Barry Was A Lady
Funk: The Albums 1976
(1966/*MGM-Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The
Weather Girls Martha Wash: Carry On The Deluxe Collection 1982
(SoulMusic Records/**both Cherry Red Records U.K. CD Sets)
B/B/B/X/B/X Sound: B-/B-/B-/B/C+/B Extras: C (Wet:
B-) Main Programs: B-/B-/B-/B/C+/B
The Cherry Red Records Import CD sets now only available from our
friends at that company from the links below, while all four Blu-ray
discs now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
for a fun set of new music release, four musicals of various types
and two sets of soul albums from two underrated music acts...
start with the groundbreaking hit music that proved you could deliver
a whole feature film musical with sound. Harry Beaumont's Broadway
(1929) was a huge hit (impressive considering The Great Depression
was at hand) and helped keep MGM the top studio in Hollywood as they
featured their top talent of the time in a backstage musical that was
just screaming glamour, behind-the-scenes drama and much more.
up remarkably well for its age, the 'can
they make it big?' tale is always entertaining, a time capsule in
several ways and has really smooth pacing for its age too. Legendary
Arthur Freed (who eventually had his own musicals unit at MGM) wrote
all the songs here and they work well enough, and we get an almost
love triangle between the characters played by Charles King, Anita
Page and Bessie Love, solid stars in their time that deserve to be
remembered more today than they are.
was successful enough to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and
spawn several sequels that we could technically call a movie series
(see just below this) as MGM soon became the king producer of
musicals. Not bad considering they had strong competition from other
studios, but they pulled it off. Very nice to see the film that
started it all holding up so well and surviving so well in this new
restoration. If you go out of your way to see it, you'll
be impressed too.
include the shorts The
and five Metro
plus, for more on the sequels in the series, try these links:
(1953, with Fernando Lamas and the brilliant live action/animation
mix co-starring Tom & Jerry) was part of a first volume of
films we covered in a DVD box set a good while ago. In that review,
Williams was a great swimmer in a way that added a grace and class to
the activity that brought it a new sense of class and glamour never
seen before and if you really think about it, since. The group
dancing in her films even inspired the Olympic event known as
Synchronized Swimming, which never looks silly in these films.''
of her best films, it is always a curio because of the animated/live
action Tom & Jerry sequence, made so again recently by the recent
movie that was a moderate hit. Add the occasional new
straight-to-home-video release and syndicated packages of their
classics and appearances on the Boomerang and Cartoon Network
channels and Wet eventually is seen again by a new group of people.
The technology may be a little dated, but it isn still nicely done.
Great Muppet Caper
is coming out on 4K disc and includes Miss Piggy in a
Williams-inspired musical sequence, add more people who will want to
definitely, see it in this new restoration and you don't
even have to wait for any other rereleases to inspire you.
repeat an outtake musical number, more promotional radio interviews
with Williams and the great Johnny Mercer's
demo recordings of three of the film's
songs, but this Blu-ray upgrade adds an Original Theatrical Trailer,
live-action short This
Is A Living?
and (in HD with lossy Dolby Digital Mono sound) classic Tom &
Jerry Technicolor cartoon short The
Cat and the Mermouse.
Barry Was A Lady
(1943) is a somewhat underrated fantasy musical where the cast is
transported into the past of a fantasy version of 18th Century
France. It starts as an amusing love triangle between Gene Kelly,
comic icon Red Skelton and Lucille Ball, when the studios felt she
could still be one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Even
then, people liked Lucy and her list of pre-TV A-movies impress to
this day. Here, MGM wert all out and this might be the later Queen
most glamorous appearance of all time between her costumes, make-up
and the often lavish sets.
film starts like a backstage musical, already making fun of its
situation and showing off the lush visuals to come, then someone has
the wrong spiked drink and it throws us all back a few centuries.
There are some decent songs (though none particularly stuck with me,
they were better than your later Elvis Musical) and some moments are
very funny. The performances are top notch, though the love triangle
it is the spectacle of it all, with Kelly and company trying to bring
it down to earth (somewhat impossible with all the classic 'bling'
present, but they try) and it is truly something to see now,
especially so well restored all the way to its truly Glorious
Technicolor. This is the kind of film everyone should see at least
once just to appreciate its many strengths and see the cast in rare
form at their best. Zero Mostel, Virginia O'Brien and Tommy Dorsey
(also having some fun here) also star.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer and the MGM Technicolor
Funk: The Albums 1976 - 1983
is an impressive new collection of the band that was also doing dance
and soul music, but hit it big, along with Chic and Donna Summer, as
part of a new cycle and wave of such genre acts with a dynamic new
sound and the sonics to match. Recording for the iconic Salsoul
label, their one massive hit ''I
Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)''
was #1 for three weeks on the R&B chart and just cracked the Top
20 on Billboard's Hot 100 at a time when richer black music of the
time was not always charting on that chart so high.
the band was something special and different from the start with
Down With The Philly Jump
album featuring its provocative, iconic, sexually suggestive cover
photograph. It still looks good and it was a great launch for the
band, followed by the second blockbuster album that featured that
huge hit and had a cover style that was popular at the time (the male
band members half, hardly and/or barely dressed) in several genres.
With the follow-up albums, they were still doing some of the disco
style and when that ended, they quickly stayed with the funk sound,
though their work soon after might remind one of Kool & The Gang
or even more pop-oriented Earth, Wind and Fire.
landed a few songs co-written by Philadelphia soul song legend
Kenneth Gamble and more electronic sound was arriving ala The Gap
Band, so they more than held their own as they moved forward and got
out while they were still making decent music. Sadly, they were
later too associated with disco and the band folded. Too bad,
because maybe with some different producer or second surprise hit,
they may have made more albums, but this is a music group worth
revisiting and its nice to hear so much uncompromised music of both
its genre and of its time.
well-illustrated booklet is included with tech info, track listings
and an outstanding, extensive essay by music scholar Charles Waring
is the extra for this set, give or take bonus tracks.
(1966) is one of the later films we (and many others) refer to as an
but many might ask what that is. Well, with the musical in decline
as a genre, with the rise of Rock music challenging and taking over
the entire music landscape (with Soul, Pop and even Country &
Western not far behind) and most movie musicals bombing and not being
very good (The
Sound Of Music
(1965) was a brief reprieve that got more bad musicals greenlit that
bombed than reviving the genre) meant all kinds of other attempts at
adding music to the moving image on the big screen were taking place.
12 feature films, mostly musicals up to Viva
(1963) with Elvis playing other characters in narrative releases, the
formula films began and 17 of these films followed (though Change
(1969) was a change of pace in a religious-but-campy setting) and no
matter how much money the films did or did not make, they ALL managed
to make a profit making Elvis the only movie star in history to never
have a money-losing feature film. They even recycled previous films,
including Elvis as a race car driver again in the 1968 hit Speedway,
but this time, his co-star was Nancy Sinatra in the default best of
the rest of those films!
he is opposite Shelley Fabares, Deborah Walley, Diane McBain and Una
Merkel in another one of these formula romps. And the formula?
Elvis plays a 'good
guy' working in a blue-collar job, trying to catch a break and
getting distracted by various pretty women in the process. Then what
little narrative there is keeps getting interrupted by safe songs he
sings all over the place that move what little story we get, are not
very memorable, but also take place in an alternate universe of the
1960s that never existed. Then can he succeed in his blue collar
goal and get the girl?
it worked, even if it was a poor substitute for real musicals and
though it was a moneymaker and kept all the older Elvis songs selling
well enough for RCA Records, it nearly killed his legacy and
reputation until his 1968 comeback saved his reputation, career and
for a few years, his soul. This one is watchable at best, but not
that memorable and the visual effects make it worse. At least there
is some money in the clothes and sets. Carl Benz and Cecil Kellaway
round out the supporting cast.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer and the MGM Technicolor Tom &
Jerry Cartoons Catty
we have The
Weather Girls Martha Wash: Carry On The Deluxe Collection 1982 -
featuring the duo that was also known as ''Two
Tons Of Fun'' including in their work with the disco singer known as
Sylvester (whose hits include two iconic classic that hold up well
Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)'')
and for delivering many reinterpretations of classic, established
hits like ''I'm
Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair,''
Girls Don't Cry,''
In The Rain,''
there is their one big cult hit, co-written by David Letterman
in-house band alumni Paul Schaffer, ''It's
and issued with a campy music video with male
bodybuilders as big as the gals belting out the track. It was
success enough and both Dynelle Rhodes and Martha Wash continued
their winning ways after the duo called it quits, including the solo
album by Wash also included in this set. Later still, it is Wash
(and not the dancer in the music video that was a hit worldwide)
belting out ''Everybody
Dance Now!'' on the 1991 #1 worldwide smash ''Gonna
Make You Sweat''
by C & C Music Factory.
all adds up to some amazing singing in an amazing legacy that should
be more than enough to have you seek out and listen to this set.
Cheers to the SoulMusic label, who has been issuing superior CD sets
of major music artists (including the likes of Dionne Warwick and The
Spinners) doing for soul music what The Criterion Collection does for
filmmaking. Definitely recommended!
well-illustrated booklet is included with tech info, track listings
and an outstanding, extensive essay by music scholar Tim Dillinger is
the extra for this set, give or take bonus tracks.
for playback performance. All four of the Warner Archive discs are
from fully restored versions of their respective films and though you
might see some softness or off shots at times, these are the best
these have looked in a long time. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black &
white digital High Definition image transfer on Broadway
is really impressive for a film from 1929 with some amazing depth,
detail, Video Black, Video White and you can see the money on the
screen here as well as how good the actors are in action.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dangerous
is a nice jump from the decent old DVD, while Du
Barry Was A Lady
has a bunch of demo shots throughout, MGM pushing color in everything
from the production design to the costumes. Both were issued in 35mm
three-strip Technicolor and both impress in their won ways very much.
Both top rate A-movies, its great to see two all-out productions
looking like a million bucks again!
X 1 digital High Definition image on Spinout
was shot in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision and looks just fine for
it and this one has Metrocolor, which may not be as lush as
Technicolor, but this is not a lush movie either, sop the color is
about as accurate as possible for as film that is trying (despite its
constant rear projection and process shots) looking more natural than
a classical Hollywood musical.
four discs offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound
from their original optical monophonic theatrical releases and sound
as good as they ever will, though Spinout,
despite being the newest of the four films, sounds a bit flatter and
just not as good for whatever reasons.
PCM 2.0 16/44.1kHz Stereo on both CD sets have often impressive
sonics for the older audio format, but all songs in both sets are
new, impressive and even remarkable remasters that sound like they
are off of the original magnetic soundmasters and are a joy to listen
to throughout. That is more impressive when you consider the hard
the funk and soul beats get or how powerful the gals are as singers.
No harmonic distortion or flaws in either set.
order either of the Cherry Red Records U.K. CD sets, try the
to order any or all four of the Warner Archive Blu-ray discs, go to
this link for them and many more great web-exclusive