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THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN ($25) is a big, boisterous old time musical that is certain to appeal to fans of this particular genre. Based upon the Broadway show by Meredith Willson, THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN spins the yarn of the title character, a woman whose celebrity is based upon the fact that she survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Debbie Reynolds garnered herself an Academy Award nomination for her plucky performance as Molly, the spirited backwoods woman, who finds herself suddenly wealthy after her husband strikes it rich with a gold mine. With their new money in hand, Molly and her husband Johnny (Harve Presnell) move into an affluent area of Denver Colorado, but find it impossible to make any inroads with their snobby neighbors. Deciding that she and Johnny need a bit of culture, Mr. and Mrs. Brown travel abroad, which gives Molly the opportunity to reinvent herself amongst an accepting European society. The cast of THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN features Ed Begley, Jack Kruschen, Hermione Baddeley, Vassili Lambrinos, Fred Essler, Harvey Lembeck, Lauren Gilbert, Kathryn Card, Hayden Rorke, Harry Holcombe, Amy Douglass, George Mitchell and Martita Hunt.

Warner Home Video has done quite a fantastic job with their DVD edition of THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN. THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN is presented in its proper 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio and the DVD features the anamorphic enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. The transfer is quite impressive, producing a wonderfully sharp and clean image that makes one forget that this movie is over thirty-five years old. There is more detail than I would expect to find in a movie of this vintage and the film elements used for the transfer are fairly free from defects. Although produced in MetroColor, the hues on the DVD are as vibrant as a film printed in the legendary IB Technicolor process. Warm reds and oranges are especially well rendered, as are the lush greens of the outdoor cinematography. Flesh tones have the healthy glow that one usually finds in the vicinity of a Hollywood makeup man, but it works well in this film. Color reproduction is completely stable, with no signs or smearing or bleeding of the more intense hues. Blacks are accurately rendered, although the level of shadow detail is in keeping with the film stocks available in the early 1960s. Digital compression artifacts do not mar this fine presentation in any perceivable way.

THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN has been upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 for this release. This modernized remix reigns in much of the directional dialogue, keeping it in the center channel as much as possible. However, the discrete channels are put to good use for sound effects, as well as the reproduction of the film's musical score and musical numbers. While there are some frequency limitations, the music sounds very nice and is well worth amplifying, which is certain to increase one's overall enjoyment of this musical film. A French surround soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English and French subtitles.

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. A short behind-the-scenes featurette entitled The Story Of A Dress has been included on the DVD. The featurette runs about five minutes and shows how one of Ms. Reynolds costumes for the film goes from a design, through multiple levels of approval and finally to a completed dress in the movie. Theatrical trailers for THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN and Meredith Willson's THE MUSIC MAN have also been included on the DVD. Cast biographies/filmographies fill out the extras.

THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN is a minor musical classic that has been given a terrific presentation on DVD by Warner. Fans of the movie, as well as the genre would do well in checking out this fine DVD.


The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)



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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