Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection Musicals
Directed by: Bob Fosse, Victor Fleming
Cast: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Liza Minelli, Debbie Reynolds
Due Out: February 13, 2012
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Synopsis (courtesy of Warner Bros.):
Warner Bros. continues to entertain the world with films passionately produced, selectively acquired, carefully preserved and impeccably curated for both the casual and ultimate movie lover to enjoy forever. Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Musicals will be released February 12 and will include films such as Singin In The Rain, Wizard of Oz and many more.
WHO’S IT FOR? You like to sing and dance, well then this is a no-brainer. The list price for these 21 musicals is just under $100. Currently, Amazon.com has this set listed at $71, and Warner Bros has it for just $68.86. That’s an amazing deal. There are hits and misses within the group. The picture quality of Showboat is terrible, which defeats the entire point of the film existing. Yet the film Seven Bribes for Seven Brothers looks fantastic. It’s as if Warner Bros. just grabbed the closest DVD they could find. With some, you’ll get the deluxe version of the DVD release, with others, you won’t. The extras for A Star is Born are non-existent, while Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has a documentary, commentary, sing-along songs and more.
The Jazz Singer
Broadway Melody of 1929
The Great Ziegfeld
Wizard of Oz
Yankee Doodle Dandy
An American In Paris
Singin In The Rain
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
A Star Is Born
The Music Man
Viva Las Vegas
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Little Shop of Horrors
Review of “The Jazz Singer”
I never saw the first talkie. I didn’t feel that guilty. Watching the first talkie … you feel the guilt. You also feel the beginning magic that is the Hollywood that is mainly worth knowing and loving.
The Jazz Singer is an incredibly small story. A young boy runs away from home because his dad doesn’t want him singing that no good, crazy jazz music. The boy should be a Cantor like his father. That would make everybody happy … except Jackie. He’s got big dreams. He runs off, and honestly, I have no clue how much time passes. Al Jolson plays the grown up Jackie, and was in his early 40s at the time. The characters in the story keep heaping praise on Jackie’s talents. There is constant talk that he’s a real talent, he’s the only one worth seeing, and that he can save the show.
The film itself is incredible to study. I’m talking print quality here. There are moments the quality is so good, you could have convinced me I was watching a deleted scene from The Artist. There are also moments when you wonder how hard they tried (and failed) to restore the tattered remains of a film from 1927. I loved the good and the bad.
For the first feature-length talkie, I also was amazed to find the silent film qualities take up the majority of the film. Sure, there is singing, and a little talking, but there is more full screens of dialogue than anything else. My favorite of those full screens? “You’ll queer yourself on Broadway.” Yes, language has changed. Jackie going black face for a performance also leads to this line, “He talks like Jackie, but he looks like his shadow.” Sure, the black face is dated and racist, but luckily it doesn’t feel extreme. Besides, if you know your history, Jolson fought for African American rights for years.
The Jazz Singer brings to life singing and talking to the big screen. It’s surprising that it feels like it eases us in to this process. There is plenty of silence, though that doesn’t hurt the drama.