'The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection'
(Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / (1949) 2008 / Warner Home Video)
Overview: Some of the best early films Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly made, they made together: "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (1948), and "On the Town" (1949). Both men were at the beginning of their star careers, and both of them were at the top of their game. Together, they were terrific.
DVD Verdict: All three of these DVDs have been released previously; however, this new boxed set houses a few new mildly interesting "extras" to be found in the Special Features. These three films are all big colorful MGM musicals, but none are in Widescreen because that particular aspect:ratio was not "invented" until 1954. However, they LOOK spectacular anyway!
"Anchors Aweigh" (1945) is a winning musical about two sailors on shore leave in search of a "dame". This musical's only flaw is it is a bit too long, as it has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in it, including a whole lot (too much) of Jose Iturbi, who must have been "quite something" in 1945 (but not now)! However, it is thoroughly entertaining for both adults and children, the latter, due to a lengthy sequence in the middle of the film that pairs live action (Gene Kelly dancing) with animation. Note, this was over 40 years BEFORE "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and 20 years before "Mary Poppins".
"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (1949) is not quite as entertaining as "Anchors Aweigh". It less colorful and has a weaker plot, but the songs and dancing are still top-notch! This is the film where Sinatra REALLY proves he can DANCE as he and Kelly charge through a song in striped suits halfway through the film. Songs like "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", "Strictly USA", "The Right Girl For Me", and "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg" add to the fun of this film.
"On the Town" (1949) Simply, one of the greatest musicals ever made! This was the FIRST musical in film history to be filmed ON LOCATION, and what a location: NEW YORK CITY CIRCA 1949! If the plot sounds familiar (THREE sailors on shore leave in search of a "dame"), the musical numbers and the thrill of the Big Apple send this one right OUT of the ballpark!
Co-starring Jules Munshin, Vera-Ellen, Betty Garrett, and Ann Miller, with some of the musical sequences composed by Leonard Bernstein, and the great theme song, "New York, New York" ("a helluva town, the Bronx is Up and the Battery Down...", not the Sinatra smash-hit song, which came way later - 1979), "On the Town" is everything a musical could and should be!
These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
Cast & Crew Biographies
Deleted Music Numbers: "Baby Doll" and "Boys and Girls, Like You and Me"
Hanna & Barbera on the Making of the "Worry Song" - From the Documentary "When the Lion Roars"