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Lucille Ball Film Collection (Dance Girl Dance / The Big Street / Du Barry Was a Lady / Critic's Choice / Mame)

4.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lucille Ball Film, The Collection (DVD)

Big Street: Haughty nightclub singer Gloria Lyons (Lucille Ball) doesn't have time for the little people, including Little Pinks (Henry Fonda), the busboy who adores her. Then Gloria is paralyzed when a mobster knocks her down the stairs, and those little people are the only ones who help her. Critic's Choice: Tossing inspired throwaway lines right and left, Hope is a New York critic who loves writing pointed reviews that close insufferably lousy plays. But there's a new play in town – by his redheaded wife (Ball). Dance Girl Dance: Bubbles (Lucille Ball) loves to dance. But she also likes to eat. Her friend Judy (Maureen O'Hara) may choose to suffer for her art, but not Bubbles. She swap hers balletshoes for a G-string...and turns patrons' fantasies into dollars as burlesque sensation Tiger Lily White. Dubarry Was a Lady: Hapless nightclub hat check boy Red Skelton loves glamorous chanteuse Lucille Ball. Handsome hoofer Gene Kelly loves her too. But Lucy only loves money. Then Red mistakenly gulps down a Mickey Finn, dreams he's in 18th-century France and before you can powder your wig, a throng of suitors fall in love with Lucy! Mame: Lucille Ball brings star sparkle to the title role, a high-living grande dame who's outlandishly eccentric and, when suddenly faced with raising an orphaned nephew, fiercely loving. Veterans of the New York stage original join her: Beatrice Arthur as best friend Vera, Jane Connell as prim governess Agnes, choreographer Onna White and director Gene Saks.



Offering an abundance of vintage Hollywood entertainment, the five films included in The Lucille Ball Film Collection cover a broad spectrum of Lucy's movie career, from one of her most prominent early roles to her final big-screen appearance. Long before she became an icon of TV sitcoms, Lucy had moved from New York to Hollywood in 1933, appearing in a variety of mostly uncredited showgirl roles in over 40 films before getting her first big break in the 1937 classic Stage Door (not included in this set). Lucy's star quickly began to rise, and by the time she played sassy nightclub singer "Tiger Lily White" in 1940's Dance, Girl, Dance, she was holding her own with such famous costars as Maureen O'Hara and Ralph Bellamy. Noteworthy as an early feminist comedy directed by Dorothy Arzner (one of the only women to break into the male-dominated profession of Hollywood directors), it's a fun and fascinating film that helped to establish Lucy's persona as a fiery, independent entertainer. That image was pushed to extremes in The Big Street (1942), an oddly enjoyable comedy/melodrama in which Lucy and Henry Fonda are cast against type--she as a selfish, unlikable nightclub diva, and he as the doting busboy who devotes himself to her when she's badly injured by her villainous boss. A year later, Lucy starred with Red Skelton and Gene Kelly in Du Barry Was a Lady, a lavish and still-delightful MGM musical comedy that was Lucy's first film in color--and the first to feature the blazing red hair (recommended by legendary Hollywood stylist Sydney Guilaroff) that became one of Lucy's most beloved and readily identifiable features.

By the time Lucy played a middle-aged playwright in Critic's Choice (1963), she'd become one of TV's most beloved and successful comediennes, and her film career was clearly winding down. Critic's Choice was a fitting follow-up to 1960's The Facts of Life, reuniting Lucy with four-time costar Bob Hope in an upscale comedy/drama that was noteworthy for its progressive depiction of divorced and remarried sophisticates in New York City. A decade later, Lucy chose the ill-fated Mame (1974) for what would prove to be her final big-screen appearance. Despite brutal reviews that focused on Lucy being too old for the title role (originated on Broadway by Angela Lansbury), Mame has survived its bad reputation to become one of Hollywood's most popular high-camp misfires, with Lucy's eccentric and lavishly costumed character gaining a loyal following (especially in the gay community) as a colorful inspiration for female impersonators. In some ways it's a fitting end to Lucy's big-screen career; she always gave maximum effort against considerable odds, and The Lucille Ball Film Collection is a testament to Lucy's show-biz tenacity. --Jeff Shannon

On the DVDs
Each of the DVDs in The Lucille Ball Film Collection is accompanied by bonus features culled from the extensive Warner Bros. archives. As with many of WB's DVD boxed sets, these bonus features consist of featurettes and cartoons that are chronologically matched (in most cases) to the feature presentations, offering a home-video approximation of what it was like to attend these films in their original theatrical context. (See reviews of each individual title for specific bonus-feature details.) For the long-awaited DVD release of Mame, Warner Bros. technicians attempted to create a new stereo soundtrack mix, but this ultimately proved technically impossible due to the variable quality of the original recording elements, so the film is presented with the mono soundtrack of its original theatrical release. As always with WB releases, picture and sound quality is uniformly superb, especially in preserving the brilliant Technicolor of Du Barry Was a Lady. Of particular value among the bonus features, the DVD of Critic's Choice breaks from strict chronology with "Calling All Tars," a 1936 Vitaphone short featuring one of Bob Hope's earliest screen appearances, and the Oscar-nominated cartoon "Now Hear This" (1962), directed in abstract-art style by legendary Warner Bros. animator Chuck Jones. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Includes:
  • The Big Street (1942)
  • Vintage musical short "Calling All Girls"
  • Classic cartoon "The Hep Cat"
  • B&W, 1.33
  • Critic's Choice (1963)
  • Vintage comedy short "Calling All Tars" with Bob Hope
  • Oscar-nominated cartoon "Now Hear This"
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Color, 2.35
  • Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
  • Vintage comedy short "Just a Cute Kid"
  • Classic cartoon "Malibu Beach Party"
  • Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)
  • Oscar-nominated Pete Smith specialty short "Seeing Hands"
  • Classic cartoon "Bah Wilderness"
  • Color, 1.33
  • Mame (1974)
  • Vintage featurette "Lucky Mame"

Product Details

  • Actors: Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Gene Kelly, Henry Fonda, Bob Hope
  • Format: NTSC, Black & White, Color, Closed-captioned, Box set, Full Screen, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 509 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OCY7V2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,429 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lucille Ball Film Collection (Dance Girl Dance / The Big Street / Du Barry Was a Lady / Critic's Choice / Mame)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susan W. Sager on May 13, 2007
Format: DVD
This is a GREAT collection to own and a must have for any Lucy fan! With this collection you will receive 5 movies starring Lucille Ball's most popular film adaption. You will be amazed to see the true acting ability of Lucy here.

Some of the films here are somewhat of a opposite to Lucille Ball's role on "I Love Lucy" but some are very similar to "I Love Lucy" in my opinion. Take "The Big Street" for instance, High class Gloria (Lucille Ball) was a bit cruel and mean to a poor man named pinks who falls head over heels in love with her and will do anything to please her at the end she begins to fall for him too. A must see dramatic film!!

You will see Lucille Ball like you have never seen her before and these movies are not boring at all but they are really good interesting movies that you will not lose interest in. I am somewhat shy of old films and find them boring but I can watch anything with Lucille Ball and you will love these films!

"Lucille Ball Film Collection" includes:

"The Big Street" - Ex-chanteuse Gloria is vain, cruel, crippled - and busboy Pinks can't help but love her. Ball and Henry Fonda power Damon Runyon's tale of Broadway denizens living on life's margins.

"Critic's Choice" - That's no playwright, that's my wife. Poison-penned Broadway critic Bob Hope loves wife Lucille Ball...but hates the play she writes. Based on the play by "Deathtrap's" Ira Levin.

Dance, Girl, Dance" - Art doesn't pay the bills. So aspiring ballerina Ball makes her way as a burlesque star in this powerful study of being a woman in a man's world. With Maureen O'Hara.

"Dubarry Was A Lady" - Their friendship is a perfect musical-comedy blendship!
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For any Lucille Ball fan or true film buff, this 5 dvd set is a must. Of course, when Lucille was mixed with the character of Lucy an entity was created that will live on forever and never be replaced.

But this is Lucille Ball the actress and it is amazing to see her through all different phases of her career. With DANCE, GIRL DANCE she was a very famous B actress who got cast with the A list and had no idea what her future held.

THE BIG STREET is a 100 % dramatic Lucille fully letting loose. Beautiful, strong and just plain cruel - this role is a tour-de-force. The gossips try to say that Henry Fonda hated working with her and criticized her acting style but then why would he return to her blessed company in YOURS, MINE AND OURS.

Some dis CRITIC'S CHOICE but I find it very entertaining to see her portray a regular middle aged woman. I find the film very funny and her portayal very believable and so far removed from Lucy.

MAME - all I can say is her much critized singing voice brings a true presence to her portrayal. She is lovely and has such fun. The main production number is so lovely it will bring you to tears. WE NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS is a true display of joy. And I will forever say that I found the second half of this film to be some of her best dramatic acting ever.

These films are only in 1.0 sound but it still sounds great and the video transfers are crysal clear.

I think you can tell I love Lucy !!!!!!!! Actually, who doesn't. And whether you love all or some of these films she still brings her unique quality to each. Purchase this set and enjoy !!!!!
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Lucille Ball had an unusual career; she toiled for a long time before becoming a second-string star at RKO in the late 1930s, then she went to MGM where she was featured in some of their bigger musicals, but she became a star of modestly-budgeted features at a variety of studios (UA, 20th Century Fox, Columbia) from the mid-1940s, until she hit pay-dirt as a comedy star on television in the early 1950s. These five films show her at various stages of her evolution. DANCE GIRL DANCE and THE BIG STREET show her at her best as an actress in these two RKO features (reviewing her performance in THE BIG STREET, James Agee would note that she attacked her part in THE BIG STREET as if it were sirloin and she didn't care who's looking); DANCE GIRL DANCE has become a staple of feminist film studies because it is one of the films directed by Dorothy Arzner, who was the only woman director during the heyday of the studio system. DU BARRY WAS A LADY was a big, lavish MGM musical in which Ball stars (looking glorious in Technicolor) with Red Skelton and Gene Kelly; she's terrific. CRITIC'S CHOICE is a comedy made after Ball's ascendancy as a TV comedy icon; she's well-paired with Bob Hope here, and it is clever and charming. For those four films, this is a worthwhile collection.
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This is a pretty good collection honoring Lucille Ball's motion picture work in various decades of her long career. She looks beautiful in "Dubarry...". The movie is dated but, she looks so glam. The film was made mostly just to promote MGM's Technicolor process of color filming. By the time "Critic's Choice" was made, Miss Ball was just past 50 years old. Heavy makeup and careful camera lensing makes her look about 15 years younger than she actually was. Ironically, the woman playing her mother in the film was about the same age as Lucy. "Mame" should have starred Angela Lansbury. But, Ball wanted to follow up her 1968 hit, "Yours, Mine and Ours" with a major film project. So, she secured rights to "Mame". Aside from her singing, the film is OK. She looks great thanks to her makeup team and Vaseline closeups. Nice campy moments. Glam clothes! "Big Street" is her best film of all that starred her.
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