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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Betty Boop - The Essential Collection - Volume 1 [Blu-ray]

 

(played by Mae Questel, Bonnie Poe or Ann Little, 1932-1937)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Fleischer Studios

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (confirmed - B, C untested)

Runtime: 1:23:49.049 (12X avr. 6-8.5 minutes)

The Foxy Hunter (1937) Played by Mae Questel
Betty Boop's Life Guard (1934) Played by Bonnie Poe
Betty Boop's Trial (1934) Played by Mae Questel
Betty Boop's Rise to Fame (1934) Played by Bonnie Poe
Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party (1933) Played by Bonnie Poe
Betty Boop's May Party (1933) Played by Ann Little
Betty Boop's Birthday Party (1933) Played by Mae Questel
Betty Boop's Penthouse (1933) Played by Mae Questel
Betty Boop for President (1932) Played by Mae Questel
Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle (1932) Played by Mae Questel
Betty Boop, M.D. (1932) Played by Mae Questel
Chess-Nuts (1932) Played by Mae Questel

 

Disc Size: 18,403,225,668 bytes

Short Size: 1,936,564,224 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.01 Mbps

Chapters: 12 (one per short)

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard box

Release date: August 20th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 828 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 828 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate Sample (one short):

 

 

Description: Newly re-mastered in HD from 4K scans of the original negatives and finegrains. Regarded as one of the first and most famous sex symbols on the animated screen; she was a symbol of the Depression era and a reminder of the more carefree days of the Roaring Twenties. Her popularity was drawn larger from adult audiences and the cartoons, while seemingly surreal, contained many sexual and psychological elements. "Boop-Oop-A-Doop" The queen of the animated screen returns to allure and entice audiences all over again in this fantastic four-volume compilation featuring many of her greatest adventures. Volume One includes 12 animated short films available for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray. All 12 shorts were produced by Max Fleischer and directed by his brother Dave Fleischer. Featuring the voices of Mae Questel, Bonnie Poe and Ann Little as Betty Boop. Also featuring guest voices of Cab Calloway, Jack Mercer, William Pennell and The Royal Samoans.

 

 

The Film:

What is it about Betty Boop that can still haunt your dreams long after her flesh-and-blood rivals fade away?”  - Chicago Tribune

Though Betty bowed out as a headliner in 1939, her popularity remains as intact as her boop-oop-a-doop. Maybe the appeal lies in her sassy independence, in the fact that she’s the only female cartoon character who’s not a foil for a male. Call it fatale feminism.” – Entertainment Weekly

Before Marilyn and Madonna, Betty booped and wriggled her way into hearts worldwide with her unique mix of wide-eyed innocence and powerful cartoon sensuality. Although she made her film debut as a curvaceous cabaret singer in the Max Fleischer short “Dizzy Dishes” on August 9, 1930, Betty Boop remains animation’s first leading lady and a glamorous international icon. 

Excerpt from BettyBoop.com located HERE

Betty Boop was unique among female cartoon characters because she represented a sexualized woman. Other female cartoon characters of the same period, such as Minnie Mouse, displayed their underwear or bloomers regularly, in the style of childish or comical characters, not a fully defined woman's form. Many other female cartoons were merely clones of their male co-stars, with alterations in costume, the addition of eyelashes, and a female voice. Betty Boop wore short dresses, high heels, a garter, and her breasts were highlighted with a low, contoured bodice that showed cleavage. In her cartoons, male characters frequently try to sneak peeks at her while she's changing or simply going about her business. In Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle, she does the hula wearing nothing but a lei, strategically placed to cover her breasts, and a grass skirt. This was repeated in her first cameo appearance in Popeye the Sailor (1933). There was, however, a certain girlish quality to the character. She was drawn with a head more similar to a baby's than an adult's in proportion to her body. This suggested the combination of girlishness and maturity that many people saw in the flapper type, which Betty represented.

While the character was kept pure and girl-like onscreen, compromises to her virtue were a challenge. The studio's 1931 Christmas card featured Betty in bed with Santa Claus, winking at the viewer. Also in 1931, the Talkartoons The Bum Bandit and Dizzy Red Riding Hood were given distinctly "impure" endings. Officially, Betty was only 16 years old, according to a 1932 interview with Fleischer (although in The Bum Bandit, she's portrayed as a married woman with many children, and also has an adult woman's voice, rather than the standard "boop-boop-a-doop" voice).

Excerpt from Wikopedia located HERE

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

Olive Films offer a unique package in Betty Boop - Essential Collection - Volume 1. It has 12 shorts from the 30s. has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered and contrast varies - improving as the shorts get younger but I was surprised at how well these 4K scans looked. They are beautiful in-motion, and lines are reasonably tight. Many exhibit some textured grain and there are very few heavy damage marks or speckles. Greyscale is notable in many of the 1934-1937 shorts. I was impressed with the appearance. This Blu-ray will get a lot of play in my house - easy to show guests prior to a film night. Thumbs up!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes via a DTS-HD Master mono track at 828 kbps. Some of the shorts have musica from the period - depending on the story - and, like the image, is better than I was anticipating. Sure, things are not crystal clear, but I don't imagine they were originally. You can hear Betty's squeaks and these are mostly visual gags not relying heavily on the sound effects. There are no subtitles.

 

Extras :

No supplements - although two of the shorts contain some live-action sequences - there is really nothing in the way of extras.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I got in the mood to enjoy these shorts very quickly. I think they would make a great intro to a film night. I was impressed with the quality of the image. I think this Olive Blu-ray offers plenty of value. Betty remains a memorable icon and to see her in-motion is kind of thrilling. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

August 9th, 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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