Saturday, 25 August 2012

DVD Review - 100 Greatest Family Classics

100 Greatest Family Classics
Directors: Various
Starring: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Gary Cooper, James Cagney, Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Laurel & Hardy, Cyd Charisse, The Andrews Sisters & Many More!
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
ASIN: B0088JG98M

Pub Date: July 10, 2012
Running Time: 129 Hours
Rating: Unrated

A good family-friendly movie is a rare thing now of days. Mill Creek Entertainment has complied together two of their previous releases, Timeless Family Classics and Classic Musicals, into one unique bundle titled 100 Greatest Family Classics.

I’ve only seen a few musicals, so I was a little skeptical about reviewing Classic Musicals, but the majority of the films have other things going on for them with an occasional song and dance routine thrown into the mix. The fifty movies (on twelve double-sided discs) are from the years 1920s through to 1962; some of the films have aged a lot over the years, while others still look and sound great.

One my favorite from this set is the 1946 film Up in the Air starring Frankie Darro, Marjorie Reynolds, and Mantan Moreland. A string of murders have occurred at a local radio station. The victims are some of the most unpopular singers and performers from the radio station. A page boy and his janitor friend decided to investigate the murders themselves, while an aspiring young singer fill in for one of the victims. There are a few singing scenes, but mostly it is an interesting mystery running only sixty minutes.

The other forty-nine movies are: The Fabulous Dorseys (1947); Calendar Girl (1947); Sunny (1941); Swing Hostess (1944); Dixiana (1930); Palooka (1934); Glorifying the American Girl (1929); Check and Double Check (1933); Paradise in Harlem (1939); The Duke is Tops (1938); Reet, Petite and Gone (1947); Killer Diller (1948); Delightfully Dangerous (1945); Private Buckaroo (1942); Stage Door Canteen (1943); Career Girl (1944); Second Chorus (1940); Trocadero (1944); People Are Funny (1946); Doll Face (1946); The Great Gabbo (1929); Sing, Cowboy, Sing (1937); Road Show (1941); Hi Diddle Diddle (1943); Rock, Rock, Rock (1956); King Kelly of the USA (1934); Rock N’Roll Revue (1955); Rhythm and Blues Revue (1955); Till The Clouds Roll By (1946); All-American Co-Ed (1941); Hi-De-Ho (1943); Breakfast in Hollywood (1946); Soundies Festival (1945); Soundies Cavalcade (1945); Reaching For The Moon (1930); Mr. Imperium (1951); Royal Wedding (1951); The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1958); Wild Guitar (1962); Murder with Music (1941); Jack and the Beanstalk (1952); The Road to Hollywood (1946); The Big Show (1936); Black Tights (1962); Fiesta (1941); Let’s Go Collegiate (1941); Minstrel Man (1944); Rhythm in the Clouds (1947); and Sitting On The Moon (1936).

The Timeless Family Classics contains fifty movies on twelve discs with some of the most famous actors of all time, including Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Carole Lombard, Laurel & Hardy, Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, and many other talented actors/actresses.

I have never heard of the majority of these film, but I have enjoyed all them that I have watched so far. My Dear Secretary (1949) stars a young Kirk Douglas, Laraine Day,  and Keenan Wynn. Douglas plays a best-selling novelist who hires a new beautiful secretary, who is also a fan of his. Before long the woman realizes that the novelist is nothing more than a womanizer and a gambler, and she quits! He eventually goes after her and the two get married. Now there is a problem, she is also writing a novel that the publishers are interested in, but his newest novel isn’t liked by anyone. The movie is hilarious, but romantic at the same time.

Wacky Taxi (1972) stars John Astin, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Jackie Gayle. In this comedy drama, John Astin is tired of his dead end job. He quits his job and buys an old Cadillac that he transforms (barely) into a taxi. He doesn’t have a license to drive a taxi or to run his own business, but his family needs the money, so he becomes a taxi driver. That is until the car is stolen. The movie is more of a drama than a comedy, but John Astin gives a great performance as a hard working family man.

Beyond Tomorrow (1940) is a Christmas film that I have never heard of before, starring Harry Carey, Charles Winninger, Richard Carlson, and Maria Ouspenkaya. On Christmas Eve, three lonely and wealthy old men set up a young man and woman, who fall in love that night. The men leave for a plane trip, but the plane crashes, killing the three men. The old men returns as ghost to find out that the young couple are about to break up. Before they can go to heaven, they must help this young couple. This is a cute Christmas movie that should be watched around the holidays.

My favorite out of this set is titled Lost Honeymoon (1947) starring Franchot Tone, Anne Richards, and Tom Conway. It is about an ex-solider who is now an architect. His life is going well as he is engaged to a lovely and wealthy woman, until an English woman shows up claiming to be his bride and mother of his children. It seems he had lost his memory while he was in the war and he doesn’t remember marrying or fathering any children. The woman isn’t really his wife or the mother of his kids. His real wife had died recently and this woman took her identity, so she could reunite the children with their father, but the woman is falling in love with him. This is a well written, heartbreaking romantic tale!

The other movies in this set are: Lost in the Stratosphere (1934); Freckles Comes Home (1942); The Big Chance (1933); The Iron Mask (1929; silent); Treasure of Fear (1945; That’s My Baby! (1944); The Gang’s All Here (1941); The Borrowers (1973); The General (1927; silent); Kid Dynamite (1943); Let’s Get Tough! (1942); Swing It, Sailor! (1938); The Admiral Was a Lady (1950); A Bride for Henry (1937); Jane Eyre (1934); Run to the High Country (1974); Flying Wild (1941); The Big Trees (1952); The Medicine Man (1930); Oliver Twist (1933); Hay Foot (1942); The Little Princess (1939); Bill Cracks Down (1937); The Flying Deuces (1939); Mr. Boggs Steps Out (1938); The Inspector General (1949); The Kid (1921; silent); The Groom Wore Spurs (1951); Heading for Heavens (1947); The Hurricane Express (1932); A Farewell to Arms (1932); Gulliver’s Travels (1939; animated); The Nut Farm (1935); My Favorite Brunette (1947); Fair Play (1972); Against a Crooked Sky (1975); The Racketeer (1929); Goodbye Love (1933); Adventure Island (1947); Lay That Rifle Down (1955); A Star is Born (1937); Uncle Joe (1941); Boys of the City (1940); The Lost World (1925; silent); The Time of Your Life (1948); Our Town (1940).

I had a lot of fun watching some of these timeless classics. Mill Creek Entertainment has put together a great collection of films for your entire family to enjoy. None of the movies have been digital remastered, but all of the movies that I watched seemed to have a good picture quality to them. With Christmas only a few months away, this collection would make a great gift!

Disclaimer - I received a free review copy from Tower PR  in exchange for an honest review.

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