Cinelinx has received a copy of the Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection Musicals DVD boxset, and we're here to help you decide whether or not this historic collection is worth putting up on your shelf at home.
In honor of Warner Bros. studio celebrating its 90th anniversary, the powers that be have decided to give audiences a treat. The latest is sure to leave a song or two on your heart! Our contacts have graciously sent us a copy of the Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection Musicals DVD boxset, which is one of five different types of collector sets that will go on the market this year.
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Also Available on Blu-Ray!
There are 20 Musicals in the set on 21 discs broken down into 3 sections. To further aid the viewer, in each boxset there is a 24 page booklet which provides pictures and synopsis of each film.
Which of the fine films are included in the collection? I'm glad you asked. The list of movies included are:
- The Jazz Singer (1927)
- The Broadway Melody (1929)
- 42nd Street (1933)
- The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- Yankee Doodle Dandee (1942)
- An American in Paris (1951)
- Show Boat (1951)
- Singin' in the Rain (1952)
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
- A Star is Born (1954)
- The Music Man (1962)
- Viva Las Vegas (1964)
- Camelot (1967)
- Willy Wonky and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
- Cabaret (1972)
- That's Entertainment (1974)
- Victor/Victoria (1982)
- Little Shop of Horrors (1986; read a previous review here)
- Hairspray (1988)
Essentially, what you're getting here is more akin to a history of film musicals all in one set. From the very first, The Jazz Singer (which you can catch our blu-ray review HERE), all the way to one the genre's biggest era's in the 70s-80s. If you're a film buff then it's going to be tough to pass this collection up on your shelf. Even if you're not the biggest fan of the musical genre, it's impact on the history of film throughout the decades is widespread, and hard to debate. For that reason alone, this collection deserves a spot on your shelf.
90 years, in terms of overall history, really isn't that much time. Yet, even so, the film industry has come a long way during those decades in terms of technology and how stories are told in general. Many genres have came and went, but one of the enduring film genres (that always seems to find its way back into the mainstream) are musicals. In point of fact, the first film to feature synced up sound and ushered in the era of talkies (changing the way we view films forever) was a musical. On top of that, a musical was one of the first films to ever present full color images, while others have provided social commentary on the main issues of the day, and have always utilized the latest in technology. By all accounts, one could easily make the argument that the musical genre has always been at the forefront of the industry, paving the way and guiding the trends throughout every era.
There is just something about watching a musical that reverts me straight back to my junior high and high school days. Yours truly was a choir brat, and by the end of the year we had already finished our performances for the term. What, pray tell, did we do the last week of school? You guessed it. We watched movies, and usually of a musical nature to keep up with the theme of the class. The point to my little trip down memory lane is that musicals are good for moments of nostalgia that leave viewers with an irrepressible smile. I know I get that way every time I watch The Wizard of Oz, and Judy Garland sings 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'.
The musicals listed in this anniversary box set are truly classics of their genre, and have been filling audiences with youthful whimsy upon viewing them for many decades. Who can forget this show-stopping scene by Gene Kelly from Singing in the Rain (a film which has inspired some serious analysis of our own)?
Several of these films are close to 90 years old, and I was shocked how well the sound and video quality was when converted to DVD. Obviously it will not be as perfect as watching something from the past decade in that regard, but it did not go unnoticed that there are some skilled editors working for the studios to digitally remaster pictures for our viewing pleasure. The DVD versions of these films look really good, and it's obvious that WB has taken time to update some of these classics (a few of which haven't been available on home formats in a very long time). While they obviously aren't as sharp as the blu-ray box set, Warner Bros. wasn't exactly slacking when it came to the DVDs. The vido quality looks clean and if you didn't already have some of these classic somewhere in your home collection, it's a great way to add them.
However, the real reason these films continue to shine even after all these years is simple: the performances. There are some talented singers and dancers pulling off dazzling numbers, not to mention some smooth choreography, that make each musical number stand out on it's own and be a unique part of the film on the whole. While memory of a movie can always fade over time, people tend to remember individual musical performances, especially from some of these classics. People who haven't seen the Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka in years can probably still sing a few bars from a couple of the music performances. There are moments in every film that stand out to us, but none (in my opinion) have more than muscials do, and this DVD collection brings them all together.
Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
Would I recommend this to everyone? Absolutely. You have to at least like musicals to even think about grabbing this item for yourself. However, I know there are enough viewers out there who either like musicals, or know someone with deep musical appreciation. It would make a great gift for just such a person. On top of that, as I said, it's a great collection for movie buffs who enjoy having a history of film right at their fingertips. While it doesn't include EVERY musical (obviously), it's enough to give a snapshot of the genre throughout history and to see how it's progressed over the decades.
This collection is available now and you can purchase it by checking out the official site. If musicals are not your cup of tea but you are interested in keeping up with the latest releases from Warner Bros. studios, check out the Warner Bros. Facebook page.
Carla is a writer/crazed movie fan at heart who contributes to Cinelinx and dreams of a career in film review/journalism.