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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Young at Heart [Blu-ray]


(Gordon Douglas, 1954)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:57:38.051 

Disc Size: 19,424,974,993 bytes

Feature Size: 19,366,053,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 8th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 821 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 821 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Young at Heart centers on a family headed by a music-loving patriarch (Robert Keith, Men in War) and his musically inclined daughters looking for romance. Doris Day (That Touch of Mink) plays the youngest daughter, Laurie, and Gig Young (City That Never Sleeps) plays Alex Burke, a likable composer who comes for an extended visit and eventually wins the hearts of all three sisters. Frank Sinatra (Come Blow Your Horn) plays Barney Sloan, a cynical songwriter hired by Alex to do arrangements for an upcoming Broadway show. The praiseworthy cast also includes Dorothy Malone (The Tarnished Angels) and Elisabeth Fraser (So Big) as the older sisters, Ethel Barrymore (Portrait of Jennie) as the family's matriarch and Alan Hale, Jr. (TV's Gilligan's Island) as Robert Neary, a successful businessman engaged to the oldest daughter (Malone). The first screen pairing of "Old Blue Eyes" and "America's Sweetheart" will have your heart smiling and your toes tapping with timeless tunes by the Gershwin brothers, Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer. Young at Heart was directed by Gordon Douglas (Only the Valiant) and beautifully shot in color by the great Ted D. McCord (The Sound of Music, East of Eden).



The Film:

Fascinating attempt to bring together a number of disparate elements - whimsical comedy, songs, death - plus big city slum rat Sinatra and wholesome Day in the same frame. Sinatra's character has to pay a terrible price for daring to encroach on Andy Hardy-world, a reminder perhaps that the Fannie Hurst story ('Sister Act'), from which this derives, dates back to 1924, and that consequently there's a collision of eras going on here, as well as one of genres. As usual with Gordon Douglas movies, it's very mixed: Sinatra's rendition of the title song and 'One for My Baby' are certainly classics, even if the film itself scarcely qualifies as a musical.

Excerpt from Timeout Film Guide located HERE

Young at Heart is a soft-pedaled, musicalized remake of 1938's Four Daughters. Robert Keith takes over the Claude Rains role as paterfamilias to a family of musical prodigies, all girls: Doris Day, Dorothy Malone, Elizabeth Fraser (the fourth daughter was written out of proceedings, no great loss). Keith's new boarder Gig Young, a musical-comedy composer, becomes the three daughters' heart balm, whether he wants to our not. When he gets stuck creatively, Young invites his tempestuous pal Frank Sinatra to help him finish his score. Sinatra essays the old John Garfield role, retaining a generous supply of Garfield's chip-on-shoulder edginess. But whereas Garfield's character dies in Four Daughters, Sinatra survives for a happily-ever-after clinch with Doris Day. Most of the songs heard in Young at Heart were already standards in 1954--with the notable exception of the Johnny Richards-Carolyn Leigh title number, which of course became a part of Frank Sinatra's standard repertoire.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Young at Heart has very heavy grain via a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. The film also has quite a bit of lighter damage throughout. This is only single-layered and there is a certain amount of inconsistency - more the condition of the source. I don't know that dual-layering would benefit the visuals extensively. It looks more like it needs restoration work - beyond its natural thickness. I don't mind the heavy textures - they are rich and appealing.  Detail isn't abundant although there are some scenes that looks quite strong - but these are less frequent. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and colors - notable in the blueness of the eyes of our two leads - looks impressive. It's 1080P but there is no crispness - which is probably more accurate to the original film-appearance.


NOTE: IMDb says the aspect ratio is 1.85:1 but this DVD is transferred at around 1.66.
















Audio :

Ray Heindorf did the background score but it's Sinatra singing tunes by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer and it sounds quite good via Olive's DTS-HD Master mono track at 821 kbps. Doris Day cranks out a few tunes that also sound exceptional, including the title track with 'old blue eyes' - cleaner than the video with a supportive high-end. No powerful depth but touches that add pleasure to the songs.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo 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. Another film that deserves discussion but nothing has been provided.



Perhaps a shade formulaic and leaning on the melodrama but Young at Heart is still very good entertainment with Sinatra and Day providing wonderful songs. I was especially struck by Sinatra's portrayal of Barney Sloan which ran quite deep. There is a definite chemistry between the two and it adds to the film's sentimentality.  Fans will appreciate the bare-bones Blu-ray although loving film grain, and less particular about the scratches, will probably help. 

Gary Tooze

March 20th, 2014

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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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