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The Music Man [Blu-ray]
(Morton DaCosta, 1962)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures
Video:Warner Home Video
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 36,336,947,070 bytes
Feature Size: 35,017,371,648 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.29 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 2nd, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: VC-1 Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4064 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4064 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), English, Bulgarian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, none
• Introduction by Shirley Jones (2:00 in SD)
• 'Right Here In River City' vintage featurette (22:01 in SD)
Description: A con man, masquerading as a music professor, convinces a small town to form a brass band as a way for him to pocket some dough. Although he knows nothing about music, somehow he is able to magically transform the townsfolk into acceptable performers. This joyful film of the 1,375-performance Broadway smash remains irresistible. Robert Preston recreates his winning Broadway triumph as con artist Harold Hill. Meredith Willson’s sassy, brassy score – featuring the unforgettable "Seventy-Six Trombones" and "Till There Was You" among other marvelous melodies – is orchestrated to brilliant Oscar effect by Ray Heindorf.
Nobody thought Meredith Willson could turn out a hit musical back in
1949 when he started working on a story inspired by his Iowa childhood
and the time he spent playing piccolo for John Philip Sousa. He'd never
written a musical before, just incidental numbers for Broadway, film and
radio, and the background score for Charles Chaplin's The Great
Dictator (1940). His original producers dropped him as work dragged
on over eight years. But his mentor, songwriter Frank Loesser, stuck by
him and ended up producing The Music Man, one of Broadway's biggest hits
of the '50s.
The Music Man underwent an extensive restoration a few years back and this upgrade to Blu-ray from Warner can really show off the magnificence of the visuals. I'm happy to report Warner's VC-1 encoded, dual-layered, transfer supports the 1962 film like never before for a home theater digital presentation. The extremely clean image quality shows minor grain but detail is often striking and colors can look positively brilliant. Skin tones seem a tad warm but contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels helping to further enhance the sharpness. Daylight scenes are more impressive but everything is bright and cheerful creating a warm aura. This Blu-ray has an authentic feel filling the 2.35 frame with a wonderfully fun, almost 50-year old, widescreen musical experience. The Music Man advances here well beyond the previous DVD editions in several key areas - notably detail and colors. The image can be quite dramatically appealing with the film's lavish pageantry.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4064 kbps supports the film so well. Meredith Willson's music and lyrics sound bountiful and crisp with my only detraction being at around 1 hour 9-minutes I noted the volume level decrease slightly with dialogue sounded a bit more labored than previously (enough for me to notice). This may be an issue with my system so I can't yet fault the transfer. Aside from that the audio quality is quite remarkable with strong range from bass to high-end. There are plenty of optional subtitle choices and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The supplements don't seem to include all that was on the last DVD edition (although I don't own to verify this). There is a 2-minute 4:3 SD Introduction by Shirley Jones and the 22-minute Making Of... entitled 'Right Here In River City' - a vintage featurette that has some of the cast reminiscing about the production and Morton DaCosta including Shirley Jones again and Buddy Hackett etc. There is no commentary, although the film is quite long, no trailer - which is a shame - and nothing available is in HD.
January 19th, 2010
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze