Category Archives: Paramount

Blu-Ray Review: Money From Home (1953).

Directed by George Marshall
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay by Hal Kanter
Adapted by James Allardice and Hal Kanter
From a story by Damon Runyon
Director Of Photography: Daniel L. Fapp

Cast: Dean Martin (Honey Talk Nelson), Jerry Lewis (Virgil Yokum), Marjie Millar (Phyllis Leigh), Pat Crowley (Autumn Claypool), Richard Haydn (Bertie Searles), Robert Strauss (Seldom Seen Kid), Gerald Mohr (Marshall Preston), Sheldon Leonard (Jumbo Schneider), Jack Kruschen (Short Boy)

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From a technical standpoint, Money From Home (1953) was a real landmark for Martin and Lewis. It was their first picture in color — and in some theaters it played in 3-D (and stereo), too. It was one of only two (if memory servces) films shot in both three-strip Technicolor and 3-D, which meant six (!) strips of negative were going through the camera at once.

This was the first Martin and Lewis picture I ever saw, catching it on TV as a kid. I loved it. So while I think the pair made better films (Artists And Models gets my vote for their best), I have a real soft spot for this one.

It’s the 20s. Dean’s a gambler named Honey Talk Nelson who owes a small fortune to bookmaker Jumbo Schneider (Sheldon Leonard). Jumbo will forgive Honey Talk’s stack of IOUs if Dean can keep a certain horse from winning a certain race — with the alternative being a pair of cement boots. So Honey Talk drafts his animal-loving, vet tech cousin Virgil (Lewis) and off they go. This paves the way for the typical crooning and romancing from Martin — of course, he falls for the owner of the horse he’s trying to fix (Marjie Millar), along with the prerequisite stupidity from Lewis — doing the dance of the seven veils, impersonating an English jockey, letting his ant farm loose at a cocktail party, etc. There’s a lot of funny stuff in here, most of it dependent on your personal preference and/or tolerance for Jerry Lewis.

Paramount surrounded Martin and Lewis with some great character actors in this one. Richard Haydn is funny as the drunk jockey Bertie Searles), and Robert Strauss, Sheldon Leonard and Jack Kruschen are great as the mobsters. Oh, and be sure to look for Mara Corday as a waitress.

Dean in front of the Dynoptic camera rig, Jerry with his (16mm?) home movie camera.

Olive Films has gives us a nice, if bare-bones, Blu-Ray of Money From Home. There’s been a lot of squawking about why they didn’t go all out with 3-D, which overlooks just how nice this Blu-Ray really is. (And besides, this isn’t the kinda movie that needs 3-D to work.) It’s sharp as a tack, with near-perfect contrast and color — allowing for some of the inconsistencies you see in a lot of old Technicolor material. That isn’t a complaint at all — it looks every bit like what it is, a polished Paramount studio picture from the early 50s. The audio is nice and clean — it’s a shame the stereo tracks have been lost.

Money From Home is a funny picture, and Olive Films has it looking seriously splendid. It’s easy to recommend this.

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Filed under 1953, 3-D, Dean Martin, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, George Marshall, Jerry Lewis, Mara Corday, Olive Films, Paramount

Blu-Ray News #126: Seven Days In May (1964).

Directed by John Frankenheimer
Starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Martin Balsam

Warner Archive has announced a summer Blu-Ray release of the John Frankenheimer suspense/paranoia classic Seven Days In May (1964) — with Burt Lancaster as a general leading a plot to overthrow the President (whose talks of disarmament has some in the military fearing a Russian attack). The cast is outstanding — Fredric March (as the President), Kirk Douglas (as a general who uncovers the plot), Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Martin Balsam, Andrew Duggan and on and on. Rod Serling’s script is a masterpiece — this is an idea that remains topical and will probably never be handled better.

Black and white really looks terrific in high definition, and director of photography Ellsworth Fredricks’ work here certainly deserves the boost in clarity. Good stuff.

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Filed under 1964, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster, Edmond O'Brien, Hugh Marlowe, John Frankenheimer, Paramount, Rod Serling, Warner Archive, Whit Bissell

Blu-Ray News #120: Cease Fire (1953).

Directed by Owen Crump
Starring Roy Thompson Jr., Henry Goszkowski, Richard Karl Elliott

Here’s one I’ve always wanted to see. Cease Fire (1953) was shot on location in Korea, during the war, using real GIs, in 3-D. That’s quite a thing.

Kino Lorber and The 3-D Film Archive are bringing it to Blu-Ray this summer.

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Filed under 1953, 3-D, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Paramount

Blu-Ray News #79: Framed (1975).

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Directed by Phil Karlson
Starring Joe Don Baker, Conny Van Dyke, Gabriel Dell, John Marley, Brock Peters, John Larch, Paul Mantee, Walter Brooke

Phil Karlson

Kino Lorber has announced that early next year, they’ll release Phil Karlson’s Framed (1975) on Blu-Ray. (Legend Films released it on DVD a few years ago.)

Karlson’s last picture, Framed is a revenge story not unlike his Walking Tall (1973), which also starred Joe Don Baker. That film was a runaway hit — it cost $500,000 and grossed $23 million in the US alone — and Karlson made a fortune off of it. If anything, Framed is even more brutal and violent than Walking Tall, which is really saying something.

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Filed under 1975, DVD/Blu-ray News, Joe Don Baker, Kino Lorber, Paramount, Phil Karlson

Blu-ray News #69: The Marx Bros. At Paramount.

Monkey Business LC

Of The Marx Brothers’ five Paramounts, Duck Soup (1933) is widely considered the best. My favorite’s Monkey Business (1931), for the simple reason that it makes me laugh the most. The other three are The Cocoanuts (1929), Animal Crackers (1930) and Horse Feathers (1932). Their MGM pictures are more polished — but as I see it, polish and the Marx Brothers make an odd match.

Universal’s put together a Blu-ray set of these classics, which have been available in a terrific DVD collection for years. Called The Mark Brothers Silver Screen Blu-ray Collection, it’ll be out in October. Dear God, these are funny movies.

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Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Paramount, Universal (-International)