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Holiday Inn [Blu-ray]
(Mark Sandrich, 1942)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Black +White Runtime: 1:41:01.889
Color Runtime: 1:41:12.900
Disc Size: 48,852,401,924 bytes
Black + White Size: 22,926,360,576 bytes
Color Size: 22,966,775,808 bytes
Video Bitrates: 26.49 Mbps (both)
Chapters: 18 (both)
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: October 7th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1776 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1776 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), Spanish, French, none
• Commentary by Film Historian Ken Barnes Including Archive
Audio Comments from Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, and John
Description: Screen legends Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing and dance their way into your heart in one of the most timeless holiday classics ever, Holiday Inn. Featuring the Academy Award-winning song, “White Christmas”, Crosby plays a song and dance man who leaves showbiz to run an inn that is open only on holidays. Astaire plays his former partner and rival in love. Follow the two talented pals as they find themselves competing for the affections of the same lovely lady (Marjorie Reynolds). ‘Tis the season for one of the most sensational musical comedies of all time!
Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire star in Holiday Inn as a popular nightclub song-and-dance team. When his heart is broken by his girlfriend, Crosby decides to retire from the hustle-bustle of big city showbiz. He purchases a rustic New England farm and converts it to an inn, which he opens to the public (floor show and all) only on holidays. This barely logical plot device allows ample space for a steady flow of Irving Berlin holiday songs (including an incredible blackface number in honor of Lincoln's Birthday). Oddly enough, the most memorable song in the bunch, the Oscar-winning White Christmas, is not offered as a production number but as a simple ballad sung by Crosby to an audience of one: leading lady Marjorie Reynolds. Fred Astaire's best moment is his Fourth of July firecracker dance. Ah, but what about the plot? Well, it seems that Astaire wants to make a film about Crosby's inn, starring their mutual discovery Reynolds. Bing briefly loses Reynolds to Astaire, but wins her back during the filming of a musical number on a Hollywood soundstage (eleven years earlier, Bing enjoyed a final clinch with Marion Davies under surprisingly similar conditions in Going Hollywood). As with most of Irving Berlin's "portfolio" musicals of the 1940s, the song highlights of Holiday Inn are too numerous to mention. This delightful film is far superior to its unofficial 1954 remake, White Christmas.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The plot of Holiday Inn was merely an excuse on which to hang 14 Berlin songs. Crosby, Astaire, and Virginia Dale are a musical act, which breaks up when Crosby decides to retire to a farm. But Crosby quickly grows bored and decides to turn his farm into an inn and nightclub, which will be open only on national holidays. He then teams with a new partner, played by Marjorie Reynolds. Suddenly, Astaire, jilted by Dale, pays a visit, and the two men's musical and romantic rivalry starts up again.
Originally, there had been some discussion of getting stars for the female leads. Ginger Rogers and recent Astaire partner Rita Hayworth were mentioned. But Paramount, which was already shelling out big bucks for Crosby and Astaire, balked, and two relative unknowns were selected. Virginia Dale was a nightclub dancer who had played minor roles in over a dozen films. Marjorie Reynolds had been starring in Poverty Row Westerns. When Reynolds won the female lead in Holiday Inn, the Paramount publicity department dubbed her the "Saddle Cinderella." Although neither actress became a major movie star, Reynolds would find small-screen stardom a decade later, playing the wife of William Bendix in the 1950's TV series, The Life of Riley.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Holiday Inn disc utilizes the size of dual-layered Blu-ray to offer both the original and colorized versions on one disc. Pretty interesting to compare although an intrusive timeline prohibiting me from making all the paired captures below exact matches - although some are. Even as a purist the colorization seems to have merit. The technology for this has advanced quite a lot in the past few years. It doesn't look as unnatural as it did in the initial years. The black and white is horizontally stretched beside the colorized (or the colorized is vertically stretched). I lean to the former. The colorized also shows slight amount of more information the frame. Textures are nice - more evident on the original (black and white.) I don't know - I guess there is no reason to 'pick sides' as both versions are accessible.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Olive utilize a DTS-HD track at 1776 kbps. There is no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer without flaws. Irving Berlin's 'holiday' and related fun music is the highlight with "White Christmas" "Easter Parade", "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning", "Lazy", "I'll Capture Your Heart Singing", "Happy Holiday" and the medleys. The score is by Robert Emmett Dolan (The Bells of St. Mary's, Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, My Son John, The Three Faces of Eve) and is kind of buried but has a crispness when detected - especially via the lossless. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being aregion FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Extras all seem to come from the older DVD release including the professional commentary by film historian Ken Barnes with the inclusion of archival audio comments from Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, and John Scott Trotter. It is still very relevant giving a nice historical overview of Holiday Inn. Also repeated is the 45-minute "A Couple of Song and Dance Men" detailing much of the careers of Crosby and Astaire. Ken Barnes is here again talking to Astaire's daughter - Ava Astaire McKenzie. Barnes also narrates the 7-minute All-Singing All-Dancing featurette. The 'new' piece has Legend Films discussing the interesting facets of 'Coloring a Classic' for almost 9-minutes. The process can garner some appreciation - even for the purists. lastly is a theatrical trailer and the package contains UltraViolet access and codes for a Digital Copy of Holiday Inn (Subject to expiration.)
October 1st, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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