The Gang's All Here

Overview

The June 2008 FoxVideo DVD of The Gang's All Here -- issued both separately and as part of The Carmen Miranda Collection, and distinguished in its cover art by the bright red circular graphic behind the title in bright yellow, and the cast names down the right -- is a major improvement on the February 2007 DVD of the same movie (also from FoxVideo, as part of The Alice Faye Collection). Indeed, those owning the 2007 version are advised, in the strongest possible terms, to junk those discs, and certainly never to ...
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Overview

The June 2008 FoxVideo DVD of The Gang's All Here -- issued both separately and as part of The Carmen Miranda Collection, and distinguished in its cover art by the bright red circular graphic behind the title in bright yellow, and the cast names down the right -- is a major improvement on the February 2007 DVD of the same movie (also from FoxVideo, as part of The Alice Faye Collection). Indeed, those owning the 2007 version are advised, in the strongest possible terms, to junk those discs, and certainly never to bother looking at them again. Apparently, Fox has gone back a better source, or used a more careful transfer of the same source, but however they did it, most of the problems that plagued the earlier DVD have been solved. From the opening credits -- which looked a little dupey on the 2007 disc -- everything is sharper and crisper. And from the opening shot of the movie, all of the colors are significantly brighter and cleaner. The yellows now leap out off the screen, as do most of the colors (and many of the textures, of skin, clothes etc.), and the clarity and overall brightness of the picture has been improved significantly. Side-by-side there is no comparison between the two disc editions, and the newer one delights where the older on disappointed. It's still possible to take issue with some of the flesh-tones, and there is some modest variation to the color, but overall the 2008 disc runs circles around the earlier one -- ideally, one would do a full restoration, but that's not possible, as the original nitrate materials on this movie are apparently long-gone. But absent a theatrical screening of one of the surviving 35mm Technicolor prints struck in the 1970's of this movie, this is probably the best representation of The Gang's All Here that we're ever likely to see. FoxVideo deserves criticism for getting it right the second time, rather than the first, but also praise for taking a second bite at the apple and getting it just about right this time. All of the important bonus materials from the 2007 disc are also present on the 2008 release. Among those, the featurette "Busby Berkeley: A Journey With a Star" is a fine account of the legendary choreographer's career up through this movie, which in many ways marked the culmination of his work as a filmmaker and choreographer. This short bio is very nicely done, and beautifully put together, keying every discussion to superb visuals from the film at hand, including deliberate deconstructions of the special-effects shots. And as an extra-special bonus, the makers have included with the deleted sequences from the film an exceptionally funny scene from the last past of the movie involving Dave Willock, Phil Baker, Eugene Pallette, Charlotte Greenwood, Edward Everett Horton, and Carmen Miranda that also manages to spoof early 1940s radio quiz programs, and adds an extra twist (and final punch line) to two jokes from earlier in the picture. There's also a commentary track by Drew Casper, delving into some of the background on the movie, its maker, and its stars. The other major bonus feature consists of two installments of the Phil Harris radio show featuring Alice Faye. There's also a short film from later in her life, featuring a long-retired Faye, which was prepared to be used in tandem with her appearances on behalf of a pharmaceutical company; and a still gallery. Conspicuous by its absence from this disc is a before-and-after restoration comparison of the movie, which did appear on the older disc. All of these features are accessible through a multi-layered menu that opens automatically on start-up.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by film professor Drew Casper; Exclusive featurettes: Busby Berkeley: A Journey With a Star, Alice Faye's Last Film: We Still Are!; The Phil Harris - Alice Fay Show episodes; Deleted scenes; Original theatrical trailer; Still photo galleries
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
As with most musical comedies intended as morale boosters during World War II, The Gang's All Here has lots of "plot" of the romantic sort, but not much story. Director and choreographer Busby Berkeley, in his only Fox film and his first film in Technicolor, not only gets the camera moving in directions and from angles that seem impossible to emulate in real life, but twists the two-dimensional space of the screen and the three-dimensional space of the sets into new shapes. The camera sometimes seems to swing around through 360 degrees, presenting musical numbers on a stage that, at various moments, seems to stretch into infinity, and grow in several directions that wouldn't seem to leave room for any audience, yet somehow manage to. Coupled with Carmen Miranda's outsized personality and a lot of still-very-amusing comic bits by Edward Everett Horton, Charlotte Greenwood (who dances up a storm in one scene), comedian and radio personality Phil Baker, and Eugene Pallette (aided by some amazingly accurate studio recreations of New York streets, Grand Central Station, and the Staten Island Ferry), the film keeps us moving, laughing, and humming, and also tapping our feet to the beat of Benny Goodman's orchestra. Berkeley's use of special effects in the service of dance is extraordinary -- gravity seems to disappear at various points, strange, unearthly rings surround performers in mid-air, and nightclubs interiors suddenly lose their walls and ceilings and even their stages, which suddenly become bigger than any building that they could seemingly ever contain them. What makes it all even more amazing to modern viewers is that Berkeley did all of this for real -- on the soundstage, with cranes and lighting, shifting sets, invisible mountings, and using devices as simple as phosphorescent hula hoops -- with no CGI or post-production super-imposing, just a lot of guts, planning, and great editing (some of which anticipates what Alfred Hitchcock did on Rope with its seamless edits of extended takes), and all on a budget that wouldn't have paid for the costumes in a James Cameron epic. In the major number from the film's first half, "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat," amid the shifting spatial dimensions captured by the camera -- where a single prop tree suddenly multiplies to infinity, and fruit turn into xylophones -- Carmen Miranda sings while what look like hundreds of chorus girls sway back and forth in carefully choreographed patterns, carrying oversized bananas. This leads to an overhead Berkeley-style kaleidoscope shot of the chorus girls that's as dazzling as it is tasteless, and it ends up at a climactic shot of Miranda seemingly wearing a "hat" hundreds of times her size, made of nothing but fruit. Benny Goodman also sings a pair of numbers, and the odd thing he's not bad -- he's no Sinatra (not even Nancy Sinatra) or Perry Como, but he does okay. So forget the plot -- or take in the plot, if that's your choice (the jokes still work, and it's nice to remember that there were wars worth fighting and believing in) -- and sit back and enjoy this unique visual/dance/musical fantasy, which boasts some of the strangest arrays of images, color, and music this side of Disney's Fantasia.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/17/2008
  • UPC: 024543520092
  • Original Release: 1943
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:43:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alice Faye Eadie Allen
Carmen Miranda Dorita
James Ellison Andy Mason
Charlotte Greenwood Mrs. Peyton Potter
Eugene Pallette Mr. Mason, Sr.
Edward Everett Horton Peyton Potter
Phil Baker Himself
Sheila Ryan Vivian
Dave Willock Sgt. Casey
Miriam Lavelle Specialty Dancer
Charles Saggau Jitterbug Dancer
George Dobbs Benson
Leon Belasco Waiter
Gabriel Canzoza Organ Grinder
Robb Wilton Bat-man
Lee Bennett Bit Man
Frank Darien Doorman
Frank Faylen Marine
Deidre Gale Jitterbug Dancer
Hallene Hill Old Lady
Leyland Hodgson Butler
Russell Hoyt Sailor
Al Murphy Stage Manager
Virginia Sale Secretary
Fred Walburn Newsboy
Virginia Wilson Dancing Partner
Lillian Yarbo Maid
Benny Goodman Orchestra Themselves
June Haver Maybelle
Jeanne Crain Bit Part
Tony De Marco
Technical Credits
Busby Berkeley Director, Choreography
William Le Baron Producer
Ary Barroso Songwriter
James Basevi Production Designer
Tom Bridges Original Story
Walter Bullock Screenwriter
Edward J. Cronjager Cinematographer
Ray F. Curtiss Editor
Benny Goodman Songwriter
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Henderson Musical Direction/Supervision
Ed Kelso Screenwriter
George Leverett Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Alfred Newman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Guy Pearce Makeup
David Raksin Songwriter
Leo Robin Score Composer, Songwriter
George Root Jr. Original Story
S.K. Russell Songwriter
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Harry Warren Score Composer, Songwriter
Nancy Winter Original Story
Yvonne Wood Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph C. Wright Production Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Gang's All Here
1. Main Titles (Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here) [1:18]
2. Brazil [2:53]
3. You Discover You're In New York [3:37]
4. Just Lemonade [2:24]
5. A Sinful Place [2:16]
6. Minnie's In the Money [1:47]
7. Casey At the Bat [3:26]
8. The Lady In the Tutti Frutti Hat [5:11]
9. Ferry Ride [3:12]
10. Good Time? [4:10]
11. The Jitters [6:56]
12. Goodbye, Soldier [1:36]
13. Hero [:28]
14. No Time To Be Sensible [1:32]
15. No Love, No Nothin' [2:48]
16. What a Coincidence [2:30]
17. Remember Paris? [2:56]
18. Rose Fever [1:58]
19. Fiendish Scheme [2:51]
20. Birthday Gift [2:28]
21. Rehearsal [2:27]
22. Sound Investments [1:51]
23. Big Surprise [1:35]
24. Small World [2:11]
25. Paducah [2:58]
26. A Journey To a Star [2:10]
27. The Polka Dot Polka [4:57]
28. Kaleidoscope [3:06]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Gang's All Here
   Play
   Language Selection
      Language and Audio: English Mono
      Language and Audio: English Stereo
      Language and Audio: Commentary By Film Professor Drew Casper
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: French
      Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Commentary By Film Professor Drew Casper: On
      Commentary By Film Professor Drew Casper: Off
      Busby Berkeley: A Journey With a Star
      Alice Faye's Last Film: We Still Are!
      The Phil Harris - Alice Faye Show Original Radio Broadcasts
         A Movie For Alice (November 11, 1946)
         Phil Harris - Movie Star (April 24, 1949)
      Deleted Scene: The $64 Question
      Trailer
      Still Galleries
         Advertising
         Portraits
         Production
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