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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Romance > WWII > Documentary > Stand Up > Homelessness > Ziegfeld Girl (1941/*all MGM/Warner Archive Blu-rays)

The Clock (1945*)/Comedy Confessions (2018/Film Movement DVD)/For Me And My Gal (1942*)/Jackie Gleason: Television Treasures 70th Anniversary Collection (1953 - 1969/MPI DVD Set)/The King's Daughter (2021/Universal Blu-ray)/Ziegfeld Girl (1941/*all MGM/Warner Archive Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Clock, For Me And My Gal and Ziegfeld Girl Blu-rays now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Now for our latest set of comedy/musical releases...

Vincente Minelli's The Clock (1945) is the first of three Judy Garland/MGM/WWII projects meant to support the Allies, U.S. troops and hype the cause of freedom for the war. The last of the three made here, it is the only non-musical as she meets a soldier (Robert Walker) on a two-day pass and they fall deeply in love instantly. The film makes fun of it all from the start and it has a decent supporting cast, including Keenan Wynn as 'The Drunk' so high art it is not, but it is a time capsule of the kind of thing (in less-exaggerated variants in real life) that was going on.

Garland steals all of her scenes as she carries most of the film, but she does this with ease and though it is not her greatest film, it is an interesting one and one certainly worth a look.

Extras include Vintage Pete Smith Specialty short Hollywood Scout, Classic MGM/Tex Avery Cartoon "Screwy Truant" (HD,) Audio-only bonus: Radio Show Adaptation with Judy Garland and John Hodiak and an Original Theatrical Trailer (HD).

Gabriele Sebastian's Comedy Confessions (2018) is actually a documentary that is now out on DVD because it has become a curio. It follows three stand up comics who happen to be homeless, a rare release on that subject in any way, shape or form, but it is Tiffany Haddish who actually has 'made it' since this was released and shows a general homeless situation getting worse as one would expect when people who can vote vote against their own economic interests.

I am sad to say we have seen the awful side of this before and it is not getting any better, then consider this was before COVID arrived. Doc Jones and Steven Lolli are the other two comics and they are actually not bad and on Haddish's level, but it reminds us how ugly things are and can get, yet how things can sometimes change if one catches a break, et al. It was worth a look, but it might be a little too painful for some to view.

Extras include Trailers for this and a few other releases.

Busby Berkeley's For Me And My Gal (1942) has the legendary choreographer expanding his art, especially for WWII, with the other big highlight being the feature film debut of quickly-rising star Gene Kelly, who was about to become a staple at MGM, in all of cinema history and an outstanding partner for Garland. Taking place in the Vaudeville days, George Murphy was actually the decent male lead here, but the instant chemistry between Garland and Kelly can be seen more immediately than you might expect.

Highlight songs include the title song, The Doll Shop, After You've Gone, Ballin' The Jack, Pack Up Your Troubles, When Johnny Comes Marching Home and It's A Long, Long Way From Tipperary. Some of the songs, plus others used as instrumentals or sung by others, were already established classics or known hits. The choices here are better than average, if not a cumulative home run, but this is a war propaganda film, so it has a different purpose. Definitely worth a look, though expect limits as it is a time capsule more than a regular musical.

Extras include a very smart, thorough feature length audio commentary track by Judy Garland biographer John Fricke, Vintage Musical Shorts: Every Sunday and La Fiesta de Santa Barbara, For Me and My Gal Deleted Finale, Three Cheers For The Yanks (Outtake), Photo Re-Creations With Original Recordings, Audio Only Bonuses: Screen Guild Players Radio Show from March 23, 1943, with Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, and Dick Powell, Leo is on the Air Radio Trailer and an Original Theatrical Trailer (HD).

Jackie Gleason: Television Treasures (1953 - 1969) is a decent culmination of skits that do include some Honeymooners revivals, but also lesser-seen American Scene Magazine comedy skits from that hit Gleason show that is a bit underrated and under-remembered. Art Carney shows up more often than expected, which is great, plus we get Audrey Meadows coming back as Alice Kramden when she was working less in real life. The show changed locales from Miami, Florida to New York City just to accommodate her schedule and the chemistry is still there.

Gleason's Poor Soul and Joe The Bartender (an almost spiritual cousin of Archie on Duffy's Tavern) also show up, reminding us of his diversity of talent and what a great group of characters he had created that deserve to be rediscovered. This is part of a new cycle of Gleason on DVD we've been getting lately and it is always a welcome cycle.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the shows including informative text and an essay by Robert S. Bader, while DVD One adds a 1956 Team Wrestling skit (shot to look that way) with Reginald Van Gleason III, then DVD Two adds 'Ed Norton' presenting an award to Gleason in 1967, The Great Gleason express on a 1965 Steve Lawrence Show and the 2006 documentary Jackie Gleason: Genius At Work narrated by Jeff Garlin.

Pierce Brosnan, the late William Hurt, and Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean) star In The King's Daughter (2021), which is presented here on Blu-ray disc from Universal. The fairy tale film isn't anything too terribly groundbreaking in terms of character development or storytelling, but is an easy watch and appropriate for an audience of any age.

Narrated at the head and tail of the film by Julie Andrews, the film also features Benjamin Walker and Bingbing Fan.

The Sun King, Louis XIV (Brosnan) and his vile son devise a hard-brained scheme to kidnap a female mermaid in an attempt to use its powers to harness eternal life and 'save France' by using its wholesome power for evil. Meanwhile, an orphan (Scodelario) ends up coming to his kingdom and she is definitely not like the other girls there, but a pure soul and even a cellist and musical composer.

Well, it doesn't take long for her to befriend this mermaid once it is captive in the King's chamber, and for her to fall for the man who captured the mermaid as well. This interferes with the King's plans of sacrificing the mermaid and a planned arranged marriage he has in mind for her as well as she finds out she is the King's daughter. Their mixed goals come to a head in the end where the King must make a decision for what is best for France in his own mind even if it's against the wishes of his spiritual advisor (Hurt) and his newly discovered daughter.

Special Features include Deleted Scenes.

The King's Daughter isn't anything groundbreaking, but is an easy and entertaining watch that is headlined by some interesting onscreen chemistry between Brosnan and the late Hurt, and some decent production design to boot.

Finally, we have Robert Z. Leonard's Ziegfeld Girl (1941) that brings Judy Garland together with no less than James Stewart, Lana Turner, Heddy Lamarr, Eve Arden, Fay Holden, Tony Martin, Jackie Cooper and Edward Everett Horton in this earlier film from MGM that looks at the famous Ziegfeld Follies and the incredibly hard work that went on behind the scenes and stage to do the exceptionally spectacular shows he did. Still a WWII film, the three female leads want to be big starts and all kinds of conflicts and relationship crossings ensue in what is still a Backstage Musical Comedy.

Songs this time include You Stepped Out Of A Dream, I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, Caribbean Love Song, Ziegfeld Girls, Minnie From Trinidad, You Gotta Pull Strings and Laugh? I Thought I'd Split My Sides. Busby Berkeley does all the choreography and that makes this one also a must see, but again, keep in mind it was made for the war effort, so it will not be your usual musical.

Extras include an introduction by Judy Garland Biographer John Fricke, the Vintage Musical Short: A New Romance Of Celluloid, We Must Have Music, Our Gang Short: Melodies Old And New, Audio-Only Outtakes: Too Beautiful To Last (Tony Martin) and We Must Have Music (Finale w/Judy Garland And Tony Martin) and an Original Theatrical Trailer (HD).

Now for playback performance. The King's Daughter is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). The presentation on disc isn't bad here, and the film has pretty good production design and digital effects considering the fact that it's on the lower budget spectrum.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers on all three MGM/Judy Garland Blu-rays from Warner Archive look great for their age, rarely showing their age and often delivering remarkable detail and depth, plus the Video Black and Grey Scale are impressive. I have never seen them looking so good. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on all three films sound as good as they likely ever will, more of the great restoration work in action, though The Clock sounds older, is dialogue-based and shows its age more for whatever reasons. Only so much can be done, but its fine for what it is.

The 1.33 X 1 image on the various Gleason programs range from kinescope to color videotape, to black and white footage that we are lucky survived. They look about as good as they ever will, with likely some work applied to them, but analog videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, tape damage and where applicable, cross color and faded color. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono can have its rough spots, but there are no major audio issues here.

The 1.33 X 1 image on Comedy is from various older video sources, usually full color, that are surprisingly not widescreen considering the program is not that old, but there can be some rough moments in this digital images. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo may have some location audio issues, which is to be expected for such a project, but this sounds good otherwise.

To order The Clock, For Me And My Gal and/or Ziegfeld Girl Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (King's)



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