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Hans Christian Andersen [Blu-ray]
(Charles Vidor, 1952)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 20,156,439,564 bytes
Feature Size: 19,976,798,208 bytes
Video Bitrate: 21.33 Mbps
Case: Digibook Blu-ray case
Release date: December 18th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1054 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1054 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
• Trailer (2:43)
Description: Hans Christian Andersen was Sam Goldwyn's final production for RKO Radio release, and also the producer's last Danny Kaye vehicle. The Moss Hart-Myles Connolly screenplay largely disregards the facts concerning Denmark's great storyteller, opting for a fanciful blend of comedy, fantasy, romance and music. As played by Kaye, Hans Christian Andersen starts out as a small-town cobbler whose gift for spinning fairy tales is keeping the local kids from attending school. Asked to leave town, Hans heads to Copenhagen to seek his fortune as a writer. After having his heart broken by the beautiful ballerina Doro (Jeanmaire), Hans finds solace--and happiness--in the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of children the world over are devoted to his enchanting fantasy stories. The lilting Frank Loesser score includes such tunes as "No Two People," "The King's New Clothes," "Wonderful Copenhagen," "Inchworm," "The Ugly Duckling," "Thumbelina," and the title song. Though Hans Christian Andersen was a smashing box-office success, and as a bonus earned five Oscar nominations. Originally released at 112 minutes, the film is generally available in its 104-minute TV-release form.
In 1952 producer Samuel Goldwyn presented the world with Hans Christian Andersen, a lavish musical biography of the Danish storyteller which wove together details from the writer's life and his beloved fables through the use of songs and musical interludes. Starring Danny Kaye, the film was a fourteen year old project for Goldwyn, who described it as "a long labor of love, because if ever I loved anything in my entire career, this has been it."Excerpt from TCM located HERE
Determined that he was going to make a movie about the celebrated storyteller, producer Sam Goldwyn went through every conceivable permutation of directors (William Wyler!), stars (Gary Cooper!) and scripts (16 of 'em) before ending up with this garish epic of musical puerility. You'll remember the songs - from 'Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen' to 'The Ugly Duckling' - but does Kaye have to play it as though he has a mental age of ten? A sugary one.Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Hans Christian Andersen arrives on Blu-ray from Warner. The image displays wonderful colors (Technicolor) and the visuals are thick, heavy and a bit soft - which I don't doubt is authentic to the original production with textured grain fairly prominent. It probably looked quite similar to this theatrically over 60 years ago and this is the theatrical running time - not the shortened TV version. This is only single-layered and the colors are the main attraction of the 1080P. Skin tones seem quite warm - contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Daylight scenes dominate the first half and the ballet/opera sequences are impressive. This Blu-ray holds the strong hues well - if not tightly. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Warner stay authentically mono via a DTS-HD Master at 1054 kbps. While the score is by Walter Scharf, its the many Frank Loesser songs that are the most memorable. These include "Thumbelina", "Dream Ballet", "The Ugly Duckling", "Anywhere I Wander" and "I'm Hans Christian Andersen". Danny Kaye performs them with his usual brilliance and the audio quality is impressive considering the era. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The supplements consist of only a trailer and the Digi-book that the disc is housed in with photos and film information.
December 12th, 2012
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 5000 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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