Sunday, June 15, 2008

You hear a tropical drum, you drink some tropical rum, you're in a tropical spot and yet you really are not

Don't forget that this week is Fox's re-release of Busby Berkeley's insane Technicolor masterpiece The Gang's All Here, the last movie where he really got to do what he did best. (Except for Gang, he spent most of the '40s at MGM, a studio with absolutely no tolerance for his story-be-damned self-indulgence. But Busby Berkeley making normal musicals where the numbers are of a normal length, work plausibly within the story, and conform to the rules of good taste is not Busby Berkeley at all.) Gang has all his trademarks -- long numbers that could never possibly be performed in the stage shows they're supposedly taking place in; an obsession with large props, midgets, chorus girls performing identical actions, and the superimposition of performers in front of dark space; ahead-of-their-time experiments with camerawork and imagery; tasteless sexual innuendo. It's like his Warners movies except in Technicolor, with a bigger budget and with wartime uplift added to the mix; this more than makes up for the fact that the script and songs aren't as good as they were in the Warners days.

Fox's original release of Gang was faulted for having a transfer that rended all the colors too dull, turning the bananas in "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" into an almost greyish version of yellow. This post at Home Theater Forum has a side-by-side comparison of images from the two DVD versions, and as you can see, the new one appears to have the correct colors. The new disc has all the other special features from the older DVD, and is available either separately or as part of a Carmen Miranda collection.

1 comment:

Thad said...

That must have been a rarity for Fox. The colors are usually gorgeous on all their color releases.