Pin-Up Girl

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Overview

Fox Video has tried to do right by H. Bruce Humberstone's Pin-Up Girl 1944, starring Betty Grable, released as part of its "Marquee Musicals" series, and as far as the film-to-video transfer goes they've succeeded admirably on this DVD. Pin-Up Girl was available on laserdisc at the end of the 1980s, in a transfer that featured over-saturated, bleeding reds throughout, among other problems -- fortunately, the DVD has none of those flaws and is a pleasure to look at, and that goes double for the production numbers....
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Overview

Fox Video has tried to do right by H. Bruce Humberstone's Pin-Up Girl 1944, starring Betty Grable, released as part of its "Marquee Musicals" series, and as far as the film-to-video transfer goes they've succeeded admirably on this DVD. Pin-Up Girl was available on laserdisc at the end of the 1980s, in a transfer that featured over-saturated, bleeding reds throughout, among other problems -- fortunately, the DVD has none of those flaws and is a pleasure to look at, and that goes double for the production numbers. The movie has been appended with a deleted musical number, "This Is It," which isn't nearly as good as the song that was used, and is also kitted out with a bonus commentary track by critic Richard Schickel. The latter feature may be the only weak link in the package. Schickel is too cerebral by more than half in discussing the movie, and also neglects discussion of some beautiful musical numbers choreographed by Hermes Pan in favor of a leisurely and loose-fitting discussion that delves into plot and some social analysis most of which isn't much more than explaining the obvious along with film history. He's great discussing the career of the director, aspects of Grable's career, or the curious evolution of the movie, but otherwise he quickly becomes a lot more boring than anything in the movie, eventually trying to discuss plot elements that he admits he doesn't understand; it's as though he has nothing to say but keeps talking, although at least he stays on point in terms of attempting to stick with what's on the screen. Some recent commentaries on wartime musicals, such as that on Warner's Cabin in the Sky, are worse, but this one also rambles away from elements that are well worth discussing, and he shows a highly myopic outlook on Martha Raye's career, describing her as a "one-picture immortal" based on her work in Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux. That may be her classiest movie, but her her most widely seen and enduring work, in movies, at least, was probably as the twin sisters in the Abbott & Costello feature Keep 'Em Flying, which has been reshown for decades. The other major bonus feature is a pair of trailers from other musicals in this DVD release cycle, Daddy Long Legs letterboxed and Weekend in Havana. The full-screen image 1.33:1 is a delight to the eye especially in the musical segments, and the audio has been mastered at a very healthy volume. The 83-minute film has been given an extremely generous 24 chapters. The disc opens automatically on a very easy-to-use multi-layered menu that allows the viewer to move between bonus features and wander about a bit without losing one's place in the film itself. It's all enjoyable, and the best presentation that the movie has had in 60 years, at least as far as the viewing of the film itself. Let's just hope that when the studio gets around to its really bold, challenging, and important musicals, such as The Gang's All Here 1943, that they get all their cylinders firing at once and everyone rowing their best in the same direction.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary by film historian/author Richard Schickel; Still photo gallery; Deleted scene: Never-before-seen musical number "This Is It"; Original theatrical trailer; Collectible lobby cards
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Pin-Up Girl is an awfully thin little musical, even for star Betty Grable, who rarely got vehicles that were worthy of her talents. Even more disappointing is the fact that Pin-Up, starring the most famous pin-up girl of her time, fails to deliver on the promise of its title: Grable is rarely given the chance to show off her fine physical assets, primarily due to the fact that she was pregnant at the time of filming. As is often the case with Grable films, the musical numbers have to carry the picture and while the songs themselves are not especially distinguished, Grable makes the absolute most out of them and forces even the duller ones into something to see. Of special interest is the "Once Too Often" sequence, notable for the appearance of Fred Astaire choreographer Hermes Pan, who performs a semi-apache dance with Grable that's a definite highlight. As her co-star, John Harvey is a bit too insubstantial, and comics Martha Raye and Joe E. Brown use their generous-sized mouths to try for as many laughs as they can, but don't have the material to garner much success. Pin-Up isn't awful, but there's not much aside from Grable (and Pan) to recommend it.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/21/2006
  • UPC: 024543224822
  • Original Release: 1944
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:23:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Betty Grable Lorry Jones
John Harvey Tommy Dooley
Martha Raye Marian
Joe E. Brown Eddie
Eugene Pallette Barney Briggs
Skating Vanities Themselves
Dorothea Kent Kay
Dave Willock Dud Miller
The Condos Brothers Specialty Dancer
Robert E. Homans Stage Doorman
Marcel Dalio Headwaiter
Roger Clark George
Leon Belasco Captain of Waiters
Irving Bacon Window Cleaner
Walter Tetley Messenger Boy
Ruth Warren Scrubwoman
Max Willenz Waiter
Mantan Moreland
Charles Moore Redcap
John Farrell MacDonald Trainman
Hermes Pan
Lillian Porter Cigarette Girl
Charles Spivak Himself
Angela Blue Specialty Dancer
Technical Credits
H. Bruce Humberstone Director
Earl W. Baldwin Screenwriter
William Le Baron Producer
James Basevi Art Director
Robert Ellis Screenwriter
Charles Henderson Musical Direction/Supervision
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Helen Logan Screenwriter
Emil Newman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Ernest Palmer Cinematographer
Hermes Pan Choreography
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Robert L. Simpson Editor
Joseph C. Wright Art Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Pin-Up Girl
1. Main Titles [2:04]
2. You're My Little Pin Up Girl [4:00]
3. You're My Little Pin Up Girl (The Condos Brothers) [1:40]
4. The Protest of Company B [:10]
5. Train to Washington [1:02]
6. Time Alone Will Tell [4:46]
7. Maintaining the Lie [1:12]
8. Red Ribbons, Bobwhites, and Bluebirds [2:35]
9. Lorry's Tall Tale [2:51]
10. Don't Carry Tales Out of School [3:01]
11. Sweet on Lorry [4:13]
12. Meeting with Chief Briggs [2:16]
13. In Love [:09]
14. Moonlight Picnic [2:47]
15. Yankee Doodle Hayride [2:52]
16. Yankee Doodle Hayride (The Condos Brothers) [1:32]
17. Big Break [3:29]
18. Once Too Often [3:14]
19. George's Arrival [1:34]
20. Dear Tommy [2:39]
21. At the Club Diplomacy [2:50]
22. Don't Carry Tales Out of School (Reprise) [1:48]
23. The Story of the Very Merry Widow [:26]
24. Cadence/End Titles [2:28]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Pin-Up Girl
   Play
   Scene Selection
   Language Selection
      Languages
         English Mono
         English Stereo
      Subtitles
         English
         Spanish
         None
      Commentary by Richard Schickel
   Special Features
      Commentary by Richard Schickel: On/Off
      Marquee Musicals
         Pin Up Girl
         Daddy Long Legs
         Week-End In Havana
      Deleted Scene
         "This Is It"
      Still Gallery
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Customer Reviews

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