Busby Berkeley Collections

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Jeff
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Busby Berkeley Collections

#1 Post by Jeff » Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:00 pm

March 21, 2006
Six-Disc Set
MSRP $59.92

* Gold Diggers of 1933
* 42nd Street
* Gold Diggers of 1935
* Footlight Parade
* Dames
* Bonus disc "featuring three hours of highlights of Berkeley's production numbers from the films featured in the set and others, which was originally compiled for laserdisc"

More details to follow. Article with Feltenstein comments here.

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david hare
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#2 Post by david hare » Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:05 pm

Glory be!

The highlight among many for me is the Lullaby of Broadway number from Gold Diggers of 35.

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Derek Estes
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#3 Post by Derek Estes » Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:19 am

Thank God! I've been waiting SO impatiently for this release for years! I wonder if 42nd Street will be a SE? The original was quite fine though.

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htdm
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#4 Post by htdm » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:09 am

It's all good!

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Jeff
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#5 Post by Jeff » Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:49 pm

Specs courtesy of DVD Times. 42nd Street is the original disc repackaged in an Amaray case, and is the only title to be available separately.

[quote]42nd Street (1933)
This unforgettable musical classic represents Berkeley's first major cinematic masterpiece. Warner Baxter stars as stage director Julian Marsh, pressured by the threat of an impending early demise, to create one last great Broadway hit. The quintessential ‘put-on-a-show' plot spins merrily, full of snappy banter with then-newcomers Ruby Keeler (her film debut), Dick Powell and Ginger Rogers. Shuffle off to Buffalo, You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me and the title tune still dazzle. This is the film where Baxter uttered the immortal line to understudy Keeler, (stepping in at the last minute for star Bebe Daniels, who has just broken her leg)…“You're going out there a youngster…but you've got to come back a star!â€

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Gigi M.
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#6 Post by Gigi M. » Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:14 am


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Lino
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#7 Post by Lino » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:32 am

Wow! That is hands down the best looking boxset artwork Warner has produced 'til now. Seems like they have learned a few things about simple and effective imagery - though I still have problems with the spines. Why do they feel the need to display the covers in there? They could have done that in the back cover and be away with it. The only example where it does work is in the first Kubrick boxset (the white one) but only because the original posters were great.

Seems like a great set, though!

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htdm
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#8 Post by htdm » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:00 pm

That new cover for 42nd Street is much better than the current one.

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Lino
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#9 Post by Lino » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:52 am

Back cover:

Image

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Lino
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#10 Post by Lino » Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:57 am

Some info I dug up about the bonus disc:

http://www.dvdlaser.com/search/detail.cfm?ID=14961
The Busby Berkeley Disc

(LaserDisc Review)
The disc is a three-sided, three-hour collection of the greatest Busby Berkeley routines created during his stay at Warner Bros. from 1933 to 1937, and is a surprisingly coherent piece of entertainment. Because virtually all of the songs on the disc were written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, the numbers are very cohesive--not only chord progressions, but also rhymes and phrases are repeated with slight variations and advancements throughout the show. Berkeley also strove repeatedly to top himself, so that his stagings on the somewhat chronologically organized disc become more sophisticated as it advances--you can see him return to a previously explored idea with a bigger budget and a smoother, more confident execution. Equally fascinating are the endless close-ups of otherwise anonymous chorus girls, encouraging the viewer to ponder, if only momentarily, what sort of life each one ended up having.

Without the personalities of the characters at the forefront of the viewer's mind, the numbers are approached from a different perspective. Even if a fan is fanatical enough to have collected Gold Diggers of 1935, for example, The Busby Berkeley Disc is still a must, for it removes that film's musical numbers from their dramatic context and makes them part of the anthology's climax instead. Ultimately, however, it is Berkeley's unstoppable vision, assuaged by the music, which makes the disc so entertaining. The disc is both a sampler and a celebration, and will appeal to anyone who loves the articulation of imagination on film. There are twenty-two numbers, including the major sequences from 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, and Dames, along with a pair of excerpts from Gold Diggers of 1935 and Wonder Bar (part of The Al Jolson Collection ) and single excerpts from Fashions of 1934 , In Caliente , and Gold Diggers of 1937 . Every number is a legitimate highlight, but a consensus probably would identify the innovative "42nd Street" number, the campy "By a Waterfall," the blasphemous "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule," and the cumulative "Lullaby of Broadway" as the pinnacles of the pinnacles. The picture and monaural sound quality is manageable throughout the disc, though there seem to be more weak moments than exceptional ones in the transfers. The audio track on the clips from Footlight Parade is unusually scratchy and the contrasts are so out of balance on the "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule" number that facial details, such as they are, blend into the backgrounds.

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david hare
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#11 Post by david hare » Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:07 am

Given a slight air of gloom around the joint I pulled these caps from the Image Unseen Cinema presentation of "Lullaby of Broadway" from Gold Diggers of 1935. The print has surface damage but it's gorgeously contrasted and fine grained. In other other words it looks like real film. I hope the caps work as a tonic.

And the sequence always makes my hair stand on end. (Not that I have any hair...)

Image

Image

Image

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Image

Image

Image

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Image

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I realize the finale is strikingly melancholy, but the whole 13 minutes is sheer poetry.

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david hare
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#12 Post by david hare » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:21 pm

My order from DVDPacific shipped today. Anyone else?

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alandau
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#13 Post by alandau » Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:36 am

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great review at BEAVER. Can't wait to see this one. Contender for DVD of the year at this moment.

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Lino
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#14 Post by Lino » Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:33 am


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alandau
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#15 Post by alandau » Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:49 am

May I disagree with Gary Tooze. IMHO "Dames" is the most stupendous, and by far, the most surreal of all the Berkeleys. It contaims "I Only Have Eyes for You" for God's sake.

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Ashirg
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#16 Post by Ashirg » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:39 am

alandau wrote:May I disagree with Gary Tooze.
It's one person's opinion - it's not gospel.

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Lino
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#17 Post by Lino » Sat Mar 18, 2006 4:49 am


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david hare
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#18 Post by david hare » Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:22 pm

Don't miss the extras, including the astounding 3-strip Techni short Good Morning Eve, and the Don Redman band on the Dames disc.

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Lino
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#19 Post by Lino » Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:44 pm

I take it you've already gone through the whole set, huh? I'm waiting for next month's pocket money to do the same. So, David, give us your run-down of the whole shebang, mate! :wink:

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david hare
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#20 Post by david hare » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:31 pm

Far from it Annie, and I can't give you a total rundown but some impressions. (I have over 150 discs sitting on the sideboard waiting for my attention - like I'm so important.)

The movie transfers are pretty much as good as Beaver shows them. Interestingly the "Lullaby of Broadway" number from GD of 35 (still my absolute favorite Berkeleyana) shows similar slight surface print damage to the copy used in the Unseen Cinema collection (you can see a black splat for instance in one of my caps.) But it still looks gorgeous. And the sound tracks are crystal clear.

There is at least ONE Bob Clampett cartoon ("I Only have Eyes for you" with the ubiquitous "Bingo Crosbyana" - a little gem) and hopefully some more elsewhere. Some of the comedy shorts are completely diabolical - barely watchable today but kind of fascinating as artefacts. Actually their vaudevillian origins are a prelude to the absolutely dreadful comedy sketches with Red Skelton, Keenan Wynn et al in Ziegfeld Follies. People should be aware that Follies follows that clunkiest of bastard forms, the omnibus movie. Thank the buddha for chapter stops - the MInelli sequences (not all the numbers are his) are sublime.

Back to BB - GD of 35 is a dog of a movie, extremely plodding, contrived narrative and very flatly played. The musical numbers of course elevate it to another planet.

GD of 33 (directed by Leroy) is formally the most developed as a total movie. I think it builds upon the snappy pacing and characterizations of the LLoyd Bacon pictures in fact. I certainly like it even more than 42nd St and Footlight Parade, but they are three of a kind.

Anyhow much to enjoy. It's nice to see Dames (for the first time) and discover the magnificent Wini Shaw back again (playing off Edward Everett Horton!) EDIT: Wini is in the clip "The Lady in Red" from In Caliente, NOT bloody Dames!!!
Last edited by Anonymous on Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BWilson
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#21 Post by BWilson » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:13 pm

Can someone clarify? Is "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule" on the bonus DVD or not?

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david hare
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#22 Post by david hare » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:27 pm

Alas it's not.

It was on the laserdisc but Warner may have gotten cold feet. They even preface a couple of cartoons in the set with "From another less enlightened time" disclaimers, yet the cartoons are frankly harmless. Mule is another kettle of fish I suppose but it's so grotesque it's laughable. You should see the Viatphone two reeler "Rufus Jones for President"! (also not on this set.)

I hope they eventually release Wonder Bar - it's the first non "backstage" plot driven Berkeley, and as a verge of code pic it includes the scene with Jolson cackling "boys will be boys - whoopee!" as two fey looking guys in tuxedos go off and dance together.

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carax09
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#23 Post by carax09 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:41 pm

No, I don't see it on there.

42nd Street: Young And Healthy/Shuffle Off To Buffalo/42nd Street

Gold Diggers '33: We're In The Money/Pettin' In The Park/Shadow Waltz/
Remember My Forgotten Man

Footlight Parade: Sittin' On A Backyard Fence/Ah, The Moon Is Here/
Honeymoon Hotel/Shanghai Lil/By A Waterfall

Fashions of 1934: Spin A Little Web Of Dreams

Wonder Bar: Don't Say Goodnight

Dames: The Girl At The Ironing Board/I only Have Eyes For You/Dames

Gold Diggers of '35: The Words Are In My Heart/Lullaby Of Broadway

In Caliente: The Lady In Red

Gold Diggers of '37: All Is Fair In Love And War

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Ashirg
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#24 Post by Ashirg » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:56 pm

Too bad they couldn't include this. Maybe, for volume 2

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david hare
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#25 Post by david hare » Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:19 pm

As it is Warner has included a kind of patched together mini-doc before each feature cycling through the same commentators, including John Waters who doesn't really light up (surprisingly) until he gets enthused about "Lullaby of Broadway" and what he calls the "Night of the Living Tappers."

Do you think they'd do a Vol.2? I doubt it. (Although I guess they've got those fairly dull Garland/Rooney pictures to pad it out.)

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