The Musicals: 4-Movie Collection is an economical way for fans of these films to own with the low SRP. The set itself is well done contained in a nice box but I’m not a fan of the digibook style and wish the studio would’ve just released this in a standard Blu-ray case. And although the features aren’t great, it’s good enough with the two commentaries and well made documentary for Singin’ in the Rain (though that has been available for a couple of years).
Musicals: 4-Movie Collection
Genre(s): Musical, Comedy, Drama
Warner Bros. | NR – 426 min. – $34.99 | March 3, 2015
THE BAND WAGON (1953)
Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse dazzle in director Vincente Minnelli’s classic, featuring numbers set in a train station, a penny arcade, a backlot Central Park and a smoky café. As the hallmark song which originated here goes, “That’s Entertainment!”
CALAMITY JANE (1953)
Doris Day and Howard Keel fuss, feud and fall in love as Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. There are wide-open Technicolor Western spaces, lots of high-stepping dances and a hummable of a score by Academy Award-winning songwriters Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, who took their first Oscar for the classic ballad “Secret Love.”
KISS ME KATE (1953)
When two squabbling ex-marrieds are cast as squabbling Renaissance romantics in a musical The Taming of the Shrew, life imitates art, art imitates life – and it all proves no musical comedy imitates Kiss Me Kate, adapted from the 1948 Broadway smash that features 14 peerless Cole Porter songs, choreography by Bob Fosse and Hermes Pan, and an all-star cast including Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson and Ann Miller.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)
With fame, fortune and fans galore, silent screen idol Don Lockwood (GENE KELLY) thought he had it all. But one look at aspiring actress Kathy Seldon (DEBBIE REYNOLDS) and he knew exactly what he was missing. Now he’s swinging from lampposts, singing in the raindrops and ready for love. With talking pictures on the rise, Don sets out to make musicals with the woman of his dreams… but one thing stands in his way: his jealous co-star (JEAN HAGEN) who wants Don, and the leading role, all to herself.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5 (average)
The four-disc set is housed in a digibook which side-slides into a hard slip case. Also included are postcard-like glossy photos for each film.
THE BAND WAGON — 2.5/5
Audio Commentary – Liza Minnelli (daughter of director Vincente Minnelli) and Michael Feinstein (music artist) sit down for a formal and informative track discussing the merits of the film with Liza chatting about her father.
Get Aboard! The Band Wagon (37:09; SD) features archive interviews with various people (some associated, others not like Liza Minnelli) as they talk about the movie and why it’s so timeless.
The Men Who Made the Movies: Vincente Minnelli (58:25; SD) is a profile, from WNET in New York, of the Band Wagon director.
Jack Buchanan with the Glee Quartet (6:00; SD) – This is a musical short film.
The Three Little Pups (6:46; SD) is another short feature.
Theatrical Trailer (3:14; SD)
CALAMITY JANE — 1.5/5
So You Love Your Dog (10:31; SD) is a comedy short about a man and his hapless dog.
Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (7:04; SD) – This Warner Merrie Melodies cartoon features Daffy Duck fighting crime in the future.
Western Style Premiere (0:44; SD) is footage of the lavish screening in Rapid City.
Photoplay Magazine’s Film Awards (0:51; SD) has more footage of the award ceremony.
Theatrical Trailer (3:01; SD)
KISS ME KATE – 1.75/5
Cole Porter in Hollywood: Too Darn Hot (9:42; SD) is an archive profile featurette on the composer/songwriter and his resurgence in Hollywood.
Mighty Manhattan, New York’s Wonder City (5:08; SD) looks at the city and all its wonderment.
Barney’s Hungry Cousin (6:42; SD) is a short animated film.
Theatrical Trailer (3:33; SD)
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – 3.0/5
Audio Commentary – This multi-person track, recorded separately, is guided by Debbie Reynolds introducing each new commentator including: Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, Stanley Donen (co-director), Betty Comden (co-writer), Adolph Green (co-writer), Baz Kuhrman and Author Rudy Behlmer. I normally don’t care for these types of tracks but as it is, it’s a enthralling track where you get to learn various topics.
Singin’ in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation (50:48; HD) – An immersive documentary where various people (inc. Paula Abdul, Corbin Bleu, chorographers, etc) talk about the influence the film has had on the new generation of dancers today.
Jukebox allows viewers to jump to their favorite sequence in the film.
Theatrical Trailer (4:07; SD)
Note: Unfortunately the second disc which were included in the Ultimate Collection’s Edition and regular releases were not in this set so you are missing two more documentaries, a still gallery, stage sessions and an outtake.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
The Band Wagon is presented in its original 1.37 full frame aspect ratio and the 1080p high-def transfer is fairly impressive. Although at times the detail isn’t the sharpest, mainly for distant shots, close-ups do look excellent and colors are brilliant and vibrant. This appears to be clean, free of artifacts and dust marks. — 4.5/5
Calamity Jane rolls in on Blu-ray with a 1080p high-definition transfer and shown in its original 1.37 full frame aspect ratio. This 1953 hit musical looks fantastic with brilliant colors and decent-to-good detail level with no evidence of over-sharpening and there are no obvious signs of aliasing or artifacts. — 4.5/5
Kiss Me Kate offers both 2D and 3D formats of the film. The 2D version has incredible and bright colors shining through while also the detail levels are crisp and sharp from close-ups to the more distant shots. The transfer appears to be clean with nary a dust mark, scratch or any signs of aliasing and/or pixilation. The 3D version, its native format, meanwhile does have some depth especially for the scenes on stage as well as the opening title sequence. You can’t go wrong either way even if you don’t have a 3D setup. — 5.0/5
Singin’ in the Rain has been remastered from a new 4K scan and presented in 1080p high-definition, the movie looks amazing. There’s a discernible amount of natural grain and noise but the detail level is fantastic and the color array in, in a word, incredible. The print looks clean and free of any flaws. It doesn’t look pumped up, instead it seems natural and how it was originally intended. — 4.5/5
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The Band Wagon includes a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track which nicely showcases the music as well as providing clear dialogue levels. It’s not an overly dynamic lossless track or anything but certainly a fine upgrade over any incarnation this movie has had. — 4.0/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track is available for Calamity Jane and considering the catchy musical numbers, the solo channel lossless track actually sounds good and nice depth, such as it is, and the dialogue/singing voices come through relatively well. I doubt this movie ever sounded (or looked) better. — 4.25/5
Kiss Me Kate comes with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which makes the most use out of the musical numbers with fine balance through each channel while also providing fine clarity for those dialogue scenes. Ambient noises aren’t prevalent but still present coming through the rear speakers. — 4.75/5
Singin’ in the Rain has a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track. Like the others in this collection, the musical scores and songs make the most out of each and every channel but equally as impressive were clear dialogue from the center speaker. This is a great sounding lossless track that might not be reference quality but certainly notable nevertheless. — 4.25/5
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, the Musicals: 4-Movie Collection is an economical way for fans of these films to own with the low SRP. The set itself is well done contained in a nice box but I’m not a fan of the digibook style and wish the studio would’ve just released this in a standard Blu-ray case. And although the features aren’t great, it’s good enough with the two commentaries and well made documentary for Singin’ in the Rain (though that has been available for a couple of years).
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.