A bit disappointing...
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I bought SCREENTEST TAKE 1 for the Batman screentests. What was here was nice to see one time, but were obviously edited and incomplete. Also, there is unnecessary narration over the parts of it that were shown. ... Would I purchase a DVD of a Stones concert if it had a narrator commenting how good Jagger looks or how well the band held up over the years? I think not. CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS DVD EXCEPT FOR A CASUAL VIEW. Not worth the money, nor suitable for a permanent DVD library/collection/archive because of the above mentioned problems."
Lots Of Stars - Not Many Shiners
Martin A Hogan | San Francisco, CA. (Hercules) | 04/13/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This relatively brief series of vintage screen tests of the stars from the sixties is satisfying on the first take, but I cannot imagine watching it twice, other than to share it. Sean Connery looks darn good in his first test (did he ever not?) and can actually act. But, his test for "The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness" just looks weird as Sean playing a half white/half Japanese man. Mia Farrow can't exactly sing in her test for "The Sound Of Music", but she has the skills to land herself in Peyton Place; a much more appropriate place for her. Christopher Plummer shows up singing "Edelweiss" in his real voice only to be dubbed by someone else - there's not much difference. A good deal of the DVD goes to the large search for the actors for the Von Trapp family. There are a few surprises there (Kim Darby?). There's a large section on Batman and Robin and I really don't understand the importance of these tests as they are for TV and not major films. However, it's interesting to see them all nervously try out. James Coburn is an absolute riot in his test alongside Raquel Welch. Her talents are obvious, but he just dances around, arms flailing like a smiling geek, and he was considered a woman's man! Another real shocker is not that Mitzi Gaynor nailed "South Pacific", but that she overdubbed so many other film scores, like "My Fair Lady" and several others. She almost sang for Julie Andrews on the "Sound Of Music". That would have been a travesty! In summary, there are some interesting anecdotes and unknown secrets, but there are so many stars out there that a tight screen test overview would be nearly impossible. I guess that's why "Hollywood Screen Tests, Take II" was released. Note: For pre-1970's hard-core movie buffs only and there are no extras."
Good, Especially DOLLY Shots
Matt Howe | Washington, DC | 01/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a good show, interesting to watch. Obviously, everyone will have different reasons for purchasing it. Some will look forward to seeing some screen tests over others. I bought the DVD for the HELLO DOLLY screen tests and costume shots. I was amazed that this footage was not used on the newly released Fox DOLLY DVD! Extremely rare Streisand costume and wig tests and screen tests for the supporting roles are the highlight here. All of the DOLLY footage is in excellent condition. Danny Lockin's audition is very charming and it's obvious why director Gene Kelly chose him. You can even hear Kelly off screen reading with Lockin. Also interesting is Sandy Duncan's audition."
Fine retrospective of rarely seen Hollywood screen tests
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 09/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hollywood Screen Tests, Take 1 does indeed give us a generous 90 minutes of rarely seen screen tests by actors both old and new to the Hollywood scene. The film moves along at a good pace and it held my attention rather well. Rather than being a straightforward documentary, the movie feels more like an ode to the screen test as a device to determine if the director had chosen exactly the actor or actress for whom they were searching.
The film displays countless screen tests with background stories about the meticulous process of choosing just the right actors using the screen test. Arranged in no particular order we get many screen tests from the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Of course, some screen tests and the stories that go with them are more memorable than others. People have noted that Mia Farrow "warbled" her way through "I Am Sixteen" as she tested for a role in The Sound Of Music--and they are right. Mia's vocal skills just didn't do the trick for the part even though she could sing fairly well. We also get quite a bit of information about the casting and testing for role in The Sound Of Music. Although we learn that the role of Maria was almost automatically given to Julie Andrews, we do get a rarely seen black and white screen test for Marni Nixon to be Maria. Marni was a wonderful female vocalist who dubbed other actresses' singing much more than she was ever seen on camera. The documentary also goes into depth about the painstaking global search for casting the children of the Von Trapp family for The Sound Of Music. Great!
Other very good insights come from watching a young Sean Connery testing for several roles including his part in "The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness" for which he was being considered as a military man who was half white and half Chinese. We also get extensive footage of a young Ann Margaret testing for State Fair and we see the introduction of a new kind of young woman on the Hollywood scene called "the $ex kitten." Look also for clips of Raquel Welch, Sharon Tate and Patty Duke for Valley Of The Dolls and Candace Bergen.
Amazon also correctly notes that there is a rather long segment for one of the few television series covered by this retrospective, Batman. We see Adam West's screen test alongside Lyle Waggoner's competing screen test which was necessary because the television network wanted at least two candidates for Batman. The screen test acrobatics for the young man who was to play the part of Robin interested me, too.
The DVD isn't exactly brimming over with extras but it did hold my attention so I can understand this. In actuality this film is a plethora of extras with each screen test being a mini saga in itself.
Overall, Hollywood film buffs will enjoy this film. It's neither deep not is it all revealing; but if you want to see rarely viewed screen tests this is it! I also recommend this film for the excellent commentary provided by director Robert Wise and performers including Adam West, Mitzi Gaynor, Marni Nixon and more.