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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Skits > Stand-Up > TV > Military > Holiday > Bob Hope – The Ultimate Collection (Upgraded Version/R2 Entertainment/DVD-Video)

Bob Hope – The Ultimate Collection (R2 Entertainment/DVD-Video)


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



The legend of Bob Hope is immense and is often easy to forget.  Ironically, since his humor could be so biting about politics, there are those who would like to forget him despite his inarguable service to the U.S. and at a time when history and wisdom is made too disposable by too many, the timing of Bob Hope – The Ultimate Collection on DVD could not be better.


A four disc set, the first has the rich, two-part 50 Years Of Laughter program, while DVD 2 offers the Hope For The Holidays compilation and impressive Salute To The Troops program showing how much Hope traveled the world to entertain the U.S. Armed Forces in a record that may never be broken for decades if ever.  All are compilations, though Troops is shot all on film.


DVD 3 has the only extras (see below) and a decent Celebrity Bloopers compilation, while DVD 4 has the 90-minutes-long World Of Comedy tribute to comics then and now.  Hope may have set a record for compilation programs, but these are very good and there are stars here for everyone over just about every generation of entertainers since the dawn of motion picture film.  Yes, he even pays tribute to silent cinema comedy geniuses.


The lists for each reads like a who’s who of the industry and shows to what extent and influence (all the way to Woody Allen, who has noted Hope as an explicit influence) he really had at a time when you had to have talent to be a star and stay in the media.  Oh, how times have changed for the worst in that respect.  All in all, this is a set worthy of the title, which is not easy and is worth a look for anyone interested in comedy and history.


The 1.33 X 1 image is odd because the flashback clips have the disadvantage of being down a generation or two, plus being transferred with older, obsolete analog video equipment.  Someone needs to go back when an HD upgrade is done for this material, though most of it is NTSC video or kinescope.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono throughout varies as much as the quality of the clips, but is usually clearer.


Extras are only on DVD 3 and include two Warner Vitaphone shorts hope made in the 1930s, Memories of World War II piece and his first radio broadcast with stills.  Little did they know back in 1935 that they were debuting a legend.  The reasons for that legend are evident all over this set.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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