Footlight Parade       Gold Diggers of 1933       Dames       Gold Diggers of 1935      42nd Street

 

Busby Berkeley was easily the greatest pioneer choreographer in US movie musical history. Taking a unique stance, he wanted to direct all the dance numbers in a project himself... without interference from the film's director. He convinced producer Samuel Goldwyn to give him that freedom. With incredible numbers like "Shuffle Off To Buffalo", "Young and Healthy" and the grandiose story of urban life in the finale of "42nd Street" gave Busby Berkeley the power he craved. "42nd Street" was a smash hit, and Warner were prepared to work that popularity to the maximum - and did so from 1933 to 1937 pumping out some of the most endearing and extravagant musicals of all-time. Berkeley's overhead shots forced him to drill holes in the studio roofs, and in each progressive film he used an increasing number of dancers, e.g. in "Lullaby of Broadway", his recognized masterpiece, and in "Gold Diggers of 1935" he used about 150 dancers simultaneously tapping away. Skirting within the boundaries of PRE-CODE we also have some sexuality - shocking for the times, but now just comfortably erotic and amusing. Lots of Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and more regulars.

 

The Busby Berkeley DVD Collection is a 6-disc compilation of five remastered Warner Bros. classics from one of the greatest motion picture choreographers of all time. It is marked with Warner's exceptional quality and reasonable price. These films are truly priceless and this package belongs in any film fans library.

Gary Tooze
 

NOTE: The exclusive bonus The Busby Berkeley Disc, is a compilation of over 20 complete musical numbers from nine Warner Bros. films of the 1930s. It is a wonderful extra. This alone is a very valuable supplement. It is very fun to view.

 

NOTE: We strongly suspect that 42 Street is a duplicate of the earlier Snapper-case release. It is presently the only DVD of the collection that you can purchase individually.

 

 

 

 

Directed by Lloyd Bacon
USA 1933

 

Chester Kent (Cagney) is a Broadway stage director, desperate for work now that talking pictures have affected his trade. He gets the idea of producing live prologues to tour around the country's movie theatres, but his love life, casting and a competitor stealing his ideas all cause him problems. What would be a typical Warner Brothers musical is enlivened by Cagney. A whirling dervish bound for ulcers, his suggestion that someone who has wound him up should jump out of a window is priceless. The Busby Berkeley choreographed dance sequences are quite breathtaking.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 30th, 1933

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

AT PRESENT CAN ONLY BE BOUGHT IN THE The Busby Berkeley Collection (see below)

Also part of The Busby Berkeley Collection with Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 and 42nd Street.

            

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:43:16 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.55 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 (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New Featurette Footlight Parade: Music for the Decades
2 Vintage Featurettes:
• Rambling 'Round Radio Row #8
• Vaudeville Reel #1
2 Vintage Cartoons:
• Honeymoon Hotel
• Young and Healthy
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2006

Collection is 5 Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: 23

 

 

Comments:

Firstly, this film is among the best of the 1930's musicals in this collection. Snappy dialogue delivered with panache by the likes of Jimmy Cagney, the sexy Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, and Ruby Keeler help again establish Berkeley's dominance in this limited genre era. This is a very enjoyable film.

The image quality is at Warner's excellent remastered status - great contrast, good detail, well-appointed optional subtitles and a host of extras that, for the most part, are relevant to the film. Now there are some speckles occasionally but overall Warner have done some good work here - no scrimping.  

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus

 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

(aka 'Golddiggers of 1933' or 'High Life')

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
USA 1933

 

Barney Hopkins is producing a new show on Broadway, but the day before it opens, the set and costumes are confiscated due to not paid bills. Everybody is sitting on the street and due to depression there is no possibility for the three chorus girls Carol, Trixie and Polly. But they hear rumors, that Hopkins is producing a new show, they invite him and he promises to give them work - when he found a backer to produce it. He hears the tunes of the composer next door, Brad Roberts, Pollys friend. Brad joins them and is backing the show. On opening night he takes over for the juvenile lead, who suffers from lumbago. Roberts has been very publicity-shy, because he belongs to a wealthy upperclass family from Boston. When his family notices what he is doing, his brother Lawrence and their attorney Peabody come to New York, to end his relation with Polly. But he mistakes Carol for Polly, who does not correct his mistake. Lawrence decides to separate Polly from Brad by drawing her love on himself. But soon he realizes, that he is really in love with that chorus girl.

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 27th, 1933

Reviews    More Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

AT PRESENT CAN ONLY BE BOUGHT IN THE The Busby Berkeley Collection (see below)

Also part of The Busby Berkeley Collection with Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 and 42nd Street.

            

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:37:27 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.35 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 (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New Featurette: Good Diggers: FDR's New Deal...Broadway Bound
2 Vintage Featurettes:
• Rambling 'Round Radio Show #2
• Seasoned Greetings
3 Vintage Cartoons:
• I've Got to Sing a Torch Song
• Pettin' in the Park
• We're in the Money
• New Featurette 42nd Street: From Book to Stage to Screen
• Vintage Featurette The 42nd Street Special
• Busby Berkeley Musicals Trailer Gallery

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2006

Collection is 5 Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: 25

 

 

Comments:

This is easily the best looking image in the collection. I can only suppose that the print was in exceptional condition. Less of the faux-grain and strong detail - we again have super contrast and bountiful extras with featurettes, cartoons and of-the-era Radio Shows to keep you in the mood.

The film sports a great cast which includes (again) Joan Blondell and innocent portrayal by Ruby Keeler. For many this will be the biggest reason to purchase the boxset. A tremendous quintessential BB masterpiece with enough substance to never be forgotten. More snappy patter, some pre-code risqué flirtations, humor and toe-tapping music make this another spectacular advertisement for the immense appeal of Busby Berkeley and this wonderful Warner DVD package.   

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 


 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Directed by Ray Enright + Busby Berkeley
USA 1934

 

  Multi millionaire Ezra Ounce wants to start a campaign against 'filthy' forms of entertainment, like Broadway-Shows. He comes to his relatives families and makes them members of his morale-boosting campaign. But Jimmy, another relative is producing a show, starring Ezra's nice Barbara. But he had bad luck with his backer, this person has give him an invalid check. Another of his victims, the show-girl Mabel has the idea of blackmailing Horace, Barbara's father, whom she has met before in a slightly compromising situation to get the money.

****

It takes longer than usual to dispense with the plot (something about a public decency campaign waged against a Broadway show) and get down to the three Busby Berkeley numbers that are every Warner musical's raison d'etre. But the wait is worth it for "I Only Have Eyes for You," a literally hallucinatory number in which Dick Powell imagines every female resident of New York City transformed into Ruby Keeler--a main extension of Berkeley's obsession with multiplication and symmetry.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader

Theatrical Release: August 16th, 1934

Reviews    More Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

AT PRESENT CAN ONLY BE BOUGHT IN THE The Busby Berkeley Collection (see below)

Also part of The Busby Berkeley Collection with Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 and 42nd Street.

            

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:30:24 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 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 (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New Featurette Busby Berkeley's Kaleidoscopic Eyes
3 Vintage Featurettes:
• And She Learned About Dames
• Good Morning, Eve
• Melody Master: Don Redman and His Orchestra
2 Vintage Cartoons:
• I Only Have Eyes for You
• Those Beautiful Dames
• Audio-Only Bonus: Direct from Hollywood Radio Promo
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2006

Collection is 5 Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: 22

 

 

Comments:

After Gold Diggers of 33' this is probably the next best image quality. Unfortunately the film itself is a bit goofy - still, if you are in the 'Berkeley zone' it will be entertaining. It is a notch above the usual Warner high standard for detail. Contrast is a shade lighter than usual but it will still play very well on your system despite the occasional speckle damage. More 'mood' extras and a new featurette detailing some of BB's methods. Not the best film in the collection but one of them had to be the worst I suppose.  

Gary W. Tooze

 


 

DVD Menus


 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Directed by Busby Berkeley
USA 1935

 

  Busby Berkeley's first full-length job of direction (previously he handled only dance numbers) reveals a bitterness and cynicism that never again surfaced in his work. The mercenary motives of the characters are pushed far beyond the requirements of the formula, and then there's the wrenching climax of the famous "Lullaby of Broadway" number. None of it is very deep or coherent, but the film does suggest that there was something more to Berkeley than his fine sense of spectacle.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader

*****

Berkeley's musical comes equipped with a plot as fluffy as ever, just waiting to be eclipsed by a string of classic tunes (notably the Oscar-winning standard 'Lullaby of Broadway'). The plot, for what it's worth, follows an impresario's attempts to make money by putting on a lavish production in a luxury hotel, only for the show to be threatened when the financier gets a little too close to the tangled backstage romances that ensue. It's shallow but provides an acceptable framework on which to hang the breathtaking, brilliantly choreographed musical numbers.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: March 15th, 1935

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

AT PRESENT CAN ONLY BE BOUGHT IN THE The Busby Berkeley Collection (see below)

Also part of The Busby Berkeley Collection with Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 and 42nd Street.

            

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:34:36 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.55 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 (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New Featurette: (buz'be bur'kle)n. A Study in Style
• Vintage Featurette: Double Exposure
2 Vintage Cartoons:
• Gold Diggers of '49
• Shuffle Off to Buffalo
• Direct from Hollywood Radio promo
• Gold Diggers Trailer Gallery

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2006

Collection is 5 Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: 24

 

 

Comments:

This is more strong quality from Warner - perhaps a shade grainer that the others, but still looks fine. There may be a few more speckles than some of the other releases, but once again the extras are stacked. The film was Berkeley's first solo directorial effort and has some darkness to it, but still an essential part of his ouvre.   

Gary W. Tooze

 


 

DVD Menus


 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

(aka 'Forty-Second Street ')

Directed by Lloyd Bacon
USA 1933

 

  Set during the depression, this is the granddaddy of backstage musicals in which the understudy finally gets a chance to shine. It may seem a little cliché now, but in 1933 this was hot stuff. All that behind-the-scenes atmosphere feels very genuine, and the script is more acerbic than you might expect.
A sickly Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) puts his all into what may be his last show, only to face a disaster when leading lady Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels) sprains her ankle. Thank heavens for ingenue Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler), who steps in at the last minute. The vivacious soundtrack includes "Shuffle off to Buffalo," and the still-catchy title tune. Best of all are those extravagant, kaleidoscopic dance numbers by Busby Berkeley, then in his prime.

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 2nd, 1933

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

Individual order:

Also part of The Busby Berkeley Collection with Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 and 42nd Street.

            

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:29:09 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.65 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 (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Vintage Featurette Harry Warren: America's Foremost Composer
• Vintage Featurette Hollywood Newsreel
• Vintage Featurette A Trip Through a Hollywood Studio
• Notes on Busby Berkeley

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

 

 

Comments:

Looks very strong! I never owned the previous snapper-case version so I can't determine if it has been an improvement - and quite possibly it is repackaged with the same duplicated extras (unlike the others in the boxset it is only region 1 - as opposed to compatible with 2,3,4). It has the typical grain, great contrast, a few speckles and good detail. More solid extras but I would have thought it might have warranted a commentary.

I highly doubt it will ever look better - the groundbreaking choreography made Busby Berkeley and it marks this film as a true spectacle - astounding that over 70 years later it is still so captivating with its faux dramaturgy that is totally unapologetic. What a glorious hoot!  

NOTE: the old snapper-case version from Sept. 2000 is actually more expensive now than this newer release.

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 


 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

The Busby Berkeley Collection with Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 and 42nd Street.

            





 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!