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Of the films presented in Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection, THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is the only one that really can't be considered a starring vehicle for the legendary actress. THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is an entertaining ensemble piece built around the songs of Irving Berlin that tells the story of two generations in a family of entertainers.


Starting back in the days of Vaudeville, we are introduced to the husband and wife team of Molly (Ethel Merman) and Terry Donahue (Dan Dailey). Over time, the couple has three children, who eventually grow up and are added to the act. After The Five Donahues become headliners performing at the Hippodrome, the act breaks up when the adult children decide to strike out on their own. Although the eldest son, Steve (Johnnie Ray) decides to enter the priesthood, his siblings Tim (Donald O'Connor) and Katy (Mitzi Gaynor) remain in the family business. While Tim and Katy's seem to be on the fast track to stardom of their own, Tim hits a bump in the road when he meets and falls in love with Vicky Parker (Marilyn Monroe), a beautiful entertainer whose career is being built up by an enamored producer.

THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS isn't a particularly great film, but it is definitely an entertaining one. This is an "A" studio production all the way, which was obviously designed to lure audiences into theaters by showcasing both Irving Berlin's marvelous songs and the grandeur of the CinemaScope process. THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS benefits from the big brassy voice of Ethel Merman, as well as Marilyn Monroe's sultry and unforgettable rendition of Heat Wave. The musical numbers are well staged, making excellent use of the CinemaScope framing to give the film a theatrical feel. The cast of THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS also includes Richard Eastham, Hugh O'Brian, Frank McHugh, Rhys Williams and Lee Patrick.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS available on DVD in a 2.55:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS has been transferred to high definition from recently restored film elements that were prepared specifically for this release. Further restorative work took place in the digital domain before the transfer was down converted to NTSC for this DVD release. Whatever blemishes remain after the film and video restoration are only minor. THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is a very colorful musical that looks simply fantastic on DVD. Costumes and settings tend to be deeply saturated and completely stable, without a hint of chroma noise of smearing being evident. The intense reds on display during Monroe's Heat Wave number are a knockout. Flesh tones usually look good during the presentation, but appear pale in contrast to their surroundings. The image itself is quite sharp and well defined, with THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS seeming to benefit from improved CinemaScope lenses. There is less distortion and far less grain apparent in this presentation then there was in HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE. Blacks appear very accurate, plus the image has smooth contrast and a good sense of depth. Digital compression artifacts remain out of sight, thanks to clean dual layer authoring.

THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is presented with a Dolby Digital 4.0 channel soundtrack, which is a direct port of the film's original four channel stereo mix. This is a big fifties style mix, which directional dialogue that follows the actors placement on the screen. I like the way the voices move across the forward soundstage and wish I had a front projection system to complement the audio, bringing me closer to a big wide CinemaScope experience. The surround channels kicks in during a couple of moments during the film, but when it’s not there, it isn't really missed. Despite some sonic limitations in these nearly fifty-year-old recordings, the musical numbers sound great. Additionally, Merman's bigger than life voice manages to stop the show every time she sings. Dialogue reproduction is always crisp and highly intelligible. An English surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. As with the other films in Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection, THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS includes a brief segment that shows how the film looked prior to and after the restoration. For purposes of the comparison, this comparison utilizes a split screen to highlight the differences. Also included on the DVD are three theatrical trailers for this film, as well as trailers other Monroe DVD titles. An incredibly brief still file of publicity material closes out the extras.

THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is a fun movie that will definitely appeal to film buffs and Monroe fans. The DVD looks and sounds great, making it a worthwhile acquisition for those so inclined.

THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is available individually on DVD for $24.98 or as part of the Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection for $99.98.



Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection


There's No Business Like Show Business

Marilyn Monroe - The Diamond Collection


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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