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The Classic Musicals Collection: Broadway to Hollywood (Easter Parade Two Disc Special Edition / The Band Wagon Two Disc Special Edition / Bells Are Ringing / Finian's Rainbow / Brigadoon)

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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(Mar 15, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Classic Musicals Collection, The: Broadway to Hollywood (DVD) (5-Pack)

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Broadway to Hollywood: The Classic Musicals Collection is a five-film set of fondly remembered, mostly MGM musicals: Easter Parade (1948), The Band Wagon (1953), Bells Are Ringing (1960), Finian's Rainbow (Warner, 1968), and Brigadoon (1954). Four of the films are making their DVD debut, all are available separately (for a higher price), and the two best films, Easter Parade and The Band Wagon, come in two-disc special editions complete with commentary tracks, new and vintage documentaries, and musical outtakes. Both of those films star Fred Astaire following his return from premature retirement. Easter Parade is a Pygmalion-like tale of a Vaudeville veteran (Astaire) who attempts to develop an act with a small-timer (Judy Garland) after his partner (Ann Miller) leaves him. Favorite songs include the title tune, "Steppin' Out with My Baby," and "We're a Couple of Swells." The Band Wagon was a sort of career retrospective for Astaire, as he plays an aging film star trying to resurrect his career by returning to the Broadway stage. Costars include Cyd Charisse, Jack Buchanan, Oscar Levant, and Nanette Fabray, and favorite numbers include "Dancing in the Dark," "By Myself," "Triplets," and "A Shine on Your Shoes."

Bells Are Ringing is a charmingly dated Vincente Minnelli film starring Judy Holliday, in a reprise of her Tony-winning Broadway role as an employee at an answering service who finds herself falling for a client (Dean Martin). Favorite songs include "Just in Time" and "The Party's Over." Finian's Rainbow is a bloated oddity directed by a young Francis Ford Coppola and starring Astaire as a leprechaun and '60s pop icon Petula Clark as his daughter. It does have some great songs, however, including "How Are Things in Glocca Mora," "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love," and "Old Devil Moon." Brigadoon has been out on DVD twice before, but appears now in its best version yet, remastered, anamorphically enhanced, and with musical outtakes. It stars Gene Kelly and Van Johnson as Americans who stumble across a Scottish village that only appears on Earth one day every 100 years, which is a problem when Kelly falls in love with one of its residents (Cyd Charisse). Favorite songs include "Almost Like Being in Love," "The Heather on the Hill," and "I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean."

While none of the films in the Broadway to Hollywood collection are absolutely top-tier MGM (and Astaire, Garland, and Kelly all made better films in their careers), all have their charms and are welcome additions to the DVD catalog. Trivia note: The title of the set isn't 100% correct. Easter Parade did not originate as a Broadway musical, but Tommy Tune made an unsuccessful attempt to adapt the movie into a Broadway show in the late 1990s. --David Horiuchi


Special Features

  • Includes:
  • The Band Wagon (Two Disc Special Edition)
  • Commentary by Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein
  • New digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements
  • New making-of documentary: "Get Aboard! The Band Wagon"
  • Vintage documentary: "The Men Who Made the Movies: Vincente Minnelli"
  • Outtake musical number: Two Faced Woman, plus dailies
  • Musical short: Jack Buchanan with the Glee Quartet
  • Astaire trailer gallery
  • Easter Parade (Two Disc Special Edition)
  • Commentary by Fred Astaire's daughter Ava Astaire and Judy Garland biographer John Fricke
  • New making-of documentary: "Easter Parade: Beyond the Avenue"
  • American Masters documentary profile: "Judy Garland: By Myself"
  • Outtake musical number: Mr. Monotony
  • Audio-only bonuses: radio production with the film's stars
  • Radio promo
  • Garland trailer gallery
  • Bells Are Ringing
  • New featurette: "Bells Are Ringing: Just in Time"
  • Outtake musical numbers: Is It a Crime? and My Guiding Star
  • Alternate take of The Midas Touch
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Finian's Rainbow
  • New introduction and commentary by Francis Ford Coppoloa
  • Featurette: The World Premiere of Finian's Rainbow
  • Brigadoon
  • New 16x9 digital transfer (2.55)
  • Three outtake musical numbers: Come to Me Bend to Me, From This Day On, Sword Dance
  • Audio outtake: There But for You Go I

Product Details

  • Actors: Fred Astaire, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 594 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007939PW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,139 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Classic Musicals Collection: Broadway to Hollywood (Easter Parade Two Disc Special Edition / The Band Wagon Two Disc Special Edition / Bells Are Ringing / Finian's Rainbow / Brigadoon)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
THE BAND WAGON is (along with SINGIN' IN THE RAIN) my favorite musical of all time. Coming in a close second is EASTER PARADE. Warner Bros. has applied their amazing Ultra-Resolution technology to these two films, to bring out their TECHNICOLOR brilliance.

If you saw what WB did with GWTW, MEET ME IN ST LOUIS or SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, you know we're in for a treat!

But it doesn't stop there...

THE BAND WAGON has a commentary by the director's daughter...this girl named Liza, and a new documentary about the making of the film, and a documentary about her amazing father, and a Vitaphone short with Jack Buchanan, AND the deleted song TWO-FACED WOMAN. Add to this a new 5.1 stereo soundtrack, and you're in BAND WAGON heaven!

Then we get to EASTER PARADE, the quintessential Hollywood favorite with Judy Garland at her best teaming up with the amazing Astaire. The extras here include Fred's daughter on commentary along with the foremost Garland author John Fricke, a gallery of Astaire trailers, a docu on the making of EASTER PARADE and best of all, the amazing PBS Biographical epic that was created by American Masters last year, JUDY GARLAND: BY MYSELF (it won a boatload of Emmy Awards).

OK. So if that was all WB was giving us in this box, I'd be going nuts, but they don't stop there.

We also get a brand spankin' new 16x9 transfer of BELLS ARE RINGING with Judy Holliday re-creating her stage triumph, along with Dean Martin, a 5.1 soundtrack, outtakes, a new docu, and more...

..and then Francis Ford Coppola personally guides us through one of his earliest works, as Astaire stars with Pet Clark in FINIAN'S RAINBOW, for the first time on DVD, with a 16x9 transfer, and 5.1 audio and director commentary, and premiere footage...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Warner has been doing a magnificent job of using the latest picture resolution process to restore and/or polish up their best movies; and again they do not disappoint! Warner Home Video truly hits a home run and does the incredible with this boxed set of five of the greatest musicals of all time! The set is well presented with excellent digital transfer, wonderful sound and a bevy of sublime extras.

The Band Wagon (which itself is a two DVD special edition) stars Fred Astaire as an older entertainer trying to be successful again in show business. Things do not go well: he doesn't like the director; there aren't fancy dance scenes that he prefers to perform and he has to dance with a ballerina! The show is unpopular and Fred's character Tony Hunter saves the day using his superior technique and know-how. The extras are wonderful! Liza Minnelli (whose Dad, Vincente Minnelli, did an excellent job as director of the picture) and Michael Feinstein provide an engaging commentary. There are also two documentaries: "Get Aboard! The Band Wagon" about the making of the movie and an older expose entitled "The Men Who Made the Movies: Vincente Minnelli." You won't regret these-they are excellent and very informative! SMILE There's also the outtake musical number of Two Faced Women. Very good! For Astaire fans there's an Astaire trailer collection and even a musical short of Jack Buchanan with the Glee Quartet. I was particularly pleased with the fine commentary Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein give here.

The other two disc special edition is of the MGM classic Easter Parade. Wow! This has always been one of my very favorite musicals.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The wonderful folks at Warner Home Video have outdone themselves recently with several amazing boxed sets of great films. We now have definitive batches of the best of Film Noir, Classic Comedy, Gangster Films--and this beauty, my favorite so far. The sheer brilliance of the technical work that went into restoring these classic musicals is reason enough to pounce on Amazon's bargain price while it lasts.

What can you say about the films themselves that hasn't already been said? THE BAND WAGON is the crown jewel here, of course, but the others are excellent. EASTER PARADE is terrific. BELLS ARE RINGING, though not the strongest story or score around, has B'way legend (and Oscar-winner) Judy Holliday in her final star vehicle. And BRIGADOON has all that dancing in the heather, not to mention the stunning score of Lerner & Loewe.

For me, the most pleasant surprise in the box is FINIAN'S RAINBOW. I'm familiar with all the other titles here, but I'd never really looked at this one all the way through before, and it's visually impressive and surprisingly charming. Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele, Don Francks, and an energetic supporting cast of singer/dancers do wonders with the dated story and timeless score. And young Francis Ford Coppola had some fresh and interesting visual ideas (montage, cross-cutting, swooping aerial shots, etc.) to keep it all humming along. Coppola is unnecessarily self-effacing throughout his commentary track--he has no reason to apologize. With its restored widescreen picture and 5.1 stereo soundtrack, this film is really quite beautiful.

All in all, this is yet another must-have collection for all serious film buffs. Thanks again, Warner Home Video!
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