Search - Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition (Flying Down to Rio / The Gay Divorcee / Roberta / Top Hat / Follow the Fleet / Swing Time / Shall We Dance / Carefree / The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle / The Barkleys of Broadway) on DVD

Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition (Flying Down to Rio / The Gay Divorcee / Roberta / Top Hat / Follow the Fleet / Swing Time / Shall We Dance / Carefree / The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle / The Barkleys of Broadway)
Astaire Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition
Flying Down to Rio / The Gay Divorcee / Roberta / Top Hat / Follow the Fleet / Swing Time / Shall We Dance / Carefree / The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle / The Barkleys of Broadway
Actors: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts, Military & War
UR     2006     16hr 48min

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 10/24/2006


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Movie Details

Actors: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Classics, Romantic Comedies, Musicals, Military & War
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 10/24/2006
Original Release Date: 05/04/1949
Theatrical Release Date: 05/04/1949
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 16hr 48min
Number of Discs: 11
SwapaDVD Credits: 11
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
Edition: Box set,Collector's Edition
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

Fred & Ginger in the 21st Century with Tremendous Extras
N. Lim | Santa Clara, CA USA | 10/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The box set is made up of clear plastic thin cases and measures 3 7/8" wide x 7 7/8" high x 5½" deep, which is a real space saver for 12 discs (10 movie DVDs, 1 bonus DVD, and 1 audio CD). Each DVD comes with the feature film, a comedy/musical/vintage short, and a classic cartoon. Seven have a theatrical trailer; five have a featurette; three have a running commentary; two have a radio promo. The Gay Divorcee DVD comes with two vintage shorts, so you get eleven shorts on ten discs. Below are brief reviews/descriptions of the feature films, featurettes, vintage shorts, radio promos, classic cartoons, bonus material, and run times for each.


Their first film together, FLYING DOWN TO RIO is the only Fred and Ginger (F&G) movie where they play supporting roles. The studio executives and the public did not yet know this couple's dance potential and powerhouse future. They only dance together once 43 minutes into the film (The Carioca). The movie is filled with several post-card quality shots of Rio de Janeiro and has more choreographed group dance routines and vocalists than you can shake a stick at. My favorite is all those girls dancing on biplanes while in flight, which is very creative. The romantic plot of the main characters, Belhina De Rezende (Dolores del Rio) and Roger Bond (Gene Raymond) and the subplot of the Greek investors are a little light but still held my interest.

F&G's second film and their first as leading characters together, THE GAY DIVORCEE is the initial series of boy-chases-girl movies with comic misunderstandings, misgivings, and mistaken identity. F&G do the dancing, but Rodolfo Tonetti (Erik Rhodes) with his accent has the best one liners and password mispronunciations. The forgetful Hortense Ditherwell (Alice Brady) is a hoot. The musical number "Let's K-nock K-nees" is very fun and playful, even though it does not have F&G in it. Its tune is repeated in whistling near the beginning by a bellhop and near the end by canaries. In their previous movie "Rio" the dance craze was the Carioca; in "Divorcee" it's the Continental, which has a spectacular song, F&G dance, dance ensemble, and finale.

If you want to see Paris fashions in 1935, F&G's third film, ROBERTA, is the place to see it. Among all F&G movies, the plot is more sophisticated and dramatic and less comedic. Ginger plays an act within her role: not just the sassy American blonde but also the sophisticated Russian Comtess. She even sings "I'll Be Hard to Handle" with a Russian accent. In that same number, F&G communicate with each other not with words but by taps on their feet. Almost every speaking actor/actress has a three-dimensional personality especially Roberta/Aunt Minnie (Helen Westley) and Johnny (Candy) Candido with his voice performances. However, Stephanie (Irene Dunn) has an excellent singing voice but is overrated and should not have been top billed. As a side note, if you pay attention, look for Lucille Ball as one of the fashion models (uncredited).

The fourth Fred & Ginger (F&G) movie, TOP HAT is considered by many the quintessential one and is my personal favorite. In the Top Hat musical number, Fred cleverly uses his gentleman's cane as a "machine gun." And the ever-so-tender cheek to cheek number where he is singing and dancing with Ginger makes me feel like I am dancing in heaven as well. A deleted scene in some prints in which Bates (Eric Blore) insults a policeman, is present in this DVD. A running commentary with Ava Astaire McKenzie (daughter) and Larry Billman includes background information about the supporting actors and trivia, such as the significance of the ring Fred wears in the film. And even though Ginger rides the horse in this movie, we learn that Fred is the real horse lover. Ava admits she does not know everything about her dad and his career, which adds to the authenticity of what she does know and contributes.

The fifth F&G movie, FOLLOW THE FLEET shows two sides of Fred's character, Seaman Bake Baker. In other F&G movies, he is the upper class, suave gentleman. But in this one he plays a blue collar, enlisted seaman in the navy. In one part, you see him in his white tie and tails dancing and in control; in another part, he gets in trouble for trying to punch a commissioned officer. Two love stories in one movie, the additional romance of Connie Martin (Harriet Hilliard) and Bilge Smith (Randolph Scott) keeps the plot moving and enriches the story.

SWING TIME probably has the most intricate and advanced dance routines out of all the F&G movies. Even though the song, "The Way You Look Tonight" is wonderful, I would like to have seen them dance to it instead of watching Ginger with a hair full of whip cream. The running commentary by John Mueller sounds very clinical. Speaking in an almost monotone voice as if reading from his book, he does give interesting tidbits, such as converting any monetary amounts mentioned in the movie into today's dollars to give you a sense of the magnitude of a given situation. Mr. Mueller also points out that F&G are never seen kissing, because the on-screen romance is instead expressed through their dancing.

When you watch a F&G movie you expect to see the two of them to dance together. In their seventh film together, SHALL WE DANCE, you don't see their first dance routine until literally half way through the film (unless you want to count walking the dog as a dance). The way Harriet Hoctor bends backwards in the final dance number is incredible. Her body must be made of rubber. She's probably a better dancer than Ginger, but because she does not speak or act, we don't appreciate her as much.

In this eighth installment of F&G films, CAREFREE, Ginger displays her talents not only as a dancer but also as an actress and a singer. She performs all three simultaneously in The Yam. She causes mischief while under the hypnotic influence of Tony Flagg (Fred Astaire), throwing sticks and dinner rolls, breaking glass, driving erratically, and shooting skeet. The psychiatry is definitely unconventional, but it is a comedy after all. The slow motion dancing in the dream sequence is very smooth and kind of cool. A running joke where Aunt Cora (Luella Gear) keeps telling Judge Joe Travers (Clarence Kolb) to sit down adds a couple of more laughs. Typecasting prevails here; look for Hattie McDaniel (Gone with the Wind) playing a maid here, too.

Their ninth film together and the last for RKO, F&G play real life characters VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE. Since the story is set in the 1910s, which is comparably a more "innocent" era, the dancing is not as sophisticated but just as elegant, because it's F&G. A typical biographical account, it takes you through various trials and conflicts throughout their lives. The movie has more comedy in the beginning but becomes more serious at the end, especially when Vernon joins the Royal Air Corps during World War I. All the characters are lovable, and you wish you could be there. It's also the only F&G movie where the principles are concerned about having enough money to make ends meet.

After a ten-year absence, F&G are dancing as a pair one last time in their only Technicolor movie. THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY is not your typical F&G movie. Their acting has matured so much so that you forget that they dance, too. It has a little more drama and a little less comedy. Instead of boy meeting and chasing girl, their characters are already married, which provides a different relationship on screen. Also, Ezra Miller (Oscar Levant) is superb in his piano playing.


Made in 2005, these documentaries are behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the movies and includes interviews with Ava Astaire McKenzie, archivists, film historians, and biographers with a mix of F&G photographs and film clips.

"On Top: Inside the Success of Top Hat" explains many intricacies and attention to detail in the making of this movie. Nothing is left to chance. You will appreciate all the names in the opening credits (Run time 18:20).

"Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet" explains how F&G each got into show business, how they got their "big breaks," and where they first met. You'll discover why Fred went to RKO and not to one of the larger, better-known studios (Run time 13:53).

In "The Swing of Things" Broadway choreographers and performers demonstrate and comment on F&G's signature hopping step shown throughout Swing Time. Each dance number is analyzed and appreciated (Run time 14:47).

As the title suggests, "They Can't Take That Away from Me: The Music of Shall We Dance" emphasizes the songs in that movie. There is some good information on the composers, George and Ira Gershwin. Did you know that the origin of the song "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" is based on how F&G pronounced certain words? (Run time 15:41)

"Reunited at MGM: Astaire and Rogers Together Again" explains F&G accidental pair up for their final film, their continuous chemistry, and Fred's perfection. Broadway choreographers and performers also appreciate how F&G have inspired them. (Run time 13:53)


Even without F&G, these film shorts are consistent with the genre and were made close to the times of the feature films they accompany.

"Beer and Pretzels" is a very early three stooges short with Ted Healy still with the comedy team. The slapping-of-the-face sound effects have not yet even entered the soundtrack. Just like F&G in Rio, Moe, Larry and Curly are in supporting roles. The four men cause havoc as waiters in a high class restaurant. Most of this short consists of song and dance routines of people I have never heard of. (1933, B&W, Run time 20:33)

In "Show Kids" the proprietor of a dying vaudeville theater turns it over to his 12-year-old son, who invites a children's dance company to perform. It has some really cute dance numbers, and some of these kids have real talent and acrobatic skills. The picture has excellent Technicolor for its time except for a red shadow that appears in all the song and dance numbers. (1934, Color, Run Time 19:59)

"Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove" takes place where the title says. A narrator takes you through celebrity introductions and various performances including a fashion show of different time periods, Rumba dance, hula dance, song by Bing Crosby, two big bands. Candy Candido's musical voice impersonations are very impressive. (1934, Color, Run Time 19:33)

In "Starlit Days at the Lido" guests enjoy outdoor entertainment. Reginald Denny takes you through celebrity introductions and various performances, including one neat trick where a girl keeps pulling cigarettes from nowhere. (1935, Color, Run Time 19:16)

"Watch the Birdie" has a young Bob Hope playing a prankster on a cruise ship who himself gets "pranked." It's sort of a let down after Top Hat, so I am not sure why it's included on the same DVD (1935, B&W, Run time 18:16).

"Melody Master: Jimmy Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra" starts with a scene with the devil in hell, which makes you wonder, "What's this short all about?" but then quickly cuts to a show of the dance orchestra. (1937, B&W, Run time 10:13).

In "Hotel a la Swing" a group of performers, who unable to pay their hotel bill, make a deal with the owner to run the hotel and make it a fun place to check in. Lots of song and dance numbers (1937, B&W, Run time 14:47).

In "Sheik to Sheik" a radio salesman is knocked unconscious by a golf ball and dreams of selling radios to the Foreign Legion and to the Arabs in the desert. The singing duet is quality. It has a good plot and is humorous (1936, B&W, Run time: 21:28).

"Annie Was a Wonder" is a narrated docudrama about the Scandinavian working immigrant girl. It's a heart-warming, almost tear-jerker of a time gone by. (1938, B&W, Run time 10:51)

In "Public Jitterbug No. 1" a group of "Feds" is out to catch Jitterbug Dancer #1. The tap dancing is superb. The cigarette and match-eating routine is a neat trick. (1939, B&W, Run Time 19:01)

In "Happily Buried" two presidents of competing waffle iron companies want to marry each other but cannot agree on the shape of the iron in the merged company. As a publicity stunt, John Hubbard (Richard Wright) buries himself on display. Look for Tommy Bond, who played Butch in the Little Rascals. (1939, B&W, Run time 20:01)


The "Hollywood on the Air Radio Promo" is just what it says. It is just like a theatrical trailer for a movie except it is audio only, complete with crackles, pops, and varying playing speeds. A narrator pitches the movie and introduces you to excerpts directly from it.

The Gay Divorcee includes "Looking for a Needle in a Haystack," "Let's K-nock K-nees," "Night and Day," and "The Continental." (Mono, Run Time 13:43)

Roberta includes "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "I'll Be Hard to Handle," "Lovely to Look At," and "I Won't Dance." (Mono, Run Time 11:55)


These ten cartoons are great for the kids.

In "I Like Mountain Music" the characters in a department store come to life and perform. Most of them jump out from magazine and book covers and are caricatures of personalities popular at the time. (1933 B&W Run time 6:59)

In "Shake Your Powder Puff" the animals of a farm put on a vaudeville show in the barn. A drunken dog causes mischief and is repeatedly thrown out. (1934, B&W, Run Time 5:59)

In "The Calico Dragon" a little girl reads a fairy tale about a dragon, then falls asleep. She dreams that three of her dolls, a boy, a horse, and a terrier, enter the land of calico to slay a three-headed calico dragon. Good use of that pattern. (1935, Color, Run Time 7:57)

"Page Miss Glory" is about the exploits around a bell boy in an upscale hotel. It has a touch of Busby Berkeley near the end. (1936, Color, Run time 7:43)

"Let It Be Me" tells the story of an innocent farm hen who gets wooed by a cocky, big-time, radio-star-singing rooster. (1936, Color, Run time 7:51)

In "Bingo Crosbyana" a community of flies enjoys singing and dancing until a spider attacks. The main fly does sound like Bing. (1936, Color, Run time 7:54)

In "Toy Town Hall" the toys in a child's room come to life and perform. (1936, Color, Run time: 6:31)

In "September in the Rain" the labels of packaged goods in a general store come to life and perform. (1937 Color, Run Time 4:39)

In "Puss Gets the Boot" a cat and mouse fight for household domination. It is a Tom & Jerry predecessor before they were called Tom & Jerry. (1940, Color, Run time 9:11)

"September in the Rain" and "Puss Gets the Boot" both have a written preface commenting on how racist those cartoons are. However, the stereotyping did not bother me, and I would not have even noticed if they did not point it out. Nevertheless, I am glad they were sensitive about it.

The MGM cartoon "Wags to Riches" stars Droopy the dog, who inherits his owner's estate but has to contend with a rival dog trying to get rid of him. (1949, Run time 7:11)


Flying Down to Rio 1:29
The Gay Divorcee 1:18
Roberta 2:56
Top Hat 1:02
Follow the Fleet 1:25
Swing Time 2:38
The Barkleys of Broadway 2:30
For whatever reason, the Shall We Dance, Carefree and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle DVDs do not include a theatrical trailer.


Bonus DVD (Astaire and Rogers Partners in Rhythm) "Featuring clips from all 10 films Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made together ... this glorious salute captures the sweat, determination, inspiration, talent, and scintillating chemistry that made the team an icon of elegance in motion. Candid photos, behind-the-scene tidbits and sidelights about such famed Astaire-Rogers collaborators such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Hermes Pan, and George Stevens add to the fun ..." -excerpt from back cover. Most notable are interview snippets with Ginger from 1972 and 1987. Run Time 76:18

Bonus audio CD (Timeless Songs from the Original Soundtrack) As the title describes, tracks are taken directly from dance numbers in the movies.
1. Night and Day (from the Gay Divorcee) 4:29
2. The Continental (from the Gay Divorcee) 8:17
3. Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (from Top Hat) 4:30
4. Cheek to Cheek (from Top Hat) 5:02
5. I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket (from Follow the Fleet) 5:17
6. Let's Face the Music and Dance (from Follow the Fleet) 4:35
7. Pick Yourself Up (from Swing Time) 4:44
8. The Way You Look Tonight (from Swing Time) 1:57
9. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (from Shall We Dance) 3:46
10. They Can't Take That Away from Me (from The Barkleys of Broadway) 4:33
Total Play Time 47:15

Collectible Behind-the-Scenes Photo Cards-You get ten 5"x7" B&W glossy photo cards. Captions, associated movie, and copyright information are on the back of each card. Most are behind-the-scene looks at F&G and the people they worked with, such as Irving Berlin, Hermes Pan, and George Gershwin.

The Campaign/Press Books have story line, newspaper clippings, artwork, photographs, and star biographies. Roberta is 28 pages saddle-stitched in B&W plus a throwaway. Shall We Dance has 21 sheets in B&W stapled across the top in two books plus a throwaway, a folder, and ideas for a dance remembrance contest.

The slip sheet on the outside of the box holds the proofs of purchase in the upper right corner. Do not discard. You'll need it for the mail-in offer for the four Astaire and Rogers movie posters."
D. James | Melbourne, Australia | 08/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"WB has done a great thing in releasing Volume Two of these sets with Volume One as an alternative for those who don't yet own the first. Hope it sets a trend so that they consider doing the same in future with sets like the Signature Collections that now have more than one volume eg. Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart etc. The films included in this set are:

This is the first of the famous Astaire-Rogers musicals, about an American bandleader who romances a pretty South American socialite on two continents. The highlights are a production number on the wings of a moving airplane, and, of course, the overall chemistry between the two stars, which we were soon to see much, much more of.

A lively adaptation of the stage musical, which featured Astaire and his sister, Adele and the first film in which Astaire and Rogers actually received star billing. While vacationing at an English seaside resort, a soon-to-be-divorced woman mistakes a lovestruck song-and-dance man for her paid co-respondent. As usual, the plot's not important when you see these two and hear classics like Cole Porter's Night and Day. Academy Award Nominations: 5, including Best Picture.

This elegant adaptation of the Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach stage play stars Irene Dunne as an aristocratic Russian emigrée in Paris, and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as Americans abroad. Huck Haines sails all the way to the City of Lights with his friend John, whose jazz band has a couple of gigs lined up at a local club.

This elegant adaptation of the Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach stage play stars Irene Dunne as an aristocratic Russian emigrée in Paris, and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as Americans abroad. Huck Haines sails all the way to the City of Lights with his friend John, whose jazz band has a couple of gigs lined up at a local club.

When he is rejected by his lady love, a song-and-dance man enlists in the navy. The estranged couple later meet again and join forces to solve the romantic difficulties of another star-crossed pair. An Astaire-Rogers musical featuring some of Irving Berlin's best songs including: "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "Let Yourself Go," "We Saw the Sea." Typical but delightful.

The fifth sublime teaming of Astaire and Rogers, SWING TIME is regarded by many as their finest film. The tenuous plot, which mainly serves to connect the brilliant dance numbers, concerns John "Lucky" Garnett (Astaire), a gambler and professional dancer. When Garnett arrives late to his wedding, his prospective father-in-law implements a punishment, insisting that Garnett raise $25,000 before he can marry Margaret Watson (Betty Furness). Still in tails, he hops a freight for New York, where he gets involved in a scrape with dance instructor Penny Carrol (Rogers). After following her to the dance studio, Lucky poses as a neophyte in need of training. Penny's boss Gordon (Eric Blore), happens to witness Lucky's incompetence, in the "Pick Yourself Up" number and is about to fire the young woman for nonperformance when Lucky launches into a dazzling display of terpsichorean skill. Impressed, the studio owner offers to get them an audition at the famed Silver Sandal nightclub. Arguably the peak of the Astaire-Rogers partnership, the dancers' nearly perfect blending of song, dance, wit, and decor only improves with time. Especially memorable are the subtly erotic tempo shifts of "Never Gonna Dance" and the coruscating technical command of "Bojangles of Harlem," a tribute to the great African-American tap dancer.

The seventh feature starring the magical and incomparable dance team of Astaire and Rogers.
Famous ballet star Petroff -- otherwise known as Pete Peters from Philadelphia, PA -- would rather tapdance than do grands jetes. And he knows the partner he'd like, too: the lovely nightclub hoofer Linda Keene. But she dashes all hopes of a pas de deux by informing him that she's about to get married and retire from the stage.
Then, suddenly, rumors of a romance between the two get splashed on the cover of every newspaper tabloid... and everyone's plans are about to change.

The seventh feature starring Astaire and Rogers.
Famous ballet star Petroff -- otherwise known as Pete Peters from Philadelphia, PA -- would rather tapdance than do grands jetes. And he knows the partner he'd like, too: the lovely nightclub hoofer Linda Keene. But she dashes all hopes of a pas de deux by informing him that she's about to get married and retire from the stage.
Then, suddenly, rumors of a romance between the two get splashed on the cover of every newspaper tabloid... and everyone's plans are about to change.

Fred and Ginger star in this musical tribute to a famous real life dance team. 20 years before Astaire and Rogers, there were the elegant Castles, so it was no surprise that the most famous dance pair of the silver screen ultimately played their illustrious predecessors. In the 1910s, Irene and Vernon Castle took the dances of the Americas, the tango of Argentina, the maxixe of Brazil, and the foxtrot of the United States to France and became the talk of Paris. With the Castles' success, the formal waltzes of the past gave way to the looser, ragtime-influenced choreography of the future. The plot follows the pair from their first audition as a team for a café in Paris through Vernon's enlistment as a flight instructor in the war. Director H. C. Potter stays true to the team, keeping all the song and the dance numbers typical of the early 20th Century. This is top-notch cinematic entertainment which includes over 40 pop songs from the past. Irene Castle herself diligently over saw the entire production.

Astaire and Rogers come together one final time for this film. The magical pair play performers Josh and Dinah Barkley, whose act -- and marriage -- break up when Dinah decides to become a "serious actress". Among the unforgettable numbers are: "They Can't Take that Away from Me" (which Astaire and Rogers first performed in 1937's "Shall We Dance"), "Shoes With Wings On", "Swing Trot" and "You'd Be So Hard to Replace".

The price is no different to buying the two volumes separately, but the two-in-one format of this really appeals. Treat yourself!

Best Set of 2006!
C. Williamson | USA | 10/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My set arrived today (I got Amazon's "partial" complete set and filled in the thinline boxes from my previous purchase of Volume 1 -- a great idea for those of us who bought early!), and I am delighted. This is the classiest box set I've seen in a long time. All ten Astaire-Rogers classics with lots of extras, a documentary, a CD, and oodles of other goodies. Warner Brothers has set a new high for box sets to aspire to, and the fact that it's priced (from Amazon) at less than $7 a disc is the icing on the cake. Tonight my wife and I get out the pizza and wine and sit down in front of "Flying Down to Rio" -- we'll make our way through all of them chronologically over the next few weeks. What a treat!"
Another KNOCKOUT box set from Warner Bros! 50stars!
Richardson | Sunny California USA | 10/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Warner Brothers is going from strength to strength with this stunning package! Not only do they continue to kick the other studios booties by remastering classic movies so they look fabulous but they add delicious making ofs and period shorts (like the three stooges on the opening Flying Down to Rio DVD)...package the DVDs in lovely cases with period covers and awesome full color graphics on the discs but in this case also put them all in a very attractive box (sturdy)with cool graphics..AND on top of that include period advertising pieces for Shall We Dance...a series of copies of promotional 8x10's from the movies....AND an extra Music CD with ten absolute all time classic "standards" made famous by Astaire/Rogers...AND..a documentary called "Astaire and Rogers Partners in Rhythm" which is as good or better than any feature I've caught on TCM lately....
in other words...we have 10 classics of film history...the greatest dance team of all time...singing their way through the great American songbook of the last the movies really don't need any least I am not going to waste any of your time talking about their greatness...I assume you are interested or you wouldn't have stumbled onto this...
This review is to tell you that YES YES YES ..spend the ridiculously low amount of money to own this marvelously packaged presentation! I hope it sells tons so WB continues to present their movies like this instead of spitting them out like Universal...YUUCK!

This is a No-Brainer..and my personal pick for the Ultimate DVD release of 2006!!!"