Icons of Screwball Comedy Volume 1

 

   If You Could Only Cook (1935)         Too Many Husbands (1940)


My Sister Eileen (1942)        She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945)

 

The Screwball Comedy was virtually invented at Columbia Studios, during the height of the depression. Following the huge success of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934). Columbia would make more of these madcap romantic comedies than any other studio. Typical "Screwballs" features marital mix-ups and plenty of opportunities to poke fun at the wealthy, while allowing audiences to dwell in the luxury of the upper-class. These films also offered some of the best roles for actresses in this period, such as working-girls in a man's world (Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday), or socially liberal gals battling restrictive upper-crust society (Katharine Hepburn in Holiday). A breezy approach to male and female roles was a hallmark of the Screwball Comedy. For this collection, the studio digs deep into its vaults for four classics of the genre.

 


Titles

 


 

Jean Arthur stars as a down-on-her-luck cook who charms a millionaire (Herbert Marshall) into playing along as her husband so they can get work in If You Could Only Cook, then as a girl who finds herself legally-wedded to two men (Fred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas) in Too Many Husbands. Another screen legend, Rosalind Russell, shines as the "other" sister who's pretty, young sister (Janet Blair) brings a host of eccentrics through their Greenwich Village apartment in the original film version of My Sister Eileen. Russell then battles her patient's (Lee Bowman) impulses while suppressing her own as a button-down psychiatrist in She Wouldn't Say Yes.

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1935 - 1945

DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Sony - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Respectively - 1:11:27, 1:21:18 + 1:36:42 + 1:26:06

Bitrate:

 

Disc one with If You Could Only Cook and Too Many Husbands

Bitrate:

Disc Two with My Sister Eileen and She Wouldn't Say Yes

Audio English (original mono)
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
All Original 1.33 Aspect Ratios 

Edition Details:
• Ain't Love Cuckoo (1946) - 19:02

• Trailers for My Sister Eileen and She Wouldn't Say Yes


DVD Release Date: August 4th, 2009

One Keep Case
Chapters: 12 X 4

 

Comments:

Firstly, ummm... Sony - get a new cover designer.

Much in the vein of Sony's Icons of Horror - Boris Karloff or Sam Katzman collections, the four feature films of this boxset are shared, two each on two dual-layered, progressive DVDs. All have original aspect ratios of 1.33:1and each disc is coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. They have original mono audio (or 2.0 channel stereo) and the dialogue is supported by optional English subtitles. The 2 DVDs are housed in one keep cases and they are not sold separately at this time. I believe these particular NTSC editions can only be obtained in Sony's Icons of Screwball Comedy Vol. 1 collection at present.

Image quality: Since each feature is sharing the disc with another - these should each be considered single-layered transfers. Too Many Husbands looks the best of the four with strong contrast and, what appears to be, grain peeking through. She Wouldn't Say Yes and If You Could Only Cook are a notch below appearing muddier but still quite watchable. My Sister Eileen has some green infiltration and possibly boosted black levels but I wasn't expecting anything stellar as I'm sure the original elements for this film are not in pristine condition. I have no strong complaints with the way these modest transfers look.  There is some minor digital noise/artifacts throughout but nothing is overly distracting. There are no overt damage marks - just some minor light speckles here and there. I think the captures below give a fair representation of how the DVD package looks.

Audio was acceptable if unremarkable. It was consistent and clear enough and the dialogue is supported with optional English subtitles.

 

The only supplement is a Jules White short comedy entitled Ain't Love Cuckoo from 1946. It involves the Schillings and the Lanes who think their spouses have been lost to the war, and they decide to re-marry each other's better half. It's amusing at less than 20 minutes. 

 

All four are good films with If You Could Only Cook (with the yummy Jean Arthur) and My Sister Eileen (Rosalind Russell and Janet Blair) being the most notable although each is representational of this genre to some degree. Too Many Husbands is the hokiest - which certainly doesn't make it a bad 'screwball' comedy.  This package is fun and at the price offered I'd recommend to those keen on the era with the wonderful clothes and architectural stylings. I guess fans have an idea what they are in for - and this package shouldn't disappoint with almost 6 hours of simple-fun content despite the lack of commentaries or more in-depth-analyzing supplements.

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


Disc 2


 

 

If You Could Only Cook (1935)

 

Subtitle Sample
 

 
Screen Captures
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Too Many Husbands (1940)

 

Subtitle Sample
 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

My Sister Eileen (1942)

 

Subtitle Sample
 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945)
 

Subtitle Sample
 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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