98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
THE BAND WAGON is (along with SINGIN' IN THE RAIN) my favorite musical of all time. Coming in a close second is EASTER PARADE. Warner Bros. has applied their amazing Ultra-Resolution technology to these two films, to bring out their TECHNICOLOR brilliance.
If you saw what WB did with GWTW, MEET ME IN ST LOUIS or SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, you know we're in for a treat!
But it doesn't stop there...
THE BAND WAGON has a commentary by the director's daughter...this girl named Liza, and a new documentary about the making of the film, and a documentary about her amazing father, and a Vitaphone short with Jack Buchanan, AND the deleted song TWO-FACED WOMAN. Add to this a new 5.1 stereo soundtrack, and you're in BAND WAGON heaven!
Then we get to EASTER PARADE, the quintessential Hollywood favorite with Judy Garland at her best teaming up with the amazing Astaire. The extras here include Fred's daughter on commentary along with the foremost Garland author John Fricke, a gallery of Astaire trailers, a docu on the making of EASTER PARADE and best of all, the amazing PBS Biographical epic that was created by American Masters last year, JUDY GARLAND: BY MYSELF (it won a boatload of Emmy Awards).
OK. So if that was all WB was giving us in this box, I'd be going nuts, but they don't stop there.
We also get a brand spankin' new 16x9 transfer of BELLS ARE RINGING with Judy Holliday re-creating her stage triumph, along with Dean Martin, a 5.1 soundtrack, outtakes, a new docu, and more...
..and then Francis Ford Coppola personally guides us through one of his earliest works, as Astaire stars with Pet Clark in FINIAN'S RAINBOW, for the first time on DVD, with a 16x9 transfer, and 5.1 audio and director commentary, and premiere footage...
Last but not least is the return of BRIGADOON, which on DVD before looked like $%^&*(*&!!!!
Not anymore! A 16x9 remastering with 5.1 sound, and a slew of outtakes gives us a definitive presentation of Gene Kelly & Cyd Charisse creating Minnelli magic to the Lerner and Loewe score.
All this, in one box, with our kind Amazon friends selling it at an unbelievably bargain price, is really beyond belief.
WB continues to boggle the DVD-lover's mind! WOW!
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Matthew G. Sherwin
- Published on Amazon.com
Warner has been doing a magnificent job of using the latest picture resolution process to restore and/or polish up their best movies; and again they do not disappoint! Warner Home Video truly hits a home run and does the incredible with this boxed set of five of the greatest musicals of all time! The set is well presented with excellent digital transfer, wonderful sound and a bevy of sublime extras.
The Band Wagon (which itself is a two DVD special edition) stars Fred Astaire as an older entertainer trying to be successful again in show business. Things do not go well: he doesn't like the director; there aren't fancy dance scenes that he prefers to perform and he has to dance with a ballerina! The show is unpopular and Fred's character Tony Hunter saves the day using his superior technique and know-how. The extras are wonderful! Liza Minnelli (whose Dad, Vincente Minnelli, did an excellent job as director of the picture) and Michael Feinstein provide an engaging commentary. There are also two documentaries: "Get Aboard! The Band Wagon" about the making of the movie and an older expose entitled "The Men Who Made the Movies: Vincente Minnelli." You won't regret these-they are excellent and very informative! SMILE There's also the outtake musical number of Two Faced Women. Very good! For Astaire fans there's an Astaire trailer collection and even a musical short of Jack Buchanan with the Glee Quartet. I was particularly pleased with the fine commentary Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein give here.
The other two disc special edition is of the MGM classic Easter Parade. Wow! This has always been one of my very favorite musicals. The acting and the chemistry between Astaire playing the professional dancer and Judy Garland playing Hannah Brown his at first unlikely dance partner-and eventually romantic partner-is nothing short of excellent and captivating! Ann Miller turns in a great performance as the dancer who leaves Fred's character to try to get even further ahead in her career. The digital quality of the video and the sound are both excellent. There's a documentary of the making of this movie and a particular favorite of mine is the American Masters documentary profile: "Judy Garland: By Myself" put out only with the essential effort of my friend John Fricke. (The American Masters documentary won more than just one Emmy, making this a particularly valuable extra! John won one of the Emmys for this; he is the leading Garland biographer who wrote several books on Judy.) John worked so hard on this profile! John's fine commentary along with Ava Astaire (Fred Astaire's daughter) proves to be an excellent resource for reliable information about this film and Judy. You also get the outtake musical number "Mr. Monotony." There's a Judy Garland trailer collection and some promotions for the original film are provided. Wow! A fine two disc set in and of itself.
Bells Are Ringing is Judy Holliday's last performance; she plays a worker at a telephone answering service who gets overly involved with her client's personal lives. Jean Stapleton, a favorite actress of mine (from All In The Family as Edith) is in this picture as well. This picture was nominated for an Oscar for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and the song "Just In Time" is certainly one good reason why! Outtake musical numbers include "Is It a Crime?" and "My Guiding Star." The digital transfer is again excellent and the sound quality is excellent. This is definitely a classic musical.
Brigadoon boasts a wonderful musical score by Lerner and Lowe. The principle cast is only the best: Gene Kelly, Van Johnson and Cyd Charisse. An adventurous American suddenly uncovers a magical Scottish town which is only visible one day a century! Does he stay there and perhaps experience a fine true love; or should he return to his life as it is? Quite the dilemma! There are three musical outtakes you want to look at: "Come to Me Bend to Me," "From This Day On," and "Sword Dance." An audio outtake and a brand new digital transfer make this a fine addition to the box set as well as your DVD collection.
Last, but certainly not least, is Finian's Rainbow. A wonderful fanciful musical, this film stars Fred Astaire in his final full length performance as Finian McLonergan. Somehow Finian steals a pot of gold from Og the leprechaun. Finian and his daughter Sharon (the lovely Petula Clark) go to America (as does Og) and use their powers to overcome a rather prejudiced senator. Not only are the musical numbers excellent; the cinematography is superlative and the ending is a happy one! There is an excellent commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola and a cute feature on the film's premiere.
All in all, this is clearly one of the best boxed sets of supremely fine great musicals and it is very reasonably priced. For me personally this set was an easy decision-it is already in my personal DVD collection! I highly recommend this boxed set for fans of the great American musicals as well as all patrons of the arts. This is also a solid introduction to some of the quality musicals produced on film to date. Equally important, the hard work and effort everyone put into the seemingly countless extras is superlative.
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The wonderful folks at Warner Home Video have outdone themselves recently with several amazing boxed sets of great films. We now have definitive batches of the best of Film Noir, Classic Comedy, Gangster Films--and this beauty, my favorite so far. The sheer brilliance of the technical work that went into restoring these classic musicals is reason enough to pounce on Amazon's bargain price while it lasts.
What can you say about the films themselves that hasn't already been said? THE BAND WAGON is the crown jewel here, of course, but the others are excellent. EASTER PARADE is terrific. BELLS ARE RINGING, though not the strongest story or score around, has B'way legend (and Oscar-winner) Judy Holliday in her final star vehicle. And BRIGADOON has all that dancing in the heather, not to mention the stunning score of Lerner & Loewe.
For me, the most pleasant surprise in the box is FINIAN'S RAINBOW. I'm familiar with all the other titles here, but I'd never really looked at this one all the way through before, and it's visually impressive and surprisingly charming. Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele, Don Francks, and an energetic supporting cast of singer/dancers do wonders with the dated story and timeless score. And young Francis Ford Coppola had some fresh and interesting visual ideas (montage, cross-cutting, swooping aerial shots, etc.) to keep it all humming along. Coppola is unnecessarily self-effacing throughout his commentary track--he has no reason to apologize. With its restored widescreen picture and 5.1 stereo soundtrack, this film is really quite beautiful.
All in all, this is yet another must-have collection for all serious film buffs. Thanks again, Warner Home Video!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Stephen H. Wood
- Published on Amazon.com
BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD is Warner Home Video's blanket title for five of the splashiest and most tuneful color MGM musicals ever made: THE BANDWAGON, EASTER PARADE, BRIGADOON, BELLS ARE RINGING, and FINIAN'S RAINBOW.
Two of these are sleeper gems. Vincente Minnelli's BRIGADOON (1954), with an army of musical numbers by Lerner and Loewe, has travelers Gene Kelly and Van Johnson coming upon a Scottish village that can only be seen once every hundred years; Cyd Charisse is the lovely leading lady. The movie has been criticized for its sound stage re-creation of a Scottish village, but that is a plus for me. Along with CinemaScope, one gets the feel for what this show was like on Broadway. A dozen songs, choreographed by Kelly, include "The Heather on the Hill" and "It's Almost Like Being in Love." BRIGADOON is a lovely movie, with remastered color and sound. Bonuses include three outtake musical numbers and several original theatrical trailers.
Francis Ford Coppola does brand-new audio commentary on his own fabulous FINIAN'S RAINBOW (1968), in Technicolor and letterboxed Panavision. Again, we are mostly on a soundstage, with Fred Astaire and Tommy Steele as leprechauns and Petula Clark at her loveliest as Astaire's daughter. This E.Y. Harburg-Fred Saidy-Burton Lane musical has songs I cannot get out of my head weeks later, including "Look to the Rainbow,""That Old Devil Moon," "How Are Things In Glocca Mora?" and Steele's show-stopper: "If I'm Not With the Girl I Love, I'll Love the Girl I Am With." The movie is glorious and very underrated, from a late 1960's era of underrated movie musicals, including STAR! and HELLO, DOLLY!
BELLS ARE RINGING.(1960), with Vincente Minnelli directing a delightful Betty Comden-Adolph Green screenplay, with Jule Styne music, is a great musical vehicle for wonderful Judy Holliday, re-creating a Tony winning stage role. She is a switchboard operator named Melasande at Susanswerphone in a lower-depths part of Manhattan. She is not supposed to get personally involved with the clients, but as "Mom" falls in love with songwriter Dean Martin. She also does not know that bookie Eddie Foy, Jr. is using the answering service as a gambling front. Terrific songs here include the legendary "Just in Time" and "The Party's Over". DVD bonuses, in addition to remastered color and sound, include outtake musical numbers and a filmmaking documentary. You also get to see a CinemaScope movie at its right aspect ratio.
The two crown jewels of the BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD set are double disks of Charles Walters' EASTER PARADE (1948) and Vincente Minnelli's THE BANDWAGON (1953). Both have magnificently remastered sound and picture to look and sound brand new. EASTER PARADE has about fifteen old and new Irving Berlin songs, performed by the incomparable Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Its magnificent bonuses include the finest Garland documentary, two full hours from PBS, that I have ever seen; a filmmaking documentary; and audio commentary by Astaire's daughter Ava and Garland biographer John Fricke. This is an all-time favorite musical of mine, and I have never enjoyed it more.
Last and probably best (which is saying a lot!) is THE BANDWAGON (1953), which several movie musical experts feel is the best movie musical of all time. It is certainly one of the most sophisticated and stylish color ones, with a wonderful Oscar-nominated Comden and Green screenplay about putting on a Broadway show. Astaire stars this time with lovely Cyd Charisse, never better than in "Dancing in the Dark." Other hit songs include "By Myself," "Shine on My Shoes." "Triplets," "Louisiana Hayride," the gorgeously-designed Mickey Spillane climax, and "That's Entertainment!" Comden and Green have a delightful time spoofing themselves as the Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant characters. The biggest bonus here is audio commentary by a very happy and friendly Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein, along with a filmmaking documentary and an hour-long "Men Who Made the Movies" documentary on Vincente Minnelli.
If you'd like to own this DVD boxed set, BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD, it retails for about $60, but sells from Amazon for about $45, less than an orchestra ticket for a downtown San Francisco stage show. Happy viewing!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This set was given to me a few months ago. My personal interest is in Brigadoon. Cyd and Hugh are probably the greatest dancers to ever crossover (and Mr Kelly doesn't count since he was never really on the other side). What angers me about the transfer of the film version to dvd is that it was edited. DVD transfer is an opportunity to realize a film's full life. The version of Brigadoon in this collection is clearly formatted for some kind of commercial-tv presentation. The beautiful and crucial number "Come to Me Bend to Me" is formatted as an outtake, as if there wasn't time for it in the tv format. I remember when the film was released in 1964. All of us in the production had a sense that this was a show that could delight and move people who would never see a stage production. I cannot fathom why the people that gained the rights to the dvd transfer did nothing more than dump a tv-commercial-edited version onto a piggy-back of a multi-dvd set--they don't know the show, or don't give a damn