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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by Charles Vidor

USA 1944

 

One of the most lavish and successful Hollywood musicals of the 1940s, Charles Vidor's Cover Girl is a breath-taking spectacle that established its stars Rita Hayworth (Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai) and Gene Kelly (Singin in the Rain), as the two most popular actors of their time.

Nightclub dancer Rusty (Hayworth) has a happy life performing at her boyfriend Dannys (Kelly) club in Brooklyn, but her whole world changes once she wins a prestigious Cover Girl contest arranged by a wealthy magazine editor (Otto Kruger). Rusty soon becomes a Broadway sensation, but is fame and fortune a substitute for true love?

Also starring the legendary Sergeant Bilko himself, Phil Silvers (The Phil Silvers Show, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) and the recipient of 5 Academy Award nominations (winning for Best Musical Scoring), Cover Girl was Columbia studios first Technicolor musical, and remains one of the finest musical pictures of all time. The Masters of Cinema series is proud to present the film for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK in a stunning Dual-format edition.

***

Rita's gorgeous red hair made her a natural for Technicolor, and her beauty is amply displayed in this musical about a dancer who unexpectedly becomes a magazine cover model. Dance partner and love interest, Gene Kelly (who also served as an un-credited choreographer with Stanley Donen) becomes jealous when her rising celebrity clashes with his ambition. The songs are by Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern, with supporting actors Phil Silvers, Lee Bowman, Otto Kruger, and Eve Arden rounding out the superb cast.

***

The lavish Technicolor extravaganza Cover Girl (1944) is a landmark in Hollywood musical history: the first to integrate songs (by the superb team of Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin) with narrative; the incandescent Rita Hayworth's first musical in color; and the first in which the iconic Gene Kelly was allowed full choreographic charge of his own dance numbers devised with once and future collaborator Stanley Donen. Directed by Charles Vidor and shot by Rudolph Mate the film is a backstage romance between a nightclub owner (Kelly) and his favorite dancer (Hayworth) who catches lightning in a bottle when she wins a magazine cover girl contest and overnight becomes the toast of New York.


Posters

Theatrical Releases: March 17th, 1944

 

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Comparison:

 

Sony (5-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

 

   

 

Also available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time:

 

Distribution Sony - Region 1 - NTSC The Masters of Cinema Spine #162
Region
'B' - Blu-ray
Time: 1:46:52 1:47:03.125
Video 2.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.82 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,555,848,957 bytes

Feature: 32,556,216,192 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.21 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate: Cover Girl (1944)

Bitrate: The Masters of Cinema Spine #162
Region
'B' - Blu-ray

Audio English (original mono)

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Isolated Score and Effects:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
1.33:1

Edition Details:

Cover Girl:

• Baz Luhrmann on Cover Girl (4:17)

• Previews

Tonight and Every Night:
• “Patricia Clarkson on Tonight and Every Night" (4:20)

• Original Theatrical Trailer

Gilda:

Commentary with Richard Schickel

• Martin Scorsese + Baz Luhrmann on Gilda (16:05)

• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

Salome:

• Original Theatrical Trailer (3:08)

Miss Sadie Thompson:
• “Introducing Miss Sadie Thompson with Patricia Clarkson (4:23)

• Original Theatrical Trailer



DVD Release Date:
December 21st, 2010
Custom digi-pak case (see image above)
Chapters: 12 X 5

Release Information:
Studio:
The Masters of Cinema

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,555,848,957 bytes

Feature: 32,556,216,192 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.21 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Baz Luhrmann on Cover Girl (4:21)
• Masters of Cinema exclusive trailer (2:06)

• Isolated Score and Effects Track
• A BOOKLET featuring new writing on the film.

• DVD

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 13th, 2017
Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 24 

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray - February 17':  It's all about the Technicolor hues in 1080P looking richer and more luscious than SD could ever export. You can see the evolution and how far off the colors were initially on digital (grey-> faded blue/green-> dark blue). The new Blu-ray also sports some beautiful grain texture. It's a stunningly beautiful image in-motion transferred to a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. You don't see art direction and costumes like this anymore... and never looking as rich as through Technicolor. The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray is demo for showcasing this visual-feast of a film on your home-theatre system.

We've fully covered The Films of Rita Hayworth DVD boxset HERE.

Is it ALL about the video? - or is the audio another huge part of Cover Girl. Masters of Cinema utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1536 kbps (16-bit) and we get the music of Jerome Kern, Ira Gershwin, E.Y. Harburg and Carmen Dragon sung and danced by Rita Hayworth, (dubbed by Martha Mears), Gene Kelly, Leslie Brooks etc. and it's marvelous! Wow - the numbers performed are incredible and sound exceptionally good in the uncompressed (also available in an isolated track!). There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the MoC Blu-ray disc is region 'B' locked.

Extras include a Baz Luhrmann video piece discussing Cover Girl - it is just over 4-minutes, the aforementioned isolated score and effects track, a Masters of Cinema exclusive trailer and the package features both a new booklet with an essay on the film by Farran Smith Nehme as well as a, second disc, DVD.

What fun and romance! - such amazing eye candy and plenty of Rita Hayworth in her prime. The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray is a treat and worthy of any cinephile's library! Strongly recommended!

***

ON THE DVD Boxset (December 2010): This Films of Rita Hayworth set was delayed more than once and has finally surfaced. Sony are following the exact format of their Columbia Film Noir Classic Vol. 1 and follow-up Columbia Film Noir Classic Vol. 2 DVD packages. So what does that mean? At least one film has seen the digital light of day previously - in the case of The Films of Rita Hayworth there are two - with Cover Girl and Gilda (previously reviewed HERE.) Like both The Big Heat and Human Desire from the Noir boxsets - the original, Columbia, Gilda fares better.

Of the five feature films of this boxset - only Gilda was filmed in black and white and the rest are in color - and only one, Miss Sadie Thompson, is in widescreen - and is anamorphically enhanced on the DVD. Each of the 5 films reside on individual, progressively transferred discs. Each is single-layered (only) in their original aspect ratios - 1:85, for Sadie and 1.33:1 for the other 4.  Each disc is coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. They have original mono audio (or 2.0 channel stereo) and each offer optional English subtitles in a white font with an annoying black background 'boxing' the text. The commentary on Gilda has optional subtitles in a bright yellow font. The package (image above) is a three tiered Digi-pak housed inside a handsome cardboard slipcase. The individual discs are awkward to replace back in their compartment.  

Image quality:  Columbia TriStar produced some excellent quality single-layered DVDs of classic films in the old days but this new Sony Rita Hayworth package video renderings look quite modest in comparison with lowish bitrates in/and under 5.0 Mbps. I didn't own the previous edition of Cover Girl and can't really speak to the colors - it looks 'okay' with some softness and compression artefacts. Aside from Salome - most titles here look like they require a good cleaning and larger files sizes dedicated to the features. I don't suspect that anything has been done for any perceived digital improvement. Skin tones in Tonight and Every Night look, almost fatally, orange (ditto for Sadie). Gilda is quite dirty and grainy (the 2000 Columbia DVD, which also has the 'restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive' screen, looks superior). Miss Sadie Thompson is extremely dirty and, unfortunately, appears the worst of the five and may have been the condition of the print - it looks to require some form of digital restoration.

Audio was acceptable with all dialogue discernable and without major faux-pas like devastating dropouts, pops or background hiss. It was consistent and clear enough and is supported with, poorly rendered, optional English subtitles.

 

Extras include a solid commentary by author, journalist, documentary filmmaker and film critic for Time magazine, Richard Schickel, on Gilda. This ends up being a significant upgrade from the previous releases which only had the exclusive, if short and incomplete, documentary: "Rita Hayworth: The Columbia Lady" (which is no where to be seen here). Notable is a 15-minute piece with Martin Scorsese + Baz Luhrmann talking, separately about Gilda with some scenes running in the foreground. Luhrmann also discusses Hayworth in Cover Girl for 4-minutes and actress Patricia Clarkson does similar on "Tonight and Every Night" and a, less than 5-minute, piece entitled “Introducing Miss Sadie Thompson". There are also trailers for all except Cover Girl.

 

Well, despite the delays this doesn't seem as defining a collection as one might appreciate our “The Love Goddess”. The most iconic films; Gilda with Glenn Ford + Cover Girl with Gene Kelly have already been out on DVD for some time in equal or superior a/v editions. As a film, Miss Sadie Thompson, is not Hayworth's best, nor Salome but I'm glad to have seen both. The Schickel commentary on Gilda does add value. The middling quality of the transfers is a disappointment but this seems a sign of the times and may, sadly, prove to be the best we ever get. Let's hope a Volume 2 is more forthcoming with, less seen, title like Who Killed Gail Preston? (1938), Tales of Manhattan (1942) and The Story on Page One (1959) in better transfers with more supplements.

Gary W. Tooze

 

 


 

Sample DVD Menus (all 5 have same initial screen)


The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray



 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Sony (Films of Rita Hayworth) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Columbia - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony (Films of Rita Hayworth) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Columbia - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony (Films of Rita Hayworth) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony (Films of Rita Hayworth) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

1) Sony (Films of Rita Hayworth) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures


 

Box Covers

 

 

   

 

Also available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time:

 

Distribution Sony - Region 1 - NTSC The Masters of Cinema Spine #162
Region
'B' - Blu-ray

 


 


 



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