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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 Magnetic Monster (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

January 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The first film of the “OSI Trilogy” by Ivan Tors, “The Magnetic Monster” is a film from 1953 that explores man’s tampering of isotopes and possibly causing the potential destruction of their own planet.  Sure, it is over-the-top but it has that ’50s sci-fi flair that classic sci-fan’s will enjoy!

Images courtesy of © 1953 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: The Magnetic Monster

FILM RELEASE DATE: 1953

DURATION: 80 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Black & White, Dolby Digital, 1:33:1

COMPANY: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: January 2012

Directed by Curt Siodmak

Screenplay by Curt Siodmak, Ivan Tors

Produced by Ivan Tors

Associate Produced by George Van Marter

Music by Blaine Sanford

Cinematography by Charles Van Enger

Production Design by George Van Marter

Set Decoration by Victor A. Gangelin

Starring:

Richard Carlson as Dr. Jeffrey Stewart

King Donovan as Dr. Dan Forbes

Jean Byron as Connie Stewart

Harry Ellerbe as Dr. Allard

Leo Britt as Dr. Benton

Leonard Mudie as Howard Denker

Byron Foulger as Mr. simon

Michael Fox as Dr. Serny

John Zaremba as Chief Watson

Lee Phelps as City Engineer

Watson Downs as Mayor

Roy Engle as Gen. Behan

When a young scientist’s experiments with a new radioactive isotope cause it to double in size every 12 hours, a nearby town’s existence is threatened by the deadly radiation.

Ivan Tors, the Hungarian writer/filmmaker/producer will be known by his fans for his sci-fi and animal films. But most of all, using scientific fact (or what was thought as “fact” during that time) rather than focus on scientific fantasy which earned Tors his admiration of many sci-fi followers.

In the 1950’s, Tors created the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) trilogy featuring the films “The Magnetic Monster”, “Riders to the Stars” and “Gog”.  As part of MGM’s Limited Edition Collection, “The Magnetic Monster” and “Gog” have been released on DVD as part of their made-on-demand program.

“The Magnetic Monster” is directed and co-written by Curt Siodmak (“The Invisible Man Returns”, “The Wolf Man”) and Ivan Tors.  The film stars Richard Carlson (“It Came From Outer Space”, “The Little Foxes”, “Creature from the Black Lagoon”), King Donovan (“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “The Defiant Ones”, “The Hanging Tree”) and Jean Byron (“The Patty Duke Show”, “Invisible Invaders”, “Jungle Moon Men”).

“The Magnetic Monster” begins with an anomaly detected by agents of the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI), meanwhile at a local appliance store in the city, employees start to notice that their clocks have stopped working and everything inside the shop has been magnetized.

Immediately, OSI agents Dr. Jeffrey Stewart (played by Richard Carlson) and Dr. Dan Forbes (played by King Donovan) are summoned to the store and conduct radioactivity tests.  It is discovered that there are signs of radioactivity in the second floor above the store.

Because of the severity of the situation, police must clearance the area and must be armed to shoot and kill if anyone tries to get in.

As the two agents conduct their test, they discover scientific equipment and also a dead body.  But what is causing the radiation is no longer in the room.

As the investigation continues, the agents learn that a scientist holding a briefcase has taken a flight on an airplane.  Fearing that whatever the scientist is carrying may cut the electricity of the airplane, the agents asks the pilots to land the plane immediately.  Meanwhile, the scientist starts to bleed due to radiation sickness.

The agents have learned that the scientist has developed an artificial radio active isotope known as serranium and he bombarded it with alpha particles for more than eight days.  But now, the isotope has doubled its size and is literally hungry and wants to absorb energy from everything around it and each time it does, it doubles its size.  It’s only weakness is electricity.

As the isotope is kept under lock and key and is researched at a nearby university, Dr. Stewart and his wife Connie are expecting a new baby and planning on moving to a new house.  But as they discuss family plans, Dr. Stewart receives an urgent call that an explosion had taken place at the university and the scientist researching the isotope are now dead.

The OSI agents realize that because the isotope is growing at an abnormal rate, it may affect the Earth’s rotation and spin it out of orbit. And to prevent that, the OSI agents must find a way to stop the isotope and destroy it.

MOD PLAYABILITY:

Part of the worry of viewers who had bad experiences with MOD DVD’s is its manufacturing.  Granted, those problems were a long time ago but so far, I have not had any problems with MGM’s Limited Edition Collection.

With “The Magnetic Monster”, its printed quite well with printing on top of the DVD, it’s not a plain silver disc with letters. If you didn’t know it was MOD, you would think it was an actual DVD release.

As for playability, I played “The Magnetic Monster” on my Blu-ray player and DVD player with no problems. I then played it on my Mac and PC, no problems whatsoever.

VIDEO AND AUDIO:

“The Magnetic Monster” is presented in black and white (1:33:1 full frame).  As far as picture quality goes, the film has been manufactured using the best source available. The picture quality for “The Magnetic Monster” does have quite a bit of scratches and some damage but fortunately, it doesn’t hurt the overall film.  The film is watchable, some frames have more scratches than others but for the most part, “The Magnetic Monster” looks good.

As for audio, audio is presented in Dolby Digital.  You do hear a little hiss on “The Magnetic Monster” but overall, dialogue can be heard quite clearly.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Magnetic Monster” comes with a theatrical trailer.

When it comes to 1950’s sci-fi films, Ivan Tors films tend to have respect among fans, mainly because there is not so much fantasy but writer Ivan Tors tries to put as much science fact into the overall story and thus giving viewers a chance to learn from the films.    And while sci-fi fans who appreciate older sci-films will be nostalgic with the release of both “The Magnetic Monster” and “Gog” on DVD.

“The Magnetic Monster” was rather interesting because sci-fi films at the time would focus on aliens landing on Earth but rarely does anyone full delve into the science of what can affect Earth.  With the OSI trilogy, these stories were well-thought out at the time and thus, Ivan Tors really had a lot of fans who followed his work.  And with this film, what if scientist who are always constantly trying to invent new things, end up creating a monster?

Sure, in today’s society, we often see these storylines involving virus and diseases that are killing humanity but back then, in 1953, what if someone thing harmed Earth’s rotation and also was a radiation risk?   Bare in mind, this film came out during the Cold War, people worried about the effects of radiation and after World War II, seeing the effects of nuclear bombs inflicted in Japan, needless to say, “radiation” has long been a worry for humanity, especially in the United States in the ’70s and seeing what had happened in Russia with Chernobyl and Japan during the recent Earthquake and Tsunami disaster in 2011.

But that was radiation?  What about magnetic energy, the other problematic situation that develops in the film.  No one really thought about it back then, but watching this film…one wonders if it freaked anyone out.

“The Magnetic Monster” is a low budget sci-fi film but because there is no monster that is seen and focuses on the use of science to help viewers understand the risks and seeing how it can affect humanity, Ivan Tors knows how to write that into his films without being too cerebral and making it accessible for viewers.   The special effects may seem cheesy today but I suppose back in 1953, it may have excited some viewers.  And for others, they may have realized that some of the stock footage shown was from the German film “Gold”.

While the film may seem outdated and over-the-top for viewers today, still “The Magnetic Monster” manages to be quite entertaining.  The fact is that Ivan Tors films were intelligent for its time and they may have not have large budgets but somehow they made these films work.   Classic Sci-fi fans may enjoy it, others may find it too farfetched for their tastes, but for what it is…I enjoyed it as a classic ’50s sci-fi film, nothing more and nothing less.

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