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(aka 'Oh! For a Man!')

Directed by Frank Tashlin
USA 1957

 

Sparkling, risqué and delightful, WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? is a bright, knowing satire of Madison Avenue, television and the cult of the movie star! Tony Randall plays Rockwell P. Hunter, an adman trying to claw his way to the top. Jayne Mansfield plays Rita Marlowe, an overly glamorous movie star. Amid a flurry of wonderful sight gags, parodies of television commercials and shows, the creative process and success, they become a delightful duo as the glamour queen who needs a nerd to make her boyfriend jealous and a nerd who needs something to propel him one more rung up the corporate ladder of his stalled career.

***

Unsold on celebrity? Congested with consumption? Addled by status? You're in The World, kiddo, brought to you by Frank Tashlin "Because Someone's Got to Live in It." And now a brief word on our latest fine product, the one that gives you the answer to that nagging question: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Ladies and gentlemen, no-one does straight-and-narrow quite like Tony Randall, and we guarantee his turn as lovable ad-man Rockwell P. Hunter will leave you in so many stitches you'll be just silly with sc-HAH-rtissue! And speaking of tissue: once you see Jayne Mansfield bob and weave as starlet Rita Marlowe, the ambidextrous angel who takes Hunter under her "wings" to launch his agency into the $trato$phere, you too will coo her trademark "ooo"! But that's not all! You'll also get Ms. Joan Blondell, star of Nightmare Alley and of Opening Night, who rounds out the package as Ms. Marlowe's assistant and handler as they say in Paris, quel package! Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? proves that love CAN be manufactured (how else could we get our Blu-rays in your hands??), and finds Frank Tashlin doing what he did better than everyone else: Frank Tashlin'!!! Trust us when we say we here at The Masters of Cinema Series are simply over-the-moon to be presenting Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? for the first time on Blu-ray anywhere on the planet. - Gorgeous high-definition transfer of the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio - New and exclusive video introduction to the film by director Joe Dante (Gremlins 1 & 2, InnerSpace, Looney Tunes: Back in Action) - Vintage Movietone short which captures Jayne Mansfield on tour promoting the film - Alternate music & effects track with a different musical score for the opening of the picture and other 'temporary' effects-placement - Original theatrical trailer - Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired - 44-page booklet featuring two new essays by film writer David Cairns, and an exclusive 2003 interview about the film with Tony Randall conducted by Ethan DeSeife.  

Posters and Book Cover

Theatrical Release: July 29th, 1957

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Comparison:

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:39  1:32:53.943
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,639,782,724 bytes

Feature: 23,233,910,784 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate:  Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono), English (Dolby Digital 4.0), DUB: Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio English 1795 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1795 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, Spanish, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film historian Dana Polan

DVD Release Date: September 19th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,858,530,355 bytes

Feature: 19,742,306,304 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:
• New and exclusive video introduction of the film by director Joe Dante - 6:42 in HD!
• Vintage Movietone short which captures Jayne Mansfield on tour promoting the film (:57 in HD!)
• Alternate music & effects track with a different musical score for the opening of the picture and other ‘temporary’ effects-placement
• Original theatrical trailer (2:23 in HD!)
• 44-page booklet featuring two new essays by film writer David Cairns, and an exclusive 2003 interview about the film with Tony Randall, conducted by Ethan DeSeife


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 25th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 14

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - October 2010: Aside from individual sellers, I believe the Fox single-disc edition DVD of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is only available in the Jayne Mansfield Collection - reviewed HERE.

NOTE: This is another Blu-ray only release from the Masters of Cinema Series.

We can always trust Masters of Cinema to do a competent progressive transfer and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is no exception. It looks quite impressive on my system with richer reds and a more dynamic widescreen appearance than the flatter SD-DVD image. The 1080P rendering shows some good film grain as well. In-motion the disparity between the two transfers is much greater than indicated by the static screen captures in this case but in comparison to modern films this 53-year-old film would obviously be considered less remarkable.

Audio is impressive in the lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 at 1795 kbps. I am able to confirm that Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? played theatrically in 4.0 channel (as all Fox CinemaScope films at that time). This required a magnetic striping of the prints, which was, by the way - a major expense. I didn't notice much separation in the DVD audio (which has 4.0 channel) but as far as Dolby Digital Prologic tracks go, there isn't much difference. If you think about the distribution of speakers in a 4.0 mix (LCR and mono surround all as discrete channels) and the distribution of Dolby stereo (the same distribution, but matrixed) they are probably the same mix, just labeled differently (thanks Marvin!). The 4.0 track on the DVD has to be a Dolby matrix track because there is no other way of encoding it on a standard DVD. The Blu-ray offers an alternate music & effects track (also in lossless 2.0 channel) with a different musical score for the opening of the film and other ‘temporary’ effects-placement. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

Extras: On the DVD film historian Professor Dana Polan - whom you may remember from the commentaries on Emperor of the North ,on the Warner Film Noir Boxset 3 (Border Incident) and the Tough Guys Collection (Bullets or Ballots) - switches gears on Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? to explain many of the less obvious satirical jabs at the intentional artificialities in the film. It's exceptionally good. As I said, I am unaware of the content of the sole disc but doubt it would contain the A&E Biography episode "Jayne Mansfield: Blonde Ambition" piece from the Mansfield package.

The MoC Blu-ray has a 7-minute introduction to the film by director Joe Dante (Matinee) in HD and a vintage Movietone short which captures Jayne Mansfield on tour promoting the film - for just under 1-minute. There is the, already discussed, alternate music & effects track and an original theatrical trailer (2:23 in HD!) plus a valuable 44-page booklet featuring two new essays by film writer David Cairns, and an exclusive 2003 interview about the film with Tony Randall, conducted by Ethan DeSeife. Excellent!

Beyond being one of the funnier films of the late 50's - Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? has some keenly nuanced satire that places it higher in terms of film importance and longevity. It seemingly deserves Blu-ray treatment and who better to do it than the Masters of Cinema series? For the best looking and sounding representation - the UK Blu-ray is certainly the best option. The film is a lot of fun and offers much more than most might anticipate. Give it a spin - we certainly recommend. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



 

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