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Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether or not you are a Bob Hope fan or a person who wants to own the earlier films of one of Hollywood’s true Kings of Comedy, will no doubt want to check out “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection. Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection

YEAR OF FILM: The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938), College Swing (1938), Give Me a Sailor (1938), Thanks for the Memory (1938), Never Say Die (1939), The Cat and the Canary (1939), Road to Singapore (1940), The Ghost Breakers (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Caught in the Draft (1941), Nothing But the Truth (1941), Louisiana Purchase (1941), Star Spangled Rhythm (1942), My Favorite Blonde (1942), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1946), Monsieur Beaucaire (1946), Variety Girl (1947), Where There’s Life (1947), The Paleface (1948), Sorrowful Jones (1949) + America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2017)

DURATION: The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1 hr. 31 min.), College Swing (1 hr., 26 min.), Give Me a Sailor (1 hr., 20 min.), Thanks for the Memory (1 hr., 15 min.), Never Say Die (1 hr., 22 min.), The Cat and the Canary (1 hr., 12 min.), Road to Singapore (1 hr., 25 min), The Ghost Breakers (1 hr., 25 min.), Road to Zanzibar (1 hr., 31 min.), Caught in the Draft (1 hr., 22 min.), Nothing But the Truth (1 hr, 30 min.), Louisiana Purchase (1 hr, 38 min.), Star Spangled Rhythm (1 hr., 39 min.), My Favorite Blonde (1 hr., 18 min.), Road to Morocco (1 hr., 22 min.), Road to Utopia (1 hr., 30 min.), Monsieur Beaucaire (1 hr., 33 min.), Variety Girl (1 hr., 33 min.), Where There’s Life (1 hr., 15 min.), The Paleface (1 hr., 31 min.), Sorrowful Jones (1 hr., 28 min.) + America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2 hours)

RATED: Not Rated

COMPANY: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

AVAILABLE ON: November 14, 2017


Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection features 21 of the funniest movies from the legendary comedian. As a recognized genius of American comedy, Bob Hope has no equal. From his early days in vaudeville to his years as a top Hollywood box-office draw and star of radio, TV and live performances, Bob Hope’s innocent charm and lightning-quick wit have delighted millions of fans throughout the world. Co-starring some of Hollywood’s greatest stars including Lucille Ball, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Paulette Goddard, Jane Russell and, of course, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection will entertain longtime fans and introduce a whole new generation to the unforgettable style of one of the most famous comedians of all time!


Bob Hope is an American comedian and actor who has had one of the most successful careers in Hollywood.

A career that spanned 80 years and starring in more than 70 short and feature films, a longtime host of the Academy Awards, appeared in many stage productions and television roles and also authored 14 books.

Bob Hope has no doubt left a legacy of films and television specials and music that will entertain many generations of people interested in classic Hollywood but also wanting to experience the comedy of one of the true Kings of Comedy.

To celebrate Bob Hope’s career, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection” which contains “Bob Hope: The Comedy Essentials Collection” (15 Classic Movies + 1 Documentary) and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby: The Comedy Essentials Collection (6 classic movies).

Included are:

  • The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938) – A musical starring W.C. Fields and Bob Hope and features Bob Hope’s signature song, “Thanks for the Memory”.  Featuring a race between a new $40 million dollar “Radio powered” ocean liner S.S. Gigantic vs. the smaller S.S. Colossal.  Who will win?
  • College Swing (1938) –  A comedy starring George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye and Bob Hope.  A college founder of the powerful Alden Family leaves his will to the first female who will graduate from college, unfortunately no one has since 1738.  200 years later, Gracie Alden is the last girl of the line and is having problems with her studies, so she hires Bud Brady (Hope) to help her.
  • Give Me a Sailor (1938) – Starring Betty Grable, Jack Whiting, Martha Raye and Bob hope.  Two brothers, Jim (Hope) and Walter (Whiting) who are sailors of the US Navy love the same woman, Nancy (Grable).  Jim tries to get Nancy’s sister to help break Walter and Nancy’s relationship.
  • Thanks for the Memory (1938) – Starring Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.  A story about an out-of-work writer who stays home and plays a husband at home while his wife goes to work for her former fiance.
  • Never Say Die (1939) – A remake of the silent film, multi-millionaire hypochondriac John Kidley (Hope) is told he only has a month to live.  So, he breaks up with his fiance and heads to the Swiss spa of Bad Gaswasser where he meets a young Texas heiress, Mickey Hawkins (Raye).
  • The Cat and the Canary (1939) – A horror comedy, Cyrus Norman is a millionaire who lived in the Louisiana bayou with his mistress Miss Lu.  His will is to be read and a group meets at the mansion for the reading from the will but someone has removed the will from the safe and tampered with it.
  • Road to Singapore (1940) – Starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Josh Mallon (Crosby) and Ace Lannigan (Hope) are best friends working on the same ship.  After seeing their fellow sailors being mistreated by their wives and girlfriends, the two vowed to never get involved with women again.  The two head to Singapore but can they stay true to their vow?
  • The Ghost Breakers (1940) – Starring Bob Hope, Paulette Godard and Richard Carlson, what happens when a radio broadcaster, a manservant and an heiress investigate a mystery in a haunted castle in Cuba.
  • Road to Zanzibar (1941) – The second “Road to…” film starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  Chuck (Crosby) and Fearless (Hope) go on a jungle adventure but what happens when these con-men find themselves attracted to two con-women.
  • Caught in the Draft (1941) – Vain Hollywood actor has a big fear of being drafted into the US army, afraid of loud noises, accidentally joins the army.
  • Nothing But the Truth (1941) – Starring Bob Hope and Paulette Godard.  When stockbroker T.T. Ralston promises his niece Gwen (Godard) to double the amount if she can raise $20,000.  So, she asks Steve Bennett (Hope) to raise the money.
  • Louisiana Purchase (1941) – A senator investigating graft in Louisiana is the target of a scheme involving a beautiful woman named Marina (portrayed by Vera Zorina).
  • Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) – An all-star musical.  What happens when former silent movie star Pop Webster (portrayed by Victor Moore), who works as a security guard at Paramount Pictures, tells his son Johnny (portrayed by Eddie Brack), from the Navy that he is the studio’s Executive VP in Charge of Production.  But what happens when Johnny surprises his father with a visit to Hollywood.  When Johnny offers to put on a variety show, can he get Bob Hope and Bing Crosby to perform?
  • My Favorite Blonde (1942) – Starring Bob Hope and Madeleine Carroll. What happens when a vaudeville performer gets mixed up with British and German secret agents?
  • Road to Morocco (1942) – Starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.  What happens when two castaway on a desert shore are sold into slavery by a beautiful princess?
  • Road to Utopia (1946) – Starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, what happens when two vaudeville performers go to Alaska to make a fortune?  Received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
  • Monsieur Beaucaire (1946) – Starring Bob Hope and Joan Caulfield.  What happens when a barber of King Louis XV masquerades as a nobleman engaged to the princess of Spain?
  • Variety Girl (1947) – What happens when two hopeful actresses (portrayed by Mary Hatcher and Olga San Juan) come to Hollywood and exchange identities.
  • Where There’s Life (1947) – Starring Bob Hope and Signe Hasso. Michael Joseph Valentine is an American radio announcer who finds out that he is the new king of “Barovia”, but a secret society known as Mordia (who assassinated the previous ruler) targets him.
  • The Paleface (1948) – Starring Bob Hope and Jane Russell.  Calamity Jane (Russell) finds out who is smuggling her rifles to the Indians.  After marrying a dentist named Peter “Painless” Potter (Hope), can he keep her identity a secret.
  • Sorrowful Jones (1949) – Starring Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.  A remake of Shirley Temple’s film, “Little Miss Marker”.  A young girl is left with the very cheap Sorrowful Jones (Hope). When her father doesn’t show up, he has to take care of the child, which interferes with his lifestyle.
  • America Masters: This is Bob Hope (2017) – The unabridged director’s cut of the film.  Voiced by Billy Crystal and featuring interviews with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, daughter Linda Hope, Kermit the Frog, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin, Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens and biographer Richard Zoglin (author of “Hope: Entertainer of the Century”).

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Bob Hope and the Road to Success – (14:12) Author Randall G. Mielke discusses Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “Road to…” films.
  • Entertaining the Troops – (6:17) Bob Hope biographer Richard Grudens reflects on Bob Hope entertaining the troops.
  • “Sweet Potato Pie” Sing-A-Long
  • “The Road to Morocco” Sing-A-Long
  • “The Buttons and Bows” Sing-Along
  • Command Performance 1944 – (6:46) From “Command Performance USA” from 1944.
  • Command Performance 1945 – (5:02) Excerpt from Army-Navy Screen Magazine of Bob Hope’s appearance on “Command Performance USA” in 1945.
  • Hollywood Victory Caravan – (19:44) A 1945 short about a girl trying to get to Washington D.C. to be with her lonseom brother, a wounded G.I. and she persuades Bing Crosby to let her join his caravan.

With the release of “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection, fans are no doubt getting one of the best sets featuring a collection of Bob Hope films.

Bob Hope emerged as an actor as early as 1934 in numerous shorts, but it wasn’t until 1938 when he starred in “The Big Broadcast of 1938” when Bob Hope would appear in a feature film and the song “Thanks for the Memory” would become his trademark.  And from that first film and on, he would grow into a comedic actor and would become one of America’s most beloved onscreen actors and entertainers for many decades.

And with the collection of films in “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection”, included are nearly all the films that Bob Hope starred in from 1938-1949. This includes his first feature film,  four of his successful “Road to…” films with Bing Crosby and many films that help define Bob Hope as one of the best American comedians of all time.

Of the 28 films Bob Hope made from 1938-1950, 21 films are included in this set.  Two of his film in the early ’40s were created for MGM (and can be found in the DVD set “Bob Hope MGM Movie Legends Collection”) while others have not been released on DVD.

The majority of the early Bob Hope films were distributed by Paramount Pictures and in 1955, MCA (Music Corporation of America) purchased the pre-1950 sound films from Paramount.  In 1958, MCA purchased Universal (and currently, all of MCA, Universal, NBC are owned by Comcast).  So, that is how many of the pre-1948 Paramount films made it to this set.

Many may wonder how could this be considered an “Ultimate Movie Collection” when four of the seven Bing Crosby/Bob Hope “Road to…” films are included in the “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Collection” and that three films were left out.   Paramount actually let the copyright expire for “Road to Rio” and “Road to Bali” and so they are available via Public Domain (so, many companies have released inferior versions on DVD), while the seventh film “The Road to Hong Kong” is owned by MGM.  Fortuantely, Paramount licensed the rights to Kino Lorber for a few pre-1950 (and later) Bob Hope films such as the 1947 film “My Favorite Brunette”, “Road to Rio” and “Road to Bali” for Blu-ray release.   So, now people can watch much better versions of these films in terms of picture quality.

So, for the most part, this set is not 100% complete but you do get a huge majority of these earlier Bob Hope films in this DVD box set. In my opinion, it’s the classic black and white Bob Hope films that I tend to favor the most.  But if you are a serious Bob Hope fan, he has created many hilarious and entertaining films throughout his career.

And for an actor with so many films created, it’s great to see Universal Studios Home Entertainment releasing a DVD set with nearly two dozen films.

Prior to the release of “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection”, it was a little costly to purchase Bob Hope sets.  For example, the Universal release of “Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection” only featured six films and you were paying a little less than $25. The four film “The Bob Hope and Big Crosby Road to Comedy Collection” was over $15.  And now you can get this 21 movie set plus the “American Masters: This is Bob Hope” documentary plus a few Bob Hope shorts for under $42.  So, it’s an amazing deal!

For those who owned prior Bob Hope DVD releases, it’s important to note that there are no new special features and there is no new remastering or restoration that were done with each film.  There are 10 DVD’s are provided with two to three films per DVD.

I wished that Universal would have considered releasing this set on Blu-ray, because it would have given more fans, especially those who owned the previous DVD’s, to upgrade to better quality versions of the film.  But until then, this DVD set with 21 films featuring Bob Hope is magnificent!

Overall, whether or not you are a Bob Hope fan or a person who wants to own the earlier films of one of Hollywood’s true Kings of Comedy, will no doubt want to check out “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection.  Recommended!


The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

deanmartin-fullyroasted

“The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” is a collection of hilarious roasts from the ’70s showcasing various roasts of celebrities, athletes and politicians.   Featuring 17 roasts, it’s just amazing to watch these roasts today featuring Betty White, Bette Davis, Muhammad Ali, Suzanne Somers, Angie Dickinson, Gov. Ronald Reagan to name a few.  And they are as hilarious today as they were back then.  Plus you get over five hours of special features from “The Dean Martin Show” and interviews with various talents over 40-years later.  A wonderful collection that I absolutely enjoyed!  “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 NBC Universal Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol

DURATION: 115 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Color, Monaural

COMPANY: Time Life/StarVista

RATED: NOT RATED

Written by Harry Crane, Michael Barrie, Norm Liebmann, Tom Tenowich, Jim Mulholland, Lary Markes, Bill Box, Mickey Rose, David Axelrod, Stan Burns, Mike Marmer

Producer: Ed Simmons, Arnie Rosen, Bill Angelos, Buz Kohan, Chris Jenkyns

Series Production Design: Spencer Davies

Set Decoration by Spencer Davies

Starring:

Dean Martin

Betty White

Ronald Reagan

Betty Davis

Muhammad Ali

George Burns

Angie Dickinson

Telly Savalas

Dan Rowan

Dick Martin

Barry Goldwater

Suzanne Somers

Dennis Weaver

Ralph Nader

Gabe Kaplan

Redd Foxx

Hugh Hefner

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Henry Fonda

Georgia Engel

Jonathan Winters

Shelley Winters

Amanda Blake

LaWanda Page

Billy Crystal

Gene Kelly

Orson Welles

Charo

Donald O’Connor

Henny Youngman

Tony Orlando

Freddie Prinze

Shirley Williams

Tom Bosley

Don Rickles

Jimmy Stewart

Relive all the fun holiday memories from The Carol Burnett Show with these classic episodes featuring the whole gang: Carol, Harvey, Tim, Vicki and more! Following the highly successful 2012 launch of the sketch comedy series that has sold over 4 million DVDs to date, now comes The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol, a new DVD from the beloved, landmark TV show, one of the most honored in history.

In 1965, the variety show “The Dean Martin Show” premiered on NBC.  Hosted by America’s well-known film star and crooner, Dean Martin’s variety show would run from 1965 through 1974 with a total of 264 episodes featured.

As the series came to an end, a special series which evolved from “The Dean Martin Show” was created titled “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast” which were modeled after the New York Friars’ Club in which a celebrity would sit on a banquet table while insulted and chided by fellow celebrities and friends.

“The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts” would produce 54 specials and shows from 1974 through 1984 (note: No specials were active between 1980 and 1983).  The TV specials were recorded live at the MGM Grand Hotel’s Ziegfeld Room in front of a live audience.

In 2013, StarVista Entertainment released the “Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: The Complete DVD Collection” featuring all 54 specials on 23 discs.  Followed by two individual sets and now a third titled “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” featuring 17 complete specials (16.5 hours total) which include roasts for Betty White, Gov. Ronald Reagan, Bette Davis, Muhammad Ali, George Burns, Angie Dickinson, Telly Savalas, Dan Rowan & Dick Martin, Sen. Barry Goldwater, Suzanne Somers, George Washington, Dennis Weaver, Ralph Nader, Gabe Kaplan, Redd Foxx, Hugh Hefner and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Several celebrities involved in the roasts include Henry Fonda, Georgia Engel, Jonathan Winters, Shelley Winters, Amanda Blake, LaWanda Page, Billy Crystal, Gene Kelley, Orson Welles, Charo, Donald O’Connor, Henny Youngman, Sherman Hemsely, Jimmy Stewart, Tony Orlando, Freddy Prinze, Shirley Williams, Tom Bosley and many more.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” is presented in 4:3 and in monaural. The quality of the video is pretty good considering its age. Most series tend to show its age or show discoloration but every episode presented on this DVD is in very good shape. Dialogue and music is clear. I saw no defects or any problematic issues while watching these episodes.

Special features of recent interviews shot digitally look especially good on DVD as would be expected.

Audio is clear and understandable.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” comes with the following special features:

  • Bonus Comedy Sketches – Featuring Dean Martin, Howard Cosell, Vincent Prize, Steve Lawrence, William Holden, Ruth Buzzi and others from skits from the “The Dean Martin Show” back in the early ’70s.
  • Featurettes – Featuring three featurettes: “Ladies of the Dais” (35:34 – The woman who were featured in the roast), “Beauty & the Beast: Ruth Buzzi vs. Muhammad Ali” (6:06 – Discussing the roast of Muhammad Ali and the day she repeatedly hit him with a bag) and “Roast in Hell – Politicians Under Fire” (25:21 –  A featurette of the various politicians who were roasted).
  • Interviews – Featuring interviews with Phyllis Diller (22:16), Ruth Buzzi (17:28 and 18:40), Shirley Jones (8:23), Tony Danza (7:39), Angie Dickinson (18:35), Carol Burnett (7:38), Sheila Kuehl (29:02), Jimmie Walker (12:32), Abe Vigoda (5:05) and Fred Willard (16:15).

 EXTRAS:

“The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” comes with a 30-page booklet featuring a summary of the roasts featured and more.

Before the celebrity roasts that people are familiar with today and before roasters became more venomous and hurtful to those being honored or fellow roasters, the most popular televised celebrity roasts on television were hosted by Dean Martin.

From 1974 to 1984, Dean Martin hosted a total of 54 specials in which a celebrity being roasted, would be honored by fellow celebrity friends, comedians or someone they may not have known, but it was all in good fun (or what was considered as “fun”) at the time.

In the case of “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted”, a lot of the roasts were done in the late ’70s and would feature jokes that were aimed at a celebrity but at times, one can expect to see a lot of sexual jokes to jokes that some may deemed racially insensitive.  But it was the sign of the times, unlike today’s celebrity roasts where anything offensive can be spoken and literally anything goes.

But with this latest release, there are some beautiful gems included.

Having grown up during the ’70s and catch a few specials during my younger years,  as an adult and watching these shows today, I can’t help but feel of how fortunate I am to watch these gems of comedy from yesteryear but also a format which we will probably never see on television ever again.

From roasters joking with Betty White about her husband with humor, to Bette Davis being cool and smoking during her celebrity roast while being cool with the comedy aimed at her to Suzanne Somers who was popular for “Three’s Company” but everyone roasting her because of her body and her sexual prowess, to Muhammad Ali’s diction and more.

But of course, jokes about Dean Martin’s consumption of alcohol, jokes about how thin Jimmie Walker was, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s cleavage, Ruth Buzzi’s crazy woman character and the bold humor of LaWanda Page.  But what is also fascinating are the sheer number of celebrities who took part in the celebrity roasts and unlike today’s celebrity roasts which are primarily comedians, “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts” were able to pull in major names as fellow roasters for a series of its time and helped NBC garner fantastic ratings!

The truth is that while there are talk shows that will bring in celebrities, comedians, politicians and athletes together, you will hardly see them brought together like what people will see in “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts”.  While they were created for prime time television, there was a magic to see everyone together and be so free and have a lot of fun,while not being interrupted every 10 minutes or so for a commercial.

It was also an odd grouping of celebrities of a different ethnicity and sex, but the comedy didn’t go too far to be hurtful.  Compare the Dean Martin roast for Suzanne Somers versus Comedy Central’s roast for Pamela Anderson and while the Comedy Central roasts are not aired on public television, you can see how one has to have a thick skin to be on today’s modern celebrity roasts.  Everything and anything is a target for comedians.

So, watching these roasts, you can help but be amazed of the top star power featured on these specials.  There was no doubt that the popularity of the specials, everyone wanted to be on, even the politicians who knew they were going to be targeted by their roasters.

And with a total of 17 episodes featuring hilarious roasts, the five hours of special features would also include recent interviews with a few of the celebrities who appeared on the special over 40-years ago.  From Ruth Buzzi talking about the scenes of her repeatedly hitting Muhammad Ali with a bag during his celebrity roast, to how the female celebrities shined on the roasts and more.

My favorites for the “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” collection would have to be Betty White (who maintains her humor like she does today but also had the love of her life with her on the special), Bette Davis in one of her more upbeat and funny moments, Suzanne Somers who was a surprise because she hasn’t been on television all that long but was a sex symbol of the late ’70s and early ’80s, Red Foxx for his quips with LaWanda Page and more!

Part of the enjoyment of these roasts is that you had major talent who were roasters.  Henry Fonda, Jonathan Winters, Billy Crystal, Gene Kelly, Orson Welles, Jimmy Stewart to name a few.  It’s unbelievable to see how much star talent appeared for each roasting special.

While the majority of the roasts featured in this latest collection are hilarious (a few of the honorees were not too receptive especially the political honorees who showed hardly any emotion during their roasts), the fact that you are getting 17 specials (16.5 hours) plus five hours of special features is fantastic!  And for those who grew up with these specials, they still are able to make people laugh and the comedy still retains its humor over 40-years later!

Overall, “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” is a collection of hilarious roasts from the ’70s showcasing various roasts of celebrities, athletes and politicians.   Featuring 17 roasts, it’s just amazing to watch these roasts today featuring Betty White, Bette Davis, Muhammad Ali, Suzanne Somers, Angie Dickinson, Gov. Ronald Reagan to name a few.  And they are as hilarious today as they were back then.  Plus you get over five hours of special features from “The Dean Martin Show” and interviews with various talents over 40-years later.

A wonderful collection that I absolutely enjoyed!  “The Dean Martin: Celebrity Roasts – Fully Roasted” is highly recommended!

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