Timeless films that will last forever..at last on DVD
Eric | Columbus, OH | 06/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"FINALLY! Five of Fred & Ginger's best films are heading to DVD, getting the treatment that only a class-act like Warner Bros. can give them.
A pal who works at a famous film restoration lab in L.A. told me that WB has been working on these wonderful movies for nearly two years, in many cases, using the original negative (when available) as their source material.
This means they're gonna look great..and it was worth the wait.
Each great film has been given a new documentary, some have commentaries, and most (all?) have shorts or cartoons.
No one lavishes as much love & intelligence on their classic releases as Warner does. I'm sure these will not disappoint!
Don't Waste Another Minute - - BUY THIS SET!
manda600 | Michigan | 11/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't waste time reviewing the individual films since it's already been established, many times over, that they are all cinematic treasures. Further, if you didn't already know this, it's doubtful you'd be here looking to buy this DVD set. So, I'll confine my review strictly to the quality of the set. First of all, I was very impressed with the restoration. These films are all around 70 years old, the original prints never had proper storage, and even the best of VHS prints showed the flaws one would expect. It's amazing what they were able to do in the restoration process. I did not experience visual or audio problems with any of the DVDs in this set. The audio was clear, the visual was crisp. I was singularly impressed, and kept feeling like I was watching a film that had just been made, such was the quality improvements over the VHS prints I previously owned. Additionally, "Top Hat", which was often edited in it's VHS and television formats, is shown here in its entirety, and it was thrilling to discover even small bits of new footage.
Secondly, there was a solid effort at providing special features that I highly appreciated, since most classic films that are released to DVD fail to include any. It would have been preferable to have audio commentary on all 5 of the films, but 3 is better than none. "Swing Time" by far has the most interesting and astute audio commentary. "Top Hat" has the worst. The inclusion of Astaire's daughter as a commentator makes sense, but probably wasn't the wisest choice. She admits early on in the commentary that she doesn't know all that much about her father's films and, indeed, her comments offer nothing new or insightful. Meanwhile, Larry Billman, the other commentator, simpers at her and repeatedly thanks her - even for the most mundane comments - every time she speaks, which gets very annoying, very fast.
The classic cartoons and shorts they've included are okay. They are supposed to have some slight connections, such as including actors from one of the Astaire-Rogers films. However, at times, it is baffling to try to figure out what possible connection there could be.
All of the "Making Of" type featurettes are wonderful - and there is one included for every film. It is particularly thrilling to see the rehearsal footage - in color, yet! - included on the "Shall We Dance" DVD.
Overall, this DVD set is an excellent purchase. It includes brilliant restorations, audio commentaries, and featurettes. It is well worth the purchase price, and an excellent gift idea for any Astaire-Rogers fan, or a fan of dance, in general. It's only half of the Astaire-Rogers films, but they're done so well, they leave you eagerly awaiting the final installment.