Ellen Greene, and Samantha Mathis with direction by Allan Moyle (Empire Records).

The only extra is an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Pump Up The Volume is a great movie and a precursor in some ways to Director Moyle's immensely popular film Empire Records that he made a few years later. While this Blu-ray edition doesn't have much in the way of extras, what it does have is a nice remaster of the film that's worth the price tag if you're a fan.

Michael Curtiz's My Dream Is Yours (1949) is one of the most glamorous, upscale backstage musicals that asks the question 'will she make it?' that you will ever see, though such stories have been part of sound cinema since the musical began (What Price Hollywood?, later remade several times as A Star Is Born is the most famous of them all) and we could even cite a few silent films with such a tale to tell.

Here, Jack Carson is talent agent Doug Blake, who has a popular male singing star (Lee Bowman) under contract, but a young new female singer (this film would continue to put Day on the map) is waiting in the wings and Doug is sure she could be the next big thing... and maybe bigger than the guy he is about to have a professional falling out with.

Yes, the studio that brought sound to film proved they could make as big, great or important a full-color musical as any other studio in town (MGM was Warner's biggest competitor in the genre, but they tended to be ahead of everyone else, though Paramount turned out some big ones) and the supporting cast including Eve Arden (Grease, Our Miss Brooks) in one of her best roles, the soon-to-be-controversial Adolph Menjou, Edgar Kennedy, Franklin Pangborn, a pre-producer Sheldon Leonard and even Bugs Bunny in a live-action/animated mix sequence are among the supporting cast.

The film has a few off moments, but it looks incredible too (see the tech section below) and is definitely worth a look.

Extras include the Looney Tunes Shakespeare-spoof short ''Ham In A Role'' in Technicolor, DTS-MA Mono & HD, vintage Joe McDoakes live action comedy short ''So You Want To Be An Actor'' in black and white, Oscar-nominated live action short ''The Grass Is Always Greener'' and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Roy Del Ruth's On Moonlight Bay (1951) already has the strange advantage of its title song being very well known for generations after the film's release, as several of the Looney Tunes characters have performed it in several big, famous hit animated Technicolor cartoons that get played on TV pretty much every day even now! But before Tweety Bird and Bugs Bunny did remakes that are actually not bad (thank you Mel Blanc!) and allows even the lyrics to stick with us, this was the original feature film with Doris Day and Gordon McRae as two people who star to fall in love.

Apparently, this is a surprise of sorts since she tends to be a tomboy, but that's a picnic (literally!) as WWI approaches and guess who is getting drafted? Not her!

This one runs 95 minutes, has some decent songs, but the title track tops them all and Day is in early prime form, reminding us why she was one of the biggest female movie stars at the time in the world. Set in the midwest, this could almost also be a folk musical, but none of the clothes or brooms came to life, so you can skip expecting that one.

Extras include the Looney Tunes Charlie Dog in Italy short ''A Hound For Trouble'' in Technicolor & HD, vintage live action musical short ''Let's Sing A Song About The Moonlight'' and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

George Sidney's Show Boat (1951) is one of several versions of the ever-controversial stage musical that has been performed thousands of times and had some of its classic songs recorded by the most important singers of all time. It also has one of the most problematic legacies of any major musical ever made in its issues with racism (Carousel has the same problem with its sexism) and watching any version of Show Boat can be a cringe-worthy experience.

This version especially glazes over racism at times, which supports some ugly stereotypes we will not even get into, so why still watch this version? Because it is in Technicolor, slavery being misrepresented is not the whole film (which conversely can be seen as trivializing it, but that is for a separate essay) and you can see some money in it, as well as some big names. You get Ava Gardner, who continues to be as intriguing as ever, Howard Keel in his early peak and Kathryn Grayson, who has become a bit underrated in recent years.

The background of the South and its problems will remind one of Gone With The Wind, no Civil War issues either, but the main feature is a love triangle between the three (Marge and Gower Champion, one of whom just passed on as this posted, add to the dancing) and from the extras, we find out that the makers were not for sure which lady should sing which songs. That's a bad sign right there. Either way, Arthur Freed's music unit was in top form, though the musical was starting to go into decline at this time as a genre and everyone knew it ('that Rock N Roll music' NOT the reason either) and every one looks great (some more than they would in real life) and supporting turns by Joe E. Brown, Robert Sterling and Agnes Moorehead round o0ut the production.

I will even add that songs like ''Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man'' and ''Ol' Man River'' are classics, for better and even worse, so no doubt about its success and the songs outside of its narrative can be good (though I always thought a few of these were not that good) so you can now judge for yourself. You cannot say they did not try, but too bad they were not forward-thinking and could have tried to make some helpful modifications.

This would be the final feature film version of this musical and they quit (almost) while they were ahead.

Extras include a feature-length audio commentary track by Director Sidney, 1952 Lux Radio Theater hour-long version, an Original Theatrical Trailer and bonus clips from the film not used in it including the ''Til The Clouds Roll By'' sequence from the 1946 version of the film and Ava Gardner with her vocal versions of ''Can't Help Lovin Dat Ma'' and ''Bill'' before they changed vocalists.

Finally, a fun new set of a band you may have heard or heard of, but deserves to be remembered more fondly. The Tremeloes: The Complete CBS Recordings 1966 - 72 covers the underrated run of hits worldwide, formed in Essex, England back in the early 1960s. This 6-CD set shows their growth, often includes both the mono and stereo versions of their songs, plus unreleased and rarely heard recordings and works its way up to movie soundtrack work. The song that put them on the map was one of the rare songs by Frankie Valli and the Four seasons that was a smaller hit, but this band went all out in their cover to top it.

''Silence Is Golden'' was a smash hit, they nailed it and its nice to hear it sounding so good here, including four versions in this set: mono, stereo, live and in Spanish! They also did many other cover songs on the way and from each album, you can hear them grow from good musicians who can sing and harmonize, to peaking at the edge of the peak of the counterculture. The contents are very extensive and you can read the full contents at this link:


The band was formed with a slightly different line-up in the early 1960s, then with a few member changes, started their run hits and success. Other hits include ''Here Comes My Baby,'' ''Even The Bad Times Are Good,'' ''Suddenly You Love Me,'' ''My Little Lady,'' ''(Call Me) Number One,'' and ''Me And My Life''. Thus, most of the songs in the set are deep cuts, live versions of these hits, alternate tracks and B-sides, et al. The band members include Len 'Chip' Hawkes, Alan Blakely, Ricky West and Dave Munden. The set gives us a great, rather untold story of the band, though this is hardly the first hits set on them, as noted.

So if that was not enough, the unexpected bonus here is the first time their songs for the still-not-on-DVD-or-Blu-ray film May Morning (1970) makes its debut here for the first time anywhere in any format. As part of a cycle of Rock Bands adding music to various non-musical/non-concert counterculture films (The Yardbirds in Antonioni's Blow-Up, Pink Floyd on his film Zabriskie Point, The Zombies in Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing) and the content of the film (taking place at Oxford) is apparently rather racy and controversial then and now. We hope to see the film (and others like it, some of which may be orphan films, this one was issued by UMC) on Blu-ray soon, but the songs are at least interesting and a few may be shocking. They certainly make one want to see the film all the more.

In a few years, the band would leave the now-defunct CBS Records (bought by Sony Music, though as usual for any such acquisition, they did not keep some of the music they originally issued) and the band sadly had no more major hits. It should be noted that the last few songs on the final CD (not from the movie soundtrack) were not issued, while others were and did not chart. They banished them to their Epic Records subdivision years before it became a big deal and the band eventually left the company.

Not counting any of the extra tracks or great vintage artwork and covers from various albums, et al, the only extra (including some of those images) is an illustrated booklet with an essay by David Wells with even more details on the band and technical information. All in all, a very archival collection!

Now for the technical playback on all these releases...

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dingo is a nice 4K-scanned upgrade from all previous clips I have seen of the film, plus its DVD version, shot in Super 35mm by Denis Lenoir in an early success. He has to handle both outdoor work and indoor work in different places and situations and times that are more varied than you might expect. The results are nice, smooth and mesh well together. The sound was originally theatrical Dolby Stereo analog sound (started as the older A-type system release, but apparently was issued in the more advance Spectral Recording (SR) noise reduction format) and has been upgraded here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes, likely helped by the music being recorded in a studio.

Like actual musicals up to about this point, the music always has better sonics than the location dialogue and the like, but this sounds impressive for its time, especially the music, and is likely the best this film will ever sound. Nice restoration!

All three Warner Archive musical Blu-rays are here in 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition restorations from their original film elements and were originally issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor versions. The studios went all out and the results are impressive and sometimes even stunning as expected, but My Dream Is Yours is the best disc visually on this entire list, with Technicolor that is definitive, just will not quit and looks like a million dollars non-stop!

Warner knew what they had in Doris Day and even Eve Arden looks exceptional as she pulls off her sometimes visual comedy. All three also have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes from their original theatrical monophonic presentations. They all sound as good as they likely ever will, though Show Boat somehow sounds a bit more aged and off for whatever reasons. Otherwise, very impressive all around.

Pump Up The Volume is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1:85 X 1 and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mix (off of its analog Dolby System soundmaster, et al), both of which are up to par for the format. The film has a killer soundtrack with many recognizable songs of the era. This is a new 2K remaster of the film and certainly looks better than the previous DVD version, which was all we had.

And finally, the PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1 kHz sound on all six Tremeloes CDs is easily the best I have ever heard the band in my entire life, whether in mono or stereo, you can hear that they were better musicians than they ever got credit for and could really sing well. I think more than a few people who hear this set will be shocked and it is nice to hear no warped sound on ''Silence Is Golden''.

To order the Dingo Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link:


and to order any or all of the four Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Volume)



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