In what has become an increasingly rare occurance, Warner Brothers has released a large box set (with plans to release a few others over the course of 2013) containing 20 features, all in the musical genre. And although we are not a tremendous fan of musicals, there are some great films in the package, which serves best as a primer for someone looking to start their collection. Most classic movie buffs will surely have a few (or perhaps more) of these already, making purchasing the entire set perhaps somewhat prohibitive.
Several of the films, which span the entire history of Hollywood and starting with The Jazz Singer, are available in blu-ray and hence for some titles these are not comparable to any relevant HD releases. In truth, this set is merely a repackaging of previously released titles. There isn’t any new content, with just existing release’s content being ported over. Unsuprisingly, many of the features are from the MGM archives, to which Warner’s now holds the rights.
Supplemental content also varies by title, with some features being ports of “Deluxe” editions and including extensive items including commentaries and the like. Others are rather pedestrian bare bones efforts with limited additional content. Again, no additional restorative work or content has been added.
It is a great set, but strangely the packaging gives us pause. We’ve of course become all to accustomed to the brilliant packaging on other releases, notably the digibooks which have become so prevelant for blu-ray releases. This set suffers from a dated look and sadly looks somewhat slapdash. In its defense it isn’t a blu-ray release and standard DVD releases of this magnitude have become exceedingly rare. On glaring omission is the lack of any detail on what supplemental features are available for each film. It becomes a rather hit or miss affair with one just left to be surprised once they put the disc in.
For our personal favorites, we’d pick out Yankee Doodle Dandy, Viva Las Vegas, and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Over the coming weeks we will take a few deeper looks at selected titles from the set as well.
The Jazz Singer
Broadway Melody of 1929
The Great Ziegfeld
Wizard of Oz
Yankee Doodle Dandy
An American In Paris
Singin In The Rain
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
A Star Is Born
The Music Man
Viva Las Vegas
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Little Shop of Horrors
In spite of its flaws, this set is highly recommended for folks looking to add from ground zero a deep catalog of musicals to their library. Experienced collectors and afficianados probably want to head for the blu-ray (or standard DVD) releases of their favorite titles simply to avoid double dipping.
Thanks for the review copy provided by Warner Brothers.