Reviewed by Jim Milton
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye play two ex-GI’s who team up with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and help out their old army general (Dean Jagger) whose Vermont ski lodge has hit hard times. They decide to write a new musical and premiere it at the lodge with hopes of going to Broadway. With songs by Irving Berlin and some amazing dance pieces, it is no wonder why this is considered the penultimate Christmas movie of all time.
- Paramount Studios
- 2014 (1954), Color, Rated PG, 2 Hrs
- 5.1 DTS-HD MA, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
- Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger
- Directed by Michael Curtiz
- Violence: No
- Sex: No
- Language: No
Filmed in Technicolor and VistaVision, this classic Christmas tale has never looked better. Crosby and Kaye are old army buddies that for a duet musical show after WWII. Eventually, they bump into an old army buddies sister act while down in sunny Florida. Eventually the quartet makes their way to Vermont and land at a resort owned by their former general. Dancing and singing ensue. Actually, there is a lot of dancing and singing all the way to the snowy finale… and it is all marvelous. Danny Kaye is a comedic genius who is so good at mimicry, you’ll never notice that he was not an actual trained dancer. Only Vera-Ellen (first name only for this performer) had formal training. Besides her fabulous leg work, I was stunned by her wasp-waist figure. Bing, of course, is at his vocal best and the Technicolor really makes his blue eyes scintillate. This disc set contains a BD and DVD copy with a third DVD containing the generous extras minus the sing-along track, which are all worth watching. As a special bonus, this set includes a CD with a dozen Christmas songs from Bing and the gang. Truthfully, Hollywood is incapable of making a movie like this today. This release comes highly recommended. Merry Christmas, movie lovers!
The colors in this film are stunning! The glorious reds and deep forest greens are all beautifully saturated by the Technicolor process. Skin tones are spot on. Except for a brief scene of perhaps 15 seconds, the entire presentation exhibits a sharp, clean picture. It is hard to believe the film is 60 years old as it looks like it could have been shot yesterday. The sound is very clean, but in spite of the 5.1 re-mastered soundtrack, you will not notice much in the surround channels. You will be treated to some great songs and musical numbers. No “hiss” can be detected from the 60+ year old re-mastered sound track. If you are an old movie buff like me, you’ll want to introduce this movie to your kids…or grand kids, and with this newly minted Hi-Def transfer you will not have to feel badly about watching it again yourself.
This Deluxe 60th Anniversary box set includes a cornucopia of extras. Disc 1 is the movie in BD format with optional sing-along track, Clooney commentary,Classic Holiday moments with songs and Kaye reading A Christmas Carol, and intro by Michael Buble, interviews, rehearsals, behind the scenes, publicity shots, 2 theatrical trailers and many more. Disc 2 is the DVD version with Disc 3 being the DVD extras from Disc 1.Also included is a bonus CD with several Christmas songs from the gang.