Coming Up Shorts! with… The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 5

Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! This time, I’m going with the Hal Roach theatrical shorts featuring The Little Rascals, and some of their shorts from 1935-1936 that have been released together on disc in The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 5.

Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the shorts included in this set (for my comments on the individual shorts, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):

  1. Anniversary Trouble (1935) (Length: 19 minutes, 22 seconds)
    • Spanky (George McFarland) has been elected the treasurer of the Gang’s club (“Ancient and Honery Order of Wood Chucks Club, Inc.”) and the Gang have decided to trust him with the money. However, it’s also his parents’ wedding anniversary, and the envelope containing the Gang’s money has gotten mixed up with his father’s gift to his mother.
  2. Beginner’s Luck (1935) (Length: 18 minutes, 38 seconds)
    • After having Spanky (George McFarland) recite for some of her lady friends, Spanky’s mother decides to enter him in an amateur talent contest. However, Spanky has no desire to win, and enlists the Gang’s help to sabotage his performance.
  3. Teacher’s Beau (1935) (Length: 19 minutes, 3 seconds)
    • The Gang’s teacher, Miss Jones (Arletta Duncan) announces that she will get married, and that they will have a new teacher for their next year, Mrs. Wilson. Not wanting a new teacher, the Gang try to find ways to break up the engagement.
  4. Sprucin’ Up (1935) (Length: 16 minutes, 58 seconds)
    • The kids are all complaining about how their mothers make them clean themselves up. However, when a new truant officer (and his beautiful daughter) move in, everybody changes their tune!
  5. Little Papa (1935) (Length: 19 minutes, 41 seconds)
    • Spanky (George McFarland) and the Gang want to play football, but he’s forced to babysit his younger sister. Hoping that she will be less trouble if she is asleep, Spanky and Alfalfa (Carl Switzer) try to find ways to make her sleepy.
  6. Little Sinner (1935) (Length: 17 minutes, 31 seconds)
    • Spanky (George McFarland) was just given a new fishing pole for his birthday, and he wants to try it out! However, it’s Sunday, and all the other kids warn him against skipping Sunday School (but he ignores them, to his regret).
  7. Our Gang Follies Of 1936 (1935) (Length: 17 minutes, 54 seconds)
    • Spanky (George McFarland) and the Gang put on a show for the kids of the neighborhood. However, one highly-demanded act is missing, so the Gang has to figure out what to do instead.
  8. The Pinch Singer (1936) (Length: 17 minutes, 26 seconds)
    • A local radio station holds an amateur talent contest with a $50 prize. The Eagles Club (that’s the Gang) decide to have Darla (Darla Hood) perform, but when she’s late, it’s up to Alfalfa (Carl Switzer) to go on in her place!
  9. Divot Diggers (1936) (Length: 14 minutes, 51 seconds)
    • The Gang are all out having fun playing golf. When the caddies at the course go on strike, the owner convinces the Gang to help caddie for some of his golfing customers.
  10. The Lucky Corner (1936) (Length: 16 minutes, 21 seconds)
    • Scotty (Scotty Beckett) and his grandfather are selling lemonade, but a bully and his father (who have a store of their own) force them to move their stand when some potential customers go to them for lemonade. So, with Scotty and his grandfather now situated in a different spot where almost nobody goes, it’s up to the Gang to help them drum up some business!
  11. Second Childhood (1936) (Length: 19 minutes, 11 seconds)
    • A cranky old lady (Zeffie Tilbury) is miserable on her birthday (and making her servants miserable) until a toy airplane comes flying in and breaks her vase. Spanky (George McFarland) and the Gang volunteer to do some work around the yard for her when they can’t pay for the vase, and in the process, help her start to enjoy life again!
  12. Arbor Day (1936) (Length: 17 minutes, 39 seconds)
    • It’s Arbor Day, and the school is putting on a pageant featuring all the kids, which is something that Spanky (George McFarland) wants to avoid. He is caught by the truant officer, along with a pair of midgets from a nearby circus mistaken as kids.

After nearly forty-five talkie shorts, the Our Gang/ The Little Rascals series was starting to settle into the cast it would become most known for. Matthew “Stymie” Beard left the series after Teacher’s Beau (1935), finishing a run that had started back in Teacher’s Pet (1930). Scotty Beckett left the series to go into the movies after filming Our Gang Follies Of 1936 (1935), although his appearance in the short The Lucky Corner (1936) was the result of that short’s release being delayed almost a year after filming began. Marianne Edwards left the series after The Pinch Singer (1936), but, like Scotty Beckett, her last appearance was in the delayed The Lucky Corner (1936). Meanwhile, in 1935, the series introduced the likes of Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer (making his debut in Beginner’s Luck), Eugene “Porky” Lee (Little Sinner) and Darla Hood (Our Gang Follies Of 1936), cementing some of the series’ most well-known members, and resulting in the shorts becoming a bit more musical.

As I have said in my previous reviews of Volume 1 (which contained the shorts 1929’s Small Talk through 1930’s A Tough Winter), Volume 2 (1930’s Pups Is Pups through 1931’s Dogs Is Dogs), Volume 3 (1932’s Readin’ And Writin’ through 1933’s Forgotten Babies) and Volume 4 (1933’s The Kid From Borneo through 1935’s Shrimps For A Day), these shorts are all quite new to me. For me, the shorts included in this fifth volume have continued to be a lot of fun! As has been the case, I’ve continued to enjoy those focusing on George “Spanky” McFarland, as he continues to be one of the funnier members of the group. Anniversary Trouble (1935), Beginner’s Luck (1935), Our Gang Follies Of 1936 (1935), The Pinch Singer (1936), The Lucky Corner (1936) and Second Childhood (1936) all left me laughing, and certainly left me with a strong desire to come back to them again! As did Teacher’s Beau (1935), even if that one did border on being a retread of an earlier short. There are a few scattered problems that date some of these shorts, but the worst one would have to be Little Sinner (1935), which goes on a little too long with its portrayal of some rather spirited African-Americans during a baptism ceremony at night. I do admit, I miss Scotty Beckett as he is phased out, since I thought he and Spanky made a great comedy team in their appearances together in some of the shorts included in the fourth volume, but Alfalfa manages to add to the fun rather memorably! All in all, this set was still quite entertaining, and just as highly recommended as some of the earlier volumes (and I eagerly look forward to the sixth and final volume of the talkie shorts from Hal Roach)!

As I mentioned in my reviews of the earlier volumes, ClassicFlix announced (in late 2020) that they had licensed the Little Rascals shorts, and planned to restore the talkies and the silent shorts. The film elements for many films and shorts originally produced by Hal Roach’s studio have changed hands a number of times over the years, and haven’t been as well preserved as most would hope. ClassicFlix tried a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the restorations for the Little Rascals series, but that ended up falling short. Still, they went through with their plans to restore the shorts, and, much like the first four sets, these shorts look fantastic (some minor damage is still present, but it’s just about not even worth mentioning)! This set doesn’t necessarily give any hints as to what film elements were used like the first one did (beyond the comment on the disc case about scanning from original Hal Roach 35mm film elements), but the results speak for themselves (and if you don’t believe me, I included some of the YouTube clips posted by ClassicFlix at the bottom of the post so that you can get a better idea)! Once again, the team at ClassicFlix have put a lot of hard work into restoring these, and I would certainly recommend this fifth volume (plus the first four as well, if you haven’t gotten them already)! With the sixth set already released (thus completing all the talkies before MGM took over the series), we only await the arrival of the silents in 2023 and beyond (some of which will be on Blu-ray while others will be DVD-only due to the quality of the available elements)! In the meantime, there is also The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection Centennial Edition on Blu-ray (or DVD) from ClassicFlix. This set includes all the talkie shorts included in the six volumes (although it has been condensed onto five discs instead of six) plus a bonus disc of extras (that bonus disc, a limited release, is also available separately, and comes with a six-disc box for all those that previously bought the individual volumes).

The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 5 is available on Blu-ray from ClassicFlix. The whole set has a runtime of three hours, thirty-four minutes.

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Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2022

As has long been established here, I very much prefer physical media when it comes to how I like to watch movies. So, to that end, we’re here to look at what I personally consider to be the best releases of 2022! As I remind everyone yearly, I do NOT receive screeners of any kind (nor, quite frankly, would I want to, as I prefer to support the movies I like in the hopes of more of them being made available), so I can only work with what I have seen.  I am making this list from all the 2022 releases I have seen as of 11/24/2022. I am, at this point, strictly working from movies that have been released through October 2022 (plus one released VERY early in the month of November) due to constraints of time and budget (plus the fact that, as I said, I don’t receive screeners and therefore can’t comment on anything released in the latter part of November or anything from December). So, this list is what it is (but, I will give a shout-out to some of the others afterwards).  And if any of these appeal to you, be sure to click on the movie titles to use my affiliate links to go to Amazon and buy them!

  1. The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 9/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Blu-ray Roundup #1
    • The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962) tells the tale of Jacob Grimm (Karl Boehm) and his brother Wilhelm (Laurence Harvey), as Wilhelm seeks out various fairy tales while his brother works on the family history of a local duke. This may not be the best film on the list, and it may not be the absolute best restoration (due to some VERY minor damage that is visible here and there), but it was the biggest surprise of the year! It’s a very enjoyable film, long thought to be too difficult/expensive to restore due to water damage and being a Cinerama film (meaning it had three times the amount of film to restore that a regular movie of a similar length would have). Now, it looks MUCH better than it has in a long time, and a bunch of new special features were produced for this release. I thought this would be the release of the year when I first saw it, and now, more than half a year later, I still believe it!
  1. Singin’ In The Rain (1952) (Warner Home Video, 4K UHD, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: 4K UHD Roundup, Original Review
    • In this classic musical, Gene Kelly stars as silent film star Don Lockwood, who is facing the rise of the talking picture, as he also begins a romance with one of his fans, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). It’s hard to go wrong with this film, in between all the fun music by producer Arthur Freed and his partner Nacio Herb Brown, Gene Kelly’s iconic dance to the title tune and Donald O’Connor doing “Make ‘Em Laugh,” along with many other memorable moments. The new 4K UHD really shines, giving us the best transfer we’ve gotten yet for this film, with less of the yellowish image present from the Blu-ray, and more natural colors! Easily one of the year’s best releases!
  1. Blue Skies (1946) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Fred Astaire And Ginger Rogers Roundup, Bing Crosby Roundup, Original Review
    • In this film, dancer Jed Potter (Fred Astaire) has fallen for Mary O’Hara (Joan Caulfield), but she’s taken a shine to nightclub owner Johnny Adams (Bing Crosby). In this second film pairing Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, they once again have the music of Irving Berlin to help tell the story. Memorable moments include Fred Astaire dancing with himself via special effects to “Puttin’ On The Ritz” and the two men dancing to “A Couple Of Song And Dance Men.” With a new 2K master that easily improves on previous releases on home video, this Blu-ray comes highly recommended!
  1. Gold Diggers Of 1933 (1933) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Fred Astaire And Ginger Rogers Roundup, Original Review
    • In this Busby Berkeley musical, a trio of chorus girls take part in a hit new musical when one member’s boyfriend helps pay for it. Trouble arises when his meddlesome older brother tries to break up their relationship, but he and his lawyer instead fall for the other two girls from the trio. This is a fun pre-Code musical, with Ginger Rogers singing the classic “We’re In The Money” (part of it in pig Latin, no less!), as well as songs like the neon-lit “Shadow Waltz” and the Depression-era “Remember My Forgotten Man.” The new Blu-ray works from a scan of the best preservation elements, and as a result, the film looks fantastic! A wonderful movie with a great transfer to boot (and therefore highly recommended)!
  1. (tie) For Me And My Gal (1942) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Blu-ray Roundup #2, Original Review
    • In For Me And My Gal (1942), a pair of vaudevillians team up, hoping to become big enough stars that they can perform at the famous Palace Theater in New York City. However, the war (World War I) throws a monkey wrench in their plans when one of them is drafted. There’s a lot of fun to be had here in the first film that teamed up Judy Garland and Gene Kelly (in his film debut!), from the wonderful period music to the fun dance routines. Now, Warner Archive has done a 4K scan of their best preservation elements for the film, and it looks better than ever! This Blu-ray is certainly the best way to see this film, and comes highly recommended!
  1. (tie) The Clock (1945) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Blu-ray Roundup #2
    • In The Clock (1945), Robert Walker stars as Corporal Joe Allen, who meets Alice Mayberry (Judy Garland) while on a two-day leave in New York City. This is a fun little drama, which focuses on the growing romance between two characters who meet during wartime. Judy and Robert both carry the film quite well, and give us characters that are easy to invest in as we see their various adventures together. For the Blu-ray, Warner Archive gave us a 4K scan of the best preservation elements, which means that this film looks fantastic, with great detail and nothing to mar the image. Easily a great way to enjoy this wonderful movie!
  1. West Side Story (2021) (20th Century Studios/Disney, 4K UHD, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: 4K UHD Roundup
    • In this remake of the classic musical, the Jets and the Sharks duke it out for control of the streets of New York. Former Jets leader Tony (Ansel Elgort) falls for Maria (Rachel Zegler), the sister of the Sharks’ leader, which further complicates things. I will readily admit that I did not care for the original 1961 film (and had no plans to see this one), but the new film won me over! The music and dancing are entertaining (and make me want to get up and dance!), and I can’t help but want to see the film again and again! With a beautiful transfer on the 4K UHD, I certainly can think of no better way to see this wonderful film (outside of on the big screen, that is)!
  1. The Three Musketeers (1948) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Blu-ray Roundup #1
    • In this version of the classic Alexandre Dumas tale, Gene Kelly stars as the young swordsman D’Artagnan, as he and three other musketeers face off against the French prime minister Richelieu (Vincent Price). Obviously, this film hits a number of the same beats as many other filmed versions of the tale, but Gene Kelly alone makes this swashbuckler film fun! His swordfights (including one whose footage was later borrowed for Singin’ In The Rain) are quite entertaining and humorous! Warner Archive has done their usual stellar work with this three-strip Technicolor film, making the Blu-ray a great way to enjoy this movie!
  1. Edge Of Darkness (1943) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Blu-ray Roundup #1
    • It’s World War II, and the Norwegian village of Trollness has suffered indignity after indignity under the conquering Nazis. Under the leadership of Gunnar Brogge (Errol Flynn), they wait for the opportune moment to strike back against their German occupiers. It’s definitely a film that was meant to help drum up patriotic fervor in the fight against the Nazis, but it’s still a well-made film that builds up the tension to the fight between the Norwegian people and the Nazis (a battle which was done well in and of itself)! Yet another great release from Warner Archive, with the transfer (taken from the best preservation elements) looking crisp and clear and devoid of all dirt and debris! A great release of a very good war film!
  1. You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man (1939) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: W. C. Fields Roundup
    • Circus owner Larson E. Whipsnade (W. C. Fields) is trying to stay ahead of his creditors, but winds up in enough trouble that his daughter considers a loveless marriage to her wealthy boyfriend to help get her father out of debt. This is a rather fun movie overall, with some of its best bits coming from the running feud between W. C. Fields and ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s dummy Charlie McCarthy (with the exception of Charlie wearing blackface to cover up a black eye)! The new 2K master looks pretty good, as far as I’m concerned (with VERY minor instances of dirt and debris that don’t really take away from the enjoyment of this movie), making this release well worth it!

Special Honorable Mention:

  • The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6 and The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection Centennial Edition
    • For the most part, my list tends towards movie releases, as those are the vast majority of what I buy. However, as you may have seen, I also enjoy looking into various theatrical short collections. In 2020, ClassicFlix announced (via crowdfunding campaign) their desire to restore the Hal Roach-owned Little Rascals shorts. While their campaign fell short, they went through with their plans anyway. They now have all six volumes of the Little Rascals talkie shorts available on Blu-ray, uncut and fully restored. In doing so, they’ve released the entire run of the Hal Roach-produced talkie shorts, with all six volumes recently re-released in the Complete Collection Centennial Edition. This set contains all the previously released shorts (now condensed onto five discs instead of six), plus a bonus disc (also available separately for those who bought the individual volumes) that includes several alternate language versions of a few shorts plus three silent shorts that they’ve restored (which will also be available when ClassicFlix starts releasing the silents on Blu-ray and/or DVD at some point next year). I’ve so far had the opportunity to see the shorts from the first five volumes (all of which have looked fantastic!), and I’m currently looking forward to seeing the sixth volume (plus the silents when they get that far)! Easily recommended as some of this year’s best releases, whether you go with the remaining individual volumes or the complete set!

Honorable Mentions: You’re Telling Me! (1934) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray), Adventures Of Don Juan (1948) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray), Jack And The Beanstalk (1952) (ClassicFlix, Blu-ray)

I have to admit, compared to the last few years, 2022 has felt like a bit of a slow and slightly disappointing year where physical media has been concerned. Most of that disappointment is arguably centered around the decreased output from Warner Archive. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to WHAT they have released, I’d still say that they won the year in my opinion. They’ve released some Blu-ray upgrades for a few old favorites, while releasing a few new-to-me titles that I’ve enjoyed (especially, as you can tell from my list, The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm), all of which has certainly made me happy. But I also understand WHY their output has slowed, with almost their entire staff getting laid off in early 2021, including their head George Feltenstein (who was, thankfully, rehired back at Warner Brothers later in the year, thus enabling the Warner Archive program to survive beyond 2021). With a smaller staff to work with, that resulted in there being only 2-3 titles a month from them (compared to about 4-7 a month the last year or two), with there being nothing from them at all for two months. From what George Feltenstein has been saying on some of his various podcast appearances, though, it sounds like things *should* pick up from them in 2023 (with word that the classic 1950 musical Three Little Words is currently being worked on!), especially as the whole studio celebrates the 100th anniversary of Warner Brothers!

In general, I would say that ClassicFlix is right up there with Warner Archive (even if they themselves have only had a handful of releases). Their releases of the Little Rascals shorts have continued to be amongst the highlights of the year as I get to see them for the first time (and looking pretty darn good at that!), and I look forward to their releases of the silents from that series as well! As for feature films, they’ve really only had Black Magic (1949) (which was one of their rare lesser transfers, although to be fair that’s not really their fault, as they could only do so much with the available film elements), Jack And The Beanstalk (1952) (a restoration that was actually performed by the 3-D Film Archive, and, although the film itself is not one of my favorite Abbott and Costello films, it still looks so much better than what I’ve seen previously) and I, The Jury (1953) (I haven’t seen this one yet, but, as their first 3D Blu-ray/ 4K UHD release, which has been reviewed well by others whose opinions I respect, I look forward to seeing it).

With regard to the rest of the boutique labels, the year has left me with a lot of mixed feelings. Kino Lorber Studio Classics has had some good releases this year, with the long-awaited release of Blue Skies (1946), plus some stuff featuring the likes of W. C. Fields, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour from their licensing deals with Universal Studios. They’ve also had some big licensing deals with some of the other major Hollywood studios (including their first with Sony, and Paramount licensing out to them again for the first time in a number of years), although so far they haven’t lived up to the hype (at least, not when it comes to the stuff that I actually want). Universal themselves didn’t impress me as much with their Blu-ray output, as the only real wave of catalog films included three new-to-blu Bing Crosby films (yay!), along with some reissues of titles previously licensed out to Kino Lorber that had only been included in three-film box sets. Criterion has really disappointed me, as they have seemingly decided I’m not their target audience, as their release of Arsenic And Old Lace was really the only title that solidly appealed to me all year (to be fair to them, their price point isn’t as budget-friendly, so I’m not too bothered by that, but it’s still disappointing after being able to count on a good handful of appealing releases every year for a while).

As some may have seen, I finally dipped into 4K tech so as to be able to enjoy some of the various UHDs that actually interest me. So far, I can’t say as I’ve seen much of this year’s releases, mostly because there was one catalog title (of interest to me) for most of the year, plus one modern film (which really, REALLY appealed to me, thus why I brought it up in the first place). Much to my annoyance, the various studios/boutique labels FINALLY got around to releasing some stuff over the last few months of the year (when my budget starts going towards Christmas gifts for others instead of more movies for myself). As I mentioned, ClassicFlix’s I, The Jury (1953) 4K UHD/ 3-D Blu-ray has been receiving rave reviews so far, so I definitely want to plug that one (especially since it is a limited edition). Sony has released their third Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection, which includes titles such as It Happened One Night (1934), From Here To Eternity (1953) and four other films (plus extras), with this release also receiving good reviews. Universal Studios have also released their second Universal Classic Monsters Icons Of Horror Collection (with Phantom Of The Opera‘s transfer getting well reviewed), plus Holiday Inn (1942) (which you’ve seen by now I don’t think came out as well). Paramount Pictures have had a few releases as well, some well-reviewed (the Elvis Presley classic Blue Hawaii, although some have complained about the re-done opening credits with a different font than before), and others not so much. Warner Brothers has recently brought their classic Casablanca (1942) to the format, with that being reviewed pretty well.

That’s all I have to say on 2022’s new releases on disc. There’ve been some great releases this year, and a few not-so great. But, things are looking up from what I’m hearing already about 2023, so hopefully it will be a good year for physical media enthusiasts and film fans!

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2022) on… International Lady (1941)

Today, we’re here to look at a 1941 spy thriller called International Lady starring George Brent, Ilona Massey and Basil Rathbone!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Beginner’s Luck (1935)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 5 (1935-1936) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 18 minutes, 38 seconds)

After having Spanky (George McFarland) recite for some of her lady friends, Spanky’s mother decides to enter him in an amateur talent contest. However, Spanky has no desire to win, and enlists the Gang’s help to sabotage his performance. It’s yet another short focused on Spanky, and the results are once again hilarious! Spanky brings the fun, whether dealing with a meddlesome parrot or doing his recitations (especially when he defends himself against everything the Gang was throwing at him). Of note with this short is the debut of future Our Gang star Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer (although not as the character he would become known for). I laughed from start to finish on this one, which in my book makes it worth recommending (and I’ll certainly be coming back to it whenever I can)!

And Now For The Main Feature…

During the London bombing by the Nazis, Tim Hanley (George Brent) runs into concert singer Carla Nillson (Ilona Massey), and invites her to a bomb shelter/nightclub. There, they run into music critic Reggie Oliver (Basil Rathbone), who joins them. However, Tim and Carla had been followed there by somebody, and Tim decides to go down to the police station with the man to do something about it. There, he is joined by Reggie, and it is revealed that neither Tim nor Reggie are who they claimed to be. Tim (who had claimed to be a lawyer working with the U.S consulate) was actually an FBI agent while Reggie was from Scotland Yard, and they were both with Carla because she was suspected of being part of a ring of saboteurs trying to stop American planes from being shipped to England. However, the two men can’t quite agree on how to handle the case, resulting in Tim trying to sneak Carla off to Lisbon (without Reggie), where he helps her get a visa to America. While in Lisbon, Carla sneaks away to meet with members of the sabotage ring to get her new “music” (which is the code for the organization). Tim had seen her sneak away and tried to follow, but the cab he tried to take quickly lost sight of her. Reggie joined them after they got back together, and the three finished out the trip to the U.S. together. Once in the country, Carla went her way to the home of chocolate magnate Sidney Grenner (Gene Lockhart) (who was also the head of the ring of saboteurs) to prepare for his radio program (where they would use the music to communicate with the other members). At the party being held for Carla’s “concert,” Reggie goes undercover as a waiter, and snoops around while everybody is listening to Carla sing. He overhears a telephone conversation between Grenner’s “butler” Webster (George Zucco) (who is an expert marksman) and another member of the ring. After the concert, Tim finds Carla’s sheet music, and, discerning the existence of a code on there, he writes it down to pass off to another agent. When Webster sees Tim alone in the garden, he is suspicious and takes a shot at Tim (but doesn’t kill him on purpose). Carla discovers that Tim is an FBI agent, but she doesn’t reveal it to anybody else until after Tim has left the premises. With time running out as the saboteurs follow through with their plans to destroy all the planes being sent to England, Reggie works hard to crack their code. But will he succeed in time? And will Carla’s feelings for Tim stop her from continuing to take part in the sabotage (or will she let Tim get killed)?

Honestly, I hadn’t heard of this film at all until it was announced for a Blu-ray and DVD release from ClassicFlix (but more on that in a moment). I’ve come to enjoy trying out the different films that ClassicFlix has been putting out, so I was willing to give it a try (and the presence of Basil Rathbone in the movie certainly didn’t hurt its appeal). In general, the film turned out to be better than I had anticipated. I found the film’s way of showing the saboteur’s code being sent while Ilona’s Carla was singing to be an interesting way of portraying it. I have mixed feelings about George Brent’s performance, as I don’t think he fully works as the leading man in this film, yet I like his relationship with Basil Rathbone’s Reggie, as the two almost work well as a comedy team (with their main comedy bit being the language difference between British and American slang). Even apart from his dealing with George Brent’s Tim, Basil Rathbone really carries the film, especially when he is in disguise at the party (which is almost hard to notice at first unless you are really looking for it, which is saying something). You won’t really find a lot of tension here (especially since this is considered a spy thriller), and you won’t find much in the way of shootouts. Still, I found it to be a very entertaining film (and one I’m glad to have seen), and I think it’s worth giving a chance!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… International Lady (1941)

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from ClassicFlix as part of their Silver Series line of releases. According to a post by the founder of ClassicFlix on one of the forums I frequent, their original plan was to release the film on DVD only, but they were given an HD master by the owner that was good (but not quite good enough for their main line of releases, and would be too expensive of a proposition for them to do a new and better master). Having seen it now myself, I’m still very impressed with a picture that looks quite good, with very little damage evident, and a fairly sharp picture throughout. Overall, it’s a very good transfer given a pretty good release on disk. Given that it’s part of their “no frills” Silver Series, there are no extras beyond a few trailers for some of ClassicFlix’s other releases, and there are no subtitles for those who need them (but dialogue is still relatively easy to understand the majority of the time).

Film Length: 1 hour, 42 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Jezebel (1938) – George Brent – Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)

Balalaika (1939) – Ilona Massey

The Mark Of Zorro (1940) – Basil Rathbone – The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad (1949)

The Sea Wolf (1941) – Gene Lockhart – Going My Way 1944)

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Coming Up Shorts! with… The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4

Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! This time, I’m going with the Hal Roach theatrical shorts featuring The Little Rascals, and some of their shorts from 1933-1935 that have been released together on disc in The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4.

Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the shorts included in this set (for my comments on the individual shorts, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):

  1. The Kid From Borneo (1933) (Length: 18 minutes, 47 seconds)
    • Dorothy (Dorothy DeBorba), Dickie (Dickie Moore) and Spanky’s (George McFarland) mother has received a letter from her brother stating that he is in town with a carnival and wants to meet the kids. The kids go to the carnival, but they mistake the “Wild Man From Borneo” (their uncle’s “sideshow attraction”) as their uncle.
  2. Mush And Milk (1933) (Length: 18 minutes, 18 seconds)
    • The gang are all stuck at a boarding school run by a cranky old lady (Louise Emmons). Her husband, Cap (Gus Leonard) promises to give the kids a better life when his back pension comes through.
  3. Bedtime Worries (1933) (Length: 20 minutes, 23 seconds)
    • Spanky’s (George McFarland) father (Emerson Treacy) has just been promoted to head shipping clerk, and has decided that Spanky must now sleep on his own. However, Spanky has a lot of trouble getting to sleep on his first night alone.
  4. Wild Poses (1933) (Length: 18 minutes, 31 seconds)
    • Spanky’s (George McFarland) parents decide to have his picture taken. However, after listening to the other kids from the Gang who tag along, Spanky refuses to sit for a picture!
  5. Hi’-Neighbor! (1934) (Length: 17 minutes, 54 seconds)
    • Jerry (Jerry Tucker), the new kid in the neighborhood, has his own small fire engine (and the envy of the Gang). However, he doesn’t want to share it with them, leading them to put together their own fire engine.
  6. For Pete’s Sake! (1934) (Length: 18 minutes, 6 seconds)
    • Wally (Wally Albright) and the Gang try to fix up a doll for Marianne (Marianne Edwards), but a bully breaks her doll. So the Gang tries to get her a new doll, but they have to deal with the bully and his father to get it.
  7. The First Round-Up (1934) (Length: 18 minutes, 46 seconds)
    • The Gang all decide to go camping at the nearby Cherry Creek. However, when night falls, the kids all start to reconsider the idea.
  8. Honky-Donkey (1934) (Length: 16 minutes, 42 seconds)
    • Little rich boy Wally (Wally Albright) wants to play with some poor kids, and hangs out with the Gang. When they’re chased off the vacant lot that they’re playing on, Wally decides to bring them (and their pet donkey) to his home.
  9. Mike Fright (1934) (Length: 17 minutes, 26 seconds)
    • The “International Silver String Submarine Band” (that’s the Gang) auditions as part of an amateur radio talent contest against a bunch of other talented kids.
  10. Washee Ironee (1934) (Length: 16 minutes, 38 seconds)
    • Rich boy Waldo (Wally Albright) tries to get into a football game with the Gang, and ends up falling in the mud. His mother is throwing a society party (at which she expects him to play the violin), so the Gang tries to help wash out his clothes.
  11. Mama’s Little Pirate (1935) (Length: 18 minutes, 6 seconds)
    • Upon listening to his father read about the discovery of pirate treasure in a cave, Spanky (George McFarland) decides to lead the gang on a treasure hunt in a cave. However, his mother is opposed to the idea and orders him not to go.
  12. Shrimps For A Day (1935) (Length: 20 minutes, 42 seconds)
    • The Gang are taken to a party hosted by the sponsor for their orphanage, where an adult couple finds a lamp and wishes to be kids again. They are mistaken for being part of the group of orphans, and are brought back to the orphanage.

With thirty-three talkie shorts from the Our Gang/ The Little Rascals under their belts, the Hal Roach series continued to make changes as they kept plugging along. Longtime Our Gang director Robert McGowan (who had been with the series essentially since the beginning) had tired of doing the series and wanted to leave for a few years, but his departure kept getting delayed as the studio couldn’t come up with a replacement for him. The Hal Roach studio tried to change up the series, including shrinking the cast down to a small handful to appease McGowan (with Dickie Moore, Bobby “Wheezer” Hutchins and Dorothy DeBorba leaving after Mush And Milk), but McGowan finally had enough and left after directing Wild Poses. As a result, the series went on hiatus for four months. When they came back, they had a new director (Gus Meins) and several new cast members, including Wally Albright (who only lasted for a handful of shorts), Scotty Beckett and Billie Thomas (“Buckwheat”).

As I said in my previous reviews of Volume 1 ( which contained the shorts 1929’s Small Talk through 1930’s A Tough Winter), Volume 2 (1930’s Pups Is Pups through 1931’s Dogs Is Dogs) and Volume 3 (1932’s Readin’ And Writin’ through 1933’s Forgotten Babies), these shorts are still new to me. For me, the shorts included in this fourth volume continued to be as much fun (if not more!) as the earlier talkie shorts. George “Spanky” McFarland continues to be the main appeal here, and the two shorts that showcase him (Bedtime Worries and Wild Poses) left me laughing pretty steadily. Of course, the introduction of Scotty Beckett really added something as well, essentially making the two of them a comedy team that worked quite effectively (especially in The First Round-Up). Mike Fright, Mama’s Little Pirate and Shrimps For A Day also left me in stitches throughout, making them worth seeing again and again! Not every short in this set is perfect, as The Kid From Borneo and Washee Ironee in particular are both dated in some of their stereotyped depictions. Still, the rest of the set more than makes up for it, which makes this fourth volume of Our Gang shorts highly recommended in my book (and I certainly look forward to seeing more with the fifth volume)!

As I mentioned in my reviews of the earlier volumes, ClassicFlix announced (in late 2020) that they had licensed the Little Rascals shorts, and planned to restore the talkies (and the silents if the talkies sold well enough, which it sounds like they have). The film elements for many films and shorts originally produced by Hal Roach’s studio have changed hands a number of times over the years, and haven’t been as well preserved as most would hope. ClassicFlix tried a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the restorations for the Little Rascals series, but that ended up falling short. Still, they went through with their plans to restore the shorts, and, much like the first three sets, these shorts look fantastic (some minor damage is still present, but is BARELY noticeable)! This set doesn’t necessarily give any hints as to what film elements were used like the first one did (beyond the comment on the disc case about scanning from original Hal Roach 35mm film elements), but the results speak for themselves (and if you don’t believe me, I included some of the YouTube clips posted by ClassicFlix at the bottom of the post so that you can get a better idea)! Once again, the team at ClassicFlix have put a lot of hard work into restoring these, and I would certainly recommend this fourth volume (plus the first three as well, if you haven’t gotten them already)! With the fifth and sixth sets already released (thus completing all the talkies before MGM took over the series), we only await the arrival of the silents in 2023 (some of which will be on Blu-ray while others will be DVD-only due to the quality of the available elements)! In the meantime, there will also be The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection Centennial Edition on Blu-ray (or DVD) from ClassicFlix. This set will include all the talkie shorts included in the six volumes (although it will be condensed onto five discs instead of six) plus a bonus disc of extras (that bonus disc will also be available separately, and will come with a six-disc box for all those that previously bought the individual volumes, although it won’t be available through Amazon until after its release date).

The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4 is available on Blu-ray from ClassicFlix. The whole set has a runtime of three hours, thirty-eight minutes.

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What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2022) Blu-ray Roundup #2

Welcome back to my new “Whats Old Is A New Release Again Roundup” series! This time around, I’m back to focusing on titles released on the Blu-ray format in 2022. Since it is focused on Blu-ray releases not related to any specific star or screen team (which means the rate of releases is much faster), I will not be updating this one (except to add links to full reviews if and when they are reviewed later on). So, let’s dig into the movies For Me And My Gal (1942), The Clock (1945), Adventures Of Don Juan (1948) and Jack And The Beanstalk (1952)!

Remember, as an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

Note: Due to the fact that I’ve reviewed For Me And My Gal (1942) previously, I have added one of my “Coming Up Shorts!” comments to that review.

Table Of Contents

Coming Up Shorts! with… The First Round-Up (1934)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4 (1933-1935) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 18 minutes, 46 seconds)

The Gang all decide to go camping at the nearby Cherry Creek. However, when night falls, the kids all start to reconsider the idea. I’ve been enjoying some of the previous shorts from the Our Gang series, but this one was REALLY entertaining! Plain and simple, the highlights of this short all have to do with Spanky (George McFarland) and Scotty (Scotty Beckett), especially as they continually prove to be smarter than the older kids (who didn’t want them tagging along). They definitely brought the humor here, and made it one that I definitely want to return to frequently!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Honky-Donkey (1934)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4 (1933-1935) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 16 minutes, 42 seconds)

Little rich boy Wally (Wally Albright) wants to play with some poor kids, and hangs out with the Gang. When they’re chased off the vacant lot that they’re playing on, Wally decides to bring them (and their pet donkey) to his home. This was yet another entertaining short! Most of the fun centers around the donkey, who chases after anybody when they sneeze, but sits when they hear a bell. Of course, Spanky (George McFarland) and Scotty (Scotty Beckett) add to the fun, trying to help stop the donkey with an alarm clock while otherwise commenting on everything going on. It may be something of a one-joke short the way they use the donkey, but they keep it fresh enough that I certainly would willingly sit through this one again!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Mike Fright (1934)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 4 (1933-1935) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 17 minutes, 26 seconds)

The “International Silver String Submarine Band” (that’s the Gang) auditions as part of an amateur radio talent contest against a bunch of other talented kids. Plain and simple, this one was VERY FUNNY!! Much of the humor was in the kids loudly carrying around all their instruments and all the mechanical trouble they caused with the microphone. Spanky (George McFarland) and Scotty (Scotty Beckett) still seem to be the funniest two of the bunch, and get a lot of one-liners that kept me in stitches. I would say that this is one of the best shorts from the fourth volume of Our Gang talkies, and I would readily recommend it!

For Me And My Gal (1942)

  • Plot Synopses: In the small town of Clifton Junction, Iowa, in 1916, two different vaudevillian acts meet at the same theatre. Dancer Harry Palmer (Gene Kelly) makes an offer to Jo Hayden (Judy Garland) (who is part of a troupe led by Jimmy Metcalfe, played by George Murphy) to work together as a song-and-dance team. She accepts, but their rise to fame is slow (much slower than Harry wanted). The two fall for each other, but they make the mutual decision to wait for marriage until they can make it to the top, the Palace Theater in New York City. When they are finally signed to appear there, Harry gets his draft notice. Will they be able to play the Palace (and be a married couple), or will the war put an end to their plans?
  • Film Length: 1 hour, 44 minutes
  • Extras: Commentary by historian John Fricke; MGM shorts La Fiesta De Santa Barbara (1935) and Every Sunday (1936); Outtake Musical numbers: Three Cheers For The Yanks and For Me And My Gal Deleted Finale; Screen Guild Players For Me And My Gal with Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and Dick Powell; Leo Is On The Air Radio Promo and Theatrical Trailer
  • Label: Warner Archive Collection
  • My Rating (after Blu-ray): 10/10 (previously 9/10)
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: I’ve seen this one many times, and always enjoy coming back to it! Judy Garland and Gene Kelly (in his film debut) prove that they have great chemistry in their first outing together. The film helps show the journey that some vaudevillians had to go through on their quest to get to the Palace Theater in New York City, helped by some authentic music of the era. The dances may not be on the level that Gene Kelly was later known for, but they’re still entertaining. I had a high enough opinion of the film to recommend it on DVD (see original review here), and it’s even more fun on Blu-ray!
    • On The Transfer: The transfer comes from a 4K scan of the best available preservation elements. Quite simply stated, it’s a typical (great looking) Warner Archive release. The detail is much improved over the previously available DVD, and the picture has been cleaned up of all scratches, dust and debris. Otherwise translated, the Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection is the way to go when seeing this movie now!

The Clock (1945)

  • Plot Synopses: Corporal Joe Allen (Robert Walker) is on leave for two days and has just arrived in New York City via train. He knows nobody there, until he accidentally trips Alice Mayberry (Judy Garland), breaking her heel. He helps her get it repaired, and they spend some time together. Alice has to leave, but they agree to meet later for a date. As they spend more time together having various adventures, they start growing closer. With Joe’s leave quickly coming to an end, will they go their separate ways, or will they find a way to stay together?
  • Film Length: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Extras: Pete Smith Specialty Short: Hollywood Scout (1945), Classic Tex Avery Cartoon: The Screwy Truant (1945), Audio-only Lux Radio Theater Adaptation with John Hodiak and Judy Garland and Theatrical Trailer
  • Label: Warner Archive Collection
  • My Rating: 10/10
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: This was my first time seeing this Judy Garland film, and it’s one that I enjoyed! The film mainly focuses on the relationship between Judy’s Alice Mayberry and Robert Walker’s Corporal Joe Allen, and their chemistry together proves to be good enough to carry the film! We see them go from being complete strangers to falling in love as they have a whole bunch of adventures together over a period of two days. Some of those episodes are fun, some are romantic, and some are heartbreaking. This movie has it all (even if it is a non-musical role for Judy), which makes it well worth seeing!
    • On The Transfer: The transfer comes from a 4K scan of the best available preservation elements. It’s from Warner Archive, so you know it looks great! The picture has been cleaned up of scratches, dust and debris, and really shows off the detail. Highly recommended!

Adventures Of Don Juan (1948)

  • Plot Synopses: When he is caught one too many times by irate husbands/potential suitors, Don Juan de Maraña (Errol Flynn) is deported back to Spain. There, it is hoped that he will reform himself in the service of Queen Margaret (Vivica Lindfors), who is trying to avert a war between Spain and England. Trouble has arisen in Spain due to the Duke de Lorca (Robert Douglas), who has been trying to control the Spanish King Philip III (Romney Brent) and lead the countries into war. Much to the duke’s annoyance, Don Juan continues to get in his way. Eventually, it is discovered that the duke has kidnapped the Spanish ambassador and is trying to torture him to find out where the ambassador has hidden some money that he is holding for the queen. This forces the duke out of the shadows as he attempts to more openly usurp control. Can Don Juan stop him, or will the duke successfully take over the country?
  • Film Length: 1 hour, 51 minutes
  • Extras: Commentary by Director Vincent Sherman and Historian Rudy Behlmer; Warner Night At The Movies: Newsreel, Joe McDoakes Short So You Want To Be On The Radio (1948), Warner Bros. Short Calgary Stampede (1948), Warner Bros. Cartoon Hare Splitter (1948); Theatrical Trailer
  • Label: Warner Archive Collection
  • My Rating: 8/10
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: This was a new Errol Flynn film for me, and I very much enjoyed it! I can’t deny, the film does remind me strongly of the far superior The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) via a score that feels similar, and various plot points (not to mention some brief footage borrowed from that film and 1939’s The Private Lives Of Elizabeth And Essex). Errol Flynn is definitely showing his age here (especially since it was his first swashbuckler in nearly a decade), but he acquits himself very well in a very tailor-made role for him. The swordfights are still thrilling to see, especially the inevitable duel between Flynn’s Don Juan and Robert Douglas’ Duke de Lorca. It’s not Errol Flynn at his absolute best, but it’s still a very entertaining swashbuckler made better by his presence (and therefore recommended)!
    • On The Transfer: The transfer comes from a 4K scan of the nitrate Technicolor negatives. It’s from Warner Archive, and it’s a 3-strip Technicolor film. That pretty much says it all, as the transfer really brings out the color, and it’s been cleaned up of all scratches, dust and debris. So, if you like this film, the Blu-ray is indeed the way to go!

Jack And The Beanstalk (1952)

  • Plot Synopses: Jack (Lou Costello) has been tasked with babysitting an obnoxious little boy (David Stollery) and attempts to read him the story of Jack And The Beanstalk (although the kid ends up reading to him). As Jack imagines the story, he places himself in the role of the titular Jack, who sells his family cow to local butcher Mr. Dinklepuss (Bud Abbott) in exchange for some “magic beans.” When planted, the beans turn into a very tall beanstalk that reaches to the skies. Jack and Mr. Dinklepuss climb the beanstalk to go rescue the prince (James Alexander) and princess (Shaye Cogan) along with other objects of value that have been stolen by the giant (Buddy Baer). Will they succeed in their mission, or will the giant win out?
  • Film Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Extras: Newly Recorded Introduction By Lou’s Youngest Daughter, Chris Costello; Commentary by Abbott and Costello expert Ron Palumbo, with recollections from Jack And The Beanstalk co-star David Stollery; newly discovered footage of Abbott and Costello performing “Who’s on First” on December 2, 1940; Imperfect Spectrum: A Brief History of Cinecolor by Jack Theakston; Climbing The Scales: The Music Of Jack And The Beanstalk by Ray Fiola; Beanstalk Ballyhoo by Ron Palumbo; Cutting Down the Beanstalk by Ron Palumbo; Abbott And Costello Meet the Creature – Live TV Appearance from February, 1954; Rudy Vallee radio sketch (February, 1945) with photo gallery by Shane Fleming; Restoration Demo; Behind The Scenes photo gallery by Chip Ordway with 1952 children’s recording; Publicity Materials photo gallery by Chip Ordway; Abbott And Costello Trailer Rarities = 18 original “Coming Attraction” previews including Jack And The Beanstalk; Fireman Save My Child trailer and commentaries by 3-D expert Mike Ballew or Ron Palumbo; ClassicFlix Trailers for A Night In Casablanca (1946), Abbott And Costello TV Show: Mustard, The Little Rascals Vol. 4, Merrily We Live (1938), Zenobia (1939)
  • Label: ClassicFlix
  • My Rating: 7/10
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: I’ve seen Jack And The Beanstalk a number of times over the years, and, even though I consider it one of the lesser Abbott and Costello films, I still like to see it every now and then. My biggest problems with the film are with its less than memorable music (although the songs “I Fear Nothing” and the title song are at least decent), the less-than-polished dancing and the less-than-stellar performances of James Alexander and Shaye Cogan as the film’s central romance. Bud and Lou really don’t do any of their comedy routines here and instead try more to appeal to kids (and they do well enough that they still manage to be funny in the process). Of course, doing the film in a manner that evokes thoughts of the far superior The Wizard Of Oz (1939) with the opening and closing in sepia-tone while the rest of the film is in (SuperCine)color doesn’t exactly do it any favors either. Still, it’s fun for what it is, an Abbott and Costello movie in color (the only other one is the same year’s Abbott And Costello Meet Captain Kidd) and it’s worth giving a chance (especially now that it’s been restored)!
    • On The Transfer: This transfer comes from a 4K scan from 35mm SuperCinecolor elements. The 3-D Film Archive has painstakingly restored this film to get it looking as close to how it should, making the color look much better than it has in a long time, and allowing us to enjoy the opening and closing in its original sepia-tone. The vast majority of scratches, dust and other debris have been cleaned up here. It should be noted here that, for the color section of the film, it is a bit grainier than some might expect. This is due to the original film elements having disappeared when the film was sold off back in 1959 (long before it became public domain), and the best available elements are several generations away from that (meaning they are much grainier). As a result, we have the choice of a grainier picture that shows off the detail, or a picture with the grain removed (and the detail removed with it). I believe they made the right choice, making this the best release this film has seen in a long time (if you want the extras, don’t wait too long to get it, as it is a limited edition that will go out of print soon, although a barebones release may happen later on, depending on how this one sells)!

My Overall Impressions

Well, now that I’ve commented on these four films, I’ll give you my rankings on these releases, from highly recommended (1.) to least recommended (4.)

  1. (tie) For Me And My Gal (1942)
  1. (tie) The Clock (1945)
  1. Adventures Of Don Juan (1948)
  1. Jack And The Beanstalk (1952)

When you get down to it, this is a group of films in which I really have no hesitation in recommending each release, especially in terms of the transfer. I think that Jack And The Beanstalk (1952) has the weakest one, if only because the best available elements are several generations away from the original camera negative, which made it much grainier than some might like. I think the film itself is the weakest, but the release more than makes up for it with nearly two and a half hours of extras (making it the best release of this bunch from that perspective). Do keep in mind that, like I said before, it’s a limited edition which is likely to sell out soon, and if it comes back in print after that, it is very likely that it will only be a barebones release (so if you want those extras, get this one now). The other three releases really are on equal ground as far as their transfers go, as they all look exceptionally great. I think that, as a film, Adventures Of Don Juan (1948) is weaker than either of the two Judy Garland films, but it’s still an entertaining outing for Errol Flynn. And as for For Me And My Gal (1942) and The Clock (1945)? It really is a tie in my opinion, as both are absolutely wonderful films worth seeing. And that, my friends, is what I think of this group of new releases on Blu-ray!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2022) Blu-ray Roundup #1

Welcome to my new way of doing my “Whats Old Is A New Release Again” series! As I mentioned in my post Upcoming Changes For The “Thoughts From The Music(al) Man” Blog earlier this year, life has forced some changes upon how I have to do my blog (at least, if I am to continue). As such, I will now be doing quick blurbs on each of the new releases that I try. Of course, the posts will differ, depending on what I am covering. With regard to new releases on Blu-ray, I will do posts on four films, which will not change (outside of adding in links to full reviews when they get written later). On the other hand, I will have posts on 4K UHD releases and some of my featured Stars/Screen Teams, which will be posted when I have at least two films to talk about (and those posts will be updated if more films get released throughout the year). Now, this post is my first focusing on some of the movies released on Blu-ray in 2022 (and therefore will not be updated). So, let’s dig into the movies Edge Of Darkness (1943), The Three Musketeers (1948), Black Magic (1949) and The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962)!

Remember, as an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

Table Of Contents

Note: Initially, this post will have my comments on four different shorts, but when I eventually get around to writing individual reviews for any of these films I am looking at here, I will remove my thoughts on the shorts from this post and add them to the new post.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Birthday Blues (1932)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 3 (1932-1933) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 19 minutes, 31 seconds)

Dickie’s (Dickie Moore) father forgets to give his wife a present for her birthday, so Dickie decides to earn some money to give her a dress. He decides to bake a cake full of prizes, with some help from Spanky (George McFarland) and Stymie (Matthew Beard), and charge the rest of the gang for it. This one was quite a bit of fun (with a little bit of heart thrown in)! Much of the humor stems from the way they bake the cake, taking some instructions quite literally, as well as some of the “prizes” that get thrown in when the two kids baking it aren’t looking! A very enjoyable twenty minutes, and one well worth seeing again and again!

Coming Up Shorts! with… A Lad An’ A Lamp (1932)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 3 (1932-1933) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 17 minutes, 17 seconds)

After hearing the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp, the Gang all try to find a lamp with a genie. When circumstances lead them to believe that they found it, they try to figure out what to wish for. This one was a very entertaining short! Watching the kids try to find the lamp was fun, but so was seeing all the various situations that make it appear as if the lamp was genuine! Of course, we don’t see too many “wishes” come true, but Spanky (George McFarland) wishing for Stymie’s (Matthew Beard) little brother to turn into a monkey results in some of the short’s funniest moments! All in all, a lot of fun to be found with this one, and I certainly look forward to seeing it repeatedly!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Fish Hooky (1933)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 3 (1932-1933) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 18 minutes, 31 seconds)

Some of the gang decide to play hooky from school when Joe (Joe Cobb) and Farina (Allen Hoskins) invite them to go fishing. However, their teacher, Miss Kornman (Mary Kornman) has decided to close the school and take the students out to the beach for the day. This one was quite an entertaining entry in the series! It was fun seeing Joe and Farina again (however briefly), and the short also brings back earlier members Mary Kornman as the teacher and Mickey Daniels as the new truant officer. Most of the humor is derived from Mary and Mickey conniving to get the kids to regret their decision to play hooky (with Mickey constantly laughing to himself as he pretends to chase them in order to send them to reform school). A lot of good, clean fun, and certainly one I look forward to revisiting in the future!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Forgotten Babies (1933)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 3 (1932-1933) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 16 minutes, 58 seconds)

It’s Saturday, and the Gang wants to go swimming, but they’re all stuck taking care of their younger siblings. So, they decide to stick Spanky (George McFarland) with babysitting duties while they all go have fun. This one was fairly entertaining, getting to see Spanky take care of all the little kids. His version of the Tarzan story was one of the more memorable moments, as were the antics of the babies as they all quickly got away from him (and way out of hand). This short may not have been one of the more memorable entries in the series, but it was still fun.

Edge Of Darkness (1943)

  • Plot Synopses: It’s World War II, and the German army has taken over Norwegian territory. In the small village of Trollness, the Norwegian people resent the Nazi menace under the command of Captain Koenig (Helmut Dantine). The Norwegians look to Gunnar Brogge (Errol Flynn) for leadership, but they can’t revolt without any guns. According to Major Ruck (Henry Brandon), an undercover British agent, they can expect arms to come soon. But, with another nearby Norwegian village having failed to rebel against the Germans, can the people of Trollness manage to successfully get rid of the Nazis in their midst without being betrayed by one of their own?
  • Film Length: 1 hour, 59 minutes
  • Extras: WB Short Gun To Gun (1944), WB Cartoon: To Duck… Or Not To Duck (1943), Theatrical Trailer
  • Label: Warner Archive Collection
  • My Rating: 10/10
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: This film was new to me, and proved to be a very entertaining war drama. While it held back some on the horrors of war (due, as much as anything, to the Production Code in place at the time), it still managed to portray what people went through under the Nazis in such a way as to help garner sympathy for the Norwegian people and hatred for the Nazis. Being made during the second World War, it definitely feels intended to help drum up patriotic support for the Allies, especially with the narration during the film’s ending. The action scenes worked quite well for the film’s big battle, and easily held my attention. Again, a very well-made film that I would highly recommend!
    • On The Transfer: The transfer comes from a scan of the best available preservation elements, and it looks wonderful! The picture is crisp and clear, allowing detail to show through, with all dust and debris cleaned up.

The Three Musketeers (1948)

  • Plot Synopses: A young lad from Gascony named D’Artagnan (Gene Kelly) has come to Paris, France, in the hope of becoming one of the king’s musketeers. After a rocky start, he quickly befriends Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young) and Aramis (Robert Coote), three of the best swordsmen in the musketeers. However, they have all run afoul of the king’s prime minister, Richelieu (Vincent Price). With the aid of the Countess de Winter (Lana Turner), Richelieu aims to increase his power in France by starting a war with England. Can the musketeers stop their plans, or will the country have more trouble under Richelieu’s leadership?
  • Film Length: 2 hours, 6 minutes
  • Extras: Fitzpatrick Traveltalks Short Looking At London (1946), Tex Avery Cartoon What Price Fleadom (1948), MGM Radio Promo, Theatrical Trailer
  • Label: Warner Archive Collection
  • My Rating: 10/10
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: This is the only one of this batch that I’ve seen previously, and it still holds up for me as a wonderful film! Gene Kelly is the main appeal here as D’Artagnan, in what he considered one of his favorite non-musical roles. His athleticism and dance ability help him out as he proves adept with a sword in one of his rare swashbuckling appearances. While most of the story is familiar to those who’ve seen various adaptations of the material, this version at least attempts to make use of more of the original novel’s story. It’s my favorite Three Musketeers film, and easily recommended!
    • On The Transfer: The transfer comes from a 4K scan of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives. As a result, the film looks much better than it has in a while, with the color popping much better and improved detail in the image. All dirt and other debris has been cleaned up.

Black Magic (1949)

  • Plot Synopses: As a child, young Joseph Balsamo witnesses the wrongful death of his parents at the hand of Viscount de Montaigne (Stephen Bekassy) (and barely escapes with his own life). As an adult, he reinvents himself as Cagliostro (Orson Welles), working as part of a traveling medicine show, until he meets Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer (Charles Goldner), who recognizes that Cagliostro has the power to help people with his ability to hypnotize them with his eyes. With this newfound knowledge, Cagliostro sets out to get his revenge on the Viscount. Opportunity presents itself when the Viscount (who doesn’t recognize him) needs his help in part of a conspiracy to discredit Marie Antionette (Nancy Guild) with a peasant named Lorenza who looks exactly like her. Will Cagliostro get his revenge and successfully gain power, or can he be stopped by Lorenza’s lover, Captain Gilbert de Rezel (Frank Latimore)?
  • Film Length: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Extras: ClassicFlix Trailers for A Night In Casablanca (1946), The Little Rascals, Volume 3, Stand-In (1937), T-Men (1947) and Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)
  • Label: ClassicFlix
  • My Rating: 7/10
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: This film was new to me, and I will admit that I found it enjoyable! I’m still coming around to Orson Welles as an actor, but he is certainly one of the film’s main strengths, giving a solid performance as a more villainous character. Some of the other aspects don’t work as well, like the love triangle between him, Nancy Guild’s Lorenza and Frank Latimore’s Captain de Rezel; or the story itself after the original conspiracy is derailed upon the death of the king. Still, the film has some nice touches, especially in the way it portrays Cagliostro’s methods of controlling people hypnotically (even if you do question many of the characters not realizing how to stop him from doing so until the very end). It’s certainly a far from perfect film, but I found it entertaining and would certainly suggest giving it a shot!
    • On The Transfer: For the most part, this film looks quite well. The image has been mostly cleaned up of dirt and debris (although a few scratches appear here and there). It’s an overall pleasing image, even with a few moments where the image has some issues with emulsion consistency. It’s not absolutely perfect, but it’s still as good as one can hope for, given what film elements still survive.

The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962)

  • Plot Synopses: The Grimm brothers have been commissioned to write the family history of a local Duke (Oscar Homolka). Jacob Grimm (Karl Boehm) is very dedicated to his work, but his brother Wilhelm (Laurence Harvey) is prone to goofing off. Wilhelm is obsessed with fairy tales and wants to write them down for everyone, but nobody else believes that his idea will have any lasting value. His antics increasingly get the two brothers in trouble with the Duke, until he accidentally loses their manuscript in the process of seeking out more fairy tales. Will this mistake be the end of the brothers, or can they come back together?
  • Film Length: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Extras: the movie in both letterboxed and Smilebox aspect ratios (over two discs), Brothers Grimm Announcement Trailer, Brothers Grimm Theatrical Letterbox Trailer, Brothers Grimm Radio Interview with Russ Tamblyn, Brothers Grimm Radio Interview with Yvette Mimieux, Epic Art for the Brothers Grimm, The Wonderful Career Of George Pal, Rescuing A Fantasy Classic, Rothenberg, Germany Location Commemorative Plaque, A Salute To William R. Forman, Brothers Grimm Slideshow
  • Label: Warner Archive Collection
  • My Rating: 9/10
  • Quick Comments
    • On The Movie Itself: This was a new movie for me, and one I very much enjoyed! While your mileage may vary with regards to the main story about the brothers (I personally liked it), the main consensus from what I’ve read is that the movie is at its best during the three fairy tale sections, a point with which I heartily agree! It has a few fun musical moments (with music by Bob Merrill) scattered through the fairy tale segments, plus the main theme is a bit of an earworm itself! There are some scenes that really show off the fact that it was made for Cinerama, such as a ride through the forest in a horse-drawn coach, and Russ Tamblyn doing some tumbling through that same forest (all of which would either be shortened or cut completely for a regular film). It might be a little childish for some during the fairy tale sections, but it’s an overall entertaining movie if you can get past that!
    • On The Transfer: The transfer comes from a 6K composite scan of the original Cinerama 3-panel camera negatives. Quite simply stated, this movie looks FANTASTIC! All three panels have been put together seamlessly, with no join lines visible, thus giving us a nice, clear image. There are moments where some damage briefly peeks through, but nowhere near enough to mar an otherwise immaculate image (and I highly recommend the Smilebox version as the best way to watch the movie unless you’ve got a curved screen a la Cinerama)!

My Overall Impressions

Well, now that I’ve commented on these four films, I’ll give you my rankings on these releases, from highly recommended (1.) to least recommended (4.)

  1. The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962)
  2. The Three Musketeers (1948)
  3. Edge Of Darkness (1943)
  4. Black Magic (1949)

As you can tell from that list, I regard Black Magic as the weakest of the bunch (both in terms of the film itself and the transfer quality). Now, don’t get me wrong. The movie itself is still entertaining, and the transfer is quite good (after all, ClassicFlix is trying to work with films from smaller entities that haven’t always been able to take care of their holdings as well as the big studios can, and ClassicFlix’s budget is certainly nothing near what the big studios can handle, especially since they’ve had to devote more of their resources of late to their ongoing Our Gang/The Little Rascals project after their crowdfunding attempt failed). It’s just that the other three films are better overall. I think that The Three Musketeers and Edge Of Darkness are the best films of the lot, and their transfers look quite stellar. But, even though I have a slightly lower opinion of The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm as a movie, I would still call that Blu-ray release the best of the bunch (and an early contender for best release of the year). After all, they took a film that, due to the combination of it being a Cinerama film (and therefore, there is three times the film they have to go through and restore, compared to a normal film of the same length) and some water damage that the elements sustained quite some time ago, was long considered too expensive a proposition (compared to its supposed popularity) to be released on DVD, never mind Blu-ray. And yet, now it’s here on Blu-ray, sporting an absolutely fantastic transfer, along with some newly produced extras (a rarity for Warner Archive Collection releases) and a booklet partly replicating a souvenir program originally sold during the film’s original theatrical roadshow engagements. Plain and simple, I can easily recommend all four of these releases, but I think that The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm is a special release that is very much deserving of being in anybody’s collection now!

*The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962) = ranked #1 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2022

**The Three Musketeers (1948) = ranked #8 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2022

***Edge Of Darkness (1943) = ranked #9 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2022

****The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962) = ranked #8 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2022

Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2021

By now, I think it’s safe to say that most of you know that I enjoy watching classic movies via physical media like Blu-ray and DVD (I’m not trying to knock streaming necessarily, it’s just that most of what I like is more readily available on disc).  2021 has been another really good year for seeing fantastic movies given the bump up to Blu-ray, so here’s my list of what I personally think are the best releases of the year!  As usual, I must remind everyone that I do NOT receive screeners of any kind (nor, quite frankly, would I want to, as I prefer to support the movies I like in the hopes of more of them being made available), so I can only work with what I have seen.  I am making this list from all the 2021 releases I have seen as of 12/1/2021.  Much like my list for 2020, I am working mainly from movies released on disc through October 2021 (due to my own constraints of budget and time, plus the fact that, without being given screeners, I have no way to comment on December releases ahead of time). So, this list is what it is (but, I will give a shout-out to some other releases afterwards).  I’m experimenting by changing the format a little this year, so if any of these appeal to you, be sure to click on the movie on the left side to use my affiliate links to go to Amazon and buy them (or, if you want to read the reviews, click on the movie titles to go there)!!

  1. Broadway Melody Of 1940 (1940) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell and George Murphy star in this last entry of the Broadway Melody series. A case of mistaken identity results in the wrong member of a dance team getting his big chance on the Broadway stage (but, when the team is two men and Fred Astaire was the other partner, you KNOW that he’ll get his chance as well). Working from a 4K scan of nitrate preservation elements, the good people at Warner Archive have given us a new and improved transfer that shows off this film’s detail and really allows us to enjoy these spectacular dancers looking better than they have in a long time! Great movie, great transfer!
  1. San Francisco (1936) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • In this film that teams up Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy, we have a nightclub owner (Gable) who runs for town supervisor to help the people on the Barbary Coast, while falling for his new singer (MacDonald) (and all ahead of the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake). Another Warner Archive release, making use of a French-dubbed nitrate fine grain second generation element (and some domestic elements as well), which amounts to this movie looking better than it has in a long time! Throw in the original 1936 ending (with the 1948 reissue ending as an extra), and this is one release that is well worth it!
  1. Show Boat (1951) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • In 2020, we got the 1936 version of Show Boat (from Criterion Collection). For 2021, we got the 1951 version with Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner and Howard Keel. Kathryn Grayson stars as the daughter of showboat owner Cap’n Andy (Joe E. Brown), who falls for riverboat gambler Gaylord Ravenal (Howard Keel). Long in need of restoration (as much as the film relies on its Technicolor imagery), Warner Archive created a new 4K master from the original three-strip Technicolor negatives, and it looks SUPERB!! Compared to how it has looked before, I still think this is the restoration of the year, making the Blu-ray well worth it for fans of the film!
  1. Take Me Out To The Ball Game (1949) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams and Gene Kelly star in this classic musical! The returning baseball champs find themselves with a new owner (Williams), with two of the players falling for her. Warner Archive has given this movie a new restoration, and it looks to be one of the best-looking examples of the three-strip Technicolor process, as the color just pops, revealing all the wonderful details of the picture!
  1. A Night At The Opera (1935) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • In the first Marx Brothers film from MGM, the trio find themselves helping a couple of operatic singers to make it big in America. The film was cut for re-release during World War II (removing references to Italy), with the deleted scenes supposedly destroyed. Warner Archive haven’t located any of those deleted scenes, but they’ve given us a 4K scan of the best surviving preservation elements, and this film looks great! Until any of the deleted scenes are found in any usable form (if that ever happens), this is the best release one can hope for on this film!
  1. In The Good Old Summertime (1949) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Judy Garland and Van Johnson star in this musical remake of The Shop Around The Corner. They play the bickering co-workers who are unknowingly falling for each other as pen pals. Another Yuletide classic featuring Judy singing the holiday tune “Merry Christmas!” Working from 4K scans of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives and preservation separations, this film looks great, and is a wonderful movie to watch around the holidays (or during the summer, too, I suppose 😉 )!
  1. Annie Get Your Gun (1950) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Betty Hutton and Howard Keel star in this film version of the Broadway show (with music by Irving Berlin)! In this movie, Annie Oakley (Hutton) rises from a nobody to being an internationally renowned sharpshooter! This release features a 4K scan of most of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives (with two reels’ worth coming from positive safety separations due to those reels being burned in the infamous Eastman house fire), which brings out the color and detail!
  1. Bringing Up Baby (1938) (Criterion Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • In 2021, one of the biggest and best-known screwball comedies FINALLY made it to Blu-ray! In this movie, Cary Grant is an engaged paleontologist who accidentally gets mixed up with a flighty young woman (Katharine Hepburn). Madcap adventures ensue, including panthers, buried dinosaur bones, and jail time! The original camera negative may be long gone, but this transfer came from 4K scans of a 35 mm nitrate duplicate negative (from the British Film Institute) and a 35 mm safety fine-grain positive, resulting in a better transfer than what’s been available for a long time (and is certainly worth recommending)!
  1. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Screen legends Cary Grant and Myrna Loy are paired up for the third and final time, with Melvyn Douglas joining. Grant plays an advertising executive who wants a full-sized house for his family (instead of a cramped apartment), but when he remodels his new place, the costs start to skyrocket! Working from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, Warner Archive has another superlative release on their hands with a fantastic transfer!
  1. After The Thin Man (1936) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • After releasing the first film in the Thin Man series on Blu-ray in 2019, Warner Archive has finally continued the series, starting with that film’s (kinda-sorta) direct sequel! William Powell and Myrna Loy return as Nick and Nora Charles, who have arrived in San Francisco, only to find themselves trying to solve the murder of Nora’s cousin’s husband! Warner Archive made use of a 4K scan of safety fine grain film elements for this transfer, and it looks quite good! Certainly a worthy follow-up release after the first film was treated so well on Blu-ray!

Special Honorable Mention:

  • The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
    • For the most part, my list tends towards movie releases, as those are the vast majority of what I buy. However, as you may have seen, I also enjoy looking into various theatrical short collections. In 2020, ClassicFlix announced (via crowdfunding campaign) their desire to restore the Hal Roach-owned Little Rascals shorts. While their campaign fell short, they went through with their plans anyway. They now have three volumes of Little Rascals shorts available on Blu-ray, uncut and fully restored. I’ve seen the first two volumes, which each contain eleven shorts starting with their first talkie, and continuing on from there. The shorts in these first two volumes look absolutely fantastic, and while I haven’t gotten around to the third volume yet, I’ve heard it looks just as good (if not even better)! With more on the way, I have a hard time not wanting to call these sets the releases of the year!

Honorable Mentions: Another Thin Man (1939) (Warner Archive, Blu-ray), Dinner At Eight (1933) (Warner Archive, Blu-ray), (tie) Mad About Music (1938) (Universal Studios, Blu-ray), (tie) Nice Girl? (1941) (Universal Studios, Blu-ray)

While the pandemic has still been raging on in places throughout 2021, physical media enthusiasts have had quite a good year! I would have to say that, once again, Warner Archive has won the year amongst the various labels. They continued to release a slew of musicals (with actress Doris Day getting well-represented), three-strip Technicolor films and various other classics, finally digging into more of Errol Flynn’s filmography (including the public domain Santa Fe Trail from 1940) and continuing the Thin Man series! Like I already said, I haven’t gotten any farther than their October releases, but November releases include the second-to-last film in the Thin Man series (The Thin Man Goes Home), another Doris Day musical (Lullaby Of Broadway), a Barbara Stanwyck pre-Code (Ladies They Talk About), a Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin film (Some Came Running), National Velvet and several others, with December seeing the long-awaited Angels With Dirty Faces (previously held back from being released because of right issues that popped up within the last decade) and Ivanhoe. Personally, I’m thrilled with their musical output for the year (especially with TWO Fred Astaire musicals represented). Honestly, the only complaint I have is that there was a rumor that at least one of the Astaire-Rogers films would be coming (but nothing showed up). I know, I know, internet rumors and all that, but when the source of that rumor claimed that there would be some Arthur Freed musicals (there were), some Val Lewtons (again, there were) and some Marx Brothers (and we got one), it’s disappointing that what I wanted most of the bunch was what DIDN’T come out (but, hopefully 2022 will bring at least one of them out on Blu-ray). Like last year, I want to throw in a plug for a film that, while I personally am not interested in it due to its genre, certainly is appealing for others: the 1932 horror film Dr. X, which, like 2020’s release of The Mystery Of The Wax Museum, was filmed in the Two-Color Technicolor process, with those elements nearly gone. But, in collaboration with UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Film Foundation, the film has been restored in the process (and the black-and-white version is included as well) for the Blu-ray release, which, from what I have heard, is highly recommended for those interested in that aspect of film history!

Personally, I would say that, apart from Warner Archives, I have mixed feelings about this year. Kino Lorber has been continuing to make deals with Universal and MGM, bringing out a lot of films (some of which they have remastered/restored themselves). I’m thrilled to see more W. C. Fields movies (four this year) that came from them (especially after having seen their Insider talking on multiple forums in the past about how their previous W. C. Field releases weren’t great sellers), with three more being worked on for next year (plus a few other non-W. C. Fields titles that were announced but are getting new 2K or 4K remasters that have pushed them into next year). We also got more Bob Hope from Kino, although I’m disappointed that their release of Nothing But The Truth was missing some of the film’s footage that had previously been included on Universal’s DVD, and the missing stereo sound on Thoroughly Modern Millie (for its overture, entr’acte and exit music) is also disappointing (and there have been a handful of other releases from them with a few mistakes this year as far as I’ve heard). And while I’m disappointed that Kino’s three-film set of Deanna Durbin films from the previous year was a poor seller (enough so that they dropped the other six films of hers that they had licensed, which I can’t say as I blame them for doing), I was thrilled to see Universal step up with their own MOD Blu-ray releases and release all six of those films (plus one more that I didn’t see coming!), along with the likes of State Of The Union and a Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection in what was their most appealing lineup (to me) since their first year of releasing anything on Blu-ray via that line! Criterion has finally gotten into the UHD game, but (since I haven’t upgraded to that technology yet), they’ve really only had two releases this year that appealed to me (Bringing Up Baby and High Sierra). To be fair, with their higher prices, I don’t mind, given how much Warner Archive and others have been releasing. ClassicFlix has mainly been focusing a lot of their time, money and effort in their restorations of the Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts, but they’ve also finished out their DVD-only run of Hal Roach streamliners, along with a few other DVD-only films (due to lack of decent film elements), along with their Blu-ray and DVD of International Lady (they also announced a Blu-ray and DVD release for the 1949 Black Magic that was originally scheduled to come out this fall, but has since been delayed into next year). Overall, I think that 2021 has been filled with a great many releases on disc (too many in my book, both in terms of budget and time to watch everything), and what I’m hearing/seeing coming in 2022 looks to be just as good (if not better)!

Previous years:

2020

2019

2018

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 2

Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! This time, I’m going with the Hal Roach theatrical shorts featuring The Little Rascals, and some of their shorts from 1930 and 1931 that have been released together on disc in The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 2.

Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the shorts included in this set (for my comments on the individual shorts, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):

  1. Pups Is Pups (1930) (Length: 18 minutes, 39 seconds)
    • Farina (Allen Hoskins) gets a job as a page at a pet show, and the rest of the Gang get their pets ready to enter in the show.
  2. Teacher’s Pet (1930) (Length: 20 minutes, 54 seconds)
    • The Gang have a new teacher, and, since they don’t think they will like her as much as their previous one, Jackie (Jackie Cooper) makes plans to play some pranks on her.
  3. School’s Out (1930) (Length: 20 minutes, 51 seconds)
    • When a man (Creighton Hale) shows up to meet Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe), the Gang try to dissuade him from marrying her (not knowing that he is actually her brother).
  4. Helping Grandma (1931) (Length: 21 minutes, 4 seconds)
    • Mrs. Margaret Mack, A.K.A. “Grandma” (Margaret Mann) is considering selling her store to a chain store or to the local skinflint Mr. Pennypacker (Oscar Apfel). The Gang really don’t want her to sell out, so they try to help her out.
  5. Love Business (1931) (Length: 20 minutes, 27 seconds)
    • Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe) comes to stay at Jackie’s (Jackie Cooper) house. Meanwhile, both Jackie and Chubby (Norman Chaney) have a crush on her.
  6. Little Daddy (1931) (Length: 21 minutes, 10 seconds)
    • Farina (Allen Hoskins) has been taking care of Stymie (Matthew Beard) by himself, but the authorities are coming to put Stymie in an orphan’s home.
  7. Bargain Day (1931) (Length: 19 minutes, 1 second)
    • Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) and Stymie (Matthew Beard) take the other kids’ things, and try to sell them door-to-door. When they come to the home of a poor little rich girl (Shirley Jean Rickert), they come in and get into trouble.
  8. Fly My Kite (1931) (Length: 21 minutes, 4 seconds)
    • Grandma (Margaret Mann) faces eviction by her former son-in-law, but the Gang do their part to help stop his plans.
  9. Big Ears (1931) (Length: 21 minutes, 8 seconds)
    • Wheezer’s (Bobby Hutchins) parents fight constantly, and the word “divorce” is thrown around. When he finds out what “divorce” means, Wheezer turns to Stymie (Matthew Beard) and Dorothy (Dorothy DeBorba) for help in getting sick to keep them together.
  10. Shiver My Timbers (1931) (Length: 21 minutes, 2 seconds)
    • The kids all play hooky from school to listen to the tales of a sea captain (Billy Gilbert) and dream of being pirates themselves. When Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe) complains to the captain, he offers to help cure them of their dreams of going to sea.
  11. Dogs Is Dogs (1931) (Length: 20 minutes, 53 seconds)
    • Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) and Dorothy (Dorothy DeBorba) are stuck with the unkind Spud (Sherwood Bailey) and his mother (Blanche Payson) when their father doesn’t return.

Continuing on from where we left off with Volume 1 (which contained the shorts Small Talk up through A Tough Winter), Jackie Cooper had become the Our Gang series’ newest star. However, his performances in several shorts resulted in him getting the lead for the 1931 film Skippy, and he soon left the series. Several others, including longtime Our Gang star Allen “Farina” Hoskins, plus Norman “Chubby” Chaney and Mary Ann Jackson aged out of the series. Newcomers during this group include Dorothy DeBorba and Matthew “Stymie” Beard (who was broken in as Farina’s replacement before he left). While those older kids were still around, we were introduced to their new teacher, Miss Crabtree (as played by June Marlowe), who captivated the hearts of some of the kids (and viewers as well). This group of shorts also introduced what would become the theme song for the Our Gang shorts, “Good Old Days” by Leroy Shield (starting with Teacher’s Pet).

As I indicated when reviewing the first volume, I’m essentially being introduced to these shorts as I go through these sets. Like those in the first set, I also found these next eleven to be quite entertaining! In particular, those featuring June Marlowe as Miss Crabtree were some of the best (and I can certainly see the attraction). Admittedly, I think she worked best with the older group (like Jackie Cooper, Norman “Chubby” Chaney, etc.) before they left, as she awakened their desire to be in school. By the time the series moved on to Wheezer, Stymie, and the younger group being her students, they didn’t care so much and were willing to play hooky (like in Shiver My Timbers), so I can understand why she wasn’t around for a huge number of shorts. Personally, amongst the new kids, I only really found Matthew “Stymie” Beard to be that much fun. As an actor, he doesn’t seem to be that good, as he delivers his lines with a straight face and then grins. Still, even with that, he manages to be funny and entertaining! I do think that the short Shiver My Timbers is the best one in the set (followed closely by the likes of Teacher’s Pet and Love Business). Honestly, the only one that wasn’t as fun was Big Ears, due as much as anything to Wheezer’s parents and their borderline abusive relationship. Other than that, I’m still a fan of these shorts, and look forward to seeing more of them when I get the chance!

As I mentioned in my review of the first volume, ClassicFlix announced (in late 2020) that they had licensed the Little Rascals shorts, and planned to restore the talkies (and the silents as well if the talkies do well enough). The film elements for many films and shorts originally produced by Hal Roach’s studio have changed hands a number of times over the years, and haven’t been as well preserved as most would hope. ClassicFlix tried a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the restorations for the Little Rascals series, but that ended up falling short. Still, they went through with their plans to restore the shorts, and, much like the first set, these shorts look fantastic (some minor damage is still present, but is BARELY noticeable)! This set doesn’t necessarily give any hints as to what film elements were used like the first one did (beyond the comment on the disc case about scanning from original Hal Roach 35mm film elements), but the results speak for themselves (and if you don’t believe me, I included some of the YouTube clips posted by ClassicFlix at the bottom of the post so that you can get a better idea)! Once again, the team at ClassicFlix have put a lot of hard work into restoring these, and I would certainly recommend the second volume (and the first as well, if you haven’t gotten it already)! The third set (with the next eleven shorts) has already been released (and from what I’ve heard, it looks at least as good, if not better than this one), and the fourth is on the schedule for release in early 2022! It’ll be a little while before I continue on with more, but I certainly hope to get around to them when I get my hands on some copies!

The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 2 is available on Blu-ray from ClassicFlix. The whole set has a runtime of three hours, forty-five minutes.

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Coming Up Shorts! with… The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1

Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! This time, I’m going with the Hal Roach theatrical shorts featuring The Little Rascals, and some of their shorts from 1929 and 1930 that have been released together on disc in The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1.

Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the shorts included in this set (for my comments on the individual shorts, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):

  1. Small Talk (1929) (Length: 25 minutes, 4 seconds)
    • Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) is adopted, and the rest of the Little Rascals run away from the orphanage to come see him.
  2. Railroadin’ (1929) (Length: 18 minutes, 53 seconds)
    • The kids are all hanging out at the train yard where Joe’s (Joe Cobb) father works, when a bum starts the train and the kids find themselves unable to stop it.
  3. Lazy Days (1929) (Length: 20 minutes, 30 seconds)
    • Farina (Allen Hoskins) is just too lazy and tired to do much of anything, but when Joe (Joe Cobb) reads a paper for a baby contest (with monetary prizes), the whole gang decides to get their younger siblings ready for it (even the “lazy and tired” Farina).
  4. Boxing Gloves (1929) (Length: 17 minutes, 28 seconds)
    • Harry (Harry Spear) and Farina (Allen Hoskins) are fight promoters, and decide to pit Joe (Joe Cobb) and Chubby (Norman Chaney) against each other.
  5. Bouncing Babies (1929) (Length: 20 minutes, 45 seconds)
    • Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) is sore because his baby brother is getting all the attention, and wants to send the baby “back to heaven.”
  6. Moan & Groan, Inc. (1929) (Length: 20 minutes, 41 seconds)
    • The kids ignore the warning of Officer Kennedy (Edgar Kennedy), and go dig for treasure in a haunted house.
  7. Shivering Shakespeare (1930) (Length: 20 minutes, 26 seconds)
    • The kids all take part in a production of Quo Vadis for the Golden Age Dramatic League.
  8. The First Seven Years (1930) (Length: 20 minutes, 10 seconds)
    • Jackie (Jackie Cooper) wants Mary Ann (Mary Ann Jackson) to be his “wife,” but has to fight Speck (Donald Haines) for her affections.
  9. When The Wind Blows (1930) (Length: 19 minutes, 47 seconds)
    • On a windy night, Jackie (Jackie Cooper) accidentally locks himself out of his house, and is mistaken for a burglar as he attempts to get into the homes of the various Rascals.
  10. Bear Shooters (1930) (Length: 20 minutes, 29 seconds)
    • The gang all go camping to hunt bears, but they unknowingly come across a pair of bootleggers who try to scare them off.
  11. A Tough Winter (1930) (Length: 20 minutes, 35 seconds)
    • On a cold winter’s day, the gang spend some time inside with handyman Stepin Fetchit before getting together for a taffy pull.

In 1921, producer Hal Roach came up with the idea for a series of shorts featuring young kids being themselves (as opposed to being over-rehearsed like some kids were when auditioning for parts in other productions). Long story short (as I hope to talk about them more if and when the silent shorts get restored for Blu-ray), nearly 88 silent shorts were produced in this series. Of course, with the success of Warner Brothers’ 1927 movie The Jazz Singer, everybody started making the transition to sound, and the Our Gang comedies were no exception. While they started making adjustments behind the scenes to accommodate sound for the shorts, the cast started to change a little as well, as some of them outgrew the series. Joe Cobb, Harry Spear and Jean Darling made a few appearances in the talkies before quickly being phased out, with the group joined by the likes of Norman “Chubby” Chaney and Jackie Cooper, plus Donald Haines, who made a few appearances as other characters before becoming a member of the Gang himself.

Up until watching this set, I had very little experience with the Rascals. Obviously, I had heard of them, but I hadn’t really seen much of the series, just the movie from the 1990s (and it has been some time since the one time I saw that) and some appearances by former Rascals in various movies, like George “Spanky” McFarland’s appearance in Kentucky Kernels or Dickie Moore’s appearances in films like Miss Annie Rooney or Out Of The Past (or, much to my surprise when I recently found out, Jackie Cooper’s appearances as Perry White in the Christopher Reeve Superman films I’ve been watching since I was a kid). So this set was pretty much my big introduction to the Rascals, and I found it quite worthwhile! From the very first short, I was enjoying myself quite heartily! Just based on how Small Talk starts off, it’s not hard to believe that it was the first sound short, as it starts off silently, only to blast us with the sounds of all the kids making noise (and what a natural “kid” thing to do)! Granted, the acting is a little stiff in the first few as everybody tried to get used to acting with sound, but they quickly settle in to the routine, and everything gets much better! I know I enjoyed watching the “fight” in Boxing Gloves, with Joe and Chubby squaring off against each other! Shivering Shakespeare has been listed as one of the better ones from this group, and I heartily agree with that, from watching the kids’ antics as they try to remember their lines in the play (with some assistance from their teacher, I think) to the slow-motion pie fight that ends it! When The Wind Blows is another fun classic, with Jackie Cooper getting into trouble on a windy night when he accidentally gets locked out of his house! There are some aspects on these shorts that are dated, but overall, there is a timeless appeal to them, and I now count myself a fan as I look forward to seeing the remaining sets as they come out!

In late 2020, ClassicFlix announced that they had licensed the Little Rascals shorts, and planned to restore the talkies (and the silents as well if the talkies do well enough). The film elements for many films and shorts originally produced by Hal Roach’s studio have changed hands a number of times over the years, and haven’t been as well preserved as most would hope. ClassicFlix tried a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the restorations for the Little Rascals series, but that ended up falling short. Still, they went through with their plans to restore the shorts, and, as this first set proves, they’re off to a good start! According to the restoration featurette on the disc, they worked with original nitrate elements for seven of these first eleven shorts, fine grain and safety elements on three shorts (due to lack of existing nitrate elements or film elements too far gone) and a mixture of safety and nitrate on Railroadin’. For the most part, these shorts look great (again, this is my first experience with them, so, for the most part, I don’t know how they have looked previously). There is some minor damage here and there on some of the shorts, and some shots don’t look quite as good, but that’s the result of available film elements (and available restoration budget). If you don’t believe me about how good everything looks, I’ve included some of the YouTube clips posted by ClassicFlix at the bottom of this post. Seriously, though, the restoration team at ClassicFlix have poured their hearts and souls into restoring this series (and it looks it), so I would very heartily recommend this first volume (especially if you want them to not only finish out the talkies, but also restore the silent shorts as well). From what I’ve heard, the second volume of the next eleven shorts (already available at the time of this writing) looks even better, and the third set is already scheduled (and I hope to get around to both of them when I can get that far)!

The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1 is available on Blu-ray from ClassicFlix. The whole set has a runtime of three hours, forty-three minutes.

“Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart (September 2021)” featuring… All-American Co-Ed (1941), Fiesta (1941) and Flying With Music (1942)

We’re here today for the first regular (Sunday) post as part of the Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart blogathon, and it’s a triple-feature, as we delve into All-American Co-Ed and Fiesta from 1941, and Flying With Music from 1942!

Now why, you might be asking, am I doing a triple-feature in one post, as opposed to three like I’ve done before?  Well, the answer is simple.  These three titles are all streamliners!  For the uninitiated (which would also have included me a few years back), Hal Roach had been producing a number of short subjects (including the likes of Laurel and Hardy and the Little Rascals), up through the 1930s.  However, he felt that, by the mid-30s, they were becoming less popular with audiences.  With the rise of double-features, Hal Roach came up with the idea of films that were somewhere between the length of a short subject and a regular movie.  As not all theatres were equipped for regular double-features, this new format allowed them to show two streamliners in the space of one movie.  Due to their length, about four streamliners could be produced for the same cost of one regular movie, while also being more profitable.  So, since we have three streamliners that fit the musical bill, I figured it would be best to stick them all together in one post.

All-American Co-Ed (1941)

Film Length: 48 minutes, 26 seconds

When the Zeta Fraternity at Quinceton College puts on a big show, the publicity helps out that college.  Seeing what it has done for Quinceton, the publicist at Mar Brynn Horticultural School for Girls, Hap Holden (Harry Langdon), enlists the help of student Virginia Collinge (Frances Langford) to convince her aunt and college president Matilda Collinge (Esther Dale) that their college needs some publicity to attract more students.  They convince her to look into some horticultural beauty queens, designating them the “Girls Most Likely To Succeed.”  To help gain more attention, they also label the men from Quinceton’s Zeta Fraternity as the “Men Least Likely To Succeed.”  Now, the men of the fraternity don’t like that, and decide to send in one of their own “undercover” as one of the beauty queens.  Much to his regret, Bob Sheppard (Johnny Downs) is elected, and is given the alias “Bobbie DeWolfe,” who is the “Queen Of The Flowers.”  Once he arrives, he finds himself falling for Virginia, and wants to call off the stunt.  However, Virginia assumes that he and “Bobbie” are going together, and decides to break things off with him.  Meanwhile, his fraternity brothers are angry with him for trying to back out, and send in some local members to give him a nudge.  With all this trouble going on (and a show he’s helping the girls prepare), can Bob get himself out of this mess and back into Virginia’s good graces?

I’m more or less writing my comments now after having watched all three of these “films.” All-American Co-Ed was the middle of the group for me. I very much enjoyed this one for its story and some of its comedy. The music itself is only so-so, even “Out Of The Silence,” which was nominated for the Best Song Oscar that year. Again, the music is not really that memorable, but it’s enjoyable enough within the film. The dancing is nothing to write home about, with the opening number rather terrible (to be fair, that’s on purpose), although the final tune, “The Farmer’s Daughter” (which was written by Walter G. Samuels and Charles Newman) has some decent dancing. The film’s biggest trouble, in some respects, has to do with the concept of a straight male going undercover as a female at an all-girls college (even if he does otherwise try to keep to himself and keep sex out of it). Apart from that, this is an otherwise entertaining musical.

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Born To Dance (1936) – Frances Langford – Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Zenobia (1939) – Harry Langdon

Marjorie Woodworth – Flying With Music (1942)

Fiesta (1941)

Film Length: 44 minutes, 17 seconds

In a Mexican village, everybody is awaiting the return of Cholita (Ann Ayars), the niece of Rancho de las Flores owner Don Juan Hernández (Antonio Moreno).  In particular, her sweetheart José (Jorge Negrete) is planning to marry her.  However, when she arrives, Cholita quickly announces her engagement to radio star Fernando Gómez (George Givot).  When Fernando, who is not a native Mexican, makes some disparaging remarks about the town and the “bandits” in the area, José and Don Juan Hernández decide to teach him a lesson.  José and a few of his friends pretend to be bandits, and come riding into town.  They scare Fernando, and “kidnap” Cholita.  However, she gets away from them, and quickly realizes what they have done.  The next day, she announces her intentions to leave, along with Fernando.  Will she and José come back together, or will they go their separate ways?

Out of the three musical streamliners, Fiesta was arguably the one I came out of with the lowest opinion. This film’s biggest problem is that it leans fairly heavily on a few Mexican stereotypes (although, to be fair, it admits that with one of its characters spouting a few, and the other characters take advantage of that to try to scare him away). I would say that most of the music is forgettable. The main exception to that (for me) would be the song “Never Trust A Jumping Bean” (which was written by Edward Ward, Chet Forrest and Bob Wright and sung by Armida). After watching this streamliner twice, I find that that song manages to get stuck in my head (with no complaints from me!), and also has some fun Mexican dancing to go along with it. The story concept itself has certainly been done elsewhere (and better than here). While my comments may lean negatively here, I will still say that it was an enjoyable film, and one which I would have little trouble recommending for some (hopefully) harmless fun!

My Rating: 7/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

George Givot – Flying With Music (1942)

Flying With Music (1942)

Film Length: 46 minutes, 11 seconds

Harry Bernard (George Givot) has been hiding out on a Caribbean island, but finds himself pursued by two men: Joe (Edward Gargan) and his assistant, Wilbur (Jerry Bergen).  When Harry meets a man who is supposed to act as a tour guide for a group of American women (but is too scared to fly on the plane with them), Harry volunteers to take over as the guide.  The group includes one chaperone and five young women.  They are all on this trip because Ann Andrews (Marjorie Woodworth) convinced her father that it would be an “educational” trip.  So, their chaperone, Miss Mullens (Norma Varden), insists on just that, and Harry goes along with her orders to keep his job.  However, Ann’s real reason for taking the trip is to meet a Latin singer that she has fallen in love with (but has never met or seen, outside of a photograph).  When their pilot, Don Terry (William Marshall), asks her out, she takes the opportunity to go to a nightclub where her “flame” has been reported to perform at. At that nightclub, she finds that he is not there, but on the island of La Monica. Don learns why Ann is going out with him to the nightclub in the process, but decides to keep fighting for her interest. The island of La Monica is not on their itinerary, but, when they learn the truth about Harry, Ann and Don blackmail him into changing it (which works for him anyways, as Joe and Wilbur had once again found him). Don tries to keep romancing Ann, but will he be able to get her to forget her Latin “lover?”

Of the three, I find Flying With Music to be the most fun overall. It took a second viewing for me to come around to it more, but I find it to be quite enjoyable. The music for this film was written by Edward Ward, Chet Forrest and Bob Wright, and is overall the most memorable of these three streamliners. It contains songs like “If It’s Love,” “Pennies For Peppino” (which received a nomination for Best Song Oscar), “Rotana” (which, when all is said and done, feels like a poor man’s version of “Carioca” from the Astaire-Rogers film Flying Down To Rio, but it’s still entertaining), and the two I enjoyed the most, “Caribbean Magic” and “Song of the Lagoon.” More fun is added by Edward Gargan as a detective following George Givot’s Harry Bernard with the assistance of Jerry Bergen as Wilbur (who keeps his partner from actually catching Harry, since he would not be paid any further once they catch him). Admittedly, this also leads into one of the film’s more dated sections, with Harry getting knocked out and Wilbur putting clay on Harry’s face (thus making him look black), which is made worse by Harry leaning heavily into a cringeworthy black stereotype. Thankfully, it’s fairly brief. Even with that problematic moment, I will admit to enjoying this one quite a bit!

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Fiesta (1941) – George Givot

All-American Co-Ed (1941) – Marjorie Woodworth

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection Volume 4: The Musicals

These streamliners are available on DVD as part of The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection Volume 4: The Musicals from Classicflix. All-American Co-Ed and Flying With Music are both black-and-white films, and Fiesta is in color. The two black-and-white films look pretty good, save for a lot of dust and dirt and scratches that remain. I have no prior experience with Fiesta (and how it should look), so I can only guess, based on some of the other Technicolor films of the era that I’ve seen, that the color is off (again let me strongly emphasize, I AM GUESSING AS TO HOW IT SHOULD LOOK, I DO NOT KNOW FOR SURE). I wish all three could receive full-fledged restorations, but, at the same time, I fully understand why not. These are part of Classicflix’s DVD-only Silver Series, where they release films/streamliners/TV series that either don’t have the elements, or what they have is in bad enough shape that it would be too expensive to restore (compared to what the expected sales would be). It’s not perfect, but at least they are making sure these are made available for audiences to discover and potentially learn to love, anyway. I would say that the three musical streamliners in this set certainly are not big classics on their own, and there are some issues that date them. Still, they are quite entertaining, and I feel the set is well worth it, if only to enjoy some good music, some entertaining stories, and all within a shorter time span (seriously, if you can watch the entirety of an episode of an hour-long show in one sitting, you can watch one of these)! So I would definitely recommend it!

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