Friday, November 30, 2007

DVD Items in Brief

- A rare piece of good news about music in TV DVDs: after the butchered second season of Happy Days, Paramount has inexplicably but happily gotten its act together on the third season. Nearly all the music has been paid for and is on the DVD: the music on jukeboxes (a mixture of original artists and cover versions; and geez, how many times did they used "Splish Splash" on this show?) and all the songs sung by Anson Williams as Potsie. Having to listen to Anson Williams as Potsie may not be an unalloyed good, but at least they didn't cut the scenes. (There are two episodes that are missing their "tag" scenes at the end, but they're not music-related cuts as far as I know; it's another case of the studio only having syndication prints, I suppose.) I don't know if this signals a change in Paramount's policy on music; probably not, since the third season of Laverne And Shirley apparently has a bunch of music cuts. But if you like the Fonzie-mania years of the show, you can buy this season knowing that you will get to hear Richie and his friends sing "Rock Around the Clock" in a nonsense language.

- The DVD Beaver will be posting reviews of the Ford at Fox collection over the weekend; he's got a review of one of the most important releases in the package, The Iron Horse. I got a screener of the "International" version and can vouch for the fact that it looks good. I'm not so sure if I like the new score by Christopher Caliendo. It has the problem most recent silent film scores have, of ignoring obvious cues in the film. If you've seen any Ford movie you know that he liked to have composers incorporate traditional tunes throughout their scores, and I think that anyone scoring a Ford silent should try to at least nod to Ford's tastes in musical scoring -- which means that you should hear "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" once in a while in association with Lincoln, that any song referred to in the intertitles should be played on the soundtrack, and so forth.

- I was very surprised, but in a good way, to find that A&E's DVD release of the "Weird Science" TV show will actually have audio commentaries by the three lead actors. Hearing from the writers would have been fun, but I'll take what I can get, especially since I looked at a couple of episodes again recently and, yes, I still think it's funny. (One of the episodes being commented on includes the following line: "Sure. You whine about gun control, but as soon as there's a 7-foot-tall interdimensional space monster in your bedroom, then suddenly owning a gun makes sense.")

1 comment:

Brent McKee said...

The one thing that bothers me about the Fox release of The Iron Horse (based on the DVD Beaver site) is the apparent decision to remove what I believe are the original tinting and toning. Tints and tones were after all a major device for conveying mood and even time of day.

Something similar exists today of course in the way some TV shows are shot - CSI: Miami has an obvious yellow cast to exterior scenes to convey heat, while CSI: New York has bluish quality to give a sense of the coldness both of the climate and the city.