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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Devil and Miss Jones [Blu-ray]

 

(Sam Wood, 1941)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: RKO Radio Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:32:29.544

Disc Size: 19,918,664,787 bytes

Feature Size: 19,860,885,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.40 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 26th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 836 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 836 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The great Sam Wood (Pride of the Yankees) directs this socially conscientious classic comedy. John P. Merrick (Charles Coburn), the world's richest man, gets word that someone is trying to unionize a department store he owns. To thwart this blatant act of democracy, Merrick changes his name and takes a menial job at the store to catch the union activists without detention. Once he himself is subjected to the humiliating treatment by the department supervisor, Hooper (Edmund Gwenn), Merrick starts to wise up -- and soften up. Jean Arthur (The More the Merrier) plays Mary Jones, a shoe saleswoman who becomes Coburn's coworker and liaison to the world of the common man. Miss Jones is love with the head of the union activists played by Robert Cummings (Saboteur) and Merrick himself falls in love with co-worker, Elizabeth Ellis (Spring Byington). The double-date sequence at Coney Island immortalizes the infamous beach in its masses of flesh and general bedlam, the great William Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind) created the extravagant detail-rich sets, which are the perfect complements to the witty script by Norman Krasna (White Christmas). Nominated for two Academy Awards - Best Screenplay (Krasna) and Best Supporting Actor (Coburn).

 

 

The Film:

Just suppose—but you need'nt, if it revolts you—that you were the wealthiest man in all the world. Then suppose that a group of employees in a department store you didn't even know you owned hung your effigy outside the building as a token of their contempt for you. Would you, in a state of burning fury, take a job incognito in the store in order to find out the reasons for such a disrespectful attack? Maybe you wouldn't. In fact, it would be a most illogical thing for a man to do. But, anyhow, we are mighty happy that Frank Ross and Norman Krasna contrived to have Charles Coburn pretend to such an exalted position and do exactly that thing in their picture called "The Devil and Miss Jones," which breezed into the Music Hall yesterday. For the consequence is the frothiest comedy since—well, since "The Lady Eve."

Out of the sheerest gossamer the most captivating webs are sometimes spun. And out of a set of circumstances no more complicated than those recounted above, Mr. Krasna and Mr. Ross have strung a fable which clicks off laughs like the ticking of a clock. Any one with two grains of imagination knows what to expect, of course. The old boy—the devil incarnate-becomes mellowed by his contact with life. He falls in love. He gets the worker's outlook. And eventually he turns up as a resolute delegate on a grievance committee to negotiate with himself.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

The Devil and Miss Jones is a social comedy with left-wing undertones. John P. Merrick (Charles Coburn), the world's richest man, gets word that someone is trying to unionize a department store that he owns. To thwart this blatant act of democracy, Merrick changes his name and takes a menial job at the store, the better to catch the union activists without detection. Once he himself is subjected to the humiliating treatment afforded his employees, Merrick starts to wise up -- and soften up. As things develop, it is Merrick himself who spearheads the union movement after discovering how duplicitous his hand-picked executives can be. The film also introduces Jean Arthur and Robert Cummings as fellow employees who fall in love before fadeout time. Keeping with the film's insistence upon equal treatment for everyone, Merrick himself is permitted a romance in the person of Elizabeth Ellis (Spring Byington). The Devil and Miss Jones was written by Norman Krasna and directed by Sam Wood.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

The Devil and Miss Jones has another solid, un-manipulated Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. As usual - bare-bones and single-layered - contrast looks quite appealing. I don't have any real negatives - there are a few speckles but the detail is strong looking quite crisp in spots. Some scenes show grain and others surprising depth. The 1080P is, generally, impressive. The Blu-ray produced a positive viewing presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

An authentic mono track via a the DTS-HD Master at 836 kbps. There is no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer without flaws. I didn't note any music except a Straus Waltz.  There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases. I would have liked to indulge in some extras here because this is a very good film.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Devil and Miss Jones offers a wonderful film experience. It's fun and touching and Jean Arthur is delightful. This is another worthy Blu-ray from Olive Films and vintage film fans should definitely partake. It offers multiple viewings and is just a super warm film. Strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

April 16th, 2013

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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