Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello star as the sweethearts of Midvale College in this wacky, laugh-filled campus romp. Kirk is Merlin Jones, the gifted but slightly oddball student who, accompanied by his girlfriend Jennifer... more » (Funicello), sets out on a series of comic misadventures. From trying to solve what appears to be a horrendous burglary and murder plot to having a chimp-napping charge pinned on him, no one is exempt from Merlin's wacky sense of oddball adventure!« less
Pan-and-scan again?! Disney must hate Annette Funicello!
Edmond Gauthier | USA | 04/06/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Why is it that MGM treated Annette Funicello so very well with her classic Beach movie series in widescreen, yet Disney - Annette's original employer - acts like she's a $2 tramp?
First Annette's Babes In Toyland got the shaft and now this. Absolutely outrageous! This would never have happened on Walt's watch - or Roy's, either, for that matter. It all goes to prove what a total JERK Mike Eisner, the current head of Disney, is. Hopefully they'll finally vote him COMPLETELY out, and he won't be allowed on the lot. What a dummy!
Another reviewer has correctly noted that Disney titles including Babes In Toyland, The Moon-Spinners, and Blackbeard's Ghost have also been thrown into the horrible pan-and-scan scrap heap. What's the matter - they weren't good enough for the "Vault Disney" treatment? WHY NOT?
Disney even choked on the DVD for The Absent-Minded Professor... that is, until an enraged public boycotted them! Then Disney saw the light and rushed out another version in its proper widescreen format. But why must we fans - with all our big buying dollars - be put through all of this hassle on a case by case basis in the first place? Hey, Disney - just give us ALL your movies in cleaned up widescreen and decent stereo and shut up.
And let's look at another very stupid move by Disney's pathetic DVD hacks - like the Apple Dumpling Gang duo, both of which star Don Knotts and Tim Conway. They release the original Apple in widescreen, yet for some strange reason Rides Again gets only pan-and-scan?* HUH?!
Anyway, one can only hope that some year we'll be able to enjoy Merlin Jones (and Babes In Toyland) - featuring the awe-inspiring beauty of Annette Funicello - in the original widescreen that their directors intended. But it probably won't be THIS year!
Boycott all Disney DVDs after 1955 that are not in widescreen!
(*Update: Disney later released a second version (in 2005) of ADG2. They'd caved in and finally put it in widescreen.)"
Poor DVD quality, but correct aspect ratio!
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm in strong agreement with the complaints in these reviews regarding Disney's shoddy DVD releases: fullscreen, skimpy or no extras (not even movie trailers which bring back the first view of the next, highly anticipated Disney film), scratchy and dull prints, and comparatively very high prices. Regarding its aspect ratio, however, this film was made for TV but ended up in theaters instead. Filmed in November 1962 for the 1963-64 season of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color," it so pleased Walt Disney that he decided to release it to theaters. The DVD presents its original aspect ratio, one intended for TV. It was filmed to be presented at 1.33:1 -- even though it was matted for theatrical presentation, probably at 1.75:1. But there are other problems with this DVD. The print is clearly inferior to the one used for years on The Disney Channel. Color timing is off, shifting in individual cuts within a scene; faces change color with the light. There are scratches. It is not sharp. It is not worthy of a DVD but looks more like a good VHS tape.As others here have pointed out, Disney used to be known for providing only the best quality in every product. The company has fallen very far short from that excellent standard. (It could have used one of the excellent prints still kept in the vaults -- but, as with so many recent releases -- it didn't bother.) What more could be expected from a company that fired the person responsible for the excellent-but-cancelled "Vault Disney" DVD line? I will be very reluctant to buy additional Disney DVDs until there's a clear turnaround by the company. Disney should announce it realizes it's gotten things wrong and will in the future always offer DVDs from the best -- or restored -- prints and at the correct aspect ratio."
Nostalgic Disney fun -- Disappointing DVD
gobirds2 | 02/13/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame that Disney refuses to exert that little bit of extra effort (and possibly expense - "there's the rub") to restore its films and release them in their original theatrical ratios (aka: widescreen). These films appeal mainly to "grown-up" Disney fans, scholars, and collectors. For a modest comedy like this, the ratios aren't too distracting; for major productions - like Babes in Toyland, The Moon-Spinners, and Blackbeard's Ghost -- the pan-and-scan is horrible. It would be better for Disney to slow down its release schedule and take the extra time to prepare first class DVD's. The Disney name used to stand for quality and technical innovation; appparantly, those standards no longer apply."
Cult Status for Merlin Jones from Disney
gobirds2 | New England | 10/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Misadventures of Merlin Jones" is a very likable film from Walt Disney. Tommy Kirk is excellent as the absent-minded student genius Merlin Jones attending Midvale College. Annette Funicello is Jennifer his girlfriend who constantly tries to get his attention. Leon Ames plays the pivital role of Judge Hornsby. This is one of those movies from the 60s containing a lot of campus mayhem and mishaps. The main title song, "Merlin Jones" was composed by the Sherman brothers and performed by Annette Funicello. It's a fun movie."
Classic Disney Family Comedy!
Monty Moonlight | TX | 01/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A classic example of Disney family comedy can be found in the 1964 hit, "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones." Starring "Old Yeller" and "The Shaggy Dog" lead Tommy Kirk in the title role, Merlin is a highly intelligent, science-obsessed college student whose experiments and inventions repeatedly land him in trouble, even with the law. Merlin's girlfriend, Jennifer (Annette Funicello), is adoring and understanding (usually), and his one true comrade. Together, they have misadventures throughout the film, just as the title indicates, virtually splitting the film into two separate parts, but as a whole it remains entirely funny and enjoyable.
In the first half, one of Merlin's experiments has a Dexter Riley effect (several years prior, of course), resulting in Merlin acquiring the ability to hear people's thoughts. When he overhears Judge Holmsby plotting out a crime in his head, Merlin's new powers land him into a world of trouble with the authorities. Once all that is squared away, the second half of the film revolves around Merlin's experiments with hypnosis. This involves a laboratory chimp named Stanley, paving the way for the as yet unreleased (to DVD) sequel, "The Monkey's Uncle," which is also a great Disney comedy classic.
"The Misadventures of Merlin Jones" is a true Disney comedy treat, and the Disney fanatic will love it for all its peak Disney era comedy staples, such as the family of stars that make up its excellent cast and the classic cut-out style opening with Sherman Brothers music! Many folks are bashing this DVD release due to the full-screen format. However, it is my understanding that the original aspect ratio of this film is currently a subject of debate, so any hardcore consumer anger might as yet be premature. That item aside, the DVD thankfully includes two extras. One is a nice gallery of posters and lobby cards. The other is a video gallery of famous Disney inventors, though true fans will notice many faces missing. Gyro Gearloose, anyone? Gadget? Okay, so they couldn't include them all, but Gyro is a major one in my opinion. This second extra isn't that necessary and something tied more to the film would have been preferred, but it's a nice bit of fluff. Just wish it had been presented as one featurette rather than a video gallery. Anyway, without a doubt, if you enjoy family comedies or are a Disney fanatic, "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones" is a must own! "