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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Musical > The Carmen Miranda Collection (The Gang's All Here/If I'm Lucky/Something For The Boys/Greenwich Village/Doll Face; 20th Century Fox DVD)

The Carmen Miranda Collection (The Gang's All Here/If I'm Lucky/Something For The Boys/Greenwich Village/Doll Face; 20th Century Fox DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-    Films: B-



Carmen Miranda was one of the biggest stars in 1940s Hollywood, but she is not always remembered with the same regard other stars of the time are because of things like time, controversy and political correctness.  It may irritate those critics of her success even more that she was reportedly the top paid female anywhere in the U.S. for all of 1945 and continues to endure as an icon of world cinema.  That is why Fox’s new DVD box set The Carmen Miranda Collection is so timely.


It includes five key films in her career that show her rise from supporting character actor to full-fledged star as she slowly eclipsed Vivian Blane, who still remained popular in her own right.  That Night In Rio is the only key film missing here, but you can get it in what turns out to be the first volume of The Alice Faye Collection we previous covered here and also includes The Gang's All Here (1943) in this set:





Greenwich Village (1944) features Miranda in the lead as a fortune teller with Don Ameche, William Bendix and Blane in this 1920s-set comedy about love, dance and illegal alcohol.  Walter Lang makes this a Technicolor romp a fun comedy that holds up rather well.


Something For The Boys (1944) has Miranda and Blane joined by Michael O’Shea, Sheila Ryan, Phil Silvers and Perry Como in this inheritance comedy with Cole Porter music that becomes a pro-Allies WWII film with some fun moments of its own.  Como is often joked about as a singer, but when you hear him at this point of his career, you see and hear why he became a star before the 1950s and fuddy-duddy period is his best remembered for.


Doll Face (1946) has Miranda, Como and Blane joined by Dennis O’Keefe is a hit film based on a book by no less than Gypsy Rose Lee (Louise Hovick) and is also a musical with Blane as the legendary dancer in black and white.  The adaptation is clever and makes for interesting comparisons to the later film Gypsy about the actual star.


If I'm Lucky (1946) has Miranda, Como and Blane joined by Harry James and Edgar Buchanan in a remake of the 1935 Musical Thanks A Million about a singer (Como) with a band in tough times hired to sing for a candidate, when he is being framed to be that candidate!  A fine political satire, it seems oddly timely 62 years later.



The 1.33 X 1 image is good in most cases, though the later color films do not demonstrate the full luster and vibrancy three-strip Technicolor prints would and will need some work before Blu-ray versions are issued.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is a little better than the Mono in all cases, though they cannot compete with the isolated music tracks where applicable and makes one wish a more ambitious upgrade was applied to those cases.  Extras include a very high-quality, full color, illustrated booklet in the case about Miranda and the films, while the DVDs all have stills section, all but Village have trailers and Doll & Lucky have isolated music scores.  John Cork supplies an optional commentary track on a deleted scene with for Doll, Lucky has extended clips of Miranda from Sing With The Stars, Boys has the outstanding documentary The Girl From Rio, and Here the same extras it did on the Alice Faye set linked above.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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