2022: Year In Review + Top 10 Movies Watched

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, everybody, and it’s time to take a look back at the year 2022. The year started off normally enough (although I did try to pull back from doing entries in my “What’s Old Is A New Release Again” series every week like I’ve done in the past, as that had felt like I was doing too much). I renamed my February 1 posts (which have generally been on films starring Clark Gable) as The King Of Hollywood And I: A Birthday Celebration, due to my shared birthday with him. However, that was as far as I got, as I never finished my logo for that series before events at home delayed a number of things I was trying to do (as I hinted at in my Upcoming Changes For The “Thoughts From The Music(al) Man” Blog post), and left me with no choice but to take the month of April off (apart from my Easter Sunday post). In May, I was able to resume my Thoughts From The Music(al) Man and Star/Genre Of The Month series on Sundays (albeit with biweekly posts as opposed to weekly like I had been doing since I started blogging), and I started doing roundups on multiple films (instead of individuals) for my What’s Old Is A New Release Again series.

Regrettably, those changes haven’t quite been enough, as I referenced more recently in my Changes Ahead Again post. I am still trying to continue into 2023, but, like I had thought when I wrote that post, I have to pull back even further by ending the Star/Genre Of The Month series that I’ve been doing since 2021, and just do one regular Thoughts From The Music(al) Man post per month (although there might be a few exceptions here and there). I will be trying to continue my What’s Old Is A New Release Again series as roundups, but with a few new changes. I’m going to finish out the series on 2022 releases the same way that I’ve been doing so far (which at most means one or two new posts along with some updates to the 4K UHD Roundup and Bob Hope And Dorothy Lamour Roundup, since they’re the only two posts with more releases that I haven’t seen yet). Once I start in on the 2023 releases (which is likely to be in May), I will be doing one post per month in the series (regardless of format, star, etc.). The plan will be to do either a regular review if I only saw one new release the month before, or do roundups for two or more titles (still debating whether or not I will impose a maximum of four films per post every month with the possible exceptions of November and March, although multi-film box sets *might* get their own posts). The big change is that this series will no longer be posted on Wednesdays, but Sundays. My plan is to do my Thoughts From The Music(al) Man posts on the first or second Sundays of the month (although there may occasionally be exceptions) and What’s Old Is A New Release Again Roundups two weeks after that, with the exceptions for the roundups in November (where it will be the last Sunday before Thanksgiving) and March (the last Sunday of the month). Outside of special posts (mostly the “Year In Review” and “Top 10 Disc Releases” plus whatever might be centered on special days), all other posts will also be on Sundays from now on. Hopefully, doing things this way will allow me to keep going for a bit longer.

But, enough about the changes to the blog. What we were all here for was the movies, and, even though I had to pull back on how many films I reviewed per month, I still got in a number of good movies for the year. Like in 2021, I spent most of the year focusing on various movie stars every month (albeit not in blogathon form after the first few months), featuring actors and actresses (and screen teams) like Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy (January), Deanna Durbin (February), Bing Crosby (March), Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour (May), Frank Sinatra (June), Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (July), Audrey Hepburn (August) and W. C. Fields (November), with one detour in September focusing on musical screen teams. There really wasn’t much of a focus on anything besides that, since everything that happened forced me to pull back almost entirely in April, and, outside of this month’s two Christmas films and finishing up the Thin Man film series earlier this year, I didn’t really go in for anything specific (just watching a few of the movies I was given for Christmas 2021 and my birthday). I had a handful of big discoveries this year, particularly The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962), a bunch of new-to-me W. C. Fields films and the new West Side Story (2021). Almost everything else was movies I had seen before (or films that I didn’t have *quite* as high an opinion of). But, I still enjoyed watching more movies with familiar stars and genres, so there was that!

And with all that said, here’s my list of the top 10 movies that I watched/reviewed for the year 2022, culled from the list of 2022 reviews, plus 2021 releases reviewed after January 1, 2021 and 2022 releases reviewed before December 31, 2022 (also a few films released on disc in prior years, but obviously they’re included in the 2022 reviews).  While I was able to enjoy watching a great many movies, some new and some I’ve seen before, the movies on this list are those I enjoyed the most, and would recommend to anybody that is interested!  And if any of these appeal to you, be sure to click on the movie titles to go to Amazon and support this site!

  1. Top Hat (1935) (Warner Home Video, DVD, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Top Hat (1935)
    • The top spot for 2022 belongs to the one and only Top Hat! Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers play a couple who meet in London, England, but quickly go to Venice, Italy when she mistakes him for the husband of her good friend. The plot may not be the film’s strength, but we’re not here for that, as we want to see Fred and Ginger dance! And dance they do, to a score of some of (in my opinion) Irving Berlin’s best music, including “Cheek To Cheek” and the title tune. Add in a memorable supporting cast, including Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore, and we’ve got a winner that’s always fun to see!
  1. Funny Face (1957) (Paramount Pictures, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Funny Face (1957)
    • In this musical, Fred Astaire portrays photographer Dick Avery, who convinces Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn), an assistant in a Greenwich Village shop, to go to Paris, France as a model for Quality Magazine. It’s a lot of fun, with the beautiful music of George and Ira Gerswhin (and a few newer tunes), plus the dancing of Fred and Audrey in their only film together. With all of that, it’s a film that can’t miss, and is highly recommended!
  1. Monte Carlo (1930) (Criterion Collection, DVD, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Monte Carlo (1930)
    • In Monte Carlo (1930), Jeanette MacDonald plays a broke countess who goes to Monte Carlo to avoid a marriage to a wealthy duke that she doesn’t love. In the process, she falls for her hairdresser (who is actually a count in disguise). As usual, Jeanette is in fine voice, especially for her signature tune “Beyond The Blue Horizon” (which was introduced here).  There are a few other very fun tunes and various bits of comedy to help fill out this wonderful pre-Code, making it well worth seeing!
  1. Can’t Help Singing (1944) (Universal Studios, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Can’t Help Singing (1944)
    • In her only Technicolor film, Deanna Durbin stars as a senator’s daughter who goes west to marry the soldier she thinks she loves, but finds real love on the way with a card sharp. It’s a fun film, with Deanna singing a number of memorable tunes, including the title song and “Californ-I-Ay.” It might be a little too similar to the classic screwball comedy It Happened One Night (1934), but it’s still entertaining, and worth being recommended!
  1. Kiss Me Kate (1953) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Kiss Me Kate (1953)
    • In this classic musical, Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel star as a divorced couple who co-star (and fight both on- and off-stage) in a musical version of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew.  It’s an overall fun film, with the benefits of beautiful and/or entertaining music by Cole Porter, plus some fantastic dancing by the likes of Ann Miller, Bob Fosse, Tommy Rall, Bobby Van and others!  It’s a well-regarded film musical for a reason, and I can’t recommend it enough!
  1. West Side Story (2021) (20th Century Studios/Disney, 4K UHD, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2022) 4K UHD Roundup
    • With regard to this film, the needle may be stuck in a crack, but I can’t help repeating myself. I did not care for the original 1961 film and had no intention of seeing this one. But I decided to give it a shot anyway when it showed up on Disney+, and I was floored by just how much fun this film was! I thought the cast did really well, the songs were fun and memorable (and made me want to get up and dance to them), and the cinematography was beautiful! Plain and simple, this one was a pleasant surprise (and I can’t help but feel like it should have done better, not only financially, but at the Oscars as well), and highly recommended!
  1. Charade (1963) (Universal Studios, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Charade (1963)
    • In this film, Audrey Hepburn stars as Regina Lampert, who has returned home from a vacation in the Swiss Alps, only to find her husband dead and several men trying to shake her down for some money he had stashed somewhere. I’ve said before that I’m no fan of director Alfred Hitchcock (or the types of films he was known for), but this film, Stanley Donen’s homage to Hitchcock, is a thrill from start to finish! I love seeing Audrey and Cary Grant working together, as she makes us cheer for her, while he manages to stay just mysterious enough that we don’t know whether he is a good guy or a bad one. I know the ending, and yet I still feel the suspense every time I see this film. So this is an easy recommendation because of the leads and the story!
  1. The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, My Rating: 9/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2022) Blu-ray Roundup #1
    • The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm tells the tale of the Grimm brothers Jacob (Karl Boehm) and Wilhelm (Laurence Harvey), as Wilhelm seeks out various fairy tales while his workaholic brother insists on doing their job of writing a duke’s family history.  This was very much a new film to me, and it was fantastic from start to finish!  The three fairy tale sections were the best part of the movie (especially with their more musical moments), but the film really shines with all of its scenery, filmed in its original Cinerama glory.  The recent Blu-ray release of this long-forgotten (and long thought to be too difficult/expensive to restore) movie made me a fan, and I heartily recommend it to others!
  1. Murder By Death (1976) (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: Murder By Death (1976)
    • In Murder By Death (1976), a group of famous detectives and their associates are invited to dinner and a murder. After the murder is committed, the race is on to prove who is the best detective! I’ve seen this spoof numerous times over the years, and it’s one that continues to make me laugh from start to finish, with memorable lines and ridiculous situations. It’s not the most politically correct film (as I mentioned in the original review), but it’s enough fun to recommend it with great enthusiasm!
  1. The Ten Commandments (1956) (Paramount Pictures, 4K UHD, My Rating: 10/10)
    • Previously reviewed in: The Ten Commandments (1956)
    • It’s The Ten Commandments (1956).  It’s director Cecil B. DeMille at his very best, bringing all the spectacle and drama of the classic biblical tale to life on the big screen.  With Charlton Heston in the lead role as Moses and a host of many famous names in support, this film is certainly one of the greats of classic cinema.  It may run a bit long for some, but it more than makes up for it in entertainment value in my mind.  I would easily classify it as one of the better movies that I’ve seen this year!

Honorable mentions: You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man (1939) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray), The Three Musketeers (1948) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray), The Clock (1945) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray), Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) (Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray)

So thank you all for sticking with me in 2022, and I wish you a Happy New Year as we head into 2023! And please let me know what movies you’ve enjoyed this year as well (whether those you’ve seen or whatever movies I’ve reviewed, whatever works for you)!

Previous Years





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!

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