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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.55:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 3 Theatrical trailer
  • Featurette - Restoration Comparison
  • Photo gallery

There's No Business Like Show Business

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 112 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

This isnít the most recognisable Marilyn Monroe film ever made. In it, she only has third billing, behind Ethel Merman and Donald OíConnor, and just in front of some other people I canít remember and couldnít care less about.

Itís the typical overblown, over-melodramatic, over-indulgent, over-cooked Hollywood musical from the hands of Mr. Irving ďHow about another song here?Ē Berlin and Darryl F. ďSure, we only have 12 songs so farĒ Zanuck.

The reason for this songfest is the all singing, all dancing Donahues. Mom and pop Donahue are old school vaudeville stage pros, having hoofed and bellowed for years, thinking they were pretty hot shit.

Is Mrs. Donahue played by Marilyn, you ask? No, she isnít.

Along with the ups and downs of their career come three kids, who naturally fall into the profession, creating a family act that preceded the Partridge Family by a good 60 years.

Is one of the kids played by Marilyn, you ask? No she isnít.

So, we follow the family as they go through their act, as one goes off to be a priest, as another becomes a drunk and as the rest just keep hoofing away like fools.

Eventually, a new act appears on the horizon, in the shape of a lovely curvy lass who wants nothing more than to be a big song and dance stage star.

Is she played by Marilyn, you ask? No, sheís played by Lee Van Cleef in drag. What do you think? Of course sheís played by Marilyn!

Storywise, the family grows up, they sing some songs. Marilyn claws her way to the top, she sings some songs, they fall on hard times, they sing, things go well, they sing, something bad happens, they sing, it has a happy ending, they sing some more. Sometimes they even follow up a song with some more singing.

Needless to say, if you donít like singing in your films, then this isnít the DVD for you. Instead, might I suggest you try Any Given Sunday? They only sing one song in that, but itís a rap, so it doesnít count as real music. And it does have Al Pacino in it. But he isnít as good looking as Marilyn Monroe, so make up your own mind.

Song and dance, or Al Pacino, Marilyn and Al in a movie together would have been great.

Marilyn: Oh, Iím so lucky to have met you on this cruise. This is a dream for little old me. Just wait till I tell my friends!
Al: SHUT UP YOU WHORE! To me, youíre nothiní more thanÖ I donít knowÖ but believe me! Me, baby, Iím outta here! What the hell time is it!? Hoo-har!
Marilyn: ...but Al, honeyÖ
Al: WHOAH! What did I say? WHAT! Did I just say?!

So whereís this all going? Lemme thinkÖ ah yes, Iíve got it. This film is like a game of football. If you like football, and Collingwood are your favourite team, but you donít like Nathan Buckley, and Collingwood are playing, youíd be better off watching the tennis. Unless Leyton Hewitt is playing. Then youíre better off with the football. But barracking for the opposition. Yep, thatíll do it.

  Video
Contract

Wanna see Marilyn in widescreen? How about wiiiiiiiiidescreen? Thereís No Business Like Bloody Hell This is a Long Name was shot in CinemaScope, using a 2.55:1 aspect ratio. With all this horizontal expanse, thereís not always great use of space, with early numbers featuring just a few people on stage and big sets. At the end itís a little better, with the final number featuring about a billion dancers on stage at one time, but unfortunately itís hardly spectacular. The colours sometimes look stunning, with costumes glittering and vibrant and sets well defined with pretty good detail in the darker recesses, and overall the general impression is a good one for an old film, and probably one of the better looking images of this boxed set.

  Audio
Contract

The use of the CinemaScope format is what dictated the soundtrack configuration, as it recorded four magnetic tracks, thus the Dolby Digital 4 audio. Itís nice and airy, with a good representation of the songs filling the room, but nothing much in the use of the rears to remark upon. If thereís any issue with this, itís that it does too good a job of revealing just how bad Ethel Mermanís voice really was. It will amaze you that she got a part in this film, I figure she slept with someone to get it, or she had some dirt on the studio bosses. Either way, theyíve let her sing far too many songs, and they don't let Johnnie Ray sing enough. This guy is brilliant, he acts like heís chucking a fit when he sings, with arms swinging around and face contorted. It can be painful to watch, but like a car accident involving naked women you just canít look away.

  Extras
Contract

Again, another piddling set of extras, with three Theatrical Trailers, a Gallery with ONE! one-sheet poster to look at (donít blame me, I just report the facts) and a brief Restoration Comparison.

  Overall  
Contract

To be honest, Iím hard pressed to say that this is strictly a Monroe film, as she may have third billing, but she plays like a subplot if anything. It all tries to be so much, yet leaves an empty feeling after viewing. They tried to cram too much into it, and make the characters seem far more important than they are. You just sit back, watch the spectacle, munch on your chips, then forget about it as soon as itís over. Thatís not good. Not even Marilyn saved this one. Sorry about that.


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      And I quote...
    "You just sit back, watch the spectacle, munch on your chips, then forget about it as soon as itís over. Thatís not good. Not even Marilyn saved this one."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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