Directed by Archie Mayo
USA 19
42

 

  Orchestra Wives was a Glenn Miller vehicle directed by Archie Mayo and reflected the 'whitening' of jazz during the swing era. The second motion picture built to showcase the Glenn Miller Orchestra (following 1941's Sun Valley Serenade), Orchestra Wives concentrates on the performance space of swing era jazz as a site for social mixing of the genders. Meanwhile, the African-American roots of jazz, and the notion of jazz as an arena conducive to racial interaction, become invisible.

In the film, Connie, a young small-town swing fan meets and marries the trumpet player in the big band she idolizes. (Glenn Miller plays Gene Morrison, the leader of this fictional band.) She experiences difficulties adjusting to life on the road, which contrasts with her glamorous expectations. The other musicians' wives engage in malicious gossip, and her husband's ex-girlfriend Jaynie, the band's lead singer, plots to break up the marriage.

The film thus expresses uneasiness about the type of woman who would seek fame on the swing scene, criticizing her as 'unfemininely ambitious', while simultaneously presenting and benefiting from her performance.

Big band films such as Orchestra Wives showcased swing performances and celebrated swing musicians as philosophers creating music with the needs of young America in mind. Women were an integral part to swing performance, and were celebrated as long as they remained happy consumers or wives content to stay behind the scenes. (At the end of the film, Connie sees that Jaynie is kicked out of the band.)

Excerpt from Making Time in American Culture site located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 4th, 1942

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DVD Review: 20th Century Fox (Studio Classics) - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution 20th Century Fox (Studio Classics # 35) - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:37:39 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.25 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 English (Mono) , English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox (Studio Classics)

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by actors Ann Rutherford and Fayard Nicholas
• Theatrical trailers
• Stills Gallery
 

DVD Release Date: November 1st, 2005
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Chapters: 28

 

 

Comments:

Quite an stratospheric bitrate but as far as Fox's Studio Classics go this might inch into the lower half of quality releases. There is some visible digital noise and it looks occasionally dirty with a cloudy image. On the positive the audio is quite strong and consistent with a mono and stereo track offered. There is an interesting, although what might be considered 'fun', commentary with Ann Rutherford and Fayard Nicholas. I liked the film and for the price we do recommend.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Distribution 20th Century Fox (Studio Classics # 35) - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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