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DVD fans should consider themselves lucky that BRIGADOON ($25) was among the early titles released on DVD by MGM Home Entertainment. Newer, flashier films seem to be the mainstay of current DVD releases. I am a huge fan of the kind of big entertainment that was produced in Hollywood during its studio system heyday. Entertainment doesn’t come much bigger than a CinemaScope musical starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charise, and directed by Vincente Minnelli.

BRIGADOON is the film incarnation of the Lerner and Lowe musical about the magical Scottish village, which appears out of the mist once every hundred years. Kelly and Van Johnson are the American hunters who happen upon Brigadoon on the day that it makes its appearance. Charise is the beautiful Scottish lass with whom Kelly’s character becomes enamored. Elaine Stewart, Barry Jones, Hugh Laing, Albert Sharpe, Virginia Bosler, Jimmy Thompson and Tudor Owen fill out the primary cast of BRIGADOON. The wonderful Lerner and Lowe score features the songs "Almost Like Being In Love," "The Heather On The Hill" and "I’ll Go Home With Bonnie Jean."

MGM Home Entertainment has chosen to present BRIGADOON Letterboxed only. This decision makes perfect sense, since this marvelous CinemaScope film is unbearable to watch in the pan and scan format. BRIGADOON was director Vincente Minnelli’s first CinemaScope movie, and while not as accomplished as later wide screen films would be, he does make use of the complete 2.55:1 aspect ratio. The Letterboxed transfer restores almost all of the theatrical framing, with only minor instances when the edges of the frame appear compromised. Colors are quite good on this transfer, with the richly saturated hues showing their Technicolor lineage. The transfer also features a good level of detail, although a few of the film’s optical effects appear a bit soft. Digital artifacts were virtually absent from this DVD.

The soundtrack offers two channel Dolby Digital stereo. The two channels do decode pleasingly well through a Dolby pro-logic decoder. Of course, the fidelity of the soundtrack is somewhat limited by the audio technology available over forty years ago. Still, I found the soundtrack to be quite enjoyable. The interactive menus offer the viewer chapter selections. Subtitles are available in English as well as French and Spanish

As I stated above, I'm a huge fan of this type of Hollywood classic. BRIGADOON is a magical film and a true joy to own on DVD.


Brigadoon (1954)


DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 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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