Sweet Charity

Sweet Charity

Director: Bob Fosse

Cast: Bob Fosse, Shirley MacLaine, John McMartin, Ricardo Montalban

     
 

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Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity (1969) has arrived on DVD in a nicely produced if not overly ambitious edition from Universal. The film has been transferred very cleanly in its proper anamorphic aspect ratio (2.35:1), giving Robert Surtees' cinematography the best showcase that it's had since the original release. The volume has been set slightly low, but not so much

Overview

Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity (1969) has arrived on DVD in a nicely produced if not overly ambitious edition from Universal. The film has been transferred very cleanly in its proper anamorphic aspect ratio (2.35:1), giving Robert Surtees' cinematography the best showcase that it's had since the original release. The volume has been set slightly low, but not so much so that it can't be fixed with a simple volume adjustment. Otherwise, the movie has been treated well, mastered with the overture from its original reserved-seat-engagement release (this was one of the very last films released that way), although the 16 chapters seem a little skimpy for a 153-minute film. The bonus features include the original trailer and a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes made at the time of the movie's release. "From the Stage to the Screen -- A Director's Dilemma" is a 1969 behind-the-scenes account of the production featuring lots of footage of director Bob Fosse at work and mostly explaining how the first-time film director approached the project. "The Art of Exaggeration" is a documentary hosted by Edith Head, the legendary costume designer, who walks us through her work on the movie and the logic behind it. The first short is good, but the second is delightful. Head shows us a succession of costume tests, most of which were, themselves, set to music in order to give all concerned a better idea of how the costumes would look in the context of the score as well as the shots for which they were needed. The supplements are all full-screen (1.33:1) and are a little bit faded toward red, in contrast to the well-preserved feature film. The disc opens on a simple two-layer four-selection menu (including French- and Spanish-language audio and subtitles) that is easy to use and maneuver around.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hal Erickson
Most of the Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields songs in Sweet Charity remain intact: the best of these include "Big Spender," "If They Could See Me Now," "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This," and the rousing "I'm a Brass Band," cinematized on an epic scale courtesy of choreographer/director Bob Fosse (who staged the original Broadway production, which starred his then-wife Gwen Verdon). A few curious changes are made in the score, notably a completely new (and not altogether successful) arrangement of the title number. Also, Neil Simon's libretto has been laundered and sentimentalized for the family trade, robbing us of the play's deliciously cynical ending. Otherwise, the film is an underrated gem, wholly undeserving of its bad reputation (though admittedly, its unexpectedly poor box-office take did nearly ruin Universal Pictures). The supporting cast includes Chita Rivera and Paula Kelly as Charity's sarcastic co-workers, Stubby Kaye as dance-hall proprietor Herman (who displays an unexpected lovable streak in the song "I Love to Cry at Weddings," Sammy Davis Jr. as phony guru Big Daddy Brubeck (his show-stopping production number "Rhythm of Life" has no bearing whatsoever on the plot, but who cares?), and a whole slew of stars-to-be among the dancers and singers, including Ben Vereen, Chelsea Brown and Toni Basil.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/04/2003
UPC:
0025192261626
Original Release:
1969
Rating:
G
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Time:
2:33:00
Sales rank:
6,406

Special Features

Closed Caption; Alternate ending; "Sweet Charity - From the Stage to the Screen" featurette; "Edith Head's Costume Design: The Art of Exaggeration" featurette; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Shirley MacLaine Charity
John McMartin Oscar
Ricardo Montalban Vittorio
Sammy Davis Big Daddy
Chita Rivera Nickie
Paula Kelly Helene
Stubby Kaye Herman
Barbara Bouchet Ursula
Leon Alton Actor
Toni Basil Actor
Larry Billman Actor
Chelsea Brown Actor
Lonnie Burr Actor
Jeff Burton Policeman
Kathryn Doby Actor
Roy Fitzell Actor
Carlton Johnson 'Rhythm of Life' dancer
Lance Le Gault Actor
Jerry Mann Actor
Joseph Mell Man on Bridge
Chet Stratton Waiter
Ben Vereen Actor
Lorene Yarnell Frog Dancer
Adele Yoshioka Dancers in "Big Spender" Number
Charles Brewer Young Man on Bridge
Herman Boden Actor
Richard Angarola Maitre d'
Henry Beckman Cop
Ceil Cabot Married woman
Dee Carroll Woman on tandem
Suzanne Charney Lead frog dancer
John Craig Man in Fandango Ballroom
Alfred Dennis Waiter at Chile Hacienda
Dante DiPaolo Charlie
David Gold Panhandler
Bill Harrison Baseball Player
Buddy Hart Baseball player
Sharon Harvey Young Woman on Btidge
Tom Hatten Man on tandem
Alan Hewitt Nicholsby
Nolan Leary Manfred
Diki Lerner Man with dog on bridge
Buddy Lewis Appliance salesman
Alma Platt Lady with hat on bridge
Maudie Prickett Nurse on bridge
Phillip Terry Doorman
Roger Til Greeter at Pompeii Club
John Wheeler 'Rhythm of Life' dancer
Jerry Trent Actor

Technical Credits
Bob Fosse Director,Choreography
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
Robert Arthur Producer
Cy Coleman Score Composer
Federico Fellini Screenwriter
Dorothy Fields Score Composer,Screenwriter
Ennio Flaiano Screenwriter
Joseph E. Gershenson Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Stuart Gilmore Editor
Douglas Green Asst. Director
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack D. Moore Set Decoration/Design
Ronald Pierce Sound/Sound Designer
Tullio Pinelli Screenwriter
William Russell Sound/Sound Designer
Neil Simon Screenwriter
Peter Stone Screenwriter
Robert Surtees Cinematographer
Waldon O. Watson Sound/Sound Designer
George C. Webb Art Director
Bud Westmore Makeup

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Overture
2. Main Titles
3. My Personal Property
4. Hey, Big Spender
5. The Rich Man's Frug
6. If My Friends Could See Me Now
7. There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This
8. It's a Nice Face
9. Intermission
10. Act II
11. The Rhythm of Life
12. Sweet Charity
13. I'm a Brass Band
14. I Love to Cry at Weddings
15. Where Am I Going?
16. End Titles

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