Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Busby Berkeley Collection |
Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 / 42nd Street
Actors: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent
Directors: Bernard B. Brown, Busby Berkeley, Earl Duvall, Friz Freleng, George Bilson
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family, Musicals & Performing Arts, Animation
The Busby Berkeley Collection is a 6-disc compilation of five remastered Warner Bros. classics from one of the greatest motion picture choreographers of all time.
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Member Movie Reviews
Dixie K. (kona-dixy) from KAILUA KONA, HI
Reviewed on 3/26/2010...
For musical lovers. Lots & lots of 1930's production numbers -- tap dancing, dancing, singing. Witty dialog for the short and sweet stories. Uncanny camera shots (including those kaleidoscope-type) throughout. Definitely "escapism" movies. All this may be in black & white but it is still great to watch.
Includes a fascinating separate disc which explores the significance of Busby Berkeley with many examples of his musical numbers and their staging. Some pretty strange and odd extras on each disc; These give the viewer a snapshot of the 1930's (movie-wise).
Love the clothing on the characters and costumes on stage. Hardly any chorus dancers have big bosoms and long legs!! Also noticed that the individual singers are not as on key as singers nowadays. Each movie has a large number of people in the musical numbers - although there are early graphics effects multiplying their images, I think. I'm not sure if there was any censure code in effect at the time.
This was my first chance to see Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Zasu Pitts.
Catch The Busby!
agreggofsociety | Staten Island, New York USA | 01/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am sure that I am one of many who are incredibly excited about the upcoming release of these brilliant Busby Berkeley musicals! Each of these films contain many of the big screen's most unforgettable moments, and all five merit inclusion in this fine DVD package.
For fans of musicals and for those who simply enjoy excellent cinema, these movies have it all! First and foremost, the artistry of Berkeley's musical sequences make these films a must-see! It doesn't matter if you are a musical maven or not. The inimitable Busby Berkeley production numbers will dazzle you, even with the sound turned down! In addition to being renowned musicals, these films are also some of the wittiest comedies from the 30's era. I don't think anybody can resist the well-written snappy dialogue and sly innuendo, particularly from the pre-code releases included here.
FOOTLIGHT PARADE -- Great pre-code dialogue, and a fantastic showcase for the comedic talents of both Joan Blondell and James Cagney, the latter demonstrating his incredible footwork that helped him score his Oscar winning role in Yankee Doodle Dandy!
GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 -- My personal favorite of this collection. it features the famous Ginger Rogers number "We're In The Money", and the unforgettable "Forgotten Man" performed by Joan Blondell! Great production numbers and more entertaining pre-code comedy.
DAMES -- In addition to the great production number of the title song, it features an hilarious performance by Hugh Herbert, probably (though debatably) his best!
GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935 -- This one introduces the great production number, "The Lullaby Of Broadway" and also features a great comedic performance from Gloria Stuart (of "Titanic" fame).
42nd STREET -- This is the film that reinvented the movie musical! Nuff said, except that Ginger Rogers' chaffing is a wonderful highlight.
The extras look nice, though I'm sorry no commentaries seem to be included. I'm looking forward to seeing the new featurettes. All in all, this is a very reasonably priced package that is worth every penny. Enjoy!"
Turner Needs REAL experts but it's a great Collection
B. G. Carroll | Liverpool, England, UK | 04/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"BUSBY BERKELEY COLLECTION
By Brendan G Carroll
While I was delighted that Warners & Turner have issued these great films on DVD at last in terrific quality (for the most part) and with wonderful extras, there were some opportunities missed here and one glaring omission which I hope I can set right.
The opportunities lost concern the archive material that might have been included and which would have been so worth the effort to acquire. As most Berkeley buffs know, he gave a very interesting and rare interview for a 1966 TV documentary called "The Movie Crazy Years" (about Warners) which also included a nice interview with Joan Blondell. It would have been good to see the relevant excerpts from this superb programme (which I think was made by David Wolper) included in the various featurettes on these DVDs, rather than the endless gushy on-camera posturings of the likes of John Landis. Do I really need to be told over and over in hyper-gushy language, that Buzz was a genius, by so-called celebrity fans? I really wish Turner would at least include either contemporary witnesses or film historians (like Bob Thomas or Rudy Behlmer) to add pertinent commentary to projects like this. WHAT has John Waters got to do with Busby Berkeley I ask you?
The second "missed opportunity" is the rarely (and barely) seen 96 minute documentary "Busby Berkeley" made by Russ Jones in 1974 to co-incide with the publication of Tony Thomas' superb biography of Buzz, which included rare interviews with Winifred Shaw (about the Lullaby of Broadway number) and Ruth Donnelly (about Footlight Parade) among other treasures.
Surely Turner could have acquired both of these archive resources (at little cost!) for this definitive DVD set? It would have added such tremendous historic value to the collection and genuine insight. I really felt we never got to know much about Berkeley as a man from any of the short documentaries or how he achieved his amazing effects. In fact, I realised that I knew more about him and his techniques, than I learned from any of the featurettes.
Much worse though, is the total absence of any comment about Ray Heindorf, the genius arranger and orchestrator at Warners, from 1931 on, who was responsible for the entire musical style of these films and especially the superb job he turned in for the big numbers - creating seamless 10-15 minute arrangements of Harry Warren's great songs (and those of Kahal & Fain - they wrote `By A Waterfall' by the way, not that you would know it from watching the short documentary on Footlight Parade!!).
Heindorf was also responsible for the marvellous, brassy orchestrations throughout - yet he never even gets a mention. He was a genius - in fact, according to Erich Wolfgang Korngold, (as told me by Eleanor Aller & Harry Warren himself) he was the best and fastest orchestrator Korngold had ever encountered, high praise indeed from maybe the one man in Hollywod who would know - and it was Heindorf's ability to provide an endlessly varied treatment of each song that allowed Berkeley to get away with making a number lasting a quarter of an hour without we, the viewer (and listener) ever getting bored with the tune!
Well, in spite of these shortcomings, it is wonderful to have these at last in better than average prints (and in the case of 42nd Street, amazing prints!) and of course, the historic trailers & shorts are all marvellous to have at last, rescued from the vaults.
However, I hope next time Turner puts out a major collection, somebody will take the trouble to produce a tribute to Ray Heindorf. It's long overdue.
Come and meet those dancin' feet
E. D. DORSOGNA | williamsburg, virginia | 02/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hooray for Warner Home Video! Just before the turn of last year - about a week before I learned of the release of this mouth watering set - I said to my wife "wouldn't it be great if Warners did a Berkeley collection?" and I went on to tick off the names of the exact titles included in this set.
I first saw FOOTLIGHT PARADE when I was in college in the late 60s; saw it on a big screen in a real movie palace in Minneapolis. It was a revelatory moment and I have been a committed "Berkeleyite" ever since.
There is no one during the 30s or after who did such audacious and astounding things with movie musicals.
I look forward to having the DVD set which I know will be a vast improvement over the VHS copies I have mouldering in our attic. Anyone who has a yen for musicals will want to own this set. Not only did Berkeley have the full support (for a while) of Jack Warner in the making of these extravagant films he also had the pick of the Warner stock company of actors. Think of it:Cagney, Blondell, Kibbee, Powell, and lastly but foremeost the Beautiful Ruby Keeler (for who I still harbor a schoolboy crush!). I can only hope that the bonus disc will have numbers from the(lesser)films not included in the set; numbers such as DREAM A LITTLE DREAM from FASHIONS and the numbers from WONDER BAR (even the jaw-dropping GOIN' TO HEAVEN ON A MULE number).
Now if someone (Warners or whoever owns the rights) will release Eddie Cantor's films for Goldwyn - which contain some prime Berkeley work - and also issue a set of Jolson films (which would have to include GO INTO YOUR DANCE - no Berkeley work but great music and (hubba-hubba)Ruby Keeler - everything would truly be right with the world!"