Tuesday, April 10, 2007

LUCKY ME (Warner Bros. 1954) Warner Home Video

An awkward eclecticism of meandering styles emerges in Jack Donohue’s Lucky Me (1954) a rather abysmal blend of perfunctory coyness made all the more glaring and mawkish by the expansive proportions of Cinemascope. The film stars Doris Day as Candy Williams, a struggling musical performer in a traveling show headlined by gregarious Hap Schneider (Phil Silver, at his most inept and grating). Forced to 6become hotel servants, Candy and company are in for a delightful change of pace when she catches the eye of successful celebrity song writer, Dick Carson (Robert Cummings).

Although Candy has no concept of how fortuitous her burgeoning romance with Dick will be, Hap is determined to manipulate the variables of their relationship to suit his own end. One problem; Dick is already practically engaged to the haughty Loraine Thayer (Martha Hyer), heiress to an oil baron’s monopoly. The solution: Dick casts Candy as the lead in his latest Broadway venture – a show he hopes Lorraine’s father, Otis (Bill Goodwin) will finance.

The first Warner musical to be shot in Cinemascope; Donohue’s inexperience with its expansive widescreen aspect ratio results in some fairly abysmal, overly long – and overly ‘close’ close-ups of all the principles – the effect quite stifling on the big screen. The screenplay by Irving Elinson, Robert O’Brien and James O’Hanlon plays like a comedic mishmash of snippets ripped from several other movies all flung together. 

Worse, the musical program is scant and largely in support of the comedy – though here to, the songs are just passable, and in some cases, as with the ‘Superstition Song’, well below par, making Lucky Me a very unlucky – and unworthy - experience indeed!

Warner Home Video’s anamorphic DVD exhibits an adequate transfer. Colors, for the most part, are bold vibrant and true to their original spectrum. Flesh tones are a tad more pasty orange than one might expect. Film grain and artifacts are also an issue, particularly during transitions – an inherent flaw in all early ‘scope’ productions. Contrast levels are adequately realized. Blacks are sometimes more gray than black. Whites, generally clean – though occasionally adopting a slight bluish tint.

The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital – recapturing the essence of early ‘scope’ stereo and much too overpowering when directly followed by almost mono sounding bits of dialogue. Short subjects are the only extra feature.

FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)



No comments: