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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/mann.htm
USA 1953

 

For those who don’t know who Glenn Miller was, he was the one to invent the big band and thereby revolutionizing band sound. Contra to the ordinary band, the big band has sections rather than a single instrument, thus making it sound bigger, hence the name. In 1935 Miller arranged his first big band and by 1937 he had his own. But it wasn’t until 1939 that he broke thru and his sound became instantly recognizable with the big band sound. At the height of his career, Miller chose to join the armed forces in 1942 and over the next two years he would serve the US by playing for the troops, adding an invaluable moral effort. Sadly, while flying to Paris in December 15, 1944, the plane never arrived, presumed crashed. Today Glenn Miller is remembered as the father of the big band and the composer of more than twenty classic melodies, amongst them now legendary tunes as "Moonlight Serenade", "String of Pearls" and of course "In the Mood".

In between the classical westerns, Mann and Stewart teamed up for a biographical picture on Glenn Miller. The film begins in 1924 and follows Miller over the next twenty years, until his fatal crash. To add authenticity, Mann invited original musicians and singers to participate, such as Frances Langford, Louis Armstrong, Ben Pollack, Gene Krupa, James Young and Babe Russin, to name some.

The film itself is a heart warming homage to Miller, taking full advantage of both its stars, James Stewart and June Allyson, but also of Miller’s music, and became a huge box office hit. And while it is possible as far removed from the existential westerns of Mann, it remains both one of his best directorial efforts and one of Stewart’s best parts. It is a film, that still today invites one to just sit back and be carried away. Pure Hollywood cinema.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 10, 1953 (Hollywood, California)

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DVD Review: Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Distribution

Universal

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:52:17
Video

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.61 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital English
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Other releases

DVD Release Date: June 1, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 21

 

Comments NOTE: From Robert Furmanek (2014): "On April 18, 1953, Boxoffice reported that Universal was analyzing the 3-D and widescreen trends and any new productions were put on hold. Studio personnel were asked to take their vacations in May.

Filming resumed on June 3 with BORDER RIVER and THE GLENN MILLER STORY. The studio had now adopted 2.00:1 as their house ratio and all future productions were composed for widescreen. This policy was applied to shorts, cartoons and newsreels as well.
"

The image is cropped from the OAR of 1.37:1, approx 13% top and 12% bottom, to aprx 1.85:1, in order to allow anamorphic encoding (see comparison between VHS and DVD below). While Universal eventually did mask their films into 1.85:1, only 5 films were released in Widescreen in 1953, and this is not one of them.

The transfer leaves a lot to wish for. It is awfully grainy, during reel change it changes drastically in color and light, and it has minor emulsion errors. Clearly, the image was neither remastered nor restored, but appears to be directly transferred to DVD. Apart from that, very little compression artifacts.

Sound is original mono having gotten a 2.0 Dolby Digital upgrade. This is an Academy Award winning sound mix and it does sound great, even though its center based. But image it getting a solid 5.1 Dolby Digital upgrade to make that glorious big band sound come to life.

 - Henrik Sylow


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subtitle sample (English only)
captures resized to 800px from 960px native resolution

 

 


 

 

VHS capture showing intended framing

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Universal

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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