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Citizen Hollywood (Garden of Allah)
Citizen Hollywood (Garden of Allah)
by Martin Turnbull
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.46
18 used & new from $13.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad there are more to come!, March 6, 2014
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Although I enjoyed the first two books in this series, I would say that Mr. Turnbull has truly hit his stride with this 3rd volume in his Garden of Allah series. He has expertly woven his 3 main fictional characters into the true-life world of old Hollywood, using vivid descriptions that make you feel as if you have entered a time machine. Gwendolyn wants to be a star soooo bad it hurts; maybe her part in "The Maltese Falcon" will propel her to stardom. Kathryn is a journalist at the Hollywood Reporter who has found herself to be in love with a married man. Could Orson Welles be the man to make an honest woman out of her? Marcus is a screenwriter desperate to get the recognition (and screen credit) for his work; could his Judy Garland screenplay be the one that the folks back home will see? With each book, the characters continue to be fleshed out more; by the end of this volume, I found myself extremely anxious for the released of the next. If you're a fan of the movies or old Hollywood, you can't miss "Citizen Hollywood." Be forewarned: it is hard to put down once you start!


The Making of Hitchcock's The Birds
The Making of Hitchcock's The Birds
by Tony Lee Moral
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.08
54 used & new from $16.85

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making sense of a complex film, November 30, 2013
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"The Birds" has never been a favorite movie of mine, yet Hitchcock has always been one of my favorite directors/auteurs. Reading Tony Lee Moral's exhaustively researched book has given me a deeper appreciation of the film as well as providing some insight into the elements that have always rubbed me the wrong way (the script, the technical flaws, and the performances). Using interviews from the cast, crew, and archived information, Moral provides a close to complete and well-rounded portrayal of what happened in front of and behind the cameras. Hitchcock is known for his well-organized and pre-planned films, but as you read the book you'll discover that "The Birds" was fraught with production issues as well as indecisions about the script (specifically the ending). Despite this turmoil, "The Birds" is still regarded as a classic fifty years after its release. Some of the interesting tidbits include: Rod Taylor's difficulty in working with Hitch (he felt that the director foolishly blocked any attempts that the actor made to bump up the romance between him and Hedren's character); the complexity of filming each bird attack and how these amazing scenes were achieved; the amount of involvement other studios (especially the Disney Studio) had in the post-production processing of the special effects scenes in order to make the release deadline; screenwriter Evan Hunter's displeasure with Hitchcock about changes in his script which were largely a result of his insecurity from poor reviews. You'll also find a great selection of rare bw and color images, including shots of the birds being filmed at the San Francisco dump for use in the movie and the amazingly detailed and accurate storyboards for some of the most famous sequences. Even if you're not a fan of "The Birds," you'll surely appreciate this well researched and objectively written book.


Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie
Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie
by Tony Lee Moral
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $76.00
22 used & new from $58.87

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dispelling the myths without sensationalism, November 30, 2013
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"Marnie" is probably one of the most controversial films by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. It seems that viewers either love it or hate it...or grow to love it the more they understand about it and the more they watch it. This updated version of Tony Lee Moral's book gives more depth and meaning to the "Marnie" experience by adding four additional chapters that were not in the original edition. Some of the new information dispels the oft-told myths that Hitchcock, author Winston Grahahm, and screenwriter Jay Presson Allen (a female) were misogynists. At first glance, Mark's (Sean Connery) marital rape of Marnie (Tippi Hedren) and her supposed cure shortly thereafter would appear to support the misogynist theory, but like any Hitchcock movie, there is much more going on here (both intentionally and subconsciously) than what initially meets the eye. Another huge myth that swirls around the production of the movie is that after the conflict between Hitchcock and Hedren occurred, Hitch lost all interest in the film and that's why the background mattes and rear projection scenes are so awful. Information from the crew as well as the detailed production logs provide the solid facts that finally put those myths to bed. Kudos go to Moral for avoiding the sensationalism that was a large part of the BBC production "The Girl." Instead of going for the tabloid angle, he calls upon the testimony of the cast and crew to show that many of Tippi Hedren's accusations against Hitch are just plain inaccurate and most likely the result of her inexperience in the business. When reading this book, you'll see that not only are there many facets to "Marnie," but that the mastermind behind the movie, Alfred Hitchcock, was also a multifaceted person. The book contains a wonderful selection of storyboard images as well as costume tests and rare production stills. Tony Lee Moral's updated volume is the definitive story of what happened during the production of this much discussed film.


Frankenweenie (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)
Frankenweenie (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Winona Ryder
Offered by amazingwildcat
Price: $26.98
47 used & new from $15.79

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stands on its own, January 10, 2013
I was reluctant to watch or even allow myself to enjoy "Frankenweenie," since I was so enamored with the live-action short version that Tim Burton created back in 1984 during his early days at Disney. The stop-motion-animation and the expanded story help this version to stand on its own. Mercifully, there are no songs in this movie; I am typically turned off by the musical sequences that get shoved into many of Burton's movies. They seem to slow down the pace of the picture and are typically on the annoying side. Without giving away too many plot details, young Victor Frankenstein is a very intelligent science-minded child whose best (and only) friend is his dog, Sparky. When Sparky is hit by a car, Victor uses every appliance in his mother's kitchen to bring Sparky back to life. Complications arise though as other children in his school attempt to revive their beloved (but also dead) pets. Sound creepy? Yes, but done very well.

The relationship of Victor and Sparky is at the core of the movie, and with the longer running time, it is able to be fleshed out much more effectively than the short could allow. WIth the medium of stop-motion-animation, Sparky's character is also much more endearing. The short film was a dark satire, whereas this version seems to have so much more heart to it. If you are a dog lover, prepare to shed a few tears during this movie. Besides these two, my favorite character was Weird Girl, voiced by Catherine O'Hara. Get ready when she explains the dreams of her cat, Mr. Whiskers (another great character!). Only Tim Burton could think of wacky stuff like that!

The picture is gorgeous; you will definitely want blu-ray to be able to see all of the details in the sets. It will blow your socks off at the amount of props (over 4,000!) that had to be created by hand for the miniature city of New Holland that Victor resides in. Sound is very dynamic, especially during the storm sequences and the climax of the film.

Specs for the Blu-ray are:

1080p High Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) * English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 7.1 DTS-HDHR, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Extras on the Blu-ray include:

* "Captain Sparky vs The Flying Saucers"--an expanded version of the short that Victor creates with Sparky, which is only briefly referenced/seen in the movie.
* "Miniatures In Motion: Bringing `Frankenweenie' To Life"--Shot in London, this featurette interviews most of the creative people responsible for the art direction and creation of the sets/props for the movie. It is mind boggling to think of the talent and time that went into creating the more than 4,000 MINIATURE props used in this movie. Also interesting to see how the figures and their wardrobe are created.
* "Frankenweenie" Touring Exhibit--Featuring actual sets, characters, and props from the movie, this exhibit is on a world-wide tour. I got to see it at Disney California Adventure, and it was very cool. The exhibit is interactive, allowing guests to illuminate or animate certain props with the touch of a button.
* "Frankenweenie" Original Live Action Short--Burton's 1984 film that morphed into this version.
* Music Video--"Pet Sematary" performed by Plain White T's

The 1 disc DVD's extras are:

* "Frankenweenie" Touring Exhibit
* "Pet Sematary" Music Video performed by Plain White T's

Is this movie kid friendly? Well, yes and no. I wouldn't let a young child watch this movie by themselves. Parents should watch with the young ones to be able to discuss the death of a pet, and also that some of the experiments that the kids attempt SHOULD NOT be attempted at home!


Ghosts of the Abyss 3D (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD)
Ghosts of the Abyss 3D (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD)
DVD ~ Bill Paxton
Offered by Savers Sales
Price: $20.96
37 used & new from $17.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A must for Titanic aficionados, October 3, 2012
I saw this in an IMAX theater when it was first released, and enjoyed it just as much on home video. If you are a Titanic buff, then the underwater footage from James Cameron's expedition will be incredible for you to see. This is probably the closest most of us will ever get to seeing the legendary ocean liner in person. Cameron also invited "Titanic" actor Bill Paxton along for the journey. This set has two version of the movie; one is the 60 minute theatrical cut (available in both 2D and 3D), and also a 90 minute extended version (2D only). On the plus side, this film is visually stunning. Especially impressive are the sequences that show the current rusted state of the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean with ghostly footage superimposed to show actors and props portraying what would have been occurring in that particular area when the ship was still afloat. Very well done, slightly eerie, but nonetheless still cool. One of the most amazing things you will see in this movie are certain areas of the ship that are still intact; the one that will catch your breath is the shot of the water carafe on the hutch that is still sitting right side up, as if it is waiting to be used one more time. On the downside: personally, I could do without the addition of Paxton and his narration. I have very little interest in his fear of going into the submersible or the majority of his somewhat uninformed commentary. Surely Cameron could have picked someone else to act as narrator for what should be a respectful tribute. It is also painful to see the mini robots (dubbed Jake and Elwood) winding their way through the wreck site and bumping into walls and breaking things while Cameron and Paxton are yucking it up with the narration. For some, this will seem a bit disturbing (an understandably so) as if there is a lack of reverence for this underwater burial site. This movie might have elevated itself to a higher level had the subplots of Jake & Elwood getting lost as well as Paxton being seasick just been completely eliminated. They all seem like contrived bits of drama which are totally unnecessary; the footage of the wreck and the ghostly superimposed sequences stand alone. It is also ironic that this expedition occurred while 9/11 was going on, adding an even more somber note to the proceedings. Despite some of the negatives mentioned, I still highly recommend this movie, and know that you will be shocked by the clarity of the underwater images of the Titanic wreck.

THE EXTRAS:

There are 29 minutes of featurettes (under the heading "Reflections From The Deep"), including Echoes in Time, Paxton Under Pressure, Zodiac Cowboys, The Saga of Jake & Elwood, The Unthinkable, and Keldysh Home Movies. The best ones are "Zodiac Cowboys," which tells how the renegade surfers/rescuers from Australia are able to secure the line to the submersible and enable it to come back up. The bravado, craziness, and danger that these guys go through to make it happen is amazing to watch. "Echoes in Time" gives some back of how the ghostly superimpositions were done; very interesting. The rest of these segments really don't add much to the movie, and seem extremely contrived. Even "The Unthinkable," which details how the crew reacted to hearing about 9/11 when they surfaced seems a bit staged. There is also a 2 minute bit called "The Cheese Sandwich Prank," which details how the crew managed to give Cameron only cheese sandwiches. This could be the longest 2 minutes of your life. There is also the MIR Experience, which gives you multiple angles of the fifth dive down to the wreck.

SPECS:

60/90 minute versions
Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital
Languages/Subtitles: English & Spanish, French

For Titanic buffs, this is a must. For all others, it is an enjoyable (albeit slightly flawed) experience that still has relevance to today.


Cinderella (Two-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)
Cinderella (Two-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)
DVD ~ Ilene Woods
Offered by amazingwildcat
Price: $26.30
94 used & new from $13.28

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disney Animation Looks Brilliant on Blu-ray!, October 3, 2012
I had forgotten what a gem "Cinderella" was until I watched it on the new Blu-ray disc that was just released. The restoration makes it look as if you can see the original art of the characters and the background...it's that clean! The backgrounds themselves are works of art, especially in the scene where Cinderella goes to the backyard garden and meets her fairy godmother. The talent of Mary Blair is evident in the styling, and I have never seen it with such clarity as on the new blu-ray release. The sound is crisp and clear, free of extraneous noise, and the voice of Ilene Woods (Cinderella) has never sounded so lovely. If you are unfamiliar with the story, here's the short version: the death of Cinderella's devoted father leaves her at the mercy of her wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine. Forced to clean the mansion and dote on Tremaine's bratty daughters, Drizella & Anastasia, Cinderella keeps her spirits up with her positive attitude and the friendships she has developed with the mice that adore her. When the local Prince must find a wife at an upcoming Royal Ball, Cinderella sees an opportunity for happiness. However, the selfish Tremaine Trio has other ideas for her. You'll just have to watch this Disney animated classic to see how it all turns out.

Cinderella was a unique Disney heroine. Unlike Snow White, Cinderella seems more true-to-life. Thanks to the warmth of Ilene Woods' voice, Cinderella has a maturity and depth that Snow White was missing. Sure, Cinderella has a positive attitude, but you also sense her weariness with the situation of servitude that she is forced to endure with the Tremaines. When her stepsisters seemingly ruin all chances of her making it to the Royal Ball, her breakdown is so convincingly voiced and animated that it would be hard not to shed a tear or two and feel genuine sympathy for this model heroine. Just as effective are the vocals of Eleanor Audley, whose chilling restraint for Lady Tremaine makes her one of the best Disney villains.

Extras:

Tangled Ever After animated short: a short little piece of fluff, which shows the wedding of Rapunzel, but focuses on the mishap of how the ring is temporarily lost and must be retrieved for the ceremony. Cute.

Behind The Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland: "Once Upon A Time"'s Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) leads a tour of the "new" Fantasyland construction at Walt Disney World. Still in progress, Goodwin walks around the construction site while viewers get to see computer renderings of what will eventually be there.

Diane Disney Miller intro: Very short, this basically amounts to a plug for the Disney Museum in San Francisco.

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-You! Personalized Digital Storybook (A Disney Second Screen experience)

The Magic Of The Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story: Another fun piece of fluff, it is a short that shows how Christian Louboutin designed a shoe that was his interpretation of the glass slipper. This short is more of a fantasy, and seems to have its visual styling based on Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" (even using the same typeface, Windsor, for its titles).

The Real Fairy Godmother ? The incredible true story of Mary Alice O'Connor: I loved this featurette! Disney layout artist Ken O'Connor used his wife as the inspiration for the look of Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. This short tells how Mary Alice was such a giving person, volunteering for so many worthwhile charities and being such an uplifting and caring soul to boot. You really get the sense of warmth that this woman left behind.

Alternate Opening Sequence: Storyboard sketches show an alternate opening. The one used in the final film is much better!

DisneyView

Plus classic DVD bonus features, which are pretty extensive! They include deleted musical numbers, a "Making of" (38:27 minutes long) feature (did you know talk host show legend Mike Douglas was the voice of Prince Charming?), and a fantastic short about the talented Mary Blair. This is one of the best (albeit short at 14:58) tributes to Mary Blair, who was greatly admired by Walt Disney. He had a hard time finding a place for her to display her talents until it came time for the "it's a small world" exhibit came to be for the New York World's Fair in 1965. There is also a 1922 Laugh-O-Gram Disney silent film version of "Cinderella" (which really shows how Walt's filmmaking abilities matured over the years!) as well as a Mickey Mouse Club Show excerpt with Helene Stanley, who was the model for the live-action reference footage shot for "Cinderella." 3 vintage radio programs with Ilene Woods are included as well as a featurette titled: "From Walt's Table: A Tribute to the Nine Old Men." Present day Disney animators talk about the 9 Old Men and what each one meant to them while they are at the Tam O'Shanter restaurant, a famous hangout for Disney animators. Hosted by the late Joel Siegel. You can also see a Storyboard-to-Film Comparison (6:59) of the opening sequence, plus the usual collection of theatrical trailers.

Not very well known today is that "Cinderella" was a crucial film to the future success of The Disney Studio. At that time, "Snow White" had been the only truly profitable feature that Disney has released; a lot was riding on the success of "Cinderella." Fortunately, "Cinderella" was a blockbuster hit and allowed the Disney Studio to continue creating animated classics.

Technical Specs:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (Original Full-Frame)
Blu-ray only: 7.1 DTS-HD MA (English), 1.0 Mono DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitled: English SDH, French, Spanish
Dubbed: Spanish, French
Closed Captions: Yes
Running Time: 75 minutes
For Region A use (Americas, East and Southeast Asia, U.S. territories, Bermuda) only

BOTTOM LINE: This is another must-have for Disney and animation buffs!


Once Upon a Time: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
Once Upon a Time: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jennifer Morrison
Price: $29.98
55 used & new from $20.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive!, September 10, 2012
I found myself addicted to this creative twist on the familiar fairy tale. "Once Upon A Time" takes some of the most famous characters known to most of us through their Disney version (Snow White, Prince Charming, Cinderella, Pinocchio, The Mad Hatter, and Belle) as well as some that haven't been Disney-fied yet (Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood) and puts them all together in modern times in a town called Storybrooke. None of the Storybrooke citizens remember their fairy tale origins (which are seen in flashback sequences), except for the Evil Queen from "Snow White," who runs the town as Mayor. It was she who engineered their memory loss and move to Storybrooke, so that she could remove all happiness from their lives out of her vengeance for a slight from Snow herself. It is the Evil Queen/Mayor's adopted son who figures it all out by reading a book of fairy tales. He makes the link between the Enchanted World and that of Storybrooke, and enlists the help of his birth mother, who he believes to be the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. If it sounds a little convoluted, well...at times it can be. Yet with each episode, I found myself drawn further and further in as each character becomes linked and intertwined, drawing towards the season's breathtaking finale...which only leaves the viewer with more questions that will have to wait until the second season.

The cast is stellar. Lana Parrilla shines as the Evil Queen/Mayor, rising to the occasion of being the villainess you want to hate, but also giving her just enough touches of humanity to make you sympathize (just a little bit!) with her and feel the pain that created the vengeful creature she became. Note: without giving away any plot twists, Barbara Hershey has a fantastic cameo as The Evil Queen's mother...talk about chilling! Ginnifer Goodwin is letter perfect as Snow White, but even more perfect in her characterization of the teacher in Storybrooke. Conflicted by the hate of the Mayor, she struggles with choices that seem a little unlike her fairy-tale counterpart. This is what makes this series so fun; perfect characters become imperfect in our present world, and it can be difficult to predict what they will do. Jennifer Morrison was an excellent choice as Snow White's Daughter, aka Emma Swan of Storybrooke. I do have a bone to pick with the writers though, who flip flop her Storybrooke character from being a tough and determined mother to being a wimpy whiny mess who wants to run away. This flopping of character only serves to draw out the drama, and not in a good way. No such problem with Robert Carlyle's characters of Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold. He goes head to head with Parrilla, serving up a performance that you love to hate, but at the same time also sympathize with.

The special effects are top notch; when looking at the extras, it is hard to believe just how much of the sets were done in CGI. I doubt that this series could have been done on a television budget ten years ago. On blu-ray, the visuals and sound are spectacular. Great detail, clarity, and color. Aspect ration is 1.78:1, with the sound in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.

The extras on the DVD/Blu-ray include the following featurettes:

* Fairy Tales in the Modern World: How the classic stories we all know and love were adapted to coexist with Storybrooke.
* Building Character: Using Belle (from "Beauty and the Beast") as the example, it shows how the production team re-created her character for "Once Upon A Time," using just enough visual queues from the Disney version to make her recognizable, but adding a few new twists to make her fresh. Actress Emilie de Ravin's input was also taken, which you can see in her interview when she was asked to give her thoughts on Belle.
* Welcome to Storybrooke: This was one of my favorites, showing how the town in Canada used for Storybrooke was transformed each time it had to be used for filming. The production crew had the changeover down to a science, as they took existing stores and restaurants and made them the ones that you see on screen. I'm sure this will bump up the tourism, as visitors have already asked when will Mr. Gold's Antique shop be open!
* The Story I Remember...Snow White: Interesting to hear the different actors in the show describe the version of Snow White that they are familiar with (note: there exist many more versions besides the Disney one). Some darker than others!

The usual commentaries (including co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, writer Jane Epenson, and cast members Goodwin, Carlyle, Parilla, Morrison and Josh Dallas, aka Prince Charming), bloopers and deleted scenes are included, too. Some of the deleted scenes added a little extra information (especially revolving around the plot of Snow being in jail), but in the end, nothing that really was missed. For the sake of pacing, the deletions were correct.

Found on the Blu-ray (but not DVD) is:

*Once Upon A Time: Origins: Dallas guides viewers through the various fairy tales represented in "Once Upon A Time," discussing the history beginning back to when they were first told/written right up to the Disney versions. Obviously, some have been changed more than others. Very interesting to see the differences.

This set is highly recommended, but I warn you...it will be difficult to put down once you start watching!


The Aristocats (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Special Edition in Blu-ray Packaging)
The Aristocats (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Special Edition in Blu-ray Packaging)
DVD ~ Scatman Crothers
Price: $14.96
44 used & new from $7.33

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Upgrade Looks Cat-tastic!, August 28, 2012
Walt Disney was involved with the planning of this movie (back when it was originally to be a live-version TV movie); once he passed away, much of the plot and motivations were changed. According to some of the featurettes on the disc, economy was a major factor in keeping the animation simple, removing characters, plot twists, and a few songs. Although the economy can be very apparent (especially in the style of animation), it is still a very sweet movie. Imagine a melding of "Lady and the Tramp" and "101 Dalmatians" for cats, and you would probably be able to figure out the storyline here. There are no nail-biting sequences nor extraordinarily evil villains, yet the resulting animated film is definitely endearing and full of memorable songs. Maurice Chevalier was coaxed out of retirement by the Sherman Brothers (details are in one of the extra segments) to sing the title song and none other than Louis Armstrong sings the wonderful fast-paced song, "Everybody Wants to Be A Cat." Phil Harris lends his voice to the lead male role of O'Malley the Alley cat (and duets with Louis on the previously mentioned song). Eva Gabor plays the female lead, Duchess, the mother of three kittens and apple of her wealthy mistress' eye, Adelaide (the voice of Hermoine Baddeley). I can't say enough positive things about Gabor; she has a subtlety of emotion, charm, and humanity that shines through her wonderful accent. Despite her character being spoiled by her mistress and obviously living a very pampered life, through Gabor's voice, you can also hear that Duchess is very wise to O'Malley's flirtatious ways.

Briefly, the story is of Duchess and her three kittens who live in pampered Parisian luxury with the elderly Adelaide until the greedy butler, Edgar, decides to kidnap the cats so that he can inherit all of Adelaide's wealth instead of the cats. Dumped far away in the country, it takes O'Malley the Alley Cat to help get them back to Adelaide's, but not without a few fun journeys along the way. Sterling Holloway is wonderful as the cat's unlikely pal and hero, Roquefort. The animation has a similar rough-sketch look to it that "101 Dalmations" did. The picture quality is crystal clear on Blu ray, as is the sound. Don't expect a whole lot of dynamic range from the soundtrack, other than during some of the chase sequences or the jazz song "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat."

The extras appear to be pretty much the same from the previous DVD release, although the Blu-ray Disc (mercifully) doesn't have any of the games on it. "Bath Day" (6:38) is a cute Minnie Mouse cartoon with Figaro the cat. I really enjoyed the excerpt from a 1956 Wonderful World of Disney show (hosted by Walt himself) entitled "The Great Cat Family" (12:50) with a fun history of the cat, accompanied by some wonderful animation. Richard Sherman introduces a deleted song ("She Never Felt Alone"), accompanied by storyboard sketches and production drawings, using the original demo audio recordings. Sherman also talks about "The Lost Open" of the movie, which is an expanded version of what we currently see. One of the characters was written out due to economy and the action was definitely tightened up. Although I can't say the character is really missed, it is obvious that with all of the deletions from Walt's original intent, some of the richness of the original narrative is lost. Adelaide's strong bond to her cats is not quite as established because of the loss of the song "She Never Felt Alone." "The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats of Disney Songs" (4:33) has both of the Sherman brothers (but mainly Richard) talking about how they created the memorable musical numbers for this animated feature. There is also an odd little "Oui Oui Marie" remix music video by Ditto thrown in, as well as the ability to sing-along with four different tunes from the film.

What's missing? Sure would have been nice to have an overall "Making Of" featurette, but still this is a solid release and an enjoyable movie.

If you already have the previous DVD release, then I can't necessarily say that you have to rush right out and purchase the Blu-ray upgrade. However, if you don't have a home video copy of this movie (or it's a VHS copy), then definitely purrrrrrrchase this version!

SPECS: Blu-ray Video: 1080p High Def/1.78:1 Blu-ray Audio: English, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French and Spanish, 5.1 Dolby Digital


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes [Blu-ray]
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Marilyn Monroe
Offered by BLgroupliquidations
Price: $15.30
56 used & new from $5.39

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better On Blu-ray!, August 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is probably one of my very favorite Marilyn Monroe movies; just the perfect mix of comedy, dance, music, and eye-popping Technicolor. The Blu-ray looks amazing; clear crisp picture with just the right amount of film grain to look natural. The details are fantastic, too; you can even see Marilyn's jewelry with great clarity. The sound works just fine for a movie of its age; it does appear that some separation was done with some of the sound effects (noticed during the ringing of the bell for "Bye Bye Baby" where it came from a rear speaker, but nothing that is going to blow you away. Just clear sound that highlights the vocals of Marilyn and Jane Russell perfectly. The one drawback are the extras; very few to speak of. A few Marilyn trailers (which promote other Fox Blu-ray releases) and a short Fox Movietone Newsreel showing Marilyn & Jane Russell putting their handprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater. No restoration comparison, no interviews, no deleted scenes, and no commentary. Pretty disappointing when considering what an icon Marilyn is, even today. The one other oddity is that on the back of the case, the photo of "Marilyn" from "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" doesn't even look like Marilyn; either it's another model or she is so heavily photoshopped that it just doesn't look like her. A minor quibble. At least Fox seemed to put their best foot forward on the quality of the picture and sound, which truly is the bottom line for this release. If you're not familiar with the story, here it is in a nutshell. Jane Russell (playing Dorothy) & Marilyn (as Lorelei) are two showgirls looking for love. Dorothy is single, and Lorelei is tied to a nerdy man (played perfectly by Tommy Noonan) worth millions. Unfortunately, her boyfriend's dad doesn't approve of the relationship. In order to make his heart grow fonder, Lorelei separates herself from her honey by taking a cruise with Dorothy. Unbeknownst to the girls, the dad has the two followed by a detective. Dorothy falls for the detective which throws a wrench into the whole proceedings.

A number of memorable musical numbers by Russell ("Anyone Here For Love?") and Monroe ("Diamonds"). These two make a great combo, as you can really feel a genuine friendship with their on-screen chemistry. Highly recommended as one of Marilyn's most entertaining movies!


Marilyn & Me: A Photographer's Memories
Marilyn & Me: A Photographer's Memories
by Lawrence Schiller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.04
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet, June 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For those who are disappointed that this is not a lush photography laden coffee table book, read the description and look at the price. If you've read the Vanity Fair article, then there isn't a burning reason to buy this book, unless you want to have this as part of your collection. If you haven't read the excerpt from VF and you're an admirer of Marilyn, then you should definitely get Larry Schiller's short but extremely insightful memoir.

Schiller worked with her on two memorable occasions which this book documents. Despite it's short length, it is probably one of the most three-dimensional depictions of Marilyn that I have ever read. In their brief conversations, Schiller is able to flesh out the many sides of Marilyn...both good and bad. You can see the negatives and positives of her entourage and friends. Without delving into unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, Schiller is able to give the facts that he knew personally and leaves the rest up to the reader. Marilyn was a somewhat complex character; thanks to this book, the reader learns what her motivations where at the end of her life; her joys, her disappointments, and her fears. True, there are only a handful of photos (all black and white), but each one is a gem that captures Marilyn and her multi-faceted personality. Schiller brings her back to life through words and photos as no other writer has in the past.

Job well done!


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