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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Large Frame Format > Matchmaker (1958)

The Matchmaker (1958)


Picture: A-     Sound: C     Extras: D     Film: B-



The Matchmaker from 1958 is an average little romantic comedy starring Anthony Perkins stuck right between his roles in 1955’s Fear Strikes Out and his most memorable role in 1960’s Psycho.  The film holds up pretty well even though the material is quite outdated, but really holds this film together is its presentation onto the DVD format.  Just to show you how far transfers have gone in the DVD world the film looks stunning compared to most of the films of this age available on the format. 


It was released by Paramount and was shot in black and white VistaVision and even looks better than some of the other really good releases we have seen by this studio such as Fear Strikes Out, which was also shot in the incredible VistaVision format, which allowed for a much sharper image due to the process in which it was photographed.  Today VistaVision is mainly used for special visual effects work, which allows for a clean negative print to work with, which enables even digital effects to be created on an easier, larger and much better negative area.


Unfortunately, this is the case because once you see this print you will quickly realize just how amazing a film can look when done right, regardless of the content.  There are several scenes in the film that demonstrate some of the best grayscale that I can recall seeing on the format.  There are a few in which a black carriage is seen, which is presented in the deepest black and does not have a washed out look at all, but rather looks natural and the whites are not burned or even blurred out, which sometimes happens with sloppy transfers.  This transfer equals some of the better prints circulating around such as Warner’s Casablanca Special Edition or even the restored Citizen Kane.  This is also a landmark for Paramount as the film ranks up with some of their best DVD work alongside the prints for Hud (1962) or Seconds (1966), at least for a black and white production. 


I know that I have barely talked about the film at this point, but trust me if I felt that the plot summary would really aid anything it would have been mentioned, rather I felt it was more important to discuss the technical achievement of this DVD, which is worthy of ownership just on that merit alone, especially if you are fan of VistaVision or even black and white in general.  Suffice it to say that the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image looks exceptional.  The sound is a mediocre Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix, which is nothing spectacular and sounds a bit ‘hissy’ for my tastes, but you’ll be so stunned by the picture that you may not even notice.


No extras at all, but Paramount deserves a nice round of applause for the work done here and we shall leave it at that.  Let’s hope we continue to see excellent work like this because the more we see, the higher the benchmark and that means people won’t settle for average work that many of these studios have been pumping out since the format began.  This was the inspiration for the stage and film musical Hello Dolly, the film of which Fox made sure was shot in Todd AO 70mm for the 1969 Gene Kelly/Barbra Streisand release.



-   Nate Goss


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