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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Preston Sturges
USA 1940

 

From Preston Sturges, the legendary writer/director of The Lady Eve, The Great McGinty, The Palm Beach Story and The Miracle of Morganís Creek comes this classic screwball comedy full of joy and laughter. A workplace practical joke goes awry when an office clerk (Dick Powell, Pitfall), believing he has won a $25,000 prize, takes his girlfriend (Ellen Drew, The Crooked Way) on an extravagant Christmas shopping spree... in the middle of July. After they discover it was all a hoax, their spending spree turns into a wild slapstick riot. More than just a holiday heart-warmer, this madcap masterpiece is a classic gift of laughter that is perfect for every season. Beautifully shot in black-and-white by the great Victor Milner (Reap the Wild Wind, Cleopatra).

***

An office clerk loves entering contests in the hopes of someday winning a fortune and marrying the girl he loves. His latest attempt is the Maxford House Coffee Slogan Contest. As a joke, some of his co-workers put together a fake telegram which says that he won the $25,000 grand prize. As a result, he gets a promotion, buys presents for all of his family and friends, and proposes to his girl. When the truth comes out, he's not prepared for the consequences.

***

This modest Preston Sturges comedy stars Dick Powell as an office clerk dreaming of better things and Ellen Drew as his more pragmatic girlfriend. Powell convinces himself that his fortune will be made if he can win a slogan contest sponsored by a coffee company. Powell's contribution: "If you can't sleep at night, it isn't the coffee, it's the bunk!" Three of Powell's fellow workers decide to have some fun with him; they fake a telegram which announces that he's won the contest. The deception snowballs to the point that even the head of the coffee firm (Raymond Walburn) labors under the misapprehension that Powell has won. When the painful truth is revealed, Powell finds himself broke (because of all the creature comforts he's bought) and jobless, but at least he's retained the love of his wife. A cute deus ex machina to the story appears in the person of William Demarest, the foreman of the "jury" that is judging the slogan contest.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 18th, 1940

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Universal - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:07:20     1:07:16.907 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 1080P Sing.-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,274,415,986 bytes

Feature: 18,975,897,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.89 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)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1553 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1553 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailers for all except Hail the Conquering Hero
 

DVD Release Date: November  21st, 2006
(see image at top and below)

Chapters: various

 

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.33:1 1080P Sing.-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,274,415,986 bytes

Feature: 18,975,897,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.89 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

ē NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Samm Deighan
Trailer (1:49)


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 26th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (November 2019): Kino have transferred Preston Sturges's Christmas in July to Blu-ray. It is advertised as being from a "Brand New 4K Master". I appreciated the layered contrast, especially in darker scenes (on the roof) and the presentation has a textured thickness not present on the SD. This 1080P looked sweet with no damage or prevalent speckles on a single-layered disc with a very high bitrate. Flawless in-motion.

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master2.0 channel mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. There aren't many extravagant effects but an effective, uncredited, score by John Leipold (Murder in the Zoo, The Devil is a Woman, The Flying Deuces, Duck Soup) and (Those Redheads from Seattle, Preston Sturges's The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels), plus Will Jason and Val Burton's When We're Along (Penthouse Serenade) used as background music behind Dick Powell and Ellen Drew in rooftop scene, and later throughout the film. sounding supportive and consistent. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Kino are the new 'king of commentaries' with another detailed discussion by Film Historian Samm Deighan who identifies the philanthropic/monetary angle to many of Preston Sturges's films citing examples and she fills the 1-hour 7-minutes with interesting information on the production, cast but mostly on the director/writer Sturges. There is also a trailer for the feature and other trailers.

A Christmas 'title' that's not about Christmas is a prototypical Sturges film filled with comedy, with smatterings of pathos and joy. Christmas in July is short at just over an hour, and not often cited in the director's more lauded titles (The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story, The Miracle of Morganís Creek etc.), but is nonetheless a minor masterwork that I am very pleased to own on a 4K-restored Blu-ray. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

 


Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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

 

Subtitle Sample -  Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures
 

 


 On the left in the straw hat is Preston Sturges

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

Box Cover

  

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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