The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection (The Cocoanuts / Animal Crackers / Monkey Business / Horse Feathers / Duck Soup)
Manufacturer: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Brand: UNI DIST CORP. (MCA)
Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the greatest comedy act in history with The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection. This essential DVD set features the legendary four Marx Brothers in five of their most acclaimed and best loved films - Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, Monkey Business, Animal Crackers and The Cocoanuts - the only five movies ever made with all four brothers together: Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo! There will be a debate of which 2004 DVD collection of Marx Brothers films was better. This Universal release of the better known Paramount-produced films are the only ones starring all four brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo. The Warner collection contains less-vital films, but is loaded with extras and commentaries. The Universal collection contains only 20 minutes of interviews from NBC's Today Show--interesting but short--with Harpo, Groucho, and Harpo's son Bill from the '60s and '70s. All of the films in this collection were released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 2000 and the prints look the same, which isn't necessarily bad; one just wishes a major restoration had been undertaken. The films--packaged handsomely with a booklet--are essential Marx Brothers, their first five films made from 1929 to 1933. The least timeless is their first, The Cocoanuts, based on their Broadway hit. The film--one of the first full talkies--takes place in a hotel with owner Groucho out to grab every dollar. Animal Crackers is the brothers' first classic, a lickety-split comedy about an art theft being investigated by Groucho's alter-image, Captain Spaulding. For introducing youngsters to the work of Marx, Monkey Business is the best way. The shenanigans start right at the start as the brothers stowaway on a luxury liner. It's their first film that wasn't based on a play, as they endeavored to find new material. Horse Feathers gave them more fertile ground plus a sure-fire Hollywood director at the helm (Norman McLeoad). Their fantasia of college life includes the riotous football-game finale. Music, always a ...
It's a very special day when Peter and his friends go to Grandpa's to see his toys. And before they know it, they find themselves magically shrinking to toy size! That's just the beginning in this delightful musical adventure. Meet Punchinello the Clown, a singing British sailor, a jump-roping Little Dutch Girl, young Scottish dancers, and more, as they sing, dance, and serve up plenty of laughs. And when they help Grandpa solve a problem, everyone learns the importance of being young at heart. This colorful live-action, upbeat musical is sure to charm kids of all ages with over 20 familiar children's songs, jump rope rhymes, and clapping games.
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures
Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, James Caan, Walter Pidgeon. The inimitable Barbra skyrocketed to fame and snagged a Best Actress Oscar for playing big-time Ziegfeld star Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1968/155 min/G), and then she went on wowing them in the sequel Funny Lady (1975/135 min/PG). A must-have Barbra set! 2 DVDs. Color/widescreen.
Brand: Warner Brothers
Brigadoon (DVD)Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse and Van Johnson star in this classic American film musical about a powerful love and the magical town Brigadoon. When two Americans, Tommy Albright (Kelly) and Jeff Douglas (Johnson), happen upon the innocent and magical town nestled in the Scottish Highlands, Tommy falls in love with Brigadoon's Fiona Campbell (Charisse). But this wondrous town appears only one day every 100 years--never long enough to be corrupted by the outside world--and Tommy can only stay with Fiona if loves her enough to forever leave the life he knows.]]>
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Set in the Oklahoma Territory in the early 1900's, this joyous celebration of frontier life is a story of tender romance and dangerous passion. Gordon MacRae is Curly, a sunny, good-natured ranch hand, and Shirley Jones is Laurey Williams, the farmer's daughter he loves. Rod Steiger is he menacing Jud, who tries to comes between them. The first Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration, this Academy Award winner for Best Score features the classic songs "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" and "People Will Say We're In Love."
Neil Diamond stars as Yussel in this tale of a young Jewish cantor who strives to make a career in music. Against the wishes of his rigid father and his loving wife, Yussel travels to California to play his music. Swept up by the excitement, he meets a woman who shares his dream. He grows apart from his family, and becomes confused about what he should ultimately do with his life. Not much jazz spoken in this 1980 version of the Jolson classic, directed by Richard Fleischer (The Vikings) and starring a very tentative Neil Diamond as a cantor's son who would rather sing commercially than in a synagogue. The soundtrack is tedious, the portrait of L.A.'s music industry preposterous, and Diamond (despite his talents as a singer-songwriter in the real world) can't help but look like a speck on the wall in the presence of Laurence Olivier, who plays his father. --Tom Keogh
Kelsey Grammer brings Ebenezer Scrooge to life in this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale. A musical setting for Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a natural, and this holiday TV-movie (based on the Broadway version) generously crams music into its quick spin through the venerable story. Kelsey Grammer uses his musical pipes (and some of his "master thespian" style of acting) as Ebenezer Scrooge, the man whose miserliness needs no introduction here. There's some experienced musical-comedy talent in the cast, from small roles to large, with expert stuff from Jesse L. Martin (who was in Rent, the Broadway musical, before he joined the Law & Order team) as the ghost of Christmas Present and Jane Krakowski as the ghost of Christmas Past. Jason Alexander, another TV person with a background in stage musicals, does deftly as the chain-rattling Jacob Marley's ghost (and his number is one of the most tuneful of the mixed bag of songs). Alan Menken, the veteran tunesmith of Beauty and the Beast fame, contributes the music, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime); the bigger numbers are spirited but a little rote. (The Styne-Merrill songs from a wackier version of the story, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, are a more memorable bunch.) This version moves so quickly across the main points of the story that Scrooge's redemption feels a tad rushed, but maybe the songs are supposed to be the point. Still, the razzle-berry dressing is missed. --Robert Horton
Brand: Warner Brothers
Star Is Born, A (1976) (DVD)Barbra Streisand stars as struggling singer becomes a star but loses theman she loves--who will not allow himself to hinder her rise to fameonce A Star is Born.In this film based on the Academy Award-winning 1937and 1955 films, the career of hopeful, young singer Esther Hoffman(Streisand) is launched by fading rock star John Norman Howard (KrisKristofferson), who also wins the young singer's heart. Hoffman becomesa leading lady on stage and in Howard's life, but as Howard's careerflounders, he sinks into an abyss of alcohol and cocaine. Hoffmanchooses to sacrifice her stardom to care for Howard, but he will notallow her to abandon her dreams.]]>
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Cabin in the Sky (DVD)Hollywood's first all-black film since The Green Pastures tells the vibrant fable of rascally Little Joe, torn between the love of his good wife Petunia and the wiles of good-time bad-girl Georgia Brown...and caught in a tug-of-war between emissaries from the Lord and Satan. How can virtue triumph over evil? Well, as Petunia says, "Sometimes when you fight the devil, you gotta jab him with his own pitchfork." Debuting movie director Vincente Minnelli (An American in Paris, Gigi) and stars Ethel Waters, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are more than a match for the devil in this musical treasure. With a soundtrack of dazzling standards, including "Taking a Chance on Love" and "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe," Cabin in the Sky is a joyous classic.]]>