BY STEVE ROTHAUS
Three classic MGM films, one celebrating its 75th anniversary and two CinemaScope musicals from 1955, have recently been rejuvenated in high definition.
The Women – with its all-star, all female 1939 cast – features Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell.
Despite no men in the picture, director George Cukor's adaptation of Clare Boothe Luce's Broadway hit is known for its razor-sharp dialogue:
“There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel.”
“I've had two years to grow claws mother. Jungle red.”
The Blu-ray picture is as sharp as the dialogue. The Women, released the same year as other MGM films including The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, is black and white with a restored Technicolor fashion show sequence. Warner Home Entertainment, $20.
Hit the Deck, a 1955 widescreen musical that’s often used as a reference for Cinemascope films of the mid-20th century, stars Jane Powell (in her final MGM film), Tony Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Walter Pidgeon, Vic Damone, Russ Tamblyn and Ann Miller.
Directed by Roy Rowland (Two Weeks With Love), it’s adapted from a 1927 Broadway show with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Leo Robin and Clifford Grey.
Hit the Deck includes the songs Hallelujah (the finale featured in the 1974 MGM retrospective That’s Entertainment!), I Know That You Know and Ciribiribin.
Released by Warner Archive, the Blu-ray retails for $22.
Kismet, starring Howard Keel, Ann Blyth Dolores Gray and Vic Damone, is based on the 1953 Broadway musical based on themes by Alexander Borodin.
Hit songs from the stage and movie versions (adapted by Robert Wright and George Forrest) include Stranger in Paradise and Baubles, Bangles and Beads.
The high-def transfer looks and sounds great.
Released by Warner Archive, the Blu-ray retails for $19.