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Pocketful of Miracles [Blu-ray]
(Frank Capra, 1961)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Franton Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,662,464,400 bytes
Feature Size: 22,431,375,360 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.96 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 18th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Trailer (3:00)
Description: Capricious, winsome, whimsical, and all together delightful! Superbly directed by the peerless Frank Capra (It's a Wonderful Life), this remake of Lady For A Day is pure Hollywood magic - an unforgettable combination of comedy, whimsy and romance that was nominated for three Oscars including Supporting Actor (Peter Falk, TV's Columbo). Impoverished Broadway peddler "Apple Annie" (Bette Davis, All About Eve) has a problem, her daughter Louise (Ann-Margret, Tommy), educated abroad since infancy, is coming for a visit and bringing her wealthy fiancÚ with her. The problem is that Louise has believed all her life that Annie's a wealthy dowager, and the poor old women doesn't know what to do. Enter "Dave the Dude" (Glenn Ford, 3:10 to Yuma), a kindhearted racketeer who enlists the aid to pass Annie off as a high-society granddame so Louise can marry her fairy-tale prince and everyone can live happily ever after! This Christmas classic was the final film in Frank Capra's glorious career and featured a great supporting cast that included Hope Lange, Arthur O Connell, Thomas Mitchell, Edward Everett Horton and Barton MacLane.
Director Frank Capra's last feature film, Pocketful of Miracles is a Technicolor remake of his 1933 film Lady For A Day. A barely recognizable Bette Davis plays Apple Annie, the besotted, unkempt, rag-clad street vendor who controls the activities of all the beggars on Broadway. Apple Annie is the pet of Dave the Dude (Glenn Ford), a tough but basically kind-hearted gangster who believes that Annie's apples bring him luck. One morning, Annie fails to show up at her usual corner. That's because she is sitting disconsolate in her squalid shack, contemplating suicide.
To make Pocketful of Miracles, actor Glenn Ford's production company Newton combined with Capra's company to form a new entity they called Franton. Ford took the lead role of Dave the Dude and cast Hope Lange, best known for her work in Peyton Place (1957), against type as brassy showgirl Queenie Martin. Helen Hayes was originally set to star in the pivotal role of Apple Annie, but in addition to not being thrilled with the script, Hayes had to pull out of the film due to a State Department tour obligation. Subsequently, the role went to screen legend Bette Davis, who at age 53 had been out of the Hollywood spotlight for some time and needed the work.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Capra's Pocketful of Miracles has made it to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. The 2.35:1 framed image looks quite good. This is single-layered with a modest bitrate but I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. Colors are vibrant, but true with some pleasing contrast. Pretty solid although not impressively dynamic. This Blu-ray does its job of presenting Capra's amusing and touching film in 1080P without any manipulation. The source was quite consistent without damage or marks.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 stereo at 1559. It sounds quite competent with a score by Walter Scharf (Hans Christian Andersen, The Geisha Boy, Rock-a-Bye Baby) There are no demonstrative effects but the music has a lilting high-end. There are optional English subtitles offered (see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Nothing but a trailer. I think the film is strong enough to warrant some discussion - but alas - this is, essentially, bare-bones.
November 15th, 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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