Search - MGM Classic Musicals (West Side Story/Guys and Dolls/Fiddler on the Roof/A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum/How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying/Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) on DVD
Disc 1: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang WS Disc 2: Fiddler on the Roof WS Disc 3: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum WS Disc 4: Guys and Dolls WS Disc 5: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying WS Disc 6: West... more » Side Story WS« less
"Here are six great musical films in one box--and they're all presented the way they were originally shown. A couple of years ago, three of these titles (WEST SIDE STORY, FIDDLER, and GUYS AND DOLLS) were packaged together in the notorious AMERICAN MUSICALS COLLECTION, and a lot of people boycotted it because WSS was in fullscreen, even though the package clearly stated otherwise. Since then, these titles have become the property of 20th Century Fox, and that company has repackaged the three films and added three more. All six are in anamorphic widescreen, and all but one (HOW TO SUCCEED) are in Dolby 5.1 Surround stereo. (HOW TO SUCCEED must have been one of the last musical movies ever made with monaural sound.) They're all good, and two (WEST SIDE and FIDDLER) are among the best musical films ever. Five are based on famous Broadway shows, and the sixth (CHITTY) later became a Broadway show. If you want extras like documentaries and commentary and original trailers, you must buy the titles individually. But if you're like me and just want good prints of the films themselves at a good price in shelf space-saving slimcases, this collection can't be beat. Let's all thank 20th Century Fox for doing it right. Highly recommended."
A good collection of musicals, but somewhat mistitled
calvinnme | 09/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set is somewhat misnamed - these are not musicals from MGM's "classic musical period", usually defined as from about 1939 to 1955. You won't find Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, or Cyd Charisse in these films. These films were either distributed by United Artists and not produced by MGM at all, or they were produced by the Sam Goldwyn Company. Otherwise they'd be in the possession of Warner Home Video. That doesn't mean they are without merit though, and all six are presented in widescreen. I describe each in chronological order and give the rating as provided by a popular internet film database:
Guys and Dolls (1955) 7.2/10 - Marlon Brando is Sky Masterson, and Frank Sinatra is Nathan Detroit. Both are rival small-time hoods, and Masterson bets Detroit one thousand dollars that he can get any woman Detroit picks to go to Havana with him. Detroit picks a prim missionary woman played by Jean Simmons. Of all six films this one has the most classic musical feel to it.
West Side Story (1961) 7.7/10 - Won 10 of the 11 Oscars for which it was nominated including Best Picture of 1961, and unlike so many other Oscar decisions I think it still holds up as the best picture made that year. Many feel that is too dated to be appreciated today, but its purpose was never to be a time-transcending view of urban violence set to music. Instead it is an urban American Romeo and Juliet story, and the music, the romance, and the tragedy are still moving. This is the only way to see this film in widescreen unless you buy the two disc special edition.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) 6.8/10 - Movie musicals were losing popularity by the time this movie was made, so this film is less musical and more comedy. Even though this film is set in the days of the Roman Empire it has a very 1960's feel to it. The visual comedy is great, the film has a fun manic pace to it, and it is also Buster Keaton's last film - he has a minor but interesting role.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) 7.1/10 - This film, although amusing, is also somewhat stuck in the 1960's. However, it is probably the best role Robert Morse ever had - he is generally very good at satire. Although the sexism isn't quite so blatant today as it was when this movie was made, the film does a good job of poking fun at corporate culture and the basis on which business decisions are made. The empty suits and their golden parachutes will always be with us, although not with as much good music as in this movie.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) 6.4/10 - This film has some great stuff in it and it has some unique and interesting ideas - the once celebrated race car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, abandoned as junk and then picked up by inventor Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke) and turned into a flying machine, the idea of a kingdom where all children are outlawed and kept in a castle dungeon and fed garbage, but it is just about half an hour too long in my opinion and could have stood some heavy duty editing at the time of its release.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971) 7.7/10 - One of the great musicals of all time, made long after the golden age of the musical was over. However, it returned to the movie musical's classic roots and actually gave you the feeling of being in another place and another time with simple values rather than trying to woo a modern audience, which is the mistake musicals tried to make in the mid to late 1960's and probably part of why they didn't go over too well. Topol plays Tevye, a Jewish peasant with five daughters, who is trying to live a traditional Jewish life in pre-revolutionary Russia where Jews are not particularly welcome. On top of that, his daughters aren't so sure of continuing along the lines of Tevye's traditions either.
I don't have any information on possible extras on these films, but MGM/UA doesn't generally put extras in their classic film sets, so I would doubt that you are getting anything other than the movies themselves."
Nice Idea, but Buyer Beware
W. Budris | Rosedale, NY | 04/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Since the take over of the MGM/UA releases by 20th Century Fox, I've been so pleased with recent special editions that were issued prior to this boxed set in updated Fox versions of a 2-disc Fiddler, a 2-disc West Side Story, and a Deluxe Version of Guys and Dolls. I also purchased the 2-disc New York New York with Liza Minnelli prior to the recent artwork makeover for the 30th Anniversary, but I think the same features and all remain. You only get the new Hirschfeld artwork cover.
This box does the smaller flat cases, but uses the previous DVD issue of Guys and Dolls that is anomorphic widescreen, but 5.1, though the Deluxe Edition had 5.1 and 16:9 capability besides anomorphic. West Side Story is Disc 1 of the 2-disc set, as is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (double-sided DVD with a widescreen and pan-scan version, but no bonus features), and Fiddler Disc 1. Since I have the better versions on the double-disc releases, this was a slight waste. Though the new flat boxes have updated artwork and indicate they are MGM-UA with 20th Century Fox reissue logos, what you get is the new artwork only. I was hoping that "Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" would be an updated DVD with widescreen and/or 16:9 and 5.1 or better surround. The old MGM-UA disc is in the box from the older issue. Same with "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying", one of my personal favorites from the 60s. It's the same version I bought years ago in the single MGM-UA DVD snap box, anomorphic widescreen and mono sound. I saw this at Radio City when it first came out, and thought it was in stereo. Again, no update to 16:9, any kind of surround, and the old MGM-UA issued disc in a new artworked box from Fox. This is frustrating, since Fox didn't produce these DVDs (except for the updates), but are now releasing them. I feel a little cheated about no updated versions of the films, plus not using the deluxe Guys and Dolls over the previously issued version.
A Great Gift
M. Lafferman | Chico, CA, USA | 05/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this boxed set for my dad, for Hanukkah. He loves music more than movies, so I thought this boxed set had a nice variety of movies he may have been familiar with, which he was, at least with some of them.
I liked that this had 6 different movies, enough to keep a person occupied for awhile. He raved about this boxed set for quite awhile.
This was a big hit with my dad, and a great purchase for me. I love making the people I care about and love happy. Finding the right gift for the right person makes me very happy!"
Top Choice for Addicts
George F. Fry | Canada | 05/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love American musicals this is for you, a wonderful selection with an all star cast.To see these perfomances again is a revelation. Some , like "Guys and Dolls" have dated a bit, slower than we are used to today, but still great performance from all the cast and the music is wonderful. "Westside Story" is outstanding. The opening sequence alone is worth the price of the set. "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" has lost little of its charm, and what amazing long legs Dick Van Dyck has which are put to good use. "Fiddler" is a superb show on all counts and Norman Jewison's translation to film was an amazing achievement, lifting it off the stage into a natural environment. Topal is the definitive Tevye. Zero Mostel, the original Tevye, comes into his own in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" which is not the strongest of shows. However it is well worth watching for the wonderful use of colour in the sets and particularly the costumes. This group of DVDs is a real bargain offering hours of pleasure."